Hi 343 Industries, I am going to outline 5 major requirements that will make all of your games, current and future, very successful. I have been reading and participating in a lot of threads on Waypoint, posts on Reddit, and discussions on Steam and it seems like you are struggling to maintain your player base, scrambling to keep your fans content, and just seem lost with the overall direction/development of Halo. So out of kindness and for the love of Halo, here is the recipe for making MCC/Infinite successful.
- Custom dedicated server browser (not the H5 forge custom browser). Just look at that free game and you will know why nobody is playing it aside from the terrible mouse/keyboard controls. We need purchasable dedicated servers like in Halo Custom Edition, CSGO, Battlefield, etc. P2P connections is a terrible way to play custom games; any game that depends on a player’s/host’s connection instead of an actual server running 24/7 is backwards thinking. Why else are custom dedicated servers so important? Because with custom dedicated servers, you can completely resolve 90% of the complaints I’m seeing across all forum discussions. You can first start by removing social playlists, which results in much less work for you in the long run. The community will create the social/fun, games, gametypes because the community actually knows what the players want. You won't have to worry about people crying over DMR starts, players going AFK/leaving, team balance issues, map vetoing, stale playlists, etc. because the custom dedicated servers will solve all of those issues on their own, much like how a free market operates. Want to only play a certain map? There will be many dedicated servers running those maps 24/7. Hate DMR starts? Just hop into one of the many servers with AR/Pistol starts. Want to play with DMRs, infection, BTB or just FFAs? There will 100% be plenty of custom dedicated servers running them 24/7. Think about all of the current resources being utilized to address these complaints listed above and how they can be reallocated to actual development projects like Forge, Theater, etc. On top of that, you get paid for the monthly fees for these purchased servers.
- Expand/update the competitive/hardcore playlists. Each game (Reach, H1-H4) should have FFA, 1v1, 2v2 and 4v4 hardcore/competitive playlists. Remove ranked Invasion. Whoever thought this was a good idea should take an extended vacation. So why is this important? Because although competitive Halo has always been about teamwork/chemistry/coordination at the highest levels, all of that stems from each player’s individual skill. For the serious players that want to compete and improve their individual play, or maybe just don’t have teammates that are available but still want to compete, this is where they can go. It also resolves the stale map rotation and gametypes of only 4v4s.
- Input based matchmaking or completely remove aim assist in competitive/hardcore playlists. Before you cover your ears and scream 'lal la la,' read this. Your true and much larger PC player base (MKB) is rapidly leaving this game; just look at your PC population on steam charts; the player base has literally gone down 50% over the past 2 weeks and over 30% in the past 7 days. WAKE UP! As a competitor, who is unassisted and not handicapped (aka using MKB), I do NOT want to compete against someone who willingly chooses to be handicapped in exchange for assistance of any kind. I also do NOT want to compete against someone who is just handicapped (controller w/ no aim assist) and I do NOT want to compete against someone who is unfairly assisted (cheaters). Notice the words 'compete.' This is the nature of fair competition in actual real-life sports and e-sports; the integrity of the game means EVERYTHING. There is zero integrity when you allow a certain group of people to obtain a legitimized aimbot (no matter how strong) in exchange for being handicapped. Again, I know there is a lot of discussion already regarding this topic, but to me it is such a simple concept to understand. Forget about what all the other games are trying to do to balance MKB with controllers (ie Fortnite, COD). I am going to tell you right now, their efforts are wasted because there will never be a true balance between the two inputs in an unrestricted, fair, competitive environment. Be ahead of the curve right now, when it comes to competition. You're already late to the PC party and are royally screwing it up as we speak. If someone wants to use a controller, compete and make money, have separate ranks/leagues/tournaments for them (aka input based matchmaking). Unfortunately, as you already know, people no longer want to watch that ("pros" with a handicap in exchange for a soft aimbot), hence the decline in Halo over the past decade, hence why Microsoft even decided to bring this franchise to the PC in the first place!! They now see the money potential in e-sports on PC, but your strategy to take market share is being poorly executed by catering/supporting the player base of an already declined and continually declining market (competitive console FPS) .
- Flawless mouse/keyboard input. I shouldn't have to state this as a requirement, but you can't port this game to PC and completely ignore the primary input. Fix the input delay NOW. Hire a team that has experience in developing games like CSGO, Overwatch, even Fortnite and pay them extremely well to get that 1:1 raw input feel.
- True support for higher refresh rates. I shouldn’t have to state this as a requirement either. I mean it’s 2020 and Halo Custom Edition, a 16 year old game can support 120hz and much higher with mods created by the community. Okay, it's possibly too late for Reach, I understand and will grant you a pass, but if Halo CE MCC PC isn't as good or better than Halo Custom Edition in terms of mouse/keyboard input and refresh rate, you will 100% show your incompetence.
- Maintain the integrity of the game. You can do points 1-4, but if cheating becomes easily accessible and rampant, your game will falter. Probably the only thing that has been a success thus far, but also could be due to the fact that hackers couldn’t care less about making cheats for a dying game.