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#Halo
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Eshcka

Eshcka

12/11/2012 12:42:01 PM
Beginning with Halo: Reach and continued in Halo 4, was the addition of Armor Abilities (AAs). AAs were implemented as a way to add something "new" and "fresh" to the game. And they did. But was it only for the sole purpose of giving the game a breath of fresh air? Or was it for a different purpose entirely? A lot of people say that Halo was fine the way it was. I enjoyed it. "If it ain't broken, don't fix it" was and still is a commonly heard phrase on these forums and in-game. Many people want AAs removed from Reach and Halo 4 altogether, but that wouldn't make those games play any better. Why you ask? Simple, the maps in Reach and Halo 4 were designed around AAs. So even if you take the AAs out, it won't "improve" game-play, it will only slow it down and make the game dull. "So why did Halo 1-3 play well without AAs?" you might ask. Simply because those games were not designed for AAs. "What do you mean 'designed around AAs'? Why would you have to design the maps around the AAs? What do they change so much that you would have to design the maps differently?" Well now things get interesting. Not all of the AAs change game-play to the point where the maps have to be designed differently than in the past, mainly jetpack and sprint. Why? Because the jetpack allows you to fly over any wall without a ceiling, get on top of any building short enough to fly to etc. Jetpack: Without jetpack, map design is much more simple and very unique and fun designs come from it. Jetpack is nothing more than a complication for a map designer because it breaks most of the simple elements of map design. You can't just place a wall to keep players out of areas you don't want them to venture. You have to place a ceiling as well. But what if you didn't want a ceiling in that particular location? You could just use a kill barrier, but then what's the point in having a jet pack. See how much it changes? Keep reading, it gets better. Take a map like Lockout, (most of you are probably to young to remember that map) with it's many open catwalks, four different levels and strategic vantage points only easily flank-able by trick jumps and clever distractions. Lockout is an extremely well designed map with it's well balanced sight-lines and power weapon locations. But it is completely chaotic with jetpack because you don't have to follow the paths that make the map's design. You might as well not even have paths if you don't have to use them. Jetpack allows players to disregard the threat of falling to your death in a gap that separates areas of the map. So you might as well build your map on the ground. With jetpack, walls have to either be really tall, or have a ceiling if you don't want people to fly over them. Every building's roof has to either be taller than the map boundary, or have a kill barrier on the top to keep players from getting up there. So not only do you have to make all of your buildings taller, you have to make sure your bases are closed off so players have to use the "door" and not just fly in through the roof. You have to design your map around the jetpack. You can't have any walkways exposed to the sky if you only want people to come through by the ends. You always have to put a roof on your bases. You can't just have a hole in the floor for players to drop through one-way because jetpack allows you to fly up through it, so it might as well be a ramp... or you could use a shield-door... but that just complicates things. Sprint: Sprint is different. "How so?" Well, sprint allows you to run faster than normal. "So why would you need to change the way you design your maps?" Sprint was added originally to try and "speed up game-play" and in ways it did. It's helpful in BTB when you happen to be the lucky guy stuck without a vehicle, you can get where you need to go faster than walking at least. But on small maps it's a different story. Sure you can get around the map faster, and it does increase the flow of soldiers to the front lines. In theory, sprint just sounds like a way to speed up the pace of the game, but if you can get to the fight faster, you can leave it just as fast. When you are taking fire, what is the first thing you do? Well if you are not the most skilled player (like me) you try to find the closest thing to hide behind and then find a way to either get away, or return fire. The really good players would probably just no-scope the guy, or growl at him and send him crying for his mommy (yes, it's happened). Now, you will probably want to find cover as fast as you can to avoid taking any more damage than possible. Sprint helps you find cover quickly and helps you to become a harder target. Sounds good right? But, the drawback is if you are the guy behind the rifle. Your target isn't out in the open long enough for you to drain his shields and kill him. "So what changes are necessary to map design in order for the shooter to be able to kill a player before he can reach cover?" Well that's simple, spread out the cover more. So now it takes just as long to sprint from cover to cover as it did to walk. Kind of cancels each other out eh? And, on top of that, your maps have to be made bigger in order to compensate for the increased distance between cover. So, now that the maps are bigger, your standard issue AR or BR isn't very effective. So you need a weapon with a bit more range... DMR. Wait... We just went in a circle! So, they add sprint, and have to make the maps bigger, and as a result of that had to make a new weapon to compensate for the bigger maps? Wouldn't it have been a lot simpler to use better map designs in order to get players around the map faster? You would think. Now we get to the real point of this thread. It's taken a long time to get here, but I had to make sure I make myself clear. What we have seen thus far is additions to the game that change game-play and map design. Now, weather those additions have a negative or positive effect is yet to be determined. We have seen that with the addition of the jetpack, you have to design your maps so people can't get up into places they shouldn't go. And that if your map is at all open, a player can simply go anywhere he wants. And I just got done talking about sprint. I think that the root of the reasoning behind AAs, was the fact that Bungie/343 were running out of creative Map designs, and thought the only way to make the game "fresh" was through the addition of new features, which change the way maps are played on. Continued in next post... [Edited on 12.11.2012 7:04 AM PST]

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