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Tech Preview 2 Outcomes - Halo Waypoint News Article

https://www.halowaypoint.com/news/tech-preview-2-outcomes


Just as with the first Halo Infinite Technical Preview, the second Tech Preview saw fans provide a ton of important feedback around all the different areas of the flight. In the weeks that followed, 343i collected and reviewed all this feedback, seeking to find common sentiments tying it all together. This article is 343's response to this fan feedback, explaining what can be and has already been done to address it and when we can expect the changes. They also point out areas that will not change for now, but will be monitored for adjustment after launch.


"Auto-sprint and additional color controls are both likely to come sooner than something like HUD customization, as that would likely take a sizeable overhaul of some systems. They all may take some time, but we want to go after them." - Accessibility Team

As before, the Accessibility Team would like to add auto-sprint and additional color controls after launch, as well as the new addition of HUD customization. However, the scope of HUD customization is significant enough that it may take quite a bit longer to implement than the former two additions. Nonetheless, they are all on the list of items to be included at some point in Halo Infinite's lifespan.


"It was nice to see people recognize the changes to the Needler from the first flight, though some wished that the volume for the supercombine effect could be a little louder. We’ll take a look at this and see if there’s a way for this to stay sounding great, but feel more impactful and rewarding for the player using the Needler." - Audio Team

The changes to weapon sound effects in the most recent Tech Preview landed well, but players felt that the volume of the supercombine effect was too quiet. The audio team plans to see if there is a way to improve this sound effect to make it more noticeable and rewarding when a player achieves it.


"After last flight, we have adjusted our Daily Challenges to be more focused on a per match play model. The other big issue was making Double XP boosts more time-efficient in match on usage, this is something we agree with and are looking at a solution we can provide at a future date. While we explore those changes, which could be larger undertakings, we’re also looking into faster options such as ways to increase how frequently XP is given out via Challenges and potentially tying XP Boosts to matches played rather than time." - Live Team

In the Tech Preview, as Daily Challenges were completed, new and slightly more difficult Challenges would rotate in, increasing the number of matches required between XP payouts relatively quickly. While this was still reasonably fast for ranking up in the Tech Preview Battle Pass, it still felt much less rewarding when playing the in-between matches.


In addition, the time-limited nature of XP Boosts can be unnecessarily punishing, especially if one is activated just before needing to suddenly depart, or one runs out just before finishing a match where plenty of Challenges were earned. Some short-term solutions include increasing the frequency of Challenge-based XP drops and tying XP Boosts to matches played rather than time spent.


"Beyond that, there’s been a large number of requests for an additional career progression system. We want this too and it’s our team’s top priority, but doing it right will take time and that may mean it won’t come as quickly as many of you would like." - Live Team

The Live Team would also like to add a career progression system (think of SR in Halo 4 or Halo 5: Guardians, or the XP ranking system in Halo: MCC). This will take a long time to get right, however, so this is much more of a long-term goal than some of the other changes mentioned here.


"We did see people say that they still felt like they were being caught off guard due to the radius size of the Combat Sensor, with the majority of these reports coming from Big Team Battle. For Arena’s social settings, we didn’t see enough feedback to want to make a fundamental change here ahead of launch but we will continue to monitor it when we launch. For Big Team Battle, we agree and plan on getting this updated from 18m to 22m shortly after launch." - Multiplayer Team

The Combat Sensor in the most recent Tech Preview was designed to show enemies up to 18 meters away whenever they moved or shot. While this seems to have worked alright in Arena, in BTB, the radius was too short, so they are increasing the radius from 18 m to 22 m shortly after launch for BTB only.


