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HCS Update - 6.29

OP Tashi

With the HCS season now underway, I wanted to drop in and provide a few updates on some things including game settings, broadcast scheduling, LATAM age requirements, and several gameplay issues that are under investigation. Let’s just jump right in!

Roster Locks and Team Passes
As a reminder, roster locks for group play at New Orleans are on Monday, July 2, 6:00PM EDT. Rosters must filled in the MLG team builder. Once rosters are locked, we’ll be drawing groups and announcing the results shortly after.

Also, you definitely don’t want to wait to buy your team passes for New Orleans as it’s required for all teams including those in group play. Passes will not be sold at the door and rosters for open teams must be completed in the MLG team building by July 9, 6:00PM EDT

More info and passes are at Halo.gg/NewOrleans2018

Online Broadcast Schedule Change
When we announced all of the online tournament dates and broadcasts, there was originally a broadcast scheduled for next Tuesday,July 3. This broadcast has now been moved to September 4. What does that mean for this weekend’s 2k? Rather than the North American tournament being played until the semifinals, the entire tournament will now be played.

We’ve got some fun ideas cooking for the broadcasts this season, especially for the show matches. If there are some matches you’d be interested in seeing, be sure to let me know on Twitter.

Mexico Age Limit
Last season, the age limit to compete in online tournaments in LATAM (Mexico and South America ) was 18. The age limit for HaloWC 2018 Mexico City however was 16. With South America unfortunately not in competition this season and after further consulting with both US and LATAM legal teams, the age limit for LATAM (Mexico) competition this season is now 16. This change is effective immediately for online ladders and tournaments.

Oddball Melee Glitch
It was recently brought to our attention that a melee glitch with the Oddball has been discovered which allows players to kill another player with full shields (and even some Overshield) with just one swing. During initial Oddball testing, one swing was all that was required but that was changed to two based on player feedback – so this glitch is definitely behavior that is not desired. The cause of the glitch is being investigated by the team here at 343 but use of this glitch in tournament play (ladders, 2ks, LAN events) is banned completely. Use of this glitch will result in immediate game forfeiture.

Fissure Oddball Fix
The all-new Forge map Fissure has gone through many iterations and testing, and it was just recently brought to our attention this week that the Oddball could be trapped in a certain place top middle where no one would be able to pick it up. This is now fixed and is live in the Official HCS fileshare, matchmaking, and custom game listing.

Oddball Length and CTF Refuge
After receiving reports from players and reviewing matchmaking data (Champion skill range), as well as team scrim and 2k data extensively – a couple issues have been spotted with Oddball and CTF Refuge. We’re hoping to address these in time for New Orleans but here’s a look at what we’ve found:

  • Oddball – With the score limit being 200 points, Oddball matches on average are either ending due to hitting the time limit (12 minutes) or by around 10 minutes. For comparison, all Strongholds, Slayer, and CTF matches (except for Refuge, I’ll get to that next) end after around 7 minutes. This is quite the difference and I’m sure you’ve experienced this quite often if you’ve been playing.
  • CTF Refuge – This gametype has similar symptoms to Oddball – matches are either ending due to hitting the 12 minute time limit or running over 10 minutes long if a team gets three flag caps on average. This gametype is actually performing worse than Fathom CTF in these areas. Addressing this issue is perhaps not as straight forward as Oddball but we’re investigating options.
These issues are important to address as they will not only potentially lead to longer than planned tournament schedules in New Orleans, but also multiple ties and replays which are, like Fathom CTF, not enjoyable to watch (and play) when they happen regularly rather than once in a while in epic fashion. It’s important to us to be transparent in this process as we’ve strived to be during the entire settings overhaul - so we’ll be talking to players more, testing things publicly, and also releasing data we’ve gathered that will help paint the picture.

That’s all the news I’ve got for today! Be sure to keep it locked to Halo.gg and @HCS on Twitter for all the latest – be sure to also hit me up on @Tashi343i if you’ve got any questions. See you soon!

