Winter Contingency and Tenrai – A Compromise

Now that week 2 of the Tenrai event is underway and we’ve experience 2 types of event progression, I want to talk about the pros and cons of each event and how 343 could make an even better pass by learning from them.

Winter Contingency:

Over the holiday break, players could could unlock Christmas themed items. A total of ten were available. All that had to be done was to login, and play a single match in any gametype. One item could be earned per day, and the event lasted 14 days. So it would take 10 days of 14 to earn everything.

Pros:

  • Many items can be unlocked with very minimal time and effort
  • Players can engage with matchmaking however they want. Wins don’t matter, performance doesn’t matter, gamemode doesn’t matter. Just play.

Cons:

  • Timegating, you can only unlock 1 item a day
  • Players behind in/late to the event have no way to catch up

Tenrai

The second week of Tenrai has seen some improvements, but the most significant one is how many challenges can be completed per week. Week 1 only had 7 event related challenges, this week players can earn up to 10 tiers. This means all 30 tiers of the event pass can be unlocked in 3 weeks if players complete all of their challenges each week. Previously it would have taken 4 weeks plus 2 extra challenges from week 5 to to complete it.

Pros:

  • Challenge-based unlocks encourage high-skill play (dependent on the challenge)
  • Challenge-based unlocks encourage engagement with the event playlist
  • Rewards feel earned and not given
  • No timegating, more than one item can be unlocked in a day

Cons:

  • Randomized challenges can feel unfair
  • Challenge-based unlocks force players into playstyles they may not like
  • Event challenges blocked behind battlepass challenges (worse if the BP is completed)
  • Event progression takes 3+ months minimum, but up to 10 tiers can be earned in a single day

So how can 343 improve on these models?

Combine them

  1. Allow players to unlock tiers in events by simply engaging with the event once a day (7 tiers a week). This means as long as a player at least logs in and plays a match of Fiesta, they can complete Tenrai in 5 weeks, the original intended time 343 set up. 343 could even change the requirement to “Win a fiesta match a day”, so players at least have to compete a little bit.

  2. Allow challenge-based unlocks alongside daily progression. In Tenrai’s current form, this would mean up to 17 tiers can be unlocked in 1 week (complete Tenrai in 2 weeks)
    This gives players the option to earn more tiers in a week or catch up if they missed a week and fell behind. Also it lets players have some control over how fast they progress instead of being forced on a slow-track.

  3. Give everyone the same event challenges. Poonslayer69 shouldn’t have to stop 50 killing sprees while xXxEL33TxXx only has to AFK 2 matches. These challenges shouldn’t be swappable. Either work to beat the challenge or just wait for the next return of the event. Players can still get everything.

  4. Separate event challenges from battlepass challenges. The point of the event is to bring players in to experience a new gamemode. Players shouldn’t have to stop and get 20 headshots in Swat just to resume earning their way through the event. It become totally pointless and a waste of time once the season BP is complete because the XP goes to nothing.

  5. Add a post-season Battlepass. XP, and by extension, challenges, are worthless once the BP is finished. Every 5 level ups (5,000 XP) grant a challenge swap. This ensures that players have at least 1 challenge swap a week (assuming they play 6 games a day) to deal with unwanted challenges.

There is one weakness to this model. It is that it doesn’t completely eliminate timegating. If a player didn’t engage with Tenrai until the final week of the event, the most they could earn is 17 tiers with this model. Also I’m sure 343 made Tenrai as slow as it is to spread out content, so completing the event quickly maybe make things harder on the developer end. So I guess that’s two weaknesses.

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I’d say future events should be more along the lines of how Winter Contingency was setup. So much customization is behind the store playwall. Make it very very easy for people to get the free customization when it becomes available. Play a match a day to get an unlock works very well. It encourages daily playing while also making it easy for people who are busy to still get everything.

I’m advocating for the same thing here. Except players can do challenges as well. Winter Contingency was great until you missed to many days and couldn’t finish it.

I ended up in that camp. Multiple times I was like “shoot I forgot to play a game of halo today!” and in the end I was only able to complete 8/10. Having this event over the holidays didn’t help the situation. Yes people have more time to play games generally, but they are also often busy with family or other things at that time.

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To expand on point 5, I think in-game credits should be earnable every 7,000 XP or something.

It also makes the unlocks behind the event almost completely meaningless lol. Nothing special just a participation trophy.