Halo Infinite Mark ViiSource: Windows Central

Halo has been providing players with endless hours of first-person entertainment for over 20 years. As a legacy franchise with a firmly established fanbase, long-time players have been incredibly vocal about their Halo Infinite multiplayer and campaign expectations.

There's no denying that essentially all of the biggest multiplayer games available right now utilize some iteration of a free-to-play monetization model. Xbox and its teams completely understand this, which likely led to the decision to make Halo Infinite's multiplayer component entirely free-to-play.

This fundamentally transformative choice has brewed some rather passionate conversations among the community. Supporters understand that providing a free-to-play experience with crossplay opens up enormous possibilities for the game's potential player base, while critics argue that this model negatively impacts the sense of progression, and manipulates players into engaging with microtransaction sales. Regardless of where you stand on this debate, it's clear some players would simply prefer to spend a one-time premium price tag for a more robust customization package out of the gate.

But that's what got me thinking. What would it look like to invest the average retail cost of a video game into Halo Infinite's multiplayer? Could a seasoned Halo player shell out a premium amount and be happy with its value proposition? I decided to put my money where my mouth is to answer these burning questions. I've now spent over $75 on Halo Infinite multiplayer cosmetics and progression, and here's everything I have to show for it.

Premium Battle Pass Bundle: 2,800 credits ($28)

Halo Infinite OdstSource: Windows Central

The Battle Pass has become a staple form of engagement and reward in free-to-play gaming. Seasonal content ladders incentivize players to return to the game and demand a set level of playtime to earn the spoils contained within. Like many other key players in the space, Halo Infinite offers a free tier to its battle pass as well as a Premium Tier. However, as it stands in Halo Infinite multiplayer, the battle pass is currently the only means of meaningful player progression the game offers.

While most of the free tiers in the battle pass primarily consist of Challenge Swaps and XP Boosts, the paid premium track provides a healthy number of rewards to players who make their way through all 100 tiers. The Premium Battle Pass bundle costs 2,800 credits in-game, which comes out to roughly $28 and unlocks the Premium Pass and enough XP Gains to get to level 25. I purchased the Premium Pass Bundle as a way to unlock a handful of customization options outside of the incredibly lacking choices available at the start the Spartan journey.

After roughly 55 hours of playtime in Halo Infinite multiplayer so far, I've managed to reach tier 65 of the battle pass. This means that outside of my initial jumpstart to level 25, I've gained 40 tiers of progress since the beta launch. Considering Season One: Heroes of Reach lasts until May 2022, it shouldn't be a problem for me to organically reach tier 100 before the season ends. However, I think it's worth breaking down precisely what a player can expect after investing time and money into the battle pass. Here's what I've unlocked exclusively from the Premium Pass so far:

  • Tier 1 - MARK V (Epic Armor Kit)
  • Tier 2 - UA / TYPE B1 (Rare Helmet Attachment)
  • Tier 3 - UA / DO-01-CCR BREACHING KIT (Epic Chest)
  • Tier 4 - UA / P1DA BRACER (Rare Wrist)
  • Tier 5 - Blue Rampage (Epic Coating)
  • Tier 6 - Challenge Swap (Consumable)
  • Tier 7 - SAP / EVA (Rare Left Shoulder Pad)
  • Tier 8 - SAP / EVA (Rare Right Shoulder Pad)
  • Tier 9 - TAC / RS / WILLOW (Rare Helmet Attachment),
  • Tier 10 - EVA (Epic Helmet)
  • Tier 11 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 12 - TAC / MAT-2519C COMMUNICATOR (Epic Chest)
  • Tier 13 - TAC / MC5 TACPAD (Epic Wrist)
  • Tier 14 - Noble Principle (Epic Coating)
  • Tier 15 - COMMANDO (Epic Helmet)

