Halo Infinite is a fantastic game with numerous flaws. The cosmetic system is both overly complicated and creatively limiting, the shop items are absurdly overpriced, the battle pass seasons are way too long and the rewards are unsatisfying, the first in-game event is strangely extended out over five months, half the guns are unnecessary, and it lacks a lot of popular stat-tracking and playlist functionalities that Halo is known for. There’s a lot to cover, and that’s not even all of it.
Despite my frustrations with the game, 343 Industries’ communication team has assured me that things would change in due time. The modifications Halo requires will take time, and some of them will necessitate complex, data-driven solutions. There is also no guarantee that every adjustment will be successful. Because it’s unrealistic to expect a game to change overnight, it’s critical for creators to engage with players frequently and be as transparent as possible. That’s all the assurance I need that Halo Infinite is heading in the correct direction.
Meeting the demands of players and making quick modifications aren’t the only ways to solve difficulties in any game. Even though everyone in the neighborhood is pointing out the same problem, that doesn’t mean adjustments can’t or shouldn’t be implemented. Every article, subreddit, Discord server, and Twitter thread put together represents a small portion of Halo’s total player population, and the viewpoints stated online may not necessarily reflect the views of the entire community.
We shouldn’t expect 343 to make major changes based only on online complaints without conducting additional research, evaluating player data, and consulting with internal staff to determine the best course of action. To put it another way, game production is difficult, not to mention time-consuming. Even if the devs decided to overhaul the entire battle pass system right now, designing and implementing those changes would take weeks or months. What counts is how well the company responds to player feedback and how frequently it conveys its goals to them. To that aim, the 343 communications team appears to be performing admirably.
When we made our initial change to progression, which added Daily “Play 1 Game” Challenges, updated Weekly Challenges, and doubled the duration of 2XP Boosts, we promised that we’d monitor the data and make additional changes if needed. Now, it’s time to follow up on that.
— John Junyszek (@Unyshek) November 30, 2021
When difficulties can’t be fixed right away, many studios will ‘go black’ while they examine the situation and figure out the best course of action. This has lately been seen in games like Marvel’s Avengers and Cyberpunk 2077. When communities become enraged, developers frequently conclude that it is best to remain silent until they have something important to say. As a result, participants may feel abandoned or irritated because no one seems to be paying attention.
In these scenarios, the best thing a studio can do is simply say, “We hear you, we know there’s a problem, and we’re going to fix it.” Road maps, timelines, and concrete solutions are all well and good, but at this point, just two weeks into Halo Infinite’s life, all we really need is someone to tell us that our opinions have been noticed.
Since the debut of Halo Infinite multiplayer, Halo community directors Brian Jarrard and John Junyszek have been active on Twitter, asking for comments and providing updates to players. Sometimes they’re significant, like the two xp reworks that have already occurred, but most of the time, their tweets serve just to recognize that problems exist and that the studio is working on a solution. The Halo team is generating good will with the audience and buying time to make big improvements by merely acknowledging input and encouraging players to contact them with problems. While answering to tweets and providing updates may not seem like much, it’s more than many other studios are willing to do, particularly when a community is dissatisfied.
We can be forceful, demanding, and disrespectful to the people on the other side of our favorite games as players. The community team behind Halo isn’t hesitant to put themselves out there and ask for feedback, and it’s already paying off.