Halo: MCC January Update Detailed, Adding New Features, Bug Fixes, and More – NoobFeed

Halo: The Master Chief Collection has come a long way since its original launch. Now it functions and today 343 Industries has released the latest patch and detailed all the changes. Adding new features, content, and fixing lingering issues.

Known issues with the audio, getting kicked back during flight, and many others are addressed here. You can read the complete patch below but it’s a lot. 

NEW FEATURES & CONTENT

Additional details for the New Features & Content items can be found below in the design update section for rotational playlists, featured content, and events for the month of February.

Featured playlists in Match Composer

New nameplates for future events

New upcoming Matchmaking content

ACCESIBILITY BUG FIXES

PC ONLY

Fixed an issue where pressing the spacebar would search for a player while typing a Gamertag in the “Find Player” prompt.

GLOBAL

Fixed bugs where pop-up messages were not read properly by Narrator & Xbox Game Transcription.

Fixed bugs button prompts were not read properly by Narrator & Xbox Game Transcription.

Fixed bugs where on-screen text was not read properly by Narrator & Xbox Game Transcription.

GENERAL FIXES

XBOX ONLY

Fixed an issue where the Main Menu would not appear after passing the title screen when launching for the first time.

GLOBAL

Fixed a rare crash related to player stats and leaderboards.

Reduced some excessive diagnostic reporting to improve performance.

Improved player reporting on dedicated servers when identifying potential anti-cheat violations.

PLAYLIST UPDATE

SOCIAL 1V1

Removed Magnum secondary from Halo: Reach Head to Head based on community feedback.

Social 1v1 is intended as a warmup arena for the Halo: Reach Hardcore playlist, so it’s important that the settings match.

SOCIAL 4V4

Team Slayer option has been replaced with “Precision Slayer” and “Auto Slayer.”

Historically, we’ve compromised by combining these into a single selection. We fully understand that different players have different preferences here, so now we offer players choice over their starting weapon/experience.

Precision Slayer includes weapon starts of DMR, BR, or Magnum.

Auto Slayer includes weapon starts of AR, SMG, and Halo 4 loadout starts.

Rotated in featured Halo: CE Anniversary category for Halo: Reach which contains maps and game settings which emulate Halo: CE.

This has been a commonly requested addition and rotational categories provide great opportunities to expose this sort of content.

SOCIAL 8V8

Reduced hill movement timer from 120s to 90s and reduced score to win from 250 to 200.

Out of the box, Reach’s base King of the Hill variant does not support a 90 second hill rotation option. The 120 second timer was longer than we liked so we took the opportunity to add the option for this variant. As the hill spends less time in each location, players will spend a bit more time moving between hills, so it was important that we reduced the score to win slightly to match this. We weren’t able to add the 90 second option globally as this would require all King of the Hill variants in the game to be rebuilt, but players seeking a 90 second timer for custom games can use the Big Team King variant as a base.

Replaced Territories with 3-plot Territories on Tempest.

As a symmetrical map, Tempest is well-suited to 3-Plot Territories. In 4v4, this game type was already paired with this map and, after seeing some intense matches of it played in the recent Big Team Battle Throwback Throwdown tournament, we wanted to make it official for 8v8 as well.

Rotated in experimental AR starts category containing AR start versions of all core Halo: Reach 8v8 map and game variants.

The range utility of the DMR makes it incredibly effective on some of the more open battlegrounds common in Big Team Battle. This leads to many engagements occurring at extreme range and can result in stagnation where players are discouraged from using certain movement options. Many players have requested that DMR starts be replaced with AR / Magnum starts in 8v8. We have concerns that this would leave players too vulnerable off spawn, leave them ineffective against vehicles, not provide enough starting ammunition, and lead to “snowballing” (where the score gap between two teams grows exponentially) when some players gain control of long range rifles. However, we wanted to give players a chance to try it for themselves. Depending on feedback and data, we’ll consider pulling Big Team AR starts into the core categories more permanently.

FLIGHTING UPDATE

Great progress has been made since we first talked about our next flights in the MCC Development Update – December 2019 blog. We’ve got Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (H:CEA) as well as some new (and much requested features) for Halo: Reach coming to flights in the near future. In our January 17 update, we stated our goal of getting this content out to you by the end of this month, but we had some unexpected support needs come up for Halo Wars 2 that pushed this back a bit. 

