Season 2, Week 1 - In Review

Alright, so Season 2 is here. Let’s talk about our feelings about Week 1 of the new Season, with the hopes that maybe this will provide 343 with some feedback about what does and does not work.

  • Last Spartan Standing: I absolutely hate this game mode. With every fiber of my being, I hate this game mode. If you get a bad start, or a bad spawn, pulling out from that feels impossible. Why on Earth are Overshield and Active Camo in this game mode? Did no one play test this game mode and see that there are issues with Overshield and Active Camo hoarding towards the end? Are we the guinea pigs for 343 to test these game modes on or something? I only pushed through this game mode because I wanted the Event rewards

  • The Event: This carries forward the same issues from the prior season. It’s like 343 learned nothing of what the issues with Season 1’s events were like. Forcing players to play game modes they don’t like for extremely time limited, FOMO-drive rewards is frustrating. I don’t want to play game after game of a game mode I hate for rewards that I can’t get if I miss out. The Event itself is just lackluster. I don’t understand how the narrative events of this season are supposed to tie into the gameplay element. If I were a Banished AI, I would sit there and laugh at the futility of Spartans killing one another over and over again. It’s like they had a game mode that the gameplay team were really excited about and a narrative the story-team wanted to push forward, and then management just mashed the two together and hoped the community wouldn’t notice. We did. This would have been the perfect opportunity to introduce Firefight, which would tie in much more strongly with the narrative of this Season.

There are ways to do rewards like this without weaponizing FOMO, 343, assuming you’re genuine about not wanting to create a FOMO-driven experience for the players. It’s called tying them to Achievements, like Halo 3 did, like Halo 4 did (in rare instances) and like MCC did for Halo 5.

  • Breaker: I have not had the chance to play this map outside of LSS. Inside of LSS, I can tell this map was designed for Infantry play, so I’m not sure how it’s going to be for BTB. BTB’s issue is that almost none of the maps for it are really designed around extensive vehicle play, so obviously the solution was to design a map that’s… Also not for vehicle play.

  • Catalyst: A visual feast for the eyes, kind of frustrating to play on. My primary issue with the map is Clamber. Almost nowhere is safe for you because it’s easy for someone to just appear behind you by clambering up behind you. I’ll have to play on this more to get a good feel for it, but I think it’s the stronger of the two maps that were added this Season. I want to reiterate that this map’s visual design is top notch, and harkens back to the Forerunner designs of Halo 3. I like this map a lot purely from the visual standpoint, and more maps need to follow this same level of detail and intentional design. It feels like a lot of love went into this one.

  • Bugs and Glitches: I have noticed far less desync and lag than before, so kudos (if they did anything at all) for fixing that. The Red Reticle bug on PC, and I will call it a bug because I have absolutely nothing kind to say about their mentality towards Red Reticle on PC, is still present. This seriously impacts the ability to properly tell Friend from Foe, especially with the coating system the way that it is. I have not experience the current issues with gun jamming, but I do not doubt that it’s an issue. The Shop is still abhorrent - why not just take a page out of another game’s microtransaction shop and try to design it that way? Obviously that’s a gross simplification of the problem, but it’s so limited and feels more like a Mobile game store than a Triple A game’s in-game store.

  • Battle Pass: Not bad, there’s good stuff in there. But the Challenges are annoying. It’s like they’ve learned nothing from Season 1, with the Challenges being “impossible” and decided to throw a spanner in the works by having challenges like “Return your Flag 10 Times.” This is obviously to push us to buy Swaps because it’s so hard to get into a CTF match, but I thought you were getting rid of impossible challenges? What happened to that?

Overall, I’d rate the first week a 5/10. There are some improvements, but they feel minor and if you were to compare this to any other game with a Seasonal system, like say Deep Rock Galactic, this game is embarrassing. The only saving grace is that this is free, so you don’t have to spend any money on it. You probably shouldn’t, either.

