Spartan Ops season one has resumed, meaning that Carl, Matt and myself are back on the Halo 4 servers with a vengeance. After a long winter of Planetside 2, it was quite nice to swap the sweeping plains of Esamir for the intimate, fun-packed playgrounds of Ragnarok, but we realised that there's still a lot more we want from 343 Industries as they continue to support their FPS post-launch.
A lot more.
So in that vein, here are ten of our most ardent desires that we discussed while bringing the rain in Big Team matchmaking.
10: More Specialisations
A few of our readers will be delighted to know that two new specialisations have been added to Halo 4 as of this week, but it's still not really enough. Even if new specialisations just boil down to cool armour sets without special mods, this extra incentive would be much appreciated.
9: Plasma Lance
This suggestion comes from Matt, who'd like to see 343 add an incredibly long plasma lance that deals damage based on how fast you're travelling.
We laughed in his face until he suggested its use as a Mongoose passenger weapon. Then we wiped his face. Then we agreed wholeheartedly before fantasizing about how awesome a Mongoose Jousting metagame would be. Then he betrayed us multiple times, "apparently" by accident.
8: Rocket Race Matchmaking
Hooning Mongooses (Mongeese?) around is fun. Rocket launchers with infinite ammo are fun. Wacky Races is fun.
So when Halo 3 put them all together, we basically had the most fun ever. Let's get on that, please...
7: PC File Share
Come on now. The entire fanbase is champing at the bit to upload screenshots and render videos to the PC, in order to share their exploits with the world.
343 have already promised that this functionality will arrive in "early 2013," but we thought a friendly reminder might be in order.
6: Spartan Ops Theatre
Speaking of sharing exploits with the world, we'd really like to see theatre mode functionality added to Spartan Ops. It's designed to be a playground, stuffed with toys that we didn't get to play with enough in the campaign, and we'd love to show off some of our more ridiculous shenanigans (and hilariously awful K/D ratios on legendary) without relying on video capture tech.
5: Keep Matchmaking Playlists Alive Longer
We like rotating playlists, but to be honest, we're not sure why 343's so quick to kill them after just a single week. Grifball, for example, deserves to be a permanent playlist (if you really "love Red vs Blue" as much as your achievements claim, why not put your money where your mouth is). Team snipers attracted a hardcore community in Reach. We understand the logic behind keeping a relatively small number of gametypes to ensure high player populations, but when several of your competitors offer more variety, what's there to lose by just giving us more choice in the long run and creating more mix & match playlists?
Oh, and don't you dare kill SWAT, 343i. Many thanks for keeping it alive thus far, though.
4: Team Doubles
Here's another "we want matchmaking gametype X" entry, this time for the roundly epic Team Doubles mode. Though we typically get online as a party-of-three these days, we've all got fond memories of facing tough challenges hand-in-hand with our partner before eventually coming out as a bona fide power couple.
Hmm. That phrasing. I'm going to work on that phrasing. Still, we'd still like to see Team Doubles make a welcome return.
3: "MOAR TANKZ"
Erm, right, here's a directly-quoted suggestion from Matt... which means that we'd like more made of the Scorpion in both matchmaking multiplayer and Spartan Ops. Since the campaign basically gave us a narrow corridor to drive down, we never got to experience the thrill of some of the wider tank battles that made the Bungie-developed Halo games so alluring.
A couple of the Spartan Ops missions have had a crack at giving us "MOAR TANKZ," but this still isn't enough.
2: Bigger Team Battles
While we're big fans of Halo 4's big team slayer, we're not convinced that they live up to its predecessor in terms of scale and scope. Just thinking about Spire from Halo Reach, with its enormous tower, aerial battles and sweeping map area, is enough to get us hot under the collar.
To that end, we'd like Halo 4's map packs to add some much larger or more open stages, perhaps with new aircraft to take advantage of their verticality.
In Halo Reach, the real fun began after a campaign or firefight mission came to an end. Players pored over their scores and stats, revelling in some of their most epic accomplishments and bickering about who'd contributed most (and least) to the battle.
Critically, players weren't ranked by how many kills they racked up... but by how much their kills were worth. This made good sense; after all, killing a dozen grunts is less tactically important than downing a couple of Wraiths at the right time. With a Gravity Hammer.
And yet, in Halo 4, scoring has been thrown out of the window. At the end of a campaign or Spartan Ops level, we're just given a basic set of K/D stats, rather than informed about how much of an impact we really made. We can't scroll through detailed breakdowns of our targets and medals, leaving us to argue about who exactly killed that Hunter, and bereft of bragging rights.
Come on. Let's get scoring back on track.
What do you want 343 Industries to change or add to Halo 4 over the coming months? Let us know in the comments!