I will preface my comments by saying that the sandbox is spectacular. As a 20-year Halo fan, turned skeptic (not cynic) these past few years, you put all my worries to rest between the two flights. Big thanks to Quinn Delhoyo and the rest of his team. I have never been as pumped for a video game as I am now. Please take my feedback into consideration. No major changes, just some fine-tuning and quality of life suggestions. In order of precedence from most to least important:
PART I – UNSC COMMON WEAPONS
1. BATTLE RIFLE SHOT TIMING. Reward players for “perfectly” timing successive shots. Example: A player wielding the BR who sporadically spams “fire” will shoot at the exact same rate of fire as another player who methodically squeezes their trigger just as the previous burst’s animation finishes. Make a distinction between these two types of players. Give that skilled player who takes the extra time to develop their pacing (to approximately a 50 ms or 1/20th of a second margin of error) a 10% faster rate of fire bonus (or penalize spammers with a 10% slower rate of fire). This incentive will add a greater sense of tightness and responsiveness to the weapon. It will provide a new dimension of depth for veteran players to hone their skills on. Equally important, this mechanic will not detract from the user-friendliness that makes the BR a beloved go-to weapon among inexperienced players too.
2. BATTLE RIFLE SPREAD. This is almost too precise. The solution: increase the kick between the three rounds within each burst, dispersing them more vertically. Otherwise, the BR is perfect. This is a better fix than slowing rate of fire, decreasing damage output, or reverting back to H3-style projectile speed and scattering.
3. COMMANDO FLUCTUATING RECOIL. Bottom line: Keep the recoil intensity constant regardless of whether you are engaging a stationary or moving enemy. Currently, recoil is reduced while actively moving the right stick/tracking a target. Do not make players have to compensate against an erratically changing degree of recoil. I acknowledge that this is not a new Halo mechanic, but it has finally developed into an issue with the Commando because it is Halo’s first automatic precision weapon.
4. COMMANDO RECOIL MAGNITUDE. Sustain! I only mention this because I know it is a slightly controversial topic, and I want to reassure you that you absolutely took the correct approach with this weapon. The high recoil intensity is the perfect way to counterbalance the off-the-charts precision, strength, and rate of fire. Players now have an opportunity to learn to fight against it and harness its power. Reducing recoil would immediately cheapen or negate any sense of accomplishment felt in mastering this weapon’s intricacies. A brand-new player should not be allowed to grab the Commando off the rack and immediately take it on a Rampage. Another note, crosshairs should not return to their initial position after firing a long burst and releasing the trigger. This is not how recoil works and we do not want the game auto-centering our controls for us. The reticle should stop where the recoil naturally kicked your aim after your last shot.
5. BLOOM. Another sustain. I am a huge advocate for the current bloom intensity, specifically for the Sidekick, Assault Rifle, and Commando. The freedom you gave us to time the bloom/feather the trigger made these weapons extremely versatile and allowed skilled players to both unleash hell at close-range and rhythmically pick off targets at a distance. Increasing the skill cap on these starting weapons in this way resulted in an extremely balanced final product, especially when respawning against an enemy team who is dominating the power weapons.
6. ASSAULT RIFLE NERF. I love the fact that the AR is viable for the first time since... ever? However, it does need to be dialed back a little. There's little incentive to use the Sidekick or even seek out the BR or Commando since the AR shreds so badly. Everyone just keeps the AR and runs for the power weapons.
Edit after BTB/Week 2: In reference to #6 above. ASSAULT RIFLE / SIDEKICK BALANCE. Nerf the AR and/or buff the Sidekick. I get it, the AR is supposed to be the primary weapon, and the Sidekick is supposed to be the backup sidearm. That said, the AR is ridiculously easy use from the get-go. The Sidekick on the other hand, has a tremendous skill cap, and even mastering it only yields about a 0.1 faster TTK than the AR if you are at point blank range. The Sidekick’s bloom and recoil are fine, but it could use some additional red reticle range aim assist/magnetism and maybe a six-shot kill instead of seven.
One final thanks for everything the sandbox team has done for Infinite. You are severely underappreciated as the organization who will ultimately keep the game thriving for the next decade while hiding out behind the scenes. A word of caution: We all know that “more is better” is a terrible misconception when it comes to weapons in FPS titles. I beg you to restrain yourselves from cheaply giving the illusion of added content by haphazardly rolling out all the fan-favorite classic weapons as the game ages. Fans will always have MCC to fall back on if they need a classic Halo fix. Please do not dilute Infinite’s precious sandbox.
Coming up: PART II – HUD AND GENERAL WEAPON COMMENTS