Monday, November 10, 2008


Well, I took Halo 3 online for the first time today.

It was a lot more fun than the single player campaign, but like most online shooters I’ve played, you never know from game to game whether you’re going to have a hell of a lot of fun, or twenty minutes of pure unadulterated frustration.

I’m not a very competitive person…but on the other hand, spending hours at a time getting my head blown off over and over again isn’t my idea of entertainment either.

One of the things I was happy to see implemented was a ranking/skill system. The basic idea is that as you play, the game determines your skill level through your win/loss record. That way, when you play online, you’re matched up with people who are around your skill level.

The problem is that the skill system can be called ‘spotty’ at best. I played six games in all and out of the six, I played four games where one player was significantly better than the rest…and when I say significant, I mean significant. Winning with 25 kills while the rest of us have managed one or two significant.

Hopefully it’ll become more accurate the more I play, though, because I have to admit, six games isn’t really enough to determine my skill level.

Of course, the one thing that can’t be avoided or programmed out of any game is the douchebag quotient.

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised for the first game or so.

A guy opened up on me, blasted away my shields as I jumped around like a lunatic…until finally:

That’s me in the gray armor, smacking my opponent upside the head, killing him.

“Shit!” Came a voice over my headset.

Here we go. I thought. Bring on the racist, homophobic abuse.

“…Heh, nice one, dude!” He finished.

See what I mean? It’s always…Wait…what?

I laughed. “Sorry, dude.” I said. “Beginners luck.”

The impossible had happened. Here I was, playing an online shooter…only the other players were treating it as a game and having fun, instead of just using it as an excuse to be a dick to strangers!

Of course, things didn’t stay that way for long. Two games later and I’d unplugged my headset. There’s only so much squeaky-voiced trash talk I can take.

Let me just state something here… If you can’t play a game of Halo (or any other online game for that matter) without whining and bitching every time you get killed…either don’t play or leave the headset off.

Anyway, that was my first foray into online Halo 3…but it won’t be my last.


Evanesce In 2008 said...

Look forward to seeing you online. If you'd like, I can show you some of the tips and tricks on various maps... it's as simple as us having a private game, and instead of killing you (or dying, as the case may be), I can give you the grand tour.

Kato said...

Welcome to teh haloz!

Multiplayer can be a real crapshoot in terms of amount of trash or immature garbage you get from other players. I make liberal use of the mute button to silence idiots who don't understand that whining/singing/spewing racist crap constantly isn't my idea of sparkling conversation.

On the other hand, I played a tournament for charity a couple of weekends ago, and the folks playing were great and a lot of fun (and all way better than me).

The ranking system in Halo 3 is nice, though as you say, isn't foolproof. There are two problems that the ranking system can't address: 1) It is very difficult to asses someone's skill in a game and assign some number to represent that skill level in a global system. 2) Some less reputable individuals start new Xbox Live accounts just to get a low ranking and beat up on newbies.

In Halo 2, players would intentionally loose (or quit) to derank their characters so they could beat up on the less skilled. This has been seemingly mitigated by Halo 3's quitting penalties and other behind-the-scenes tweaks.

Anyway, hopefully I'll see you out there! I'm currently in the grips of Saints Row 2, but I revisit Halo 3 multiplayer frequently between other games.