It is still our goal to get this in your hands as soon as possible, but at this time we don’t have an exact date of when flighting will resume. The team is actively working through issues to be resolved prior to entering the first external flighting rings.

As we did with flighting before Halo: Reach’s release, this will go through our Rings 1-3 process. And, as before, depending on what issues are identified, promotion through each Ring could go quickly or be delayed by bugs. We’ll keep you posted as progress continues – we’re as eager as you are to get Reach updates and H:CEA into your hands!

KNOWN BLOCKING ISSUES

Prior to kicking off flighting, there are many areas the team is continuing to develop, test, and prepare for player feedback. Currently, there are approximately 10 bugs/issues that are blocking flighting from entering Ring 1. For context, there are a handful of tricky UI, performance, and graphics issues that we need time to sort out before the flight can proceed.

As we work through these issues and others, we will continue to inform folks in our regular Friday flighting updates here in the Halo Waypoint forums. Be sure to check out the weekly update thread HERE for the latest news each week on where flight progress is at. (and of course make sure your Halo Insider profile is up to date so we can reach you when the time comes to start sending out invites!)

FLIGHT CONTENT

When the builds are ready, the next round of flighting will include both Halo: Reach and H:CEA content. For Halo: Reach, the goal will be to focus on obtaining feedback from the community on specific feature additions.

For H:CEA, we are aiming to gather feedback on a wider range of content prior to its launch. The first external flight for H:CEA will look to validate areas of the game like dedicated servers, peer-to-peer connections, crossplay between Steam and Windows version, and new UI for customization.

As we get closer to the public flight, we’ll share the exact details of levels, content, timeframe, and everything related to it. We can’t wait for PC players to get H:CEA in their hands!

DESIGN UPDATE

Since release, many teams have been watching, reading, and planning work based on community feedback for MCC both on PC and Xbox One. Sometimes this feedback aligns with ongoing work, but sometimes it doesn’t and has to be prioritized into the team’s backlog. Depending on the scope and nature of the request, making these changes a reality sometimes requires little work when it doesn’t require changes to game code and a patch. A great example of this is the recent adjustments to Social Matchmaking settings to make AR starts more prevalent. Because that content already existed in the game (maps and game types), a full patch was not needed, and player-requested changes were made to the game relatively quickly.

Quite often however, the requests from the community for changes are much larger in scope, involve core design changes, require multiple disciplines to create, and take significant amounts of time to bring to life. Making games is complex.

Regardless of what is required to develop such features, we talk internally about them and work hard to ensure we talk openly with you, our community. If you have missed previous posts, you can take a look last month’s December Development Blog, the Looking Ahead section in our January 15 Playlist Update, and even last week’s Modding Halo: A Community Tradition blog. Our goal is to remain transparent and discuss why we will or will not be making changes based on the feedback we receive.

Now that the philosophy and reminders are out of the way, we are going to dive into some hot topics among the community and discuss the team’s view on the future of the most requested features.

Below, we have insights from both Max Szlagor (Design Director) and Dana Jerpbak (Technical Designer) from the Publishing Team to talk about feature work. We will hear first from Max on Map selection, updates to the new progression system for MCC, and what might soon be headed to flighting. Then to close out this section of the blog, Dana will speak to future matchmaking updates and some info relating to Forge for Halo: Reach.

Let’s get started by talking about Map Selection in MCC Matchmaking with Max.

MATCHMAKING MAP SELECTION

One of the areas we have received a fair amount of feedback on is whether we plan to include a map veto or voting system for matchmade multiplayer games. Back when Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched in 2014, we included a map voting system that allowed players to vote on a game and map combination for each matchmade hopper.

Throughout the years, Halo: MCC has evolved and been updated quite a bit, and we have added significantly more choice in the way players matchmake via the Social Games Match Composer. In addition, we have continually reviewed a lot of data and feedback from players. One of our consistent top asks is how we can get people into games faster. As a result, we made the decision to remove map voting from the matchmaking process in our fall 2018 update (and our surveys still tell us people want to get into matches faster).

