Halo: The Master Chief Collection – Six Months Later

By: Rhys Weir | May 11th, 2015

A few months ago, I created an article for Beyond Entertainment called “Halo: The Master Chief Collection – 100 Days Later” which recapped the timeline from November 11th, 2014 until February 19th, 2015 for 343 Industries’ latest game – Halo: The Master Chief Collection. I talked about content updates – successful and unsuccessful, developer communication, long-standing issues and more.

Master Chief Collection Header

Today marks the six month anniversary of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, or if you’re into numbers, the 181st day that this game has been on-sale, worldwide. If you’re a Halo fan, you will probably know what sort of state that Halo: The Master Chief Collection is in. If you’re not, then we should probably pick up were I left off in February. Before continuing, I seriously recommend checking out our 100 Days article as it will offer a lot of context and obviously give you a little more history on Halo: The Master Chief Collection and its issues.

February 26th, 2015 – Here We Go Again…

 Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Ranks

On this date, 343 Industries announced that the upcoming March 2015 content update was not going to make any changes to the ranking system issues that had been present since November 11th, 2014.

As of February 2015, a lot of issues relating to ranks were still in the game like random rank resets, low levels matching higher levels and the fact that Team Halo 2: Anniversary was the only ranked playlist. We’ll talk more about ranks later on in the article.

February 27th, 2015 – Certification Nation

halo-4-oddball

In the Halo Community Update released on February 27th, Bravo offered us a little bit of information on the upcoming March 2015 content update, reassuring us that it will make significant improvements to both the matchmaking and party systems used in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Specifically, he said that the update had now entered certification and would release details on timing and content provided it passed certification.

This was also the first mention of Team Ball, the next rotational playlist that was being added to Halo: The Master Chief Collection which would eventually replace Team Snipers.

If you want to read the Halo Community Update, be sure to check it out here.

March 3rd, 2015 – We…Back?

Halo 2 Anniversary Sanctuary Gameplay 8

March 3rd marked the date that literally every Halo fan had been waiting for – the release of the patch for Halo: The Master Chief Collection – which finally fixed issues relating to both matchmaking and parties. This update fixed both of these long-standing issues and ensured that players could reliably invite their friends and hop into matchmaking to find games. This patch was one of the biggest to date, not only because of the previously mentioned fixes but it also did the following:

  • Made significant improvements to Halo 2 Classic’s shot registration
  • Fixed the anti-aim bug in Halo: Combat Evolved’s multiplayer
  • Resolved shot registration issues in Halo: Combat Evolved
  • Fixes “Stick With It” achievement

 

While that is a small list, they were much needed changes which finally made the most popular content playable in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. However, we shouldn’t be giving 343 Industries too much credit with this patch. It has been known for a while now that 343 Industries outsourced most of this game to external companies like Sabre Interactive, Certain Affinity, Blur Studios, etc but nobody knew that they actually outsourced some of the work for the March 2015 content update to a company called “Splash Damage”.

While we don’t know specifically what Splash Damage did in the March 2015 content update, it is amazing to see that 343 Industries couldn’t fix the game they created and had to once again hire an external company to do the work for them. Regardless, we were all thankful for this. It was the first patch which actually made a difference for parties and matchmaking.

To read the full patch notes for the March 2015 content update, click here.

March 6th, 2015 – It Works!

HCS Season 1 Finals Header

From March 6th to March 8th, the Halo Championship Series Season 1 Finals took place and they literally went off without a hitch. Past LAN tournaments for Season 1 were running into constant issues when trying to get players into lobbies and resulted in constant downtime for the live stream. With the Season 1 finals using the March 2015 content update, it was such a smooth experience with the only issues being related to the venue’s internet rather than Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

To see the final results for Season 1 of the Halo Championship Series, check out our article.

March 9th, 2015 – This Game Exists?

MCC-X1

Now that the biggest issues plaguing Halo: The Master Chief Collection were resolved, Microsoft decided to kick off their marketing for the game again by revealing an official Xbox One bundle which came with an Xbox One and a digital copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection for only $349.99.

It was nice to see the game getting some love despite its long-standing issues after five months. Check out our article on the Halo: The Master Chief Collection Xbox One bundle for details on both pricing and availability by clicking here.

March 11th, 2015 – Team Bal… what?

h3 oddball

Team Ball, a new cross-game rotational playlist which featured both Oddball and Ricochet variants, was added to Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and the Halo community in a loud and clear voice said: What?

