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Oh yeah, I wanted to comment on this...
By:RC Master
Date: 4/1/13 12:09 pm
In Response To: Halo 4 Postmortem (serpx)

So, three things:

Remember this is GAME, please. Spending so much time obsessing about story is kind of disturbing. Especially when he already realises that many people won't delve very deep into it.

Worrying about the current backstory not fitting with the new gameplay of the Knight is backwards. Make something fun and different to fight first, then make the backstory work. I mean, it's the freaking Forerunners! You can basically do what you like! (and they did do what they liked anyway)

Know why people missed Elite enemies and wanted them back, and Halo was instantly better as soon as they were? You know why 343i fudged the story and invented a reason to fight Elites again in Halo 4?

Because they're fun to fight.

Get the priorities right.

Next, right at the end, in his 'take-aways' he says to 'believe.' But then I contrast this with the way the Promethean weapons were designed and I'm just immensely sad.

At one point he shows a picture of both an AK47 and a Needler, and makes the (perfectly valid) point that many people would know the AK was an assault rifle, but wouldn't know what the Needler did.

But here is the thing: the Needler is one of the things that makes Halo different, fun and awesome

Sure, a newbie isn't going to know what this weird purple gun with spikes on and no obvious trigger does, but when they aim that thing down range, get it to lock on, and their enemies explode in a pink cloud, that is one of those moments were people go "Oh my god, this game is awesome."

Plasma Pistol too. Small, weak, slow-moving shots, can't even headshot! Why bother? Of course we all know now: hold the trigger, build up a charge and point it at an Elite when you fire. Suddenly that one weapon completely changes the way the game is played and becomes integral to the sandbox. I use it almost every single time I play.

They're both useful and different.

But the Promethean weapons? Redundant copy-cats. Forgettable. Substitutable. Take them out and you'd barely notice the difference.

Halo already has a slice of the familiar: the UNSC weapons. That is exactly what they're there for. Covenant weapons are at their best when they contrast, not parallel, the UNSC weapons (e.g. CE and Reach. NOT H2/H3)

Sometimes you can't, and sometimes you shouldn't, make everything obvious at first glance. The Plasma Pistol and the Needler are testaments to this - I can't imagine Halo without them. Making weapon function super-obvious is something that will never fully pay off in a game like Halo because games like Battlefield and CoD will always have a hundred times that sort of accessibility. Instead of trying to be the same with dozens of redundant weapons, Halo would be better in emphasizing that slice of familiar with an edge of different.

So, sometimes you have to believe. When you are genuinely making something different and fun and cool and people don't 'get it' right away, don't scrap the vision. Show them how fun it can be. Teach them. And maybe, just maybe, believe that if the fun is there, some players will find it, and will show others, even without you having to explicitly signpost it. (see also: M6D)

Hell, we have 2 new weapons in the UNSC arsenal that are more unique than the Forerunner weapons: Rail Gun and Sticky Detonator. The Sticky Detonator could have easily been a Forerunner weapon: instead of generic explosion, imagine remote activated Incineration Grenades that instantly de-rez anyone in range. You could have got to use it on more than one level: that would have been nice.

In the hands of Knights and Crawlers, a weapon that had to explicitly charge up and was still an instant kill (i.e. Rail Gun rather than Binary Rifle) could have served well too. The Guass Warthog is considerably larger and does the same damage. It would have been fine to turn the Rail Gun into a forerunner weapon and said "only the forerunners have been able to miniaturize guass technology to this degree" or something. The Rail Gun is a weapon that, like the Sentinel Beam, actually has a huge amount of range, but is nerfed by a lack of scope. Know what Bungie did with the Sentinel Beam? They made the Focus Rifle. And no it wasn't exactly like the Human Sniper Rifle, but it was still awesome.

I'm actually really glad they destroyed Requiem at the end of Spartan Ops: it gives them the perfect excuse to completely rethink the Prometheans.

Finally Accessibility is great, but there needs to be depth too.

I liked the part about the 'story onion' - with different layers, different depths, and that you could peel back each layer at your leisure and it was all waiting for you. I'm very glad he owned up to the Didact's shortcomings: you had to go quite deep to even begin to understand who he was, and even then I found it impossible to rationalise his actions as anything other than those of a madman.

But then this notion of layers seemed to be forgotten... everywhere else.

Sure MP has greater 'accessibility' to power weapons for newer or lower skilled players. But this is at the expense of basic things like fairness and also deeper things like strategy and potential complexity. As well as wider issues like mechanical consistency between gametypes. i.e. No personal ordnance in Extraction or Dominion. I don't think the gametype mechanics of MP make sense within the fictional setting anyway!

