Much has been made about the issues that Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been facing since it’s launch on November 11. All across the web, outlets have been talking about the matchmaking issues – seemingly every week, as the patches just don’t seem to be doing enough. Hell, I’ve spent time talking about the issues and the patches on this very blog. I’m not going to discount those issues – matchmaking across the four games is probably the biggest selling point for long time fans. That said though, I have come across an issue that is just as big a problem, that isn’t getting nearly the same press.
I found it to be an issue as I was messing around in Forge over the Holiday weekend. I’m far from a Forge expert, but I was able to craft a map on Warlord that I was proud of – with a game type to go along with it. After I set it to be in my shared files, I figured out that the real issue. Those files being in my file share, basically limit it to only my friends grabbing it. There is no online file share, like there used to be one Bungie.net, for players to go to, search for maps/games, and download them to their Xboxs right there. It’s partially tied to the shift in focus away from Custom games more towards matchmaking. The sad part is that the Custom games community is the major reason that Halo 2 and Halo 3 were able to enjoy such long lifespans online. It’s been semi-rekindled over this last month with the issues for online with MCC, thanks to sites like halolobby.com. The issue is that because of the lack of a viable way to search for files, neither in-game or online, it limits how strong that community will be.
It goes beyond not having a search function – the current maximum for each filetype is 50. 50 is miniscule in the grand scheme of things – with Halo 3 Bungie realized their initial number was way to low, so they cranked it way up. Understandably, 343 hasn’t really said anything about dealing with this number quite yet, but I think ultimately they will need to. As more tournaments start to take place, each with various rules, and as Customs start spreading – mainly due to classic games from the previous Halo games – I think they’ll see players demand more room in their file share. With Forge as robust as it is now, the potential for Forge art is higher than ever before. For as much I have been down on the state of MCC, 343 did a great job with the new Forge available in Halo 2: Anniversary – the sky box maps are awesome, and the potential things that better map makers will be able to do are pretty crazy. Which just makes the lack of a search function even more mindblowing to me.
The final issue that I’ve found in Forge is a bit more specific a complaint, but still a major oversight. Within the Halo 3 Forge, there currently is no way to change the game type away from basic editing. At first glance that might not be the biggest issue – until you realize that means you can’t place any objective markers on maps. That means no new CTF variants, no Territories maps, and perhaps the biggest issue – no Grifball – in the game that started it! I don’t know how easy a fix this particular issue would be, but based around what we’ve seen so far I don’t see it being high on 343’s list quite yet. Ultimately, I would love to see them get matchmaking fixed and working the way it’s supposed to; but at the same time, they really do need to look at the file share issue. Not having one will limit the lifespan of the game, which is already in jeopardy due to the launch issues. Unfortunately, we’re still stuck in the same pattern – watching and waiting to see which issues 343 is tackling with each new patch.