Halo 5: 4 ways to improve multiplayer
Over the last nine years, we’ve sunk more hours into Halo’s multiplayer than we’d feel comfortable revealing. And as much as we love the ongoing struggle between red versus blue, we can’t help but wonder if Bungie (and subsequently 343 Industries) has led the franchise into uncomfortable territory.
Halo’s multiplayer found success iterating on the classic FPS-action born from arena shooters. Halo’s at its best when it’s forcing eight evenly matched players into a tight a-symmetrical map; with whoever could best take advantage of what’s placed inside emerging the victor. Halo: Reach and Halo 4 changed this; introducing elements like customisable loadouts and character persistence. It felt out of place, a reaction to the success of Call Of Duty and Battlefield.
But Halo doesn’t need to imitate. Halo 3’s simple-yet-addictive multiplayer served over 11.5 million sessions, and 343 Industries would do well to remember that Halo leads the way when it comes to precariously crouching over an enemies face post-firefight. Here are four changes that can help Halo regain the multiplayer crown.
What was 343 thinking? It’s tough to remember a time before Call Of Duty’s obsessive loadout tinkering became the norm, but Halo was always the go-to for skill-based multiplayer. Equally levelled players would go toe-to-toe with nothing but an Assault Rifle, two Frag grenades and littered weapons to claim victory. The opportunity to create loadouts – custom armour permutations and various weapon combinations from the outset of a game – threw the balance of Halo into disarray. 343 needs to ditch loadouts and let players duke it out over the Rocket Launcher.
“No I’m not running for the flag, I’m watching my kill to death ratio.” There was a time when Halo was punishing. Every player obtained a rank that would rise with success and fall with failure. It made every game count – you weren’t fighting for an arbitrary average, you were fighting to increase your permanent rank, to take you into tougher fights and more lucrative bragging rights. This was shelved, and it’s let the K/D ratio-obsessive ruin the core experience. Bring back true skill ranking and force the campers and objective avoiders out into the open for an easy kill.
Look, we love guns as much as you guys, but Halo has too many. As hard as it is to believe we actually just said that, we can’t help but dream of a time when the weapon pool is reduced in favour of simplicity. There’s no need to have the Battle Rifle, DMR, Light Rifle, and Carbine – they serve a similar purpose and are entirely unnecessary. Halo on Xbox One would do well to refine each weapon to its core purpose, simply introducing a Covenant and UNSC version of each. Oh, and bring back dual wielding, we miss the SMGs.
Back in November, 343’s Brad Welch took to Twitter to offer the slimmest hint as to what we can expect from Halo on Xbox One’s multiplayer. “Going to make whatever future 60fps, dedi server Halo we may make as awesome as possible to as many fans as possible.” While he addressed issues like map size and loadouts directly, it’s this mention of dedicated servers that has us excited. Halo still suffers from host advantage problems, and dedicated servers would all but irradiate this particular nuisance. We can’t wait to see how the Cloud alters the multiplayer landscape.
Anything more you think Halo on Xbox One is going to need to change? Let us know in the comments below.
Find out more about what’s next for Halo on Xbox One with our special investigation in X-ONE issue 108 on sale now.