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Aaron Waite Aaron Waite
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Bring it Back Around

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The State of 'Halo'

As longtime readers of my articles may know, I'm something of a 'Halo' nut. A fanatic. A diehard. So naturally, when 343 Industries announced 'The Master Chief Collection' encompassing all four of the numbered entries in the series, including an Anniversary treatment of my personal favorite, 'Halo 2,' I just about flipped my lid. However, upon launch, it immediately became apparent that the 'MCC' had been rushed past any and all bug-checking process. It almost killed any momentum the series had for a complete resurgence. A month and a half later, the collection still doesn't work as intended, and even with the reassurance of a free month of Xbox Live and a reworked 'Halo: ODST,' there's still a sense of betrayal and legitimate sadness that 'Halo' is in such disarray. Here's a few things that 343i and Microsoft could do to bring the brand up to speed, for its current products and the next ones.

1. An actual testing process for 'Halo 5.' 'Halo 4' lacked a proper testing period, and it showed with its subpar long-term gameplay and lack of features like ranking, league play or custom game options. If 343i will actually listen to fan feedback for 'Halo 5,' it could be phenomenal, but choosing to be a developer that lords above its fanbase could be the potential death knell for the entire 'Halo' series. After the disastrous 'MCC' launch, bug testing and polish is desperately needed. It needs love and tender care, not to suffer from being pushed out to make a quick buck.2. An actual ranking system and properly working dedicated servers for 'MCC.' Much of the longevity (not to mention the skill matching) of 'Halo' belongs to its ranking system. As of right now, there's only one ranked playlist in 'MCC,' and the other playlists are suffering from lopsided matchmaking because of it. Veterans are destroying lesser-skilled players because there's no ranking system to place them in better-matched games, and it's demoralizing to those players getting smashed. Dedicated servers are technically up, but barely to a state where you'd know it. Most games end up being hosted by players, leading lag and disconnections far more often than not. Having that kind of a rock-solid backbone to matchmaking would elevate it much higher on the Xbox Live rankings.

3. Bring 'Halo 5' back to its roots with natural evolutions, not entire changes to the ecosystem. Take out sprint, take out the hoverthrusters, shrink the maps and don't let other FPS games influence you so much. 'Halo' is beloved because it's unique, not because it has everything that all of the other yearly-installment, AAA FPS games have. You don't need to reinvent the wheel just because someone builds a good boat. 'Halo' can still compete - not by watering down its formula, but by being itself.

Aaron Waite was a level 42 at his finest.

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