Halo 5: Guardians introduces a new multiplayer mode that differs hugely from anything fans of the sci-fi series have come to know over the years. Warzone is an ambitious mode that is part big team battle and part Moba, and it's great fun, but it certainly has plenty of problems that need addressing.
Two teams of 12 battle each other and AI enemies on large maps, each hoping to be the first to amass 1,000 points. Holding bases and killing powerful AI enemy units accumulate those points, but victory can also be secured by capturing all three bases and then destroying the opposing team's exposed core. As players progress they level up, unlocking new weapons, perks and vehicles through until level nine cap. These items, called Requisitions, can be loaded prior to spawning or at the various REQ stations inside bases.
A lot of Warzone works very well, and with time and iteration it could prove a very important part of Halo's future, but it needs tweaking to truly realise its potential. Here are five improvements we'd suggest.
Award points for damaging legendary bosses, not just dealing the killing blow
There is nothing more annoying in Warzone than an enemy nabbing all 150 points for killing an AI boss character with a killing blow after your team did all the work whittling down its health. That's 15% of the goal, and it could swing a match.
Points should be dished out as damage is dealt - say 15 points for every 10% of the targets' health, or even 75 points for half. It would still be the one player who makes the shot tipping it over those parameters who gets the points, but it would be fairer and less frustrating.
Those items gained through levelling up are affected by microtransactions. Which weapons, vehicles or perks can be used depends on the amount of cards a player has for each of them, and these cards are unlocked through packs either earned through play or bought with real life money.
For the most part 343 does a good job reducing the impact of microtransactions – but their effect is still felt. Players will regularly acquire packs and collect a great deal of cards keeping the basic armoury full – but when it comes to vehicles there's a real sense of "pay to win".
Vehicle cards are hard to come by, meaning players will often be left with just the most basic ones available. Players who pay are more likely to have more powerful vehicles at their disposal, and that can have a major impact on the game. As further explained here, Warzone would be better without microtransactions of any kind.
Scatter Mongooses around the map
Vehicles don't factor at all in the Arena side of Halo 5's multiplayer, so for online vehicular carnage players can only venture to Warzone for now (Big Team Battle will return at some point). While it makes sense to keep the bigger, badder tanks and aircraft behind the levelling system – smaller vehicles should be more readily available.
Players can spawn a Moongoose early (from level two I believe, possibly from the start) which begs the question of why they are only part of the REQ set-up. For vehicles that can deal damage it makes sense – but the Moongoose is more useful for travelling large distances, and Warzone takes place on massive maps.
They should be more readily available for both sides. Even if only a few spawned at a team's home base, that would cut down the time it takes to select the vehicle and spawn in it and improve the pacing of a match.
Attribute additional points for killing players on a roll
In Warzone a regular kill gains a team no points, but what if that changed when a player on a hot streak is taken down? This is inspired by the Bounty Hunter mode of Metal Gear Online, which attributes additional points value to players for each player they kill.
I'm not imagining exactly the same system, but something like this: a flat 20 points for a player when they eliminate someone who has killed five players on a single life, maybe 30 or even 40 points for someone who has killed ten or more. It wouldn't be a regularly occurring part of the game, but it would mix things up and make a bigger target of enemies in Scorpions or Wraiths who are causing a lot of damage.
Make capturing bases mean more
Holding bases gains teams points, but the act of capturing and defending them should be worth something as well. An extra ten or twenty points for a successful capture, or points for killing five attackers in succession at a base – that kind of thing. What this and the previous suggestion boil down to is a desire for more ways to win points. This might mean the target score needs to be raised to, say, 1500 or the rate at which held bases accumulate points is slowed down. It just goes to show what a tough job it is to balance a mode like Warzone, and what a good job 343 has done.