Why Arguments Against Sprint are Wrong

I apologize for creating a new thread, but because I put a fair amount of work into this I’m not burying it 33 pages in some existing thread. I am not intending a flame war on this topic either, so please actually read and understand my points, and put forth actual analysis if you disagree. I also apologize for the length, but in reality one could write 50 pages on this topic.

I think the push against sprint is counter-productive, but more importantly I think a sprint-less Halo would potentially negatively impact its popularity, which is why I’m bothering to look at it. I address the three major arguments against sprint in turn, and then address why I think it’s important to have it in the game, and finally end w/ a compromise position. At the outset I think we ought to clarify exactly what sprint is. It is a third movement rate (crouch and base being the other two) that, in exchange for moving faster than base speed, incurs certain penalties in its use. Those penalties are 1) you lose movement speed if shot (technically you should characterize this as a 4th movement rate, but for simplicity we won’t here); 2) you cannot shoot unless you stop sprinting; and 3) there is a small time penalty from the time you stop sprinting to when you can begin firing. With that clarification, let’s jump in.

1. Sprint is not a “get out of jail free card”: The primary argument against sprint is that it is a “get out of jail free card” that allows bad players to escape the consequences of putting themselves in bad positions. The unspoken, and I believe fallacious, assumptions behind this argument are 1) that players cannot gauge the distance they can safely be from cover and 2) that they cannot gauge the distance they can sprint without being killed. Most players don’t like being killed. Over time, they learn how far from cover they can stray and they learn where they can get to without being killed.

What sprint actually does is increase the distance you can stray from cover and the expanses you can safely traverse (I’ll get into the consequences of this more below with respect to map design). The notion that people don’t understand these distances through experience, and so are just blindly wandering around like mindless automatons and being sprint-saved is completely unsupported. Your house cat understands cover and how close it can let your obnoxious little brother get to it before it has to jump. Players have, simply, adapted to having sprint in the game.

If you did not have sprint, people would simply decrease their distance from cover and the expanses over which they attempt to traverse according to available movement rates. Therefore, they don’t need a “get out of jail free card” because they purposely aren’t putting themselves in jail to begin with. You, as a shooter, have to revise your understanding of when someone is, and isn’t, in a bad position. You can argue that sprint allows idiots to survive, but the “slows you down when you’re getting shot” mechanism cuts against this, and I have not personally observed a tremendous amount of “stupid-ness” in map movement that goes unpunished. What I see is a difference between what was once a stupid position and what is now a stupid position - what I see is understanding and adaptation to existing conditions, the single most powerful characteristic of the human race and the reason for the rise and dominance of hominids (not to be too dramatic here ;).

2. Sprint does not “break maps”: The second major argument against sprint is that it breaks maps. While it certainly influences (or should influence) map design, the notion that it breaks maps is a bit overblown. Let’s start with the most common complaint: it destroys power positions. If I want to create a power position I make an expanse (open ground that needs to be traversed) leading to high ground that takes about the same time to traverse by sprinting as the kill time of a precision weapon (in H4’s case, I make a section that takes around 1.6 seconds to sprint across since the kill time of, e.g., the DMR is around 1.6 seconds; it can actually be significantly less than this because of the “slowed when shot” mechanic). There is nothing magical about this – the sprint speed is fixed, kill times are fixed; you simply match kill times, player movement rates and distances based on what your goals are in map design. Now, that is not to say that sprint won’t break a map which is not designed for sprint (whenever I hear this argument about sprint they almost always reference some map not designed for H4). To the extent that you think there has been a decrease in power positions, though, I would say this is a design goal, not an artifact of sprint.

I personally believe that 343, at least in its original maps, has purposely decreased the ability for a given team to completely dominate a match through position, and that notion is consistent with their overall ethos of making Halo more accessible (I’m not debating that ethos here). Haven is an excellent example of this – they just didn’t put in any really dominant power positions. But it has nothing to do with having a third movement rate and everything do with design choices. As another example, take top ridge on Settler, a mid-size, older map recycled into H4. That, is a power position, sprint or no sprint. Therefore, while sprint should influence map design, there is nothing intrinsic about having a third movement rate that makes it impossible to have good maps or to have power positions. The recent forge map, Opus, provides another example; controlling top purple and rockets leads to victory, and sprint has no effect on whether you maintain control of that power position or not.

