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[Locked] 343i's Incompetent Game Design is Killing Halo

OP eman182

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MOD EDIT: This thread was locked due to excessive bumping.

Adding sprint to Halo is a symptom of a greater problem: 343 Industries do not know how to create a compelling shooter, let alone build a great game befit the Halo series. If you recall, Microsoft did not pick 343 Industries to succeed Halo because of their merit as developers, but rather created them to house, feed, and milk the Halo cashcow Bungie abandoned in 2007. The only notable game made by the in-house development team at 343 Industries, Halo 4, was widely criticized as a terrible multiplayer game, so much so that 343 Industries had to strip it of all its "modernized" features to stymy the mass emmigration of its playerbase.

Now that the Halo 5: Guardians Beta is out, longtime fans of Halo are scrutinizing and dissecting it to see if its core is made of Mjolnir and if its gameplay feels tight. Halo fans see the beta as an opportunity to tell 343 Industries what makes Halo great, in the hope that 343 Industries will listen and work that advice into their game. The Halo community has been told that Halo 5 will revive the Halo franchise with gameplay faithful to the games preceding it, the games that broke Xbox Live records. They've been told that Halo 5 has a year of development time left (at an ambiguous "2015" release date) and that an early beta will help 343i correct gameplay flaws during Halo 5's infancy. If such statements hold true, then releasing a public beta so early into development sends a clear message from 343 Industries to the Halo playerbase: "We do not understand how to recreate the fun of the epic franchise we've inherited. Please explain to us what that Halo is like and how we can build it."

It's a humbling thing for a developer to do, and so long as they listen to fans, it'll be the smart choice for the company's reputation and for the health of the Halo games. But I am nonetheless disappointed by Halo 5's gameplay, and I foresee no great epiphany changing 343i's designs for Halo by the game's release. What I see instead are the same kinks in design and elements of frustration that killed Halo 4's multiplayer. Up till now, 343i have misunderstood Halo--their initial vision for it was as a sci-fi version of Call of Duty, complete with killstreaks and care packages--so I do not believe them capable of making a good Halo game. In fact, I believe 343i are incapable of making a great shooter because they do not understand why Halos 1 to Halo 3 were fun games to play.

Let us put the Master Chief Collection debacle behind us and look at how the internal development team within 343 Industries creates a shooter. Below I list and elaborate on points that, when taken together, speak to an inconsistent game design and troubled multiplayer philosophy for Halo 5. These design choices are the same unwelcome design choices that permeated Halo 4 and persist in Halo 5's Beta; they encapsulate 343 Industries's attempts to "modernize" Halo into the Frankestein-shooter they want it to become, versus the simple shooter that Halo really is.
Sprint: The wrong design choice to build a game around.
Sprint is a contentious topic to Halo players, but it is at the root of nearly all the design problems with Halo 5's Beta. Longtime fans of Halo love to say, "Sprint breaks Halo." But what does such an empty statement mean, and why do so many people love to parrot it? Do these players seriously argue that Master Chief should never be allowed to run? I always thought the sprint detractors made a silly argument: What if we had said, "Dual wielding breaks Halo," prior to Halo 2's launch? But after I spent time playing the Halo 5 Beta, and after I stopped to ponder about Halo, I realized that the community backlash to sprint is not because of the ability itself, but what the ripple of changes the sprint pebble creates when dropped into the Halo pond.

Here is the condensed argument against sprint: Sprint is bad for Halo because it diverts focus away from Halo's core--shooting, jumping, and vehicles--to focus on Spartan mobility. A focus to mobility brings 343 Industries's attention towards making a game centered around the wrong style of shooter, one that is stop-and-go and frenetic in pace.

When you give the player fast mobility (Moreso with the boost from thrusters) while retaining Halo's slow game design, you have to change many ways in which the game plays. Out of all the new mechanics added to Halo 5 to fuse speed with Halo, which one hasn't evolved as a means to curtail sprint's effect on Halo's gameplay? Nearly every design decision around sprint is an attempt to reign in sprint's changes to the Halo formula: Levels are larger, to accomodate for distances covered by sprint; shields do not recharge when running, running stops when shot, to accomodate escapes easily afforded by sprint; players die faster when they're shot at, to accommodate the short engagements created by sprint. Sprint fundamentally changes Halo because Halo was not designed around sprint, so designing sprint around Halo is equally absurd.

343i create these mechanics to limit sprint, but those same mechanics hinder player control as well. Let's look at the charge move within Halo 5, for instance. A player at full sprint cannot melee from sprint but only dash forward, like a football player making a tackle. For a player to melee, he must first come to a complete stop. This mechanic exists to nerf melees because sprint makes melees too strong. In Halo 4, players complained that other players would often run straight at them, through gunfire, to melee during sprint and immediately melee again as their character left sprint. This is how the term "double melee" was born. The charge mechanic was created to fix "double melees", which are only a problem because sprint introduced it to the game.

