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Devaneaux

Halo and Barriers to Entry

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I honestly believe Halo's MP decline has little to due with "accessibility" and more to do with how the game has been destroyed on a mechanical level and is not addictive like H2+H3 were. That and Sci-fi MP shooters are fighting an uphill battle when MMS type games are the "trend" right now among the general public.

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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."

 

I've been saying that the game is too hard for a while now. And no, I do not want to dumb it down more, I actually want to increase the difficulty of it.

 

But, going with the too hard thing, one of the things that I feel contributes to that is the shield system combined with the TV technology. I mean, try playing on a 52+ inch TV with more than a 5ms input lag, it's impossible if you're playing against someone with about the same skill as you. I feel like CoD is easier when it comes to control the lag, it's mostly positioning with very little chance to actually turn on someone.

 

Secondly, I think that society and culture has played a part in the downfall of Halo as well. I look at society outside of gaming, and I see it as a "now" culture where we want whatever it is, now. If we want to be in shape, we want it now. We don't want to work at it. Same with a high paying job, we want the job without working for it. And it's pushed on us as well. If you're good at football, but not baseball, you play football. You don't even give baseball a shot. And by shot, I mean actually understanding the game beyond the very basic level. Sure, some people know/are good at both football and baseball, but society will push you toward choosing one. It's the same with the school subjects. Good at math, do that, don't do anything else. So, with all that being said, I feel like people haven't really been pushed to get good at something that they're not naturally good at, and that creates this culture where video games like Halo, or CS, don't do well. They're too hard for the casual gamer...

 

Which leads me to my last point. It's a VIDEO GAME. Right now, people still view videos games as a fun time waster instead of something that takes skill and is viable for competition. I think this will change sometime, maybe even in the new few years, but until it does, I don't believe Halo will be relevant. As soon as eSports gets bigger, and gets recognized as a legit money maker, I think a shield game like Halo will be featured first and foremost for FPS games.

 

 

So, these are my thoughts on this, I know it might be a bit off topic, but I feel like what I said still fits into the scope of this topic.

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I find it pretty ironic that Halo is "too hard" now when its actually the most accessible gameplay and MM wise(JiP is >33 percent of my games searching solo) it ever has been(AA's actually may be a turn off to some "traditional" FPS gamers though)

 

Halo CE+Halo 2 were much more difficult shooters to excel at and had basically unlimited skill caps and even Halo 3 to a lesser extent had a large skill gap and hard to master mechanics and they were completely built on the philosophy of Arena-style even starts Sandbox gameplay which meant it was a very consistent game unlike the crazy load-out progression-based madness of the Modern Warfare series. Halo's randomness in the past came from the players, physics, and Sandbox-style gameplay. Now however its purposely implemented(POD's,ordnance, flinch, spread, sprint,ect...) to try and "spice up" the gameplay from my calculations(which failed horribly btw). 

 

So how were the harder and more Arena-style games in the series(H1-H3) almost twice as popular MP wise both casually and competitively than Reach+H4? Because Halo fans are not ******** modern warfare fan-boys who get off on superficial progression levels/unlocks and whacking off to their k/ds, Halo fans expect a quality game MP wise and a competitive and consistent HALO game at that, not a poor rip-off of modern shooters with no soul or flow.

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A Ranked/Social divide is very important alongside a Ranking system for the Ranked portion IMO. Like in Halo 4, you have a Ranking system in every playlist, even Action Sack and Flood which means a casual, "fun" gametype is being treated as a very competitive one which should not be the case.

 

I feel that if there's a Social section, players can play there without the need to try their ass off, scream callouts and feel under pressure from teammates to win the game. 

 

A Ranked/Social divide is very important alongside a Ranking system for the Ranked portion IMO. Like in Halo 4, you have a Ranking system in every playlist, even Action Sack and Flood which means a casual, "fun" gametype is being treated as a very competitive one which should not be the case.

 

I feel that if there's a Social section, players can play there without the need to try their ass off, scream callouts and feel under pressure from teammates to win the game. 

this is so true. i typically prefer ranked but if say i'm tired, or just wanna relax or maybe i'm just playing a match or two alone i want to play casual. i mean i understand the need to have some sort of matching based on skill even in casual playlists to a small degree to try not to match lesser skilled players with highly skilled players bc it just ruins the gaming experience for lesser skilled players. (this was noticeable in h3 like if you made a new profile you would match against very low level players in social gametypes) 

Also, I'd like to point out halo 3 had separate k/d for ranked and social. Some people, and i used to notice this a ton back when koth and oddball were playlists, is skilled players would go into casual objective games and just try to stat to pat their k/d. And it would drive me nuts. I'd almost say don't even track k/d in playlists like action sack or grifball. 

