And this week's limited time event only reinforces that feeling.
Halo Infinite multiplayer progression falls far short of the hype generated by Microsoft and 343 Industries in the lead up to the mode’s launch.
As we’ve highlighted in our review in progress, progression can be a major point of frustration for players who are looking to move forward in free or paid Battle Passes.
In my own experience, I was stuck for the better part of two days inside a Premium Battle Pass, with challenges that required me to use the Cindershot Power Weapon or play inside Slayer modes. After something close to 15-20 matches, I wasn’t able to access either using Quick Play or Big Team Battle. While I was earning 50XP per game thanks to the first “fix” made by 343 Industries, that’s a small drop in the pond when it comes to the 1,000XP needed to move up a level.
I had managed to obtain one challenge swap using the Battle Pass previously, and managed to swap out a challenge that required me to kill enemy Spartans using a Wraith tank, one I’ve not yet encountered in my hours and hours of play inside Infinite multiplayer. If I wanted to swap out other challenges, I’d have to drop real world cash to do so (so, no). It honestly felt like 343 was somehow aware of the challenges I needed to complete and was actively putting me in games where they couldn’t be accomplished.
I’m swimming in Double XP items, but I’m frankly too scared to use them — what’s the guarantee I’ll encounter Slayer rounds or the Cindershot when my boost is active?
Selfishly and shamelessly, I eventually found myself placed in matches where the Cindershot was present, and dropped any other priority apart from obtaining the weapon and the kills I needed. I stopped being a team player and purely thought of myself, something I’m sure disappointed my fellow teammates (sorry, Spartans!).
After many, many matches I managed to finally drop Oddball and Capture the Flag for Slayer and eventually completed all of my weekly challenges proper. It was here that I realised that once that’s done, you’ve effectively locked yourself out from further progression until Infinite‘s weekly reset. While I applaud Microsoft and 343 for messaging that states that players can complete a Battle Pass at their own pace (ie: slowly), that’s not the case for players who want to play and play and see movement at the same time (ie quickly). That is, players can’t progress at a fast pace without again dropping real world money to level up quickly.
This week’s limited time Fracture: Tenrai further complicates matters, a three-week event that’s spread over three months and adds new challenges to the mix. The trouble is, players can’t choose between Battle Pass or Tenrai challenges and are finding themselves awash with ones they’re not looking to progress. I started with two Tenrai challenges, and once complete, can’t access any others; I’ve got regular Battle Pass ones that I need to grind out of the way first. If I can play through any Battle Pass I’d like, surely that could extend into events so I can put all my focus upon them?
What’s worse, players are complaining that one Tenrai shoulder item can be unlocked in week two (January 2022), but its counterpart cannot be accessed until week three (February 2022).
“Matching event shoulder pads are earned a month apart – and this unreasonably upsets me,” wrote ItStartsInTheToes on Reddit.
This is further complicated by unlocks that are only applicable on specific armour sets, meaning a specific shoulder or colour scheme that you like mightn’t be possible on the armour type you’re using. Reddit has a good example of two blue colour schemes that are practically identical… but are potentially required if you want to be that colour across different armour sets.
To be quite honest, I’d happily pay more for Infinite and avoid this free-to-play nickle and diming balance altogether.
To its credit, 343 Industries has responded to criticisms.
“Please know the constructive feedback is being heard loud and clear,” 343’s Brian Jarrard wrote on Twitter. “Changes will take time and our priority this week is giving the team a much deserved break for the holiday after a long final stretch. Thank you for understanding.”
Halo Infinite multiplayer is now live on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. Single-player heads to the title on 8 December. Check out our Halo Infinite review in progress right here.
16 November & 9 December 2021
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