Progression System Update
In last month’s Development Update for MCC, we talked at high level about the Reach inspired progression system that is being developed for all titles in MCC. After reading what people were talking about, there seemed to be a handful of common questions and misconceptions about how unlocks, progression through the system, and access to the content will work.
As a follow up, I was able to talk with Max Szlagor (MCC Design Director) a little bit about some of the common questions and concerns that I’ve seen pop up.
Postums: Hey Max, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and do a follow up on questions that the community has around the new progression system. They are excited, curious, and want to know so much more about it.
Max: You are quite welcome and I’m happy to answer these to help the community understand better what our intentions are with this new system and how we aim to improve the experience for not only Reach, but for all games in MCC.
Well, for starters, one of the things the community has been talking about is the new Seasons. Can you clarify what a season is and when one ends, what happens to the content and unlocks around it?
This was something I also saw online that was being talked about. Our intent has and will always be that when a season is over, content doesn’t disappear. You will not lose access to the ability to earn content from a season or the ability to use previously unlocked content. A core design philosophy we have is to give more options to players and when it comes to earning things, we will not take this away from you.
When a season ends, nothing will be taken away in terms of unlocks. If a new season starts that has a new theme, such as the release of the next title for MCC PC, it will be additive and include new unlocks to work towards. For you, this means that if you haven’t finished unlocking all content for the first Halo: Reach season, and the Halo: Combat Evolved season has started, you now can choose to continue working on unlocking content in the Halo: Reach season or use your season points towards the unlocks from the new Halo: CE season. All content and unlocks are yours forever once they have been earned. If anything, we will look at new and fun ways to add content for you to work towards.
(Above is a WIP visual of the in UI preview for viewing your character when customizing them. Recon Aor is one of the many planned Season 1 unlocks.)
You talk a little bit about Season points. What are the currencies that will be available to players within the progression system, how will they be able to earn them, and what will they be used on?
At season launch, players will earn season points by leveling up your global rank through completing activities in the game that are played on dedicated servers. This will be for multiplayer in matchmaking and online Firefight. Later on, challenges will become available and will also reward season points on completion.
When you earn season points, you will be able to spend them on Halo: Reach armors, armor effects, and Firefight voices in addition to profile items like nameplates in the first season. Future seasons will offer profile items and possibly some other unlockables.
What exactly is a season made up of?
A season includes a unique theme, new playlists and featured modes, and a series of new unlockables. When a new season begins, players can earn unlockables from any previous season by purchasing the unlocks in order after they level up. Playlists and modes will rotate each season, though popular gameplay experiences can rotate back in during future seasons.
How will you earn the XP to rank up and earn additional season points? As well, what changes have been made to improve how much time it takes to earn the XP?
XP will be granted at the end of each completed game that is played on dedicated servers. This will include PVP multiplayer matchmade games and Firefight matchmaking. XP will be awarded based on the length of the match and medals earned, but the medals earned will account for most of the XP. Medals will award XP in two primary categories; performance and teamwork. Performance medals include things such as kill streaks, style kills, and objective medals like flag captures. Teamwork medals are awarded for in-game actions like assists, protecting another player, or contributing to a score in objective game types. XP will be capped for all the categories; time, performance, and teamwork per match.
What are the different ranks being used in game?
There will be a Global rank and a matchmaking per-playlist rank that players can level up. As players complete matches and earn medals, they will earn XP and eventually reach a new level for their Global rank with each level having a unique name and icon. Per-playlist ranks will be the same as they are in MCC currently, but will be reset at the beginning of each new season or if a playlist is added in.
(Above is a WIP of various emblems that are currently being prototyped for the Global rankings.)
The Global rank will also roll over for players who have reached the final level and allow you to continue climbing through them to earn more points towards seasonal unlocks. Once you have climbed to the top, currently around 30 levels, an additional unique rank will appear as you continue to advance through all available levels. This rolling Global rank is entirely separate from each matchmaking playlists rank and levels and will not be reset each season.
(Above is another WIP of the possible emblems that are currently being prototyped for the Global rankings.)
So, the first Season will be coming online when Halo: Reach is added to MCC. How was the path to completion built for Season 1?
Season 1’s path to unlock all content and the system itself was influenced by the progression system used in Reach. The unlock path for Season 1 and Halo: Reach is based on the costs and level requirements from the original Halo: Reach credit system. As well, we have streamlined the system so that to unlock all of the content in Halo: Reach for Season 1 should generally take less time than it did back on the Xbox 360.
To gain all points for Halo: Reach’s 1st season, what is the goal of time you are aiming for players needing to play to unlock them?
The goal is for players who play a few hours several days a week to be able to unlock all seasonal items. We are estimating it will take about 75-100 hours per season to unlock all of the items for the season. That said, the season unlocks do not disappear after the season ends and we may add additional ways to earn seasonal points in later seasons.
For Halo: Reach’s Season 1, after the season is over, can I still earn the unlocks from it? Also, for the unlocks themselves, will we be able to unlock all the content that Halo: Reach on the Xbox 360 had? Are there any additional pieces of content that will be available?
All retail content that can be unlocked in Halo: Reach today by in-game methods will available in season 1. We are looking into ways to incorporate all unlocks that required account links, external apps, preorders, and even some previously unreleased content for Halo: Reach as well. We can’t commit to a full list until we fully understand the technical limitations and whether we have all the required source art assets for each item. For reference, the reason we have been unable to include the Champions Bundle armor and abilities for Halo 4 in MCC is because those items existed in both code and data, and it has proven very difficult to bring that content over to the Xbox One.
Will additional seasons for games in MCC come with additional content later?
In future seasons, we are looking into ways to expand the pool of customization items in each game. At minimum we would like to include new profile items such as nameplates, but we think it would be even cooler if we could add new skins, armor or visor colors, or armors to the other games.
Thank you so much for all the info Max, I know people will be happy to have all these questions clarified and are looking forward to getting their hands on it! As a reminder, this is all subject to change as we are currently developing it to be added into the game. Once it’s ready to try out, this progression system will be coming to you in future flights so you can get some hands-on time with it and will be able to provide feedback on it. We can’t wait for everyone to try it out and let us know what you think about it!
But, before we dive into this, I want to make sure that players know that the Publishing Team’s plans include flighting the new progression system to players ahead of launch to gather feedback. Although it is not the same one-to-one system that original had, it truly has a lot of inspiration and similar paths to unlocks as what’s found in the original Halo: Reach... There has been a lot of careful planning around the unlock path on how, where, and when unlocks for customization options are placed in a season. Below is the full series of questions Max and I walked through to help explain some of the top ones that have come up from the community.
Now that we’ve take some time to dive deeper into the future progression system for Halo: Reach’s Season 1, let’s take a few moments to hear from Ske7ch about his experience down at E3 this year. He and a few friends from 343 Industries were down in LA with a playable Halo: Reach on PC in the Microsoft Theater at the Xbox Experience. I heard a few people stopped by and had some fun!