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this is so true. i typically prefer ranked but if say i'm tired, or just wanna relax or maybe i'm just playing a match or two alone i want to play casual. i mean i understand the need to have some sort of matching based on skill even in casual playlists to a small degree to try not to match lesser skilled players with highly skilled players bc it just ruins the gaming experience for lesser skilled players. (this was noticeable in h3 like if you made a new profile you would match against very low level players in social gametypes) 

Also, I'd like to point out halo 3 had separate k/d for ranked and social. Some people, and i used to notice this a ton back when koth and oddball were playlists, is skilled players would go into casual objective games and just try to stat to pat their k/d. And it would drive me nuts. I'd almost say don't even track k/d in playlists like action sack or grifball. 

I'd almost say don't even track k/d at all.

 

 

But really what would be better is if more relevant stats were tracked- not less.

 

I just hope that k/d is not front and center, but rather your rank and games won/loss or something more relevant.

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Some pointers from me, relevant or not:

  • I wish 343i didn't emulate gameplay mechanics from CoD, as I think many others agree. If people want CoD features, they'll play CoD! Simple! And I believe this has showed. so...
  • Halo needs to be it's own game. It's own mechancs leading to its own way of play. It helps to be innovational because players will likely want a alternate gameplay experience from other games like CoD. In this case, Halo needs to trace it's roots!
  • That said, Halo should emulate non-gameplay features from popular games, mainly CoD. Some examples include amazingly customizable emblems and being able to link gameplay clips to Youtube accounts (or something of that nature). Also, any sort of real, visible ranking system will do justice again. NUMEROUS improvements can be made outside of Halo's gameplay, and numerous improvements are needed to motivate players to actually play Halo.
  • More advanced forge or map editor. More pieces, more environments, changeable "themes" among pieces (provided we get forge again), etc. Map building is about nothing other than designing the map (commonly limited by budget), and efficiency with object use. We need to be more capable of building a map.
  • I personally think it's dumb to force people to unlock ANYTHING in the game when it comes to armor or weapons. Just let people play freely with every available piece at their disposal, and let them enjoy the game from the get-go.
  • Eliminate utter randomness. No Custom Loadouts, no random-spawning weapons, and static timers should be completely universal. Static timers can become a norm very easily.
  • A Guide by the developers, regarding Halo's basic mechanics, the weapons and their spawn times, and anything else of that nature. Ideally an in-game tips section for each of the main categories (Campaign, Multiplayer, Forge, possibly even theater). Honestly, it should be advanced while reflecting their own knowledge of the game.

I guess one can dream.

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THe fact that you need a 2ms response time TV is another huge barrior to entry for halo. You can not aim properly and that is part of why people say "its too hard."  On COD u can get away with having like a 4ms or 5ms response time thooo=/

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I'm loving this topic.

 

To sum it up, don't dumb down the game for players, smart up the players for the game!

 

It's the same approach they took for the Turbo update, they didn't nerf the dmr to match the other weapons, they took a more comprehensive approach, and buffed other weapons to meet the dmr.

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I find it pretty ironic that Halo is "too hard" now when its actually the most accessible gameplay and MM wise(JiP is >33 percent of my games searching solo) it ever has been(AA's actually may be a turn off to some "traditional" FPS gamers though)

 

It's not accessible enough in terms of mechanics for a shooter nowadays (at least it's something). It would have to be even more dumbed down to please alot of the newer generation of gamers. I think the majority of casuals enjoy AA's, but like rational people, they hate when they are not properly balanced (Jetpack, Pro Vision, and AC on big maps).

 

So how were the harder and more Arena-style games in the series(H1-H3) almost twice as popular MP wise both casually and competitively than Reach+H4? Because Halo fans are not ******** modern warfare fan-boys who get off on superficial progression levels/unlocks and whacking off to their k/ds, Halo fans expect a quality game MP wise and a competitive and consistent HALO game at that, not a poor rip-off of modern shooters with no soul or flow.

