Most of the current members of GIO probably don't know me or anything about me. I've been here since 2003, and most people here during the years I was active 03-2010, know how big of a Halo fan I am. I replayed the campaign in Halo CE at least 200 times. I had 3 friends on my street during the Halo 2 era that had Xbox Live, and I would go to whoever was home at the time to play Halo 2 online. For me, Halo 2 is the pinnacle of online first-person shooters. The gameplay, maps, and online setup all came together to create the best online experience I've had. Halo 3 had me excited like no other game ever has. The Halo 3 thread here on the GIO forums was just insane. Everyone was going crazy the two weeks leading up the launch. I played over 5000 games of Halo 3 online. I had an awesome crew I played with the three years the game was out before Reach. Even though Halo 2 was the superior game in my opinion, Halo 3 is my favorite because of the memories it created. The trilogy, at least for me, is as close to perfection as a video game trilogy can be. The amount of time I've invested in it is more than I ever want to know. 

Fast forwad, it is 2010. From the beginning, you know the end. I only wish that had actually been true. I wish I had known what was about to happen to Halo multiplayer. Halo: Reach, the game that showed Bungie wasn't perfect. While I loved the campaign, the multiplayer had some issues that frustrated me. Reticule bloom, armor lock, a lack of quality maps, and slow movement speed irritated me like the other Halos never did. I still liked the game and played over 2500 games online. I was eagerly anticipating Halo 4 the entire time though, hoping new developer 343 Industries would bring back what I loved about Halo multiplayer prior to Reach. Well, unfortunately, that didn't happen. 343 took what Reach did, and expanded upon it. It definitely wasn't what I wanted to see. I still am enjoying Halo 4 somewhat, but I don't feel the urge to drop what I'm doing to go play Halo like I had prior to Reach. The rest of this blog will explain how I would change the multiplayer in Halo 5, and the reasons behind the changes. 

Simple is better

Anyone who has played Halo games since the beginning will tell you each Halo has added another layer of variables to the combat. Halo 2 added dual-wielding and expanded the weapon sandbox. Halo 3 added equipment and expanded the sandbox even more. Halo: Reach added armor abilities, and Halo 4 added armor mods. Each game has made the simple yet complex multiplayer more complicated. Well, sometimes, simplicity is better. Halo was always about being placed in an arena, evenly matched with your enemy. Whoever could take advantage of what was placed inside that arena the best would come out on top. Now, outcomes of matches are determined by things you choose in menus before the game even starts. There is nothing wrong with this idea itself, but it doesn't work in Halo because that isn't what Halo is about. It works for Call of Duty or Battlefield because the games are built around this idea. With Halo, they added this in after the fact. It doesn't fit or work. For example, if a user has a ability that allows them to reload faster, and the other user doesn't, in a one on one situation, the user with the ability to reload faster will have the advantage. This isn't decided by something inside the battlefield if you will, it is decided prior to the game. This breaks the everyone starts off even idea Halo used to be based on. So, in summary, everyone should start off equal, and who wins should be 100% decided by how they take advantage of what is on the map.

How to fix it ? Well for one, drop the weapon sandbox back down to the size of the first 4 Halo games. It is too large in 4, and too many weapons have overlapping roles. There is no reason to have a DMR, Light Rifle, BR, and Carbine. Keep two at the most, preferably the Battle Rifle and Carbine since the DMR's 3x scope makes Big Team maps frustrating. Reduce the number of instant kill weapons to one or two, instead of 4 or 5. Remove armor abilities, and bring back equipment which is something you have to earn on the map rather than spawn with. Take out armor mods that give players advantages they didn't earn they just unlocked by playing a lot. I know people don't like the removal of features in games, but this would create a more balanced and fun game. Also, vehicles should be treated as power weapons, not faster methods of transportation as most of them have become. There should also never be too many of them on one map. Ragnarok has two Warthogs, two Banshees, and two Mantises. This creates gameplay that is entirely centered around taking out the vehicles. It is not fun. You might disagree at first, but think about how annoying it is to spawn, ping a Mantis with 4 or 5 DMR rounds, die, repeat, die, repeat, and then finally kill it after you've already given the other team multiple kills. Halo needs a more focused combat experience. It currently does not have that. 

Randomness is not fun

Reach added a little bit of randomness to combat with reticule bloom. Even if you paced your shots you weren't guaranteed to hit your target. It was an annoying mechanic but you could overcome it. Halo 4 made it worse by adding random ordnance drops. Gone are the static weapon spawns that encouraged movement and map control. This was also a core aspect of Halo multiplayer that is long gone. You might have a match now in Halo 4, where say a game of Infinity Slayer is tied 550-550. A random rocket launcher drops right in front of one of the players, he uses it gets a double kill, and two more quick kills, and finishes off the ammo with one last kill. This kind of outcome shouldn't happen because a weapon randomly dropped. It is not balanced, fun, or fair. 343 claimed they added random ordnance because it took away the advantage skilled players had of knowing where weapons spawned and how long until they spawned after they were picked up. The goal was to create a more accessible environment online. Well they way they did it, doesn't really work. The easy and simple way to change this and make it work for both skilled players, and newcomers, would be to have weapon drops with set locations, but keep the weapon icon the appears on the screen when it drops. Leave the icon up for about 5 seconds, so it doesn't stay until it is picked up and clutter the screen. This seems like a common sense way to fix the problem 343 claimed existed(although I've never heard anyone complain about static weapon spawns in Halo) and makes it work for both types of players. 

 Promote the importance of winning, not kill/death ratios


Right now, a problem infecting every online shooter, is the k/d obsession. Everyone is concerned with making sure their k/d is as high as possible. This idea has promoted camping, people not attempting to capture objectives, and other behavior the ignores what should be the goal of winning. I think the best way to change this would be to remove the k/d ratio or spread stat from the game. Still show the kill number and death number in the post game stats, but don't give an overall k/d ratio number. Every match should matter as well. Ranks should be based on winning and losing. Taking out join-in progress games would have to happen though. Every match starts off equal, if it is Team Slayer, 4 on 4 would be the number of players at the beginning. If you win, you gain two EXP points. If you lose, you lose one EXP point. If you quit, you lose two EXP points. Your rank should never stay the same, it would be entirely based upon your winning and losing. This would be your true skill rank. You would also have Halo 3 style military ranks that are based on EXP ranks, but your EXP doesn't go away for those ranks. While this clearly isn't as detailed or in-depth as it would need to be for an actual game, it gives a clear idea and outline of how it should work. 

I know this blog may come across as Halo: Reach/4 bashing, and I don't mean it to be that way at all. Both games are fun, but both have problems that could be fixed if the developers would understand what Halo games are really about at the core. I feel like right now the last two Halo games are like delicious cakes, with layers of disgusting icing on top. Both still have that amazing Halo core gamplay, 4 moreso than Reach because of bloom and movement speed, but the other stuff added makes them frustrating games to play at times. I'm really interested to hear what other Halo fans think of these ideas, or even fans of multiplayer shooters in general. I feel like this is the total opposite of how developers are making multiplayer games in the current days. So please, give me some feedback!


P.S. I plan on posting an entire blog in the future about multiplayer maps, a large portion of which will be Halo related, so stay on the lookout for that!