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#999295 Difficulty in Balancing Halo’s Weapons

Posted by Gobias on 30 November 2017 - 03:13 PM

I disagree with that.The majority of the type of casuals you're referring to don't have fun with games like starcraft, quake, or gunz.Halo has never been a great competitive game, even CE was only an above average competitive game.Which is why everyday casuals can have fun with it.

In the case of Quake, I don't think you can make the claim that casuals wouldn't have fun with it because it was already dying by the time the modern casual gamer on PC was invented. It's a decently fun game at any level if you're playing with roughly equivalent skill levels. The modern casual expects the entry into a game on a social level to be effortless, and arena shooters have never been accessible in that way because of lack of infrastructure, lack of population, or both. So I would say that Quake's failure to appeal to modern casuals is not caused by how competitive it is at a high level. There's just been no good attempt to bring them in, and it might never happen.


I don't know much about Gunz, but it looks like a game that only becomes fun when you cease being a casual player. And I think it's silly to bring up Starcraft because it's not the same type of game or audience.


As for Halo CE, I see what you're saying, in a sense. The movement skill gap is obviously outclassed by many PC shooters. The gun skill requirement is less. But the relative outcomes of engagements still have good distinction between good and great players. There are choices made for the game to be extremely accessible in omparison to those PC shooters, but the competitiveness of the game isn't lowered by much as a result, and the skill ceiling is not in sight. On top of this, the creative potential in Halo 1 destroys what Quake has for team gametypes (although it's a close call for Quakeworld), if not duel, and I would wager the same against Gunz, Unreal Tournament, and Tribes. The spawn system and grenade physics create a significant skill gap at a high level, whereas movement mechanics in PC shooters don't have a huge amount of impact on the skill gap at a high level even if the skill cap is extremely high. For instance, Smilecythe has the best movement skill in any arena shooter by far, yet he isn't at the top in any of the larger games (I'm counting Reflex as large) because other factors are more important if you want to get by at that level.


My point is, making a game accessible doesn't need to have a large negative impact on competitiveness. Does that mean I would remove advanced movement techniques from Quake to make it more accessible since (in my opinion) it doesn't have the largest effect on high level play? No, and that's because the movement helps make the game more fun at a high level, not just more competitive. And I don't think Quake would get any more fun for casuals if you removed those mechanics. Just an example.


As far as the thread topic, another buddy and I were discussing the other night what direction 343 will go in with H6, continuing with high mobility and in general "more shit", or back towards a more classic Halo.  It's unlikely because of just how many damn weapons there are (and warzone variants don't help this at all), but removal of abilities aside, I really think one of the best things that could happen to the series is a drastic reduction in the weapon count.  I would almost be willing to see dual wielding come back if we didn't have so many options, as I think there's some merit to less options upfront, with depth around how you combine those options (this is arguably a similar mechanic to how one chooses which two weapons they carry at any one time).

Trimming the fat in the weapon sandbox would make designing it so much easier. Having more than two or three precision weapons makes it much less feasible to make them function somewhat distinctly without wreaking havoc on the balance of the sandbox. Same with having more than one or two automatic weapons with random spread and high magnetism, or having more than one or two power weapons that give you free kills. Every sequel has more and more weapons fit into the same number of roles or fewer.

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#999114 Halo 5: Guardians Discussion

Posted by Gobias on 29 November 2017 - 10:39 PM

Quality isn’t the only factor. Accessibility is almost as important these days. Quake is the least accessible type of shooter out there, and all of the Quake clones have varying levels of quality, which is partly dependent on the low starting population. (We’ll see where Diabotical takes the formula.)

Halo 5 does not excel in either category. This is upsetting because Halo CE was high quality and very accessible. Hence my recent forum posts.
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#998774 Difficulty in Balancing Halo’s Weapons

Posted by Gobias on 28 November 2017 - 02:34 PM

Food for thought; if Halo CE had come out with XBL capabilities, would the various LAN groups really still be active today? In a weird way I attribute the lack of online play, the terrible PC port and everything as indirect reasons as to why the LAN didn't fade out.

Halo CE appeals to casuals because it kept the core principle of bungies 10 seconds of fun (I forget what it was exactly) but also was very simple to pick up at first. You move, shoot, switch weapons, throw grenades and jump. A lot of the weapons are satisfying to use. It's simple to pick up yet hard to master.

At Daytona long time h2-h3 and beyond players got a chance to play Halo CE. It seemed like there were a decent amount of people who consider those games to be the pinnacle of competitive halo that actually got to see what my elitist ass is talking about regarding CE.

