Halo: The Master Chief Collection – 100 Days Later

By: Rhys Weir | February 19th, 2015

Halo: The Master Chief Collection was announced back at E3 2014. Shortly before the event, numerous leaks were slipping out from 343 Industries about what title we would be receiving for Fall 2014. When the announcement came out that Halo 5: Guardians would be releasing in 2015, many fans were eager to hear of a possible Halo 2 Anniversary or something more. When E3 2014 finally rolled around, we were blown away.

Halo E3 2014

Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 2’s original multiplayer, all games running at 1080p and 60 frames per second, beta access to Halo 5: Guardians – this was the ultimate Halo package that was going to be an absolute steal at $59.99.

Back when the leaks about Halo: The Master Chief Collection starting coming out, no one wanted to believe that something like this was possible. The sheer manpower required to make a package like this work made it sound like a dream we would never get. When 343 Industries finally announced it, we were left to believe it was possible and it would be in our hands on November 11th, 2014.

Our forums exploded before, during and after the Xbox E3 briefing and even spawned amazing pictures featuring Andy ‘Bravo’ Dudynsky – 343 Industries Community Manager and Eric “GH057ayame” Hewitt – Member of the Pro Team at 343 Industries:

http://i.imgur.com/EVWKfGV.png

Between June and November, we learned a lot about Halo: The Master Chief Collection through various press releases, gaming conventions, tournaments, etc. A few times we noticed various bugs, glitches and crashes were occurring during these pre-release builds and we were assured every time that this was just a side-effect of an early build of the game. We shrugged it off and eagerly awaited the games launch on November 11th and continued to build up our hype.

November 4th 2014 – Day -1th

Halo 2: Anniversary Campaign Screenshot 11

A few of us here at Beyond Entertainment were lucky enough to get media copies of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on November 4th, 2014 – a week shy of the full release the following Tuesday. When we all installed our copies, we only had access to the four Campaigns and the multiplayer for Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 Classic.

Other content like Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4’s Multiplayer all arrived in a huge content update which released on November 6th, 2014. Matchmaking itself wasn’t enabled until sometime after this date meaning the only way to play was to find other reviews and invite them to play custom games.

On November 6th, the final Halo Bulletin before the launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection released which informed us that at launch, we would only be seeing one ranked playlist – Team Halo 2: Anniversary. Other playlists were set to become ranked at some point after launch. Most playlist descriptions currently read “Rankings coming soon.” and 100 days in, Team Halo 2: Anniversary is still the only playlist to feature ranks.

Since we were essentially locked out of the multiplayer component of the game until the huge content update did arrive, we decided to focus our full attention of the Campaigns available in Halo: The Master Chief Collection and we decided to release a review of Halo 2 Anniversary on November 7th when our embargo was up. In this review, we made special note that we would release our review of the multiplayer when the content patch had been released and matchmaking was available. To this date, we have yet to release our multiplayer review and to be perfectly honest, we probably never will.

Matchmaking Arrives

Matchmaking released a short time after November 6th and introduced two playlists for reviewers to try out – Team Slayer and a Halo 2 Anniversary playlist. We jumped into them and experienced long search times and chalked it up to how little people were playing the game at the time. Obviously this wasn’t the case as you all know, matchmaking in Halo: The Master Chief Collection is still in a pretty unplayable state.

Bite the Hand

But hey, I managed to match a 343 Industries employee, kill them and unlock the “Bite The Hand” achievement so there’s that. A couple of days before launch, the originally announced playlist line-up was added to Matchmaking in preparation for the November 11th launch.

November 11th, 2014 – Day One

Halo MCC Nov 11

It was finally here, we were all getting our hands on Halo: The Master Chief Collection and were eager to finally play the multiplayer of our choice. Sadly, we couldn’t exactly do that. Matchmaking was broken beyond belief – unbalanced teams, long search times, crashes, split-parties, incorrect team sizes for all playlists, etc. Not to worry though, surely this is just a huge strain of players on the system that is causing all these issues to occur, it’ll be resolved within a day or two – right?

