What Was 343's Plan

I love the game and I’m tired of people asking me if I complain about the game so much, why do I play it so much. 343 has done a good job with the gameplay aspect of the game which is why I play the game so much. But all of a sudden, I’ve just stopped playing. I wanted to make a post breaking down what 343 did wrong with the game and why they need a serious reform there if they want Halo to return to its title of being the best FPS on the market.

Maps:
I did a few calculations and found out that when the game launched, the game consisted of 7/15 Maps being Forge (46%), 6/15 being Original Maps (40%), and 2/15 being Remixes (13%). I understand that 5/7 of the forge maps are used JUST for Breakout but looking at the big picture here and hearing 343 say 15 Maps at launch, 5/15 (33%) being exclusive to one gamemode, seems a bit offputting with the big 15 Maps at launch statement. Okay lets eliminate Breakout from the equation, you have 2/10 maps (20%) being forge, 6/10 maps (60%) being original, and 2/10 maps (20%) being remixes. So in reality even if you break off breakout, you are only getting 6 ORIGINAL Maps at launch. This might be the lowest in the series to launch with original maps to play on. I don’t count remixes as original maps not to make the map count sound low on purpose, but because remixes uses nearly the same layout and assets that its originals use.

Now its January, 2016 and the game has 22 maps. That’s a lot of maps right? But, the game now consists of 13/22 of its maps (60%) being Forge and an addition remix added which makes remixes come in at (13%). But what about the original maps in the game. Well none were added so far so that leaves original maps standing at a… 27%. So like I said looking at the big picture here, now we have more Forge maps then Original Maps and Remixes Combined???

Now I want to go to the topic of the maps themselves. I don’t about you, but the maps looked a bit better in the better, Orion and Eden (what happened to the actual night map). Some of the maps I feel are geared way to much to the competitive side, but I do understand that 343 is taking Halo into a more competitive game. But with that in mind, it makes the game that less appealing to a casual Halo player. The forge maps like Deadlock, Basin, and the Breakout maps are great to play on but it seems there was a lack of dedication put into the remixes and original maps to make them have that fun factor that maps like Guardian and The Pit had in the past. This might not be the reason why many people are turned off by the game, but its a reason why I’ve stopped playing lately. Seeing 343 saying more free maps in the future, but seeing them being forge maps and remixes, really makes this free map DLC seem underwhelming

Gamemodes:
Its quite apparent to everyone in the community, weather you like it or hate the game, that the game has half of the gamemodes that Halo 4, Reach, and 3 had. No fun gamemodes at launch like Grifball, Infection, Oddball, etc were not in the game at launch and still not here. Was 343’s plan to launch with less content at launch that gradually release more? Because if so, then they have not executed that plan and its failing if they think that these what 8 gamemodes (including Warzone) will hold us until they release more content in like February or March. 343, we are tired of playing the same 3 gamemodes in Team Arena. Speaking of Warzone, there are only two variants of Warzone, Warzone and Warzone Assault. That’s it and on 7 maps, 3 of which are cut off sections of the original 3 Warzone Maps.

Warzone:
Before you get on my back about my opinion of the REQ System, hear me out because in my opinion, Warzone is pay to win. Think of it like this. Someone who spends $30 on gold packs (10) which is more faster than grinding out 100K REQ points, will have more cards to pick from. They guy who spends literally minutes buying gold packs has more cards at his disposal than say someone who grinds days for the same amount of gold packs. Okay with that out the way, let’s talk about actual Warzone. Originally Warzone was the reason why I even got on my Xbox One in general, just to play Warzone. But now it seems stale, lack of dedicated maps for Warzone Assault which in my defense is a gamemode that needs dedicated maps to have a balanced experience and lack of changing boss spawn times. It would be awesome if a boss that originally spawned 10 minutes into a game spawned earlier or later to make the bosses feel more dynamic. I think for me its the Pay to win aspect of Warzone and the lack of PvE in the gamemode that breaks it for me for Warzone.

How Could 343 Improve

  1. Don’t have your “Pro Team” dictate the future of a face it, dying franchise. Pro Team has made questionable choices like the radar range and the aiming.
  2. Seriously think about the lasting appeal of the game. Launch the game with a great amount of content at launch and then come up with ORIGINAL gamemodes for future DLC instead of cutting content that was in previous games and not deliver them at launch. Don’t hate me but this is why Call of Duty sells more and last longer. The day Black Ops 3 came out, the people playing Halo 5 on my friends list dropped hard from 12+ Players to on average 1-2. I can’t speak for everyone when I say that but I think by the lack of traffic on YouTube of videos on Halo 5 compared to black ops 3 and from Xbox Players themselves, its pretty apparent that this is the case.
  3. Think about the community. The community is what bought Halo to its prime. Forge creations, custom games,machinima, and the FUN aspect of the game play the biggest part next to the great campaign that gave Halo its titled as the best FPS on the market.
  4. Invasion plz???

