I reached out to the folks at 343 that are working on the Halo 1 4v4 playlist and offered to help with it. I think it's fair to say I've lanned more H1 4v4 than most people in the country in the last 5 years, and I feel like I would be an asset to them while they're making this list. Here's what I wrote up. I wanted to get yall's thoughts on this.
Halo: CE 4v4 Playlist Suggestions
The last time Halo 1 had a 4v4 playlist, it was a blast to play and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it did fall short of its potential. There were quite a few things I noticed that likely stemmed from lack of experience with the game, and I’d like try to head those off this time around if I can.
-No radar: Halo 1’s radar radius is enormous, and you can’t crouch walk to stay off of it. It truly does ruin team games. It’s vital that it stays off.
-Adequate score limits: Last time, many of the best gametypes had score limits that were too low, and the games were over just when they felt like they were getting going. CTF should be played to 5 on Wizard, Derelict, and Longest. King of the Hill and Oddball should always be played to 5 minutes. Team Slayer should be played to 100 (this option currently doesn’t exist in the game, but maybe it could be added in). If the concern is that games would take too long, we should use a 15 minute time limit.
-Custom Starting Equipment set to “No” (unless otherwise noted): This will ensure we get proper AR/Pistol starts. Some game types play better with the “Custom” set though, like Boarding Action Snipers and Wizard CTF with the Pistols Only weapon set. I’ll be sure to annotate if the starting weapon should be set to Custom, but as a rule it should usually be Generic, or “No” as it’s listed in MCC.
-Proper Respawn Times: 5 seconds for Slayer, 10 seconds for Objective. 5 seconds suicide penalty, 10 second betrayal penalty.
-Proper Flag settings for big maps. People are going to want Blood Gulch, Sidewinder, and Timberland CTF in this playlist, but they tend to forget how hard it is to score in those gametypes. It’s crucial that we use the “Force Flag Reset” option so that the flag cannot be touch returned. This makes flag captures actually realistic when playing against evenly matched opponents. “Flag At Home To Score” absolutely must be set to “No”. Flag standoffs on big maps are awful and last forever, and without touch return they would be incredibly hard to resolve. For Sidewinder, I would also recommend using the Assault variant where you bring the flag to their base. Every spawn point on Sidewinder directly blocks the flag, making players need to pull off several rounds of slaying to push in for the flag and then get back out. It’s exacerbated by the frag spawns near the flag, allowing spawners to spam grenades. This work can be cut in half if attackers are only tasked with going in, and not coming back out too. Play to 3 caps, 15 minutes.
-Vehicle Respawn: This is a wonderful quality of life addition in the PC version that will return idle vehicles to their starting spawn. Because the vehicles are indestructible, they often lie around abandoned for large chunks of time. Players often lose track of them, which hurts game flow. Sometimes players even horde the vehicles in out of the way places and force everyone to play on foot. Also, this option alleviates blocking the enemy portal on Blood Gulch for long stretches of time. Set it to something that doesn’t intrude too much on gameplay, but still punishes poor use of your vehicles. I think 90 seconds is about right.
-Vehicle Count: Unless otherwise noted, each team should get 1 standard warthog, 1 ghost, and 1 scorpion. That’s the way most people lan’d the bigger maps on Xbox.
-Oddball on maps with an abyss: In Halo 1, if the ball goes off the edge, it takes 30 seconds to respawn. This gets abused by people trying to troll the game and grief everyone by stalling out the game and intentionally playing the ball over and over. So maps like Damnation are a no-go for Oddball. Standard oddball needs to be played on fully enclosed maps like Chill Out, Derelict, Prisoner, and Wizard. On maps with an abyss, the Reverse Tag variant is an excellent substitute.
-Oddball on maps with poor meta: Hang Em High, Battle Creek and Rat Race play Oddball and Reverse Tag poorly, because they have places to put your objective player that are too difficult to contest, and it makes for an uninteresting meta that plays the same way every time. On Hang Em, that place is deep in the tunnels, forcing players into a single tiny hallway that would otherwise see very little action. On Rat Race, that place is in the top tunnels, blocking the portal. It forces the other team to push from top room through a single choke point. On Battle Creek, it’s behind the bases. Every game becomes a portal hopping game, and in order to break it, the assaulting team needs to leave a guy at the other base to cut off the port. They just aren’t fun and they shouldn’t be in the playlist.
-Death Bonus and Kill Penalty: For some reason, these options are on by default when making a new gametype. They make people on death streaks run faster and kill streaks run slower. Please ensure that they are turned off.
-Banshees: They’re horribly balanced in Halo 1, and not at all fun to play against. I promise they would ruin the game.
With that out of the way, I’ll post a list of gametypes that I feel would make an excellent playlist, with their weighting.
High Weighting. Best, or most desired gametypes:
Team Slayer: 100 kills to win
Hang Em High
CTF: Flag at Home to Score, Touch Return unless noted otherwise
Battle Creek CTF (3 caps)
Longest CTF (5 caps)
Blood Gulch CTF (3 caps, no flag at home to score, flag must reset)
King of the Hill: 5 minutes to win, Moving Hill on
Oddball/Reverse Tag: 5 minutes to win, ball carrier is Slower
Damnation (Reverse Tag rules)
Medium Weighting (decent gametypes, or good gametypes on unpopular maps)
Prisoner TS (100 kills)
Rat Race TS (100 kills)
Derelict TS (100 kills)
Wizard (5 caps) *”Pistols Only” weapon set, Custom Starting Equipment set to “Yes”*
Derelict (5 caps) *”Pistols Only” weapon set, Custom Starting Equipment set to “Yes”*
Timberland (3 caps, no flag at home to score, flag must reset)
Sidewinder (3 caps, Assault rules, flag must reset)
King of the Hill:
Hang Em High
Low Weighting (odd, but good gametypes that most people haven’t played much, that add variety)
Snipers: “Sniping” Weapon Set, “Custom Starting Equipment” set to “Yes”
Hang Em High (100 kills)
Boarding Action (50 kills because this gametype usually plays pretty slow)
CTF on Asymmetrical maps: 3 caps to win, touch return, flag at home to score
Hang Em High
1 Flag CTF: 3 caps, 2min offense, 20min limit for fairness
Battle Creek (touch return)
Damnation (touch return)
Rat Race (touch return)
Hang Em High (touch return)
Blood Gulch (flag must reset, Assault rules)
Timberland (flag must reset, Assault rules)
Sidewinder (flag must reset, Assault rules)
Race: Flag Rally Rules, 25 “Laps” to win (a lap is just one checkpoint in rally rules), Accumulate Scoring
Hang Em High
Blood Gulch (1 Warthog and 1 Scorpion per team)