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How Halo 3 fixes Halo 2 multiplayer


1UP continues their month long barrage of Halo 3 coverage with a breakdown of what Bungie is doing to address the multiplayer concerns from Halo 2. In short, these concerns are:
  • Weapon whoring
  • Duel Wielding and the "noob combo" (plasma pistol and battle rifle)
  • Player designations
A big problem in Halo 2 multiplayer is weapon whoring. In other words, once a power weapon -- like the rocket launcher or sniper rifle -- is obtained, it cannot be obtained by anyone else until it is emptied or dropped by the player holding it. In some cases, a team will grab both sniper rifles on a large map and dominate, while the other team is denied any kind of counter measure. Another way to whore a weapon is to grab it and just not use it. As long as it is in your possession, it will not respawn, thus keeping it from everyone else. For instance, the team that grabs both snipers could also pick up the rocket launcher and sword just to make sure your team never has a chance. So, how does Bungie fix this?

They are juggling a few different ideas. The first of which is rotational spawn points. In other words, a power weapon does not always spawn in the same place, but cycles through two (or more) different locations. The second step is setting a limit on how many power weapons are available on a map at any given time. Instead of only allowing one sniper to be held, the limit could be upped to four. By combining higher limits with rotating spawn points, it will be very difficult (hopefully impossible) for a team to hold all of the power weapons at once.

Another new addition that curbs the desire to camp is grenade limits. Players are now limited to two of every grenade type. There are now three grenade types, so you can carry a total of six grenades at any time. The idea behind this is that players will have to come out of hiding to restock on grenades.

What about duel wielding? Dual wielding was never intended to be the defining feature of Halo 2, but it quickly became overused, primarily thanks to the underpowered starting weapon, the SMG. The SMG was weak enough that it was quickly overpowered by any other weapon. This inspired people to find a dual-wield weapon as quickly as possible, or risk death. Thus, Halo 2 became a race for all the wrong weapons. To combat this, Bungie set out to create the perfect starting weapon. As Bungie put it in the latest copy of EGM, "[the starting weapon] shouldn't do head shots, because then the game is just about head shots. And it shouldn't be dual-wieldable, because then the game becomes about dual-wielding." The other important thing is that the starting weapon should hold its own in a firefight. Whatever you spawn with should be able to take out any other weapon (if you're good enough). Enter the new MA5C assault rifle. Great at close to mid-range fighting, it's Bungie's hope that this is the perfect starting weapon. Also of note, tracking has been greatly reduced on the plasma pistol, making the "noob combo" much less desirable.

The final change is something many may not have thought of before. Halo 2 employed the use of symbols to designate your team members. This works great if you want to note the position of your teammates, but it's lousy if you want to give orders. Many of the symbols aren't exactly easy to fit into important messages. Example, "Hey, guy with the yellow Triforce symbol, you're about to get sniped!" To keep communications simple, Bungie is implementing a new call sign system. Players will choose a three character designation -- one letter and two numbers -- like M47. It may sound strange, but in practice it's much easier to use call signs than it is to verbalize symbols (or Gamertags for that matter).

No doubt, these are only some of the things Bungie is doing to even out Halo's multiplayer experience. What other changes would you like to see?

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. This is what I love about Bungie as a games company - they're constantly upgrading and improving their new and existing games. All of those ideas will be greatly appreciated. In retrospect, it was those exact problems which made me stop playing Halo 2 a year ago.

I hope they include the function to 'Vote-Kick' someone from the game. It's no fun when you have some over-zealous racist bigot screaming in everyone's ears for 20 minutes.

Posted at 1:02PM on Nov 14th 2006 by Insomnious 0 stars

2. I've got a few:

1. The range on granades should be higher. Throwing a grenade any sizable distance requires you to look nearly straight up. I'm not saying they should be changed all the way back to Halo: CE where, on any open map, you could sling a frag from your spawn to the other team almost immedaitely. I think everyone would like a little more distance though.

