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We need to stop ignoring the reason people are afk

OP Squiggles6616

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I see so many people complain about how afk scripts are such a massive problem and not even 343 is willing to admit what the issue is. You're a fool if you think these are people who are purely out to ruin your day. They're not. You are just collateral damage. Take a moment and ask yourself why are people running afk in the first place? What do they have to gain? There are no gameplay unlocks. No weapons or perk to earn so why would people farm xp? It's because 343 launched this seasonal progression system and didn't take the time to consider how it would affect the players. They didn't ask themselves does this make the game more fun. The season track is bad for players, and it is the reason it is creating all these afk scripters. They know this but refuse to acknowledge that it is their fault. 343 is committing to an impossible battle. Instead of trying to address the issue and admit fault they are going to increase bans and expect it to work. The reality is you are not going to stop bad behavior by creating a fear of punishment. It creates resentment, because instead of feeling respected the player feels at odds with the devs. They want to find the most efficient way to earn xp but the devs are waiting for an opportunity to attack you. This is terrible for the game, the community, and the devs. it must be addressed properly.

The way xp is awarded to players is unacceptable. As it stands the most efficient way to gain xp is not simply by playing and helping your team, but by cycling through matches as quickly as possible. Why are people committing suicide in firefight? Why are people creating sword lines in Grifball? Why are they creating afk scripts that almost exclusively are used in Grifball? It's simple, because that is how to go through the most amount of games as quickly as possible. 343 wants you to believe that the most efficient way to gain is through performance and team play. This is 100% wrong. The xp system will only reward performance up to an arbitrary cap. That means that you only need to put in "enough" effort, not your best effort. Once you hit cap any additional medals or points you might earn in the match are completely wasted. So you need to end the match as quickly as possible so that your cap can reset and you can continue earning xp. This means playing matches that naturally end quickly like Grifball, or games that can be intentionally ended early like firefight. There is a tiny, almost insignificant amount of xp awarded for match length. But it pales in comparison to what you can earn by simply ending early and getting performance medals. Even during double xp match length doesn't get any sort of bonus, so staying in a long game is worth even less.

Medals are a horrible way to measure a player's performance. In a game of Grifball nearly every action will reward a medal of some sort. In a game of slayer you will only gain xp for certain kinds of kills. If you don't use a headshot capable weapon, like the AR or shotgun, you will not get anything unless you manage a multikill or a killing spree. In objective game modes there are only certain opportunities to earn medals. If you play oddball and are a literal god never getting killed and scoring all the points for your team you will be rewarded with 0xp. Because none of that got you a medal specifically. If you play medic and heal your teammates, or drive the flag carrier you get nothing. It doesn't even matter if you win or lose. So why would anyone play to win if there is literally nothing to gain? Better to play every game like slayer and farm medals until cap.

Since the rewards are in a predetermined order and given arbitrary value by a handful of people at 343, you are basically rolling the dice hoping that the unlocks you want are early, and not at the end of the season. If you love recon it is very early in the track. And recon used to be extremely rare and only obtainable by completing vidmaster achievements. But in Halo Reach you win the lotto and can get it in a couple of hours. Since xp is literally the only thing that matters, then it stands to reason that players will only behave in their best interest. And we are seeing the result of 343's mistake. Players aren't griefing, they aren't out to get you to ruin your experience. It is simply people playing against the game. This is what the game rewards them for doing. If you don't want people to afk, instead of trying to ban every single person as they appear you must change the game. That doesn't mean punishing players by removing match length xp. it means providing alternatives that promote active play which are far more efficient means of unlocking rewards. Instead of locking armor behind rank lock it behind an achievement. Instead of capping performance continue to reward people for winning matches. Provide daily or weekly challenges that will grant more xp in an hour than running afk all day will.

I am as sick of people griefing as you all are. But it is so frustrating to see people yelling and complaining instead of trying to find solutions. Trying to take petty revenge by banning everyone does not help anyone. We need to stop trying to fight them, and instead give them a better reason to join us. But until we acknowledge the real issues MCC will be plagued forever with griefers.
Good post, I think it would be a productive use of the thread to brainstorm solutions before it devolves into people shouting passed each other like nearly every other thread.