-Tashi
Any word on Regret Slayer coming back? thanks for the update Tashi!
I personally enjoy watching the replays during tournaments it makes the series more intense.
I also enjoy replaying maps gives me a chance to fix what went wrong last game and another chance to prove myself.
But this is my personal opinion I enjoy it more when it gets intense.
I personally enjoy watching the replays during tournaments it makes the series more intense.
I also enjoy replaying maps gives me a chance to fix what went wrong last game and another chance to prove myself.
But this is my personal opinion I enjoy it more when it gets intense.
I agree and we've had some epic replays and ties - but when it happens too often then it drags and isn't fun. Once in a while is exciting.
Any word on Regret Slayer coming back? thanks for the update Tashi!
Regret Slayer is not planned to come back this season.
Improvements:
  • Set Oddball score limit to 150 - this would lead to 3:00 of constant ball control time, where realistically the match would be 5:00 - 7:00 minutes due to rotating control of the ball.
  • CTF Timed Return HCS - Remove this gametype and update the standard gametype 'CTF HCS' spawn timer to 10 seconds. This update should mitigate a lot of easy over-extension (ie Fathom HCS, Refuge HCS) and slow enemy teams being able to contest the flag after a major number downs situation (ie 3 or 4 dead) due to slower run out times (due to no terminal velocity), this update would also put increasing weight upon staying alive. Outside of this this allows Refuge HCS to have other options to defending a flag apart from out slay opponents.
Syxnrgy wrote:
Improvements:
  • Set Oddball score limit to 150 - this would lead to 3:00 of constant ball control time, where realistically the match would be 5:00 - 7:00 minutes due to rotating control of the ball.
  • CTF Timed Return HCS - Remove this gametype and update the standard gametype 'CTF HCS' spawn timer to 10 seconds. This update should mitigate a lot of easy over-extension (ie Fathom HCS, Refuge HCS) and slow enemy teams being able to contest the flag after a major number downs situation (ie 3 or 4 dead) due to slower run out times (due to no terminal velocity), this update would also put increasing weight upon staying alive. Outside of this this allows Refuge HCS to have other options to defending a flag apart from out slay opponents.
Yea we're looking into just lowering it to 150. We project that games will end between 7 and 8 minutes with that score limit.

For CTF, that change goes against what a lot of players told us during the testing phase. A change like that is also pretty big, and we're less inclined to take big risks like that when the season has started and we're really close to New Orleans. Right now we're looking to adjust flag reset timer in hopes that flag pulls are more successful for teams. It's a small change but we're hoping as a targeted impact on the issue.
Any plans for the Forge maps (excluding refuge) to have more than just oddball? As Fissure was originally built for CTF in mind and Echelon strongholds, both of the maps play extremely well on these game types as well.

Just a suggestions/question
Quote:
Syxnrgy wrote:
Improvements:
  • Set Oddball score limit to 150 - this would lead to 3:00 of constant ball control time, where realistically the match would be 5:00 - 7:00 minutes due to rotating control of the ball.
  • CTF Timed Return HCS - Remove this gametype and update the standard gametype 'CTF HCS' spawn timer to 10 seconds. This update should mitigate a lot of easy over-extension (ie Fathom HCS, Refuge HCS) and slow enemy teams being able to contest the flag after a major number downs situation (ie 3 or 4 dead) due to slower run out times (due to no terminal velocity), this update would also put increasing weight upon staying alive. Outside of this this allows Refuge HCS to have other options to defending a flag apart from out slay opponents.
Yea we're looking into just lowering it to 150. We project that games will end between 7 and 8 minutes with that score limit.

For CTF, that change goes against what a lot of players told us during the testing phase. A change like that is also pretty big, and we're less inclined to take big risks like that when the season has started and we're really close to New Orleans. Right now we're looking to adjust flag reset timer in hopes that flag pulls are more successful for teams. It's a small change but we're hoping as a targeted impact on the issue.
There was also an idea for a forger to create a trait zone that has different flag reset times based off where its located.

For example,
  • If flag is left on the corresponding team's 50% (ie Red Flag closer to Red Base than Blue Base) it would reset at a faster rate compared to if it was on the enemy's 50% (ie Red Flag closer to Blue Base than Red Base) it would time return at the standard rate.
This feature would allow the re-addition of "the flag must be at home to capture" for that map, because without it the matches currently have a predictable style of gameplay with rarely any defensive options as the enemy team can continue to relay and eventually capture, even if the enemy flag is pulled and is away from home.
Any plans for the Forge maps (excluding refuge) to have more than just oddball? As Fissure was originally built for CTF in mind and Echelon strongholds, both of the maps play extremely well on these game types as well.

Just a suggestions/question
Too many gametypes for the rotation the standard sizing for the rotation would be 16 maps at most...
Quote:
CTF Refuge – This gametype has similar symptoms to Oddball – matches are either ending due to hitting the 12 minute time limit or running over 10 minutes long if a team gets three flag caps on average. This gametype is actually performing worse than Fathom CTF in these areas. Addressing this issue is perhaps not as straight forward as Oddball but we’re investigating options.
Would increasing the number of rockets from 2 to 4 possibly move the games along a bit quicker?
Any plans for the Forge maps (excluding refuge) to have more than just oddball? As Fissure was originally built for CTF in mind and Echelon strongholds, both of the maps play extremely well on these game types as well.

