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The Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta is still rolling full steam ahead, with the team at 343 Industries taking careful notes along the way. According to a recent blog post, it looks like this beta will actually have a big impact on the final product, resulting in some big changes being planned for the road ahead.
The problem with modern betas is that they are anything but. As Halo 5 Executive Producer Josh Holmes points out, modern “betas” are typically held weeks before a game actually launches, serving as a means to stress test the servers rather than help shape the final product. Betas have basically taken on the meaning of “multiplayer demo,” but that’s not the case with Halo 5.
With the Halo 5 beta launching late last year and the game not due until late in 2015, Holmes points out that 343 got the game into players’ hands about a year before it was ready to ship.
“This represented a shift for us as a team and a studio by sharing the development process with our community and having you help shape the game,” he added, referencing social media and forums that have been utilized to gather player feedback. “The team has spent the past few weeks poring over player feedback from the aforementioned sources. From this we have developed an extensive list of improvements for the game.”
In other words, Halo 5’s beta has been a legitimate, you know, beta, and the team is shaping the game around what the community has uncovered.
So, what exactly are all of those changes Holmes has been going on about? For starters, the team is tweaking Spartan Abilities, those special maneuvers that allow players to fine-tune their character into a warrior of their own creation. The shaping of these abilities has had the additional of adjusting standard mobility in the game, including an increased bas speed and strafe acceleration, a reduced top sprint speed and more.
In the firearms department, a new “Smart-Link” aiming system allows players to experience some degree of zoom with every weapon, creating a more precise shooting experience. Holmes’ original post goes on to discuss some specific adjustments to the in-game arsenal, including the newest noob tube, the Hydra.
Additional changes have been made to the presentation of the multiplayer portion of Halo 5, too, including post-death replays, some medal adjustments, the ability to turn Spartan chatter of and on, highlighting weapons so they’re easier to see on the battlefield, etc.
Additional adjustments have been made in the areas of matchmaking and the new Competitive Skill Rating system, which will now give more focus to the individual performance of each player.
From Destiny to Call of Duty and Battlefield to OG Halo games, there are a lot of shooters out there and they each offer their own spin on a pretty standardized loop of shoot things, level up, shoot more things. It’s nice to see 343 taking their next big shooter’s online modes so seriously, so here’s hoping that all of this early work (and a legitimate beta) make for an even better game when Halo 5: Guardians launches later this year.