I think it's good to reiterate your point that there is no one mindset to those afk'ing and they're all being pooled together. It is fair to say that the XP system currently is rewarding unsportsmanlike behaviour (when firefight goes for 30 minutes but you cap XP, the in-game reward, at 10 you are strictly telling people to stop playing and restart for example), but how do you stop rewarding it without punishing people for playing the game how you basically told them to play?

Approaches that could be implemented:
1. Remove game length XP: afk'ing useless, bad for longer games, firefight etc. that already offer little XP/time.
2. Remove caps: May not fix afk'ing if match length XP is too high.
3. XP for more than just medals: Not a direct counter to afk'ing but better for those actually playing, just good all round as described in OP
4. Add challenges that have large XP bonuses for playing the game a certain way or for a certain time: Optimal solution imo, be a good boy, get more XP than the naughty boy.

Overall the solution should be that playing the game for fun and being a good sport should award more XP than afk'ing and, most importantly, feel more rewarding. Once we reach that point, where playing by the rules can deliver that big lizard-brain dopamine XP hit, anyone left afk'ing is just boosting to sell the account or a jerk.

Elephant in the room is obviously that old Reach already had this sorted but we all gotta work from the ground up in this post-Fortnite memepass future apparently.
I should have mentioned this also but playing campaign is a complete waste of time as far as progression goes. Sure there are some nameplates but you will gain 0xp. I just completed it on legendary. It's enough for me to see the little medals proving I did it solo. But there's always that thought in the back of my head that instead of spending an hour grinding against this I could be playing something else that will rank me. There is already scoring implemented, so it would be great to see you earn at least a little xp even if you are just killing grunts. Then of course increasing your score multiplier, and playing on legendary will net you more xp. Maybe have it required to beat the level to cash out just in case there is some unforeseen cheese.