2. Toggle crouch. At the very least, it should be an option.

3. Allow sensitivity to be mapped to your controller. Why not up or down on the D-pad?

4. Bring back Damnation.

5. The sword needs to eventually run out of gas (like in the single player.)

6. Weapon whoring is certainly a problem. I heard no mention vehicular prostitution, however. In Coag the opposing team's vehicles would spawn right next to each other. You could take out their whole fleet in a matter of seconds. And I don't know what opinions people had of Ascension, but I think it's a great map when the banshee's off.

7. More focus on 4v4 maps, like lockout, ascension, and sanctuary. Hang em' would be nice as well.

Posted at 1:18PM on Nov 14th 2006 by KilgoreTrout XL 1 star

3. These changes are valid...I've always thought the plasma pistol "homed" in on its targets a little too easily, but I don't feel that weapon whoring is really a big deal in Halo 2 multiplayer...at least not when I play.

A MAJOR problem I see with Halo 2's multiplayer on Live is the cheating, glitching, and suiciding. There is nothing more annoying than having 1 or 2 guys on your 4 player team that does nothing but hop on their own grenades all game long, thus making it impossible for you to win (unless the other team has 2 to 3 players doing the same). Granted, this doesn't happen EVERY game, but it does happen.

Also, Bungie/MS should do something about the well known "glitches" that people exploit in order to get to the tops of maps (Zanzibar, Burial Mounds, Ascension, Turf, etc.). I feel compelled to shoot even my teammates when they glitch to get up top, it's not the way the game was meant to be played.

An easy way to get rid of suicide/de-ranking whores would be to make a -5 count limit...if you suicide 5 times (I still think that is a lot), you get booted from the match and your gamertag is logged on the server (or a screenshot, video clip, something). The glitching should just be fixed. The cheating isn't that bad, although most people will agree it happens from time to time.

Additions? I always said it would be nice to remove a plasma grenade if you got "lit" by someone. I thought hitting a button (or combo of buttons) 3-5 times would enable the player to quickly remove and throw the grenade off of you. A hard task and would have to be done really quickly...and would still almost kill you...but if mastered it would be possible to survive being stuck.

Anyways, this all is a little picky...I love Halo 2's multiplayer and think its great right now....but maybe 3 could improve on it just a bit.

Posted at 1:19PM on Nov 14th 2006 by dMyzE 0 stars

4. they should also use a clan symbol...for clan matches now that you have ur M47 it wouldnt matter if everyone had the same symbol! this way you can take a piture with you vision cam and use that as your symbol!!

and hopefully the 'press button to talk' feature is gone too! That was so annoying!

Posted at 1:28PM on Nov 14th 2006 by sir blaze 0 stars

5. Remove super jumping!!! It pisses me off when the opposing team just camp out beyond normal range of the map and are still able to kill you. Most occasion you can't shoot them off, even with sniper riffles.

A game should be won with face to face skill, not cheating.

Posted at 1:37PM on Nov 14th 2006 by Bazza 0 stars

6. Super jumping isn't a feature, it's a glitch.

Also, I believe they have said they plan on combating this by making cannons/mortars that shoot any player outside the "bounds" of the game, which, I assume, will be more strictly enforced (because, lets face it, those invisible walls were pretty easily passable)

I really like seeing the changes they plan on making, it's definitely going to improve the gameplay online. As would be expected, I'm extremely excited. here's to tomorrow and the "big announcement" Bungie will be making tomorrow in their update!

Posted at 2:18PM on Nov 14th 2006 by Mikeawesome 0 stars

7. The best way to stop modders and standby:

one person can sign in set up a game type host it and have a custom game open to anyone any where in the world to join by themself or with a party, then if someone modds the host can boot them and no one can standby because the host is already determined, and if you dont like the host, just leave the game and you can always host your own

the control that the host has would have to be limited so that he cant have to much control.

another way would be to have bungie get their own server instead of host being determined by who ever has the best connection.