Just a suggestions/question
At this point for HCS, no. We're pretty much at capacity with map and mode combinations for the season but that's definitely good feedback for other playlists.

NightClerk wrote:
Quote:
CTF Refuge – This gametype has similar symptoms to Oddball – matches are either ending due to hitting the 12 minute time limit or running over 10 minutes long if a team gets three flag caps on average. This gametype is actually performing worse than Fathom CTF in these areas. Addressing this issue is perhaps not as straight forward as Oddball but we’re investigating options.
Would increasing the number of rockets from 2 to 4 possibly move the games along a bit quicker?
Potentially but not sure if it's a reliable enough change to have a consistent impact across all games.

Syxnrgy wrote:
Quote:
Syxnrgy wrote:
Improvements:
  • Set Oddball score limit to 150 - this would lead to 3:00 of constant ball control time, where realistically the match would be 5:00 - 7:00 minutes due to rotating control of the ball.
  • CTF Timed Return HCS - Remove this gametype and update the standard gametype 'CTF HCS' spawn timer to 10 seconds. This update should mitigate a lot of easy over-extension (ie Fathom HCS, Refuge HCS) and slow enemy teams being able to contest the flag after a major number downs situation (ie 3 or 4 dead) due to slower run out times (due to no terminal velocity), this update would also put increasing weight upon staying alive. Outside of this this allows Refuge HCS to have other options to defending a flag apart from out slay opponents.
Yea we're looking into just lowering it to 150. We project that games will end between 7 and 8 minutes with that score limit.

For CTF, that change goes against what a lot of players told us during the testing phase. A change like that is also pretty big, and we're less inclined to take big risks like that when the season has started and we're really close to New Orleans. Right now we're looking to adjust flag reset timer in hopes that flag pulls are more successful for teams. It's a small change but we're hoping as a targeted impact on the issue.
There was also an idea for a forger to create a trait zone that has different flag reset times based off where its located.

For example,
  • If flag is left on the corresponding team's 50% (ie Red Flag closer to Red Base than Blue Base) it would reset at a faster rate compared to if it was on the enemy's 50% (ie Red Flag closer to Blue Base than Red Base) it would time return at the standard rate.
This feature would allow the re-addition of "the flag must be at home to capture" for that map, because without it the matches currently have a predictable style of gameplay with rarely any defensive options as the enemy team can continue to relay and eventually capture, even if the enemy flag is pulled and is away from home.
This is interesting but there's never been a mechanic like that in Halo before, and I really worry about player and viewer confusion.
Quote:
Any plans for the Forge maps (excluding refuge) to have more than just oddball? As Fissure was originally built for CTF in mind and Echelon strongholds, both of the maps play extremely well on these game types as well.

Just a suggestions/question
At this point for HCS, no. We're pretty much at capacity with map and mode combinations for the season but that's definitely good feedback for other playlists.

NightClerk wrote:
Quote:
CTF Refuge – This gametype has similar symptoms to Oddball – matches are either ending due to hitting the 12 minute time limit or running over 10 minutes long if a team gets three flag caps on average. This gametype is actually performing worse than Fathom CTF in these areas. Addressing this issue is perhaps not as straight forward as Oddball but we’re investigating options.
Would increasing the number of rockets from 2 to 4 possibly move the games along a bit quicker?
Potentially but not sure if it's a reliable enough change to have a consistent impact across all games.

Syxnrgy wrote:
Quote:
Syxnrgy wrote:
Improvements:
  • Set Oddball score limit to 150 - this would lead to 3:00 of constant ball control time, where realistically the match would be 5:00 - 7:00 minutes due to rotating control of the ball.
  • CTF Timed Return HCS - Remove this gametype and update the standard gametype 'CTF HCS' spawn timer to 10 seconds. This update should mitigate a lot of easy over-extension (ie Fathom HCS, Refuge HCS) and slow enemy teams being able to contest the flag after a major number downs situation (ie 3 or 4 dead) due to slower run out times (due to no terminal velocity), this update would also put increasing weight upon staying alive. Outside of this this allows Refuge HCS to have other options to defending a flag apart from out slay opponents.
Yea we're looking into just lowering it to 150. We project that games will end between 7 and 8 minutes with that score limit.

