What Halo 5 multiplayer needs to succeed – Part 1

This is my first in what is likely to be a long series of articles all about Halo 5 multiplayer. I will be going in depth into what made Halo multiplayer great, where it went wrong and what Halo 5 multiplayer needs to succeed in being the amazing game it has the potential to be.

I’ll be focusing primarily on competitive multiplayer aspects.

Close Quarters Combat

Halo got it right the first time. Melee in Halo 1 was simple. Simply push B when you’re in range of a player and listen to the satisfying thud as the butt of your gun crushes your opponents skull.

What seemed so simple on the surface however was actually beautifully designed and an excellent way for pros to separate themselves from the rest.

Halo had momentum based melee damage. What this means is that a player who took a flying leap into their opponent before smashing their teeth in with their shotgun would do more damage than a player who was just standing swinging their weapon around. A jumping melee did more damage than a running melee and a running melee did more damage than a stationary melee.


The video above shows Halo 1 pro Walshy escaping certain death with a clutch double melee on 2 players in a row. No autoaim. No lunge. Just pure skill.

Halo 2 tried to further this by giving each different weapon weight properties… This turned out incredibly badly and had to be fixed later in a patch when players would simply jump around with a rocket launcher killing them in a single blow whilst players running around with pistols would be frantically bashing the B button seemingly doing no damage.

Once all weapons had been given the same melee damage properties the CQC actually worked very well, but I’d argue no where near as good as the original Halo because of the lunge and the seemingly random luck involved in actually hitting players at times.

In Halo 3 Bungie removed the momentum based melee altogether and CQC became incredibly stale and each sequel only grew worse. Few games can beat just how satisfying it was to melee an opponent with a shotgun like Halo 1.

How can 343 improve Halo 5 multiplayer?

Halo 5 needs to bring back momentum based melee and remove the lunge. Make CQC exciting and skill based again.

Maps

Halo 2 had some of the best maps in a multiplayer game to date. With a list including Lockout, Beaver Creek, Sanctuary, Warlock and Midship no other Halo title can compete for best multiplayer maps.

Since Halo 2 the map designers have gone in the opposite direction seeming to favour the large open maps for vehicles and extremely limited line of sight even on the small maps.

Lets compare the fan favourite Lockout of Halo 2 to The Pit from Halo 3.

Lockout

lockout-halo-2Lockout is an asymmetric map featuring many angles, large lines of sight across the map and plenty of shortcuts and trick jumps. Teams would often setup the BR tower or the sniper tower and once a team had map control it was hard to break. The map allows players a lot of freedom of movement.

 The Pit

the-pit-halo-3The Pit is a large symmetrical map. The issue this map had was limited line of sight into the opponents base and long narrow corridors. The black hallway and the green hallway require a player to walk blindly down a hallway without knowing what’s on the other side with limited room to move and no escape and being able to hide behind the giant green wall meant players could afford to take a few shots and then just recharge their shields without any worry of a player sneaking onto their side.

Whilst the map was large and open in some areas the important parts weren’t. For example if a team had their side of the map locked down it was pretty much a suicide rush through a hallway that was likely being camped by someone with a rocket launcher.

When a team had escaped with the flag once they were past the green wall stopping a capture was incredibly difficult. On Midship for example when you spawned you could see straight into the enemy base and toss a few grenades to try to slow down the flag runner when you spawned, whist on The Pit you’re staring at a giant wall and by the time you can even see the enemies flag zone they’ve likely captured and they’re running back onto your side of the map.

If you look at Warlock, Sanctuary and Midship and compare those classics to the maps in Halo 3, Halo Reach and Halo 4 you can definitely see how the maps have limited line of sight compared to Halo 2 which slows down game play tremendously and can also cause stale mates due to each team not wanting to move.

The biggest disappointment with Halo multiplayer maps ever since Halo 2 is the lack of good 2v2 maps. All the maps played incredibly poorly in 2v2 which used to be a staple game type in Halo 1 and Halo 2.

How can 343 improve Halo 5 multiplayer?

Halo 5 needs more arena style maps like Midship and Warlock. Make 2v2 competitive again. Focus on 4v4 maps and make sure players have an incentive to move around the maps with plenty of power ups and weapons spawning at different times to prevent stalemates.

Online Rankings

Halo has never had a good ranking system. The closest we had was Halo 2, however even Halo 2 ranks cannot even compare to the awesome ranking systems in League of Legends and Starcraft 2.

Later Halo titles would remove the visible ranks in an attempt to stop cheating. That’s just lazy game design. You shouldn’t remove a feature to combat cheaters you should be adding preventative measures to the game.

How can 343 improve Halo 5 multiplayer?

Halo 5 should have yearly seasons for 1v1, 2v2 and 4v4 and provide players with an incentive to reach the top of the ranks, for example, flights and entry to an MLG tournament.

Teams shouldn’t need to organise a scrim in this day and age, they should be able to jump into ranked match making and find a team to play against that are of equal skill in competitive maps and game types.

Controls

Halo 1 controls felt tight and responsive. Strafing left and right felt natural. Switching weapons felt fast. Halo 1 had awesome game feel.

Halo 3 felt awful. I don’t know what it was but my theory is a combination of input lag, high aim acceleration (that couldn’t be disabled), 30 FPS and weird horizontal/vertical sensitivity differences.

Playing Halo 3 felt you like you were fighting against the controller rather the controller feeling like a natural extension of yourself. Strafing felt pointless due to the low movement acceleration meaning strafing left and right quickly to dodge your opponents shots almost left you standing stationary.

Halo Reach and Halo 4 definitely felt better than Halo 3, but without 60 FPS they still could have been a lot better.

How can 343 improve Halo 5 multiplayer?

Halo 5 absolutely needs 60 FPS to be considered as a competitive title. Controls should be fully customisable with the ability to map actions to any desired button and further options for control sensitivity, for example the ability to go up and down sensitivity by 0.1 and options to increase or decrease aim acceleration.

  • Dale Benson

    Halo 2 was just a dream to play, halo 1 was great and very quick on the controller.

    All games today seem sluggish under controls, so that’s a very valid point.

    Hope it’s close to 1 and 2.

    FiGHT3R
    Dale
    ii BaM PRiMe