3. Sprint Does Not Just Lead to Bigger Maps: I’ve never seen anyone making this argument actually calculate possible distances traversed in relation to kill times. The notion that it just leads to large maps is overly simplistic, since sprint is punished by its associated penalties, listed above, particularly the slowed when shot mechanic. Also, maps can be small because if you decrease distances you decrease the need, impetus, and advantages provided by sprint. I think maps are, again, larger in H4 because of design choices rather than to deal w/ sprint, the success of Skyline providing the most powerful (and I would say damning) counter-example to the “maps have to be big because of sprint” argument. The recent success of Onyx provides another example. The more I’ve thought about this argument the more I realize there isn’t anything to it. People just haven’t “done the math” because the slowed when shot mechanic is so dramatic and kill times are intrinsically linked w/ movement rate/distance in the context of map design. What people have done is seen big maps, assumed the size was because of sprint, and used that as an argument against it. On to part 2, Why have sprint? below

4. Why Have Sprint? There are, in my opinion, quite a few benefits from sprint. 1) It is Halo’s “fast-forward” function that reduces the tedium in crossing open spaces while not under fire – and open spaces are a necessity for reasons other than to support sprint; 2) it allows one to get to the action quicker; 3) it helps maintain proper scale (this is more important in big team maps w/ vehicles); 4) it introduces additional tactical options, particularly with respect to surprise and flank attacks; 5) it adds to the visceral feel of the game, providing a better simulation of being a super soldier; 6) it eliminates the instinctual absurdity that I cannot move faster if I or my teammates are in danger; 7) introduces another strategic element by virtue of the penalties that come from its use (i.e., sprint incurs risk: if you are caught midway down a hallway while still sprinting you will lose a high % of the time); 8) it increases the fluidity and dynamism of the battlefield, leading to a greater variety of engagement types; and 9) it is fair as implemented – everyone has it and enjoys the benefits and suffers the harms, if any, equally.

In my opinion, not only is sprint a decent way to modernize Halo, I think 343 has done an admirable job of incorporating it. It feels natural to have it, and it has been well balanced by the penalties listed above. While the poll taken seemed to show a large percentage of people that want sprint gone, I don’t personally believe in the validity of the poll. In my observation the poll results are more of a social media phenomenon (i.e., Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube) then a valid poll and it speaks more to the popularity (rightly so, as I find them entertaining as well) and influence of certain individuals within the Halo community rather than to an actual market analysis of the issue. I like the more visible proponents of no sprint, I just don’t agree with them on this topic.

5. What’s The Compromise? I’ve been around long enough to know that you generally don’t change people’s minds through argument and that I will convert very few, if any, of the “no-sprint” crowd with my analysis. Therefore, if I were 343 (I actually would have done this a long time ago from a public relations standpoint) I would simply create a “Classic” set of playlists with modernized or forged versions of the most popular past Halo maps and have sprint disabled, and see how they do over time – basically re-skinned H3. This does two things: it gives traditionalists back the Halo that they love and it will give 343 some market insight in a relatively inexpensive way (I believe the current mixing of Slayer Pro w/ Infinity Slayer is actually market analysis by 343). In reality, sprint is a side show. The dominate question 343 has to answer going forward is why was there a dramatic drop in multiplayer popularity compared to past Halos? That is a very tough question to answer (and no, I’m sorry, you don’t know the answer - the gaming world is a very different place from what it was in 2007), and it can only be answered by a significant study of the market (I have some experience in this area and I can tell you it could easily cost high 6 to low 7 figures to really answer this question correctly and definitively). I suspect sprint has little to do w/ the penultimate question though … Best, GM.

Remove Sprint and make some long time players happy, but you could alinate potentially new players who have become accustomed to it in the genre? Or keep it to have some parody with the genre as it stands now and alienate long time players who hate the mechanic? It’s a tough choice and one that can’t be answered easily because there are strong opinions and good arguement a from both sides.

My personal opinion is this. I’ve played every Halo from CE to 4 and I loved all of them. But at this point going back and playing CE-3 feels weird because I’ve become so accustomed to sprint not just because of Reach and H4 but other games as well, I sort of expect it now.

However that being said sprint in Reach was broken, maps weren’t properly designed for it and weapons didn’t have effective stopping power to punish mindless sprinters. Halo 4 doesn’t have those problems, maps are properly designed and players slow down in movement speed when shot. Plus the new and faster kill times we are getting will punish stupid sprinting even more. Sprint in H4 works and I think it feels good.