And do you know what? If you just want to kill some guys with a power weapon, maybe Arcade Firefight or Action Sack is more your thing anyway. That's totally fine (I think Binary Slayer is awesome BTW).

Besides, if these players are coming from campaign, it's not like you get a lot of power weapons there anyway. The vast majority of the time is spent with weapons like DMR, LR, Pistol, LightRifle, PP. Any power weapons you have to FIND or take from the cold dead fingers of your enemies. You don't get them dropped right in front of you - which is more mechanical inconsistency. It encourages reckless point-grabbing and playing from drop-to-drop.

If you're going to build more layers, there needs to be good reasons to go down there. With the books there is greater understanding and more varied activity. With campaign, you get prompted with challenges and achievements and emblems at least.

With Multiplayer you get... what? Well a skill ranking or tournament system might do it. But, the tournament they did was only about grinding and you have to wait 5+ months for a skill ranking system and it won't even be in-game.

Erm, what?

Sure, they've pandered to the competitive types post-release in some ways, but why was it post-release at all? Sure they've released a free and truer forge canvas. But why was the pre-release design so preoccupied with making the top layer easier to pull back while letting the core be starved of oxygen for 5 months?

Spartan Ops too. Where did 'accessibility' go while making it online only? Sure, there are cutscenes which need to be streamed to experience the plot properly. But this was guillotining the head off just because the ears are ugly from a certain angle: completely excessive.

What they could have done was made the cutscenes an optional download and patch the levels to allow offline accessibility once the season had finished. Especially since the servers can and DO go down, and now they KNOW a lot of people play it solo. Anyway, if they'd thought about, the popularity of Score Attack should have been a tip off to Solo Spartan Ops.

By the way, not having enough time/resources to do in-house, in-game cutscenes for Spartan Ops, and also making the terminal videos pre-rendered (as well as several other scenes), and then not being able to fit them on-disc, and that crippling the impact and accessibility of the terminals, and also crippling the accessibility of Spartan Ops, is a completely ridiculous position to be in.

So where are my layers for Spartan Ops? No Skulls. No Scoring. Speed running is just a stifling 'kill-em-all' where dying can actually help. I'm going through Spartan Ops Solo Legendary anyway and enforcing no deaths on myself because I'm insane. But once I'm done, I'll have only these reasons to go back:

Messages In This Thread

Halo 4 Postmortemserpx3/31/13 9:38 pm
     Whoops (nonmobile link)serpx3/31/13 9:40 pm
           Thanks for the linkRagashingo4/1/13 12:46 am
     Re: Halo 4 PostmortemStephen L. (SoundEffect)3/31/13 11:37 pm
           Re: Halo 4 PostmortemTDSpiral4/1/13 1:58 am
                 Re: Halo 4 PostmortemStephen L. (SoundEffect)4/1/13 7:38 am
                 Re: Halo 4 PostmortemSonGoharotto4/1/13 1:12 pm
                       Re: Halo 4 Postmortemuberfoop4/2/13 4:37 am
                       Re: Halo 4 PostmortemRC Master4/2/13 8:55 am
     Re: Halo 4 PostmortemDervish3/31/13 11:40 pm
           Re: Halo 4 PostmortemSonGoharotto4/1/13 12:52 am
           Re: Halo 4 PostmortemChewbaccawakka4/1/13 1:40 am
     Postmortem at the Halo 4 PostmortemTDSpiral4/1/13 1:42 am
           I KNEW IT! *NM*GrimBrother One4/1/13 7:38 am
           Re: Postmortem at the Halo 4 PostmortemPostmortem4/1/13 5:25 pm
     Re: Halo 4 PostmortemQuirel4/1/13 2:43 am
           Re: Halo 4 Postmortemscarab4/1/13 6:50 am
                 Waidaminit 343!scarab4/1/13 6:59 am
                 Re: Halo 4 PostmortemGeneral Vagueness4/1/13 8:35 pm
                       Re: Halo 4 Postmortemscarab4/3/13 4:42 am
     Oh yeah, I wanted to comment on this...RC Master4/1/13 12:09 pm
           Re: Oh yeah, I wanted to comment on this...General Vagueness4/1/13 9:13 pm
     Re: Halo 4 PostmortemGeneral Vagueness4/1/13 7:19 pm
     Re: Halo 4 PostmortemGeneral Vagueness4/1/13 7:22 pm

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