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I near enough agree with pretty much everything you’ve said, especially about LSS, not a big fan of that mode* but I have admittedly mellowed on it slightly (still don’t like it) after playing it a million times out of FOMO. Maybe it’s just Stockholm Syndrome. I think Catalyst is one of the better maps so far which is fairly high praise as I think most maps are pretty good, apart from Behemoth and Bazaar. They suck.

*I don’t want any tips on how to get better/enjoy it more. I’m already fairly good at the mode and win most games I play with high kill counts.

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Agreed. This would’ve been perfect for PvE introduction and honestly would have breathed some life into this game. Theres no logical reasoning for why your enemy would be upset about watching you shoot your friend in the face.

Honestly the narrative of the season being lone wolves is quite ironic considering one of the major gripes for the game is that it hasn’t been social enough. Going to sip hopium and hope that the next event includes some PvE so we can actually play with our friends. Assuming any of our friends will pick this game back up…

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Not sure if my rig just sucks but I keep getting that thing on Breaker specifically where all my textures load in and out and “flicker”

That alone makes me not enjoy Breaker as much as I would have.

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I’ve definitely gotten better at LSS. The thing is, is that I just dont enjoy the time I spend with it and I would rather spend the time I feel like I’m wasting with LSS in another game mode I like more.

Of course, if I do that, I dont get the Event Rewards or strong Pass Progression.

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Yeah, getting good at LSS only makes a marginal difference. It’s still a bad mode. I can see potential for a full BR mode though. The tension and excitement of everyone only been down to their last life or two is a high that most of the game doesn’t reach. It’s a shame everything leading up to it is just a really bad game of FFA

I agree with everything you have said.

Last Spartan Standing is annoying and to be honest, not a fun experience. Attrition is tough in a team game, so making it FFA with the ability for people to randomly get Overshields and Active Camo is wild, to say the least. If there wasn’t an event, I honestly would have played a couple games maximum. Not the 20 to 30 I have by now due to the challenges.

Catalyst is a beautiful map visually. But in terms of how it plays and it’s layout, it’s not good. It’s very hard to know exactly where you are and there’s so much geometry around you, it’s nearly impossible to defend yourself against flanks. I imagine an objective based game like CTF might play well… who knows.

Breaker as a map is overall okay. It really is dead on average. Visually looks okay, and plays just about okay but I imagine using a vehicle would be tough and possibly boring. I gotta say though, it’s stupidly big for LSS. Even though 12 people play on this map, I really can’t help wonder how someone at 343 gets paid to make decisions such as putting a 12 player FFA mode on a BTB map. Live Fire would have been perfect for an 8 player FFA version of LSS.

The battle pass is pretty good. I mean it’s way better than season 1. I do feel like there’s actually less customisation though compared to season 1 because there’s so much more content that we didn’t get last time like 1000 cR. That’s ten less spots for armour. I’m not going to complain, getting your cR back is cool and all but it’s just a shame that something else like emblems stayed in which we all know everyone hates.

I don’t want this to drag on too long to I’ll keep the rest brief.

King of the Hill is bad. The way they’ve changed how scoring works is just plain idiotic. I haven’t played Land Grab yet but I’m sure that’s an original game mode changed for no reason too.

Other bugs that are still present that annoy me is the desync, insanely high ping and the menu UI just being a pathetic excuse for a triple A game menu. I still have to wait too long for the menu to load. Why? Switching between tabs in the menu is hard and confusing. I’m still being put into high ping games which means I’m effectively 2 seconds behind everyone else’s actions.

4/10, you gotta do better in season 3 or I’m out for good.

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I knew there was something I forgot to bring up. The scoring system in KOTH is whack. It feels more like Strongholds with a sprinkling of Territories than KOTH. My main gripe however if how it’s emblematic of the issues caused by no friendly fire/collision. There is literally no reason not to spam grenades/rockets on the hill if you don’t control it. It’s area denial that doesn’t effect your team and requires no thinking or strategy to use.

