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Turning the Ship Around - "Might"
Date: 5/24/13 6:01 pm

Halo 4 is in a particular situation. The population is leaving in droves. Insert Halo population dot jpeg here. You get the idea.

Instead of making one large megapost, I thought I'd split it out into a few of them and write them up once a day. This is just my opinion on what Microsoft and 343 should be doing.


Microsoft needs to start acting like Halo is their flagship title again.

But they do. Look at all these soda cups! And Dews! Spielberg!

No, I mean in terms of -support-. We were told before Halo 4 launch that it would be supported much more than previous titles. Updates every week. More aggressive sustaining title updates. What happened? They've already halted weekly updates. The game has recieved the standard amount of title updates that previous 360 Halos have gotten. Which is roughly one per DLC release, plus a couple more in there to fix a bug with the map pack pass system.

The title updates that did occur haven't done much out of the ordinary. With LAN compatibility no longer a concern, 343 should have been much more aggressive with TUs with Reach, let alone 4. Instead, we just get the standard button glitch here, and a re-implementation of the weapon parameter settings they added to Reach which weren't in Halo 4 from the start for some reason.

Theater was never reinstated. Forgers never got back precision movement or zooming. Player trait zone saving is still bugged and doesn't work half the time. Their last title update's main goal was to avoid funding any more title updates. Reach's lone title update seemed to be made in the same way - avoid having to pay for another TU by adding a couple of weapon hooks.


Microsoft, a multi bajillions company that has product in every time zone in the world and has literally never been in the green for their entire existence in the console market couldn't be bothered to issue another title update for Reach to fix the bleedthrough healthpack bug. Microsoft, who could literally buy Nintendo out in the next hour if their CEO felt like it, had to resort to just removing the functionality via the hook that let them add it in the first place. Now, in my opinion, that was actually good, because the bleedthrough implementation in Reach was half-baked and didn't belong in the game. But still. Really, Microsoft?

And it gets a bit worse with the manpower they give their sustain teams. There's good people at 343 that would love to support the game in ways you've never heard of before. Microsoft doesn't give them the manpower to do it. When I was a Cartographer, the CCs often had to do grunt work just to help the sustain team for the game get an update out. We did it gladly, mind, but still.. why are you resorting to your volunteers who should be spending time pushing content "bottom-up" with "top-down" tasks? More realistically, why aren't you just bringing them in house at that point (or just backing your sustain team in general so the sustain team can kick some ass?

This is a company who's two previous Halo titles are still stuck in the mode they were in when the next game came out. Halo 3 still wants you to preorder Reach. Reach is in some sort of Murrayesque loop of promoting Halo 4's imminent release. They have too many playlists for the population they have left. The sustain team for these games had to drop them cold turkey and move on to the next one - and the sustain run pretty much ended early because the sustain lead left.


Once Shishka moved on from Halo 3, it just stayed where it was. Once Laskan disappeared from the Cartographer's view, Reach's updates ended months before Halo 4 came out and there wasn't even a warning, leaving maps with known bugs and known fixes with nobody to put them in. With Microsoft's size and Halo's importance, the ability to update a Halo shouldn't have such a low bus factor. Bungie should have been budgeted more manpower considering how much money they were making the company. Microsoft should be giving ITSELF more manpower because hey.. now you don't have a middleman anymore and you have more money than God and subscribers paying you a monthly fee just to play your game. Start acting like it.

For now though, you seem content to force your sustain team to pick and choose, and then once they pick, they have to cut half the content they wanted to get in anyway. You outsource the vast majority of Halo content and you STILL deprive your sustain team from a lack of bandwidth. You fail to even give one last update to Halo 3 and Reach because your sustain team is not given the manpower to even divert a single person to updating them - and I'll admit, I'd gladly show up and do it for free. Heck, I freaking paid YOU money in the form of Gold time and wrote up the procedure to handle the Reach fileshare blackout just so Reach could get an extra update during it's sustain run. Never mentioned that before overtly, but there it is. (And it's all in the Cartographer forum, so 343 staffers are welcome to check it out) If I and the other volunteers hadn't stepped up to help your sustain team, Reach would have less new content in it today.

Wrapping It Up

My takeaway from this is you, Microsoft, keep setting yourself up for greatness, to pull off stuff that other companies don't do because they simply aren't Microsoft.. then you clip your own wings and play it safe until the next game comes out. You updated Reach, made a feature to update weapons whenever you wanted, then essentially gave yourself the time to use it once and then got caught looking forward to Halo 4. You dropped LAN version inter-compat at the same time.. and didn't even really utilize your newfound freedom from this, fixing no bugs in Reach with the TU. And haven't really done much with that freedom in 4, either.

Give the sustain team the ability to maintain steady updates. Give your sustain team the manpower to provide legacy sustain to your previous Halo titles that you're still selling 30$ work of DLC for. Give your sustain team the ability to keep Halo 2 running, because running a master listserver shouldn't be something 343 has to decide whether or not to keep running. Let them come up with a plan, they bring it to you, then you say "Tell me who to hire and who to pay and execute on this". I'm not buying that you're hurting for money and time for bandwidth when games that charge less money provide better sustain support to their subscribers with a bigger userbase for a longer period of time.

Be Microsoft. Flex your muscle. Make players want to come play your game because they're jealous that their Call of Duty and Battlefields don't update as much.

Tomorrow's subject:


Messages In This Thread

Turning the Ship Around - "Might"FyreWulff5/24/13 6:01 pm
     The problem is...RC Master5/24/13 7:59 pm
           Re: The problem is...davidfuchs5/24/13 11:25 pm
                 Re: The problem is...FyreWulff5/25/13 4:13 am
     AddendumFyreWulff5/25/13 4:48 am
     Re: Turning the Ship Around - "Might"NOKYARD5/26/13 4:22 am
           Re: Turning the Ship Around - "Might"uberfoop5/26/13 4:30 am

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