Halo Infinite’s battle pass is bad, but you’re missing the point

Lloyd Coombes
Halo Infinite customisation options343 Industries

Halo Infinite’s surprise multiplayer launch is a huge boon for shooter fans this season, but its overblown battle pass controversy is a storm in a teacup.

Picture the scene – it’s 2007, and your buddies are online. You play a match of Halo 3, then another, and then another (provided your Xbox 360 doesn’t give you the red ring of death). Before you know it, the evening has blown by, filled with memories of no-scope sniper rifle shots and running your buddy down in a Warthog.

You know what’s probably not taking up a big part of those memories? What color your Spartan is, or what armor pieces they’re wearing.

Halo Infinite’s battle pass controversy is overblown

halo infinite multiplayer battle pass343 Industries
Halo’s battle pass has been an issue for players since the early test flights.

Admittedly, gaming changed a lot in 2007, and Halo was perhaps a bit behind the curve that it had led in 2001. There was a new kid on the block with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, with its extensive, RPG-like unlock system and prestige mechanic. Sure, that near endless stream of unlocks was iterated on every year, taking on more cosmetics than ever, before being worked into a paid addition to free-to-play shooters like Fortnite via a Battle Pass.

That’s no bad thing – gaming has always been about choice, and being able to support developers with a pass that offers optional extras is great for fans, but Halo Infinite’s battle pass criticisms are, for the most part, over the top.

While developer 343 has changed the amount of XP offered for your first six games every day, in many ways Halo Infinite just feels great to play – whether you’re rewarded or not. It’s bizarre to see players suggesting they’ll stop playing based on the slow trickle of rewards, especially since Halo Infinite battle passes don’t expire, so there’s no time-gating component.

In the time since it launched, I’ve spent a fair amount of time playing, and when I’m not, I’ve been thinking about it. A free-to-play Halo multiplayer suite, available on console and PC is the kind of prospect many would have dreamt of when dropping cash on the likes of Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians just a few years ago – and why? Not because it’s some kind of content treadmill, or because there was armor you simply must have, but because nothing feels like Halo.

Halo Infinite Battle Pass343 Industries
343 has already promised changes to progression.

This isn’t to say the cosmetics system feels a tad underbaked, and of course I’d love the serotonin hit of a “level up” more regularly than every few matches. The base unlocks, even down to color choices for your Spartan, feel limiting until you’ve earned your stripes (or should that be paintbrush?), but it’s quite refreshing to play a shooter just because it’s fun to play. I’m not feeling at a disadvantage a la Destiny, and I’m not grinding for a certain meta like in Vanguard. I’m just logging in and having fun. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?

There are other issues besides the Halo Infinite battle pass that, for my money, need to be addressed first – like the option to pick match types, dealing with the influx of cheaters, or finding a way for players to be rewarded when PLAYING THE DAMN OBJECTIVE. Still, 343 has shown itself to be a master at recovery.

Despite Halo Infinite gameplay getting a tepid reception, there’s palpable hype for the game, and despite the mess that was the Master Chief Collection back in 2014, that game is now a must-own for any Xbox owner.

Do I think the Halo Infinite battle pass issues will be fixed soon? Absolutely, but for the time being, can’t we just enjoy those no-scope headshots as we did back in 2007 without wondering how much XP it’ll give us?

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