Why Halo is dying slowly

So ever since I got Halo 4, it just didn’t feel right. It felt hollow, like someone had taken another game and stuck it in a Master Chief helmet. Sure it looks like Halo, it sounds like Halo and yes it has Elites, Grunts, Warthogs etc, but for some reason this just isn’t Halo to me. I had a long hard think about it, trying to figure out what has happened to my favourite game and this is what I believe to be the core reason for this feeling:

343 killed intelligent skilled gameplay.

Well what does this mean? There are so many subtle changes that on their own would be relatively minor but when you add them all up it become a problem of epic proportions. I will try and explain this to you without sounding like a rant but it’s quite hard to put your finger on.
I fell in love with Halo because it was one of the first shooters that required you to use your brain, to really think about how to take down your enemy and the crucial thing was that because of the slower pacing, you actually had time to make intelligent decisions.

For those of you here from the beginning, surely you remember those decisions. Waiting behind a corner with a plasma rifle, then jumping out hitting the enemy with a constant burst, slowing him down, circling around him for the finishing touch; the melee. Or, waiting for someone to jump off a ledge, so that when they hit the ground and get slowed down you would have a nice static target with the sniper rifle.

Many of us remember clearing out a key area of the map to gain control of a power weapon and the feeling of achievement you got knowing that the enemy is spawning back into the game with an assault rifle while you and your squad has taken a game changing weapon and tactical map area.

There are literally thousands of these moments, but the key thing to them all is that you had to play in an intelligent way and the rewards were great. You would have a hard time running around the map like you do in the typical reflex shooter just minesweeping for targets. Halo was about brains over brawn.

I am a strong believer that if you learn how to play a game and get better at it, then you should have a clear advantage over someone who doesn’t. If you sucked at halo then you had to learn the game, learn the weapon spawns and kill methods. If you didn’t and you got your Spartan bottom handed back to you by a skilled player, then boo hoo. Improve your game or maybe halo just isn’t for you.
343’s Halo 4 has taken away so many small things that enabled this type of gameplay, that it is just not rewarding to play in an intelligent manner. They have even added a bucket load of things to prevent clever gameplay. Sure you can still play intelligently, you can still get together with a great squad of friends and tactically approach the game, but you’d be wasting your time because sprinting round the map on your own with a DMR until you get an ordnance drop is much easier and more effective than actually thinking about how you play.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

Grenade placement: You’ve all done it in halo, the sneaky grenade, the one you just drop around a corner waiting for the enemy to come around. Boom, shield gone, headshot, intelligence prevails.
Great tactic, required a thought process and rewarded you with a relatively easy kill. Now 343 add grenade indicators so everyone knows where the grenades land meaning there is no more intelligent placing, there are only extremely dumb people who run over grenades. So we can rule that tactic out, thanks 343, from now on I will simply throw my grenades at the face of my enemy and hope he is too stupid to step to the side.

Ordnance drops: Previously, skilled players would know the map inside out. They would go for the weapons when they spawned and were given a clear reward for knowing the map. Squads would tactically approach the “hot area” and they had a bloody fight through the enemy team to get to that golden rocket launcher or sniper rifle. But once they were there, it was all worth it. Now, its a lot easier to sit back behind a rock with a DMR taking pot shots at people, completely disconnected from the rest of the team and after a few “assists”, bam I can make a short prayer to the Call of Duty god and he will send down a thunderous noob parcel spawning a power weapon right on to my position. The skilled player earned his prize, the halo 4 player gets given it like some sort of 343 funded social benefits system.

There are no sub objectives: By this I mean objectives you and your team mates set to help you win the game. I.e. “Sniper, keep the rocket spawn covered at all times” or “hold this section of the map to keep the enemy on the lower ground”. There is absolutely no point in playing intelligently as a team as there are no benefits in holding ground, there are no reasons for your squad to even move from spawn points. It is much more effective to simply run around the map at random, killing the enemy as they pop up. The games lack character because of this, it gets boring because of the lack of user created objectives within the game. That was a tough one to explain but I hope you understand what I mean.