While working on Halo: Reach, members of the community and 343 team brought the idea of map voting/veto up once more.  We reviewed feedback via forums and surveys and cross-checked our data to better understand player behaviors and desires on map selection. Voting systems tended to limit the map and game type pool and could result in increased user frustration when players see the same options voted on or vetoed from one game to another, which could lead to additional quits and lopsided team starts. We did observe similar side-effects with the original vote/veto system for MCC which eventually became a source of frustration amongst players.

For the time being, we plan to keep the matchmaking flow streamlined, though we will continue to evaluate options over time. That said, we hear the desire for greater options in map and match choices, and we are making proactive changes to the match composer settings and looking into a plan to include a custom game browser later this year (and you probably thought we gave up on that J). Thank you for your continued feedback (Xbox & PC) on all these areas.

PROGRESSION SYSTEM UPDATE

Another area we have gotten a lot of feedback on is the updated progression system that rolled out with Halo: Reach. To date, we have seen lots of players earning and unlocking items that were previously locked behind a variety of apps and requirements and we have hosted multiple double XP weekends since launch. We continue to hear feedback that players want more balanced medal values across games, faster progress, and to have more choice in how and when they can unlock items.  We are looking at both short- and medium-term ways to address this feedback:

We have expanded the ways in which our service configuration files can organize medal XP on a game mode and per game basis. In the near term, we will be increasing the medal XP values for Halo 3 and adjusting Firefight medals and caps to better align with the expected match length.

We will also look at bumping the performance and teamwork XP caps and the XP awarded for teamwork medals.

We are investigating a way to offer unlocks in any order within a page of tiers of the Halo: Reach season system. A full store is out of scope for us at this time, but this seems like a short-term way to offer more options in unlock order going forward.

Challenges are coming in the medium term. Adding challenges will allow flexibility for earning XP and rewards in scenarios that are not currently supported – campaign games and custom games, in addition to matchmade games.

In addition, we will be continually monitoring player behaviors and aggressively issuing bans for players who do not actively participate in games or attempt to manipulate the rewards systems in place. For those who are actively looking to participate and play, we will also have some special events and bonus XP weekends coming up. Keep an eye on Waypoint and the Halo social channels for more details in the future.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES COMING TO A FLIGHT NEAR YOU

We have continued developing a variety of features since launch and expect to flight several changes soon. Specifically, we have a crouch move behavior in place for mouse and keyboard on Halo: Reach that feels promising. In addition, we have added the ability to remap text chat and added the ability to toggle push to talk with a remappable key. Look for more details on these features in future flighting updates!

Thanks Max! Now it’s time to pass the reigns over to our favorite Duck, Dana Jerpbak.

MATCHMAKING UPDATES

If you read our 1/15 matchmaking update Looking Ahead section, you’ve already gotten a taste of what to expect in the realm of upcoming matchmaking improvements. I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on our plans in this area. First, here’s a quick recap of featured categories.

“Our next big step in improving and evolving the matchmaking experience is with an upcoming feature called featured game categories. In the near future, this feature will be rolled out with a game update. This feature will allow us to rotate in specific game categories in the social Match Composer alongside the existing categories. These featured categories will typically be limited to a specific game size and rotate on a weekly cadence. This will offer a new destination to come check out some great content each week. These featured offerings will be used in two main ways.

The first use for featured categories is to surface and highlight new content. Some of this content will exist entirely apart from the existing game categories while other content will fold into one of the standard categories after its featured rotation. Just a few examples of featured categories you can look forward to in the near term are CE Anniversary game types, Power Slayer, and Shotty Snipers. This same format will be used to host new events as well.

The second use for featured categories is to experiment with new settings which may or may not then fold into the core categories. These experimental offerings will be much more case-by-case, but the first one we’re planning is AR start BTB game types. This content will exist side-by-side with the standard categories so players will be able to compare and contrast your experiences and tell us what your preferences are.”