Why is sprint's charge mechanic a problem for the player? Because it limits the actions he is able to perform in-game. If a player runs up behind someone, he must come to a halt (Fall out of sprint's animation) to melee and kill the guy in front of him. If he melees too soon, he might charge at him, which would only pop his shields while launching him far away, all while the charging player disorients himself. If, in another situation, a player runs across a corner and an enemy appears to his right, his only option is escape to then engage in a gun fight--he'll die if he turns to melee because he'll charge forward into air instead. The casualty to the charge mechanic, therefore, is a player's liberty with melees.

While melees are core to Halo, they are incompatible with sprint, so 343 Industries said melees needed to change. A devaluation of melees marks a shift from Halo's gameplay of "run at a guy as you shoot him" into a gun-game of distance. In older Halos, a gun fight rarely ended until fists started to fly (Barring BR starts, but even then players still clobbered the snot out of each other). Melees were intrinsic to Halo, but as the game underwent incremental changes to fit sprint into Halo's formula, melees became a rarity in large levels and fast gunfights. The loss of melees is an example of a concession 343i made to Halo's gameplay in favor of sprint, and 343i has made many gameplay concessions in Halo's design to make it work at speed. These concessions are the source for many of the design problems that Halo 5 suffers from, and almost all them stem from 343i's decision that Spartans should run and fly.
(2/5)

ADS: Aim Down Sights

In Halo 5, you can now look down the sights of your gun. The different gun scopes look cool, but the scoping mechanic presents clear hurdles to gameplay by way of de-scoping and bullet spread. It is always beneficial for you to scope in your weapon in Halo 5 as it decreases your bullet spread, making your shots more accurate.

Now, when you toggle to zoom in but get shot, you have to re-toggle to zoom back in. If you hold left trigger to zoom in but get shot, however, you automatically zoom back in so long as you keep holding left trigger. The advantage instant re-scoping gives a player over a manual re-scoping player decides fates: He shot better than you did because his bullets clustered tighter for longer. Every time he was shot, he scoped right back in while you did it manually. Between the natural bullet spread of the gun and the tightened spread of aim during moments you're scoped in, there's lots of fluctuation in where you're shooting and where your bullets land. This makes aiming feel out a player's control--almost random--and if the older Halo did one thing right, they made a player's weapons feel consistent.

Ask yourself this: Why did the battle rifle become the weapon to define Halo's competitive scene? Because Halo felt good when a player knew his shots hit. With a BR, a player had full focus on playing the map and outplaying his opponents; his mind was free because his aim was never in doubt. But with 343i's implementation of ADS, a player doubts his guns. He begins to question the validity of gunfights, and every time he experiences things that he feels shouldn't have happened but did happen in a match, it bites away at his fun. It bites and bites, game after game, until it eats a hole big enough in a player's mind that when he wants to play an FPS on his Xbox One, he cracks open the Titanfall case instead.

Such implementation of ADS in Halo shows poor developer foresight by dumping a foreign weapon handling system into a game that never used or needed it. If my issue with ADS is how it determines fights based on control schemes, then that's easy to fix, you say: Make the trigger-scoping player release and depress the trigger to zoom in his weapon again. It seems simple, except a trigger is not a button. Buttons toggle, triggers hold. This change, if enacted, would inversely harm the people who use triggers to zoom. Essentially, Halo 5 has an ideal control scheme, one that is far different from Halos 1 to 3. Halo's gameplay has so drastically changed that the way you control Halo has changed. What other fans of a game series, be it CoD or Mario or Battlefield or Counter Strike, must relearn the fundamentals of how to play sequels within their series?

Addendum on gunplay: Adding headshot damage to imprecise weapons like the AR and SMG was a stupid idea. Automatic weapons are inherently inaccurate weapons; you spray them at the enemy, and, if you're too far apart, you fire them in controlled bursts. Their cone of fire expands the longer you shoot, but once shields are depleted, both these weapons can register headshots. What this translates to is a random element in close range gunfights, where the lucky shooter who sprays with greater fortune on his side will score shots to the head, while his unlucky opponent sprays his gun without a stray bullet striking his foe's visor. Amplified headshot damage is necessary and expected for precision weapons, but applying that same damage model to weapons that are mostly sprayed-and-prayed is a baffling design choice and one that will leave a great number of players confused while they lie dead and watch the killcam that shows their opponent doing the same exact thing they just did, but who inexplicably wins the fight.

Aim Assist versus Bullet Magnetism

Aim Assist helps me keep my reticule where I put it; bullet magnetism places my bullets where I didn't aim them. One helps a player to play, the other plays the game for him. A heat-seeking bullet is a deceptive, silent, and buIIsh*t killer.

Examples:
http://xboxclips.com/mbmonk/28da6ce5-c9b9-45a7-b5d8-6b811a1921af
http://xboxclips.com/Nunyaa/2563083c-0260-46d4-b51b-aa9bf94b2e81

Bullet magnetism might fool the player who is shooting into feeling good about his accurate aim, but it makes every player killed by it feel cheated by game design. Magnetic bullets turn players into bullet magnets. Headshots come easier, missed shots connect, and aim feels aloof: Even grenades are shot out of mid-air with ease. Whether these are issues further compounded by imprecise hitboxes, I cannot say. All I know is that when I thrust behind cover from a losing gunfight, I often die behind the wall. It feels like my opponent's bullets curved mid-flight to hit me behind cover, as if the guns in this game shoot Looney Tunes bullets.