"Flag melee damage is something we’ve tested and tweaked quite a bit internally to get where we landed today. With its current melee tuning the flag takes two hits to kill, but its melee swings are faster than a player who is holding a weapon. Yes, it is satisfying to get a one-hit melee when you’re the carrier, but we believe this new take allows for more interesting battles between both players. That said, we’ll watch this to make sure it’s performing as we intended when the game goes live." - Multiplayer Team

In the Tech Preview, the Flag carrier cannot perform a one-hit kill with their melee, but they can melee twice in succession faster than a non-carrier can. This gives them an edge in melee duels without making them too powerful. However, the team will be monitoring it and ready to make changes if necessary after launch.


"In regards to the flag visibility rules, we’ll continue to watch this one while we’re live to see if there are any specific instances that are confusing people. It’s worth noting that Halo Infinite has different “spotted” rules than Halo 5, so we’d also want to make sure people have time to get more familiar with the new system. The team will keep an eye on this too." - Multiplayer Team

In the second Tech Preview, a flag carrier only revealed their location if they were within line of sight of an enemy player or if they chose to sprint with the flag. This is distinct from Halo 5's spotting rules (if a carrier were damaged by an enemy, their location was revealed), so there may be some confusion that arises from this change.


"And yes, we agree that pushing the flag with vehicles, while very sandbox-y, is too easy and removes too much of the teamwork aspect we want to see in CTF matches. That was a bug and it has already been fixed for launch." - Multiplayer Team

Finally, vehicles will not be able to push Flags in the final game. It trivializes the teamwork needed to run the Flag from an enemy base to one's own base, so this bug has been fixed.


"We understand the desire for better vehicles more often (who doesn’t want more chances to jump in the Scorpion?) but we believe the progression of power as better and better vehicles spawn in allows for the end of matches to feel like bigger moments. It’s also worth mentioning that there were vehicles, such as the Chopper and Wraith, that weren’t available in the flight that will help further flesh out this vehicle story in each match." - Multiplayer Team

In the second Tech Preview, larger vehicles like the Scorpion, Wasp, and Banshee were reserved for the very end of the match, sometimes arriving so late that they could not be used before the match finished. While the progression of vehicles will not be changed at launch, the presence of more vehicles, like the Chopper and Wraith, may help alleviate some concerns here.


"Jeff Steitzer’s voice will return in BTB. We weren’t able to get this change in for December 8, but we are looking forward to bringing his voice back in all its glory as soon as we can." - Multiplayer Team

Although it won't arrive at launch, Jeff Steitzer will be returning to BTB as a medal announcer shortly after launch.


"When reading the feedback from most players, they wanted exclusive fullscreen because they believed it would give them significant performance advantages. While that used to be accurate a few years ago, that is actually no longer the case due to some fundamental changes with Windows 10, and it is not applicable to DirectX 12 (Infinite is DirectX 12 only)... However, there are still other use cases for players, such as accessibility and just personal preference, and we do want to give players the choice. It will not be something that comes immediately post-launch, but we will be investigating how to expose this as an option." - PC Team

The Tech Previews did not feature an exclusive fullscreen setting, unlike many other PC games. While some might be concerned about performance issues caused by the lack of exclusive fullscreen, there should be no performance effects caused by using a borderless windowed view, thanks to DirectX 12 and Windows 10 upgrades. Since there are still valid reasons for wanting exclusive fullscreen, this setting will eventually be provided to players after launch.


"Improving performance is always a focus of ours, and we’re happy to say there’s a number of performance optimizations that will be in our final release that were not available in the previews... The optimizations we’ve made since the last preview should be quite noticeable and will help the game run and feel better on whatever hardware you have." - PC Team

Finally, as one would expect, there are numerous performance improvements that will be present in the launch game but were not in the Tech Preview. At launch, the game should feel smoother and more stable than ever before.


