The 'Competitive' Element

Remember the 1-50 ranking system in Halo 2 and 3? Awesome, right? The day you reached (pun intended?) your first 50 was one of your shining moments in your Halo career. After pwning endlessly and tiring attempts, you finally made it to the top of competitive stardom in the Halo community. Unless, of course, you ‘bought’ a 50. Then you’re just sleazy.

Anyways, what happened to this competitiveness in Reach? Earilier today I listened to a podcast with MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni ( www.twitch.tv/livegaming/b/292311294, skip to about 22 minutes in), where he talks about the decline of competitive play in Reach and how is currently in danger of dropping from the circuit. It is the least popular on the circuit behind Black Ops and Starcraft 2, yet still having the highest monetary payouts, losing audiences to other games. Whether you’re a fan of MLG or not, he has a legitimate point. Halo is losing its competitive edge.

Is it possible to bring competitive play back? Wait, it was never gone! You say “How About the Arena?!” The Arena is great, but it doesn’t replace the 1-50 ranking system. I’d say less than half of the Reach community plays Arena; it’s not a popular playlist and the idea never really took off. Remember when you’d talk to friends about Halo 3, and the first thing they’d ask is “What rank are you?”, and you’d respond with “I’m a (insert number here)!”. Now, in Reach, whenever I’m discussing Reach with friends, it’s always “What rank are you”… “I’m a Hero”… “Oh, you must play a lot”. I’m never asked “What Arena Division and Percentage are you ranked in?”

Your rank in Reach is more dependant on how much you play, rather than how skilled you are. I believe (as well as a lot of community members) that this should be different. In Reach, just because you face a team of Forerunners in BTB doesn’t mean they’re better than you and going to leave you ashamed of your skills, however it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad, it just means they’ve played Reach more than you, given you’re a lower rank then them. You could argue that the more time you spend playing Reach, the more skilled you are. This could be true, but in previous Halo’s you had to be skilled to go up in rank. In Reach, you just need to play. Good or bad, you’re still earning credits and moving up in rank.

Will the Reach TU bring a return to the ranking system of Halo past? Will Anniversary incorporate it? How about Halo 4? Only time will tell, however I feel the current competitive play isn’t what it should be and needs changing.

Please give me your thoughts!

I hope the 1-50 ( maybe 1-100? ) will come back in Halo 4.
The competitivenes in Reach is allready Yoink!, and the old system would not work that well with Reach.

I’d like 343 to go 100% on H4. Skip all the map-packs and new TUs for Reach and just let it go.

I really enjoyed playing competetive games in Halo 3 especially Team Snipers. I really learned how to play the game and I actually I was sometimes a beast with the sniper. I loved when really good players destroyed me and my team because after that I would jump in theater with friends and watch what I did wrong. I wasn’t a 50 in any ranked playlist in H3 but I enjoyed it unlike Reach.

> I really enjoyed playing competetive games in Halo 3 especially Team Snipers. I really learned how to play the game and I actually I was sometimes a beast with the sniper. I loved when really good players destroyed me and my team because after that I would jump in theater with friends and watch what I did wrong. I wasn’t a 50 in any ranked playlist in H3 but I enjoyed it unlike Reach.

I love the sniper in Halo 3. I was so beast with it. daydreams

I heard about 20 mins from the 22 min. in the interview and I agree with him. Reach MLG isn’t any fun to watch. Everything looks so boring and easy. I know I used to watch every MLG video that came out for Halo 3 but now I’m not interessted at all for Reach gameplay or montages.

You make some interesting points. First of all, I think the Arena has a far smaller population than you guess. I think it is somewhere between 5-10% of the online population.

Regarding the 1-50 ranking system: I think there are good and bad things about making the 1-50 rank invisible (Reach still uses a 1-50 ranking system for matchmaking purposes, they just don’t show you what your rank is anymore).

On the one hand, there was a simplistic elegance to the 1-50 rank system. As you pointed out, people would often take interest in what ranks they had in various playlists, and how they compared to their friends.

