Back in June, I wrote that 343 Industries’ approach to the Halo Infinite battle pass would become an industry standard. It was a bold claim, especially considering that details were scarce.
With the second technical preview over and a shocking amount of time spent playing, I can say that I still believe 343i is on the right track. That being said, there definitely is room for improvement. The main issue is 343i’s decision to implement a challenge-only progression system.
The Master Chief Collection: a Reference
When 343i announced their approach to Halo Infinite‘s battle pass system, only one other game came to mind. Since the developer started adding seasons to The Master Chief Collection , each one remained available for players to progress in. You would never find yourself locked out of a season’s cosmetics because you decided to take a break.
It goes without saying that this is one of the most consumer-friendly systems in gaming today. There is no fear of missing out and you can play at your own pace while choosing which seasons to progress in.
Progression itself is pretty simple in The Master Chief Collection. The experience you gain after each game serves to increase your level. In turn, gaining a level grants you a point to unlock an item in the season of your choice. Weekly and seasonal challenges provide a massive boost to experience and also reward you with points to unlock cosmetics. It’s a straightforward system that combines two mechanics to ensure that you consistently progress and feel rewarded after each game.
The Problem with Halo Infinite
Unfortunately, the only things 343i migrated over to Halo Infinite are the persistent seasons and the use of challenges to progress within each season’s tiers. In clear terms, what does this mean? Is the Halo Infinite battle pass good?
That depends on you.
On one hand, you’ll never need to worry about missing out on cosmetics. Even if you barely play, you’ll always be able to pick up where you left off. This is the key reason why I stated that Halo Infinite‘s system will become the industry standard. Only a handful of players truly enjoy spending all their time in one title grinding away at the seasonal battle pass. And it goes without saying that nobody likes missing out on content.
On the other hand, 343i’s decision to implement a challenge-only progression system is an objectively terrible decision. In doing so, it leaves players at the mercy of daily and weekly challenges which can be very slow and outright boring to complete. The current system puts players at the mercy of challenge availability and type.
If you finish your weekly challenges early, that’s a progression stream gone for the week. As you knock out daily challenges, you’re left with oddly specific or uninteresting ones.
The Lack of Post-Match Experience is Disappointing
Some will say that games should be played for fun, not for chasing the high of seeing an experience bar fill up. In other words, that players should celebrate their achievements during a match and promptly move on to the next one.
I hate to break it to the purists, but we aren’t in 2004 anymore. Blame any modern multiplayer franchise you want, but the fact is that players expect some kind of level system. Players expect to finish a match and be rewarded with experience toward their next level. This isn’t just a gimmick, it’s a good way to retain players. You might not be able to complete a challenge before signing out for the night, but you could probably gain a level.
As it stands now, Halo Infinite doesn’t reward players for their in-game performance. Either you stick to the challenges or you get nothing out of the match. During the first weekend of Halo Infinite‘s tech preview, I experienced the problem firsthand. I completed all the weekly challenges and only had a daily left. The daily challenge required me to win a set number of PvP games.
If I lost, I came out of the match with nothing to show for it.
It didn’t matter how many double or triple kills I got. It didn’t matter if I captured a flag or stopped an enemy carrier. My killing sprees meant nothing. In short, it didn’t matter if I outperformed my teammates and enemies. All that mattered was that my team lost.
In today’s gaming environment, there is little worse than putting time into a match and getting nothing in return. At this point, Halo Infinite doesn’t entice you to put in a little extra effort. It doesn’t make you want to perform at your peak, because you won’t progress unless you’re knocking down those challenges.
What Is Missing In Halo Infinite?
Frankly, there needs to be a level system in the game. Players should receive experience after each match based on their performance. Does that have to be tied to battle pass progression? Not necessarily.
There needs to be a system in place for players to see their progression. Not only that, but it needs to motivate players to perform during matches and, most importantly, reward players for exceptional performances.
There is hope that such a system will eventually be implemented. In a September post, 343i noted player feedback and added that they will continue to evaluate “progression offerings is something the team is actively exploring, and we look forward to continuing to evolve the experience in future seasons post-launch. “
Halo Infinite will launch for Xbox and PC on December 8. The multiplayer will be free to play and the campaign will be available on Game Pass at launch.