Posted at 2:13PM on Nov 14th 2006 by JCP 0 stars

8. That three digit code should become your permanent online code for playing Halo 3 so that you don't have to remember what it is every single match you play.

Posted at 3:09PM on Nov 14th 2006 by Ciaran Gallagher 0 stars

9. All I want, and need for that matter is some new system to weed out players with a history of quitting the game when it starts looking bad. I can't remember a time when I played Halo 2 online and didn't end up on a team of one vs 8 others in big team battle. There needs to be some sort of harsh punishment system for this, that counts towards rank and some other attribute that deems you higher or lower priority in the matchmaking system. The penalty's against say your rank for quitting should be minor at first and increase exponentially. Say for example after 3 times you go down a rank, the fourth time you go down a rank, the 6th time you go down 2 ranks, etc.

I fucking hate quitters.

Anticrawl

Posted at 4:00PM on Nov 14th 2006 by anticrawl 0 stars

10. Good thing about the 360 though is that you can report players easily.

That's why there's a reputation system. Hopefully, if you don't cheat, you won't have to face that many other people with low reputations.

Posted at 4:54PM on Nov 14th 2006 by Leo Like 0 stars

11. It sounds like they are moving in the right direction.

What I really want is for them to re-release Halo 1 for the 360. Keep everything the same, but include widescreen 1080p support and xbox live functionality (matchmaking). I'd pay $40 for that.

Posted at 5:21PM on Nov 14th 2006 by Scott 0 stars

12. Regarding quitting early;

I remember Frankie talking about this. It's not always possible for people with full-time jobs, families, commitments etc. to always finish a game. I've quit a lot of ranked matches for a lot of different reasons, such as: late for a meeting, Xbox frozen up on the dashboard, power-cut, internet connection failed/cut out.

If you have kids, the last thing on your mind is helping get the flag back to your base, when your 2 year old son has just burned his hand on the back of your 360.

Quitting is inevitable, and not just because someone doesn't want to lose their rank. At the end of the day, a game is a game, and if I don't want to play it anymore, I won't.

However, I'm 100% behind the idea of introducing some kind of system which doesn't hinder your team when you quit. Perhaps disabling another a member of the other team for the duration, or if one person quits, the game no-longer becomes ranked?

Posted at 6:14PM on Nov 14th 2006 by Insomnious 0 stars

13. Keyboard and Mouse controls. That's all I care about. I mean it's got 2 friggin' USB ports already! Just do it!

Posted at 8:42PM on Nov 14th 2006 by Tom 0 stars

14. I hope Bungie's realized that everyone is just going to use the callsign A55.

Posted at 4:47PM on Nov 14th 2006 by carterman 0 stars

15. i think a great feature would be the ability to choose your spawn point. that way people can just memorize all the spawn points and run to to place you will spawn after your last death. brings a little challenge to the mix.

Posted at 5:44AM on Nov 15th 2006 by tokyorose 0 stars

16. Unless they allow six or more people in co-op Live playing then for me they haven't fixed or even introduced multiplaying to begin with.

Posted at 5:44AM on Nov 15th 2006 by GhostDoggy 0 stars

17. I call A55.

Posted at 7:54AM on Nov 15th 2006 by Chuck 0 stars

18. Give us the CE maps - Damnation, Hangem High, Prisoner and Rat Race. The CE maps are the best. Infact release the original multiplayer maps on XBox Live Arcade.

Posted at 5:38PM on Nov 14th 2006 by ezwaffles 0 stars

19. @ Tom

I also think the keyboard and mouse control is awesomely better than the controller set up, but it would just make Halo 3 too unfair. Worse than weapon whoring, vehicle prostitution, and noob wielding, put together. Some future games coming to the 360 and PC will feature cross platform online gaming, so maybe then you will get the keyboard you wish for.

Posted at 7:46PM on Nov 17th 2006 by Triforceowner 0 stars

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