Technical Preview Outcomes - Halo Waypoint News Article
During and after the first Halo Infinite Technical Preview, fans provided 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.
"Two pieces of feedback we saw from the flight were to add a 'auto-sprint' option so that players don't have to hold the thumbstick forward, which can be difficult and even painful when sprinting longer distances. The other feedback item was to have the colors of the "Damage System Color" and marks from the Mark System have their own color options in settings similar to the IFF colors. We agree and we love these suggestions, and although we won't be able to get them in for launch, we're already tracking them for future accessibility additions post-launch." - Accessibility Team
From an accessibility standpoint, needing to hold the left thumbstick forward for extended periods of time to move in a straight line can be tedious or, for some, painful. One of the features that Fortnite implemented is an "auto-sprint" option, where double-tapping the left thumbstick engages a sprint that continues until the left stick is touched again. A player can let go of the left thumbstick while still running straight ahead.
Second, the Identify Friend and Foe (IFF) system, or player outline system, was fully customizable from a color standpoint. This was well enough liked that many players also requested the ability to change the "Damage System Colors." It isn't entirely clear what Damage System involves, but it likely includes one or more of: the colors of hitmarkers, the colors of the damage-taken highlights, and the colors of an enemy's shields when they are shot by the player. Players also requested the ability to change the colors of various indicators in the Mark System.
While both of these changes will not make it in at launch, they are both suggestions that the Accessibility team is planning to add post-launch.
"Some players wanted more of a 'crystallized' and 'glassy' feel on the Needler for example. Thank you for the honest and constructive feedback, we are continuing to iterate on the sound design for the Needler and Plasma Pistol (Primary Fire) along with enhancing the Gravity Hammer sound now. We're preparing to deliver 'in-progress version' of these new sounds for next public flight, so we're looking forward to hearing your thoughts on these updates in the next round." - Audio Team
Regarding weapon sound effects, some players felt that the Needler and a few other weapons sounded too different from their legacy versions, and they are changing them to align better with player expectations. In particular, they intend to make the Needler sound more "crystallized" and "glassy", and they are also tuning the Plasma Pistol's primary fire and the Gravity Hammer sounds. The good news is that these changes can be expected as soon as the next Technical Preview!
"Players also expressed interest in having more granular controls for what sounds they hear in-game, especially when it comes to the various in-game voices. We won't get that granularity until after launch, but we and the Multiplayer Team agree with exposing this option to the player." - Audio Team
The audio settings in the first Halo Infinite Tech Preview were already more robust than ever before, but they'll continue to be even more granular after launch. Things like being able to choose whether to hear Personal AI, Spartan Chatter, and other in-game voices independently of one another are planned for addition post-launch.
"One of the items that wasn’t fully there in the Tech Preview was our Daily Challenge model that provides Challenges along the lines of 'Play X Number of Games' that will repeat throughout the day. These Challenges are replaced after completion and provide a regular XP drop for your Battle Pass just for playing matches and having fun during your sessions with Halo Infinite. The Weekly Challenges are where you will see your more specific challenges that you might recognize from other games; for example, 'Get 10 kills with a Battle Rifle.' There is significantly greater depth with the Weekly Challenges than you saw in the Tech Preview that we will go through in the future." - Live Team
In the Technical Preview, there was supposed to be a single Daily Challenge available at a time that granted XP simply for playing matches. Upon completing the Challenge, a new, slightly more time-consuming Daily Challenge would take its place, and players would then progress this one until completing it. This system is intended to make it very difficult to run out of Daily Challenges.
Unfortunately, it was not working properly in the Technical Preview, so only four Daily Challenges could be completed in one day. This will not be the case in the next Tech Preview or at launch.
The Challenges that most players are familiar with are Weekly Challenges. These include things like "Get X kills with the VK78 Commando" and reward players for performing specific tasks in their matches. There are Weekly Challenges beyond those that we saw in the first Tech Preview, and we will learn more about this later.
