What is Big Team Battle missing?

What happened to Big Team Battle? When I first encountered BTB in Halo 2 I was blown away. Up until that point I had been a 4v4 CTF/Slayer guy. But damn, when I first played BTB CTF on Containment, my whole Halo experience changed. I created this gamertag solely to play BTB in Halo 3 after I watched videos like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWXrBi7Luts. I loved the epic vehicular battles, the brilliant flag matches, and those intense moments of getting that last bomb plant in sudden death. Halo 2 and Halo 3 BTB were gorgeous.

And now this is Reach BTB: http://www.bungie.net/Stats/Reach/FileDetails.aspx?fid=17012841&player=CoooooooooooP

Nearly every single game I play of BTB in Reach is like http://www.bungie.net/Stats/Reach/GameStats.aspx?gameid=680327594&player=A%203%20Legged%20Goat.

The maps are so asymmetric, so one team always ends up being spawn trapped either because they spawned on the bad side or they don’t have enough opportunity on the map to retaliate. It’s mainly because of trueskill though, but that will always be an issue because BTB doesn’t have party restrictions.

Still, even with this evidence there are still people who do not understand what’s wrong with BTB, so I’ll explain the biggest issues below:

1. The DMR and Sniper. Because of these weapons’ anti-vehicular capabilities, players are reluctant to set foot in warthogs and ghosts. They’ve now taken a more backhand role on maps with wide-open spaces because of how easy it is to take them out at range. These were and have always been the main vehicles of BTB (with the inclusion of the Chopper and Mongoose in H3) so it’s a shame to see them diminished to afterthoughts. The DMR and Sniper’s anti-vehicular capabilities will need to be nerfed for these 2 vehicles to shine.

2. Armor Abilities. Sprint and Evade are actually welcomed editions to BTB in my opinion. They enhance the combat rather than hinder it like the others. Camo is very annoying when players resort to camping their base or using it in conjunction with power weapons. It’s not difficult to deal with but it awards them an advantage they should have to work for due to its effectiveness. Armor Lock isn’t that big of a deal in BTB because vehicular congestion can be overbearing at times. However, it still renders the Ghost’s main way of killing nearly obsolete. Drop Shield was thankfully balanced from its former counterpart; however, the ability to spawn with it negated that fact.

3. Maps. Reach didn’t really ship with decent BTB maps. Hemorrhage would have been better as a Coagulation remake due to the ease of camping the base. Paradiso would have been better as a Sidewinder/Avalanche remake because of how large it is and how awkward it is to drive vehicles around on it. What’s worse is how there’s no real area to hold other than in front of the enemy team’s base. Tempest would be good with a neutral power weapon, but even then there’s no real middle-ground to be in. We need more maps like Standoff, Valhalla, Sandtrap, Waterworks, and Containment. We need maps with emphasis on vehicular combat, but it supports infantry players as well. Infantry needs a place to go to hold and vehicles need to be able to support them while they get there, like Valhalla, Standoff, and Waterworks.

4. Vehicles. Banshee bomb is too powerful and it flips too much. It used to take skill to operate, and now anyone is guaranteed a spree in it. The flip needs to consume the meter and the damage on its 2 weapons need to be reversed. Combine this with nerfed DMR/Sniper damage and the armor can stay the same (otherwise it’ll need a buff). Warthog physics are too light, which is why a few DMR bullets (and even small hills or rocks) can cause it to flip. The scorpion could also use a RoF reduction so it doesn’t completely dominate over the Wraith. I’d even go as far to suggest the projectiles be slowed down so aerial vehicles aren’t immediately threatened by a scorpion unless he leads his shots.

If you can come up with any more, you’re welcome to share!!!

I fully agree. I didn’t have much experience with H3’s BTB; I was more into Squad Battle… But even H3 Squad Battle felt more like BTB than Reach’s BTB!

Lotta the stuff you’ve mentioned seems dead-on. If some of my suspicions are right, maybe the TU will let us test out some of these statements for ourselves. (Individual weapon traits in Customs, I think, may be coming soon. How else can 343 give us a classic experience alongside Reach?)