In addition to rotational categories, we’re splitting our Slayer category for social 4v4 into a precision Slayer category and an auto Slayer category. In Reach, this will make AR starts and DMR starts separately selectable. The same will be applied to AR and BR starts in H3 as well. In H4, this will split loadout-enabled variants from Legendary BR start variants. This will afford players complete control over which starting weapon(s) are offered in the Slayer matches you play. Based on the outcome of the introduction of experimental 8v8 AR starts, we will consider expanding this permanent category split to that player count as well. We’re also splitting Heavies and Action Sack into separate category selections in 8v8. These changes further allow players to customize what they play without needing to compromise with their selections.

We’re excited about these changes which are really a direct result of the player feedback we’ve received from the community. These new updates to the Match Composer will allow us greater flexibility and ability to test and implement matchmaking feedback from the community. We’ll be sharing a schedule of our first month of rotational offerings in our update notes below. We have some exciting content in the pipe which will deliver fresh experiences to a variety of players week over week.

Additionally, we wanted to share a heads-up that Grifball will be moving to a rotational slot in Social Games. As of today, Grifball is still active in the Match Composer but on February 5th it will rotate out. From there, it will rotate into the featured slot for one week each month.

FORGE

Another area we’re really excited about is the work for Forge. This work is centered around bringing the feature to PC, but we’re also making improvements which Xbox players will benefit from, both directly and indirectly. First, if you don’t know, the ecosystem for user generated content (UGC) like custom map and game variants is shared across platforms. This means that content created on any platform can be enjoyed by everyone. We aren’t ready to go into full detail on our PC implementation of this feature just yet. However, we’ve been experimenting with early versions of that implementation internally. The screenshot below is something we threw together with the new PC controls and object additions.

Note that the available budget in the screenshot is from the legacy budget. The forge budget will be increased on Forge World and Tempest from their legacy values.

We look forward to sharing more Forge info soon! But before that happens, let’s give the reigns back to Postums and learn about some upcoming Events coming to MCC.

MCC EVENTS & FEATURED CATEGORIES

In February, MCC will be hosting several different events and rotational playlists with the new featured categories in the Match Composer. One of these events is for Black History Month. As part of this, here’s what the team had to say:

“We’re excited to give players the opportunity to earn a new nameplate. The Black History Month nameplate features red, black and green, the colors featured on the Pan-African flag. The bead-work motif is inspired by African art, as beads have been an integral part of traditional African culture and style. We’d love to support more events in the future with unique nameplates, so stay tuned for more info as the year rolls out.”

Do you have an idea for a future event you would love to see? Let us know over in our game forums! For all the other events going on in February, look no further! Below is a full breakdown of when an event will take place and what you will need to do to earn the new nameplates. Dates are subject to change and we will notify you should they, but these are our current targeted time frames for some of our planned featured events.

FEBRUARY MCC EVENTS

Please note that with all of these events, completing the requirements will NOT automatically unlock the nameplate reward. These nameplates are manually granted by the team which will occur on a rolling weekly basis.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENT

February 1-29

Players can earn the BHM nameplate by launching MCC during the month of February. This nameplate will be granted once per week; it will not unlock immediately.

WINTER CONTINGENCY EVENT

February 5-12

Players can earn these two new nameplates between February 5th and February 18th by completing matches within the Winter Contingency featured category. These nameplates will be granted once per week; they will not unlock immediately.

VALENTINES EVENT

February 12-18

Players can earn the “Put a Ring On It” nameplate during Valentine’s week by completing 10 matches in any 2v2 playlist (ranked or social) or in Firefight Doubles which will go live on February 12th. This nameplate will be granted once per week; it will not unlock immediately.

FEBRUARY MCC FEATURED CATEGORIES

Please note that dates are subject to change and we will notify you should they.

HALO: CE: ANNIVERSARY FEATURED CATEGORY

ETA: January 29 – February 5

This category will rotate in for Halo: Reach in 4v4 social. Halo: CE: Anniversary game settings emulate Halo: Combat Evolved and are paired with classic variants of the Anniversary maps.

SHOTTY SNIPERS FEATURED CATEGORY

ETA: February 19-26

This category will rotate in for Halo: Reach, Halo 2, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4 in social 4v4 and social 8p FFA. Shotty Snipers spawns players with a Sniper Rifle and a Shotgun.