 

Simple. Halo: CE was the first real console arena shooter and had a big LAN presence for the casual audience (go over a friends house, play splitscreen and have a great time). The story of Halo and the campaign itself also created a huge fanbase that didn't mind checking out the Mutiplayer content with their buddies. Because of the lack of online play (and the inability to face better and better opponents via a ranking system) Halo CE was loads of fun for the casual audience because competition was solely amongst friends. Another game that was similar to Halo CE casual allure was goldeneye on the N64.

 

Skip forward to Halo 2 and you have Halo pioneering online multiplayer for the masses. That in and of itself was massive for the game, regardless of how it played. At this point, the casual home LANs started to die out because casual gamers with online access recieved better and better competition online, thus making them move away from their friends in terms of the level of competition. Halo 2 being the first (and being good) was largely why everyone played it.

 

Answers in bold. Personally, I think you're caught up to much on the idea that increasing accessibility = dumbing down the game. You can make a game more accessible without dumbing down mechanics (like Troll posted earlier about). This happens frequently in the fighting game community. Halo should receive a similar treatment because at this point, we need to appeal to the younger audience (what we all used to be) in order to bring new blood into the game and the competitive scene as well. This can be done by a cooperative effort via the developer and content creators in order to teach new players how to play Halo competitively or just how to play it in general.

 

When a kid understands that a spartan needs four headshots to pierce the shields and kill with the BR, they will feel alot better if targets don't die instantly when they aim at them.

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Answers in bold. Personally, I think you're caught up to much on the idea that increasing accessibility = dumbing down the game. You can make a game more accessible without dumbing down mechanics (like Troll posted earlier about). This happens frequently in the fighting game community. Halo should receive a similar treatment because at this point, we need to appeal to the younger audience (what we all used to be) in order to bring new blood into the game and the competitive scene as well. This can be done by a cooperative effort via the developer and content creators in order to teach new players how to play Halo competitively or just how to play it in general.

 

When a kid understands that a spartan needs four headshots to pierce the shields and kill with the BR, they will feel alot better if targets don't die instantly when they aim at them.

 

You really shouldn't need a "tutorial" to learn how to play Halo, because 90 percent of people dont even play tutorials(unless they are mandatory) or would just skip over it any-ways if they are that dumb to not know Halo is the shield game by now. Halo was great as you said because it was that LAN game that you could just jump right into and play with anyone, if you need a tutorial to learn how to shoot the BR I would say that Halo has failed as a game to provide an accessible experience. Making shit random does not help with accessibility, if you played H1-H3 maps like 5-10 times you could get a pretty good read where the Power items are, in Halo 4 its kind of random however in Infinity settings you never know who has the OS or sniper because he could of dropped it in from a POD or got it from a random ordnance drop.

 

Accessibility is overrated, if the game is good people will take the time to learn to how to play it look at dota 2. Accessibility has practically NOTHING to do with Halo's MP decline, its all other factors that have been repeated over and over again these last few years on every forum.

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Halo CE at its core is perfect casual AND competitive FPS. Simple FPS controls to learn but extremely deep mechanics and systems to master. Armor abilities and sprint are actually barriers to entry. Tacking on these gimmicky features complicates the game early on for new comers. And ultimately unbalance the game for everyone.

 

AAs which rely on a power meter are a terrible, lazy game mechanic. So to try and add variety, add mechanics which strengthen the core game, and are ALWAYS available to the player.

 

Example:

1) double jump/wall jump - double tap A (thruster)

2) velocity based melee (acceleration = damage)

3) grenade power ups/weapons again

4) dual welding - but no mixing weapons. Can only pick up dual SMG or dual pistols etc. would make balancing less of a nightmare. And controls easier to learn.

 

Halo 4 is flipped. It has the all the complex gimmicky mechanics right at the start, but lacks any depth so player get board.

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Halo CE at its core is perfect casual AND competitive FPS. Simple FPS controls to learn but extremely deep mechanics and systems to master. Armor abilities and sprint are actually barriers to entry. Tacking on these gimmicky features complicates the game early on for new comers. And ultimately unbalance the game for everyone.

 

Halo 4 is flipped. It has the all the complex gimmicky mechanics right at the start, but lacks any depth so player get board.

I also think Halo 4 is the most complicated game in the series to start off on.

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Halo CE at its core is perfect casual AND competitive FPS. Simple FPS controls to learn but extremely deep mechanics and systems to master. Armor abilities and sprint are actually barriers to entry. Tacking on these gimmicky features complicates the game early on for new comers. And ultimately unbalance the game for everyone.