This messing around with aim that started in Halo: Reach and carried over to H4 and H5 needs to stop. It adds a random element to the shooting and makes me feel like I'm not in control of my most pivotal action in a shooter, shooting people. Aiming is sacrosant to first-person shooters. Reticule bloom was a disaster; steer clear of that wreckage and move on, 343 Industries.

Map Design

343 Industries designs huge maps that make Spartans feel like dwarfs. Their maps are large, cluttered, and lack in sight lines to force engagements between players. Have you ever played a match of Slayer in Halo 5's Midship remake where the game ran out of time? I have, and more than once: I cannot fathom how a match of Slayer on an old iteration of Midship could end in a time-out. Yet here, on a remake of a claustrophobic map, neither team could hold down their opponents long enough to rack up kills before time ran out.

Sprint and Clamber hurt Halo 5's map design: Maps have no structure, no flow of movement. If you can clamber on top of every wall, then the vertical design of levels is compromised. Crouch-jumping was not just a neat trick players loved to do as they jumped, it helped them to go places faster and to create shortcuts to higher spots. But crouch jumping couldn't take you everywhere--if you wanted to get on top of the base in Blood Gulch, you had to walk up the ramps or go up the garage access. With Clamber, you can scale the front walls, or any other wall instantly.

The player who took the high ground, therefore, is at no real advantage to the player on the low ground. The distance between them can be covered far too quickly. In order to preserve map-flow, levels must be made longer for Sprint and taller for Clamber, thus the giant level designs we see in Halo 5. But making a map bigger does not give it structure, and such design does little to alleviate the chaotic nature of battling against clambering Spartans. Despite the quicker gameplay of fast Spartans, H5's matches play out slower than in Halos before it because 343 Industries builds infinite escape paths into maps, and such map design promotes a defensive game.

The larger arenas also ruin map control. Anyone can be anywhere else at any time--they could clamber up the ledge behind you right now--so why hold positions on the map? Take the sniper and move, keep moving and stay on the lookout for enemies who are running around, looking for you. No location is any safer than anywhere else because Spartans can run, thrust, or climb everywhere. It's tiring to run so much, and disheartening to see so many enemies flee from your gunfire and survive.
(3/5)

Then there's the issue of the map aesthetics and how poor visual design hurts gameplay. Every light source in Halo 5 has bloom, bloom that blinds and distracts the eyes. The beta also features maps that are too dark and too high contrast where blue walls camouflage blue team's Spartans. Do 343 Industries's map creators really need a Beta to understand that coloring walls using similar hues to playable characters can frustrate the players who must shoot those characters against that backdrop?

To further compound things, the latest release of multiplayer maps for the beta are remixes of existing maps in the beta. Are remixed maps supposed to be a feature in Halo 5's multiplayer? Players can already create variations of a map themselves through forge, but they can't create new art assets that go into new maps. These remixed maps seem like an unabashed way for 343 industries to pad the map count for Halo 5. How can 343 Industries showcase the strength of the Halo 5 by showing us maps where the bare minimum of effort was applied to their creation?

Oh, but think of the prospect of playing identical maps with swapped textures, changed lighting, and this box sitting here instead of sitting over there. How exciting! To be honest, I am surprised that 343 Industries would even release map remixes--it's just so slovenly lazy to do so. And it's not because a beta deserves inifinite maps (I do not expect all of Halo 5 to be finished or showcased in a beta), but I'm surprised that they released these alternate maps to tell the playerbase, "Hey, you'll be getting these nifty things on release. Look forward to it: This is the quality of content you can expect from us and our game."

Killcams

Why were killcams coded into Halo? 343 Industries could not mishandle their time and resources worse than by developing this feature for Halo 5. Killcams were created as an evolution of gameplay for a completely different game series; they do not belong in Halo.

Killcams are shamelessly ripped from Call of Duty, and it is there where killcams belong. With CoD's almost infinite weapon assortments, instant kill-times, and map designs full of crevices, windows, and camoflauge locations, Call of Duty needed killcams. They were created to relieve stress from frustrated players and to punish campers, and they work marvelously to both ends--they're perfect for CoD and its gameplay.

In Halo, dying is rarely a mystery. Due to the power of your shields, you often die fighting the guy running right at you as you both unload your weapons at each other. There is no need to view his perspective; you saw plainly how he killed you. If you get killed from a rocket blast shot offscreen, the explosion and scorched earth beneath your feet reveal your fate. A quick melee to the back of the head, though surprising, is also easily discernible as you hear the loud "thwack!" and watch your body slump forward. Halo 5's killcams do not reveal some secret to your death, or set your defeated mind at ease. They simply waste your time by removing you from the action.

