Halo |OT12| Last One Out, Get the Lights

I always check, if my package is damaged or unsealed, cause sth. like this can happen. Don't know the law in Great Britain, but in Germany, you wouldn't have a chance of getting sth. afterwards. You have to check your package in front of the post man and he has to wait.

Sounds like I'm bashing you, but I'm not. Just saying, because I know this situation and it sucks.
Well the delivery box was sealed (with sellotape so could have been resealed, I guess), it was just the console box that was opened.

Had a quick read up of the UK laws and there's a number to call if I suspect my mail has been tampered with. Apparently it carries a 2-year jail term if a mail worker tampers with mail though. Seems a heck of a risk for an armour code, more likely someone at Mountain Dew fancied it.
 
It's always been funny and admirable watching you guys torture yourselves every Monday dutifully grinding through SpOps every week even though its a chore. I appreciate all the critiques of the players who stick it out but I could never be a randomrosso or Karl or Havok or Ghal with this; when the mode started to get tiring after the first 3 missions of episode one I just put it down pretty much forever.

Props to you guys.
 
Well the delivery box was sealed (with sellotape so could have been resealed, I guess), it was just the console box that was opened.

Had a quick read up of the UK laws and there's a number to call if I suspect my mail has been tampered with. Apparently it carries a 2-year jail term if a mail worker tampers with mail though. Seems a heck of a risk for an armour code, more likely someone at Mountain Dew fancied it.
You may be able to bring a claim under the postal service act 2000 section 83 and 84.

However, I would advise you to stay away from a legal claim, it'll be a big headache with a long wait.

Surely the delivery company has internal complaint procedures?
 
Oh my god, The Dark Knight Rises. Totally worth the wait. Man tears were shed at the end.

...

So what's going on with the Spartan Ops achievement in chapter 1? It hasn't unlocked for me yet... and I'm seeing people say that the requirements are totally different to what it says or something
 
This was one of the best Spartan Ops episodes for 2 reasons.

1. You can fail the first mission (and I suppose the Cauldron mission) because they gave us an interesting new defense objective. Felt fresh. Felt like Gen Defense in Firefight.

2. In the last mission when me and a friend thought we beat it we were lasering each other while waiting for the pelican. Then when we decided to laser the pelican.

And it blew up.

"Uhh....."
 
It's always been funny and admirable watching you guys torture yourselves every Monday dutifully grinding through SpOps every week even though its a chore. I appreciate all the critiques of the players who stick it out but I could never be a randomrosso or Karl or Havok or Ghal with this; when the mode started to get tiring after the first 3 missions of episode one I just put it down pretty much forever.

Props to you guys.
12,000 exp per match, man.

12,000 exp

I'm just trying to get to the second part of my emblem at level 44, damnit
 
Halo 4's Skyboxes are really ugly t.b.h, especially the land grab skybox



You can count the pixels in that skybox.. The more I play Halo 4, the more I appreaciate what Bungie did in Halo 3 and Halo: Reach visually.
The colour pallet on that level is pretty jarring by itself (makes skybox look a lot worse too). Should've kept it closer to something like Halo 3's The Ark, IMO. It was much better to look at.

</3
 
Spartan Ops is awful. Between that and the multitude of issues in the multiplayer, I've had my last straw with this game tonight. Considering returning it or trying to get my roommate to purchase it again.

Here's a bunch of things that are bad about Spartan Ops, why I would not feel proud about being associated with it, and my armchair designer fixes.

1. Heavy reuse of the same environments. I understand that there is a huge time and memory constraint for having brand new environments. But there are a grand total of 9 environments. 9 environments for 50 missions. Each mission will, on average, be used 5 and a half(!) times. That's not including the times you run through it in campaign and/or multiplayer. Now there are ways to make the environments seem different, but Spartan Ops hasn't done that yet(and I do mean this with full offense, but I don't think any of the mission designers at 343 are capable of doing it given the lackluster campaign encounters).

For starters, don't choose an encounter that is linear in design. It forces only 2 options when reusing it. Ignoring another issue of Spartan Ops, the only two good missions have been the Valhalla Mantis one and the first Complex one. The first one of those two was only good because it was different from shooting a bunch of aliens and pressing a bunch of buttons. The second one was good, because there were multiple points to go to on the map, and there was more than one option of positioning. The subtle player choice improves the design by quite a bit. It also allows you to reuse it by blocking off areas of the map or providing a different incentive to move around like a power weapon or vehicle. On the downside these two encounters are also multiplayer maps.