343 Industries were quick to reply to the on-going issues with the game and told us they were investigating and working on resolutions and offered workarounds in the meantime. Through the 11th, numerous server-side updates were pushed out to hopefully improve matchmaking search times and to no avail. These server-side updates continued through November 12th and 13th and it was pretty clear that these updates weren’t doing anything for the majority of players.

November 13th, 2014 – Day Three

Halo 2 Anniversary Cinematic Lord Hood

After constant reports from 343 Industries about server-side updates, they decided to remove a few playlists to try and improve search times in the remaining ones.

Removed Playlists

  • Team Hardcore
  • Rumble Pit
  • Halo 4
  • SWAT

 

Remaining Playlists

  • Team Halo 2: Anniversary
  • Halo Championship Series
  • Team Slayer
  • Big Team Battle
  • Halo 2 Classic
  • Halo 3

 

While this worked to an extent and forced players to flock into the six remaining playlists, it simply didn’t fix the overall issue of matchmaking being barely functional. Team sizes were still widely incorrect such as Big Team Battle being 6v6 and most playlists becoming 5v5 rather than the standard 4v4 and Halo 2 Anniversary was the only ranked playlist.

Obviously by now, we were all seriously concerned about Halo: The Master Chief Collection and how a thing of beauty could have went so wrong. Dan Ayoub, Executive Producer at 343 Industries made a forum post at Halo Waypoint offering information about what they were planning on doing to improve the experience. You can read Dan’s full post by clicking here.

November 14th, 2014 – The First of Many

The Master Chief Collection Tiles Header

This day marked the release of the first content update that was released after the games launch which promised to make improvements to team balancing, reduce the common issue were parties would be split-up and put onto separate teams, fix skill-matching and various Campaign fixes.

You can read the full list of patch notes for the November 14th content update here. At this point, 343 Industries had announced that a much larger content update would be arriving next week which would focus mainly on matchmaking-performance and hopefully improve and maybe even fix the matchmaking experience in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

November 20th, 2014 – A Beacon of Hope?

Halo Combat Evolved Screenshot 2

This update alone was huge and sounded promising, it delivered huge updates to matchmaking and addressed various UI bugs and game-specific bugs for Halo: CE, Halo 2 Classic and Halo 2 Anniversary.

The matchmaking UI was updated to better reflect what stage of matchmaking players were currently in to lessen confusion – while this did help to an extent, many players found themselves stuck on ‘Players Found’ before reverting back to ‘Searching for more players’ and becoming stuck in an endless loop.

While this update flopped in terms of general matchmaking, it made Halo: Combat Evolved finally playable in a decent state across Xbox LIVE for the first time. Halo: Combat Evolved was never designed to work with Xbox LIVE considering its original release was back in 2001, when Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched the netcode was very shoddy and most times, shots wouldn’t register and games would be unfair.

I’d argue that next to Halo 4 and Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo: Combat Evolved offers one of the smoothest experiences in Halo: The Master Chief Collection due to the updated netcode from November 20th. Well, minus the anti-aim glitch which still exists in the game. You can check out the full patch notes for this content update by clicking here.

November 21st, 2014 – Silence

Halo 2 AnniversaryMaster Chief

After the November 20th patch released, 343 Industries went silent. For over 26 hours we heard nothing from anyone inside the company about why this patch once again did not make any noticeable improvements to matchmaking. Many components of the update simply did not work like the fixes for party splits, games ending in Halo: CE when the entire team had quit and more.

When 343 Industries finally broke their silence at 6:17PM PST, they started off with this:

We wanted to provide you with an update on what we’re seeing as a result of yesterday’s content update (CU). We realize that silence and opacity, even when we have nothing new to say, is frustrating. With each change and/or update we make, it takes time for us to capture and analyze the data to determine the tangible impact to the game experience.

Regardless of what was going on at 343 Industries, being silent for 26 hours was just mental. All the major Halo communities like Beyond Entertainment, r/Halo and Halo Waypoint were up in arms about the patch not making any significant changes that it was intended for.

November 22nd, 2014 – Free for All

Halo 2 Anniversary Sanctuary Gameplay 5

Since team sizes were still incorrect and players were constantly being split from the parties they were searching with, many people asked for 343 Industries to bring back the Free for All playlist in hopes they could at least play some sort of matchmaking game without having to worry about losing their party. 343 listened and later announced that the playlist would be coming online “within the next few hours” – this announcement was made at 3:25AM PST. Like all other playlists, it was going to be unranked until existing matchmaking issues had been ironed out.