I introduced my real life friends to Halo 1 and they thought it was super fun despite the skill gap (i.e. me winning almost every game). We now play CE exclusively for more than two players instead of Smash 4.

I then introduced them to Halo 2. Immediately they were saying it kind of sucked. They felt it was really slow in comparison—the kill times, movement speed, field of view, everything. They were also confused why almost every weapon was useless and why the sniper and BR were so easy. Another problem was the reduced visual clarity, which was compounded by the lower FoV. I can only imagine how they would have felt about any other game in the series.

The “thirty seconds of fun” quote was about the following: do something for thirty seconds, then move onto the next thing. You’re forced to move on because of the need to reload, recharge shields/health, find more grenades, or get a new weapon. I think it works so well in CE multiplayer because things actually reset since battles are resolved quickly. You’re not wasting time trying to track down some guy that ran away. Conversely, you don’t waste time trying to run away. You kill or are killed and you move on. And there’s always a powerup coming up soon to start it all over again.
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#998654 Difficulty in Balancing Halo’s Weapons

Posted by Gobias on 27 November 2017 - 08:28 PM

You know what's kind of ridiculous?


Halo 5 might be the best incarnation of Halo for 1v1 competition (I mean the maps suck, but yeah). FPS 1v1s are all about extrapolated jousts with lots of gooey meta cheese, which is the literal opposite of what you want in a mostly-arena 4v4 shooter.


They'll never push 1v1s, though. 

H5 definitely gives more opportunities to prolong gunfights than the rest of the series, except maybe default Reach. I think one of the main things holding it back is just the lack of weapon depth. Duel is great in Quake because of the constantly changing disparity between the players in health, armor, and offensive capabilities, but Halo's weapons don't lend themselves to interesting encounters very well. Around 11 minutes in, @MultiLockOn starts talking about how difficult it is to make compelling 1v1 maps, how the interesting engagements need to be crafted specifically out of the map geometry since the weapons won't do it.


Something that has always irked me is the insistence that a great competitive game would not be fun for casuals, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary. Halo should be that game, but instead we get more and more bifurcation that serves only to serve no one. 

It's kind of ridiculous how rarely a "competitive party game" gets made. It's my favorite kind of game by far. As a moderately skilled and (predominantly) knowledgeable FPS player, I like the ability to challenge all of my skills against better players one day, then play with my less-experienced friends the next and just go for the most ridiculous plays. The only game in recent memory that fits this bill imo is Rocket League. The insane mechanical skill curve gives great context for higher-level strategy while giving low-skilled players a crazy different experience with literally no changes. And the game is very popular.


It's painful because there seem to have been attempts to make Halo 5 the kind of game both casual and competitive players could enjoy. Unfortunately, the process for attaining this goal was almost completely backwards.

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#998391 Difficulty in Balancing Halo’s Weapons

Posted by Gobias on 26 November 2017 - 02:29 AM

Halo's hybrid Arena/tactical FPS mutant baby identity is what makes it so hard to balance. On one hand, snow-balling is a perfectly accepted meta of classic Arena FPS like Quake. The idea behind map control is that the superior team/player should be rewarded by winning timely battles/superior map positioning and thus gain advantages in terms of armor/weapons and health. I remember Fatal1ty talking about the importance of the first kill in duel, as that would allow the winning player to establish map control/timing setting the tone for the duel and essentially the next kill would be a "freebie" for a skilled player as the player who established map control first would be stacked versus and thus hold a huge advantage over the spawning player.

It's definitely interesting to compare Quake and Halo. One trend in Quake duel map design over the years is the popularity of dual rocket launcher spawns. It's especially common on hectic, single-atrium maps like Aerowalk and Phrantic. Designers of these maps recognize how important RL is to movement, combat, and area of denial, so they want to ensure that the out-of-control player can almost always get RL. I love Halo because it's so simple, but some of the same principles are in Quake--they're just broken up so you have to work for them. In Halo CE, you can throw four grenades off spawn in doubles to deny an area; in Quake, you need to find a projectile weapon. The pistol lets you challenge stacked opponents watching with sniper in Halo, but in Quake you often need to grab the grenade launcher (missing from Quake Champions, I might add) to block off lines of sight from rail users. Mappers place grenade launchers to assist OOC players on small maps (see Aerowalk) and high to let IC players maintain control (see Bloodrun). Another design strategy I've seen in writing is to place two 25hp bubbles instead of one 50hp bubble to make it harder for the IC player to burn the OOC player's health resources.