 

AAs which rely on a power meter are a terrible, lazy game mechanic. So to try and add variety, add mechanics which strengthen the core game, and are ALWAYS available to the player.

 

Example:

1) double jump/wall jump - double tap A (thruster)

2) velocity based melee (acceleration = damage)

3) grenade power ups/weapons again

4) dual welding - but no mixing weapons. Can only pick up dual SMG or dual pistols etc. would make balancing less of a nightmare. And controls easier to learn.

 

Halo 4 is flipped. It has the all the complex gimmicky mechanics right at the start, but lacks any depth so player get board.

 

OMG, being able to wall jump would be a sick feature as long as the second jump is only about half the height of the first. Just something to get a bit of extra height or juke someone mid firefight.

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The best way that I am able to describe the entry level of skill required for Halo vs Call of Duty is like this.

 

Halo is to Call of Duty as Dota 2 is to League of Legends.

 

Halo and Dota both require the player to know a good number of the skills required for competitive play in order to do well casually. Call of Duty and League of Legends, while being able to be played at high levels extremely competitively, are much more accessible and therefore allow for more mediocre, average and bad players to go into the game and just have fun with the game.

 

That's the biggest difference between the two, the entry skill level required is far different from other shooters.

 

Of course, ranking systems are supposed to help that too. 

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I believe it is Gears of War 3 that has the map overview during loading right? It shows the location of all of the power weapons and really helps give you a nice overview before you start. Something like that should definitely be implemented.

 

Another idea that I like is something that League of Legends does. There is a little grind before you can play ranked. You have to get to level 30 before you can even start playing ranked. This forces people to learn to play the game in the "levels" leading up to ranked play.

 

Another idea is to have a bot playlist. This would serve as a basic training playlist where you can play with other people against bots. This could either be required for the first couple of levels on a new account or just an option for new players.

 

These kind of ideas help to lower the barrier to entry for Halo and make it easier to pick up.

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Accessibility is overrated, if the game is good people will take the time to learn to how to play it look at dota 2. Accessibility has practically NOTHING to do with Halo's MP decline, its all other factors that have been repeated over and over again these last few years on every forum.

 

Sorry, but it's definitely an issue that shouldn't be pushed aside just because YOU or other veterans of the series know how to play halo. It's something that could boost the franchise to new levels and coax players into the competitive scene.

 

 

I believe it is Gears of War 3 that has the map overview during loading right? It shows the location of all of the power weapons and really helps give you a nice overview before you start. Something like that should definitely be implemented.

Another idea that I like is something that League of Legends does. There is a little grind before you can play ranked. You have to get to level 30 before you can even start playing ranked. This forces people to learn to play the game in the "levels" leading up to ranked play.

Another idea is to have a bot playlist. This would serve as a basic training playlist where you can play with other people against bots. This could either be required for the first couple of levels on a new account or just an option for new players.

These kind of ideas help to lower the barrier to entry for Halo and make it easier to pick up.

 

Yea its GoW3's idea. But it is an excellent idea for Halo as well.

 

The LoL grind to 30 is an excellent idea that could be input into the next Halo title. Maybe utilize the progression system that Halo 4 has and treat the next version as a sort of training grounds area where the game could inform players about certain key aspects of the game while allowing them to slowly improve and learn the finer aspects of Halo's mechanics. 

 

BoTs would be huge and with the scope of next gen games, I almost see it as a must.

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Sorry, but it's definitely an issue that shouldn't be pushed aside just because YOU or other veterans of the series know how to play halo. It's something that could boost the franchise to new levels and coax players in the the competitive sce

 

 

 

Yea its GoW3's idea. But it is an excellent idea for Halo as well.

 

The LoL grind to 30 is an excellent idea that could be input into the next Halo title. Maybe utilize the progression system that Halo 4 has and treat the next version as a sort of training grounds area where the game could inform players about certain key aspects of the game while allowing them to slowly improve and learn the finer aspects of Halo's mechanics.

 

BoTs would be huge and with the scope of next gen games, I almost see it as a must.

Yah, I see no reason why the Xbone couldn't do all of this stuff. I feel like there is no excuse for Halo to not be completely accessible. Accessibility gets people into your game. Depth and fun are what keep people playing. This is something that Halo has lacked for quite a while.

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