It wasn’t until 10:18PM PST on November 23rd, 2014 that the playlist finally released and brought more disappointment to the already disgruntled community for a variety of reasons:

  • FFA was Halo 2 Anniversary only
  • Max Player Size was set to 10 instead of the traditional 6-8 in previous titles
  • In some cases, players were playing 11-16 player FFA games in the playlist

 

November 24th, 2014 – The Boss

Tartarus

On November 24th, Bonnie Ross – Studio Head at 343 Industries made a blog post on the homepage of Halo Waypoint were she personally apologized for the shortcomings of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and promised that the team was working around the clock to ensure the game would be in a playable state that was promised before launch.

“On the matchmaking front, we have encountered unexpected issues that were not apparent in our internal test environment and that have resulted in a frustrating experience, including long matchmaking times and low session success rates. Within 343 Industries and Xbox, I can assure you that resolving these issues is our #1 priority. We continue to partner with the Xbox platform team to analyze all data to make ongoing server-side adjustments to continually improve the matchmaking experience.

We are also preparing additional content updates that will address existing campaign, UI, and other issues to improve the overall experience. With each update we will carefully analyze data to confirm that the improvements we’re seeing internally are also happening with fans at home.  “

You can check out the full apology from Bonnie Ross by clicking here.

November 26th, 2014 – Fool Me Once…

Halo 3 Multiplayer

November 26th, 2014 brought us what looked like another promising update. Surely after the previously botched updates, we finally have a proper patch coming which will fix the issues it promises, right? If only.

While the update itself did fix a few issues, it only made minor improvements to matchmaking and game stability. After the patch, players were still experiencing long search times, low success rates and game crashes. You can read the full patch notes for the update here.

December 3rd, 2014 – Promising

Halo 2 Anniversary Lockout Screenshot 12

This update was focused solely on matchmaking and introduced a big change which allowed games to start once the minimum player counts had been met. This meant that we would finally see 4v4 games in 5v5 playlists rather than finding 9 players and waiting for the game to finally find a 10th person which most times took over 5 minutes and in a lot of cases, didn’t find the 10th player. While this was a huge change for the game, it still didn’t address the core issue – Matchmaking was entirely dysfunctional and simply not working for the majority of the community. You can read the full patch notes for this update here.

December 7th, 2014 – Did You Just?

Halo Championship Series ESL Header

Sunday, December 7th was the date of the first online Halo Championship Series Cup in which top-teams were going to battle it out and earn HCS points to solidify their spot in the Halo Championship Series Season 1 Finals. Pro Teams were mid-tournament when suddenly, a content update dropped. 343 Industries had just released a 1000MB update on a Sunday which essentially put the entire tournament on hold until teams had a chance to download it.

A few players were kicked to the Xbox Dashboard and forced to download the update during crucial games. While every one was thankful that another update was dropping to make more improvements and add more fixes, it was such poor timing to drop it during the middle of what should have been a decent tournament using Halo 2 Anniversary.

Eventually, some teams were disqualified because they had issues downloading the content update and couldn’t make it to their next game in time. This update actually made huge improvements to team balance – it is very rare that games will start with uneven teams in the lobby and has been like that since this update released. However, some issues it promised to make improvements to like random rank resets are still occurring to date. For the full list of patch notes from December 7th, click here.

December 10th, 2014 – The Return

Halo 2 Anniversary Zanzibar Screenshot 1

This date marked the return of Team SWAT, a playlist previously removed on November 13th to hopefully speed up the matchmaking process and it brought back 4v4 team sizes for five playlists:

  • Team Slayer
  • Halo 2 Classic
  • Halo 3
  • Halo Championship Series
  • SWAT

 

Previously, these playlists were all 5v5 and made maps quite crowded in some cases. This was only a playlist update rather than content update which makes core changes to the game, so no further changes were made to matchmaking and stability on this date.