With the introduction of Team Ball, the previous rotational playlist – Team Snipers – was also removed from the line up.

343 Industries have been doing rotational playlists since 2012 with their first major Halo release – Halo 4 – and they have been received with very mixed opinions. Some people love them, some people hate them. The way they have been handled for Halo: The Master Chief Collection is certainly odd. Fan favorites like Team Snipers and Team Doubles are being added, only lasting for a few weeks then being removed again, not to see the light of day for at least 2+ months.

While it is cool to see new playlists thrown into the mix, Team Objective would have been the clear favorite. Rather than limiting the playlist to two gametypes across a few games, using a variety of objective modes from all five games would have been awesome.

March 13th, 2015 – From The Shadows

halo frustration

Dan Ayoub, Executive Producer at 343 Industries for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, resurfaced on March 13th after being Twitter-silent since the games release. Once again apologizing for the issues Halo: The Master Chief Collection had, he offered us new images of both Halo 3: ODST running on the Xbox One and the remastered Relic for Halo 2 Anniversary.

Did I mention Relic? Although this was a notable map from Halo 2, not many fans from the Halo community were particularly requesting this map to be remade. Halo 2: Anniversary is the current game for the Halo Championship Series, the competitive Halo league run by 343 Industries and Microsoft. The HCS has suffered from Halo 2: Anniversary’s lack of small-scale maps (in terms of both gameplay variety as well as spectator appeal) and so the selection of Relic came as a disappointing choice to some.

To see all the new content that was revealed with Ayoub’s return, check out this article.

March 20th, 2015 – “On Dedicated Servers!”

Halo 5 Guardians Beta Regret Screenshot 10

When 343 Industries took to the stage at E3 2014 and announced Halo: The Master Chief Collection, they promised that it would all be running on dedicated servers. It wasn’t until shortly before launch that we learned that these dedicated servers would be used for matchmaking only, leaving both custom games and campaign to use peer-to-peer like the Xbox 360. Even then, matchmaking today still rarely uses dedicated servers.

With Halo 5: Guardians, both matchmaking and custom games will make use of dedicated servers. Josh Holmes posted on our forums that there was no peer-to-peer fallback that is seen with Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Those of us who played the beta for Halo 5: Guardians know how much of a difference dedicated servers make to playing Halo. The beta was one of the smoothest Halo experiences I’ve had when it came to shot registration and lack of host advantage and it’s a shame we’ll probably only experience that smoothness again at the end of the year with Halo 5: Guardians and not Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

For more information on Josh Holmes’ post confirming dedicated servers for Halo 5: Guardians custom games, check out our article and be sure to check out our forums too.

March 26th, 2015 – Two on Two

Halo Combat Evolved Screenshot 2

Halo: Combat Evolved, a playlist originally planned for November 11th made its way to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on December 17th, 2014. In December, it was meant to be a 2v2 playlist because Halo: Combat Evolved works better in a 2v2 setting than it does in a 4v4 setting.

When it released, the playlist was set to 3v3 and 343 Industries promised it would be changed to 2v2 once they sorted team balancing issues out. Just over three months later and this playlist was finally changed from 3v3 to 2v2.

March 27th, 2015 – Querying

Halo 4 Monitor

The Halo Community Update for March 27th, 2015 talked about the upcoming content update that was scheduled to release in April 2015 which would make important fixes to the ranking system, add quitting/betrayal penalties and more. Bravo continued to talk about upcoming playlists such as Team Snipers, Team SWAT and Team Doubles in this community update. Overall, it didn’t offer much for readers.

We are constantly in a state were we do not know what bugs 343 Industries are aware of and investigating, we are forced to wait until patch notes are released before we continue to reinforce the importance of getting certain bugs fixed like Halo 3’s Forge, directional sounds in Halo 3, etc.

When looking at other developers who are releasing a patch for a game, most times they will let their players know well in advance what they are planning to change so when the update does go live, it isn’t a quick scurry to find out what might or might not have been fixed. 343 Industries need to let us know what they are hoping to fix well in advance.

To read the Halo Community update, click here.

March 31st, 2015 – Double Trouble

halo 2 sniper

March 31st marked the release date of Team Doubles – a 2v2 playlist featuring gametypes and maps from Halo 2 Classic, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4. Halo: Combat Evolved was obviously absent from the playlist because the standalone playlist was changed to 2v2.