"As for the XP boost timers counting down while out of a match, we will be looking at improving this experience post launch." - Live Team
When activating an XP Boost, all XP earned is doubled for the next 30 minutes, counted in real-time. This includes time spent in menus, so the current best way to use an XP Boost is to consume it just before earning a bunch of Weekly Challenges. XP Boosts will be improved post-launch to help alleviate some of the pain of losing precious time while searching for the next match.
"Progression is an area that we will continue to improve and grow over time, and we’ll have even more to share here later this month." - Live Team
Unsurprisingly, progression will improve and expand over time in Halo Infinite. However, according to this note, we'll get a better look at progression later this month. It remains to be seen how this information will be presented, whether in an Inside Infinite article or, more wishfully, in the next Tech Preview.
"We'll be toning back those perfectly placed grenade bounces at lower difficulty levels because they were more accurate than we'd like. We're also looking into tweaking the gunfire accuracy a little bit, but not too far to avoid making Bots too easy (especially when a fourth, less challenging "Recruit" difficulty already exists, but wasn't in the Tech Preview)." - Multiplayer Team
The grenade and gunfire accuracy of the Bots will be reduced slightly, particularly at the lower Bot levels. No longer will Marine Bots throw a perfect quadruple-bounced M9 Frag Grenade to blow up someone hiding in a hallway across the map.
"A common issue people were running into were the initial routes bots were taking off of spawn. While this led to some amazing clips of the bot teams getting wiped early, this was something we knew about going into the flight and we already have some extra logic in the works to help break them up a bit more and perform more like a squad of players would." - Multiplayer Team
In the Tech Preview, all four enemy Bots would run to the same location, making the start of the match easily predictable. In the future, Bots will split off at the start and seek out different weapons, rather than all immediately running toward the same item.
"We also heard feedback of players wishing the Bots were more effective with equipment. This will be an ongoing area of improvements for them. Replicating all the bonkers behaviors players are capable of pulling off with the equipment is a nearly impossible but we'll continue improving how they replicate player actions with the tools in the sandbox." - Multiplayer Team
Although the Bots could use equipment in some clever ways, their ability to effectively use equipment won't be able to match that of a human player. That being said, the ways they use equipment will be improved over time to match human behavior whenever possible.
"Another note was that Bots could get 'confused' and stop moving mid-combat. These bugs happen for a wide variety of reasons and is something we are continuing to improve as we push to release. We've resolved a lot of the big ones and will continue to iron out other issues with their movement as they arise. They'll only get better over time!" - Multiplayer Team
Bots would sometimes stand still at random points in the match, frequently after getting a kill on someone. This issue had a variety of causes, and many have been fixed already, making Bots more consistently active within matches.
"Lastly, we've heard the desire to have Bots that are even more difficult than our Spartan Bots. There were definitely some tuning off with Spartan Bots that made them underperform, but they are still meant to be training partners – not esports pros. While teaching players is our primary goal of Bots, it would be fair to say in the future we want some bots that are maybe less sparing partners and more fight night contenders." - Multiplayer Team
Although Spartan Bots weren't as difficult as intended in the Tech Preview, the goal is for them to be used for training to play the game. Even after their difficulty is increased, they are not meant to pose an impossible challenge for most experienced players. However, player interest in more difficult Bots has encouraged the team to consider making some challenging opponents after launch.
"Improved teaching about alt-fire modes? Yup, we agree. We are going to be doing a pass on the information in the quick tips to better explain the elements of the different weapons in each drill. Post-launch we are already investigating options to better explain the nuances of each weapon in the drills." - Multiplayer Team
Some of the weapons featured in the Tech Preview had alt-fire modes. Unfortunately, with the exception of the Heatwave, most of these Weapon Drills did not give many situations where the alt-fire mode shined, so this is one area of improvement that will be addressed. In addition, the quick tips that appear at the start of each Weapon Drill will be improved to apply more directly to how the weapon is best used. There will also be additional post-launch updates to make the Weapon Drills better for understanding the intricacies of each weapon.
