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Halo 5 thoughts
By:Schooly D
Date: 11/11/14 12:51 pm

I dunno

The first thing I'll say is that it's very encouraging to hear how much 343i is stressing the "level playing field" aspect of the game. Everyone starting with and having access to the same gear and abilities at all points in the game. Those were huge issues with Reach and Halo 4 and, regardless of how the rest of the game shakes out, knowing they're making it that much of a priority is comforting.

That said, some of these abilities look ridiculous. Many moons ago I penned my litmus test for whether an armor ability is a good idea, and it's something I believe still holds true. At least a couple of the ones in Halo 5 run afoul. Even during the Halofest stream, one of the devs mentioned Ground Pound will likely be nerfed first, and tellingly alluded not to some dial that needs to be adjusted (e.g. a little too damaging, radius a little too wide, startup time a little too brief), but rather to some inherent quality of the ability -- just the fact that it's there and behaves as it does. Those of you who played Reach with a critical eye should be having flashbacks to Armor Lock right now. And, like Armor Lock, we've seen that 343i has featured GP prominently in promotional materials, signaling its importance and how unlikely it is they'll cut it.

Things like Ground Pound and Charge hurt gameplay more than help, and I don't think that's debatable. It's obviously a bone being thrown to the less-skilled players -- more "wow so cool!" stuff for the masses. But it's important to keep in mind that, despite this, 343i is still making a concerted effort to keep the game competitive in other areas: no ordnance, no custom loadouts, no game-impacting player investment, weapon timers, etc. They're even including a spectator mode, which is a point that I think gets under-reported considering (1) the novelty of it in the Halo series, or indeed any console FPS, and (2) what it implies in terms of 343i's vision for the future of the franchise.

If Ground Pound and Charge are the price I have to pay for a developer who's otherwise focused on creating and maintaining a competitive, merit-based multiplayer experience, I pay it gladly.

I'm going to miss Halo's erstwhile focus on large-ish-scale, vehicular combat. For as competitive as I am, some of my favorite Halo memories involve wacky hijinks on Blood Gulch, Coag, Containment, Waterworks, Valhalla, Forge World, Headlong etc etc. Halo 4 did a tremendous disservice to this part of the Halo experience with its terrible, terrible, awful big team maps. Halo 1, 2, and 3 had great success with its competitive, arena-focused elements, but molding all of Halo 5's MP to that standard is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I think.

Stepping back, if we look at the bigger picture and put some of these puzzle pieces together, we can see something interesting. There are, in my estimation, two major movements in modern gaming. One is player investment. The other is eSports. The two are not easily reconciled, though it is possible. Reach dipped its toe in the PI abyss, Halo 4 did a cannonball. Halo 5 is a dramatic reversal out of the PI realm and into the eSports realm (focus on competitive arena combat, spectator mode). It's rare that a game company so readily admits its mistakes (as 343i has done with H4 MP) and even rarer that it changes course like this. Bungie has staked an entire $500 trillion franchise on player investment. 343i hit the brakes and has vaulted headlong into making Halo 5 competitive and watchable. Considering the recent, incredible successof MOBA games from an eSports perspective, it's a bet that might pay off.

Regardless, if we look at their games, I think we can discern both Bungie's and 343's visions for the long-term future of gaming, and I think that's interesting.

Nerf Ground Pound Now.

Messages In This Thread

Halo 5 thoughtsSchooly D11/11/14 12:51 pm
     Re: Halo 5 thoughtshunt3r11/11/14 1:25 pm
     I like everything so far, surprisingly.Rice11/11/14 1:51 pm
           Re: I like everything so far, surprisingly.Revenant198811/11/14 1:57 pm
                 Re: I like everything so far, surprisingly.Rice11/11/14 2:15 pm
           Re: I like everything so far, surprisingly.Schooly D11/11/14 2:11 pm
                 Re: I like everything so far, surprisingly.Rice11/11/14 2:22 pm
                       Re: I like everything so far, surprisingly.SEspider11/12/14 5:26 pm
                 Re: I like everything so far, surprisingly.bluerunner11/11/14 3:59 pm
     Re: Halo 5 thoughtsCody Miller11/11/14 2:08 pm
           Halo: Nightfall! Available now! *NM*padraig0811/11/14 2:12 pm
                 Re: Halo: Nightfall! Available now!Cody Miller11/11/14 2:19 pm
           On DoTA and eSports.Rice11/11/14 2:19 pm
                 Re: On DoTA and eSports.Cody Miller11/11/14 2:20 pm
                       Re: On DoTA and eSports.uberfoop11/11/14 2:44 pm
     Re: Halo 5 thoughtsSEspider11/12/14 5:23 pm

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