If The Washington Post says Halo Infinite's progression is bad, you know it's bad

Title If The Washington Post says Halo Infinite's progression is bad, you know it's bad
Author Nick Diamon
Posted in News
When November 29, 2021

Halo Infinite's free-to-play multiplayer released as a "surprise" early beta drop on November 15th, and in the days since almost everyone agrees that the shooting and movement is great, but the title's progression system is awful..

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Well that’s embarrassing. Jackwagons playing for achievements and thereby screwing up the MP experience for everyone else is not a new problem.

My money’s on some idiotic policy at MS that still thinks Achievements and Gamerscore (ugh) are a key platform differentiator and so Infinite’s multiplayer had to ship with that KPI well and thoroughly serviced.

From ducking into the Halo thread, I had some sense that the progression was bad, but I had no idea how bad. Who thought this would have been a good idea? And more importantly, who let them implement the idea? Because, yeesh.

Between this and their initial marketing push, it’s almost like someone over there is trying to sabotage the brand.


I mean, it’s bad, but it’s not THAT bad. Jesus.

The other day I read an article (a different one) saying the progression isn’t fun.

And I was like, wait, since when progression systems are fun? Progression systems are as much… addictive, not fun. The fun part is the game itself. Seeing level 1, level 2, level 3 attached to your character, that isn’t really ‘fun’. It can be psychologically engaging (polite way of saying addictive), but that’s it.

I enjoy them, but that’s the problem what the F-word, I guess. It’s pretty subjective.

Do you like having a next goal to unlock? Ok, me too. For example, I liked how in Gunfire Reborn you are unlocking new weapons, new scrolls that increase the pool, and new talents for the metaprogression.
But you can like or enjoy things that aren’t -fun-. I’m saying that’s more… engaging than “fun”.

I love progression in games, but I’m finding it very hard to get worked up about this. I mean, yes it’s clearly a terribly designed system, but also, it’s a progression system that only affects cosmetics. In a first person shooter. With a fairly staid aesthetic. If it weren’t for the fact that it (for reasons I can’t fathom) incentivises people to play a certain way, I wouldn’t care about it at all.

More changes:

I just don’t understand the resistance to giving XP for normal stuff like kills, defending or taking objectives, medals, etc.

If you don’t achieve any weekly achievements (a large number of which can be really difficult to finish), and you just do the 50+ XP each match, it would have required you to play through 2,000 matches to finish the battle pass. That’s ridiculous.

Plus, there’s absolutely no incentive to win or lose or even participate. You get 50 XP either way. I saw someone AFK during a BTB last night and thought, “That’s the way to do the grind.”

These changes are a lot better. I’m going to burn some double XP boosts at the beginning of each day, too.

Also, does this apply to the Samurai event? The first weekly event ends today. Lol.

It’s much easier to normalize and time-gate everyone’s progress when the only gains are from games played and one-time quests.

Clicker/idle/incremental games are typically purely progression games and many, many people find them fun.

On a second thought, forget it, obviously the discussion of But What is the real definition of the word Fun? is going to be fruitless, apart from very silly.

This whole foofaraw has been educational for me, though. I’ve dabbled in quite a few PVP shooters and found them an interesting lark but little more. I always thought the draw was that people liked to shoot each other in the face, in a kind of constant Darwinian struggle to prove who was better at shooting some other random guy in the face. But I guess the main draw all along has been the little bits and bobs that draw you along to the next one, and the shooting was mainly a mechanism for that collection. Which I get, actually, I love collecting things and certainly have my own share of bits and bobs. Maybe I’m not so different from all those armchair SEAL teams out there.

I think the bits and bobs help some people with the ‘proving they are better at shooting some other random guy in the face’. You aren’t going to necessarily look at the stats of every player you come across, but you are certainly going to notice their gold-plated bits they are rubbing in your face. Or at least that’s what they are hoping.

Of course, if you can just pay money to get those bits without having the skills (or you simply grind it out slowly because you aren’t a star player), well… I dunno then.

However, I do enjoy progression myself. I don’t care for the Forza games because I feel like I need something to go for. Having everything handed to you just feels… wrong.

That relies on teamwork to accomplish objectives which are often subverted by the progression system.

You left out that important detail. :) I have no problem ignoring godawful progression systems of no consequence. Usually by not playing said game. But what if that progression system affected the entire multiplayer ecosphere in a game known for its multiplayer?


You made the bed, you get to lie in it. :)


Oh, absolutely. Like I say, the fact that it incentivises people to play a certain way is the problem with it. I just don’t really get the complaints that, say, progression is too slow. It’s not like you’re getting anything meaningful out of progression, or even anything that you will actually see while playing. So who cares how long it takes to level up?

I don’t like progression systems generally. I remember when games gave you all the toys from the get-go. I mean, I just paid for the game, let me play with all the things, use different combinations and find out what works for me rather than a small sampling of the full set. It’s psychologically manipulative too, an attempt to keep you playing in order to get the ‘good stuff’ at higher levels. Games that keep advantages from you while you’re at low level are the worst too.

Halo Infinite is just cosmetic do-dads, but I’m pretty sure you can draw a direct line between progression systems and the battle pass many games employ nowadays. It has the exact opposite effect on me, turning me off the game rather than 'gotta collect ‘em all’ attitude the game wants me to have. Maybe I’m just getting old and jaded, but I swear games were better in my day.