Everyone who is dying in a lost gunfight in Halo has tried one last, desparate manuever: He has naded the ground at his feet, or the wall in front of him, or he's even tried to stick the bast@rd who is gunning him down. Then, after his death, what does that player most want to see? Answer: Whether the guy that killed him got killed, too. This is the number one post-death desire for anyone who has played Halo and fell in a close gunfight. We instinctively pivot the deathcam around our corpse to see how the battle unfolds after our passing. Anyone who has played Halo would realize this overpowering desire to stay in the fight, to be ready to jump back in as the respawn timer bips down.

A question: Has 343 Industries played the older Halos? Why, then, would they think Halo players needed killcams? A game mechanic like killcam should be added to fill a need; Halo had no such need. Not only are the killcams poorly done (They playback too soon before you died to reveal anything but your last second of life, if they show your death at all), but even if they displayed your death at a good time, the transition between a death and the killcam is jarring, even disconcerting. The black screen, the sad music, the uninformative footage--most players I see on Twitch just mash X to skip the thing and return to the deathcam in the present.

I can't stress this enough: Killcams are anachronisms in Halo. More than that, they're plain bad design for this game. Why does 343 Industries want to disconnect the player from his play every time he dies? They've already tried killcams with Halo 4, and it failed (343 Industries ended up removing them), yet here 343 Industries tries again to incorporate the same detestabe thing in Halo 5. This bullheadedness in their approach to Halo suggests the worst, that Halo 4 was not a fluke of experimental game design but rather a template 343 Industries wishes to use and improve upon for Halo 5. How else could they think to bring back a mechanic universally rejected by its own community of players?

Halo's pivoting deathcam evolved between Halo games as a mechanic to keep the player's mind in the action, even past his death. A dead player still maintains control of his camera (And, in turn, his Spartan) so that his fingers are ready for his revival to return and finish the fight. This subtlety to the deathcam is lost on 343 Industries. They'd rather strip you of control and force you to be a passive observer every time that you die.

On the subject of passive gameplay, contextual actions are not Halo. Try this: Zoom in with the sniper on an opponent running away from you. Jump up and stabilize your thrusters to nail the perfect shot on his fleeing behind. Whoops! Stabilize is also the button for zooming in--now you're de-scoped because you tried to stabilize yourself mid-air. You pressed the right button combinations, it should have worked. Or did you mean to crouch as you jumped to lower your profile in the air while you were shot at? Pressing that button combination sent you into a ground pound--too bad. 343 Industries created too many actions and mapped them to too few buttons, and sometimes their mistake will cost you the kill.

Now imagine you've flanked the enemy. While your bros are shooting them at the front, you've crouchwalked behind them and prepare yourself to strike. Heres your chance to jump out and insta-kill the red guy in front of you with a whack to the back of his head with your rocket launcher, then jump again and triple kill the rest of his team with one rocket. So you jump up, but you hold melee for a half-second too long when you meant to tap it, and now all his teammates are shooting you as you perform an assassination animation you never intended to trigger. Now they have your rockets, and you watch a pointless killcam as you feel frustrated because the game wrenched control from you to show you doing something cool instead of you doing it yourself.

Give me back control of my character, 343 Industries. I preferred having it in Halo. Even if assassinations look cool (They do), they're still cutscenes in disguise: The game is taking me out from first-person where I'm killing the guy to third-person where I'm shown a Spartan kill the guy. Heck, I even prefer tea-bagging to assassinations because at least there I controlled the speed and tempo at which my scr0tum bounced against the shoulders of the man I killed.
(4/5)

TTK: Time-to-Kill

Time-to-Kill is the latest buzzword circulating Halo forums, but what it represents is a valid complaint. People die too fast in Halo 5. Many encounters are decided by who sees who first because your shields barely last longer than your health lasts to bullets. 343 Industries is turning Halo into a precision shooter, when it never really was one. Console FPSes are a unique breed of shooter because thumbsticks approximates accuracy, but you can never be fully accurate using just your thumbs. Bungie recognized this problem, and built Halo's shield regeneration around the concept that you're a Spartan and it'll take a lot to kill you.

The new mode released this week, Breakout, features lower shields and even quicker kill times. It is a broad departure from the traditional Halo formula, and it plays great. It plays well because it's the type of shooter the hybrid gameplay in Halo 5 was designed to feel and play like. Halo 5's beta plays better when gameplay is even quicker and bullets more lethal. I've read a number of people on the Waypoint forums and Halo's subreddit praise Breakout, comparing the new mode to CoD's "Search and Destroy", or to matches in Counter Strike: Global Offensive. These are apt comparisons: Breakout's one-life-to-live elimination mode plays just like those games.