On the other hand, the 1-50 system would often create a situation where people were afraid to play, because they didn’t want to lose their high rank.

Back in Halo 3, I hit 45 in Lone Wolves, which I was quite proud of. 45 really was the highest I could possibly get… I just wasn’t good enough to go beyond that. One day, after a few bad games, I dropped all the way down to a 42. I spent the next week fighting my way back up to 45, then stopped playing Lone Wolves and never went back to it.

I think the problem with the Arena is that it lacks the kind of clear and instant feedback that players enjoy. It is also completely useless unless you dedicate lots of time to it on a frequent basis.

On top of that, I find the Arena gametype and map selection to be boring. This is a problem I have with the MLG playlists as well. I could never compete on an MLG level, but I do consider myself a “competitive” player. Still, I enjoy the elements of Halo that make it so special: Big, chaotic battles with lots of different weapons, explosions, and vehicles going crazy all over the map.

Going to your point about Reach’s declining popularity in the MLG community, I can’t help but wonder if MLG is to blame for making their version of Halo so freaking boring. I’ve never understood why MLG players are so intent on playing Halo, but only after they’ve created their own custom maps and gametypes that take away everything unique about the game.

No disrespect intended to anyone in MLG. Just my own 2 cents.

Wow, just listened to the link. Very disappointed how you twisted the context of what was said.

And then you really missed the part were he speaks about self entitlement. Both in the title and in the players. Skip to 38:00 or so for more context (and 40:00).

I actually enjoyed listening to Sundance. I think he’d agree with me that perhaps it is because both CoD and SCII are newer communities without the sense of self-entitlement that is helping them flourish in the circuit. They’re more accessible and have more room to grow, while Halo has already grown (and so a revolution must begin, though by definition, they never end).

I love the speech on “coming from the heart.”

He is not afraid to speak his mind thats for sure. The part I found most interesting is when he was talking about all the Halo games and he said " The first one was the purest, the second one muddied the waters as did the third, and Reach underwhelmed the hardcore audience and Blackops kicked it to the curb" or something along those lines. He then went onto say “Reach is really under performing”.

I dont think Halo will be the mainstage MLG game anymore unless H4 is just really good on a competitve level to play and watch. He said he could run the next 3 years of his buisness based on SC2 and LoL which is probably true. I just hope Halo remains the premiere shooter MLG game and not CoD or GW3 that would be a travesty =(

1-50 should never return, in any form what so ever.

You can have competitive Halo without ranks. What Halo Reach and future Halo titles need are Trueskill playlists (similar to Halo 3’s ranked, but no ranks and an undiluted Trueskill matchmaking system).

> 1-50 should never return, in any form what so ever.
>
> You can have competitive Halo without ranks. What Halo Reach and future Halo titles need are Trueskill playlists (similar to Halo 3’s ranked, but no ranks and an undiluted Trueskill matchmaking system).

> 1-50 should never return, in any form what so ever.
>
> You can have competitive Halo without ranks. What Halo Reach and future Halo titles need are Trueskill playlists (similar to Halo 3’s ranked, but no ranks and an undiluted Trueskill matchmaking system).

The visible rank is the reward for winning matches in the competitve environment, it is the reward for your labor. There is no reward in the Arena system along with horrible competitve game mechanics like jetpack that is the problem.

In the same way earning armor is the reward for the cR system, the visible rank is the reward for the 1-50 system. Take away the reward, and noone will play it as shown by the Arena. If you took away the armor rewards for earning cR nobody would care either, its the same thing. The 1-50 ranking system must return in order for ranked playlists to flourish and competitve Halo to flourish. That is the truth.

Although I dislike 1 - 50 ranks because it was the sole reason for the rampant cheating in H2 and - although to a lesser extend - in H3, I agree. That little number next to their gamertags is what keeps people not only playing but also trying to win. And what’s the point of playing if you don’t play to win?

I just hope that 343i are capable of dealing with cheaters way more quickly and harshly than Bungie did.