clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Halo Infinite’s new event is pissing people off for (mostly) legitimate reasons

Free-to-play balance is hard, and 343 is off to a very rocky start

Halo Infinite’s Yoroi armor from the game’s Fracture: Tenrai event Image: 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studio via Polygon
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Halo’s transition into a fully free-to-play multiplayer game was always going to be difficult, although perhaps it didn’t need to be this difficult. After the surprise release of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer mode on Nov. 15, players immediately began to complain about how long it took to level up the battle pass. 343 Industries addressed the complaints quickly, but not completely. Now, with the release of the game’s first big multiplayer event, players have a new wave of complaints.

The big reward of Halo Infinite’s Fracture: Tenrai event is the game’s Yoroi samurai armor. The event takes place over the course of several months, and it includes its own separate, free event pass (similar to the game’s regular battle pass) that unlocks pieces of the armor every few levels.

All of this is pretty normal, but the actual process of unlocking the armor is where the problems start. Event pass tiers can only be upgraded by completing specific event challenges, and you only get a limited number of those at a time. This leads to frustrating stretches where you’re not really earning progress toward the special, limited-time pass. It’s made even worse by the fact that the game’s standard battle pass still feels slow and unsatisfying to upgrade.

Another frequent complaint is that the event pass itself is mostly XP unlocks and challenge swaps, rather than actual cosmetic rewards. This is a problem with the game’s standard season 1 battle pass as well, which makes the event pass issues unsurprising but no less frustrating for players. Slowly grinding upgrades on one bland battle pass is one thing, but adding a second even blander pass on top of that feels even worse.

Some of the rewards aren’t great either. For instance, the color options that players unlock can only be applied to certain types of armor, which forces players to sacrifice either their favorite armor or preferred color choice if they don’t have the perfect combination unlocked.

Of course, players have had some less reasonable complaints as well. For instance, some players are upset that they will unlock just one shoulder pad and have to wait a few weeks to unlock the other, forcing them to log in later to unlock both. But that’s the whole point of a pass like this. It makes sense that 343 Industries would design challenges around encouraging players to log into the game and play more of it.

That said, 343 Industries’ strategy for Fracture: Tenrai would make a lot more sense in a game that’s a few months old and trying to retain players. This is a new game that’s still riding the high of its surprise release. Players are excited to play Halo Infinite right now, and since it’s free-to-play, they want consistent rewards for logging in. That’s how the system is supposed to work — and that’s also how 343 said it would work. And for many players, the system isn’t meeting that expectation at the moment.

For its part, 343 Industries seems to be aware of players’ frustrations. According to 343 community director Brian Jarrard via Twitter, “the constructive feedback is being heard loud and clear.” That’s likely to be good news for the game’s future, but it won’t necessarily help players feel better about the Tenrai event right now.

The first leg of Fracture: Tenrai is scheduled to continue until Nov. 29. The event will start back up on Jan. 4, 2022.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.