While it was great to finally see Team Doubles return (and actually have 2v2 games and not 2v4 games), it was filled with so many issues that many struggled to find fun in what used to be a fan favorite playlist.

Rotational Playlist

Team Doubles was added to Halo: The Master Chief Collection as a rotational playlist and not a permanent one meaning at some point in the near future, it was going to be removed. When the playlist was added on March 31st, Team Ball was removed to make room for it.

As you can probably guess, when the April 2015 content update rolled around, Team Doubles was removed and replaced with Team SWAT meaning we never got to saw what Team Doubles could play like with ranks similar to past titles like Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach and Halo 4.

No Ranks

Considering ranks were still broken beyond belief in the Team Halo 2: Anniversary playlist, getting a ranked doubles playlist wasn’t going to happen and when the April 2015 content update did drop, Team Doubles was removed to make way for the next rotational playlist. Due to the lack of ranks, it was extremely rare that players would ever find competitive games and resulted in one-sided games in which a lot of players would simply quit because it was not worth their time (that and the fact there was still no quitting penalties).

Starting Weapons

I can’t believe it’s 2015 and we are still talking about what starting weapons need to be used in Halo 2 Classic, Halo 2 Anniversary and Halo 3.

Halo 2 Classic

Primary Weapon: Battle Rifle
Secondary Weapon: SMG

Halo 2 Anniversary

Primary Weapon: Battle Rifle
Secondary Weapon: SMG

Halo 3

Primary Weapon: Battle Rifle
Secondary Weapon: Assault Rifle

It should be as simple as that really. There is no fun in starting with an SMG or Assault Rifle and being unable to kill someone effectively who is 10 feet away from you. The game goes from controlling power weapons to controlling the Battle Rifle or Carbine because the SMG/Assault Rifle literally can’t compete with those two guns at range. This becomes even more troublesome when certain maps only have a limited amount of Battle Rifles or Carbines on them like Guardian in Halo 3.

Considering I am going on a little rant about starting weapons, you can probably guess that Team Doubles got it wrong. A majority of gametypes were once again SMG and Assault Rifle starts except for a special few which had Battle Rifle starts.

Incorrectly/inconsistent gametype labelling

There were a few issues with the way the gametype names were handled in Team Doubles. There were correctly labelled gametypes like “Team BR Slayer 2v2” and then there would be another gametype just called “Team BRs”. It was like someone decided to give them logical names then just gave up half way through the process.

Other issues like Team BR gametypes being labelled as “Team Slayer” which sometimes resulted in two “Team Slayer” gametypes showing up for the same game. One example I remember off the top of my head is “Team Slayer” on Lockdown showing up twice with the most left option being a Battle Rifle gametype.

Ideally, gametypes should just be labelled like this:

  • Team Slayer – AR/SMG starts
  • Team BRs – BR/SMG OR BR/AR starts

All objective gametypes should be BR/SMG OR BR/AR starts by default and retain their default gametype name.

VIP

I don’t want to know why this gametype was even considered for Team Doubles, it is without a doubt one of the worst gametypes that I was forced to play when the playlist was still available. I’ll be short and sweet – remove it.

To expand a little bit, the gametype was literally a random mess that had a few issues such as one team spawning with a VIP while the other team wouldn’t. The team without the VIP would have to have a player die first and then respawn as a VIP before the other team could even gain any points on them. Oh and the gametype was Assault Rifle starts.

April 3rd, 2015 – Team Objective Coming Soon

Halo 2 Anniversary Warlock Screenshot 1

A while ago, Bravo mentioned that a Team Objective playlist was in the works and that it would be added to Halo: The Master Chief Collection sometime in the near future. All the Halo Community Update for April 3rd, 2015 did was reassure us that the playlist was still in the works and it would once again be arriving “soon”.

As of May 11th, 2015 – this playlist has still not made an appearance in Halo: The Master Chief Collection and we are none the wiser on what games it will contain or when it will be coming.

April 8th, 2015 – Competitive Skill Rank

halo-4-spartan-br

Two years ago, Halo 4’s Competitive Skill Rank finally released. It was never made visually available in-game and was instead only viewable through Halo Waypoint on both mobile and web devices. It took Halo 4 a grand total of 153 days to finally add skill ranks to the game in some capacity.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection planned to have visual ranks both in-game and on Halo Waypoint and were available day one on November 11th but were broken beyond belief, only available in one playlist and had a ton of issues relating to random resets. It took a grand total of 161 days to add ranks to Halo: The Master Chief Collection which actually worked.

