Halo Infinite players are becoming increasingly vocal about their frustrations with the limited mode selection and shockingly slow cosmetic progression in the game. The anger toward the developers is only getting worse, as many players are now reporting that Infinite servers are struggling to maintain their population amid players leaving in hopes of getting their desired game mode.
The rampant leaving issues were illustrated in a now-viral post on Reddit, with the OP saying: "Perhaps making it impossible to choose your game mode and forcing people to play modes to level up was a bad idea?" The video shows a nearly empty big team battle lobby, apparently from players leaving.
Reddit users d_sanchez_97 responded to that Reddit post, saying: "The expected outcome of combining limited time FOMO rewards with a progression system based solely on challenges which often revolve around specific game types, weapons, or vehicles rather than ability. No one is going to stick around for multiple matches of Strongholds and Stockpile when they need to get 5 flag carrier kills to move up the battle pass. Especially when 99% of their player base has work or school during the day and only has a limited time to play the game"
"I'm enjoying Halo Infinite's gameplay but I don't understand how 343 could shit themselves so badly over gametypes and playlists," said reddit user SpaceNinjaBear. "I mean come on. Did they not just spend years fixing stuff like this in MCC and Halo 5?"
"This has been happening in a majority of my quick play matches the last few days," explained Reddit user captiosus77. "Especially in Stronghold matches. It’s a constant revolving door of people quitting, new players being backfilled then quitting, and bots coming and going. This is why many of us have been raising the red flag on challenges being detrimental to the entire game whether or not people individually care about cosmetics or not."
For context, Halo Infinite currently doesn't allow players to select their preferred game mode at all. They can only choose between quickplay, which hosts a variety of 4v4 modes, Big Team Battle which also hosts a rotation of modes, or Competitive Arenas with, you guessed it, a variety of different modes. There is a notable absence of a Slayer-only playlist or any game mode customization for that matter.
While this decision is likely because developers want to ensure they have enough population for all of their modes, there have been unintended consequences to the decision to railroad players into modes like Oddball or CTF. Firstly, some players don't like those modes and are simply leaving when they get them. The leaving problem is exacerbated by some players needing to complete specific challenges that are only possible in particular game modes in order to progress on the battle pass.
When these two frustrated types of players combine, it leads to some rough starts to many games, where many players are not there throughout the first few minutes of the game. This in turn encourages the remaining players to abandon the match as well, since it's not a full match.
The choice to not host at least a Slayer playlist has been particularly frustrating for many long-time Halo fans, who just want to play their favorite mode. This decision is even more baffling considering that Halo Master Chief Collection featured far superior customization when it came to modes. Infinite feels very much like a step back in this regard.
On top of the playlist issues, the battlepass is also a huge issue for the Halo community. Players can only progress via specific challenges and a very small amount of XP per match, leading to a very slow level grind that is focused almost entirely on completing arbitrary challenges. The developers have at least acknowledged this issue, with Infinite developer Jerry Hook saying on Twitter that he is "feeling everyone's pain on progression" on Sunday.
Hopefully, that means we will see improvements to progression in the near future.
However, the game's issues are not just isolated to its progression system and limited playlist options. Custom game modes also lack many of the standard features from previous games, like allowing players to spawn with random weapons or allowing players to select a specific type of equipment to spawn with. And we know it's possible for the engine to do this since the LTM Fiesta Slayer does exactly that. These oversights have long-time players confused, since many of these options have existed in Halo for decades now.
The backlash against Infinite comes in spite of the fact that the core gameplay has been praised by most players. The game itself is running well, with mostly stable servers and a well-designed gameplay loop that stays interesting for even extended play sessions. Even Halo esports have seen a revival due to the strong core design.
Unfortunately, the playlist options, the progression system, and the custom game mode have all proven to be barriers to enjoying this game for many players, instead of assets.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.