2. Enemy introduction is the worst I have experienced in any FPS. This isn't an exaggeration or hyperbole. Promethean design gives them the ability to teleport. This mechanic is an interesting idea to change the encounters, but it is used so poorly in them. It has been used as the laziest way to introduce an enemy to an encounter. I made a post earlier on about player mentality, enemy introduction, and how the player tackles a combat scenario. If a player can see all of the variables, they have a better understanding on how to tackle the encounter and as a result, victory feels more rewarding while the mentality of death feels more like "if I just did a little bit better, I could succeed." Prometheans teleporting in defeats the idea of a player seeing all of the variables, especially when they are teleporting in wave after wave.

For the Covenant, the returnable drop pods are poor introduction as well. It appears out of nowhere, and is gone fairly quickly. Compare these to the individual drop pods, which change the flow of the battle as well, by creating more cover for the player. Phantoms are much better when they are balanced properly. But as it stands, the main cannon on the Phantom acts as a flak cannon, preventing the player from engaging the enemy early. There is already enough of a barrier to the player when enemies are invulnerable while inside the Phantom.

How to fix it? Introduce Prometheans similar to how Sentinels are introduced in previous games. Give them a doorway, path, or tube to come from. This gives the player a choke point to attempt and initially defend. Then if the enemies are too powerful for the player, he/she can fall back. For the Covenant, it comes into reworking the Phantoms and reintroducing personal drop pods, while also giving them pathways to follow. These were aspects that were good before Reach's sandbox meddling, and if you can't implement it properly--don't implement it at all.

3. Make the objective more than pushing buttons. There's something that Halo CE and Halo 3's campaigns did right with objectives in encounters. The basic combat flow is i)stop the enemy from advancing, ii)push the enemy back, iii)chop of the enemy's head. This is shown heavily in missions like Silent Cartographer, AotCR, Sierra 117, The Ark, and many others. What this means is that at the end of an encounter, it should feel rewarding by either destroying a Brute Chieftain, a Banshee, or in general a tough opponent.

Halo 4's design in both campaign and Spartan Ops is to go from point A to button B, and kill every enemy along the way. There isn't a clear defense point at point A, nor is there a good sense of enemy defense at button B. It doesn't feel rewarding sweeping around the Valhalla base killing bullet sponge enemies, just so you can unlock the ability to push a button in the base.

In Valhalla for example, a different design that would work well is to start at one base and clear the enemies at the other. The catch is to defend both bases. If one gets overrun, it's not game over like the first mission this episode. This also works well into the focus on cooperative play. You could have two players stay back at the initial base to defend, but the trade off is that the other two players have a tougher encounter to attack. For solo players, it creates a scenario where the player goes on the offensive, but must go back on the offensive at the spawn base.


The blue lines indicate potential player movements. Include different incentives for the player to go one way over another, like a sniper, a vehicle, stealth, or a flank on the enemy. The red indicates the spawn and objective.

4. Enemy design is lackluster. This is more of a gripe with how enemies act alone and with other enemies. Knights have a multitude of issues with them. Firstly, there is no indicator to how much damage they have taken. Their shield is a faint blue that only changes when the shield is actually popped. They have animations that are difficult to distinguish and predict their next move. For example, the deploy sentry is very similar to deploy Watcher. The jump slash and the teleport slash are difficult to predict. The teleport has no clear position where they will deploy to. There isn't a clear headshot on them. You cannot tell what weapon they are holding until they fire it. You can't distinguish classes among Knights very well.


They all look nearly the same in game.

Watchers and Crawlers have clear design flaws as well. The only way to know if the Watcher is taking damage is if it folds up and flies away. Watchers have weapons while flying, which creates an enemy that can fire at you from any position. Watchers also generate turrets, regenerate Knights, and spawn Crawlers using the same animation. Their introduction by using slipspace ruptures is also poor. Crawlers have headboxes that are incredibly inconsistent. Both of these also disrupt the ability to defend by bypassing chokepoints, either by flying or crawling on walls. Now these are actually good designs when they come alone. It creates a different pace to an encounter, but when they come en masse the player can't control the 360 degrees of enemy movement, while the player is limited to two dimensions.

