Halo Infinite’s second season, which was supposed to be a much-needed phoenix down, is off to a rocky start. Three days after its rollout, the developer has acknowledged its pitfalls, promising to “review options.” Also: Every player is getting free stuff.
Halo Infinite, released last fall for Xbox and PC, is the first in Microsoft’s series of hit sci-fi shooters to have its multiplayer mode based on a seasonal free-to-play model. Like many games of similar structure, it features a battle pass, which you can make your way through by earning XP from completing challenges (tasks like, “Win two Capture the Flag matches in PvP”). Every new season comes with a new battle pass.
Developer 343 Industries launched the game’s second season earlier this week. The update, which is so biblical it needs a table of contents, added a slew of cool stuff to the game. Last Spartan Standing, a sort of battle royale-lite, and King of the Hill are two bright spots. The return of Attrition — a new game type that appeared briefly in the winter — is welcome, as are several new variants to Slayer, Halo’s standard deathmatch. Two new maps are added to the rotation (they totally rule), and much praise is deserved for the new background music and cosmetic options.
But the update also missed the mark in a bunch of ways. Let’s break down the most significant misfires:
- For one thing, challenges related to Last Spartan Standing weren’t tracking properly. Even though the game says you can leave matches preemptively without risking progress toward active challenges, some players reported their accounts failing to reflect any progression.
- Many traversal techniques, popular among high-level players, were removed from the game. Though this was telegraphed in the patch notes, the severity of the cuts was unexpected.
- The update also removed several Halo Infinite speedrunning exploits, including the option to pilot a pelican dropship or to equip an unlimited-ammo tank gun.
- On top of it all, following the patch, some guns now jam up without warning. (The studio has clarified that this was unintentional and that a fix for it is in the works.)
Feedback came fast and furious; for every line of praise about the new maps and modes, there were three more criticising the overall changes. Following the blowback, 343 Industries released a number of hotfixes intended to improve how Last Spartan Standing challenges were tracked. Challenge progression, according to the studio, should now update more accurately.
“We’ve seen the feedback around changes that impacted various multiplayer jumps and campaign speedrun strategies,” Halo senior community manager John Junyszek wrote on Twitter. “We’re not at the point where we can promise anything yet, but want to be transparent and say that we’re taking the feedback seriously and reviewing options internally.”
It’s unclear which specific jumps and speedrun exploits are under review at the studio, or when a potential rollback to the update could go live. When reached for comment, representatives for 343 Industries did not immediately have anything to add.
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Next week, challenges related to Last Spartan Standing will allegedly be easier. What’s more, for every one you complete, you’ll earn two levels on the event-specific “Interference” battle pass, which is active until May 16. (It works much like previous event passes, allowing you to earn progress toward it in tandem with the standard battle pass.)
As a gesture of goodwill, 343 Industries is handing out five challenge swaps (single-use items that allow you to swap out one of your weekly challenges) and XP boosts (single-use items that double the amount of XP you earn from challenges for an hour) to anyone who logs in through May 16. Mine, for what it’s worth, were automatically applied to my account last night.
You can earn swaps and boosts by progressing through Infinite’s battle pass. You can also purchase them from the microtransaction store: 200 credits (about $US2 ($3)) gets you two of each. In November, when feedback about the first season’s issues reached a fever pitch, 343 Industries gave away that week’s ultimate reward — a sumptuous gold visor — to everyone who played. No word yet on if the same will happen for this week’s reward.
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