I am already extraordinarily excited about the next videogame from Bungie, Destiny. Halo was the first videogame that made me take videogames seriously all those many years ago. They took Halo to the next level multiple times, and when you consider the ways they have gone, including Halo Wars and ODST, there's a lot you know they can do.
One of the most impressive things the Bungie guys can do is design a multiplayer battlefield that you want to play over and over. I really enjoyed learning about the story about how they used heatmaps based on real play to find where killzones were located. Since I have been playing Halo 4, now taken over faithfullly by the excellent team at 343 Industries, it's clear that there is more than enough Halo lore to keep that impressive gameplay quality alive. And so I will be doing some speculations about what I expect to see and what I like to see.
Big Team Battle Goes Massive
One of the most awesome and impressive gaming I've ever done, considering that I have never played in any MMO, was a 16 on 16 battle in one of those WW2 sims. I want to guess that it was an early Call of Duty but I don't recall. What I do remember was the shape of the battlefield and all that. I would play, literally for hours on end, with my same squads until there were places we could master, but even then we could be surprised. A classic battlefield will draw players in over and over, and whomever manages to own that territory can gain cred.
So imagine if you will, Halo players, a battlefield something on the order of Valhalla / Ragnarok which is a gateway to an even larger battlefield. In order to get to the larger battlefield, which is of strategic value to the game, you must play a Halo style big team battle with respawns putting you back. You press the enemy and lines of battle determine where you respawn.
We know that Bungie is building seven planets. So I suppose we can guess that there are maybe 10 battlefields per planet. I don't even want to think about space battles, but I'm sure that after Reach, the Bungie guys are itching to do that as well. Just think about that. Seventy maps all with big team battles, each with its own set of unique obstacles and rewards. That's what I'm talking about.
I started watching some old Bungie viDocs and I can't tell you how tiresome it was listening to the guys brag about Forge and Forgeworld. Please don't bog down the game with a bunch of Forge crap. It's like the rap stars that tell the audience to say 'Ho!'. I didn't pay money to say Ho, you're the entertainer, not me. Say Ho your damned self. Build the worlds, dude. Or just open source the whole damned engine, because we don't want amateur hour, we want professional design. If you don't want to design the world, give up all your tools to another studio.
That said, if you build a map that sucks, nuke it. We're talking a 10 year game lifespan. Nukes happen.
If you do a top ten of all the greatest Halo maps, you will get 20 consistent answers. So there was a time that I hoped to see a best of map pack. I'd love to play The Pit or Zanzibar or any number of the old school maps in Halo. It's kind of what I expected when the Anniversary Edition came out and Bungie showed they could repupose old content. Based on that theory alone, Destiny could be astounding.
Right now however, on any given day all the great maps on Halo 4 are getting play only during Big Team Battles. On a hot weekend, you see maybe 7500-11000 players. I know there's competition with Gears of War right now, but that's the best maps. New DLC is getting no play, and those are great maps too. So please don't bog down the new Sol System with bootleg factories for crowdsourcing maps. You'll rue the day. Halo isn't a god game, it's a shooter. Destiny had better not be a god game.