When it comes to multiplayer games, beta periods are normally used to make sure the whole system will hold water on a larger scale when flooded by hundreds and hundreds of players. Once that is done, if there is still time, teams will try to patch up smaller bugs and balance stats in order to provide the smoothest launch possible. For Halo 5 multiplayer the guys at 343 industries did the exact opposite. Late last year they provided testers with a working snapshot of their game and started focusing on how players would have reacted to playing it. In the meantime, they launched a feedback program to make sure they could collect all of those impressions and get something out of it.
Almost three weeks into the beta, 343 industries says they have been registering nearly 20 million games and more than 19000 people signed up for their feedback program. The team spent days going through all of the data they collected and came up with a list of fixes they will implement before the game goes live. As Halo 5 multiplayer is expected to be live this fall, the list is not complete and will be expanded as development continues. 343 industries announced some changes that have already been established, most of which focus on characters’ abilities, weapons, general game presentation, and the matchmaking system.
Characters will be tweaked to make sure Halo 5’s Multiplayer delivers the best Halo experience possible. To reach this goal, Spartans will have higher base speed and a faster strafe acceleration, which will allow for a more dynamic game. At the same time, the maximum speed that can be reached while sprinting has been reduced. All Spartan abilities will be balanced and tweaked and reported bugs are already being worked on. One of the best sensations we get while playing a game of Halo is wielding a giant weapon and blasting away at enemies, both close and far and Halo 5 Multiplayer will be no exception. The Hydra, one of the new weapons will be buffed after player had problems getting used to it. Furthermore, the iconic SPNKr rocket launcher will re-appear in Halo 5 Multiplayer as a legendary weapon. Some bugs, such as grenades detonating mid-air on weapon fire and clunkiness while operating a sniper rifle are already being resolved.
Presentation is everything when it comes to a game and the guys at 343 industries know it well. This is why, when it goes live, Halo 5 Multiplayer will give players the possibility to decide how their matches look and feel with an emphasis on concentration rather than shiny looks. Players will be able to switch AI chatter on and off and the announcer has been tweaked to reduce the frequency of messages to focus only on important communication. Furthermore, kill-cams will become an opt-in feature and medals will be displayed less frequently.
Halo is a game of reflexes and skills but joining a good team can be the difference between a glorious victory and being crushed to death. The last major improvement announced for Halo 5 Multiplayer concerns the matchmaking system and the brand new Competitive Skill Rating algorithm. Both of these systems will be tweaked to make sure players are always matched with enemies of similar skills. Matchmaking has been reworked and the development team is focusing on creating a system which can provide faster matches, giving users the ability to decide which data-center they want to connect to based on their location and connection speed. Bonuses and penalties will be introduced to prevent people from quitting a competitive match.
In conclusion, Josh Holmes, executive producer for Halo 5 Multiplayer says that the game’s beta was held early in development and a plethora of more fixes and bugs will probably come up as development continues but the team is working hard to provide the best Halo experience possible. The feedback they have received will help them shape the game as they go, making sure players will find it both challenging and appealing.