December 15th, 2014 – Fool Me Twice…

Halo 2 Anniversary Lockout Screenshot 15

The update on December 15th was meant to make improvements to the reliability to matchmaking parties and to this date, trying to search matchmaking with more than one player is an extremely painful process. You will actively be searching and suddenly, someone in your party will be kicked into a lobby by themselves without any warning and in most cases they had to quit the game and restart it to join back.

Other changes and improvements were made to the game but once again, matchmaking and parties were left in an awful state. At this point, the Halo community was losing hope for matchmaking to ever be fully fixed. Many players were returning Halo: The Master Chief Collection or reaching out to Xbox Support to get a refund for the game. A full patch notes list for this update can be found here.

December 19th, 2014 – Compensation

Relic 1

Bonnie Ross had returned from the shadows and made a post on Xbox Wire informing players that because of all these issues, players would receive various forms of compensation to make up for the messy launch of the game. For anyone who played the game before December 19th, they would receive the following at a later date:

  • In-game nameplate
  • In-game avatar
  • Free month of Xbox LIVE Gold
  • Halo 3: ODST’s Campaign for Halo: The Master Chief Collection running at 1080p and 60FPS
  • Remastered Halo 2 Anniversary Map – “Relic”

 

A majority of players have already received the nameplates, avatars and free month of Gold (and it is still rolling out for others) but Halo 3: ODST and Relic are estimated to arrive sometime during Spring 2015.

Halo 3 ODST Image

While it was great to finally get some sort of compensation for the issues plaguing the game since November, many players were quick to call 343 Industries out for having a cut-off point for it. As you’ll see in the rest of the article, the game is still not in a stable state and anyone who purchased the game after December 19th will still run into issues with parties, matchmaking and will still experience freezing, crashing and other game-specific issues. It is unknown if players who didn’t meet the cut-off point will be able to purchase Relic and Halo 3: ODST at a later date or if the compensation date will ever be extended.

You can read the blog post from Bonnie Ross about the compensation here and the FAQ about the compensation here.

December 17th, 2014 – Combat Evolved

Halo CEA Chief

Shortly before launch, we were informed that Halo: Combat Evolved wouldn’t have its own exclusive playlist to begin with while improvements were made to the netcode and other minor issues. Those issues were addressed in a timely manner after launch and it was finally time to bring it into the playlist line-up. After community feedback, the matchmaking team promised the playlist would launch as a 2v2 setting.

Unfortunately it didn’t turn out like that though, shortly after it came out players were quick to notice the playlist was actually 3v3. 343 Industries claimed this was temporary until they ensured players were finding games fast before they dropped the number to 2v2. As of today, the playlist is STILL 3v3.

December 22nd, 2014 – Crimson

H4-SpartanOps_Ep1_Cinematic-02

With the Halo 5: Guardians beta set to kick off in just one week, we were worried that Halo: The Master Chief Collection would be kicked to the sidelines until January 18th, 2015 when the beta eventually ended. 343 Industries were quick to reassure us that the beta would not slow them down and they would continue to support the game throughout the duration of the beta and until it was in a playable state.

An update released on December 22nd which not only added Halo 4’s Spartan Ops mode (which was held back at launch for additional tweaking) but a variety of bug fixes like ensuring games will only start when teams are even (meaning you should NEVER see a 4v3 or a 5v4, etc).

Spartan Ops

Halo 4’s Spartan Ops was a new co-op experience that features ten episodes and 50 missions. While a lot of players felt mixed on the co-op mode, it was still part of the Halo 4 package. Spartan Ops was originally meant to ship with Halo: The Master Chief Collection but shortly before launch, 343 Industries announced that it would be released for free in a future content update to allow time for additional tweaks and improvements based off feedback from Halo 4 on the Xbox 360.

With this update, all 50 missions and ten episodes were released and for the first time allowed players to toggle a variety of skulls modifiers to mix things up a little. While these improvements were greatly appreciated, the full implementation of Spartan Ops appeared to be rushed and lacked many features that were originally available on the Xbox 360.

343 Industries added a ton of new features to Halo: The Master Chief Collection that previous Halo titles didn’t have in their Xbox 360 counter-parts like Campaign Leaderboards, Campaign Scoring, Unified Medal System in all titles but Halo 3 and more. However, when it came to Spartan Ops all of these new additions were nowhere to be seen.

