Recently, 343 Industries' Community Manager John Junyszek confirmed that when Halo Infinite launches, players won't be able to earn XP for the game's Battle Passes by completing and winning matches. Instead, Halo Infinite Battle Pass progression will be limited to challenges. Junyszek noted that some challenge objectives will require match wins or completions and that it will be "extremely difficult" for players to run out of daily challenges to grind, but ultimately, it sounds like match completions will go largely unrewarded in Halo Infinite.
This is a controversial change to say the least, as it fundamentally changes how basic Halo progression works for the first time since Halo: Reach introduced completion-based XP gains in 2010. As someone who has been knee-deep in Halo community circles since then, it has always seemed like fans enjoy this progression universally and it surprises me that 343 Industries would deviate from it so significantly for the Halo Infinite Battle Pass.
For a variety of different reasons, the Halo community's reaction to this news has been near-universally negative. Here's a deeper look at why Halo fans are largely resentful of this new direction.
The threat of microtransactions
Arguably the biggest reason why Halo fans are unhappy about Halo Infinite's new progression system is because it seems like it's designed to push players towards buying the game's microtransactions. During the first Halo Infinite beta test, players were able to spot a "Boost and Swap Pack" available in Halo Infinite's Shop page, which is entirely separate from the game's Battle Passes and will almost certainly require players to spend real-world money given the multiplayer's free-to-play nature. These items contain XP Boosts and Challenge Swaps, the latter of which are needed if you don't like the challenges Halo Infinite automatically gives you and want to try to complete different ones.
The concern is that if you end up getting challenges that are difficult or frustrating to complete instead of simple ones like challenges that require you to complete matches, you'll be unable to make meaningful progress on your Battle Pass that day without paying up for Challenge Swaps. Some Challenge Swaps will likely be included as rewards on the Battle Passes since you could obtain them that way during the beta, but overall, players are anticipating that this system will eventually force them to buy Challenge Swaps if they want to be steadily rewarded for completing matches.
It's true that we haven't seen the new system in action yet, but if it ends up pushing players towards Challenge Swap purchases like many expect, I personally think Microsoft and 343 Industries will have gone too far. I understand that it's a free-to-play multiplayer and that compromises have to be made, but when you're already asking players to pay for a new Battle Pass with every new in-game season, trying to nickel-and-dime them as they rank those Battle Passes up isn't player-friendly at all.
Being forced to play a specific way
Another concern fans are voicing is that if they get dealt challenges that force them to use a weapon or play a gamemode that they don't enjoy, they won't be able to progress by playing Halo Infinite the way they want to. Let's say you're a big Capture the Flag fan but don't get many challenges that can be completed in Capture the Flag playlists. How are you supposed to make Battle Pass progress that day without either paying up for Challenge Swaps or by playing in playlists that you don't enjoy?
It seems like a lose-lose for players who generally like to stay in their comfort zone, and while I think it's good for challenges to encourage players to try out new weapons and modes, the fact that you might not be able to progress at all if you're not willing to do so is troubling. This might not be a big problem if most of the challenges are generic in nature, but if they're not, I can see it making Battle Pass progression frustrating for many.
There's also the concern that weapon-specific challenges will negatively impact the flow of multiplayer matches. What if everyone on your team has a challenge to get kills with the Needler, but there aren't many Needlers available on the map? There's a good chance that everyone will camp the Needler spawn and fight their teammates for the weapon instead of working together against the other team.
Poor experience for new and low-skill players
I'm also seeing several players who are worried that they won't be able to make meaningful Battle Pass progression if they get difficult challenges due to the fact that they often struggle to do well in Halo multiplayer or are completely new to it. If you don't have the greatest aim or gamesense, don't have Challenge Swaps, and have to get a bunch of headshots or use a hard-to-master weapon or vehicle to earn XP on a given day, there's a good chance that you'll struggle to advance your Battle Pass.
With the systems from Halo: Reach, Halo 4, and Halo 5, new and low-skill players were at least able to get a decent chunk of XP for completing matches. In Halo Infinite, however, that system is gone, and I fear that the game will be significantly less rewarding for players like this as a result.
It's not fair to completely judge this new system until we see it in full when Halo Infinite releases on Dec. 8, but overall, the Halo community has made it clear that limiting XP gains to challenge completions is something that almost everyone doesn't like. Between the fears of invasive microtransactions, concerns about being forced to play a specific way to get challenges done, and worries that new and low-skilled players won't be able to progress their Battle Pass in meaningful ways, Microsoft and 343 Industries have a lot to prove with this system if they're committed to launching Halo Infinite with it. What do you think of the XP being tied exclusively to challenge completions? Let me know in the comments.
For more on Halo Infinite, make sure you check out our full coverage on the Halo Infinite beta schedule. Also, make sure you read our guide on how to play the Halo Infinite beta so that you can properly sign up for the next flight if you haven't already. With any luck, the game will end up being one of the best Xbox games ever.
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