"Swapping between different weapons is something we plan on working with our UXUI team post launch to find ways to reduce friction there. There's also another Academy feature called Training Mode that will be in our next flight that will let players quickly swap their loadouts (via in-game menu) that will provide another avenue for players to be able to experiment with weapons (and more) while fighting bots in maps." - Multiplayer Team
In the Tech Preview, switching between different Weapon Drills could only be done at the end of the current Drill, and the general flow from Weapon Drill to Weapon Drill was not as smooth as desired. This will be improved after launch.
In the next Tech Preview, the Training Mode aspect of the Academy will let players modify their loadouts in-game while playing against Bots, which will allow them to test out different weapons in a Multiplayer-like environment.
"Untimed Weapon Drills? Yep, already slated in our post-release list." - Multiplayer Team
After launch, untimed Weapon Drills will be added to Halo Infinite, letting players use the shooting range without time restrictions.
"Drills for Equipment & Movement? Post-launch we are plotting various drills for a lot of other mechanics such as grenades, melee weapons, equipment, and vehicles. Basically, we want drills to let players test everything in the sandbox." - Multiplayer Team
Although there will only be Weapon Drills for non-melee weapons at launch, more Drills are planned for everything else in the sandbox after launch.
"While some appreciated the new approach, we found that most players missed the old properties in these social matches. We've updated the Combat Sensor to feel more like the 'Motion Tracker' of old, which shows all movement besides crouch-walking, and should have that ready for folks to test in the next flight." - Multiplayer Team
The Combat Sensor in the first Tech Preview only showed enemies if they fired their weapons or sprinted. While some players liked this change, many did not, so a new version of the Combat Sensor showing all movement except for crouch-walking will be featured in the next Technical Preview.
"In terms of more customization, we're looking to support different models for the Personal AI as well as different customization options to make them more personalized from the core shapes such as hats, props, etc. We also plan to continue to expand the roster of AI over time and have a few in for launch that the world hasn't seen yet." - Multiplayer Team
Personal AI were a fan favorite customization feature within the Technical Preview, and they'll get even more customizable in the future. Things like different models for the same AI and additional customization pieces on top of the core model shape are planned to be added. There will also be more AI added over time, and there will even be some AI at launch that we have yet to see.
"We agree that previewing a Personal AI's voice and personality before you take them on the battlefield just makes sense. Fortunately, we've already been working on this, and it should be in our next flighting build so be sure to test it out in the lobby beforehand!" - Multiplayer Team
In the next Tech Preview, players will be able to preview their Personal AI selection within the menus, much like Halo: Reach's Firefight Voices.
"After the Tech Preview, we looked at the frequency of Personal AI lines (as well as Spartan Chatter lines like 'Over Yonder!') and have already made adjustments to reduce how often they are repeated. This work should be reflected in the next flight. We're also interested in adding additional line variants for each AI post-launch to keep their lines from becoming too repetitive." - Multiplayer Team
The frequency of commonly repeated voice lines from both Personal AI and Spartan Chatter have been reduced for the next Tech Preview. In addition, to avoid long-term burnout from repetitive voicelines, the team hopes to add more voicelines to each AI after launch.
"Lastly, players expressed an interest in controlling how often their Personal AI spoke and what kind of information they spoke about. This isn't something we'd be able to do for launch, but we'd like to give more control to players over the frequency of flavor lines as well as increase/decrease informational lines, such as weapon pickup lines. This has a lot of benefit for players wanting more to help make the game more accessible to them or even to just turn different types of feedback off all up." - Multiplayer Team
Personal AI announced a variety of in-game events, such as commenting on the number of medals earned, expressing excitement (or revulsion) after the player gets a kill with a power weapon, or even just acquiring a particular item. Some players wanted to control which events triggered voicelines so that they heard only about events they found important or entertaining. While this will not be in at launch, the Multiplayer Team hopes to investigate ways to provide this control to players after launch.
