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Intelligence Officer

Intelligence Officer

  • [C] UNIT LEADER
  • ACCESS [4] TOP SECRET〔CW〕

Introduction -

To whoever is reading this, This whole document is prepared and written towards the state of competitive Halo Infinite from the 1st of December 2022, and will contain my personal feedback on things such as maps, sandbox and weapon tuning and just a general overview of the competitive scene, I will definitely try my best to get any other pros and competitors to come in/show any sort of agreeance with this document too and to even add their own opinions if they have anything to say. At the end of the day, majority of competitors are majorly unhappy with the way the competitive settings are and have been for the past year and I really hope this document will help alleviate these problems with the game and lead to a better and healthier scene where pros are actively excited and happy to jump online and actually play the game (This will NOT contain issues with the networking such as desync, It may be mentioned BUT it will not be a main argument as that is a whole other ballpark of problems, This document will be mostly discussing ways on how to make the game more competitively fun and interesting in ways that seem a lot more possible and can be “easily” done with direct action). I will say this document will be extremely similar and along the lines of the video “LISTEN: An Open Letter to 343 Industries” which was made 5 years ago in extremely similar conditions with feedback and the state of the game competitively with the settings and how there was inaction and honestly just a lot of problems with how that feedback was taken into consideration. 

 

General -

I strongly believe for the future of Competitive Halo to succeed and have a healthy fanbase that enjoys it, we MUST have different settings and be controlled differently to the social counterparts. I feel like this is something that should be non-negotiable, and I completely understand about the other games on the market which have the same settings, but halo is completely different from the other games, Pandora's box has been opened long ago and thus should be treated differently. Going back from the roots of competitive halo up until halo 5, Competitive/MLG settings have always, ALWAYS been altered from the base games settings.

In halo 1 could you imagine spawning with a plasma pistol in pro 2v2s and being the first PRO to grab a magnum? In halo 2 if you spawned in with an SMG in competitive and was the first PRO player to grab a BR? In halo 3 if you spawned in with an Assault Rifle and Magnum and was the first PRO to grab a BR? I hope you understand where I'm going with this, and no the point isn't completely about starting weapons as Infinites starting weapon is the BR, it's about the power dynamic of the weapons on the map, If you grab any of those weapons in those classic titles you would literally win 90% of the gunfights (and that's being generous) based on whether the enemy also has one of those weapons or not. The same is apparent in Infinite where your starting weapon becomes redundant (but not as redundant as the previous examples listed but still nonetheless at a definite disadvantage) as soon as you see someone with a Commando/Stalker Rifle/Plasma Pistol/Mangler/Bulldog etc the BR gets outclassed in way too many scenarios due to the other team “controlling” these weapons that in all honestly don't actually require any sort of skill to control (more into that later).

Before we go further I'd like to add that I personally believe, the competitive Halo Scene would have had a hard time reaching its absolute peak as an esport if it weren't for these different settings. Why? Because they would not be FUN at the top level where all the pros know the ins and outs of the game and with how these weapons acted in the hands of a pro, the ability to outplay your opponent is severely decreased, on top of that you are essentially irrelevant as soon as you spawn if you're on the backfoot because the enemy team has control of these weapons before you even get a chance to play for them yourself. I would also like to add that shoe horning these settings into competitive halo is the same if I went into swat and changed the level of shields that a player has or gave people automatic guns to run around on the map, it wouldn't exactly be what the SWAT community would want. When I load into a SWAT match I know what to expect, when I load into Grifball I know what to expect, When I load into infection I know what to expect. And that's thanks to the long history of these gametypes and communities being involved in halo, So why is competitive/mlg any different? It's already had its long history of being different from the base game types so why are we still trying to make it the exact same as social since COMPETITIVE (NOT RANKED) Halo has NEVER been that. I would also like to add team snipers got this treatment and almost immediately got overwhelming negativity surrounding the playlist because its core was altered from what it has been for the past decade to include things that shouldn't be in the playlist such as weapons that aren’t exactly snipers. It is clear that HCS is continuing the COMPETITIVE legacy with its program and embracing of the halos prior but its settings are flawed and don't accurately depict competitive halo. On top of this, we tried this approach in Halo 5 Guardians, And it did not work. If I need to further elaborate on this then please let me know.

 

To conclude this section, I generally just hope for the day Competitive halo splits away from the social/ranked part of the game and gets its own settings, which are controlled by someone or people on the HCS team that take direct feedback from the pros/competitors and 343 Pro team rather than what's currently been happening with what seems to be hesitancy on changing things since they’re global changes to the game. It’s what halo has always been about, various different communities in one franchise taking and building their own things from the core game like the competitive community had for a decade prior. 