I probably shouldn’t forget to mention the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta which had working ranks on the first day and they worked great throughout the entire duration of the beta.

April 16th, 2015 – This Game Exists Too?

halo-spartan-strike-key-art-horizontal-rgb-final

Remember Halo: Spartan Strike? It’s the latest Halo game you have probably heard absolutely nothing about. Originally announced in October 2014, Spartan Strike was meant to release in December 2014 but was delayed after the botched launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Not a single word was spoken about Halo: Spartan Strike in the four months after its initial delay until April 16th when they just decided to release the game with absolutely zero marketing.

Bravo also posted a new Halo Community Update on this day which talked about little bit more about the April 2015 content update, specifically confirming that it was now in the certification process and would be releasing next week, provided it passed certification. In this blog post, 343 Industries confirmed that the April 2015 content update would finally fix the Halo 3 Forge bug which prevented players from creating objective-related map variants and finally allowing Grifball to be playable in Halo 3.

The April 2015 content update will also allow for the updated Halo 3 map variants to finally be added into matchmaking, replacing the old and outdated 2007 variants that have been in the game since day one. The updated variants will finally allow players to experience Halo 3 exactly like it is on the Xbox 360 with correct weapon layouts, patched map exploits and more. As of May 11th, 2015 the only playlist to receive these updated maps is Team SWAT (which is a rotational playlist, again).

April 19th, 2015 – King of the… oh

Halo 2 Anniversary Lockout Screenshot 8

During the first official LAN event for season 2 of the Halo Championship Series, a serious bug was discovered with the King of the Hill gametype in Halo 2 Anniversary. If two players enter the hill at the same time, they will not receive any points for at least 5+ seconds. This actually happened during an intense game of King of the Hill and resulted in the match having to be replayed twice until both teams were satisfied with the outcome.

Frosty – a member of the Team Beyond forums quickly hopped into a Halo 2 Anniversary custom game at home and tried to reproduce this bug himself and confirmed that it happens 100% of the time if two or more players enter the hill at the exact same time. In the above clip, Frosty and his friend enter the hill at 11:39 and don’t start receiving points until 11:31. That is EIGHT seconds of time wasted that could have cost players thousands of dollars during the Iron Gaming Atlanta event.

April 21st, 2015 – Punishments and Resolutions

Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Service Record Rank

The latest content update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection dropped on April 21st and man, did it fix a ton of things but sadly, it broke a ton more too. The content update specifically made changes to rankings, adds both quitting and betrayal penalties (kind of), game-specific improvements for Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Classic, Halo 3, Halo 4, achievements and UI/stability.

Rankings

The changes finally made to fix the ranking system issues in this patch resolved most, if not all of the problems relating to the ranking system in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. After a few days, many users were reporting that skill-based matchmaking was working a lot better and noticed they were a lot more competitive meaning the ranks were finally doing their job. Sadly, there are still issues related to ranks such as random rank resets. Since the ranking system in Halo: The Master Chief Collection is very similar to Halo 2 Classic, trying to reach rank 50 is an all but impossible task.

A few reports of random resets completely ruins any motivation to try and reach for the max level because there is no guarantee it won’t reset your rank.

Quitting & Betrayals

Quitting is now treated as a loss meaning that if you leave a game while it is currently in-progress, it will have a negative impact on your rank and you will eventually rank down from it. A much needed change that for some strange reason took five months to implement.

Both quitting and betraying are now being tracked automatically after the April 2015 content update and 343 Industries are continuing to monitor it. There are actually no penalties for doing this (apart from your rank going down). In previous Halo games, you would receive a temporary ban from matchmaking for quitting or leaving games early and instead of following this route, 343 Industries have decided to try and tie in the Xbox LIVE reputation system to try and make a difference.

If you are found to be a habitual quitter or betrayer, your Xbox LIVE reputation will be impacted and will slowly lower.

This chart was shared in the May 1st Halo Community Update from Bravo and shows what will happen if you continue to quit games. Instead of punishing players with temporary timeouts from matchmaking or severe punishment to their ranks, you will simply be matched with other players who also love to quit and betray in their games.