It's cool how the two games accomplish the same tasks completely differently. At the same time, control is such an important part of how Quake works because otherwise the game would be all about aim. Quake breaks down as a game when players start hitting more than 60-70% lightning gun because the armor stops meaning anything. Halo has never had that problem because utility weapons always killed slowly enough that power weapons and power ups were a significant advantage. Now Quake Champions has a problem with the railgun being too effective since armors and health can't stack that high (but I heard this was getting looked at). I prefer Halo CE more than any Quake because of the immediate power off spawn, which lets me be aggressive right away and focus on higher strategy. But I also love running the items in Quake or getting a clean retreating rail or grenade on a chaser. Maybe we could play QL/Reflex sometime? West coast player here, my ping might not be the best.

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#998308 Difficulty in Balancing Halo’s Weapons

Posted by Gobias on 25 November 2017 - 02:38 PM

“You can’t satisfy everyone.”

That’s the mantra when people talk about the sandbox. “Casual” players, competitors, developers—everyone is sure of it. But I’m saying it’s possible. No concessions or sacrifices required, just some creativity and an open mind.

Some definitions:
• Utility weapon: the spawning precision weapon, which can ideally contest every other weapon in any scenario; in Halo 5, it was the Magnum
• Bullet magnetism = auto aim = bullets redirecting toward the target
• Aim assist = all other forms of aim assist (including “magnetism” or snapping as well as friction)

I’m starting with the competitive community’s perspective since a competitive game can be good casually, but the opposite isn’t true.

Regarding the current state of Halo 5: the Magnum’s weakness (relative to the sandbox) led to snowballing in default settings, and the weakness of the BR/Gunfighter combo (relative to player mobility) led to slower, more defensive play styles in the update, so neither approach satisfied the competitive community. The spawning precision weapon determines how players joust in the arena, what choices they are given, and whether they come back for more. Default settings were certainly flawed, but the updated settings raised eyebrows, to say the least.

Importance of a Strong Utility Weapon



Relation of Utility Weapon to Automatics


Relation of Utility Weapon to Other Precision Weapons



Comments on New BR Starts


Creating Real Accessibility for Shooting and Moving (slightly off topic)



Adding Depth


• Default settings led to snowballing.
• The updated BR/Gunfighter combo is too weak for Halo 5’s movement.
• The spawning precision weapon should kill faster but be more skillful than nearly every weapon, allowing true weapon diversity through situational rather than absolute advantages.

• If implemented well, players of all skill levels and preferences can enjoy the same weapon sandbox.

• Other ideas


We may not agree 100%. But for Halo to be relevant again, more than 11% of what I wrote needs to happen.


Edit: bold font broke the post on mobile (fixed).

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#996388 OT of GD

Posted by Gobias on 14 November 2017 - 03:14 AM

Oh yeah H1 SWAT is excellent. I went to an H1 LAN one time where I discovered after getting there that they only play no shields gametypes. I was disappointed, but I stuck it out and ended up having a blast anyways.

FFA Reverse Tag huh? I think the Nav is enough info tbh. I know it’s not the H1 purist opinion, but I just fucking hate H1 radar. The radius covers most of the map and you can’t move without showing on it. I’d keep it off.

Just be careful what map you use. You want to avoid areas that are really easy to hold like the tunnel on Hang Em or Top Port on Rat Race bc I’ve had both of those ruin games. Two-way portals can be stupid too for gametypes like this, namely Battle Creek. It’s not terribly effective, but the constant portal hopping that inevitably occurs is annoying.

Do you have Final/NHE? That increases your viable maps drastically.

Also, if you’re looking for a solid side gametype, give FFA Kill In Order Snipers on Hang Em High a shot. Super fun.

Once a LAN my group plays this gametype we made up called James Game (named after the worst player to ever attend one of our LANs). The idea behind it was to simulate what it would be like to play like James, so everyone switches to Legacy Southpaw sticks, Jumpy button layout, switches their inversion, and plays on 10 sens. Then we play FFA Snipers on Chiron. Dude, the whole room is laughing so hard they’re crying by the end of it.


I'll try just nav point for reverse tag next time, and kill in order for snipes sounds like fun. Yeah, I learned that HeH isn't the best for it haha. I'm getting Final (or NHE if it works with splitscreening on one console) in a couple weeks when I have the necessary goods for softmodding and downloading, plus a fourth controller.


I came up with a great stupid fun game to play with people who are new. We go to Blood Gulch and the odd man out has to survive on the ground while the other two get in the Warthogs and go for splatters. It's good because I can challenge myself by going just for quickscopes on the drivers while they're busy figuring out the controls. Hoping to get some dank 2s going soon.