Halo Infinite ReconSource: Windows Central

  • Tier 16 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 17 - Noble (Epic Visor)
  • Tier 18 - HUL [3] / BNR / COURIER PEARL (Epic Helmet Attachment)
  • Tier 19 - Noble Command (Epic Stance)
  • Tier 20 - CARTER-A259 KIT (Legendary Armor Kit)
  • Tier 21 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 22 - Noble (Epic Nameplate)
  • Tier 23 - Noble (Epic Charm)
  • Tier 24 - UA / DO-06-FGM TACTICAL KIT (Rare Chest)
  • Tier 25 - FCI / FASCIA (Legendary Helmet Attachment)
  • Tier 26 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 27 - TAC / SRT UGPS (Epic Wrist)
  • Tier 28 - System Of Systems (Epic Backdrop)
  • Tier 29 - TAC / T-MAGS (Rare Chest)
  • Tier 30 - AVIATOR (Rare Helmet)

Halo InfiniteSource: Windows Central

  • Tier 31 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 32 - SAP / SNP (Legendary Left Shoulder Pad)
  • Tier 33 - SAP / SNP (Legendary Right Shoulder Pad)
  • Tier 34 - Noble Observer (Epic Coating)
  • Tier 35 - SCOUT (Epic Helmet)
  • Tier 36 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 37 - HUL-I / RS / ARGON (Legendary Helmet Attachment)
  • Tier 38 - UTIL / DESERT PATROL (Epic Chest)
  • Tier 39 - Noble Strike (Epic Stance)
  • Tier 40 - JUN-A266 KIT (Legendary Armor Kit)
  • Tier 41 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 42 - Noble (Epic Emblem)
  • Tier 43 - TAC / RECON PACKAGE (Rare Chest)
  • Tier 44 - Search and Assess (Rare Stance)
  • Tier 45 - RECON (Legendary Helmet)
  • Tier 46 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 47 - MK59E CBRN / GLANCE (Epic Helmet Attachment)
  • Tier 48 - CHALLENGER (Epic Glove)
  • Tier 49 - Critical Path (Epic Backdrop)
  • Tier 50 - Judgement Phoenix (Legendary Kill Effect)

Halo Infinite Judgment PheonixSource: Windows Central

  • Tier 51 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 52 - UA / TYPE FJ (Epic Kneepad)
  • Tier 53 - M45 Hardcase (Epic Hip Attachment)
  • Tier 54 - Noble Intercessor (Epic Coating)
  • Tier 55 - AIR ASSAULT (Epic Helmet)
  • Tier 56 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 57 - Noble (Epic Emblem)
  • Tier 58 - TAC / RS / STARLIGHT (Epic Helmet Attachment)
  • Tier 59 - Noble Confidence (Epic Stance)
  • Tier 60 - CATHERINE-B320 KIT (Legendary Armor Kit)
  • Tier 61 - XP Boost (Consumable)
  • Tier 62 - SAP / ODST (Rare Left Shoulder Pad)
  • Tier 63 - SAP / ODST (Rare Right Shoulder Pad)
  • Tier 64 - Helljumper (Rare Visor)
  • Tier 65 - ODST (Epic Helmet)

Fracture: Tenrai Cosmetic Bundles: 2,700 credits ($27)

Halo Infinite Sundown SmileSource: Windows Central

In addition to its seasonal battle pass options, Halo Infinite multiplayer will also feature a selection of limited-time events with free unlockable rewards. The first was the Fracture: Tenrai event. Players who log into the game and complete unique event challenges during the assigned weeks have the opportunity to earn genuinely rad samurai-themed cosmetic items and the flashy Yoroi armor core.

While there are 30 completely free tiers to the Fracture: Tenrai event that include the specialty armor core as well as unique customization options, 343 Industries also made sure to sell a host of exclusive daily and weekly bundles aimed at players who want to add some extra flair to their hard-earned Yoroi armor core. Much like the free offerings of the base Halo Infinite multiplayer experience, the Fracture: Tenrai event is somewhat limited with its rewards. Here's what I received after spending 2,700 credits on these limited-time cosmetic bundles:

  • Sundown Smile (Epic Armor Coating)
  • Chonmage (Epic Helmet)
  • Windblown Mask (Legendary Helmet Attachment)
  • Enji-iro (Epic Vidor)
  • Bear Temple (Epic Chest)
  • Crescent Moon (Epic Left Shoulder Pad)
  • Crescent Moon (Epic Right Shoulder Pad)
  • Lilac Steel (Rare Assault Rifle Weapon Coating)
  • Shinobi Wrap (Epic Assault Rifle Weapon Model)
  • Shuriken (Rare Charm)
  • Sakura (Epic Backdrop)
  • Thorn Driver (Legendary Stance)

Daily and Weekly Cosmetic Bundles: 2,200 credits ($22)

Halo Infinite Armor CoatingsSource: Windows Central

The final category I've invested money into is the standard daily and weekly cosmetic bundles. Much like the bundles offered during the Fracture: Tenrai event, these items are only available to purchase for a limited time. Like other free-to-play titles, there is a forced sense of scarcity with these items that encourages users to buy now because they won't be around forever. Similarly, many of the cosmetic items offered in these bundles are much more impressive than most you can earn by simply playing the game.