While it was a cool way to integrate the Xbox LIVE reputation system into the mix, it simply isn’t going to stop people from quitting and betraying. If you are a habitual quitter and/or betrayer, you need to be timed out from ranked (or maybe even social) matchmaking. Not being able to play their favorite playlists will soon put an end to these sort of activities. Take a look at another competitive shooter – Counterstrike: Global Offensive – if you quit games, you will be temporarily banned from matchmaking. If you quit constantly in a small period of time, your ban will become longer and longer.

First Quit – 30 minutes
Second Quit – 2 hours
Third Quit – 24 hours
Fourth Quit – 7 days

While seven days may seem a little excessive, it seriously discourages quitting because you are literally locked out of ranked matchmaking for that period of time. If you need to quit the odd time then you won’t be punished as severely. If you intend on playing ranked matches, you need to be fully dedicated to the cause. If you are constantly unable to finish the match then you shouldn’t be playing in the ranked playlists because not only are you affecting yourself, you are affecting your team mates and the enemy team too. No one enjoys playing a game with a man down.

It is pretty saddening that we will likely never see these type of penalties in Halo: The Master Chief Collection because people seriously don’t care enough about their Xbox LIVE reputation and it is likely we will see quitting and betraying become the norm because 343 Industries don’t want to punish people harshly enough.

Other Changes

More significant changes were made in this patch which both positively and negatively impacted the game:

  • Resolved an issue in Halo: Combat Evolved which caused off-host players to deal more damage than on-host players in peer-to-peer custom games
  • Updated Derelict’s “classic” weapon set to include the Rocket Launcher
  • Resolved a hitbox issue in Halo 2 Classic were shooting an enemies weapon from the front would not cause damage
  • Halo 3 Forge updated to allow objective editing
  • Fixed Halo 3’s directional audio
  • Made some improvements to Halo 3’s controller “deadzones”
  • Fixed issue which prevented Halo 3 statistics from being tracked and updated on the service record
  • Resolved lighting issues on the “Sandbox” map in Halo 3
  • Tried to fix issues relating to the Golf Club in Halo 3’s Forge
  • Finally fixed voice chat consistency in all states of the game, meaning you could actually talk to friends
  • Attempted to make further improvements to party stability, this would later prove to be a failure and caused more issues

 

Of all the issues I mentioned above, there are three of them I want to talk about a little more in-depth. I’ll start off with Halo 3’s controller deadzones. When Halo: The Master Chief Collection first launched, players noticed that they could simply not walk in a straight line. This was because the analog sticks reacted to every single little movement the player made and it had little to no deadzone which caused every little touch of the stick to move the player. Eventually this was fixed in a content update but the issue still remained for the right analog stick, primarily used for aiming.

In the April 2015 content update, looking left, right, up and down is a lot easier and feels more like the Xbox 360 version of Halo 3 but trying to move diagonally will still provide awkward movement that needs further tweaking.

Next up is the Golf Club in Halo 3. Similar to Sandbox, it visually didn’t look right and actually caused a strange issue with the heads up display, click the image below to enlarge the picture to get an idea of what I mean.

As of May 11th, 2015 – the issue with the golf club is still present in Halo 3 despite its attempted fix in the April 21st, 2015 content update. I know you’re probably thinking that a issue with a weapon that is rarely seen outside of Forge mode is minor but it is still there and simply shows how many issues this game has in every corner you turn to.

Lastly, I want to talk about the further party stability improvements that were also added with the April 2015 content update. This actually caused parties to become less stable and as a result of this issue, two online cups for the Halo Championship Series were delayed until a hotfix was released to undo the changes made in this content update (which eventually arrived on May 8th, 2015), but we’ll talk more about that later.

One final piece of information we received from the April 21st patch notes was that both Relic and Halo 3: ODST would be making their way to Halo: The Master Chief Collection next month in the May 2015 content update, provided everything goes to plan.

To check out the patch notes for the April 2015 content update, check out the blog post over on Halo Waypoint.

April 23rd, 2015 – They’re Rolling Out!

My Great Capture Screenshot 2015-05-11 14-55-47

Almost six months after launch, 343 Industries had finally rolled the ranking system out to more than one playlist. Team Slayer and Halo Championship Series were the first playlists to be ranked since the November 2014 launch date and man, it felt good to finally play some competitive games in them.