Missing Additions

Spartan Ops was missing a lot of new additions and felt like it was just something added in to say “Hey, we promised this would be coming – here it is.” The following was missing from the mode:

  • No Achievements (Spartan Ops achievements were later added on January 8th, 2015)
  • No Leaderboards
  • No Matchmaking
  • No Medals
  • No Post-Game Lobby/No Post-Game Stats

 

While you could argue that they didn’t promise to add all of the above, it seems strange that every other mode in Halo: The Master Chief Collection benefited from these new additions. Some of the above were also present in the Xbox 360 version of Spartan Ops like Matchmaking and Post-Game Stats.

Achievement Unlocked – Save & Quit

I have no idea if this is still the case because I haven’t tried out Spartan Ops since they added the achievements but at that point, there was a glitch which would allow you to unlock all of the ‘Complete X episodes of Spartan Ops’ in under an hour. All you had to do? Load up each mission, one-by-one and save and quit. Halo: The Master Chief Collection would think the mission had been completed and credit you towards completion for the achievement. You can read the full list of patch notes for this content update by clicking here.

The Last For A While

The December 22nd content update was actually the last content update of 2014. The next one didn’t arrive until almost a MONTH later on January 19th, 2015 which was ONE day after the Halo 5: Guardians beta ended. While a lot of players did jump into the Halo 5: Guardians beta to check out what the next game would play like ahead of its Fall 2015 release, many of them were expecting to come back to Halo: The Master Chief Collection and it would be working as intended, especially with the entire month between content updates. As you can probably guess, this wasn’t the case.

December 29th, 2014 – The Future

Halo 5 Guardians Beta Eden Screenshot 3

December 29th marked the release date of the Halo 5: Guardians Beta and would ultimately put Halo: The Master Chief Collection content updates on hold for a month. It should be worth noting at this point that content updates for Halo: The Master Chief Collection were releasing WEEKLY up until the release of the Halo 5: Guardians beta.

Content Update Release Dates

  1. November 14th, 2014
  2. November 20th, 2014
  3. November 26th, 2014
  4. December 3rd, 2014
  5. December 7th, 2014
  6. December 15th, 2014
  7. December 22nd, 2014

 

While the entire purpose of this article is to show the journey from November to February for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, it is worth touching on the Halo 5: Guardians beta and how well the game performed in terms of matchmaking and parties.

From the get go, players were able to join up with their friends and jump straight into matchmaking playlists and find games in under 30 seconds. These games were balanced teams, in most cases equally matched in terms of skill and matches actually started. A tweet from Josh Holmes on Twitter actually said that of the thousands of games played in the Halo 5: Guardians beta in the first week, only SEVEN started with uneven teams.

The sheer thought of a very early beta working much better than a retail product released from the same company was once again, baffling and people weren’t exaggerating – the matchmaking and party system in the Halo 5: Guardians beta was functioning better than Halo: The Master Chief Collection in every aspect.

January 14th, 2015 – We Back?

halo 2 warlock

On this date, 343 Industries released a playlist update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection which finally added both Team Hardcore and Halo 4 back into the playlist line-up. Both of these playlists were removed a short time after launch as I mentioned earlier. While it was great to see more playlists and a little bit of variety in matchmaking, long-standing issues were still there like Halo 2 Classic’s netcode being absolutely atrocious and pretty much unplayable in a casual setting, let alone a competitive one.

This video should give you a rough idea of what the netcode for Halo 2 Classic is like in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Team Hardcore was originally meant to be a cross-game playlist featuring Halo 2 and Halo 3. It was intended to include tournament-approved gametypes seen in events from 2004 to 2010 for both games. Shortly before launch (this is becoming a recurring theme), 343 Industries announced that Halo 3 wouldn’t be included at launch and would be added at some point in the near future. The reason for that was because 343 Industries didn’t have the tools to port over the tournament-approved maps from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One.

An alternative would be to simply ask community members to remake maps like Onslaught and Amplified in Forge mode but this isn’t possible. Remaking the maps themselves are tedious enough but due to a UI bug with Halo 3’s Forge, you can’t actually place Objective markers and gametype-specific items like Hills, Capture Points and Flag Spawns. This actually prevents any player from creating maps that work with any gametypes except for Slayer.