Though the comparisons between Halo's new mode and contemporary shooters ring true, I am disheartened that the gameplay of Breakout looks and feels like the gameplay of other games. You see, in playing Halos 1 to 3, not once did I compare my multiplayer experience to that of Counter Strike. SWAT never made me feel like I was playing Counter Strike, and as I carried bombs to the enemy's base in the passenger seat of a warthog, I never said to myself, "Wow! This is just like arming the bomb in 'Search and Destroy.'" Every one of Halo's game modes felt unique, and I played Halo because I couldn't compare the experience of playing it to anything but Halo. Yet here, in Halo 5, I play Breakout once and I see other titles--Titanfall, CoD: Advanced Warfare, Counter Strike--but I hardly see Halo.


The Other Blunders

Halo 5 will undergo surgery before its full release. Its release date is (supposedly) set a year from now and its surgeons, 343 Industries, are ready with scalpel in hand to cut into Halo 5 based on beta participants' feedback. The problem, however, is that 343 Industries are only qualified as plastic surgeons; Halo 5 needs a heart transplant and chemotherapy, not lip enlargement and an eyebrow lift.

The obvious problems in Halo 5's Beta that I have yet to mention I now outline below. These are issues I commonly see brought up on both the Halo Waypoint forums and the Halo subreddit, problems that are easily noticed and immediately offputting to beta testers. The issues I set forth above are core issues with 343 Industries's FPS design, but the external issues below serve to mar an already unstable gameplay experience. I do believe 343 Industries will address most of the issues below: We will get compromises on some issues, fixes for or reductions in others, but the game's framework is already set in stone. The Halo 5 beta's gameplay is how 343 Industries wants Halo to play. Thus, these issues are just the expired frosting atop a cake baked without flour or sugar.

Now, common turn-offs to Halo 5:

  • Medals galore (Devaluing recognition of skill by showering every action with accolades)
  • Party matchmaking that is comparable to MCC's party matchmaking.
  • Overbearing. overly-enthusiastic, and explanatory announcer. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQcujpyWWG8#t=13)
  • Spartan chatter.(I know I picked up the sniper--why must my character announce it every time he grabs it?)
  • Post-game brODSTs. (This is not the cool image for Spartans that Master Chief fostered in our minds.)
  • Hit markers (A Spartan's shields glow when he is hit, so why must we also see hit markers? Get this: Halo already had its own version of hit markers, 343 Industries. You don't need to thoughtlessly ape this feature from other shooters, too.)
  • A broken ranking system comparable to MCC's ranking system.
  • A lack of attention towards vehicle combat. (Vehicles are integral to Halo. If 343 Industries wants the community to vet the gameplay for their Halo game, then vehicles must be included because they are core to Halo's gameplay.)
  • Weapon redundancy. (The DMR and BR occupy the same niche for mid-range weapon. The SMG and AR occupy the same niche for short-range weapons.)
  • Poor post-game reports and content. (Do you remember checking heatmaps or stats on Bungie.net? I do, and 343 Industries should remember players cared about stat-keeping because to make any intellectual property great, you must make it live beyond its medium inside people's heads. All those carnage reports made me care about Halo outside of the game.)
  • Ground Pound (Does Halo really need one-hit kill moves like Guilty Gear? Ground pound is a perplexing addition to Halo and an idea counter-intuitive to the game it's in. As it stands, ground pound is useless because it is a slow, targeted ability in a game where everyone runs fast and thrusts away faster. Imagine, for a moment, that 343 Industries reworked ground pound and made it easier to use or more effective in its application. If they succeeded at making it viable in combat, they would simply be transforming a superfluous mechanic into a frustrating, overpowered insta-kill. Ground pound is just a poor idea that 343 Industries poorly implemented.)
  • Friendly Fire. (It's a part of Halo, for better or worse. We've all been betrayed by the 10-year-old who wants the sniper, but we've all thrown that nade that landed under your teammates as they drove back with blue team's flag and laughed at the explosion. Friendly Fire is a practical mechanic to boot: It's a part of Halo that balances nade spam)
  • No teammate indicators. (These are the icons that used to float above a teammate's head to show if he was shooting or being shot at. If friendly fire allowed us to interact with our teammates, teammate indicators made us feel like we were playing with them. Those icons showed us who needed help where, so we played with an eye to our Spartan friends. As it stands in Halo 5, I run around killing as a lone wolf. I see other players of similar color who also run around the stage shooting, but those people do not feel like my teammates: I cannot see their struggles, I cannot reach them in time to help them as enemy encounters are short and deadly, and I know not who requires my help most because the game does not show me which teammate is engaged in a gunfight. Teammate indicators place focus back onto caring about the actions and well-being of your teammates, and playing as a team makes Halo's gameplay come alive.)
  • Overpowered and underpowered grenades. (Sticky grenades have been made obsolete: Their slow flight and delayed detonation do not work with Halo 5's speed, so they exist only as a throwback to nostalgia. Fragmentation grenades, meanwhile, are small nuclear blasts. 343 Industries may tweak the radius and damage of frag grenades, but grenade explosions are so powerful and their radius is so large because they need to be to kill players who move so damn fast. Thrusting away from a grenade is easy to do, but chucking a well-placed grenade in Halo 5's larger spaces is hard, so grenades must explode in a huge sphere to catch players. This is another Halo gameplay concession, this time at the cost of explosives.)
Concluding Thoughts

Why does a shooter that revolutionized console FPSes need to take speed enhancers? Movement in Halos 1 to 3 was measured and slow because decisionmaking in Halo matters. If I jump onto an exposed ledge to chase a kill who is escaping, I better hope an enemy below is not looking up at that location, because if he is, I'm dead. Should I keep this sniper with two bullets in it, or trade it for the sword? Will someone approach me with my guard down, or can I get these shots off before the enemy climbs up here? Movement was deliberate in Halo so that you had time to plan your actions and your pathing through a stage.