 

Sandbox/Weapon Tuning -

The Halo Infinite sandbox is the biggest flaw in competitive halo at its current stage. Every weapon on the map kills way too effectively and 90% of the time is better than just someone with a BR, the tiers between the types of weapons has been muddied to the point where some guns should be put only on weapon pads/become a power weapon (weapon pads/wall pads need to be removed from COMPETITIVE so teams time things themselves which is another skill gap which has been removed to try streamline halo to casual audiences, a potential fix for this could be the observers having the ability to see when the weapons come up but no one else, to help with the viewing experience). The next problem is a lot more generalized but it still ties into why the sandbox tuning is not the greatest, it's because the balancing philosophy of range of use is not complimentary to halo at all compared to the philosophy of ease of use. 

 

The cooldowns of weapons are still ridiculously short and ammo in the weapons are ridiculously high, which lead to overexaggerated takeovers and unnecessary swings of a match far too often. (THIS HAS BEEN ALTERED AND MAPS FEEL SO MUCH BETTER ALREADY IN TERMS OF FLOW)  They also lead to encounters that genuinely aren't enjoyable to be in at ALL, especially in a pro environment as there is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness as soon as you start getting shot by these weapons. To add onto this and what I was saying previously, at the top level these weapons are incredibly unbalanced and exceed their roles to an almost insane level. Contrary to what a lot of “casuals” think, the reason why pros don't want these weapons in competitive ISN'T because we can’t use them, it's because we push them to and past their limits and actually use them too well.

Furthermore, I believe weapon placement is a big issue and a lack of centralized/”controllable” locations isa Issue. Let's look at the streets for instance, a Stalker rifle spawns on one side of the map for a team, same with thrust and spike grenades. Off the start, ONE team has direct access and is practically gifted these items so there actually is no sense of control there, same with the drop shield on the opposite side and plasma carbine etc… the weapons that the cobra squad get aren’t technically being controlled in the sense that you would think, they required no risk and were immediately obtainable without getting into an altercation already giving this team the upper hand and sway in battles, I understand its to attempt to balance the positioning and layers of the map since this said team spawns lower, however I don't believe that its a healthy way to balance the map due to the massive effect that these items have. Another map and situation would be with live fire. You have these weapons like plasma pistol and mangler in positions that are supposed to funnel you into the next section of the map rather than control and keep them, I feel like my point i'm trying to make here is that most of these weapon placements aren’t exactly in the most controllable areas of the map and are just littered around places that you normally just walk past and eventually come across, causing a weird unintentional feeling of control just because you happen to be in the right place at the right time. Due to the placing of these weapons and the amount of them it leads to issues such as quite literally spawning on them which also takes away from the control aspect as there is no skill in just being spawned in a location and just taking 2 steps to get the stalker rifle, dynamos or a heatwave etc…

 

Weapon pads are a controversial addition to competitive halo, they offer information to every single player in the match without needing any sort of mental thinking and worrying about the timings of the weapons, the weapon tiers infinite has been laid out, Weapons like the Stalker Rifle, Shock Rifle, Heatwave and Bulldog NEED to be treated as power weapons in order to even have a place in competitive, and in doing so need to be placed on weapon pads. They absolutely exceed their range of uses on majority of the maps and as mentioned prior lead to inconsistent and whacky match flow.

 

Solutions:

Maps -

So maps are definitely harder to work on due to their geometry/art and actual innerworkings on the engine, however, that doesn't mean they can’t be improved in the future by taking this feedback into account for later maps being made. Before I go into specifics I’ll talk about generally what issues I have with the current map pool in Infinite. Most maps suffer completely due to the over exaggerated and bloated sandbox pool, the minimum amount of items on an infinite map is 10! Taking a look at halo 3, the ENTIRE COMPETITIVE sandbox of items was TEN which every map did not even contain the entirety of it. When you have maps in infinite that have double the amount of items on a singular map from the halo 3 competitive sandbox, I think that really speaks a lot of words in of itself. I’d also like to just talk about the map design philosophies that plague infinites map design. We can see that most maps contain A LOT of enclosed space such as corridors and isolated rooms, an example is recharge where its quite literally a donut of corridors with a void middle of the map (which with the current BR is a deathtrap due to its range capabilities for most of the time), Same with live fire, a donut of lanes and linear pathways, less open middle of the map than recharge, same with streets another square shaped donut funneling people into lanes

Solutions:


Argyle (22 Sandbox Items):

Aquarius (10 Sandbox Items):

Catalyst: (16 Sandbox Items):

Live Fire (14 Sandbox Items) :

Recharge (14 Sandbox Items):

Streets (13 Sandbox items):

 

Final Notes -

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AChnzJEEFrx78JqbIS4Eqjclx1ebhYHjbpGEPve3bFI/ ] 

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