Other matchmaking changes made on this day included the removal of Team Doubles and re-adding Team SWAT as a rotational playlist. Yeah, they finally started ranking other playlists and decided to remove Team Doubles instead of adding ranks to it and keeping it permanently. I don’t get it either. The big change to Team SWAT this time around was the introduction of Halo 3 now that Halo 3’s Forge had been fixed so they could roll out updated Halo 3 map variants into matchmaking.

Halo 3’s Team SWAT map variants are actually updated to patch hiding spots and exploits that Bungie fixed over the years when they were still in charge, and it is only a matter of time before these updated variants make their way to other playlists like Halo 3, Team Slayer and Big Team Battle.

April 25th, 2015 – Combat Evolved

Halo CEA Chief

Our Astro Spartans: Halo: Combat Evolved 2v2 Tournament took place on April 25th and it was one of the most difficult tournaments we have ran due to the party issues introduced with the April 2015 content update. A lot of players simply couldn’t join their opponents lobby to actually start the game and continue the tournament. While we did keep at it and eventually crowned a winner, it was an extremely stressful day which was entirely out of our hands.

To give you an idea of how bad it was, our tournaments normally end at around 8PM EST provided games are played fast and there are no issues with the game. Our Halo CE 2v2 tournament was still going on until around 12:30AM EST time, an extra four hours than normal. 343 Industries and ESL also decided to delay the Halo Championship Series Online Cups until the party issues were resolved.

April 30th, 2015 – Coming In Hot

Halo Championship Series ESL Header

Che Chou, Franchise Media Director at 343 Industries made a blog post over on Halo Waypoint apologizing for the party issues introduced with the April 2015 content update and promised a hotfix was on the way.

“Due to release timing of the hotfix, we are rescheduling this weekend’s HCS cup for June 6. As we are aiming to have this specific issue resolved by next weekend, we are planning on holding the first online cup of Season 2 on May 9 and 10. Additionally, the prize money that was originally going to be awarded with online cup #1 will be spread out amongst the remaining 7 online cups.”

It was upsetting to see that the initial kick off for Season 2 of the Halo Championship Series was being held back due to this issue but awesome to see that work was being done fast to have it resolved.

May 1st, 2015 – Communication!

Halo 2 Anniversary Cinematic Lord Hood

The May 1st edition of the Halo Community Update was one of the most detailed and in-depth to date and should seriously be an example of what we expect to see from 343 Industries every week and not a small blog post simply saying “soon” each week like we have seen in the past. This blog post talked about quitting/betrayal penalties, ranks, their thought process when choosing the launch playlists for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, their future plans for playlists and upcoming matchmaking fixes.

This is the type of communication that we all want to see from 343 Industries and something we have asked for since 2011 when Halo 4 was announced. It hasn’t been until recently that 343 Industries have had open discussions with us and it’s great to see that finally starting to happen but it still needs to be happening more frequently. I’ll touch on this a little more towards the end of the article.

The important notes to take away from this blog post was:

  • Team Objective is still on the way but no release date was provided
  • Action Sack and Infection will possibly be returning as rotational playlists
  • Halo: Combat Evolved will be added to Rumble Pit at some point
  • Team Halo 2: Anniversary will become a 4v4 playlist soon
  • More BR-start gametypes in Team Doubles when it returns
  • Additional tweaks will be made so parties only match other parties during the matchmaking process

 

Thank you, Bravo for providing one of the best community updates so far. We seriously appreciate being told everything that we possibly can but we’d all appreciate just a little bit more communication so we understand what is going on at 343 Industries in regards to Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

May 4th, 2015 – Conversion

Halo 2 Anniversary Zanzibar Screenshot 5

Team Halo 2: Anniversary was temporarily changed to 5 vs. 5 to improve matchmaking times back in November 2014 after the games apparent launch issues. When these issues were fixed in March 2015, many were asking why Team Halo 2: Anniversary was still 5 vs. 5 considering maps like Shrine, Warlord and Lockdown were feeling a little too crowded than they should be. After an initial delay due to the upcoming hotfix, Team Halo 2: Anniversary was finally reverted back to a 4 vs. 4 setting.

Halo 2: Anniversary Rumble which originally launched as an 8-player playlist was also changed to 10-players to improve matchmaking times. When this playlist was eventually transformed into Rumble Pit, it was still 10-players and continued to be after the March 2015 content update. The update on May 4th also reverted Rumble Pit back to 8-players allowing for a more traditional feel that fans are used to.