As long as we have good weapon kill times and sprint works like it does in H4, I’m ok with its inclusion in H5.

Sprint is actually one of the few additions to the game that I really like.

I’ve wanted sprint since the beginning of 3 so I’m happy

Right on man. Sprint works great here, 343 has balanced it perfectly and it doesn’t harm the game at all

I would disagree and say that it makes maps harder to design well. The issue isn’t that the maps necessarily get too big or anything like that. The issue is one of balance. The maps ARE bigger than past halos (except skyline). The problem is that power positions can’t be balanced distance-wise. If you have a power position with minimal cover up to it (necessary because of sprint), you have to sprint toward it to not die, which doesn’t allow you to shoot. However, you need to hold that position really well as a team in order to not be overcome by sprinters. It’s almost impossibly hard to balance out the distance needed.

Honestly my biggest problem with sprint is the whole idea of running away, not because it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card, but because you can’t shoot. You end up with people that are just far enough in front of you that you can’t melee that just start sprinting, and you have no choice but to just sprint after them, actually slowing down gameplay. If they’re weak, they gain shields because you can’t shoot or they get away, so you just end up slowing it down even more.

Really though, with the 4sk BR and 110% Movement speed that are being introduced into H4 on June 3rd, I probably won’t ever really be sprinting very much. Too much punishment for not enough benefit. I would prefer to take it out, but it won’t make a huge difference.

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sprint works. In COD.

Sprint doesnt work well, and actually quite badly, with Halo’s shield mechanics. I can close large distances easily, without dying because you wont break shield. I can also just plain not die, by sprinting away. Both are horrible gamebreaking aspects to the tried and true Halo game mechanics, which reward both stagnant gameplay, and overpowered power weapon rushing/camping. Lets not mention how the increase to 5 shot kills increased this a great deal, and the 4 shot will not change too much about it.

The old Halo system (up to 3) - involved finesse, skill, teamwork, tactics.

New halo system - stay in a huge blob, run away from everything, or camp.

Broken. No matter what you wrote in the thread, because it is wrong, and i didnt read it.

I’ve always wanted sprint as well. Even in H3… Now, if they could only remove instant respawn. That’d be great.

>

Nostalgia and arrogance… Lol Makes me laugh.

I have been playing some Halo 3 lately. I started out on Halo Reach and then followed onto all other Halo games from there.

The only fault, if I had to just pick the one that IMO is the worst with Halo 3, that would be the lack of Sprint.IMO< Halo 3 would rightfully be legendary in MM had it had sprint.

Sprint belongs!

We are supposed to be super soldiers after all, Spartans…why on Earth they just walked around in past Halos is beyond me…sprint is something that most competent humans can do, Spartans it is a given that they would, could and should.

Sprint increases the safe zone from cover. This is in itself a get out of jail free card, and does have an impact on map design. It also contradicts the tactical value of “knowing when and when not to move” that you claim weapon lowering has.

What sprint does do is annoy me to no end by having someone randomly round a corner while I’m sprinting. Yet I am forced to sprint if I want to get to my destination before the sun goes down, because if I don’t sprint my enemies surely will, and because maps take sprint speed into account when they are designed.

This does not make the game more fluid, it does the opposite. Taking the same scenario with fast base speed relative to map size, I can move across the map while still being ready for battle, and I am not constantly changing pace. More tactical or not (which I disagree with and see no evidence supporting “new strategies”), it’s a pain in the -Yoink- and is unwelcome.

Assuming the same killtimes, a game with 100% speed is going to have smaller maps than a game with 100% speed and 130% sprint speed. The only way sprint doesn’t lead to bigger maps is if base speed and sprint speed are slower to begin with, or if killtimes are unnecessarily adjusted.

For example, Elbow on Shutout. Now that I can sprint across it, it must be elongated so I travel it at the same speed as in the past. Apply this to the rest of the map. Now take into account I do not sprint all the time because I have to walk if I want to shoot people, so that is more distance to walk and thus a map that takes longer to traverse than before.

I could design the map around the average (115% or so) but the same issue would arise. We do not know the exact percentage of the time that I sprint or walk, so appropriate map size becomes harder to determine. If we have only one movement option, map design becomes significantly easier.

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If [CLASSIFIED] thanks your comment, you just KNOW you’re wrong.

