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Criticisms of the Battle Rifle and how it Ruined Halo Multiplayer

Criticisms of the Battle Rifle and how it Ruined Halo Multiplayer

The Halo Infinite E3 trailer was well received by the Halo community, a nice change in tune for everyone.

Since then, it’s been increasingly easy to find matches in online multiplayer on both Halo MCC and Halo 5.  However, this has shed light on the Halo multiplayers. Was Halo 3 really the perfect multiplayer? Or were those simply nostalgic memories from earlier days?

In this article, I’ll do my best to explain how I feel the Battle Rifle completely breaks the Halo multiplayer experience.

What’s this Gun’s Role?

The purpose of the Battle Rifle is to be a general use gun. It can be used well at close range, mid range, and long range.

It’s not particularly amazing at anything, but OK at everything… that’s the idea anyways.

In reality, the Battle Rifle completely breaks all these barriers and acts as the most OP gun in the game (besides power weapons of course.)

It’s Basically a Mini Sniper

Halo 3: Valhalla

One of the factors that differentiates Halo from other games like Call of Duty or Battlefield is the map design. Halo has absolutely beautiful, exotic and balanced map designs that feel wide and open and never feel like you are restricted.

Even on CQB maps like Lockout, you aren’t restricted to the tight corridors and hallways as you can jump over walls and take many different paths across the map!

Halo 2 Anniversary: Lockout

You want to jump on top of a rock? Go ahead. You want to fly through the sky on a gravity life? Sure! Halo offers so many freedoms and the openness of some of the maps it what makes multiplayer experiences feel different every time!

It Essentially Closes Open Space

All that freedom is thrown out the window when everyone uses the battle rifle as a mini sniper.

The battle rifle is surprisingly effective at very long distances. The recoil is very light and you can consistently shoot across the map, even from spawn to spawn (in some maps).

What this does is essentially close all that open space and turn previous freedom zones into dead zones. “Halo” style fun transforms into trench warfare and COD style whoever sees you first, wins.

It Removes The Element of Choice

Halo 2 introduced unparalleled choice when it came to dual wielding combinations. Halo 3 took it to the next level by adding a whole new class of Brute weaponry and grenades.

You have a choice between grenades, gun combinations, and melee options. When everyone is spamming the Battle Rifle as a sniper, as an “all purpose” gun, you running around with dual SMG’s makes you look like a complete noob!

You’re a Noob if You Use Other Guns!

It’s very easy to spot a noob in Halo these days because if you’re not using the BR or a power weapon, you’re probably a noob. I’ve seen BR’s beat shotguns, swords, snipers, vehicles, and more! The gun does incredible damage at any range, has a large magazine, and kills quick!

My absolute favorite gun in Halo is the Covenant Carbine. This gun is so “alien” from the sounds it makes to the unique appearance and projectile. This gun is super bad ass, and it’s the most comparable weapon to the BR. However this gun still looses to the BR in many cases because it seems the projectile speed of the carbine feels slower than the BR.

The Carbine feels like what the BR is supposed to be; a powerful weapon in close and mid ranges, with some drawbacks at larger distances.

It Rewards Camping / Non-Participating

What better gun for the “pros” to use than the BR so you can hide at the peak of Lockout and wait for people to pop out of spawn?

What is meant by “not participating in combat?” There are two types of battle situations, sniping people from across the map whenever you see someone pop out vs actually going into the fray, being aware of enemy players movements and trying to stop them or cut them off.

Think about being a sniper vs. CQB.

This isn’t normally a problem since combining the sniper role with a good active team would make a great combo, but this works well in Call of Duty or Battlefield. In Halo you have big maps and you have tiny maps; the game can either be really fun or very annoying when your team disperses and goes 1 man rambo and you’re all getting sniped from across both sides of the map OR if everyone is doing the sniper role and it’s just a standstill the whole game.

This is the worst map for BRs

Since the BR is supposed to NOT be very good as close range vs other side weapons or shotgun, it encourages and rewards those who simply want to camp out and shoot from far distances and as previously pointed out, makes using other guns pointless except for power weapons. Even the shotgun could hardly stand a chance against someone with a BR who could jump out of the 1 hit kill range of the shotgun and take a few headshots at you.

Slayer Pro / BRs

This is a variant in Halo where players spawn with the Battle Rifle by default. Movement speed is increased. Minimap is turned off and some other small tweaks are done to the multiplayer. This was designed for the “pros” and MLG players.

There was a huge emphasis on the MLG pros for Halo 5 especially, which I believe to be the worst multiplayer experience next to Halo 1 after everyone discovered the Magnum was the ultimate weapon.

That’s great for the MLG crowd, however this doesn’t work if you’re playing online with randoms. The increased movement speed and lack of mini map make it very easy for your entire team to just disperse and become every man for himself.