The disintegration effect is a neat way to clear enemies from the battlefield. It introduces a level of magic when the Watchers respawn a Knight. A way to counter this adds an incentive to using the Promethean arsenal. Killing a Knight with a Promethean weapon will disintegrate them, making them unavailable to be regenerated by the Watcher. Killing them using a standard weapon means they can be regenerated by the Watcher. This also changes up the order in which you kill Prometheans depending on the weapon you have. Knights need to have a clear distinction as to what they are holding. By changing what color the weapon is or changing what side the weapon is on allows the player to see if they should approach it from a distance or get them up close.

The Knight teleport ability should primarily be used for defense only or for re-positioning, never for attack. Still there is no way for the player to know where the Knight will teleport to. Teleporting works in multiplayer, because the input and output of the teleporter is known(one reason why Chiron is a frustrating experience). Give a blue orb where they will teleport to, similar to how it acts after they have teleported. Also, when the Knight teleports, it gives them enough time to regen their shields. When teleporting the Knight's shields should stop as if they taking damage. Their feedback needs to be more apparent; blue shields on the orange is a great decision, but it needs to be brighter and more obvious to how much shield is remaining. Make the head stand out more against the body. This will make headshots much more distinct.


For Watchers, give them a bit of a damaged look when they have taken damage. Give them a bit of destruction to their hover circles. Also, never give them a weapon. It has the same issue that Jetpacking in Reach(haven't tried it in 4 yet) where the higher enemy has a clear shot on the head, while the grounded player is forced to body shot. For the Watcher spawning Crawlers, make it a clear distinction that that is what they are going to do. For example give them the binary rifle effect and have them point at the ground whre they are going to spawn them. This allows the player to preemptively throw a grenade, either distracting the Watcher to throw it back or spawn the Crawler into the grenade.


Crawlers are a bit tougher to balance. Their main intent is to have them be a zerg-y unit where their numbers will overwhelm you. They succeeded in that, but they aren't fun. Mainly because their headbox is broken. A strange solution is to give them another point on their body where they can be one-shot. This would be a new and welcome introduction to Halo. Just for the fun of it, make it their butt, so when they flee or attack, they are vulnerable.

5. Only give enemies one hit kill weapons if they can be one hit killed by a default weapon. Knights with Binary Rifles or Incineration Cannons are not fun enemies to fight. There are a few exceptions to this, and that is if the player has advanced beyond enemies and it is the final part of an encounter. We could take an example using ODST. The last enemies in the final firefight are Fuel Rod Brutes and Hammer Chieftains. It was rewarding completing that because the firefight section ramped up to the final encounter.

Jackal snipers are a decent way of giving an enemy a one hit kill weapon, because they are vulnerable to a headshot that is given by the light on their head. On the other hand they aren't great because the sniper is an instant kill with no travel time. Everyone remember Sniper Alley from Halo 2. Not fun. Now giving shielded enemies such as the Knights an instant travel weapon like the Binary Rifle is even worse. Grunts with Fuel Rods are slightly better than that. There is travel time to the Fuel Rods, but for some reason on Legendary, the velocity of the projectiles is doubled. This is a step backwards. Incineration Cannons are the same way.

One thing the post-beta Focus Rifle was good for was giving the AI snipers a weapon that is fair to the player while remaining challenging. Also the Plasma Launcher was a weapon that the AI could also use that the player could avoid. Both additions to the sandbox are very welcome.

6. Characters, in-game story, and dialog are comparable to what I wrote in sixth grade. Characters like Palmer have already been driven into the ground a month after release. A good character will have backstory, motivations, intentions, and a general way of doing things. Palmer has... a dudebro way of doing things and that's about it. I guess there's a 4chan post about Palmer's relationship with her dad, but that's something else completely. Her motivations to being a Spartan are unknown. Her intentions are following orders of whatever the captain barks out is fairly one-dimensional. On the other hand Roland's intentions are clear: maintain the Infinity. His back story isn't known, but we know he has been on the Infinity. His way of doing things is very similar to Serina. His character is one that I really love after only dealing with him for maybe two missions in campaign and some in Spartan Ops.