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#985822 Halo 5: Guardians Discussion

Posted by Gobias on 22 September 2017 - 11:47 AM

Hopefully we can now get maps that promote movement. The majority of H5 maps give you the feeling that movement is a bad choice.

Part of that’s because movement is inherently punished by the game. The long corridors encourage you to sprint and slide, but doing that is punished if you take any damage. The cooldown of thrust encourages you to take advantage of it to the fullest, but by the same token punishes you if you actually encounter an enemy after having used it for movement. And not being able to shoot during some movement abilities does’t help, either.

Good map design can help, but the constant tradeoffs with movement abilities have a significant negative effect. When so much of a map designer’s power to decide how a map should play is taken away, it takes a lot more effort and creativity to make it work.
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#983148 What Breakout do you Prefer the most?

Posted by Gobias on 01 September 2017 - 11:13 AM

Good points and the bold is probably why the decreased shields just felt so wrong to me. Thats also why i think swat is fucking stupid. If that's the kind of game i want to play, i wont play halo thank you very much.

Swat is only as stupid as it is easy to get headshots. One of the first major Halo tournaments was decided by no shields, 200% health FFA on Blood Gulch, and that might even have more competitive integrity than a few Halo FFA offerings considering the ridiculous skill gap exhibited in that match.
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#983042 Halo 5: Guardians Discussion

Posted by Gobias on 31 August 2017 - 09:28 PM

A few months ago I started working on a long post about making Halo genuinely good again, and one of the sections was going to be on the weapon sandbox. I'm not sure whether these developments with weapon tuning should be making me more or less motivated to finish it...
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#982655 What is the worst mechanic in a multiplayer game ever?

Posted by Gobias on 30 August 2017 - 01:25 AM

I don't know man.. Fist of panic is pretty stupid. There's a lot of really cheap mechanics in that game lol.

I know you meant to type something else, but I'm liking this as a new naming convention for Spartan Abilities.

Spartan Charge - - - > Melee of Panic
Thruster Pack - - - > Side Step of Panic
Ground Pound - - - > One Hit Kill of Panic
Sprint - - - > Arm Pumping of Panic

Hire me 343
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#982405 Halo 5: Guardians Discussion

Posted by Gobias on 28 August 2017 - 03:18 PM

I'm think being fair. What do you think the ratio would be for the 3 years post launch- games played precision only vs games played with standard settings?

All Biases aside (I prefer precision only)- If you have one opportunity to recapture a game, why wouldn't you try to Mimick said game as most people remembered it? People remember H3 fondly- And we perceived as flaws isn't neccisarily how the masses felt.

Keep in mind, the veto-tendencies you experienced in your lobbies varied across skill levels.

It doesn't matter how the majority of people remember it. The thing about nostalgia is that it often doesn't last. Nostalgia gets people in, but a compelling experience keeps them in.

The simple fact of the matter is that forcing AR + nerfed magnum starts in a mode without thrust being there to mitigate the ridiculous bullet magnetism is a recipe for disaster. Here's another fact that's been the case since 2001: dominant precision starts make for a more compelling experience. This is true without even considering the danger of snowballing in the form of functional precision upgrades, which is already a problem in default Halo 5 with a Magnum that actually has a scope.

Look. I can respect your posts as an attempt to preserve objectivity on behalf of people who may possibly have a different opinion from us in this situation. But let's not use the current ignorance of some to justify the future suffering of all. At the very least, I don't think you have the evidence you say that more than 50% were fond of AR starts in H3 or would even prefer that today. The best you can say is that it's disputed, and at that point I would argue that a pragmatic discussion about optimizing the fun in these settings is the only worthwhile thing to do here.
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#982314 Halo 5: Guardians Discussion

Posted by Gobias on 28 August 2017 - 12:21 AM

I'm a forger and I think any settings that include an automatic as a starting weapon are stupid.

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#981020 Halo 5: Guardians Discussion

Posted by Gobias on 22 August 2017 - 03:03 PM

Hologram would be cool as H3-style equipment. Throw it in BTB, it doesn't hurt anything as long as it's not the catalyst for base-trait armor abilities or awful equipment ideas return alongside it. As long as it's not taking development time away from things that actually matter, I would enjoy a goofy way to toy with noobs.
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#979680 Halo 5: Guardians Discussion

Posted by Gobias on 16 August 2017 - 05:46 PM

I have no idea if Boyo is genuine, an alt account, or merely an extremely successful troll. I just know that it may be dangerous to leave uncontested some of the things he says. Call it weakness. But I believe that some semblance of order must be maintained.


‘Einstein observed that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again with the full expectation that the results are going to be different.’ 

According to some theories of quantum mechanics, getting different results with the same process is a fact of nature.

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