I write this letter following a number of months having played Halo 5 and having experienced the latest big patch for the game, which introduced Forge mode and a Warzone map.
Firstly, I should like to congratulate you on releasing my most anticipated game of 2015 and when I say anticipated, I really do mean it. In one of the WhatsApp group chats I am in, I was constantly updating people on the latest announcements, even if they had already read them or were just waiting for the game to come out before getting too hyped for it. As I had done with Destiny the year before, I took the day off work for release day, although by the time the game had been delivered, installed and the day one patch downloaded it was getting on into the late afternoon. But I digress, let us say it was clear I was excited for the game to come out.
For the rest of this ‘letter’, I shall approach this by way of the tried and trusted criticism sandwich. Warzone is, in its most basic form, awesome and a very welcome addition to the game. Because of my skill level, or lack thereof, I was often afraid of claiming the power weapons on maps for fear of wasting them. Knowing that I would only be wasting my own power weapons was something of a relief to me and, as a MOBA fan, I like the idea of the more powerful weapons not entering the game until slightly later on and the base capture mechanic and AI bosses added more tactics to simply killing other Spartans.
That said, I feel there is some balancing needed. I do not place any blame on the fact that balancing feels needed, it is to be somewhat expected from a new game. But when there did not appear to have been any in the latest patch, me and my friend found ourselves lamenting the missed opportunity. Upon further thought, I do not actually recall having read too much in the way of player feedback and so that leads me to believe that either me and my friend are the only people feeling this way or that no one has taken the opportunity to voice their thoughts (hence this letter). The biggest example is the map ‘March on Stormbreak’ in which Commander Lochagos occupies the Fortress at the start of the match and the team which eliminates him gets a 150VP boost. This is quite a large gap to open up so early in the game for one team and leaves the other consistently playing catch up (feeling quite different to the other maps in which both teams either have smaller AI bosses to eliminate.
The larger VP bosses also share the same problem across all maps in that the most frustrating thing is having gotten the boss all the way down to have the boss swiped from your grasp by a well timed shot from the opposing team who had no presence until the very end, netting them all 150VP. I do get that there is an argument to be made about the tactics in timing and a portion of the VP should go to the team that gets the kill but I also think that a percentage of the points (50-66% perhaps?) should be split amongst the teams based on damage dealt to the boss.
Both Arena and Warzone also suffer from something which is plaguing all ‘next gen’ mutiplayer games in that the respawning of human players is at best haphazard, with no indication of how close to a base you will spawn in Warzone and that lines of sight or proximity to opposing players seems to have not been taken in to consideration at all.
I will finish off however that despite these problems and the frustrations associated with them (and the leaving of games that has resulted from constantly spawning in the enemies line of sight), me and my friend do keep coming back for more and for every four or five horrible moments, you inevitably have experience a great moment which has you screaming ‘XBOX RECORD THAT!’ at the console in the hope that your clutch assassination or snapshot no scope are recorded for all on your friends list to see.
So in the vain hope that anyone at Microsoft, Xbox or 343 ever reads this, thank you, for a great game that has given me some of my favourite moments of this generation of console gaming (because next gen games have been pretty unreliable so far) but please consider seeking player feedback in respect of Warzone for future patches and please consider the variables, or lack thereof, that are considered when respawning. I really do think I would much prefer to not being shot at the split second after having pressed X to respawn.
P.S. You may want to consider upping the frequency of DMR’s appearing in packs. It really is a great weapon and my friend has somehow managed to not get even the basic DMR in any of the REQ packs he has opened and it makes me feel guilty when I am using mine to pick up head shots from across the map.