The in-game story... oh boy... sucks. Why should I clear this base if I know that it's going to be attacked next week? Why am I pressing this button? Why am I blowing up this generator? How did the Covenant even get a generator here in the first place? The science team always shuts down their defenses. It doesn't make sense. In fact none of it has made any sense. There isn't a reason for Crimson to exist aside from cleaning up what everyone else is doing. We are the sloppy seconds of the Spartan world.

Dialogue is also bad. Eggheads. Hingeheads. Geeks. Nerds. Science team. That science allows you to exist Palmer. Without it, you might as well still be getting beaten by your 4chan created dad. So quit fucking insulting it. And Miller, they are called the Covenant. Not "the bad guys". I just don't understand how Palmer can go from, "if those freaks want to meet God, it's our duty to help them along" to "the geeks want you to recover this artifact"

7. Lack of customization is disappointing. Add skulls. Add points. Simple stuff.

8. I feel like I'm getting better episodic content from a free Old Spice flash game than I am from a $60 Halo game. I seriously come back every Monday wanting to see what the new level is and what the story is. It's all parody, but it's great. I find myself quoting that more than I do any of the Halo 4 dialogue.

9. No incentive to stay alive. In fact there is actually incentive to die. You get ammo. And you don't have to worry about running out of lives.
-------

For anyone that went through that whole thing, I commend you. I highly recommend watching the Anatomy of Halo 3 series. Here is one on design, and watching it, you'll notice a lot of what Halo 4 did wrong. The thing with me is that I feel that 343 had the potential to fix a lot of these things before the game came out. I also feel like for future Halo games they are going to have to step it up. Making a map of Seattle and having a Grunt pick where they are going to eat isn't a smart thing to do during crunch, especially given the game turned out.
This just deserves another quote. You my friend nailed so much of what is wrong with Spartan Ops. I agree with your ideas to fix things too. Sadly though I just don't see 343 listening to the feedback though even if they say they are. I really don't.
 
Does anyone else think that given the reception, they might just scrap Promethians entirely for Halo 5? The visual design is poor. The gameplay concepts are poor. They have no personality. They don't really fit the Forerunner aesthetic.

I still think that Sentinels are a more interesting enemy, and that's not good.

It'd be easier just to say you killed them all and start afresh, surely?
 
Does anyone else think that given the reception, they might just scrap Promethians entirely for Halo 5? The visual design is poor. The gameplay concepts are poor. They have no personality. They don't really fit the Forerunner aesthetic.

I still think that Sentinels are a more interesting enemy, and that's not good.

It'd be easier just to say you killed them all and start afresh, surely?
Bungie managed to retool the Brutes without throwing them out. Just get Traviss to write something that justifies their changes, throw her a bone of one free fucking around with Halsey scene in the book and you're good to go

edit: this post doesn't reflect my actual opinion of the Prometheans, mind, but it's been done before is what I'm saying
 
I forgot to make a 'marina_omg.gif" post the other day when I found out you could assassinate Watchers. I would have recorded a video but... :]
I've been trying to do this for a while now, how did you manage it? Solo or with a group?

---------------------------------------------------------

Last mission in SpOps, I found out the suicide Grunts don't ever die unless you come in contact with them. I was driving around a corner and literally ran into at least 10-15 of them all running together. Definitely the most hilarious moment I've had with this mode so far. I'd put up the video, but this game wasn't designed by Bungie. :-(

The easter egg on the last mission is fantastic. First one I know of to change gameplay.
What/where is it? I really hate the visuals in that mission, so anything to spruce it up and take my mind off the ugliness would be grand.
 
Does anyone else think that given the reception, they might just scrap Promethians entirely for Halo 5? The visual design is poor. The gameplay concepts are poor. They have no personality. They don't really fit the Forerunner aesthetic.

I still think that Sentinels are a more interesting enemy, and that's not good.