Squad Ambushes: There is nothing better than setting up an ambush for the enemy team in an area that you hold and then pouncing out with all your friends and demolishing them in a coordinated fashion in a matter of seconds. That really give me a buzz in previous halos: we were clever, we laid a trap and they didn’t stand a chance. We were equal but our side was more intelligent.
Well now you can wave goodbye to that rewarding experience as well because 343 thought it was a good idea to add an armour ability that allowed you to see through walls. Seriously? This completely removes the element of surprise and means its now simpler and easier to stand eye to eye battle-rifling each other in the head until one of you drops. You call that good gameplay? Yes it may be fairer for noobs, but yawn…boring.

Time, time time: It appears nowadays that kids cant play a game if they don’t rack up 10 kills and 15 deaths every minute of the game, twitch shooting left right and centre and sprinting around like Usain Bolt on a diet of red bull. Halo 4 is going down this path. I love halo because you had time to think; you saw the enemy and even while you were getting shot at you still had time to think about what to do before your shield was drained. If you saw an enemy he would be running quite slow so you could make an intelligent decision, do you throw a grenade ahead of him and hope for the head shot or do you bide your time and get into a better position for a close quarters AR to the face.

Nowadays in Halo 4, everyone has sprint, everyone respawns instantly, shields drain rapidly and charge up slowly. There is no time to think, if you do think you will be killed, so just hit the trigger button, put your brain on standby and hope the constant DMR’ing does the job.

Continued…

Now, I am not complaining because I suck at this, like “Please guys this game is too fast for me, boo hoo”. Its not like that, I can still kick -Yoink- at these speeds with controller sensitivity maxed out, but its just boring. Its repetitive. Its mind numbing after a while.

The next point is closely related to this. In the previous halos, if you were good you could take out the whole team on your own, you were durable and the pacing allowed you just enough time to recover to take on the next enemy. If you were good, you literally felt like an indestructible demi- god. Now, you cant even take on two people at once (unless they are terrible) because your shield is gone so fast and they respawn so quick that any benefit you get for being skilled is ruled out by the endless respawning noob swarm.

Other examples that I wont go into in depth:
Descoping: descoping a player was an intelligent way to take on a sniper, now redundant
CTF: Intelligent play revolving around passing the flag between the team is ruled out as you cant drop the damn flag.
NO SKILL RANK: Need I say more, this pretty much sums up the game.
Dumbed down forge and customs: There are plenty of intelligent community members who need flexibility to release their creativity, you have seriously stunted them by dumbing down both forge and customs.
Experience and medals for everyone regardless of performance: “Hey, you suck at halo, have 658 medals, don’t cry, 343 think you rock, please spend your money on our DLC, you’re awesome, high five”.
No team awareness: no red X, fire indicators etc makes it hard to work together

Feel free to add to the list. Its hard to explain this topic without getting hung up on each and every issue that’s wrong with Halo 4 but I honestly think it can be summed up by saying that:

343 killed intelligent gameplay.

I hope you understand and sorry for such a long post. I know Im not the best at explaining things so I hope its not too hard to follow, maybe there are other people on here, who, if they agree can put it more eloquently than me.

Feel free to disagree as well, just tell me why. This is just my opinion.

What do you guys think? Am I on my own with this opinion?

There have been so many threads like this and sadly each one seems futile. 343 don’t seem to care about anything people are saying about the game which is really demoralising because Halo has always been in my opinion the best game and funnest to play because of the competitive nature. Most of what you said is spot on, many others have been saying it. I still think that map control is important in this game but a lot less so, and especially less because of the bad map design (too big maps) and as you said ordnance drops, but also instant respawn which I wont bother going into.

I also wish Halo 4 would return to some of the roots that made Halo such a unique and great game, but so far, I dont see any sign of 343 changing it :frowning:

I could dwell deeper but so many others have said what I think.

