For the love of God, let us earn more progress by playing
343 Industries woke up after Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer launch day to a mixed reception. The actual game is pretty good! But the progression system is all over the place. While strides are being made in regards to the base season pass, the first Halo Infinite event needs to be completely reworked, maybe even by the end of the day.
Here’s how my interaction with the event went in the first hour:
- I loaded up and saw two Tenrai/Fiesta challenges in my list. Awesome! All I had to do is play a game of the 4v4 random loadout Fiesta mode and get 15 kills (which I did in the same game). Done. I leveled up to level two. This is fun, time to queue up again.
- Then I noticed that, uh, I didn’t have any active Tenrai event challenges. Surely this was a mistake? I saw them “upcoming” but they aren’t active. Maybe they’ll pop after another match.
- I finish a match (I kill it), and nope, nothing pops. I seemingly earned zero XP from my second Fiesta event game.
- I take to Twitter and then get a replied tweet clarification of how the event pass actually works. Then I do a double-take.
Get this. The 30-rank Tenrai event pass? You’re not actually supposed to be able to complete it in the first week by design. It’ll return “five more times throughout the season,” which is kind of an insane way to do an event, especially in 2021. The idea is that you’ll keep coming back to it and slowly progress through the tiers until you actually finish rank 30.
The way this contributes toward FOMO is beyond what most publishers are doing these days. When an event comes into town in say, Fortnite, you just play the event until it’s gone. Nearly everything you do might earn you progress toward those event rewards, as publishers generally want you to stay invested during the entire stay of the event. It keeps players happy and generates hype during those periods. No, it’s not a perfect system, but it makes sense without having to tab out to Twitter for clarification. Here, I was encouraged to jump in for one game, then promptly leave. Which is what I did as soon as I realized I was being bamboozled.
So you can’t buy pass ranks to just credit-card-charge your way up to level 30. That’s good. But to add insult to injury, you can just buy reworked cosmetics from the event in the in-game shop. It’s right there in the header: a “Chonmage Armor set,” as well as a different-tinted max level 30 sword cosmetic reward, are on the shop today for real cash. All of them even require the armor core (which is unlocked at level five), including the “daily” reward, which is going to be impossible for some people to use today, because they don’t have the core unlocked yet.
All of this funnels heavily into FOMO, which 343 specifically said they were trying to fight back in late 2020 in a blog post. Here’s the passage, emphasis mine:
“We maintain a player-first focus. Think of all the games we’ve all played that have random rewards, ask people to play a way they hate just for a new shiny, or weaponize FOMO against the player. There will be limited-time events, but we don’t want to turn free time into a chore. We’re not all about that. Everyone should enjoy their time in Halo Infinite.”
Right now, the Tenrai event is a chore — and given that it’s the very first one meant to hook players, it needs to be reworked. Quickly. I want Halo Infinite multiplayer to succeed, but with these outdated tactics, it’s hard to root for. Is Microsoft, or even 343, afraid that the Halo name isn’t going to get people to come back to multiplayer on a regular basis? That would be a huge mistake. You don’t need all these smoke and mirror tactics: just let people have fun and play Halo and earn some free pixels in the process.