It'd be easier just to say you killed them all and start afresh, surely?
Things that shouldn't be included in Halo 5's campaign:

- Dull linear levels
- Prometheans (as is. I think they could work with refinements though)
- Dull colour pallets (Even the jungle level in 4 was ugly to look at.... Second level was nice though)
- Terribly scripted events (think the entire Mammoth sequence. Do something the game wasn't expecting and the whole thing shits itself)
- Quick time events (different to the above). Totally pointless
- Marines who wear green and orange trackpants

Not to give the impression that I hated Halo 4's campaign of course. For the most part it was enjoyable... Certain elements I'd like to see changed for future titles
 
Easiest way to assassinate watchers: just wait for one to start reviving a downed Knight at ground level and run behind it.

If you have the weapons for it, you can also let a Watcher keep reviving Knights to restore ammo for the bigger weapons, like Binary Rifles and Incineration Cannons. Comes in handy a LOT on Legendary.
 
I've been trying to do this for a while now, how did you manage it? Solo or with a group?
I was just running campaign with a buddy, and we were on the last level, sorta stuck on this one encounter, and I just ran in to melee it, and instead of the regular melee, Chief grabbed onto it and swung around and it fell apart. My friend and I both just went "wait WHAT".
 
Does anyone else think that given the reception, they might just scrap Promethians entirely for Halo 5? The visual design is poor. The gameplay concepts are poor. They have no personality. They don't really fit the Forerunner aesthetic.

I still think that Sentinels are a more interesting enemy, and that's not good.

It'd be easier just to say you killed them all and start afresh, surely?
Like I’ve said time and time before, the Prometheans themselves are actually decent enemies. Just the lack of feedback, rigid nature of the encounters and deveriation between them need to be looked at and improved and they could become a great class of enemies.
 
I was just running campaign with a buddy, and we were on the last level, sorta stuck on this one encounter, and I just ran in to melee it, and instead of the regular melee, Chief grabbed onto it and swung around and it fell apart. My friend and I both just went "wait WHAT".
I saw a video of Chief doing that very thing, and have been trying to do that in SpOps/campaign ever since. They always seem to turn around right before I can melee them, and they just explode.
 
Off topic, but curious;
Has anyone written a NeoGAF keyboard shortcut user-script? If not I might write one tomorrow.

Shortcut ideas:
nn : next page
bb : previous page
pp : post reply
ss : subscriptions
uu : user profile
.. : refresh
 
Like I&#8217;ve said time and time before, the Prometheans themselves are actually decent enemies. Just the lack of feedback, rigid nature of the encounters and deveriation between them need to be looked at and improved and they could become a great class of enemies.
I agree, I think the ideas are ok, but their current implementation is poor. Hit boxes on all of them seem inconsistent at times, which leads me on to poor visual feedback of them showing damage, which leads me on to poor visual feedback of them about to do certain things.

Some of their telegraphs are fine, the Watchers spawning Crawlers and Knights Spawning Watchers are well communicated, but there needs to be more of a warning when you're about to be binaried, when they're about to teleport, when they're about to die etc.

I HATE that you can't interrupt some of the Knights animations though, that really throws me every time. I've battered him, he's about to die so I stick him, but then he goes to his little crouch position where he's spawning a Watcher and he can't die until it's finished so the grenade does nothing.

The idea of "tank", "support" and "pest" classes are fine and they do sometimes work really well together, but they're very rough around the edges.
 
Does anyone else think that given the reception, they might just scrap Promethians entirely for Halo 5? The visual design is poor. The gameplay concepts are poor. They have no personality. They don't really fit the Forerunner aesthetic.

I still think that Sentinels are a more interesting enemy, and that's not good.

It'd be easier just to say you killed them all and start afresh, surely?
I hope not, I like them aesthetically, and they can be fun to fight in spurts. The crawlers are the best of them though. They just need to re-tool the AI a bit and they will be fine. I hope they add more Forerunner enemies or Promethean types though.
 
Anyone else notice that when you take a Knight's shields down, there's a period of time afterwards where it's impossible to get a headshot? (only like a second or two, but it's noticeable).

Well It seems that way to me. Really inconsistent
 
Does anyone else think that given the reception, they might just scrap Promethians entirely for Halo 5? The visual design is poor. The gameplay concepts are poor. They have no personality. They don't really fit the Forerunner aesthetic.

I still think that Sentinels are a more interesting enemy, and that's not good.