Putting certain unlocks behind achievements would make it that no amount of afk scripting will get you those pieces. Although that brings up the question is it right to lock certain cosmetics behind something ridiculously hard like mythic campaign? It makes it far rarer and more rewarding for those who accomplish it, but will forever lock it away for others. Maybe it would be unlocked by milestone achievements? Restricting your choice in armor to your rank just mimics the same issue of having linear rewards. Whatever replaces it should allow a player to specifically target and works towards any armor piece they want regardless of rank.
Listen, I get it the progression tree is awful, and there is a lot wrong with the grind. But if you're struggling to make money, is it okay to rob a bank? If you're starving, is it okay to dine and dash? These are choices people are making. 343 is 100000% aware of the community feedback on the progression. But theres absolutely zero defense for bots and boosting. I know that none of them are out to ruin my day, but it doesnt change the fact that they do, for myself, and many others. Its unacceptable, a breach of the Halo MCC ToS, and the Xbox ToS, and it's just wrong. We all have to muscle through the grind, all of us. I want my Reach armor back too, but I'm working towards it the hard way. And if people are unsure of 343 being aware of the progression issues, please refer to MCC's December Dev Update. It's being addressed, just be patient.
That money analogy is silly because the system of currency has been in the world since carving on rocks in mesopotamia.
This crappy unlock system has been here less than a month.
It's no different though, dates of establishment have nothing to do with it. I agree with everyone, this is a bad progression system, but it does not justify botting and boosting. Rules are rules, and that's final. That said I respect the OP for trying to approach this in a more constructive manner, it's something we need more of. Lastly, let's not forget that the original game had a daily credit cap of 200,000 cR, and the only advantage to that progression to this one, was choice. It doesn't take near as long in MCC's Reach as it did in legacy. I hate the linear progression just as much as the next guy, but 343 are aware and working on it, so we just need to be patient and follow the rules.
What happened to just playing games because they’re fun? I think AFKers should have their progression reset completely. Such a lazy and pathetic thing to do
Listen, I get it the progression tree is awful, and there is a lot wrong with the grind. But if you're struggling to make money, is it okay to rob a bank? If you're starving, is it okay to dine and dash? These are choices people are making. 343 is 100000% aware of the community feedback on the progression. But theres absolutely zero defense for bots and boosting. I know that none of them are out to ruin my day, but it doesnt change the fact that they do, for myself, and many others. Its unacceptable, a breach of the Halo MCC ToS, and the Xbox ToS, and it's just wrong. We all have to muscle through the grind, all of us. I want my Reach armor back too, but I'm working towards it the hard way. And if people are unsure of 343 being aware of the progression issues, please refer to MCC's December Dev Update. It's being addressed, just be patient.
What kind of logic is that, XP is not some kind of limited resource that's being mined in south africa, it's an artificial number they can increase and decrease with a mouseclick at any given time. I am all for bans for anything bots and afk, but when the entire lobby agrees to swordline without anyone even typing anything in chat, then you know you messed up royally with your progression system and the players shouldn't be punished for it. You should never ban people for using the tools you give them in your own game.
Listen, I get it the progression tree is awful, and there is a lot wrong with the grind. But if you're struggling to make money, is it okay to rob a bank? If you're starving, is it okay to dine and dash? These are choices people are making. 343 is 100000% aware of the community feedback on the progression. But theres absolutely zero defense for bots and boosting. I know that none of them are out to ruin my day, but it doesnt change the fact that they do, for myself, and many others. Its unacceptable, a breach of the Halo MCC ToS, and the Xbox ToS, and it's just wrong. We all have to muscle through the grind, all of us. I want my Reach armor back too, but I'm working towards it the hard way. And if people are unsure of 343 being aware of the progression issues, please refer to MCC's December Dev Update. It's being addressed, just be patient.
What kind of logic is that, XP is not some kind of limited resource that's being mined in south africa, it's an artificial number they can increase and decrease with a mouseclick at any given time. I am all for bans for anything bots and afk, but when the entire lobby agrees to swordline without anyone even typing anything in chat, then you know you messed up royally with your progression system and the players shouldn't be punished for it. You should never ban people for using the tools you give them in your own game.
If that's how you interpret my analogy, then you've missed the point. It is that, when there as an issue acquiring, or a problem with the system, it doesnt justify abusing flaws in the system. Whether everyone in the lobby agrees or not, it's an exploit. Reason being is, you arent playing Grifball, instead you're deliberately bending the game to your advantage and not playing the objective. I dont care how bad the progression system is, there is zero justification for boosting and botting.
An exploit is taking advantage of a bug that is clearly not intended by the developers. Swordlining is not exploiting, it is two sides simply agreeing to help boost xp. No one is modifying the game in any way to achieve this. Scripting and macros is not exploiting but is clearly using third party software to take action you otherwise couldn't. I'm not trying to say that they are completely innocent, but I feel that the community (especially on reddit) has been completely blinded by their need to punish rather then rehabilitate. You could jail someone for the rest of their life, or you can convince them to go straight and be a productive member of the community. But they never will if you don't give them any incentive to be.