You have ggreat points and they all are true in my eyes.
But will 343 get off there high horse? not sure.
They can only hold the small community of people now and some of them don’t like it that are playing.
I know if nothing changes this guy here not buying the next game that not gonna have re-play value in it a.k.a. Halo 5.

Edit: also my friends also wont buy it… they were sketchy about getting this one and were highly disappointed there just not as decided to the game and wanted the change back as me to be here and post =p

To the OP: It’s very rare that I post on these forums. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I wrote here. So the fact you pulled me out of the ether to respond says something. I wish more players with your tact were this vocal.

I agree with everything you said, more or less. I have a close group of a dozen or so friends that have played online since H2, and we agree it all started downhill with Reach.

Our playtime is getting more and more sporadic. Some didn’t even return for this game. And there are few “memorable” moments for us to share in H4 and Reach. There’s less team strategy anymore and when there’s no strategy victories aren’t as sweet.

It shows in my stats. I dont care what the public thinks of my rank or K/D, but as an introspective I do recognize I seem to be performing worse with each new iteration of this series (I peaked in H3.)

I think that part of the problem is these forums themselves. Let us not forget that even in Reach many players complained about “slow” gameplay. They demanded fast paced battles and that’s exactly what they got, to the detriment of players like us.

I understand 343 wants to compete with CoD and similar twitch shooters for profit. And it would be unrealistic to expect them to change this game or later ones to feel more like H1-3. But there are little things they can do to bring back some of that magic. And one would be removing insta-spawn from all gametypes.

As to visible rank: I’m not totally opposed to the idea but it needs to be done right. Make it based on WINNING, to foster team building.

for the true skill part
http://blogs.halowaypoint.com/post/2012/11/02/Halo-4-Competitive-Skill-Rank-Announcement.aspx

Now I read your points and I agree. Halo has always been high speed chess for me.

I have missed serious team game play, even build a clan for it. I do feel like an intelligent player is punished in this game.

If I play smart I’d be lucky to break 20 kills it seems. If I run trigger happy well, different result.

Feel free to come play with me some time. I am always looking for good players to chill and win with.

Thanks a lot for the support guys. I am just so frustrated and quite sad to think that the Halo that I fell in love with might truly be gone for ever. I’m glad that I’m not alone in this though.

It feels almost like cheating playing Halo 4 nowadays, I think thats why I dont enjoy it because I dont need to develop a skill, everything is just fed to you on a plate or too quick to allow you to tactically approach the situation.

I’d love to play with you guys and wish there were more like you. I’d say we could make a classic custom game but I dont think the settings allow it (facepalm).

I suppose I can only dream that 343 does something about this whole mess but I think we have already lost the battle to the twitchy reflex shooter kiddies.

http://www.halocharts.com/2012/chart/dailypeakpopulation/all

just to put some perspective

> To the OP: It’s very rare that I post on these forums. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I wrote here. So the fact you pulled me out of the ether to respond says something. I wish more players with your tact were this vocal.
>
> I agree with everything you said, more or less. I have a close group of a dozen or so friends that have played online since H2, and we agree it all started downhill with Reach.
>
> Our playtime is getting more and more sporadic. Some didn’t even return for this game. And there are few “memorable” moments for us to share in H4 and Reach. There’s less team strategy anymore and when there’s no strategy victories aren’t as sweet.
>
> It shows in my stats. I dont care what the public thinks of my rank or K/D, but as an introspective I do recognize I seem to be performing worse with each new iteration of this series (I peaked in H3.)
>
> I think that part of the problem is these forums themselves. Let us not forget that even in Reach many players complained about “slow” gameplay. They demanded fast paced battles and that’s exactly what they got, to the detriment of players like us.
>
> I understand 343 wants to compete with CoD and similar twitch shooters for profit. And it would be unrealistic to expect them to change this game or later ones to feel more like H1-3. But there are little things they can do to bring back some of that magic. And one would be removing insta-spawn from all gametypes.
>
> As to visible rank: I’m not totally opposed to the idea but it needs to be done right. Make it based on WINNING, to foster team building.

