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Plea from a lapsed cynic

OP Superman Kenobi

Let me start by saying I'm almost completely a lapsed Halo player. I loved to play back on the 360, my favorite games in the series by far are Halo 3 and Reach. Halo 4 was a step in the wrong direction for me personally, and Halo 5 compounded some of the problems. I spent about two years trying to make myself overlook the problems in these newer games before I just completely fell off the wagon and lost all enthusiasm for Halo as a franchise.

Today, I learned that my all-time favorite helmet, the original Reach Operator design, is returning in Halo 5. I immediately grabbed the req pack, unable to help myself. That's when I realized how incredible the sandbox for this game is. It's amazing how many options there are. The sheer amount of unique weapons alone is unprecedented in Halo history. All these armor sets, too. There hasn't been a game in the series that has so many things to play with.

My problem, as I've finally come to understand it, is that I can't play with these things in the same ways that I used to. Halo 3 was a huge step forward for the series because it brought Forge into the picture. Yes, by today's standards, there was very little to do in that mode. But it established a precedent for the Halo community to be able to play with and utilize in-game assets in whichever ways they saw fit. There was more freedom than there had ever been before to play Halo how you wanted to. Many people lived on Slayer, just like back in the H2 days, but an increasing number of folks spent more and more of their time running through the scored campaign with their buddies or making incredible things in Forge. Custom games was also invaluably expanded upon in Halo 3. The sheer amount of options was incredible, and it allowed you to play the game however you wanted. Freedom to use all of the things Bungie had coded into the game in whatever ways you wanted made for the player base discovering some incredible things. Grifball perhaps being the most obvious example of this. In my opinion, Reach expanded upon all of this further by creating a whole other group of players who sunk countless hours into the new and improved Firefight. Yes, ODST had it, and it was great, but when Bungie added custom options to Firefight, just like they had before with other modes, it became bigger than itself.

Now, we have this incredible, amazing sandbox. So many things that you could tweak and alter to fit whatever kind of game experience you wanted. Forge is more powerful than it has ever been. The game is gorgeous, it handles incredibly well. Gripes and grudges with the story aside, on a technical level, this game has no excuse not to be the penultimate Halo experience to date. But for me, and a lot of other players like me, it isn't. All of this incredible work that 343 has put into making this brilliant and immense Halo game is a waste for me. Yes, they're serving one aspect of the community immensely well. PvP is stronger than it has been in a long time. PvE? Well, I'll argue that Warzone firefight scratches a very different itch than Firefight used to, so I'm still wanting a proper mode for that. The real loss, though, is the freedom to play however you want. The campaign this time around doesn't have that infectious re playability. It doesn't provide a satisfying custom-games experience. Gone are those wonderful menus that allowed us to tweak every aspect of the game to play how we wanted it to. The toys are bigger and better and more innumerable than ever, but I feel like I can't play with them. And that's Halo 5's biggest failing, as far as I'm concerned.

So, I'm putting out a plea. 343, I've lost my patience with you before about little things. And I've shot my mouth off about how i feel like you "don't get Halo" or how you "don't care about the community". I'm admitting I've been wrong every time I've said that. What the problem is for alienated players like myself is that you aren't expanding upon the elements of Halo I fell in love with. You've done a spectacular job rejuvenating the game for matchmaking savants. That was something a lot of people thought you could never do. In developing Halo 6, I hope you try to bring back what some of us other players miss about earlier games in the series. I really, really want to be excited about Halo again. I finally see how hard you worked on Halo 5, and I've come to admire a lot of things about it. You gave it your absolute all and made the biggest Halo game ever. Give us the freedom to truly understand the depths of how hard you've worked on it by giving us back these things. I'll be buying Halo 6 regardless. I can't help myself. But I hope you think about these things and make my purchase well worthwhile.
If I am understanding your post correctly Halo 5 has perhaps the greatest features of any title, but the unintutive UI design for creating custom games and searching for them is what really puts you off.

A fair sentiment I can agree with. I have started to join custom games via the browser as of lately (partly because of the helmet, but mostly for fun). Joining mid game is a blast because I can immediately start having fun and catch the next round, but as soon as the match ends, it is a pain in the -Yoink- for the host to change maps/gametypes or even to understand what the lobby is doing. Also I find it strange that I can save gametypes that I might want to play again, but I cannot save the map. Usually I have to look up the authors gamertag and find it in the browser.

Everything to do with UI menu could use a revamp for the next title.
I've become more attached to PvE in my years of playing Halo than I used to be when it was still fresh, but I feel vanilla Warzone has brought be a gametype that feels tailor made to my preferences. It has just enough PvE with that PvP to make me enjoy 'em both. That said, I too would welcome a more well-rounded, full-featured PvE mode. Something akin to ODST's firefight, with just enough of Halo 5's Warzone and Halo 4's Spartan Ops for flavor.

Also, welcome back to Halo 5!