BRING BACK THE CHOPPER!!!

nuff said lol

> BRING BACK THE CHOPPER!!!
>
> nuff said lol

Chopper was a very nice vehicle. Extremely powerful splatters – a boosting Chopper would trash nearly any other vehicle on impact – balanced by limited mobility… which in turn was compensated for with some amazing firepower. Oh, how I miss it…

I’ve been having a lot more fun in BTB since the inclusion of community maps, especially Wayont since I love the Warthog driving on that map. I feel like you’ve covered all the core gameplay gripes I have with the playlist. The biggest thing I hate is how team DMRing is the basic strategy you go to when dealing with vehicles. I much prefer spawning weapons at the bases that are strong against vehicles that get too close (rockets, plasma pistols) and then having a neutral laser if the map has a lot of them.

The other problems I have with the playlist are in the objective settings. Namely instant arm on Assault since it basically requires that someone on the team sit back all game at the bomb site to guard it. Defending a base against an enemy assault is fun, sitting on the bomb site to prevent two enemy people on the mongoose from rushing an instant-arm all game isn’t. A balance needs to be struck between an arm time that doesn’t make bum rushes so effective, but also keeps the game offensively oriented. I don’t have enough experience to know the exact arm time but I’m sure with testing we could figure it out.

The one final thing I have to say is that if there are Falcons on the map no team should spawn with rockets or plasma launchers near their base. This problem plagues Abridged. I can’t count the number of times my teammates have loaded up the Falcon only to be killed by a lock-on rocket 30 seconds into the game. I really love the Falcon during those rare opportunities when I get to use it (since it feels like an airborne Warthog) and it makes me sad that it’s usually just a death trap. If anyone puts Falcons on a BTB map there should be a neutral laser to fight over. That way the ground guys have to fight to determine which team gets to keep their Falcon. The bases should stock plasma pistols or grenade launchers to check Falcons that get a bit too close trying to spawn kill.

Overall I think the BTB playlist has improved a lot since launch. Granted I’ve never run into Gamesagers and his crew but I have a lot of fun playing it. There’s always room for improvement and I really hope 343i continues to make improvements to the playlist.

Another thing is that they need to put some kind of damage reduction on the DMR and NR at longer ranges. It is simply too easy to get shot down when you’re in the middle of the map, which encourages people to saty back and -Yoink!- the tank/banshee.

You’re missing the biggest issue of Big Team Battle… Full Parties against Individuals. You even posted a game about it (Nice spawn killing the hell out of them I guess?)

Halo 2/3 also had this issue… Many a game spent hiding on Sandtrap by the Hammer waiting for the random enemy stragglers to wander in and kill them. Also did this on Headlong A LOT… not very fun. It’s always been a pretty big issue for Halo games.

If they can update the Trueskill system (Maybe a reset for everyone?) and get more Teams with Teams I would ONLY play Big Team Battle. I almost always do now, but I stop once I run into a full team.

On to your points, the reason none of your games are as “epic” is because you roll around in a full team and spawn kill. It’s always been like this though, but you don’t have the chance to have as many “epic” games that I do going in solo. I’ve had quite a big chunk of Sudden Death last second captures and last second disarms to win the games. That’s not the game, it’s the players and the Trueskill system.

  1. Now your other points just SCREAM imbalance. The vehicles need a counter besides Power Weapons. The DMR and Sniper being able to take out vehicles balances the game even more. It’s not even that bad either… it takes a ridiculous amount of teamwork to take out a vehicle with only DMR’s (I believe it’s 45 shots from a DMR to the Banshee… not even a tough vehicle), and damn near a full Sniper for most. I usually trick the enemy sniper into firing on my vehicle to waste bullets, especially with the Wraith. 2 clips later I’m smoking and hurt, but their sniper is completely out of ammo. Win for me.

  2. Active Camo should be out of most maps in Big Team Battle, but other than that it’s fine. All of the Armor Abilities work very well in Big Team Battle, especially Jetpack and Armor Lock.

  3. This is more of a personal opinion so… I enjoy the maps quite a bit. Especially the Community Maps (Abridged = winsauce). It was much better for variety in Halo: Reach than Halo 3… Only getting 3 maps from the getgo was just wrong!

  4. Agree, the vehicles need work. I’ve been wanting the constant flipping and Banshee Bomb to be fixed for months now. They need tweaks, not complete overhauls though. I still remember the game in Halo 3 where I had 80 Banshee kills in a single game… Now that took skill. The Halo: Reach Banshee is far too strong.

Maybe some DLC could be nice, no or we could get community maps that has been tested out before release, maybe the last one was too far since I thought it was a good idea.