Due to this UI bug, it also isn’t possible to play Grifball in Halo 3. Similar to Capture the Flag, the map creators simply can’t place a spawn point for the Bomb and the two arm points. 343 Industries have acknowledged this UI bug and are actively working on a fix but three months later, we are no closer to having Team Hardcore with Halo 3 gametypes or Grifball becoming playable in Halo 3.

January 19th, 2015 – We Didn’t Forget

Halo 2 Anniversary Ascension Screenshot  7

After a long period without any fixes being made towards Halo: The Master Chief Collection, 343 Industries released a content update which actually fixed a long-standing issue with Halo 2 Anniversary’s multiplayer. A few players noticed that while playing in this mode, they would experience random lag spikes which meant Halo 2 Anniversary required a huge amount of bandwidth to play which many players simply didn’t have.

Due to this issue, killing a player with the Battle Rifle in four bursts was pretty much impossible and almost-always players would have to fire a fifth burst and in some cases, even more just to kill a player. This update finally resolved the issue and stopped these random lag spikes from occurring. This update also attempted to make more improvements to matchmaking success rates and more but as you can probably guess, it didn’t do much and matchmaking was still in a very unplayable state. You can see the full patch notes for the January 19th content update, click here.

January 21st, 2015 – Welcome to the Beta!

Master Chief Collection Beta

In a quiet blog post on Halo Waypoint, 343 Industries announced that they would be having a beta for the next content update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection that would be available for members of the Xbox One Preview Program. While nothing had been confirmed at this point, many people throughout the community were speculating that this would be a huge rework of the both the matchmaking and party systems and would address the core issues once and for all rather than releasing small updates every once in a while which clearly weren’t making any real impact.

The beta for the upcoming content update was scheduled to take place over the weekend of January 27th and ended up being delayed and eventually cancelled to ensure that the public release of the update arrived faster. Almost a month later, this update has still yet to arrive and we still don’t have a solid release date for it.

January 31st, 2015 – It’s coming, we promise.

Halo 2 Anniversary Warlock Screenshot 2

Today marked the date that Bravo brought back the weekly Halo Bulletin posts which were stopped shortly before the launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and replaced by video bulletins. While the video bulletins did mix things up a little, in most cases they completely ignored the issues with Halo: The Master Chief Collection with multiple episodes not even mentioning the game. In the first edition of what was now called the Halo Community Update, Bravo outlined what issues they are targeting for the upcoming content update and that is:

  • Matchmaking search time
  • Match search success
  • Lobby / Party Functionality

 

All three of these are arguably the biggest issues with the game and fixing them would do wonders despite the other issues like Halo 2 Classic netcode, games failing to load, etc. Bravo also made an interesting note that fixing these issues would actually allow them to fix these long standing issues:

“Fundamental changes to these systems will improve the overall experience while also allowing us to address additional issues such as title-specific hit registration, matchmaking ranking, and beyond.”

In this update, Bravo also informed us that the official release window for this content update would be at some point in February for everyone, not just select members in the previously mentioned beta. There are currently just under two weeks remaining in February and once again, we still do not have a release date for this content update.

Playlist Updates

We also learned more information on upcoming playlist updates including Rumble Pit, Team Doubles, Team Snipers and an objective-only playlist. While most of these were in the works and on the way, we got a comment on Team Doubles and why it still hasn’t arrived.

“We know Team Doubles remains at the top of many wish lists, and it remains at the top of ours as well, but we need to resolve some team creation issues before we can deploy it. So it’s on hold for now, and these fixes are being slotted into content updates. As always, we’ll keep an eye on playlist data to determine what stays, what goes, and what’s next.”

So the same reason Team Doubles has yet to arrive is the same reason that Halo: Combat Evolved is still a 3v3 playlist – matchmaking is still not capable of creating 2v2 games without risk of a third or fourth player being thrown into the mix. You can read the full 1.31.15 Halo Community Update by clicking here.

February 9th, 2015 – As soon as possible…

Moa SOON

Nine days after the first community update, Bravo posted the next one over at Halo Waypoint which went more in-depth about why the recent beta for the content update was cancelled and why it was a good decision in the long run.

