While the term beta test has been used in all different contexts by developers and publishers, the original intent of a beta was to see how a game preforms under real-world circumstances. However, because many betas now launch just a few months before a game releases, many question whether the feedback actually helps let alone if it is heard.
For Halo 5: Guardians, the December beta test was, for all intents and purposes, just that: a test. 343 Industries wanted to see how the multiplayer component of their Xbox One exclusive preformed under real world load, and more importantly they wanted to see how gamers would respond to the game’s many changes.
By and large, once gamers got past the addition of a dedicated sprint, the Spartan abilities, and the ADS options, they seemed to like what 343 Industries was trying with Halo 5’s multiplayer. They also agreed that there were some areas that the online experience could improve, and this week 343 talked a little bit about that.
A Successful Beta Test
First and foremost, 343 wanted to thank players for participating in the Halo 5 beta test. The experience was pretty popular, and the developer shared a few statistics – provided in infographic form – to show just how much time was dedicated to the beta test. Check it out below.
As those bullets were flying and Spartans were ground pounding each other, 343 Industries was taking notes. They actually learned a lot about their multiplayer experience thanks to the beta, and have already outlined a few dozen elements that will see changes before the finished product hits. Halo 5: Guardians is expected for release in the fall, but Microsoft has not said anything about that just yet.
Changing Halo 5 for the Better
Here are some of the gameplay changes players can expect to see thanks to the beta:
- Increase base speed (faster base movement)
- Increase strafe acceleration (faster, more responsive strafing)
- Reduce top sprint speed (narrow the delta between base movement and sprint)
- Modify Ground Pound controls to prevent conflicts with crouch jumping
- General tuning and bug fixes for all Spartan Abilities (Thrusters, Clamber, Ground Pound, etc.)
- Sniper Rifle: Improve scope experience to making it less “clunky” and faster to scope
- DMR: Adjust position of the scope to improve visibility
- Bring back the SPNKr Rocket Launcher as a legendary version of the weapon
- Reduce bonuses for automatic weapons in Smart-Link and with headshots
- Remove grenade detonation in mid-air base don weapon fire
- Ability to turn on/off vibration feedback for weapons
- General tuning and bug fixing for all weapons
- Post-death replay: this will become an opt-in feature. After death, players will see a traditional follow-cam and have the option to view a replay of their death from the killer’s perspective (as long as the feature is enabled within the playlist)
- Medals: decrease frequency and number of medals displayed in the medal feed
- Spartan chatter: players will have the option to turn this on or off in the settings menu
- Adding highlights to placed/dropped weapons to make them easier to see
- General tuning for announcer and Spartan chatter to reduce the frequency of events and focus on the information that matters most to players
- Improved skill detection during placement phase
- Improved skill matching
- Improved team balancing
- Prevent skill boosting
- General bug fixing and tuning
- Much faster matches
- Better skill matching
- Better feedback to player in the lobby and matchmaking experiences
- Allow players to set desired data center for matchmaking (may impact matchmaking speed and skill balance)
- Improved party vs. party matchmaking
- Hide CSR ranks until in match to de-incentivize quitting
- Punish quitters with CSR penalties and matchmaking bans
Overall, it sounds like Halo 5: Guardians players aren’t going to see drastic changes when they eventually get their hands on the game, but the fixes/tweaks should improve player experience. Better matchmaking procedures and tools are going to be key for keeping new players invested, and slight tweaks to weapons will try to keep overpowered items to a minimum. Our experience with the Halo 5: Guardians beta was not deep enough to have any meaningful complaints about balance, but those who did invest dozens of hours had plenty to say.
Hopefully these changes are just the tip of the iceberg, though, and 343 has more planned for Halo 5. There’s actually been so much focus put on multiplayer that we haven’t heard too much about the single player story. Look for that to change later this year.
What do you think of the early changes for Halo 5’s multiplayer? What else would you like to see change?
Source: Halo Waypoint