> -snip-

I’m not going to search BTB as a random to get ‘close games’. The rest of the population should get better so I wont have to fight against players who don’t understand a thing about map control.

All BTB is is spawn killing and stat -Yoink!- because of how horribly unbalanced it is. Big Party Restrictions wont help because nobody searches BTB in parties anymore. Back in the day people did, but in Reach for some reason people think they should search an 8 man playlist when they only have a party of 3. That’s when you get teammates who betray you for the sniper, rush the warthog to their side and lose it, and ignore you when you say the laser is down.

I’m not going to risk playing with incompetent teammates for the sake of a ‘close game’ which is the result of their inability to coordinate anyway. If this game had any competitive value, players would be getting smarter instead of relying on AAs to play the game for them.

Anyway, that’s beside the point. If there’s one thing I want to get from your post it’s the maps. If the BTB maps don’t have framerate drop, then they’re horribly unbalanced (or in many cases, both). For example, the bases on Wayont are too easy to camp and there’s no reason to go to the middle of the map for the neutral concussion rifle. If it was neutral rockets and base concussion rifle it’d make more sense, but apparently Bungie thought it would be fun to modify a map and make it campy. In the end, they just ended up causing framerate issues.

Abridged is poorly designed on many levels. You don’t need every weapon in the game on your map, and you don’t need a ridiculously open expanse to make a BTB map. There’s no cover for falcons and the terrain is so awkward to fight in. Abridged games are so slow unless you’re in a vehicle or spawn sniping the other team’s base.

And let’s not even get started on Utopie. I really didn’t think Paradiso could get any worse… The maps in this game just suck in general and BTB seems to take the most flack for it. Nobody knows how to design a good map. Highlands came close, but none of the power weapons worth grabbing are ground-level, making vehicle combat useless. And then it’s asymmetric, giving Red Team an advantage. What’s worse is that they put rockets in the base. Seriously–base rockets need to stop.

> > -snip-
>
> I’m not going to search BTB as a random to get ‘close games’. The rest of the population should get better so I wont have to fight against players who don’t understand a thing about map control.
>
> All BTB is is spawn killing and stat -Yoink!- because of how horribly unbalanced it is. Big Party Restrictions wont help because nobody searches BTB in parties anymore. Back in the day people did, but in Reach for some reason people think they should search an 8 man playlist when they only have a party of 3. That’s when you get teammates who betray you for the sniper, rush the warthog to their side and lose it, and ignore you when you say the laser is down.
>
> I’m not going to risk playing with incompetent teammates for the sake of a ‘close game’ which is the result of their inability to coordinate anyway. If this game had any competitive value, players would be getting smarter instead of relying on AAs to play the game for them.
>
> Anyway, that’s beside the point. If there’s one thing I want to get from your post it’s the maps. If the BTB maps don’t have framerate drop, then they’re horribly unbalanced (or in many cases, both). For example, the bases on Wayont are too easy to camp and there’s no reason to go to the middle of the map for the neutral concussion rifle. If it was neutral rockets and base concussion rifle it’d make more sense, but apparently Bungie thought it would be fun to modify a map and make it campy. In the end, they just ended up causing framerate issues.
>
> Abridged is poorly designed on many levels. You don’t need every weapon in the game on your map, and you don’t need a ridiculously open expanse to make a BTB map. There’s no cover for falcons and the terrain is so awkward to fight in. Abridged games are so slow unless you’re in a vehicle or spawn sniping the other team’s base.
>
>
> And let’s not even get started on Utopie. I really didn’t think Paradiso could get any worse… The maps in this game just suck in general and BTB seems to take the most flack for it. Nobody knows how to design a good map. Highlands came close, but none of the power weapons worth grabbing are ground-level, making vehicle combat useless. And then it’s asymmetric, giving Red Team an advantage. What’s worse is that they put rockets in the base. Seriously–base rockets need to stop.

Never said you should search by yourself to get close games, I was just saying WHY you aren’t getting as many close games. It’s been like this since Halo 2, so maybe you didn’t have as many Halo friends as then to team up with?

Actually I just randomly checked a couple Social Big Team games you had and they were blow outs as well… Where exactly are these close games you speak of? Looks like this may not be so true.