"We are also doing a revision now that preserves our difficulty tiering (colors) and iconography, but nudges the visual treatment towards a more classic Halo skeuomorphic Medal design. You may not see these new "metal-fied" Medals in the next flight, but we're pushing to get them in for launch." - Multiplayer Team
Many players in the Tech Preview found the medal designs to be too similar to one another and too plain in color. As a result, the Multiplayer Team is currently working to improve the medal design and make them look a little more like real medals while maintaining their difficulty tiering via a universal color scheme. But don't take my word for it. See for yourself!
The improved medals now use bronze, tin, silver, and gold outlines in addition to the green, blue, purple, and red interiors to indicate the medal difficulty. The medal outline shape indicates the category in which each medal falls (Killing Spree, Skill, Modes, and Style, for example).
Many of these medals were seen within the Tech Preview, but some of them are new. For example, the Modes medals are definitely new. Although it is hard to know what each medal might mean, the purple Mode medal seems like it might have to do with Infection, although we do not yet know if this mode will come to Halo Infinite at launch.
"We've already made significant FX changes to better communicate the health of a target. You should always know if you're fighting a player who has an Overshield, full shields, weakened shields, or broken shields. You'll be able to see these improvements in our next flight." - Sandbox Team
When targeting an enemy player in the Tech Preview, it was hard to tell if they were glowing because they had an Overshield or because their shields were about to break. Additionally, it was hard to see that a player's shields had broken until they were shot. All of these effects tended to blend together with one another and with the outline system, making it hard to know the state of the enemy player's health and shields at a glance.
This has been improved since the first Tech Preview, and these improvements will be present in the next flight.
"As for more options, such as turning outlines off entirely, we'll need to explore how realistic this is given our timelines for launch. We're always in favor of providing more options to our players, but it's very likely we won't be able to provide this until after launch." - Sandbox Team
The ability to turn off outlines and enable other options for friend or foe recognition is something that 343 would like to add by launch if possible, but due to the nature of development, this may not be added until after launch.
"A common note was to have player's Gamertag's appear above their head when looking at them. We completely agree and can confirm that names weren't showing up due to a bug. A few of you noticed that we had an option to display Gamertag or Service Tag in game, but it just wasn't working in this build. This fix may or may not make it into our next flight, but it will be in for launch." - Sandbox Team
Players in the Tech Preview did not have their Gamertag or their Service Tag appearing above their heads due to a bug. While this bug may not be resolved in the next Tech Preview, it will be resolved by launch.
"First, we've increased the default sensitivities for both M&K and controller players, including while zoomed in on weapons with 5x scopes and above. Second, we have since exposed Axial Deadzones controls in the settings. You should see these improvements, as well as performance increases, in the next flight." - Sandbox Team
When trying to use weapons like the S7 Sniper, many players expressed difficulties with aiming accurately in a timely fashion, particularly on controller. The default sensitivities for all options have been increased, with an emphasis on 5x scopes and above. In addition, Axial Deadzone controls have been added, allowing players finer control over their deadzones. Finally, several of the performance issues impacting aim have already been resolved, and all of these improvements will be available in the next Tech Preview.
"Similar to many previous Halo titles, scoped weapons will have benefits due to their scopes but unscoped weapons will perform the same regardless of its zoom state. Players will see a decrease in FOV, but no there is no underlying change to these weapons when zoomed in." - Sandbox Team
With the exception of Halo 5: Guardians, zooming in with unscoped weapons would bring up a binocular screen, temporarily increasing zoom magnification until a shot was fired, at which point the player would automatically be zoomed out. In Halo Infinite, most unscoped weapons will allow a player to fire while zoomed in, but there will be no changes to the functionality or accuracy of the weapon while zoomed.