I had to reply because looked like you put a lot of thought into the post.

- Maps -
I just want to mention that Forge does bring originality to the maps just like the “Original” ones you speak of. What’s the point of having a map editor that isn’t used by the Dev team as well as let the community get recognition with map designs. Unless by “Original” you meant stationary walls and scenery which can’t be edited. Not so sure there is much of a difference other than maybe the Dev team are not trained to use all the Pro Forging techniques. There are few maps that look like legitimately developed maps. Also, the guy who did Deadlock took some time to dive into the aesthetics which he didn’t have the opportunity before; it looks really nice now.

“it makes the game that less appealing to a casual Halo player.”
That isn’t a very good observation. I believe more players, casual included, prefer the smaller, circular and symmetrically balanced maps, so they can dive into action right away and lay the smack down. Maps like Wizard and Derelict are normally very casual-catering. Overgrowth is what happens when you lose sight of the things that made Halo maps fun for all levels and that make Halo 5 pretty solid as for balanced gameplay.

I think you can describe the Halo 5 Map selection as being safe yet diverse enough to support a variety of playstyles. Sure, they could have been more risky and put together a map pack containing all originally-themed designs, but from what I’ve seen, that usually also causes many issues in gameplay in the grand scheme of things.

- Gamemodes -
We don’t know the timeline/budget and all the things that were required for Halo 5 to have a successful launch on the next-gen XBox One that may have conflicted with various features being included. For all I know is that they needed to build everything from fresh. I will predict, however, that a form of Grifball (possibly with flags) will make it into playlist rotation probably quicker than it did in Halo 3; the hammer is on its way and there are already maps for it.

One thing that you can credit 343 on doing well is that they don’t want to populate the game with so many gametypes/map combinations that the player gets overwhelmed with, well, “stoopid stuff”, and I feel like they really want to make sure something is working and see how the game evolves as well as how the community responds. Just throwing everything that there ever was in Halo and assuming it’s fun isn’t always the best tactic.

- Warzone -
It’s not pay to win. It’s more like pay to use weapons you never get to use. But even then, you can grind REQ points by playing a ton. I don’t spend a dime and do pretty well, but I just don’t get to use Tanks and the other weapon variations. But I’m also looking at it from the perspective that Warzone is the most casual Halo has ever been and winning means absolutely nothing in those modes. I felt a sense of success and skill in Crazy King FFA Rockets more than I will ever in Warzone. It’s still fun though and I will play it.

It’s also very understandable of the choices that went into designing the Warzone modes, and I have yet to see a solution to things like boss points working well without some kind of negative consequence. All in all, it’s not the best feature that we could have gotten but it’s still fun and less repetitive than Firefight was as an example, which is a good thing.

- Improvements -
In response to your points on what they can improve…
As far as gameplay mechanics and how they immerse a player into the action I say let Professional gamers dictate design choices. They just need to balance all that with how your average gamer reacts to all the options and features. Halo is the toughest FPS to please everyone because of the various standards which have been set by different communities. Thankfully, Halo 5 set a pretty solid foundation for things to be added.

BOP3 is popular because of a few things and it having content is not one of them unless you count weapon skins and perks. The main thing is it’s very accessible to your lonewolf and you don’t need to rely on teammates that much. There are many more bad players there and sets up many easier games to make your more-casual player feel good as well as gives you rewards and achievements during and after games. You don’t play it just to win; you play it to try and unlock stuff, and COD has always done that well. Even Warzone (which has some COD similarities) doesn’t give you much to feel like you got something out of it other than 1k points to use on more limited-use items. Then, it becomes more popular because your friends aren’t playing Halo, the game that is harder to play by yourself. These are things that were issues in Halo 3 too (other than Grifball and Infection), which COD:MW2 eventually took off and is probably a prime reason for the Halo decline to be honest since Reach was nothing special.

The community has played a huge part in Halo 5 already so not sure how you can mention that as a negative point. But, to be quite frank, Halo 5 stands alone to be more solid than Halo 3 was without the community input and Forge variations, with exception to out-of-map flaws. The new Forge is making Halo 5 pretty great though so there’s no denying that part.

Invasion? Is that the one-Bomb Assault variation or like one-sided Territories? I think Warzone Assault is kind like an Invasion. I just don’t think it’s that needed and wasn’t that popular in Halo 3 anyway. Sorry, I can’t remember Reach and H4 that well.