Was this the kind of “close, epic” games you were speaking of? 100 to 17, MY GOD! You must have been freaking out when you won that one huh? :slight_smile:

http://www.bungie.net/Stats/GameStatsHalo3.aspx?gameid=1820250774&player=A%203%20Legged%20Goat

I also never said Big Party restrictions. What I want is Teams against Teams. It could be a team of 8 against a team of 4 and 4. Or a team of 8 against a team of 5 and 3. Trust me, there are plenty of teams that size for it to work. In Big Team Battle, this would work 100%.

Of course 8v8’s would be damn near impossible. Hardly any full teams out there.

What you keep saying about the maps seems to stem a lot from your full teams in Big Team Battle… I rarely run into any of your issues. I also almost never run into full teams of players as well, but even then it’s not what you stated that ruins the game. It’s my team either quitting or going AFK and leaving me and 1 other guy holding out against 4 Rocket Jetpackers. Sucks, trust me.

I do agree that I want more new maps though… I’m tired of all the stupid remakes. I love playing on Hemorrhage just like the next guy (It’s voted for VERY often) but would I rather be playing on a brand spankin’ new map? Damn straight I would.

My next favorite maps would be Breakpoint and Tempest though… very fun.

But I’m not so sure how to communicate maps to you… it seems like every game is just a huge blow out for you and your full team that you’ve been playing with for years. We have hugely varying views of the maps so. Basically impossible.

Edit: Also, just thought about a new point concerning your full teams in BTB and your views on maps. In other games, like Battlefield, a very skilled team can steal all of your vehicles and spawn kill the living hell out of you. The one that stands out most is the Atacama Desert level. It had 3 tanks per base and 1 Apache per base. Just because a skilled team could steal your Apache and completely dominate the game with those 2 choppers doesn’t make it a bad map. It just means in certain situations, the map becomes VERY imbalanced because of the vehicle camping.

The maps are balanced well for most people to play on in Big Team Battle. But Big Team Battle has never really been the “competitive” side of Halo. It’s always been about 4v4 Slayer/Objective games. Basically it’s impossible to predict that a team could steal all of the Wraiths, Revenants, Banshees and Warthogs and try to balance it against that. Not even just vehicles… The other team steals the Laser, Sniper, Plasma Launcher, Rocket Launcher, etc. from your base and dominates your team. The games will be VERY imbalanced right from the start with a full team. But none of those reasons make it a bad map… it just means a better Trueskill system needs to be implemented. Teams against Teams, boom almost all Big Team Battle issues are fixed.

Completely agree with all your points, Goat. I think when Bungie was in charge I was so desperate to get assault back into the rotation that I forgot what was really wrong with BTB - all the things you listed.

Instant arm needs to die a painful death, though.

  1. Teamwork and an anti-material weapon should take down vehicles. I like that a communicative/coordinated team can take down vehicles without the need for power weapons. All it takes is time and the vehicle-jockies have control over how much exposure they have to fire. It’s all part of the map and weapon knowledge thing. The Sniper only takes down vehicles quickly with precision shooting or it takes a while with enough shots. Either gameplay skill is rewarded or a vehicle luckily has a Sniper waste their extra and precious firepower on them. Part of the strategy and skill gameplay.

  2. The Halo2 Ghost is even weaker than the Reach Ghost thanks to its more easily destroyed fuel tank and exposed driver. The driver can choose how and when to splatter the enemy. A hint, if it feels like it’s too easy of a splatter… it probably is an AL-bait tactic. Part of strategy and skill gameplay.

  3. Reach has the best BTB map support of all the Halos. Mostly thanks to Forge World being available at launch. Hemorrhage is Coagulation but mirrored and tweaked to have a waterside like Valhalla. A lot of Forge World makes the scenery monotonous, but the gameplay itself, it is awesomely diverse if the voting allows for it.

  4. The Banshee bomb isn’t OP, the Banshee’s infinite maneuvering is. The DMR and Sniper are the best counters for this vehicle and the only problems countering it is uncoordinated teams. Unfortunately, very few teams fail to understand, that when the Falcon or Banshee are up, don’t engage the infantry directly until the skies are cleared… part of skill and strategy.
    As for the Wraith vs Scorpion, no ROF tweak will allow the Wraith to go directly toe to toe with a Scorpion on an open map. It’s the nature of their main weapons. A Wraith will always need to use the terrain and its arc-shot to take on the Scorpion. A bit of speed boost followed by a shot helps quite a bit. The extra speed of the shot increases the damage potential of a Wraith mortar shot too.