“After further evaluation, the team has determined that final testing for the content update will be completed internally, and we will not be conducting a beta test for the next CU. Also, it was determined that the additional time and work devoted to the beta would’ve actually postponed the public availability of the content update.

Lastly, there were some added challenges surrounding the CU beta – including an extra series of required updates and rollbacks – that made us take a step back and reexamine the CU beta. Ultimately, this plan will allow us to deliver the smoothest possible experience, and ensure that the next content update becomes available as soon as possible.”

With the cancellation of the content update beta, many players are hoping that it is receiving a ton of testing to ensure that it works perfectly when it released to the public sometime this month.

Frank O’ Connor – Franchise Development Director at 343 Industries made a post on NeoGAF on January 21st, 2014 which promised that the upcoming content update would fix the core issues instead of trying to make small tweaks with every content update that we saw from the seven previous updates.

Frank O' Connor - Everything is planned to be fixed.

You can read the full 2.9.2015 Halo Community Update by clicking here.

February 11th, 2015 – Stick With It 

Stick With It is an achievement in Halo: The Master Chief Collection which offers 5 Gamerscore if you meet the pre-requirements seen below:

My Great Capture Screenshot 2015-02-19 00-59-48

February 11th, 2015 was the third month that Halo: The Master Chief Collection had been out to the public and many players hopped onto the game to try and unlock this achievement. After reading various posts on achievement websites and testing it myself, I can confirm that as on February 19th, 2015 – this achievement will still not unlock and is bugged. Like every other issue in the game, 343 Industries apologized and promised they were working on a fix.

February 14th, 2015 – Get Ready to Rumble

Valentines Day, the perfect day for everyone to hop on Halo and ignore their significant other. In the past we would see playlists like Valentines Day Massacre popup on Halo 3 or Firefight Doubles in Halo: Reach. Sadly, we didn’t get anything like that in Halo: The Master Chief Collection but hey, we got Team Snipers and Rumble Pit!

But once again, 343 Industries managed to disappoint with the latest playlist update. Team Snipers is missing Halo 3 once again because 343 haven’t managed to port over the Halo 3 map variants that were used on the Xbox 360. Other maps that would actually work great for Snipers like Hang Em’ High, Danger Canyon and more are missing and instead we see maps like Wizard, Warlord, Skyline and Abandon. Most times, players are shooting randomly while descoped in the hopes that they’ll hit the player rather than sitting back and taking their time due to the map sizes.

Rumble Pit has the same shortcomings that Halo 2 Anniversary Rumble had – the playlist doesn’t offer the traditional 6-8 players that was seen in previous Halo titles, it is still a 10-player playlist. The issue with this is, a lot of the maps are simply not designed for 10-players. Maps like Warlord, Lockdown, Assembly, Citadel, Cold Storage, Guardian, Heretic, Skyline and Monolith are all designed with 6 or 8-player combat in mind. Oh, and it doesn’t feature Halo: Combat Evolved for some reason, too.

With that, both of these playlists are also unranked like every other playlist in Halo: The Master Chief Collection excluding Team Halo 2: Anniversary which is still a 5v5 playlist.

February 18th, 2015 – Update on the Update

Bravo released the third Halo Community Update yesterday which just dodged giving us any real information about a release date for the patch apart from confirming they’re happy with the progress they are making.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve been completing work on the upcoming content update, which will improve stability, matchmaking, the party and invite system, and more. As we announced previously, this content update includes fundamental changes to the aforementioned systems, and making and validating these changes requires substantial time beyond what was required for prior updates.

We’re happy with the progress on the next CU, with significant progress being made on big and small issues, and we’re being diligent in gameplay and stress testing to ensure that it is a meaningful update. While we haven’t yet locked an exact release date of this CU, the work is in its final stages of testing and bug squashing is well underway. The next time we communicate regarding the status of the upcoming CU, we will provide a definitive timeframe for its availability.”

So to put it into perspective – they released an update informing us that the update on the upcoming content update would be coming next week. Yeah, it’s a little confusing.

You can read the full 02.18.2015 Halo Community Update by clicking here.