"[W]e’ve made minor changes to the “cone angle” of aim assist on select weapons for launch. To be clear, this is not a change of the “strength/stickiness” of the aim assist, but it should help make aiming feel more natural. A full list of these changes can be seen below:
  • Pulse Carbine: 4 to 6 degrees

  • VK78 Commando: 5 to 5.5 degrees

  • BR75: 5 to 5.75 degrees

  • Heatwave: 5 to 6.25 degrees

  • Ravager: 6 to 6.75

  • Mk50 Sidekick: 5 to 6.25 degrees

  • Skewer: 4.2 to 5.6 degrees

  • S7 Sniper: 3 to 4 degrees

  • Shock Rifle: Turned on hip magnetism

" - Sandbox Team

One of the most prominent critiques from the second Tech Preview was how difficult it felt to aim. Although this could be partially due to performance issues, the cone angle of aim assist has been increased on a number of weapons, primarily those requiring more precise aiming.


"There was also feedback that stated red reticle range was needed to determine effective range on weapons, which although it is helpful, we don’t agree that it is a necessity on most weapons. Though, in the case of tracking weapons such as the Plasma Pistol and Pulse Carbine or something that locks on like the Energy Sword, we agree. Red reticle was enabled on those weapons during the flight (and they will stay enabled) so you know when these weapons are ready to track or are locked on to their target." - Sandbox Team

Red reticle has largely been removed from PC to proactively combat cheating, but it will still be present on weapons featuring lock-on, such as the Plasma Pistol overcharge, Pulse Carbine, and Energy Sword, among others.


"[W]e saw a few PC players mention that using the swap weapon input to their mouse’s scroll wheel could cause a double-swap, returning them back to their initial weapon. We saw this too and we’re actively looking closer at this internally." - Sandbox Team

There seems to be a rare bug affecting mouse and keyboard users that bind the swap weapon input to the scroll wheel, where scrolling will cause weapons to double swap, simply reequipping the original weapon. This issue is under active investigation.


"During the BTB portion of the flight, some players brought up concerns about the range at which IFF outlines kicked in. It didn’t seem to be a problem for most, but we wanted to acknowledge that we hear this and we’ll monitor it when we launch." - Sandbox Team

The IFF player outlines were able to highlight enemies from a long distance away, which, while making it easier to locate enemies, brings up some balance concerns and a feeling that hiding and sneaky plays are as viable in BTB. While there weren't too many complaints about this, it will still be watched carefully after launch.


"We also noticed [the Plasma Pistol] wasn’t performing well in its intended role against Spartans. Thanks to your feedback, we’ll be looking at some targeted changes to address its shortcomings against Spartans. We can’t guarantee these changes will make launch, but they are in-progress and will make their way to the game soon." - Sandbox Team

The Plasma Pistol can no longer EMP vehicles, with that functionality now reserved for Shock damage. However, it should still be a viable weapon to use for breaking shields, which it could do better. The Sandbox Team will be making some targeted changes to the Plasma Pistol either by launch or shortly afterward.


"The Mk50 really is meant to be a sidearm, not a primary utility weapon like many expect coming off the heels of Halo 5, and we believe it is fulfilling its role with its current tunings. In the case of the VK78, we reduced the damage on it so now it requires one more bullet to secure a kill. Given that can be a pretty large change, we opted not to alter its bloom and will continue to monitor how it plays. We aren’t making adjustments to bloom on these weapons for launch, but like all weapons, we will continue to monitor and make changes if needed." - Sandbox Team

Although the bloom on the Mk50 Sidekick and the VK78 Commando will not be reduced, the VK78 Commando will have its damage reduced to require one more bullet to kill an enemy player, helping to avoid it being too good in a fight.


"Eagle-eyed marksman noticed that hip-fired shots with the S7 Sniper are not always dead-center, even though they always stay within its small reticle. This is intended for a few reasons with the most notable being ensuring the S7 is used as a long-range weapon. And, since we’d know people will ask, our tuning is in-line with previous Halo titles that also had this effect on their UNSC Sniper Rifles. Right now, it is intended for hip-firing with the S7 to be accurate and consistent within a certain range. Beyond that range, players should scope in." - Multiplayer Team

When hip-firing the S7 Sniper, shots will always land within the reticle, but they may not always land in the center of the reticle. This is meant to encourage use of the weapon primarily at longer ranges while keeping it fairly accurate at relatively close ranges. Interestingly, this is in-line with the Sniper Rifle behavior in previous Halo games.