343 Industries forgets that while Master Chief and Spartans were slow, their vehicles were not. Speed existed in Halo before sprint. I remember racing down ravines in Warthogs, launching across the sky from a man cannon, crouching as I fell down sloped ramps on Ascension, and boosting in a Banshee past enemies below. Both speedy and slow existed in Halo prior to sprint, and the difference between the fast and slow segments brought excitement to Halo.

Do you know what also was fast in Halo? Weapon switching. People forget Halo limits the player to two weapons for a reason. Master Chief did not carry an arsenal of weapons at his back, but instead had to choose two weapons to switch between on the fly. In older Halos, if someone got the drop on you but you had the right weapon for the situation, you could bust out that shotgun and kill the fool for getting too close. In Halo 5, taking out a secondary weapon in a gunfight is a death sentence. Do you want to lower an enemy's shields with an AR, then drill him in the head with a sick pistol headshot? Good luck, you'll still be switching weapons while you watch the killcam.

A deliberate speed and smaller maps made for a personal multiplayer game. 343i gravely overlooks this aspect of Halos 1 to 3. You spent more time near other players in those games, so you talked to and heard the people near you. You got a direct line to the red guy camping that window sill to tell him what you thought of him before you threw a sticky. In Halo 5, the Spartans speak constantly for you,saying things you don't want to say. 343i are stripping Halo of the gaming interactions we play online games for by emulating them with virtual automatons. Hearing a Spartan congratulate you for a double kill (on top of the medal and the announcer) is not as organic as hearing human speech, nor as immersive as hearing the last man of your spree yell, "BuIIsh*t!" for his last words.

Maybe that's the core problem with the design philosophy 343i ascribes themselves to: Present the game to the player as an experience. Explain things to him, show him his actions, tell him things, reward him. Older Halos immersed me into their games by giving me tools and letting me use them. They showed me crouch jumping and let me find places to hop up with it, they placed power weapons on the map and let me find them to learn which ones to control and how to control them, they gave me customizable gametypes and forge freedom, they put me close to other people through party systems and matchmaking because spending time playing games with bros was combat evolved.

Through criticism I've distilled what makes 343i's Halo games bad, but what is the secret that makes Halo games good? The beauty of Halo was simple gunplay and simple movement--simplicity dominated the design of Halo games. If 343i must make Halo lean on another shooter, let it be Quake. Let Halo mimic the power-up collection of Unreal Tournament, let it have zany vehicles like Tribes. These games are in a different spectrum of shooter from CoD or CS: GO or Titanfall, a spectrum that more closely resembles what Halo is about. There is no future for Halo in squeezing into the space between twitch military shooters, but there exists a market for gamers who want a simplified, consolized shooter--there's a market of people who want to play games like Halo.

I am one of those gamers. Halo 5 is a beta, yes: It's incomplete, it can be refined. But as it stands, it looks like the beta to a game without a sense of its own identity, a game made of questionable designs that are antithetical to a fun shooter, and a game full of small annoyances that pile up to smother the fun that can be had from it. With the MCC's unstable launch and Halo 5's obvious design flaws, I accept that the game I'll end up buying to scratch that simple console FPS itch will one day come to be, but that game won't be called Halo.




(6/5)
The Solution: A Reboot

It's easy for a man to destroy things; much harder for him to create them.

Here is my solution to keep Halo fresh and to create better Halo games: Copy what Valve did with Counter Strike. Counter Strike has underwent a revival and now boasts a thriving community because Valve remade Counter Strike into Counter Strike: Global Offensive. They modernized their old shooter without fundamentally changing how it plays, and since the fundamentals were good, CS:GO was a complete success. It did not deviate from its core identity but it improved upon areas where its predecessor failed to entertain or where it annoyed players, so it pleased old fans and brought in many news ones.

That is the example 343 Industries should mimic in their designs for Halo, not copying what's current and fresh with CoD or Titanfall or any other game. 343 Industries have deviated so far from the game designs of Halo 1 to 3 that it would do them well to recreate earlier Halo games; in doing so they would understand what makes Halo great. Such a project would bring natural change to the series because different hands would reconstitute Halo. From that foundation, 343 Industries can then tweak Halo and evolve it, but they cannot take the next step for Halo's future when their current footing is so precarious.
I'd say BR slayer is killing Halo
The "Ads" is suppose to work kinda like that.
The problem with it is not the descope but the spread decrease.