My point being is we need to be realistic. Whether you agree with them or not isn't the point. I wanted to make it clear that if we continue to focus on the griefers themselves we will never see the end of it. If you want to really punish them, remove the system they are exploiting. You could make a comparison to drugs or alcohol. Banning it entirely and punishing people is an impossible task. But change the rules and make it unprofitable then it will stop or at least drastically reduce the people willing to try and exploit. I know it sounds appealing to attack them directly and ban people willing to use scripts, but it will not actually get us closer to fixing the real problem.
Listen, I get it the progression tree is awful, and there is a lot wrong with the grind. But if you're struggling to make money, is it okay to rob a bank? If you're starving, is it okay to dine and dash? These are choices people are making. 343 is 100000% aware of the community feedback on the progression. But theres absolutely zero defense for bots and boosting. I know that none of them are out to ruin my day, but it doesnt change the fact that they do, for myself, and many others. Its unacceptable, a breach of the Halo MCC ToS, and the Xbox ToS, and it's just wrong. We all have to muscle through the grind, all of us. I want my Reach armor back too, but I'm working towards it the hard way. And if people are unsure of 343 being aware of the progression issues, please refer to MCC's December Dev Update. It's being addressed, just be patient.
What kind of logic is that, XP is not some kind of limited resource that's being mined in south africa, it's an artificial number they can increase and decrease with a mouseclick at any given time. I am all for bans for anything bots and afk, but when the entire lobby agrees to swordline without anyone even typing anything in chat, then you know you messed up royally with your progression system and the players shouldn't be punished for it. You should never ban people for using the tools you give them in your own game.
If that's how you interpret my analogy, then you've missed the point. It is that, when there as an issue acquiring, or a problem with the system, it doesnt justify abusing flaws in the system. Whether everyone in the lobby agrees or not, it's an exploit. Reason being is, you arent playing Grifball, instead you're deliberately bending the game to your advantage and not playing the objective. I dont care how bad the progression system is, there is zero justification for boosting and botting.
Tell me who has a negative impact on their game experience when a lobby agrees to swordline. Banning people for exploits they don't want to fix is just lazy and cowardly, they could have applied a bandaid fix like not enabling 2x xp for griffball or giving high bonus xp for high kds or a bigger gametime multiplier. I would even go as far to say that just playing griffball the regular way is boosting since you get so much higher xp per minute there it's laughable.

And by your logic we should also ban people who use exploits to skip fights in campaign or to explore out of map, it's an exploit after all. What about people who kept reloading the checkpoint on swordbase with the targer locator back in the day, would you like if they were banned too?
Listen, I get it the progression tree is awful, and there is a lot wrong with the grind. But if you're struggling to make money, is it okay to rob a bank? If you're starving, is it okay to dine and dash? These are choices people are making. 343 is 100000% aware of the community feedback on the progression. But theres absolutely zero defense for bots and boosting. I know that none of them are out to ruin my day, but it doesnt change the fact that they do, for myself, and many others. Its unacceptable, a breach of the Halo MCC ToS, and the Xbox ToS, and it's just wrong. We all have to muscle through the grind, all of us. I want my Reach armor back too, but I'm working towards it the hard way. And if people are unsure of 343 being aware of the progression issues, please refer to MCC's December Dev Update. It's being addressed, just be patient.
What kind of logic is that, XP is not some kind of limited resource that's being mined in south africa, it's an artificial number they can increase and decrease with a mouseclick at any given time. I am all for bans for anything bots and afk, but when the entire lobby agrees to swordline without anyone even typing anything in chat, then you know you messed up royally with your progression system and the players shouldn't be punished for it. You should never ban people for using the tools you give them in your own game.
If that's how you interpret my analogy, then you've missed the point. It is that, when there as an issue acquiring, or a problem with the system, it doesnt justify abusing flaws in the system. Whether everyone in the lobby agrees or not, it's an exploit. Reason being is, you arent playing Grifball, instead you're deliberately bending the game to your advantage and not playing the objective. I dont care how bad the progression system is, there is zero justification for boosting and botting.
Tell me who has a negative impact on their game experience when a lobby agrees to swordline. Banning people for exploits they don't want to fix is just lazy and cowardly, they could have applied a bandaid fix like not enabling 2x xp for griffball or giving high bonus xp for high kds or a bigger gametime multiplier. I would even go as far to say that just playing griffball the regular way is boosting since you get so much higher xp per minute there it's laughable.

And by your logic we should also ban people who use exploits to skip fights in campaign or to explore out of map, it's an exploit after all. What about people who kept reloading the checkpoint on swordbase with the targer locator back in the day, would you like if they were banned too?
Its more of it breaking the rules that nets the ban, and if you break the rules, clearly laid out in the ToS for BOTH 343 and Microsoft, that all of you accepted when you joined the Xbox community. And as far as people negatively impacted? How about those like myself that DONT want to abuse the system, and earn our rep the real way, and the way they intended. Your "solution" also affects those of us that enjoy Grifball, in a negative way. Why should we be punished because you all cant show restraint and decency to play the game correctly??? That's absurd
I still think allowing XP gains in singleplayer and custom games would alleviate the afk issues...