Its funny that you mention that, because KOTH actually counts for the Capture Zones challenge - every time you participate in the capture of a Hill in KOTH, you get one point to the progression of that challenge. Makes getting through so much easier (so it’ll soon get patched).

Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree about KOTH. Its a complete mess of grenades because theres just no downside anymore to rabid grenade spam. KOTH has never been a mode I’ve really liked, so unless I habe challenges, I probably wont bother.

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Haven’t played a game of season 2 yet. Still debating even doing so.

Probably won’t play again until doubles, and every other playlist that should have been included at launch, are available.

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46 of the rewards in the new BP are completely locked to the new core. Useless to me until cross core customization is a thing because I’ll never wear anything other than MKVII until I can mix/match.

Is there an word on a fix for the broken BR and Heatwave? It’s so frustrating in ranked when the gun jams… -.-

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Thanks for the Review.

I refuse to re-install HI on my Xbox One X until they fix the Server Selector. Either by making it work (i.e. picking the Closest Server to me with the lowest ping) or let me manually Select my Server (as was in MCC / H5). When 80% of my Solo games are at 250 ms ping times, the game is unplayable trash. This doesn’t even appear to be on 343’s Radar for bug fixes, so the game is dead to me.

It baffles me that the new core doesn’t even have a basic selection of colors attached to it. Say what you will about Heroes of Reach, but MKVB had all of the Cadet colors available on launch of the Core. This is a significant part of the reason we need cross core. I love the Willow Tea coating I have, but I can’t equip it on the new core, and I don’t think anything quite like Willow Tea will ever come to the new core, least of all for free like Willow Tea did.

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Yup same thing happened when I played the first match on Last spartan standing , not even 10 secconds in the match the first enemy I found has an over shield.

The desync is the issue I been hating since season 1 , when I started playing the game I didn’t see issues but then updates cames and the game been having problems with desync , challenges not registering ,etc.

So far to start the basic things should be fix to make the game playable and enjoyable but, experiencing the same issues it makes me wait till an update comes and hope they fix these issues and still waiting.

LSS simply is NOT Halo. People either get that or they don’t. If they don’t, I feel sorry for them because they missed out on something truly special. Halo used to be a trend setter instead of the trend chaser it is now.

Kinda disappointed we didn’t already start off with the early stages of cross core

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That was my hope as well. I thought it would at the very least be cross core for Coatings so that I could bring my favorite coatings to Rakasha, but we still havent even gotten that yet.

Maybe they’ll Drop Pod it, but I’m not hopeful that we’ll get any cross core stuff this Season.

I don’t hate LSS, but as someone who has never cared for FFA I’m sure before this season is over I’ll be more sick of playing it for event challenges than I was from having to play Fiesta for Season 1. I like the new BTB map, it plays fine IMO. I’ve only gotten Catalyst once so not enough playtime to form an opinion beyond it looks pretty. I think the actual battle pass itself is very solid. A lot of good looking pieces and since you get your 1000 credits back when you complete it I see little reason not to get the premium pass.

Also, not entirely related to anything season 2 specific, I am liking seeing much more variety in player customization at this point in the game’s life. After several events that have brought about a lot of free customization (including now a new core that you don’t have to get the premium pass to access) on top of all the store content I’m seeing a lot fewer repeats/near repeats in Spartans’ looks.

I enjoy last spartan standing every now and then. I feel like they should transition challenges to:

  • complete x games like the daily
  • kills, multi-kills, weapons, headshots, and melees
  • total score
    they’re bottle necking the playbase by forcing them into specific game modes.

On the positive notes:

  • im digging the new armor cores
  • battle pass is way better
  • i like added story that was put into the event and season

Overall:

  • stuffs getting better slowly…
  • it feels like 2 steps forward 3 steps back
  • 343 is at least communicating and actively engage with the playerbase

PS

  • really missing that career progression that should have been a base experience that was already implemented in the MCC and Halo 5
  • hoping they can port some more maps fast