Youre suppose to get descoped and have to realign your shots. Descope is in all halos minus 4.
eman182, you seem to really have a grasp on the totality of issues in Halo 5. Let me just add that the sprint mechanism being used was designed for twitch-aim and spray shooters. Guns-down sprinting is most compatible with COD, Titanfall, BF, etc. Halo's gunplay mostly revolves around steady aim and shot making consistency. So the form of sprint being used really conflicts with Halo's natural gameplay and gunplay.

There are other ways to have a temporary increase in player speed (sprint) without it being guns-down running. If we are forced to keep some form of sprint mechanism in place then lets figure out an innovative way to allow for it. Guns-down sprinting breaks gameplay in Halo 5, even more-so than in Halo 4. But there have to be other ways to allow for a sprint/temporary increase in player speed beyond the simple guns-down running style used in other trendy shooters.

We need to investigate further and hopefully stay loud enough so 343 changes it.
C05MlC wrote:
eman182, you seem to really have a grasp on the totality of issues in Halo 5. Let me just add that the sprint mechanism being used was designed for twitch-aim and spray shooters. Guns-down sprinting is most compatible with COD, Titanfall, BF, etc. Halo's gunplay mostly revolves around steady aim and shot making consistency. So the form of sprint being used really conflicts with Halo's natural gameplay and gunplay.

There are other ways to have a temporary increase in player speed (sprint) without it being guns-down running. If we are forced to keep some form of sprint mechanism in place then lets figure out an innovative way to allow for it. Guns-down sprinting breaks gameplay in Halo 5, even more-so than in Halo 4. But there have to be other ways to allow for a sprint/temporary increase in player speed beyond the simple guns-down running style used in other trendy shooters.

We need to investigate further and hopefully stay loud enough so 343 changes it.
I thank you for taking the time to read my words. I love Halo enough that I thought deeply about the problems with the series and wrote all I saw wrong with 343 Industries's design choices as clearly as I could write it.

You nail it right on the head, C05MIC: Halo was never a twitch shooter, but it borrows mechanics from games that are.

343 Industries needs to look back to Halos 1 to 3 for inspiration on game design, not to the shooters of today. Halo 5 is an amorphous mess because it mixes shooter elements from disparate genres of shooters into one game.
Bravo sir. Every point made clear, and true.
The amount of absolute negativity in the initial few sentences tells me this post is heavily biased. Not without merit for sure, but I why should I care to read something that long when the post opens with insulting the subject? Why should I expect any kind of improvement on rational, constructive grounds?

Seeing as how the game was co designed alongside a team of professional halo players who know the game inside and out, I find it hard to believe they're "incompetent."
Hit the spot. Fantastic read.
Excellent. Excellent post. I pray 343 reads this and takes maybe an ounce into consideration.
ROBERTO jh wrote:
The amount of absolute negativity in the initial few sentences tells me this post is heavily biased. Not without merit for sure, but I why should I care to read something that long when the post opens with insulting the subject? Why should I expect any kind of improvement on rational, constructive grounds?

Seeing as how the game was co designed alongside a team of professional halo players who know the game inside and out, I find it hard to believe they're "incompetent."
Please do not disregard my points for the catchy title--no one would bother reading a volume of text at all if they weren't enticed by something.

My first paragraph was not meant to insult 343 Industries. I looked up their Wikipedia page and sought information about them on Google, and I learned that their developmental accomplishments are few and that they were, indeed, created and appointed by Microsoft as Halo's caretakers.

I do not argue that all my points are without reproach in logic, nor do my fierce words mean I hate 343 Industries. I believe that hating a company is fruitless because a company does not feel; I only want to speak plainly about the design choices of 343i's Halo games that are in conflict with each other and in conflict with the gameplay of older Halos.
Very well written.

I hope the powers that be at 343 read this and posts like it.

I dont think anyone who is for sprint in halo understands just how deeply it effects the game. I have to assume at this point that 343 is among these people.
Completely disagree with the title and the majority of your post.
eman182 wrote:
Adding sprint to Halo is a sympton of a greater disease: 343 Industries does not know how to create a compelling shooter, let alone fashion a great game befit the Halo series. If you recall, Microsoft did not pick 343 Industries to succeed Halo because of their merit as developers, but rather created them to house, feed, and milk the Halo cashcow Bungie abandoned in 2007. The only game that the in-house development team at 343 Industries made, Halo 4, was widely criticized as a terrible multiplayer game, so much so that 343 Industries had to strip it of all its "modernized" features to stymy the mass emmigration of its playerbase.
What rock have you been living under?
Bungie abandoned Halo in 2011, after BUNGIE released Reach, not 343. Everybody blames 343 for Reach's problems, they didn't make Reach, they were barely associated with it. You raise some legitimate concerns, but I can't take the majority of it seriously when you make such an obvious blunder in your opening paragraph.
Sprint was introduced by Bungie in Reach, along with armor abilities. 343 took armor abilities out again.
Did no one actually look at Reach's case? I find this way too often that someone thinks 343 made Reach. It is stamped in big letters "Bungie" on it. Is everybody else blind? Or am I just seeing things?