POWER SLAYER FEATURED CATEGORY

ETA: February 26 – March 4

This category will rotate in for Halo: Reach in social 4v4 and social 8p FFA. Power Slayer grants players temporary powerups for kills. Different powerup traits are applied for different types of kills (i.e. headshots, assassinations, etc.).

BIG TEAM AR START EXPERIMENTAL CATEGORY

ETA: January 29 – TBD

This category will rotate in for Halo: Reach in social 8v8. This category includes AR start versions of all core Reach 8v8 entries. As this category is experimental, its end date is TBD. It will be assessed along the way and could be included in the core categories in the future.

February is looking to be jam packed with some cool nameplates and fun game types! Now it’s time to cruise on over to the Senior Producer on the Publishing Team, Michael Fahrny, for an all up look at development for MCC. Take it away buddy!

FARNS DEVELOPMENT UPDATE

Happy New Year Spartans! 

The team has come back and hit the ground running after a much-needed break over the holidays. January has been a tremendous month development-wise for us, look below for more details on our progress.  

BANS FROM AFK, MACROS, FIREFIGHT, & SWORD LINING 

It is unfortunate that many players are continuing to ruin the gameplay experience for others since our last round of bans. While we’ve been quiet on this subject since the first round, we are not ignoring the problem. Another round of bans will be going out soon. 

Reminder, our rules around banning can always be found here: https://support.halowaypoint.com/hc/en-us/articles/360037287112-Why-Did-I-Get-Banned- 

AFK & Macros – This has been and will remain a bannable offense.

Sword Lining – This is a bannable offense and falls under category of unsociable and unsportsmanlike behavior.

Firefight Suicides once Max XP is gained – This is a bannable offense and falls under the category of unsociable and unsportsmanlike content.

If you ever feel you are falsely banned, please submit a support ticket and we will investigate people on a case by case basis. We have been doing this for the people who’ve submitted tickets after the recent round of bans.  https://support.halowaypoint.com/hc/en-us 

TOP COMMUNITY REPORTED ISSUES 

Below is an update as it relates to the top Known Issues we have previously discussed. For a full breakdown of each individual issue, please review the Known issues for PC and Xbox One on the Halo Support site

Audio Issues: Work has continued since the last update and we hope to have some more in depth updates for you in the next blog. This ongoing work has also led to preemptive fixes to help prevent similar issues from occurring in future MCC PC releases.

Stuttering : Our investigation has progressed and forked into two paths: 

3rd party software : We are working with partners to see if there are ways to improve how we handle some of the more problematic software between us, them, and EAC. Examples include keyboard lighting applications or other peripheral customizable option applications.  

Uncapped framerate: Prototyping on a framerate limiter has shown some good initial results of stuttering going away once a cap is set to what your monitor supports.  

Menu Performance: We are still attempting to investigate issues players have reported on this. 

Screen Tearing/V=Sync: There have been some bugs fixes around this that will be in one of our upcoming patches and we will continue to address issues as they pop up. 

Co-Op Latency: No updates on this one. There is no active development happening around improving/re-writing the legacy network code around this area of the game. Unfortunately, this would be a massive undertaking and just isn’t within the realm of what the team can currently support.  

EAC Error messages: As part of our investigation, we’ve enabled more verbose logging. We are continuing to monitor and improve where we can.  

Key Bindings: Work is in progress to support rebinding both text chat and push to talk. 

Mouse Input: We have seen a small percentage of players reporting this as an issue, please continue to submit support tickets if you experience input delay problems. This is an area of the game that we will continue to monitor and improve upon where we can. 

View Model: As discussed in December’s Development Update Blog, an initial implementation is in iterative development which will allow players to make changes to the view model along the X and Y axis (horizontal and vertical). This work is still in progress but will be flighted for feedback prior to release.

Crouch While Moving: We are planning on flighting this prior to release. Feedback/reception from the player base will determine its launch readiness post flight.