For more information on the May 4th matchmaking update, click here.

May 8th, 2015 – Please Remain Calm

please remain calm 2

The previously talked about hot fix to amend the party issues introduced with the April 2015 content update released on May 8th and fixed the issue relating to parties for those with a large amount of people on their Xbox LIVE friends list. Initial reports after a few days seem to show that this update did actually work and parties are now behaving identically to how they did after the March 2015 content update.

Something that really gets me is this: 343 Industries outsourced the March 2015 content update which fixed both parties and matchmaking issues. They then proceed to make party tweaks in the April 2015 content update, something that was done entirely in-house and break the fixes made in the March 2015 content update. To fix this, they had to release yet another update which reverted the April 2015 content update changes back to the March 2015 content update fixes.

It’s a little confusing but yeah, you can probably understand what I mean.

May 11th, 2015 – Six Months Later

Halo 2 Anniversary Campaign Screenshot 24

It has been six months since the initial launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. That is 181 days that this game has been available for purchase on the market and in that time frame we have had eleven content updates which have made both positive and negative changes to the game.

At the end of the “100 Days Later” article, I posted a list of bugs and issues that were affecting the game and I thought it would be interesting look back at it and see what has been fixed and what hasn’t.

  • Crashes on all titles – improved but still occurring
  • Freezes on all titles – improved but still occurring
  • Long search times – almost entirely fixed in the March 2015 content update
  • Low matchmaking success rate – almost entirely fixed in the March 2015 content update
  • Peer to Peer matches are more common than matches on dedicated servers – unknown
  • Random rank resets – still occurring
  • Halo 2 Classic’s netcode – improved but still requires additional work
  • Halo: Combat Evolved anti-aim bug – fixed
  • Forge in Halo 3 – fixed
  • 4 second respawn bug in Halo 2 Classic – fixed
  • No microphone indicator to see who is talking in various titles – fixed
  • Incorrect emblems shown in-game for Halo 2 Classic, Halo 3 and Halo 4 – not fixed
  • Halo 3 directional sounds are broken – fixed
  • Halo 3 multiplayer games aren’t recognized by Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s stats – fixed
  • All of these bugs in Halo: Combat Evolved – too many bugs to comment on, but some have been fixed.
  • De-sync bugs in Halo 2 Anniversary and Halo: Combat Evolved’s Campaigns in co-op mode – unknown
  • This notification for terminal videos always shows up and there is no way to get rid of it – not fixed
  • Various AI in Halo 2 Anniversary don’t dual wield weapons despite doing so in the Xbox original version – not fixed
  • This UI bug prevents players from changing teams in custom games – unknown
  • Trait Zones in Halo 4’s Forge can’t be used because the UI option to modify them is missing – not fixed
  • If you betray a team mate in Halo 3 three times, you won’t be kicked – you will be sent to the other team – unknown

 

It really is sad to see how many issues still exist in this game in the six months it has been out. While some of them are minor like the lack of a microphone indicator, they are still issues that shouldn’t be there and it honestly isn’t how I remembered it from the original Xbox or Xbox 360 versions of these titles.

One of the things I’d like to close this article off with is a quick thought on how 343 Industries needs to be completely open with us with their on-going fixes for Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Take a look at Battlefield 4 as an example. It was, without a doubt, one of the worst video game launches in the current gaming era and DICE took a lot of hate for it. Rightfully so.

Instead of shying away and just waiting until the next Battlefield title rolled around, DICE manned up and decided to be completely honest with the Battlefield community and admit they messed up. DICE decided to create a huge, official bug list which listed every single bug they were currently aware of, the status of said bug and when to expect a fix for it. They even decided to put all DLC on-hold until a lot of the major issues were addressed and until the game was in a state in which both the developers and players were happy with it.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been compared to Battlefield 4 multiple times and that’s because the games were so similar in terms of issues but both studios took an entirely different approach to how they handled it and asking anyone, they will tell you that DICE handled it the right way and 343 Industries are continuing to handle it the wrong way. The only way to find out if a bug is going to be fixed in the next content update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection is when the patch goes live and when the patch notes are posted at some point on the same day or to tweet Bravo on Twitter and hope you receive a response out of the hundreds of tweets he gets daily asking the same questions.