February 19th, 2015 – 100 Days Later

Halo 2 Anniversary Gravemind 3

Well here we are. February 19th, 2015 marks the the 100th day that Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been available for purchase and as you can probably guess from the previous 5,000+ words, the game is still in a very dysfunctional and unplayable state. I haven’t even been able to touch on every single issue and bug that is still plaguing the game because to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t know when to stop. There are huge issues like the long-search times all the way down to minor issues like the lighting on Sandbox in Halo 3.

Halo 3 - Sandbox Lighting

100 days in and Halo: The Master Chief Collection does still not have a decent-functioning matchmaking system, a working lobby/party system and a plethora of other long-standing issues. Even if the upcoming content update does finally fix the long-standing issues with matchmaking and parties, there are still all of these issues that need to be worked on and even more that I’ll probably miss out:

Long-standing issues

  • Crashes on all titles
  • Freezes on all titles
  • Long search times
  • Low matchmaking success rate
  • Peer to Peer matches are more common that matched on dedicated servers
  • Rank resets
  • Halo 2 Classic’s netcode
  • Halo: Combat Evolved anti-aim bug
  • Forge in Halo 3
  • 4 second respawn bug in Halo 2 Classic*
  • No microphone indicator to see who is talking in various titles
  • Incorrect emblems shown in-game for Halo 2 Classic, Halo 3 and Halo 4
  • Halo 3 directional sounds are broken
  • Halo 3 multiplayer games aren’t recognized by Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s stats
  • All of these bugs in Halo: Combat Evolved
  • De-sync bugs in Halo 2 Anniversary and Halo: Combat Evolved’s Campaigns in co-op mode
  • This notification for terminal videos always shows up and there is no way to get rid of it
  • Various AI in Halo 2 Anniversary don’t dual wield weapons despite doing so in the Xbox original version
  • This UI bug prevents players from changing teams in custom games
  • Trait Zones in Halo 4’s Forge can’t be used because the UI option to modify them is missing
  • If you betray a team mate in Halo 3 three times, you won’t be kicked – you will be sent to the other team.

 

*: This bug actually spawns another interesting but insane bug. If you are holding an objective like the Oddball, Flag or Hill when this glitch happens to you, your dead body will be in possession of the objective until you finally respawn. Other players will not be able to pick them up and will essentially lose to a dead body. Dead players who are stuck on the 4 second respawn glitch will also show as a red dot on the radar until they finally respawn.

Those are just a list of some issues that have been a problem since November 11th, some have been acknowledged by 343 Industries and some haven’t and we literally have no time frame when any of them will be fixed. In just 100 days, 343 Industries have managed to make very little progress in fixing all of these issues in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. With the upcoming content update having over a month of development time, it should seriously be fixing all the issues it promises to fix on the matchmaking and party-side of things.

This weekend, Halo: The Master Chief Collection could possibly be going on sale for $24 and I literally don’t know if I should be telling people to pick it up or not. On one hand, it is an absolute steal getting all of that content for that price but on the other hand, it hasn’t worked for 100 days and there are no signs that it will be fixed completely any time soon.

blueline

When Halo: The Master Chief Collection works, it really is a thing of beauty. When I was running custom games before the official launch, hours were passing without me even realizing. I wasn’t getting frustrated, I wasn’t angry and I wasn’t upset – I was having fun playing Halo. Ever since matchmaking came online and we were introduced to the ever-lasting list of issues, the game has been nothing but frustration.

343 Industries – this upcoming patch needs to work and finally eliminate all of the matchmaking and party issues that have plagued this game since November 11th. If this patch does work and you can finally shift your attention to the other issues mentioned earlier – please let us know what you are fixing, how long it is going to take to be fixed and a better idea of when the fix will be released.

halo frustration

Over the past 100 days we have been sitting in silence for days and weeks at a time without any information from you other than “We’ll have an ETA on that soon” usually followed by “Thanks for your continued patience.”. I understand that you don’t want to give time frames that could potentially change and as a result will cause more backlash but we just want to be kept informed on the franchise we love, the games we grew up with and the collection we purchased.

This collection was meant to be Halo’s grand return and sadly, it has proven to be anything but that.


How has your experience been with Halo: The Master Chief Collection over the past 100 days? Let us know on our forums.

 

Halo: The Master Chief Collection: 100 Days Later – Written by Rhys “The Little Moa” Weir