> Completely agree with all your points, Goat. I think when Bungie was in charge I was so desperate to get assault back into the rotation that I forgot what was really wrong with BTB - all the things you listed.
>
> Instant arm needs to die a painful death, though.

It will be 3 seconds to arm in the upcoming playlist update.

For me, the biggest problem in BTB are the vehicles. Not that I dislike vehicles in general, but they completely dominate gameplay.

I’m not say that they are overpowered, I’m saying that there are too many of them. A Wraith, a Revenant, a Ghost, two Warthogs and two Mongoose (Mongeese?) per team on Hemorrhage? That’s really a bit much, in my opinion, and turns a FPS into a vehicle-based 3rd-person shooter.

It’s fairly obvious that BTB in Reach is missing out on one key element. That is maps. Halo 2 had the great maps Headlong and Waterworks to go along with Coagulation. Halo 3 had Valhalla and Sandtrap to go along with Avalanche.

Now get this, the two default Reach BTB maps are Spire and Boneyard. If Headlong and Waterworks are Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, then Spire and Boneyard are Brian Lawton and Alexandre Daigle (two of the biggest draft busts in NHL history). Spire and Boneyard were made pretty much just for Invasion. Great, we lost two maps to satisfy a playlist that averages about 4000 people. Another thing that hurts these two maps is that they both allow the Banshee to wreck havoc on just about everything. Really, what were the game designers thinking when they made this? Uh, let’s see, give it unlimited flips, rolls, allow it to kill everything in a 10 ft. radius. Ok, sounds good.

It’s the maps that completely blow on Reach that hurt the experience. Add in Armor Abilities and core gameplay and you have a BTB that is far below what Halo 2 gave us. Also, factor in the matchmaking they give us in Reach. Again it’s like comparing Hockey Hall of Famers to total draft busts.

> The other problems I have with the playlist are in the objective settings. Namely instant arm on Assault since it basically requires that someone on the team sit back all game at the bomb site to guard it. Defending a base against an enemy assault is fun, sitting on the bomb site to prevent two enemy people on the mongoose from rushing an instant-arm all game isn’t. A balance needs to be struck between an arm time that doesn’t make bum rushes so effective, but also keeps the game offensively oriented. I don’t have enough experience to know the exact arm time but I’m sure with testing we could figure it out.

Respectfully disagree with that statement. The reason instant arm was put in was because previous matchmaking updates made it nearly impossible to arm bomb without it. Even if the attackers cleared out the entire base of badguys first some maps are so open that the first wave of respawning defenders can literally pivot on spawn, throw grenades, and ruin all of that hard work. Good examples of this problem can be found on Condemned, Boardwalk, Tempest, and to a lesser extent Zealot.

To be clear: I’m not saying I’m against a timed arming sequence. To the contrary, I actually liked assault as it was originally implemented on launch day. I just want people to understand that if instant arm is nixed at least one of the following changes would also have to accompany it:

  1. Grenades would need to be limited to 1 or nerfed.
  2. Bubble shield/armor lock would need to be put back into objective (never really understood why it was taken out. I understand Slayer’s problems with armor lock but where’s the harm in CTF?)
  3. Respawn locations would need to be placed further outside the bases on objective.

As for the whole unfairness of requiring teammates to defend the base… tough? I don’t mean to sound mean but this is a team game. If a team of eight can’t scrounge up a single player to defend they simply don’t deserve to win.

On the rest of the OP… I generally agree. We need more maps like Valhalla and Standoff, and if matchmaking can’t find teams of eight it should at least prioritize for “8 v 4/4” or “8 v 5/3.” As someone who only plays with groups of friends, a landslide victory against randoms is no more fun for me than for the defeated…

> I fully agree. I didn’t have much experience with H3’s BTB; I was more into Squad Battle… But even H3 Squad Battle felt more like BTB than Reach’s BTB!
>
> Lotta the stuff you’ve mentioned seems dead-on. If some of my suspicions are right, maybe the TU will let us test out some of these statements for ourselves. (Individual weapon traits in Customs, I think, may be coming soon. How else can 343 give us a classic experience alongside Reach?)

One thing that was my favorite was Halo 3 BTB, cause’ of Sandtrap. Sandrap was an AWESOME BTB map, I always voted for Sandtrap for Matchmaking games. Halo Reach is missin’ Sandtrap.