Hey folks, bear with me since I'm a little new to giving comments on sandbox and map stuff, but I'll do my best.
I have a few comments here to address a lot of common questions I've seen. Why take over the HCS list? Is this permanent?
First, it's not permanent. Given the resources we currently have available to us to get ready for Worlds, the most efficient way for us to test each game mode was in blocks rather than all together in one list. This focuses the feedback we get, the data we gather from stats, and the work that the designers are doing here between tests internally. We plan to run Oddball for long enough to gather both feedback and data, and then we’ll switch to the next gamemode and run that exclusively for a period of time.
Since Oddball is brand new, it’s going to need more time than the other modes / maps which have already had a lot of polish over the years. The other modes will rotate in for a shorter amount of time. We are still finalizing those plans, but that’s basically the plan.
We are using the HCS list instead of another list because:
- It exactly fits the audience whose feedback we need most on these settings.
- Oddball is brand new to competitive for Halo 5, and we need as many eyes on it as we can.
- We wouldn’t repurpose a playlist like, e.g., Team Arena because more people play that list than HCS, and it’s a slightly different audience. Better to use the actual core HCS audience to test than to disturb a larger audience that isn’t as invested.
Some of you have expressed concern for the population of the list given the settings changes. I am monitoring that almost hourly (when I’m not asleep) and so far it looks good.
I’ve also been monitoring map quit rates. You would be surprised to know which map is quit out of the least, I think.
The BR’s Spread
I hear a lot about the BR's spread. Just to be clear, the spread on the BR now is still historically no higher than some of the most competitive past Halos. Because it's still low, I have a hard time with the argument that it isn't competitive. Past Halos with just as high or higher a BR spread were still considered quite competitive. It’s harder to use now for sure, but I think that should make it more competitive, not less. In addition, the stats are still showing a clear skill ceiling on that BR. Better players are definitely winning vs. worse ones.
H5's BR before the tunings did have an all-time low spread. Also, the magnum's spread is also super low if non-existent relative to what you feel now on the BR. So I feel like what a lot of you are experiencing is that relative
change to how the BR feels compared to both before and compared to the Magnum. I think we want everyone to have more time to get used to it. Feedback from folks that have spent a significant amount of time with it has definitely been different than those who played a few first games and gave up because, yes, it is different and less powerful than either previous weapon.
I’ve seen suggestions to make the RRR or aim-assist worse and remove the spread. This would make the BR harder to use for lower- mid-skilled players, but in our data would have little effect on high-end competitive play because those players just don’t miss, even without aim-assist and RRR. It would still be a laser beam and be back to being over-powered.
Given that it's only been less than a day, I would suggest giving the settings more time while we continue gathering feedback and data.
I still see the occasional question about radar. The reason we still have it is because Halo 5’s Abilities make a pretty big difference as far as Radar use goes. In our internal tests and in discussions with Pros, we currently agree that without the Ability Tracker, Halo 5 becomes an ability spamfest to a degree. It increases the pace of the game drastically, beyond what feels good competitively if players have no positional penalty at all for spamming evades, sprint, etc.
Oddball Score Limit
I’ve seen suggestions we increase the score limit on Oddball. So far, the way Oddball plays in Halo 5 vs. past Halos, I haven’t seen a lot of data to support this. But I am regularly tracking what score games are finishing at, and how long they are taking to inform this decision. Previous to releasing the Ranked Oddball playlist, we were getting feedback to decrease and not increase the score limit due to dead man walking scenarios. I’ll keep an eye on it and ear to feedback. But, again, it’s only been a day. People are still learning how to play this version.
Why Weapon Changes instead of New Maps and Modes?
This is a very good question, especially for folks who haven’t worked in game development.
- The resources that go into both types of changes are completely different and have very little impact on each other. We were able to make the weapon changes without impacting the map and game mode folks at all. So it’s not like we took the same people and thought, “Hmm, what would be better for you to do?” It was more like, “Oh, we actually have some weapon tuning resources we can free up for a short period of time, let’s use them”
- The amount of resources needed to make a map or a mode by far dwarves what’s needed for weapon tuning, and that’s not even including the art work. We can make weapon tuning changes with a small group in just a couple of months. Getting them into the game still takes additional time on top of that because Halo 5 weapon tunings require a patch and that has overhead. But map/mode also has that overhead. Making a new map or mode can take 6-12 months to get right (depending on the mode). So not only are the groups of people who would make the two types of changes different, the amount of time and resources it takes to do them are also massively different.
- Our maps and mode folks are almost 100% working on the next Halo. If we had to pull them off to make a new map or mode for 6-12 months, that’s one less map or mode for the next Halo, or adds another 6-12 months till we see the next Halo. And that’s if we pulled off the whole team. If we only used a small group, it would take much longer to even make another map or mode.
- What about Forge Maps? Another good question. If you speak with the best Forgers out there, you’ll learn that the amount of time it takes to Forge a map that is a) competitive enough for HCS, b) doesn’t look terrible, and c) maintains a good performance in framerate, etc., and d) doesn’t take too long for us to clean up and get into the game, pushes up to almost that same 6-12 month time frame. We’ve reviewed a lot of Forge maps, and even asked Pros to recommend any that they feel would meet the standards we need. So far we haven’t had much luck with that. But we are still open to it and still searching.