In this blog I will breakdown and dissect the mechanics of halo 5 and talk about why they are in there and how it effects the player.
So Halo 5(made by 343 industries) is a first person shooter which involves you playing as a super soldier (spartan as they are called) in order to fight the various enemies in the game. So as I said you play as a spartan who has a shield that regenerates when it gets hit, now when your shield gets to a critical level the bar on the UI will blink red(danger) and a noise will start beeping warning the player. If you get to cover then your shield will regenerate after a few seconds but those few seconds could mean life or death within the game. If your armor does get to this point then you have a heath bar which if you get shot will go down incredibly fast but again, will regenerate if you do not get hit for a few seconds. But the mechanic it uses is epicness… you are not playing as a regular soldier, you are playing as someone who has a shield that can protect against grenades, bullets to the head, shotgun shots, space and everything else which of course makes the play feel epic. There is other mechanics for the armor too which has certain abilities that can help the player. One for example is if the player jumps and keeps there finger on RB it will charge up in the air and a reticule/circle will appear on the floor and once it has charged up long enough you can smash into the ground. Whilst performing this you have a certain degree of control whilst limited you can cancel before it has charged fully. After this though the player loses control for a brief period and makes them powerless in a way for short period of time. Just a simple armor mechanic like this adds that bit more depth to the game which in high levels of competitive play can make a big difference. Also if you choose to sprint and your shields are low/down they will not regenerate unless you stop sprinting making the player have to consider whether it is worth risking trying to escape.
The game also has epic meaning which, especially since it is a long running franchise the story involves going from different planets, galaxies and whatnot in order to save the universe which conveys the feeling to the player of an epic quest trying to save everyone and makes the player feel like they are fighting for something bigger than themselves which motivates them to carry on playing. It also has the mechanic of vitality due to the campaign being playable on co-op which enhances your campaign experience. Talking of the campaign it also uses discovery. During certain segments of the campaign you can walk around a small area whether it be a base or a environment where you can discover audio logs, talk to certain characters or listen to dialogues. By having discovery sections such as these it enhances in the story in subtle and interactive ways rather than telling the story through a cutscene which gives it a welcome change of pace.
During the multiplayer there is a countdown mechanic which means that one condition of a team winning or losing can depend on the amount of points they have when the time runs out. Other conditions could be that the score limit is reached for once team or in a mode called war zone which if you control all the specific areas on the map you can try to destroy the enemies core which will lead to a win if you destroy it. It is worth noting that this mode is inspired by the MOBO genre (games such as data and league of legends) with AI, bosses and a core which is similar to those games in the brackets. Points which I mentioned above is another mechanic which is earned differently depending on the mode you are playing, so if you are playing war zone you can earn points by capturing different points and holding them. Slayer you get a point by killing an enemy so on and so forth. Progression can be seen on your service record were you can see your rank which is continual and goes up based on the experience you have earned and your arena rank which resets every month. The arena rank is based on your skill level which the game evaluates on ten matches on a specific mode, lets say free for all. You can get put in one of 7 leagues and the league you get put in should have players similar level to you. It is also used as a status and is bragging rights to other players and friends by seeing if you are better or worse than them.
Also the multiplayer uses a system called requisition points which can be used to buy in game items such as vehicles, weapons, armors and so on. You earn these by completing a match and based how well you did you get requisition points correlating to that. You can also buy these requisition cards with micro transactions to speed up the process. It also uses the free lunch mechanic too… by reaching certain milestones, say level 5 you will get a free requisition pack which can be opened to obtain items without spending any of your points. This system also uses another mechanic called lottery, this is due to the player not knowing what they are going to get when they buy with real money or points so the element of chance and luck is in there on whether you are going to get a good item or not. This is a mechanic is rather controversial and I don’t believe it to work to well for a few reasons. Such as paying full price for a game then to be able to pay more money to unlock armour, weapons, emblems and others which means that the only way to unlock it is to either pay or play many hours. So many of the in game items isn’t available to players for a long time unless they start buying. But this is an example of how monetisation gets tied in with mechanics and how it effects the players for better or worse, though one could argue that the mechanic works well due to the amount of players grinding to get more points in order to buy cards for free.
Every month for each arena mode (which are ranked) your ranks get reset to give you a fresh start or reevaluate your skill which is a form of loss aversion. This gives the player an incentive to come back to the game each month in order to get that rank again, or status to some players as I said above for bragging rights.
Example of some of the ranks
Other mechanics to take into consideration are how the weapon handles such as velocity, recoil, damage, dps (damage per second) all of which are especially important during multiplayer as the game has to be balanced and fair. Each gun has to have a counter for example the shotgun is really powerful close up, but if you have a magnum you can take that player out at a distance fairly easily.
By having these mechanics in Halo it gives the game a greater of depth and progression and is a healthy evolution from the previous titles. Whilst not all of the mechanics in my opinion are implemented well such as the lottery mechanic in which you can buy requisition cards via micro-transactions, other mechanics such as the progression of levels and the tights controls of dodging, weapon handling make the game feel great.
Image from Xbox
By Joshington State
Date created – 10/1615