"A desire for increased knockback and physics impulses is one that we agree with. The two areas of focus for us on this topic are grenade explosions (to allow for grenade jumping) and the Gravity Hammer (for cool gravity effects and to have a more satisfying smash). There are lots of creative plays that can be made when physics impulses enter the mix, and that’s exactly what we want in Halo Infinite. We may not get these increases in for launch, but we’re on the same page and will be working to get them implemented as soon as we can." - Sandbox Team

In the Tech Previews, Grenades and the Gravity Hammer had a small impulse effect on players, but not as much as most players wanted. The Sandbox Team wants to include increased impulses in the game, and while they may not be in the game at launch, they should be soon afterward.


"Player collision, which is split in the community, is one that we believe is better to keep as is for the time being. We recognize that there are fun moments that can come from having it enabled, but we see far more benefits to the core gameplay loop for the majority of our players when teammates aren’t bumping one another." - Sandbox Team

Unlike all previous Halo games, Halo Infinite multiplayer did not feature player collision in the Tech Previews. While this saw split feedback, it will be kept off at launch. Even so, it will be monitored after launch to see if this should be changed at some point.


"[W]e disagree on buffing [the Drop Wall] any further right now. We’re confident in its ability to perform when deployed proactively before engagements rather than reactively or defensively once an engagement has started. We’ll monitor this in the live game, but we want to be cautious because increasing its durability could slow combat down too much and decreasing its deploy time could diminish the intended counterplay." - Sandbox Team

While many players wanted the Drop Wall to be buffed, the sandbox team disagrees, feeling that making it better will move it too far out of the proactive, small advantage role it currently fills. This may change after launch, but it is not currently planned.


"The Threat Sensor seems to be in a similar spot right now with the community feeling underwhelmed by its effectiveness. However, information is vital in Halo, and the Threat Sensor fits a unique role in the Sandbox that can be very powerful – possibly too powerful – if utilized effectively and once meta strategies develop around it. There are no updates planned for the Threat Sensor right now, but we’ll continue to monitor it when it goes live." - Sandbox Team

As with the Drop Wall, the Threat Sensor is functioning within its intended role, and the Sandbox Team believes it can be used very effectively as it is. There will not be any buffs to the Threat Sensor at launch, but it will also be monitored for changes after launch.


"[W]e’re starting longer term conversations on how we can either reduce the durability of the [Ghost] or the protection it provides the driver." - Sandbox Team

The Ghost was a very effective vehicle in both Arena and BTB, but it can tank a lot of damage compared to vehicles like the Warthog. As a result, there will be changes made to the vehicle to either reduce its health or how much it protects the driver.


"In this flight, the Banshee didn’t feel like a dominant force that terrorized the sky. While that is intended to some extent, we agree that we can do more to make it more viable. The team is working on increasing the durability and effectiveness of the Banshee bomb." - Sandbox Team

The Banshee's effectiveness was reduced intentionally from previous games, but players felt it was performing far worse than it should be. The team is planning to increase its durability and how much damage the Banshee bomb does.


"The Scorpion is a meant to be a slow-moving tank, but that doesn’t mean we want its movement to feel unintuitive. It should still feel good, smooth, and go where you intend to go. We’re investigating a way to tighten the turn radius without reducing the turn rate." - Sandbox Team

The Scorpion felt a little too difficult to control, so the team is looking into ways to make it turn more tightly without affecting turn rate. Note that each of these vehicle changes will likely be made post launch due to the focus on the final rounds of bug fixing necessary before launch.