I totally agree with you on the memorable moments part. Me and a friend were just discussing this the other day. I’m not sure why but with Halo 4 we just havent had any funny or awesome moments that stick in our heads to talk about afterwards. With all the other games, there were times when we would laugh our heads off at something funny that had happened or relive some brilliant gameplay moment, but I havent had one of those on Halo 4 so far. I think its because there is so little time between seeing the enemy (or being seen) and him (or you) being killed that it doesnt give interesting situations a chance to develop properly.

> http://www.halocharts.com/2012/chart/dailypeakpopulation/all
>
> just to put some perspective

Wow, thats quite sad to see.

Maybe its a good thing though, if the stats are like that then they may start wondering why and looking at things to change.

I’ve been playing Halo since 2001.

-Rarely gone more than 1 month without playing online since Halo 2.
-Only on-line shooter I play is Halo (I screw around in COD and others once in a while just for kicks).
-I’m uber competitive and play with a core group of 10 guys locally and we often LAN together.

If most if not all things mentioned by OP don’t change, I’m selling my xbox along with Halo 4. Halo was the only reason I keep it and now there’s really no point.

As for right now, Myself and the 10 guys I play with are pretty much done with Halo 4 online. Only time I’ll play at the moment is when I LAN on community built maps. Online Maps blow and gameplay is mindless and unrewarding.

> http://www.halocharts.com/2012/chart/dailypeakpopulation/all
>
> just to put some perspective

I couldnt help but feel depressed at seeing this, as for op its good to see some people still care.

> > http://www.halocharts.com/2012/chart/dailypeakpopulation/all
> >
> > just to put some perspective
>
> I couldnt help but feel depressed at seeing this, as for op its good to see some people still care.

In fairness, most major game properties see sharp declines in their multiplayer populations after launch. Halo is not an exception. And for that matter this was the largest launch the franchise has ever seen, which invalidates the “dying” argument somewhat.

If you wanted a rock solid statement you’d need to compare the rate of decline for this game’s population versus the same duration of time for the release of Reach and H3. Then you could compare it again several months from now for full effect.

This would determine whether H4 really is shedding players faster than prior iterations. Of course, Microsoft’s marketing department already knows the answer to this. Unless a player can come up with these stats independently we can only speculate.

Don’t get me wrong. Halo IS dying, but I see its death from a philosophical standpoint rather than one of pure numbers (again, unless someone can prove otherwise.)

I honestly can see what you are saying with your points, and I think that from a certain perspective they are valid.

That being said, I don’t completely agree with the idea that Halo 4 punishes the intelligent player. By saying things like this you are making the assumption that the only intelligent way to play is to play as you previously played. Intelligence is still a very prevalent part of Halo. It has just evolved.

I think that the way we play has had to evolve a little, but a well organized team that plays intelligently can still destroy others with the same skill levels.

Ordinance drops add a different element to the game. You have to play with the knowledge that any player could have virtually any weapon at anytime and that causes you to have to call out player locations and stick together so that your team can overtake someone with a power weapon easier.

As far as map control goes it is still a very important part of a well oiled team. There are definitely areas of maps that are much easier to defend and map control has become about defensible positions over areas where power weapons are contained.

In addition, you talk about the use of armor abilities, but armor abilities have downfalls and counters. You use the idea of Promethean vision cancelling out ambushes, but if you think about the situation differently you can actually create ambushes where you pull people in. You just have to use the counters to promethean vision. Things like active camo and the ability that you get from Wetwork that makes it harder to see you in Promo vision. By using these you can make someone think there is only one person around a bend and then when they come around for a 1v1 they find themselves in a 1v2 or 1v3.