While the community updates that we receive near-weekly from Bravo have some information, it simply isn’t enough. Issues like some AI in Halo 2 Anniversary not dual wielding, Derelict’s 75 second rocket respawn, the lack of a UI option for Trait Zones in Halo 4, etc have simply never been mentioned or acknowledged in these weekly updates and there is no way for the average player to understand that their issue is being looked into.

All Halo communities like Beyond Entertainment, r/Halo, Halo Waypoint and more have all provided a ton of bugs that they are aware of in Halo: The Master Chief Collection and manually update these lists themselves when bugs have been acknowledged, fixed, etc. All we ask is that an official list is created by 343 Industries that is maintained on a regular basis with communication on whether it is being investigated or not.

Since DICE was open and honest with the community about the on-going Battlefield 4 issues, when these issues were finally fixed, people were willing to jump back into the action and play Battlefield 4 and today, it is still a popular shooter on both the console and PC and despite Battlefield: Hardline being released, it still manages to hold its own.

So what kind of issues still plague Halo: The Master Chief Collection six months in? We might as well get a list of issues going to show what progress has been made over the past 181 days and what changes still need to be made to ensure that the game works exactly as the fans expect it to.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Issues

These issues are going to be in no particular order and most of them are simply ones I can remember off the top of my head.

  • Random rank resets in all playlists
  • Halo 2 Classic’s netcode still needs additional work
  • Incorrect emblems showing up in Halo 2 Classic, Halo 3 and Halo 4
  • All of the bugs currently listed at HaloBugs.com
  • This notification for terminal videos always shows up and there is no way to get rid of it
  • Various AI in Halo 2 Anniversary won’t dual wield weapons despite doing so in the original
  • Trait zones in Halo 4 can’t be used because the UI option to set the traits is missing
  • The Assault Rifle and Shotgun can no longer deal damage to a player using Active Camo in Halo: Combat Evolved
  • The Rocket Launcher on Derelict has a 75-second respawn rather than the traditional 30-seconds
  • King of the Hill in Halo 2 Anniversary is currently bugged – if two players enter a hill at the same time, the game will not award points for 5+ seconds
  • There is currently a random dash in the top left corner in Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  • The golf club issues I previously mentioned in this article in Halo 3
  • The infinite ammo symbol in Halo 3 is black instead of blue
  • Halo 3 will crash on the loading screen often but still occurs for other titles
  • Turning on “Competitive Scoring” in Campaign modes doesn’t work most of the time
  • Halo 2 Campaign games will sometimes refuse to start in co-op
  • Halo 2 Classic’s multiplayer features fall damage sometimes
  • Halo 2 Classic’s audio sometimes ‘crunches’ – more apparently when multiple Battle Rifles are firing in close proximity to each other
  • Halo: Combat Evolved’s multiplayer uses ‘remastered’ sounds from Campaign rather than ‘classic’ sounds
  • The tool of destruction image for Halo 3’s Elephant turret is stretched and pixelated in post-game stats
  • The host quitting can still result in games ending across all titles
  • You are unable to change teams without ending a custom game, despite custom game options existing for team changes across multiple titles
  • Some sound effects randomly stop playing in Halo 2 Anniversary Multiplayer, specifically the Battle Rifle firing/reload sound
  • It is currently possible to use any nameplate, despite not unlocking it with this bug
  • Playing Team Slayer on Midship in Halo 2 will result in Plasma Rifle starts – not a bug, worked like this in the original but should be updated/changed to Battle Rifle or SMG starts
  • Sounds on Pitfall in Halo 4 are broken in Sword room. Various sounds like weapons, armor abilities, etc will not function correctly.
  • Halo 4’s killcams still show “SR1” in them even though the version seen in Halo: The Master Chief Collection doesn’t use SR ranks.
  • If Halo 2 Anniversary Forge maps have 450+ objects and 10+ players are in the game, it will kick people from the game

 

There are likely a lot of issues I will be missing from this list and I apologize, there are only so many issues I can remember off the top of my head.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection had the potential to be one of the biggest titles for this generation of gaming and sadly, it is looked upon like a joke to a lot of people because of the constant issues that have yet to be fixed. We all want to come back to this game, year after year, and enjoy playing the classic titles we grew up with and loved but it is far from an easy task.


Thanks for reading Halo: The Master Chief Collection – Six Months Later. Hopefully it offered you some more knowledge on what has been going on since February when we decided to publish the 100 Days article.

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