Idle Stops matchmaking: This is still on our list but nothing active on this one in January as we try to tackle higher priority issues  

Aim Assist: This continues to remain high on our list and we are actively talking through solutions. Nothing to share in this update, but I hope to have some more to talk about in our February Update  

Achievement Issues & Support Tickets: I’ve added this to our issues list because while it’s not at the top of any list that is visible, problems with achievements have been one of the most reported issues through our customer support team.  That team is continuing to work though these issues but due to the volume, this is going to take much more time for us to get through.  The good news here – we are not ignoring these tickets. Our support agents are likely to ask you follow-up questions to help the investigation, please try your best to work with them and leave your frustration out of that conversation.

GLOBAL FEATURES AND DEVELOPMENT STATUS 

The below features are items that are either actively in varying stages of development (implementation, testing, or iteration), are currently being designed, or are in the development backlog. Game development is a process and a part of this requires making hard decisions about what the game needs the most at any given time. Below is a breakdown of where each community discussed feature lives in our development cycle. 

There are other areas of MCC the team is discussing to improve the overall experience for players. As we finish work, re-prioritize, or move items through development phases we will let the community know what is moving up on the list. 

ACTIVELY IN DEVELOPMENT

Progression system improvements including challenges 

Message of the day on PC 

Server ping list on PC 

UI/UX Improvements around navigation, roster, customization and many more areas of the game 

Push to talk: adding an option for open mic and support for controllers 

Text chat improvements 

Stability improvements and bug fixing 

IN DESIGN ITERATION

Double key binds 

Additional mod support 

Zoom improvements 

Additional video settings/options 

In game FPS cap/adjustments

CURRENT BACKLOG

Input-based Matchmaking 

Regional server selection 

Cross-Play between Xbox & PC 

Steam account linking 

VFR improvements 

Idle system improvements 

Customization improvements 

Better ways to report players 

Bringing PC features to console (like FOV sliders) 

Additional accessibility support 

Custom game browser 

THE ROAD AHEAD FOR MCC TO PC 

As some folks learned from the end of year update, our external partners are working on bringing all the remaining titles to PC at the same time. This means that a ton of work is being done on the upcoming titles. Below is a list of current areas of focus for key features for each title that are in development right now. 

REACH FORGE & THEATER SUPPORT ON PC

We’ve continued to make great progress, fix bugs, and iterate on design around Halo: Reach’s Forge and Theater. We are now beginning to touch some of the universal systems that will support other titles on PC for their implementations of these features. 

Support for mouse and keyboard controls for all functions of Forge and Theater. 

Support for in-game HUDs of Forge and Theater to support mouse clicks, selection, and keyboard shortcut keys. 

Support for Forge and Theater settings in pause menu and front end. 

Forge and Theater support for video, audio, and other settings for each game as selected in the front end. 

Support for placing and manipulating all Forge objects via mouse and keyboard. 

Support file saves MVars/GVars saving and uploading to Xforge. 

Forge and Theater modes respond appropriately to Windows events such as resizing, minimizing, switching to full screen and windowed, etc. 

HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED ANNIVERSARY

Shortly after the break, we hit Alpha and are making good progress on our Beta candidate, which is largely what you’ll see in the upcoming flight.  

Mod support 

Terminal videos 

MP deterministic model on PC. 

Localization work 

Bug Fixing 

Flight Support 

HALO 2

FOV Support in progress 

First pass at latency reduction 

VFR Support in progress 

First optimization pass is complete 

Profiling on min spec PC is complete 

HALO 2: ANNIVERSARY

M&K Support 

FOV Support in progress 

Aspect Ratio Support in progress 

VFR Support in progress 

Profiling on min spec PC is complete 

Forge support work has begun 

HALO 3

M&K Support

FOV Support in progress 

First pass at latency reduction 

VFR Support in progress 

Aspect Ratio Support in progress 

Forge support work has begun 

HALO 3: ODST

Game runs on PC 

Profiling on min spec PC is complete 

M&K Support 

FOV Support in progress 

Aspect Ratio Support in progress 

HALO 4

Game runs on PC 

Profiling has begun 

As always, there are likely some things we’ve neglected to mention in here. Please reach out to us through the various forms of social outlets and let us know your thoughts to help us build our topics for the next development blog. Thanks for your continued support and please keep the feedback coming!

Adam Siddiqui,
Senior Editor, NoobFeed
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