I will admit that I’m a little torn about insta-spawning. I like it on one hand and loathe it on the other

I do miss all the customizability of customs though. For instance I went into CTF settings the other day and was shocked to find that I couldn’t create a neutral flag game type… Or I at least can’t find where it is to create it… I also don’t understand the point of Grifball as it’s own gametype if you are going to completely remove Assault… They should’ve just tweaking the customizing abilities of Assault so it could fit with their Grifball model… I mean technically you can create Assault out of Grifball, but it would just be weird to me to go into and “Assault” game where the announcer would be like “Grifball.”

Most of that was to say that though I see your point and think that you did a much better job at explaining it and why you had it than most do, I don’t completely agree with the idea that Halo 4 doesn’t require intelligent gameplay. It just requires us to change our definition of Intelligent Halo gameplay, which in my opinion is exciting because I like to see games evolve over time.

Though like most things it isn’t perfect and it could use some changes here and there… I definitely do think that they could do a lot better by having a matchmaking list that tailors to players who have these feelings… Traditional gameplay is still a possibility, it just takes some forging and customs tweaking. But it would be nice, and good for them, to cater to guys like you guys and my occasional longing for tradition by adding a list with these kinds of maps and gameplay.

I understand what you are saying and totally agree that you cant play how you used to. The new tactics that you mentioned are necessary now but that is what upsets me. I really miss how it used to be played.

I can only speak for myself here but it felt like a skilled player could be more creative with the original set up.

A lot of the additions for me (like promethean vision) dilute the skill pool by giving the player too much at the press of the button. It feels cheap almost. Like instead of tactically clearing a room and watching angles and corners, now I can just hit the bumper button and I can see everyone on the map.

Agree with every word

Most of these are fundamental mechanics key to the game being Halo. I’m trying to remain positive. I’m hoping 343 are taking note of these concerns by the majority of the community. I know if Halo 4 doesn’t improve I won’t even bother buying Halo 5. I may even just get a PS4 as Halo was the only thing really keeping me to Xbox.

Well worded OP. Agree totally.

Complete agreement.

If Halo 4 doesn’t get a hefty TU, Halo’s dead.

Competitive play is what made Halo great, it was the best Arena shooter on consoles after all. Now 343i has done away with this, following what Bungie did with Reach, and implementing even more aspects from other shooters.

That’s not what this genre needs, that’s not what the gaming industry needs. Refinement and polish of elements is what sequels need. Like Halo 1-2-3. Polish made them great. This is what CoD is doing with the base around CoD 4: MW. It was a success and they’ve polished it so well that others can barely compete.

Don’t take their wax, get your own and polish up the ride that used to be great by taking away the spinners and rims of casual gameplay. Halo fans don’t want an easy shooter. We want competition and balance. Easily obtained if 343i developers stopped looking at other shooters for inspiration.

Instead, aspire to greatness, look back at past Halo’s and see their glory. Fix Halo 4 and you might have buyers for Halo 5 and 6.

100% agree I’ve already wasted my time trying to spread word about this and 343 doesn’t listen and never will but I 100% agree

Sorry, that was too long of a read for me.

IMO, the reason Halo is dying is because the long-time fans can’t accept the fact that the game must evolve to remain competitive, and I don’t mean in the MLG form either.

The days of simple ‘everyone runs at the same speed/jump/shoot’ are over. The days of making a game that allows less skilled players feel like they can participate are what we’re seeing now. No matter how you feel about it it won’t change back.

Your play style must evolve in every new Matchmaking style or you’ll just be one of those people that whine and complain about every little thing on the forum. The game isn’t bad, it’s different. And the more play features and tweaks that gets introduced the more different it’s going to feel.

Is it perfect? Certainly not, but it’s also not terrible like some people claim. As for it “dying”? LOL, it’s not dying, there’s just a lot more games to play. When Halo was in it’s prime there was hardly any competition. The FPS-genre is staggering these days and not everyone likes playing a sci-fi shooter. Just because Halo no longer has the highest# of online players means it’s death is near.