Monday, April 18, 2016

Halo 5: Warzone Firefight Beta - Myview

Hello Hello! This is Ryan’s fiancĂ©e Micaela. If you’re a Halo fan you probably know the Warzone Firefight beta is going on right now through Tuesday evening. Ryan is still in Canada and missing the beta so I’m doing my first ever “Myview”!

Firefight has to be one of my favorite Halo game modes of all time. I got into Halo a little late in the game so my first foray into multiplayer was for Halo: Reach. Firefight in Reach (and ODST) was an endless wave style survival mode.  Your team faced an onslaught of Covenant while trying to not die. Within the waves, rounds, and sets the enemies would ramp up in difficulty, starting out with just a handful of grunts and later throwing elites, brutes, and even tanks into the mix. In some rounds skulls would be added to further increase the peril. It could be played on a number of maps from the campaign to add in some variety, but could get a little repetitive because the goal was always the same.

Yeah, those guys are gonna die [2]

The mode was available for both local custom games or online matchmaking. Playing Firefight with just me and Ryan was how I really started honing my Halo skills. When I just wanted to goof off we would play Gruntpocalypse with the “Grunt Birthday Party” skull on and laugh at the “yay”s and confetti as we killed an endless supply of grunts. While playing locally was mostly a collaborative experience, matchmade games could get a little competitive over who got to kill the big guys first. Your weapon options were limited to loadout weapons and those dropped by enemies, and your only way of getting vehicles was those that spawned on the map or during waves. Modes that gave you heavy explosive weaponry, like FRGfight and Rocketfight, turned the methodical survival game mode into a chaotic free-for-all with often hilarious results. Firefight was available for Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, but it was replaced for Halo 4 with Spartan Ops. While I liked the story telling that Spartan Ops allowed for, I really missed the option of deadly precision survival or shenanigan-ful massacre that Firefight could be.  

The most rewarding headshots ever [3]

But now they’re bringing it BACK!

I have to say Ryan coaxed me back into playing Halo 5 multiplayer with the promise that a Firefight game mode was coming soon. For a long time I was pretty satisfied with Destiny as my only first person shooter, and couldn’t get used to the major differences between Halo 5 and the previous games. I am glad he did though because I have grown to enjoy it pretty well and now I’m ready for the eventual summer return of my favorite game mode. I have been playing the beta this weekend so here are the basics: The new Firefight is a Warzone mode where a team of 8 Spartans tries to complete 5 timed rounds to win the match. There is no limit on lives, but if your team fails to complete the objective in time the game is over. Like the old matchmade Firefight, the mode is semi competitive as you are scored on your number of kills and boss takedowns. Because it’s Warzone you have the REQ system that allows you to spawn with better weapons and vehicles. The 5 modes are partially randomized; you face basic modes where the goal is to kill as set number of enemies (Covenant and Promethean), a defense mode where you try to keep the enemy forces from taking over the main structure, and boss modes where you kill specific high level enemies. The boss modes range from easier targets like knights and Ghost Jockeys to Warden Eternal himself.

Didn't get enough of him in the campaign? Well now there's three of him! [4]

So far I have enjoyed the new game mode. I like that there is a degree of variance in the objectives rather than a goal of just “kill all the enemies and don’t die”. I hope for and anticipate more new objectives in the future. In my experience the REQs have seemed to go at a nice pace and I have made it to level 9 before round 5 most of the times I played. This is nice for a more… average player like me because I get to use more of my REQs than I would normally be able to. From what I can tell the difficulty was a little low on the first day but has gotten to a decent place. I think I’ve had a 50/50 win loss record which would be a little higher if it weren’t for a few problematic waves that I’ll discus later. In general I like the length of the match; it’s shorter than standard Warzone which I sometimes find overly long for my attention span. I’m a little on the fence about having the game limited by time rather than number of lives for the team but it does even out the playing field so you don’t get screwed over by reckless teammates losing all the lives.

I have noticed some key issues that need to be resolved the make the game mode really great. Obviously there were some bugs (such as boosts not working and score maxing out at 30,000 points) that will definitely get fixed due to this beta. I’m mostly going to focus on structural issues I want to see ironed out. Respawning is a big issue. With so many big enemies you tend to run out of ammo really quickly and either have to die or run all the way back to one of the REQ stations to get more. If you do die it’s frequently a slog to get back into the action. My suggestions would be to allow options for spawn location like in normal Warzone and expand the number of REQ stations in the map to speed up reloading. A game changer would be the addition of the revive feature from the Halo 5 campaign. I feel like being able to be revived by your teammates would make defense easier, encourage more collaboration, and limit the amount of time-consuming respawning.

Oh, you’re playing Firefight and you just died?
Have fun crawling your way back to the fight! [5]

There are a couple of wave issues I’ve noticed: The defense wave can easily be a game ender with an uncoordinated team. The enemy Prometheans spawn *inside* the structure you are defending which means it’s more like you are assaulting the structure as they actively take it over. I would like to see the enemies come from a little farther off so you can actually have a defensive strategy. The legendary Warden Eternals are also a little problematic. To kill them within the time limit requires throwing a lot of REQs at them weighting the game heavily toward vehicles bombing the crap out of the warden rather than actual strategy. When the single legendary Warden spawns he comes with an endless swarm of watchers who will shield and heal him, which often results in a loss unless everyone commits strong vehicles to the fight.

Tank beats everything! [6]

My last worry is one of teamwork. The game mode, while it has competitive scoring, is definitely intended to be collaborative. Though it was rare, I watched a couple of occasions where other people deliberately destroyed vehicles on the field, even with teammates in them. My theory is that they wanted to ensure they got a better chance of getting the boss takedowns. If everyone just lone wolfs it you might have a difficult time finishing the match but otherwise you are not incentivized to work together. I would like to see more objective style waves that would encourage collaboration over only looking out for your own kill count. The reviving mechanism would also encourage people to travel in groups and foster teamwork.

Overall I’m really happy with what I have seen so far. It’s definitely not the same as the old Firefight I loved, but it’s a good new game mode to add into the mix and will allow more variety when I’m playing with a large fireteam. The beta was only for escape from A.R.C. and I’m looking forward to the differences the other maps will allow. If the bugs are ironed out, more variety in waves are added, and a little bit is done to encourage people to work together, I think it will quickly be my favorite big fireteam game mode (SWAT will always be my favorite with just Ryan and me). I hope you enjoyed my first ever “Myview”, maybe I’ll be back next time Ryan misses a beta!

Until next time,


Images as sourced

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