It'd be easier just to say you killed them all and start afresh, surely?
This is the biggest reason for me. I hope they don't return, cos somehow I don't think robots will ever be anything close to what the Covenant was in that dept.
 
What/where is it? I really hate the visuals in that mission, so anything to spruce it up and take my mind off the ugliness would be grand.
Which one is this?
This one (only watch the first half for the location if you want to keep the rest a surprise).

Edit: Changes gameplay on a sandbox level I should have said not necessarily a skull for instance. Bad wording on my part but the encounter was ust really different as a result.
 
Anyone else notice that when you take a Knight's shields down, there's a period of time afterwards where it's impossible to get a headshot? (only like a second or two, but it's noticeable).

Well It seems that way to me. Really inconsistent
Yes. I should have mentioned this in my post. It's incredibly annoying and serves no purpose/benefit.
 
The Flagnum: Does anyone ever pick up the flag and try to fire the magnum? If so, does the second or third shot ever 'jam' on you? Only the first time you pick up the flag it seems but there is a definite delay in that first clip. Tis bizarre.

Edit: Also, if anyone fancies a few games I'll be on for a while. I even made Binary Slayer (Oooooh! Aaaaaah!).
 
For anyone that went through that whole thing, I commend you. I highly recommend watching the Anatomy of Halo 3 series. Here is one on design,
Solid post, Karl - you got me to watch this video again, and I ran across the Paul Bertone quote that distilled the 'good stuff' for me:

"Sometimes you stumble on it, sometimes you plan for it, but the most important thing is when you recognize it, that you covet it and that you keep it."

That ability to 'recognize it' separates the good designers from the pack.
 
This one (only watch the first half for the location if you want to keep the rest a surprise).

Edit: Changes gameplay on a sandbox level I should have said not necessarily a skull for instance. Bad wording on my part but the encounter was ust really different as a result.
Oh, THAT'S what it does. This explains my earlier post:

Last mission in SpOps, I found out the suicide Grunts don't ever die unless you come in contact with them. I was driving around a corner and literally ran into at least 10-15 of them all running together. Definitely the most hilarious moment I've had with this mode so far. I'd put up the video, but this game wasn't designed by Bungie. :-(
Never heard any of the RvB dialog or got the other weapons, though. weird.

Nice little egg, though.
 
After watching that video on the design of Halo 3, I really, really want to have that game again. I had so much fun playing that game with friends. After Reach came out that fun died. Halo 4 did nothing to revive it. BTB is the worst iteration yet, with no objective gametypes and personal ordnance turning it into heavies deluxe.

What I would give to have a Halo 3 with BR starts all the time, a excellent netcode, hitscan BR and a healthy population.
 
good post karl. it is unfortunate that the halo 4 lead designer will probably post another picture of a baby crying on his twitter after reading it, but what are you going to do.
 
Team Regicide is the only enjoyable playlist to me at this point.

Due to the fact it's just simple.
I actually think it might be the perfect mix of plain slayer to appeal to casuals with the touch of objective to allow more competitive matches. There is a nice risk/reward for going straight for the king vs protecting your king. Granted, I still need to put more time into it.

It's always been funny and admirable watching you guys torture yourselves every Monday dutifully grinding through SpOps every week even though its a chore. I appreciate all the critiques of the players who stick it out but I could never be a randomrosso or Karl or Havok or Ghal with this; when the mode started to get tiring after the first 3 missions of episode one I just put it down pretty much forever.

Props to you guys.
I'm probably the only one who does this, but I tend to use the spartan ops missions as nice "turn off my brain" moments. I generally don't play through all the missions at once, either.
 
I've been messing with the steitzer audio clips to try and do sentence mixing. Go and have a listen, maybe it'll come in handy some day.

Thanks for the endless laughs I had. "cumshot kill" and "protect your balls" killed me. LMFAO

Well the delivery box was sealed (with sellotape so could have been resealed, I guess), it was just the console box that was opened.

Had a quick read up of the UK laws and there's a number to call if I suspect my mail has been tampered with. Apparently it carries a 2-year jail term if a mail worker tampers with mail though. Seems a heck of a risk for an armour code, more likely someone at Mountain Dew fancied it.
Missed that post earlier. Sounds indeed, like a hell of a risk for DLC.

Edit:

Awesome post Karl!