"We agree that the layout of the player’s inventory can be improved and will address both its size and layout in an upcoming release. This change will also include persistent visibility into the second grenade type for multiplayer gameplay and new settings to adjust the inventory layout." - UXUI Team

Although concise, the Halo Infinite HUD makes it a little more difficult to know all the inventory information at a glance. There will be adjustments to the HUD inventory size and layout after launch, including a persistent indicator for the player's second grenade type while in multiplayer. There will also be new settings added to allow players to modify their inventory layout to their personal liking.


"We noticed a few people point out that muting and ban-messaging was not as clear or intuitive as they had hoped. We are working with our Live and Services teams to ensure that information is timely and easy to find; we will provide more updates when we have them." - UXUI Team

The process to mute players and the ban messages that appeared were a bit unclear, so work is being done to improve these aspects of the UI.


Summary

In this article, we got a response to many of the biggest community feedback points following the second Halo Infinite Technical Preview. This time, nearly all the feedback changes will arrive after launch, but there are nonetheless plans to address most of it. Here's a summary of what we can expect:

  • Auto-sprint, additional color customization options, and HUD customization.

  • Improvements to the Needler Supercombine sound effect to make it more audible.

  • Daily Challenges have been modified to align more closely with a per-match XP payout system.

  • XP Boosts will be changed in some fashion to better reward the player, possibly linking them to matches played or increasing how frequently Challenges award XP to players.

  • An additional career progression system is being considered as a long-term addition.

  • The Combat Sensor radius will be increased from 18 m to 22 m in BTB only.

  • Flag melee remains a two-hit kill, but it is faster than a regular melee.

  • Flag carrier spotting remains unchanged (reveals occur when sprinting or when in line-of-sight of an enemy) but will be monitored.

  • Pushing the Flag with a vehicle has been removed.

  • The vehicle spawning progression in BTB remains unchanged, but will see the addition of Choppers, Wraiths, and more to help improve the variety of vehicles earlier in the game.

  • Jeff Steitzer will be added to BTB.

  • Exclusive fullscreen will be investigated for post-launch addition, though it is no longer necessary for maximum performance.

  • Multiple performance improvements have been made for launch.

  • The aim assist cones for various weapons have been increased:

  • Pulse Carbine: 4 to 6 degrees

  • VK78 Commando: 5 to 5.5 degrees

  • BR75: 5 to 5.75 degrees

  • Heatwave: 5 to 6.25 degrees

  • Ravager: 6 to 6.75

  • Mk50 Sidekick: 5 to 6.25 degrees

  • Skewer: 4.2 to 5.6 degrees

  • S7 Sniper: 3 to 4 degrees

  • Shock Rifle: Turned on hip magnetism

  • Red reticle has been removed for most weapons on PC, with the exception of weapons that can lock-on or track (e.g. Pulse Carbine, Energy Sword, etc.)

  • The issue where swapping weapons with the mouse scroll wheel sometimes caused double swapping will be investigated.

  • The range at which the outline system (IFF) kicks in might be too long, so it will be investigated after launch.

  • The Plasma Pistol will receive targeted improvements to help it better fulfill its role in the sandbox.

  • The Mk50 Sidekick and VK78 Commando will not have their bloom adjusted.

  • The VK78 Commando will now require one more bullet to kill an enemy than before.

  • The S7 Sniper is not perfectly accurate when hip-firing, but this is intentional and in-line with several previous Halo games.

  • Physics impulses from grenades and the Gravity Hammer will be increased.

  • Player collision will remain disabled but will be closely monitored after launch.

  • The Drop Wall and Threat Sensor will remain unchanged.

  • The Ghost's health or driver protection will be nerfed.

  • The Banshee's health and bomb attack will be buffed.

  • The Scorpion's turn radius will be tightened without affecting its turn speed.

  • The multiplayer HUD will be updated to display the player's second grenade type without needing to equip it.

  • HUD inventory layout settings will be added to allow players to customize their HUD.

  • The process for muting players and ban messages will be improved for better clarity.

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