> I’ve always wanted sprint as well. Even in H3… Now, if they could only remove instant respawn. That’d be great.
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>
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> > sprint works. In COD.
> >
> > Sprint doesnt work well, and actually quite badly, with Halo’s shield mechanics. I can close large distances easily, without dying because you wont break shield. I can also just plain not die, by sprinting away. Both are horrible gamebreaking aspects to the tried and true Halo game mechanics, which reward both stagnant gameplay, and overpowered power weapon rushing/camping. Lets not mention how the increase to 5 shot kills increased this a great deal, and the 4 shot will not change too much about it.
> >
> > The old Halo system (up to 3) - involved finesse, skill, teamwork, tactics.
> >
> > New halo system - stay in a huge blob, run away from everything, or camp.
> >
> > <mark>Broken. No matter what you wrote in the thread, because it is wrong, and i didnt read it.</mark>
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> Nostalgia and arrogance… Lol Makes me laugh.

Nostalgia has absolutely no relevance to this discussion except the fact that the majority of people bought halo 4 due to its predecessor’s success, not its own. quite blatant points were made in my post, which are indisputable, and make Halo 4 a bad game. That isnt arrogance. Replying saying “lol that makes me laugh” when presented with basic factual information of successful game play mechanics, is arrogance.

Sorry man you can write all you want about Sprint but it is just a bad feature for Halo. We can now run away and escape death anytime someone gets the first shot on us. That is not good for Halo. Halo used to be all about fast paced action and fast kill times. Now its more about never venturing out too far and running away when you’re losing a gun fight.

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Mr. Wolfblade, I recommend you thank this guy.

This is such a yes/no topic tbh. Half the community wants it, half doesn’t. I want it, just not all the time. I remember how fricking stoked I was in the first Reach ViDoc when the spartan first sprinted. Sprint has brought some good, and alot of bad. The way to justify it Sprint is to put it up to the weightscale and ask yourself, is the good brought by sprint enough to make up for the bad?

I dunno. I kinda miss the fact that if you got outBRd and were forced to seek cover, you were exposed. You couldn’t just sprint away. You actually had to play tactical and learn some jumps, tricks, call for backup, or actually get killed.

Another thing is the movement around the map. Like the crouchjumps on the Pit or Guardian… I did enjoy practicing jumps so I could have an edge against my opponents. Map exploration is so dead now after Jetpack and Sprint just breaks every fricking tactical gameplay and placement.

Final Verdict?

Sprint should go, 110 - 120% movement speed
Jetpack should go, increase gravity, or decrease if you will.

> Sorry man you can write all you want about Sprint but it is just a bad feature for Halo. We can now run away and escape death anytime someone gets the first shot on us. That is not good for Halo. Halo used to be all about fast paced action and fast kill times. Now its more about never venturing out too far and running away when you’re losing a gun fight.

He addressed all of that. Did you not read his post?

> > Sorry man you can write all you want about Sprint but it is just a bad feature for Halo. We can now run away and escape death anytime someone gets the first shot on us. That is not good for Halo. Halo used to be all about fast paced action and fast kill times. Now its more about never venturing out too far and running away when you’re losing a gun fight.
>
> He addressed all of that. Did you not read his post?

You mean that long bit that is pretty much “sprint is okay as long as the game mechanics render it non-existent”?

Even I could agree with that to an extent.

If you can’t run away with sprint, and the only purpose it does is to make traveling large maps while not in combat faster, I don’t see any point to it. You could shrink maps or you could incentive people to do something else during that time.

I personally never got bored waiting to reach the top of Prisoner, because it’s not that long of a walk to even matter. In fact that time spent not in combat gives you time to think about what to do next.

The only argument is the tactical uses of sprint, which he has not explained yet. As for ‘immersion’ or ‘realism’, placing motion blur on movement speed alone gives an illusion of faster speed, and realistically a super soldier can run and gun without getting tired.

His argument that it doesn’t lead to bigger maps is false, as I’ve already covered. The exact reason past maps don’t work for sprint is because they are too small to support it. Imagine being able to sprint all over Wizard or Prisoner, it would be insane.

I honestly don’t think Sprint is as bad as some people say it is, I actually like having Sprint as a feature. That said, I think that it should be toggle-able in Custom Games, as well as disabled in Team Throwdown and Doubles, since most of the people who don’t like Sprint are the ultra-competitive players. Leave Sprint in every other playlist.

I really like 343i’s version of Sprint. It works way better, and is more balanced in Halo. I hope they bring it back in Halo 5.

But again, I’ll say that we should have both. If people want Sprint gone, make a Classic playlist without it.