If the opposing team is even slightly coordinated in any way, you will get wrecked. This is only amplified by the fact that everyone spawns with the Battle Rifle.

In Halo 4, this is actually not as bad, Halo 2 and 3 are by far the worst culprits.

But if Everyone Spawns with the BR it’s “Fair” Right?

The assumption is that if you start out everyone with the same guns, then it’s supposedly an “even” fight right?

First, the problem with this assumption is that it implies that other guns (in the same league as the BR) are NOT equal to the gun. This means that the weapon design is flawed. If I use the BR over the Carbine or the Assault Rifle, there should be an obvious and deliberate trade off that still “evens” out these weapon choices.

Instead, since the weapon design in modern Halo games are so poor, you’re pretty much at a major disadvantage if you use anything else besides the BR, so why not spawn everyone with the BR and make it “even” right? Poor weapon design and lack of choice makes the gameplay not interesting, but I guess it’s fun for the “pros” who want the most stale, sanitized gameplay possible?

The other problem with this assumption is that not everyone plays in this style. Some people are better at close range combat and situational awareness and other player are better standing in the back and sniping off enemies.

This means that for a player who is better in close quarters battle, they will need to pick up the weapon of their choice in the map that will be better for CQB. So their entry to combat is slower now that they need to first find their preferred loadout (note: not talking about power weapons here, just “standard” tier weapons), and second that the poor weapon design makes this pursuit almost useless anyways.

Therefore, claiming that it’s always a totally “fair” and “even” match simply because everyone spawns with the same loadout is almost as flawed as saying that winning Stock in Super Smash Bros proves that you are a better player when in reality Stock mode rewards those who can sit out and avoid battle for as long as possible. Hope that analogy made sense.

See Also

At least Halo 4 multiplayer somewhat addresses this by allowing players to choose between the DRM and the Battle Rifle. Two rifles that have very different roles and trade offs but are almost equal, with the BR still being slightly better in most situations except extreme long distances.

Was It Always Like This?

In my memory, I recall the entire Halo multiplayer experience being completely different. Of course, a LOT more people were online back then and you could easily hop into big matches.

These days it’s nearly impossible to find anyone on the big matches, so online play is mostly limited to 4v4 modes and Zombies in MCC.

The climate of modern gaming is completely different to how it was before. These days you can easily look up the stats of weapons, see very detailed breakdown videos of all the weapons in Halo and exploit the most OP ones, in this case the BR.

In the Bullet Magnetism video, this YouTuber showed how the magnetism combined with the recoil of the Halo 5 Battle Rifle, seemed to suggest that the player is better off aiming for the body and letting the recoil and magnetism work the reticle up into head shots than for the player to start aiming on the head and eventually fly off the headshots without correction.

These type of videos are really great and interesting, I watch them all the time because I love them and find these topics interesting, but others use these videos as a way to break the walls of the game and turn organic discovery into formulaic gameplay.

As explained previously, there is no point for players to experiment using different dual wielding combos (or any other guns besides power weapons) in Halo 3 (these days) because most players know the power of the BR and happily abuse it. Can you blame them? When everyone else is owning you with it, why bother?

Who Was Halo Designed For?

Halo 5 turned into arena style, fast paced multiplayer that was supposedly designed for the MLG players and the “pros.”

What does this do to the average person who just wants to play a relaxing game after school or work? Well for one, it takes most of the nostalgia and funny moments out of the game (except for zombies and Grifball), because everyone is just sprinting, jumping, and climbing around like mad men and also fighting to take the sniper or rocket launcher when it spawns in (and is announced).

The other thing it does is ruin the fun by placing these hardcore MLG rules and expectations on random people who just want to have fun in multiplayer. As soon as you see a team with friends working together, the game is lost because coordination will defeat you and your team of randoms every time unless you have good teammates.

Old Halo wasn’t like this, even if your team was loosing, you could still have a good time if you were good at the game.

Since most people feel that the Halo 5 multiplayer is not that great, I don’t know if it is wise to go this route for Halo Infinite. At least give the average players more options to avoid these types of game modes. It seems you can’t completely avoid Slayer BRs or Slayer Pro options in Halo MCC without turning off Slayer completely.

And the map design in Halo 5 is so boring and stale, the only fun maps are the ones that are just remakes from older Halo games. Everything else feels like generic arena shooter map with a lot of dead space and only a few key areas that battle happens.

Apologize is this sounded more like a rant than an objective look at Halo’s Battle Rifle, but in my opinion, Halo MP was much more fun in the past. These days, whatever tweaks 343 is doing to the sandbox and the guns to appeal to the “pro” players is ruining standard casual online play and making other games like the new Modern Warfare seem much more promising than Halo Infinite.

“Oh you’re just a filthy casual” – who would take pride in spending so much hours of your life playing video games that you call yourself “hardcore?” Is that actually something to be proud of? Unless you’re MLG or a streamer doing this for a living, probably not.

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