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  1. Disclaimer: Keep it civil or I'll personally ask the mods to lock and delete this thread. So, quick story first. This Sunday I passed by the local MIcrosoft Store and noticed they had a Black Ops 2 doubles tourney going on. The setup was pretty sick (portable gaming rigs) and spectating on the big screen. There were roughly 13 teams playing and the avg. age across the board was probably between 12-15 years old. As I watched these people yell and scream at each other, I would ask them between matches if they played Halo and if they didn't play, I would ask them why. Other than the obligatory, "that game sucks," I got a couple of meaningful answers that kept repeating themselves. They were: - "That game is too hard." - "None of my friends play it." See I think these two answers share something in common. As you can see, the social aspect of games has always been incredibly important to having a strong and consistent population. As an example, WoW has done so well because it's formed communities both on the macro and micro scale of the game (having a group of 5 friends that you run dungeons with, a guild that runs 25-man raids, an entire faction, etc.) Halo is currently playing catch-up in this regards. We recently have gone into the media aspect of gaming (streaming, youtube content, social media, etc.) and we've had to make leaps and bound to make our content professional and watchable. Still, we are struggling because other games have been and are still making this effort to nourish their respective communities (and with years of experience at that). The reason that having a strong social/media presence in a community is so important is that most new players to a franchise immediately (if they are interested enough) look up tips/tutorials/strategy/etc. in order to further understand a game. If a game has a difficult time conveying exactly how skilled players should play their game, then the new players won't learn exactly what they should be working on to improve themselves. In this regard, Halo fails miserably. Other than the most basic tooltips, there is no playlist, no real source of basic Halo Multiplayer knowledge readily available to interested new players. The community can do all it can to supplement that content, but at the end of the day, a game as old and illustrious as Halo should have a wealth of information on how to play its' game on the most basic, competitive level. This is where the notion that competitive Halo has massive barriers to entry comes into play. For clarification, barriers to entry in terms of gaming refers to the ease with which players can pick up a game and understand exactly what they have to do. If a game has large barriers to entry, then gamers have to seek out other sources of information or just go through trial and error till they maybe figure it out for themselves. This is a big maybe considering the patience of most new gamers nowadays. This is evident in the popularity of Team Slayer vs. any objective gametype. Slayer has always been the essential "foot in the door" playlist for Halo, but other than just firing your gun at players that cause your reticule to turn red, there is nothing in-game that describes Power-Up/Weapon timers, Shield mechanics, Grenade/Weapon mechanics, Team shot, Power positions etc. Going back to WoW and my experience with high-end arena, the arena system was brutal. Nothing else in WoW even hinted at how to do team-based pvp, how to form good comps (Team Composition), how to cc (Crowd Control) and burst (cause high damage in a short amount of time). The game overall has become more and more casual because rather than providing this information to reduce the barriers to entry with WoW arena, Blizzard has consistently dumbed down their game mechanics/depth to try and make it work. This results in a severe reduction in the skillgap and the game becoming more dull overall. To clarify, I am not asking Halo to be made easier in terms of mechanics. I am suggesting the fact that we (the competitive community) generally take Halos mechanics for granted and don't even make an effort to bring in or teach new players how to play our game. 343i kind of made an effort in this regards solely with Power Weapon indicators on maps, but this is clearly not enough. This isn't a plea to content creators, nor is this a rallying cry for our community/343i. I'm just stating from prior experience and analysis that the competitive aspect of games can grow exponentially when the barriers to entry are significantly minimized. If you've gotten this far, I appreciate taking your time out to read this thing. I've been meaning to post this for awhile now but I finally had a good amount of time to sit down and write it out. Please, share your thoughts and discuss. TL;DR - Halo has massive barriers to entry that inhibit population growth and don't allow new gamers to easily grasp how Multiplayer should be played. This causes a huge disparity between vets and new players that prevents smaller sub-sections of Halo (like the competitive community) to acquire new, interested players let alone grow the overall game population.
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