343 messed up with Halo 4, I'm not denying that, but it was based off of Bungie's last Halo game. On top of that 343 admitted that they messed up Halo 4, I am willing give them a second chance with Halo 5. It can be good, but we can't be so negative towards the idea of 343 making it to not give them a chance.

Here's my thoughts on Halo 5(Mostly astetics)
The BR should have a proper scope, not this ADS designed thing. Did the UNSC loose money, or forget how to build scopes for it? They had better technology, now they have worse technology. Yes the spartans have the all-mighty smart-scope, does the run of the mill marine? Didn't the last time I checked. It doesn't make any sense in terms of the universe either, but you know, that would make sense from a design standpoint, also consistent. Can't be having that.

The rocket launcher design, not the Hydra mind you, looks boring and as un-Halo as you could get with it. I mean its has the dual shot, where are my dual barrels? Halo has never been about realism in terms of how things function over how they should function. It is science-fiction. It doesn't need to make sense.

The SMG is overpowered at range, it can beat my BR at mid range battles
Kill cams are annoying and we, at the very least, need the option to disable them

Why did they have to add a scope to everything? I mean really? 343 added it to the sword, what is the point of that, it already has incredible lunge distance. There were a minority of weapons without scope already, this change is very confusing to me.

The brODSTs, ug, I don't even want to start. So the BA Spartan is basically now giving handshakes to the opposite team saying "good game"? They are super soldiers, not super stars.

No dual wield? It makes sense considering how OP the SMG is, but the SMG shouldn't be that powerful, but I suppose why would you want to re-introduce such a unique Halo mechanic when there are only 4-6ish weapons that would be dual wieldable?

Way too many medals, I got a medal for a "Kill", so what? Why do I need a medal for such a worthless accomplishment? Especially in a shooter, where the objective is to kill the enemy? Are you coddling those people that are bad at playing Halo, saying hey we know you can't get more than 4 kills in a game, but feel good about those kills because you got 50 freaking medals for them? P.S. that person is supposed to ignore their 20+ deaths because they got more medals than deaths.

You have taken the iconic Halo announcer and auto-tunned him so much I want to rip my ears off. An exaggeration, but still his voice now sucks. And he announces everything, the medals wouldn't be quite as bad if he didn't announce every other one. And he does it badly, has anyone heard "snipultanious" it's terrible, and "perfect" for the perfect kill medal, is he getting turned on?

Halo 5 needs some tweaks, but that is what the beta is for, letting us tell them what works and what doesn't.
If you want to scream bloody murder at sprint being in Halo 5, go ahead.
Completely disagree with the title and the majority of your post.
Why
Morachip wrote:
eman182 wrote:
Adding sprint to Halo is a sympton of a greater disease: 343 Industries does not know how to create a compelling shooter, let alone fashion a great game befit the Halo series. If you recall, Microsoft did not pick 343 Industries to succeed Halo because of their merit as developers, but rather created them to house, feed, and milk the Halo cashcow Bungie abandoned in 2007. The only game that the in-house development team at 343 Industries made, Halo 4, was widely criticized as a terrible multiplayer game, so much so that 343 Industries had to strip it of all its "modernized" features to stymy the mass emmigration of its playerbase.


What rock have you been living under?
Bungie abandoned Halo in 2011, after BUNGIE released Reach, not 343. Everybody blames 343 for Reach's problems, they didn't make Reach, they were barely associated with it. You raise some legitimate concerns, but I can't take the majority of it seriously when you make such an obvious blunder in your opening paragraph.
Sprint was introduced by Bungie in Reach, along with armor abilities. 343 took armor abilities out again.
Did no one actually look at Reach's case? I find this way too often that someone thinks 343 made Reach. It is stamped in big letters "Bungie" on it. Is everybody else blind? Or am I just seeing things?

I may have gotten the date 343 Industries inherited the Halo series wrong.

But I show no favoritism to Bungie for developing Halo: Reach, nor am I a Reach apologist. Halo: Reach was a terrible multiplayer game with poor design choices (Aim Bloom being the worst offender) that are similar to the design choices that plague Halo 4 and Halo 5. In fact, I'd go as far to say that Bungie sabotaged 343 Industries by giving them an incorrect map to the Halo treasure when they released Halo: Reach and then handed over the reigns of the franchise. It's little surprise, then, that 343 Industries lost their way.

But I will state this: I don't care which company is at the helm of the Halo series. Companies are made of people, and people come and go, so a company's identity is ever-changing. What lives forever is the product those groups of people create, and that is why my post compares the gameplay of Halo 5 to the gameplay of Halos 1 to 3, the Halos that defined how the series's multiplayer plays.
Completely disagree with the title and the majority of your post.

Why
Lack of objectivity, and the majority of the OP arguments are reduced to "Halo now resembles every other shooter" and "what makes Halo, Halo"
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