For CTF, that change goes against what a lot of players told us during the testing phase. A change like that is also pretty big, and we're less inclined to take big risks like that when the season has started and we're really close to New Orleans. Right now we're looking to adjust flag reset timer in hopes that flag pulls are more successful for teams. It's a small change but we're hoping as a targeted impact on the issue.
There was also an idea for a forger to create a trait zone that has different flag reset times based off where its located.

For example,
  • If flag is left on the corresponding team's 50% (ie Red Flag closer to Red Base than Blue Base) it would reset at a faster rate compared to if it was on the enemy's 50% (ie Red Flag closer to Blue Base than Red Base) it would time return at the standard rate.
This feature would allow the re-addition of "the flag must be at home to capture" for that map, because without it the matches currently have a predictable style of gameplay with rarely any defensive options as the enemy team can continue to relay and eventually capture, even if the enemy flag is pulled and is away from home.
This is interesting but there's never been a mechanic like that in Halo before, and I really worry about player and viewer confusion.
Yeah agreed. That was my thoughts about the concept.

I personally think though increasing the spawn timer for 'CTF HCS' to 10 seconds allows the flag to exit more consistently and thus the games will end within the predicted scope. There are a few reasons for this alteration to the standard spawn timer of 8 seconds.

Spartan Abilities Removal:
  • Spartan Charge's removal "broke" sprint where there is no "terminal velocity" and created a "sluggish" effect on sprint.
  • Ground Pound's removal minimized a lot of flag options and routes.
Fundamental
  • Longer spawn timer will put an increase justification on players again valuing their lives, creating more of a skill gap.
Map Notes:
  • Fathom HCS & Refuge HCS have a sight line blocker (ie Top Mid and Ring) in the middle of the map removing a lot of team shot options, unlike Coliseum HCS & Truth HCS which have a lot more open sight lines across the map.
  • Less "easy" over-extensions (ie solo) where instead it has to be "on the same page" pushes that are done together.
Quote:
  • CTF Refuge – This gametype has similar symptoms to Oddball – matches are either ending due to hitting the 12 minute time limit or running over 10 minutes long if a team gets three flag caps on average. This gametype is actually performing worse than Fathom CTF in these areas. Addressing this issue is perhaps not as straight forward as Oddball but we’re investigating options.
Is outright removing CTF Refuge from the HCS playlist and/or Tournament Play a realistic option at this point?
Another reason why Refuge - CTF is taking longer is the map routes and availability to traverse the map... the map is way too predictable. After NOLA, possibly invest in a new version of Refuge with a Courtyard to Carbine jump and a Turret to Hut Grenades which were feature in Halo 2 Anniversary versions as trick jumps.
Note to Tashi;

When "Oddball" was first introduced for the HWC 2018 Season, the initial issue was the spawning platform for the game mode of which the "solutions" to solve this was to increase the spawning timer to 10 seconds. This change had positive results for teams scoring, however players still continued to dislike the spawning due to no ball influence... fast forward to now and the game mode now has the ball with negative spawn influence forcing players away from the ball.

My theory is, if you altered the spawning timers of both "CTF HCS" and "Oddball HCS" to 10 seconds this could be the "solution" to the "aggressive/defensive" type game modes, where it would allow matches to end faster due to points having a higher probability of being scored and reaching the end point without differing from the standard settings as well as furthering the skill gap of these faster game modes.
Syxnrgy wrote:
Another reason why Refuge - CTF is taking longer is the map routes and availability to traverse the map... the map is way too predictable. After NOLA, possibly invest in a new version of Refuge with a Courtyard to Carbine jump and a Turret to Hut Grenades which were feature in Halo 2 Anniversary versions as trick jumps.
There is a jump from back Turret to Hut on Refuge, it's just a difficult one. I would think adding a little thrust launch from court to car would help people move around better without feeling too powerful (since you'd have to burn your thrust), with the advantage of not adding clutter to the court like the H2A jump did.
Syxnrgy wrote:
Another reason why Refuge - CTF is taking longer is the map routes and availability to traverse the map... the map is way too predictable. After NOLA, possibly invest in a new version of Refuge with a Courtyard to Carbine jump and a Turret to Hut Grenades which were feature in Halo 2 Anniversary versions as trick jumps.
There is a jump from back Turret to Hut on Refuge, it's just a difficult one. I would think adding a little thrust launch from court to car would help people move around better without feeling too powerful (since you'd have to burn your thrust), with the advantage of not adding clutter to the court like the H2A jump did.
Believe me I know... 😉 I located a bunch of them for Pwn Jones during patching.