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Assault and the Abandonment of Teamwork
By:Schooly D
Date: 4/25/13 3:57 pm

When Halo 4 was about to launch and we learned how the new CTF works, I had a theory as to why 343i made the change.

The two biggest changes to Halo 4's CTF were (1) the flag carrier now had a pistol to defend himself, and (2) the flag carrier now had a permanent waypoint over him visible to everyone, including enemies. At the time, I hypothesized (on this forum and during a post-PAX lunch with Nexy and Hypertrooper) that the changes were made to lessen the importance of teamwork, which would make for a more equitable, more intuitive, and more enjoyable experience for the bulk of Halo 4's players: casual matchmaking randos, many of whom might not even know their XBL Friends List exists.

In previous Halo games, upon picking up the flag, the player was at a severe disadvantage. Most often, to make it back to his base the player would require some level of help from his friends who are still able to use their guns. To Rando Jones, this was a frustrating development, especially if his teammates were just as casual and weren't aware of their duty to protect/escort him. With the new flagnum mechanic, our friend Rando needn't be at the mercy of his teammates: he can run to the flag, pick it up, and run it back without ever losing the ability to shoot. His odds of making it back to the base on his own might not be any better than in previous Halo games (thanks to the waypoint) but now he never feels confused or cheated by an inability to shoot or a lack of help. Fuck teamwork.

In previous Halo games, when the enemy picked up the flag, you didn't know where he was. The only way to locate him was to find him yourself, or to have a teammate find him and communicate his position to you. Again, to our friend Rando, that's some bullshit. Rando sure as hell isn't going to go through the trouble of communicating with strangers, if he's even aware he's in matchmaking rather than campaign. 343i threw Rando a bone, though, with the enemy-visible waypoint. Now not only does he not need to worry about communicating the enemy carrier's position to his teammates if he finds him, he also doesn't need to rely on his teammates to do the same. Just run toward the thing on the screen helpfully labeled "KILL." Fuck teamwork.

The recent successes in simulating Assault in Halo 4 reminded me of its absence. I'm surprised I didn't connect the dots before, but it also seems likely that Assault was nixed from H4 also due to the importance it placed on teamwork. Perhaps more so than pre-H4 CTF, Assault required a level of teamwork and selflessness/awareness on the part of the bomb carrier that doesn't seem compatible with 343i's vision for Halo. Picking up the bomb at the start is a very unglamorous job: like picking up the flag, you don't get to shoot and you move slower. But unlike picking up the flag, there's no challenge in it. It's not something Rando wants to do. Teams with communication get around this by (step 1) identifying that the gametype is Assault, (step 2) identifying that the point of Assault is to take this bomb in your base and put it inside the enemy's base, and (step 3) soliciting volunteers to take the bomb. A team full of Randos, each of whom is probably just killing time until Game of Thrones comes on or something, has difficulty with all three steps. The solution for 343 was to just nix the gametype altogether.

Agree? Disagree? Can anyone chime in with other examples of 343 altering gametypes to make it easier for random matchmakers / less reliant on teamwork and communication/ Can anyone provide counter-examples of where 343 increased that reliance?

Messages In This Thread

Assault and the Abandonment of TeamworkSchooly D4/25/13 3:57 pm
     ClarificationSchooly D4/25/13 4:01 pm
           Re: ClarificationSEspider4/25/13 4:32 pm
     SolutionCody Miller4/25/13 4:19 pm
           +1 But leave it up for more then just a second *NM*SEspider4/25/13 4:34 pm
           Re: SolutionTDSpiral4/25/13 4:52 pm
           Re: Solutionpete_the_duck4/25/13 4:58 pm
           Re: SolutionGeneral Vagueness4/27/13 7:35 pm
     Re: Assault and the Abandonment of TeamworkCARDO 8 ATL4/25/13 5:15 pm
     AgreedZackDark4/25/13 9:16 pm

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