So what if those things would be seen as "easier"? This entire cosmetic progression system takes all the skill out of the process as it is. It's just a measurement of how much free time one has.
I still think allowing XP gains in singleplayer and custom games would alleviate the afk issues...

So what if those things would be seen as "easier"? This entire cosmetic progression system takes all the skill out of the process as it is. It's just a measurement of how much free time one has.
Customs and campaign absolutely need XP. I have a hunch, that mods may have a hand in our lack of XP, as one can mod in infinite health and ammo, and steamroll the campaign. I suspect before long we'll see some changes to campaign that offer XP bonuses. Not to mention challenges are on the way.
It's an interesting read.. And I agree that the unlock system is just above ridiculous. However, if the players are at odds with the devs over the unlock system, maybe that's the fault of the players? Believe it or not, 343 went this route because people complained about not having a grind in MCC. We finally have it and you want to point fingers at 343 for malicious players? No.

Choosing to run AFK scripts, or even rubber banding like the old days is intentionally ruining the other players' experience in the game. No amount of progression changes will change how there are players who only care about cosmetics. They're more interested in the end, and not the road to get there.

No amount of changes, short of making the unlocks revolve around a challenge system, will change the fact that people will look for shortcuts. Which will, in turn, hinder the experience for legitimate players. It's a lose lose for everyone here.
Finally, a voice of reason.
It's an interesting read.. And I agree that the unlock system is just above ridiculous. However, if the players are at odds with the devs over the unlock system, maybe that's the fault of the players? Believe it or not, 343 went this route because people complained about not having a grind in MCC. We finally have it and you want to point fingers at 343 for malicious players? No.

Choosing to run AFK scripts, or even rubber banding like the old days is intentionally ruining the other players' experience in the game. No amount of progression changes will change how there are players who only care about cosmetics. They're more interested in the end, and not the road to get there.

No amount of changes, short of making the unlocks revolve around a challenge system, will change the fact that people will look for shortcuts. Which will, in turn, hinder the experience for legitimate players. It's a lose lose for everyone here.
As always with these things, a vocal minority got their way and the previously silent majority spoke up afterwards.
Where were all these people for the years prior when the MCC just gave you all the armor to customize with because most of these games are a decade old? The season progression system is the bad answer to the simple request that players have full access to the customization system not previously offered.
And before you or someone else tries to pull a "the system isn't bad you just don't like it", where does it go from here? CE has no armor customization. 2 has no armor customization either. ODST doesn't have firefight so no unlocking characters for that. 3, 2:A, and 4 all already have their armor unlocked so unless 343 plans to take it all away just to make people unlock it again they can't use them either. This is season one of the progression system and they played everything in their hand right off the bat.
Reading this thread is great, I hope that 343 will put some work in to improve things. There is a lot to like and dislike. I personally feel as though the community has better ideas and input then the devs who are controlled by some budget minded corp officers. This round with MCC could go so much further If they invested just a little more effort, but its all about money up there once again and in the longterm I fear Halo just won't make it.
I’ve literally not seen but one AFKer in this game. And that AFKer was just cheating by having guests on his Xbox for easy wins and high kdr. Is the so called AFK problem a PC issue?
Here are the things that I believe are mandatory for the health of the system 343 is clearly dead-set on implementing.

1) Removal or vast increase of XP caps.
The effort to perform above and beyond the norm should not be rewarded with diminishing returns, and eventually, futility. It should not be superior to spam multiple low quality games than it is to play fewer high quality games.
2) Honor System/In-game report system.
I believe that players who demonstrate that they are not quitters/repeat leavers should receive some sort of XP boon. When you quit a game, this bonus is removed until you play another 10-20 without leaving. To avoid exploitation from rubber-band AFKing, better in-game report infrastructure needs to be introduced for swift banning or frankly more preferably, progress resets.
3) Commendations/Achievement Bounties
One of the selling points of the MCC is "Completionism", the idea of 100% such a comprehensive collection.
I believe that granting XP for achievements earned will encourage players to explore all the facets of the games they take you through, as well as help new players get over the initial content hump with a large beginning windfall.
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