I'm quite aware of the psychological tactics used to drive sales of these limited-time cosmetic bundles. I, therefore, don't personally find them egregiously predatory. However, when so many companies borrow from the same exact same monetization playbook, it's hard to ignore the reality of how these are marketed and who these companies truly want to target. As someone who finds player expression in online gaming important, I've invested financial resources into Halo Infinite multiplayer to ensure my Spartan, nameplate, and in-game persona align with my tastes. Here's what roughly 2,200 credits have granted me:

  • Ghost Grey (Epic Armor Coating)
  • Dynasty (Epic Visor)
  • TAC/MK 88 Ratio (Epic Chest)
  • UA/AGATHIUS (Epic Left Shoulder)
  • UA/AGATHIUS (Epic Right Shoulder)
  • TAC/MODEL 52 Navy Knife (Rare Utility)
  • Neptune's Depth (Legendary Bulldog Weapon Coating)
  • Cloven Seafoam (Rare Armor Coating)
  • Room Sweeper (Rare Stance)
  • Chibi Fred (Epic Emblem)
  • Chibi John (Epic Emblem)
  • Chibi Kelly (Epic Emblem)
  • Chibi Linda (Epic Emblem)
  • Stainless (Epic Emblem)
  • I Love Bees (Legendary Emblem)

Total investment: 7,700 credits ($77)

Halo Infinite Mark VSource: Windows Central

If you count the sheer number of cosmetic items I've received after spending roughly $77 in Halo Infinite multiplayer, it almost seems like a remarkable value. On average, each of these items cost me just over $1 apiece, not counting consumables. Unfortunately, identifying exactly where my money has gone by itemizing all of my transactions has showcased just how dramatically the value proposition of items sways in Halo Infinite multiplayer.

At 1,000 credits, or roughly $10, there's no denying the worth of upgrading to Halo Infinite's Premium Pass if you plan on playing the game regularly. There are dozens of worthwhile customization unlocks, including armor cores, AI models, armor effects, and more. After a somewhat grueling progression system, 343 Industries has worked and will continue to provide a more rewarding battle pass and challenge system for players, which will unquestionably improve the sense of accomplishment and value with the Premium Pass.

Halo Infinite ChonmageSource: Windows Central

On the other hand, I increasingly feel as though the limited-time cosmetic bundles don't warrant their price tags. Frequently, I've been forced to purchase random emblems or shoulder pads I'm uninterested in to get the specific customization piece I actually want. Many of the color coatings for armor and weapons are tied exclusively to one object to further my frustrations here. While I was excited to unlock the Neptune's Depth weapon coating for my Bulldog, it's hard not to feel burned when you spend $7 and can only use this color with the Bulldog. Drastically cutting bundle prices or providing an à la carte shop for individual items would go such a long way in reducing unwanted purchases here.

It's difficult for me to say if I feel good about many of my purchases in Halo Infinite's multiplayer so far. I'm loving the gameplay and will undoubtedly keep playing for months and likely years to come. I also understand how much time and financial resources went into delivering one of the best shooters on Xbox. However, I'd love for 343 Industries to be as transparent with its goals and battle pass decisions as it's been with the development of this title.

I'd be far more willing to encourage players to spend money on Halo Infinite multiplayer if I didn't feel as though the same somewhat manipulative practices I've criticized in other free-to-play games were being incorporated here. Here's to hoping the team continues to adjust Halo Infinite multiplayer to better align with its community's financial desires.

Return of the King

Halo Infinite Multiplayer

Halo Infinite multiplayer

Halo Infinite's multiplayer has launched a few weeks early, compiling classic arena multiplayer modes, expanded 24-player Big Team Battle, and more into one free-to-play package.

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