"The two weapons we saw the most chatter about were the S7 Sniper and Skewer, with a focus on how difficult it was to aim while scoped in. The performance and aiming improvements mentioned above should help here, but we'll also be tuning some of the aiming on the S7 Sniper for this next flight and look forward to hearing your feedback on it." - Sandbox Team
The S7 Sniper and Skewer were both very difficult to use, in part due to difficulties with aiming combined with being very unforgiving with small inaccuracies. The S7 Sniper has been tuned from an aiming perspective to help reduce some of the discomfort in this area. These tunings will be live in the next Tech Preview.
"Overall, the feedback for [the Gravity Hammer] was split down the middle between it being too effective and not effective enough. As a result, we don't plan on making any major changes, but we'll continue to monitor it." - Sandbox Team
The Gravity Hammer's implementation in Halo Infinite is rather unique compared to its previous iterations. With a long delay between pressing the fire button and the actual impact of the hammer, the weapon has a much higher damage output and radius when it strikes. Without a general consensus on whether the weapon is too good or not good enough, no major changes are planned, but it may still be tweaked based on how it is performing and player feedback over time.
"While we did see some players say the movement was smooth, there were also some players that noted that it felt clunky. We've seen this feedback come in due to the movement itself or as a result of warping during online matches. We're constantly improving our network model to reduce warping, and we'll continue to monitor this feedback as that work continues." - Sandbox Team
During the Tech Preview, some players experienced "warping," wherein they would teleport a short distance due to discrepancies between their machine and the server. Improvements to reduce warping are ongoing.
"And, for the players who noticed that screenshake was present even after setting it to "0," don't worry – that was a bug. It should be smooth sailing in the next flighting build." - Sandbox Team
There was a setting that allowed players to turn off screenshake in the last Tech Preview. While it wasn't working then due to a bug, it will work in the next Tech Preview.
"One consistent piece of feedback we saw around equipment was that many players felt the Drop Wall wasn't effective enough given its current tuning. The intent behind this delay was to make it a piece of equipment that we use proactively when preparing for engagements, rather than reactive once a fight has already broken out." - Sandbox Team
Many players felt that the Drop Wall was a bit underpowered, taking a very long time to deploy and having panels that can only withstand a couple shots before breaking. The goal behind this design was to encourage players to use it prior to starting a fight rather than as a way to prevent dying after coming under fire.
"That said, we have reduced the Drop Wall's deployment time. We're taking a closer look at the durability, but want to assess how the faster deployment impacts gameplay before committing to increasing the health of its panels just yet. This update should be reflected in the next flight, so please keep an eye out for it and let us know what you think." - Sandbox Team
In the next Tech Preview, the Drop Wall will deploy more quickly than before, but it will have the same panel health at first. If further changes are needed, it will be tweaked accordingly.
"We agree that the weapon cradle in the bottom right of your screen did seem a little small. We will be exploring improvements to help make sure it is more legible at a glance post-launch." - UXUI Team
The HUD was a popular point of feedback amongst players in the Tech Preview. One such point was that the information around weapons, such as how much ammo was left in the weapon, how much ammo was left in reserves, and what secondary weapon was in the inventory, was small and hard to read at a glance. This will be improved after launch.
"There was also good feedback about not being able to see your secondary grenade type. The team agrees that this information is extremely valuable, especially in the heat of battle. This UI change will land in a future update." - UXUI Team
Also coming post-launch is an update that will show the secondary grenade type in inventory without needing to switch to it first.
"[W]e agree with providing more HUD customization options down the road. It's not something we can pursue for launch, but it is something we're interested in continuing to evolve over the lifetime of the game." - UXUI Team
Finally, while customizable HUD will not be available at launch, it is something that the UXUI Team wishes to add and improve after launch.
"There were some bugs impacting these menus, such as 'equip' not always equipping items, but we recognize there's room for improvement in the overall Customization presentation. While the current layout will be what you see at launch, it will continuously evolve with each season." - UXUI Team
As with most of the UXUI elements in the Tech Preview, the Customization menus will not be changed in time for launch. That being said, improvements will continuously be in the works as Halo Infinite grows from season to season.
