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Friday, October 8, 2010

Halo Reach and the Need for a Destination

Last month Halo Reach was released on the Xbox 360. The gaming public received it with open arms, and pocket books, as the series opened with $200,000,000 in sales... on the first day!

I have loved the previous installments of the Halo Series and my favorite part is the multiplayer. Halo Reach is bigger and has better all around everything, but if that's the case why do I get so angry when I think of this game?

(Again, as with most things on my blog that originally don't make sense, I do have a point outside the game itself so if you are wondering if this is relevant I can assure you it is.)

In Halo 2 and Halo 3 the multiplayer skill was based on a system called TrueSkill. The Trueskill system is interesting and you love numbers I suggest looking it up (just Google Trueskill). I have no clue how it works, except that there is a ceiling and that ceiling was every Halo player's dream.

I may not know the x's and y's and the values of whatever Trueskill is based off of, but I knew I wanted a 50. Skill level 50 is the highest and anyone who had it commanded respect. During the Halo 3 years I was mostly unemployed so I was able to practice practice practice and eventually I got my 50 (in the lone wolves mode of all things. Remember, I don't make a good team player http://lifeontheothersideofthewall.blogspot.com/2010/04/lets-go-me-oops-i-mean-lets-go-team.html).

As Halo Reach's release date neared I was highly anticipating another couple years of getting good enough to hit the ceiling. Instead, the makers of Halo devised a new system. Instead of a lifelong skill system the new system is based on points in a game and the system is reset every month. In team games the team is irrelevant and only the individuals points matter. Most of all, there is no destination.

Having a destination is important. When Halo 3 came out the destination was a 50. Having that destination, or perhaps goal is a better word, creates motivation. What's the point of playing Halo if there is no number to be achieved? In almost every game I play I will NOT play a mode that doesn't count for something. There has to be a reason to spark my interest, and in Halo 3 that interest was the 50.

I play Halo Reach now and I try to stay interested, but ranked modes on Chessmaster seem to be winning the battle for my time. This, I think, is important outside of games because it shows that the motivators are so important. Now remember that if you've met one person with autism you've only met one person with autism and that each of us has the possibility of having radically different motivators, but whatever that is will determine out interest. For me, having a destination is important because I loathe doing an activity that has no purpose or doesn't count for anything.

Will I learn and adapt to Halo's new system? I'm not sure and I have been eyeing what the sales values on Ebay are. There is nothing wrong with the game itself, it's just that there is no motivation or destination. I need that goal, I need that ability to gauge how well I am doing because if I don't have it the activity seems irrelevant.

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