In this article, we got a response to many of the biggest community feedback points following the first Halo Infinite Technical Preview. While many of these responses will not apply until after launch, plans are being put in place to implement as much community feedback as possible. Here's a summary of what we can expect and when:
By the next Technical Preview, prior to launch:
Improvements to the Needler to make it sound more crystallized
Improvements to the Plasma Pistol Primary Fire and Gravity Hammer sound effects to more closely align with legacy versions of the weapons.
Daily Challenges will no longer stop refreshing after only four have been completed and will instead rotate throughout the day, capping out only after many hours of grinding.
Weekly Challenges will have more depth than we saw in the last Tech Preview, and we will see more about progression later this month.
The Training Mode will be available, allowing players to change their loadout on the fly while playing with and against Bot combatants.
The Combat Sensor will show all movement other than crouch-walking, as opposed to only showing firing and sprinting.
The ability to preview Personal AI in the menus has been added.
Frequently repeated voicelines will now be repeated less often.
The visual appearances of players with Overshields, full shields, weakened shields, and no shields have been diversified to avoid confusion at a glance.
Improvements to performance will also improve aiming, and the default sensitivities of all weapons, especially 5x and above scopes, have been increased.
Setting allowing players to tweak Axial Deadzones have been added.
The S7 Sniper aiming has been adjusted to help make it a little easier to aim.
The screenshake setting has been fixed, and setting it to 0 will now eliminate all screenshake.
The deployment time for the Drop Wall has been reduced.
Bots at lower difficulty levels will have their grenade accuracy reduced and their gunfire accuracy slightly reduced.
Bots will no longer all follow the same path at match start but will instead take different paths and seek out different map items.
Bots will become "confused" and stop moving in fewer circumstances.
Bots will be more like human players at using equipment, though this will continue to improve post launch.
Improved quick tips within Weapon Drills that better explain how to use the weapon itself.
More Personal AI options will be available than just those seen in the Tech Preview.
Medals have been redesigned according to player feedback, looking more like actual medals without losing the color-coded difficulty system.
Players will be able to choose whether Gamertags or Service Tags display over their enemies.
The frequency and severity of "warping" in multiplayer will be reduced, with additional improvements post launch.
An "auto-sprint" option to allow players to run forward continuously without needing to hold the left stick forward
The ability to change the color of the Damage System and the Mark System
Improved granularity for audio options, particularly around the different voices in Multiplayer (Personal AI, Spartan Chatter, etc.)
Improvements to XP Boosts to alleviate the frustration caused by them counting time spent in the menus
Bots more difficult than Spartan Bots (interest is here, but no guarantees yet)
Weapon Drills will be improved to better accommodate teaching alt-fire modes.
Improvements to switching between Weapon Drills in the UI.
Unlimited Weapon Drills
Drills for all other items of the sandbox, including equipment, grenades, melee weapons, and vehicles
Additional customization options for Personal AI such as hats, props, and more that can be added alongside the basic shape of the AI
Additional Personal AI options released as new customization content.
Additional voicelines for each Personal AI over time
Fine control over when a Personal AI can comment on an event and how frequently these comments occur
Additional options for enemy and friendly differentiation, such as turning off outlines altogether
Improvements to the weapon cradle in the bottom right of the HUD to make things easier to read
The ability to see the secondary grenade in the inventory without needing to switch to it
HUD customization options
Customization menu improvements
More details on progression will be revealed later this month.
One of the "Modes" medals shown seemed like it might be earned while playing Infection, although this is not confirmed in any way.
Zooming in with an unscoped weapon does not enhance that weapon's performance in any way. It simply increases the zoom level for the player.
Feedback around the Gravity Hammer was prevalent, but inconsistent. No major changes are planned, but it will be monitored more closely due to the volume of feedback.
The Drop Wall is intended to be used in a proactive manner ahead of combat, rather than reactively after coming under fire.