Have you ever looked forward to something so much only to be significantly let down by your experience for some reason or another? I’m sure you have. We all have. Such has been my week since Halo: The Master Chief Collection came out last Tuesday. To preface this, I am an absolute Halo fanboy. My modern connection to gaming started with Halo: Combat Evolved and the original Xbox. It took everything I loved about multiplayer Golden Eye and packaged it on a machine and controller that felt intuitive to use. For once you didn’t feel like you were fighting the controller, but were instead moving with grace. That love was further expanded upon with Halo 2 and the introduction of online mulitplayer. I have given all of the games multiple play-throughs and I love the lore both in game and in some of the expanded universe. I pay attention to the other alternate media options like Forward Unto Dawn and now Nightfall, graphic novels and books. It is with all of this in mind, then, that I was so disappointed to not be able to play multiplayer consistently with the Master Chief Collection. Burdened by what seems to be a host of matchmaking issues, one of the key components of a Halo game has become its most negative bullet point. Now playing multiplayer has not been impossible. 343 Industries has been consistently updating the server side of things in the hopes of speeding up matchmaking, but still with all of these fixes, it can be anywhere between 3 and 15 minutes (or sometimes more) to connect to a match. It is a process that involves entering and exiting lobbies over and over again and it is frustrating beyond belief. Well word is in that 343 will be releasing a user-side content patch that they hope will resolve the issue.
According to Halo Executive Producer Dan Ayoub:
Looking at our data logs, server-side adjustments that we have made over the past 24 hours have shown a 20% increase in server connectivity. However, we are well aware that performance is not where it needs to be. Resolving Matchmaking issues also requires client-side fixes, which require a content update. The client side update, which focuses on Matchmaking performance, non-matchmaking bugs, and a variety of title-specific issues, has been completed and is going through testing and certification. We are currently targeting a release of Wednesday 11/19 for this content update.
God I hope this works. The wait times thus far have been excruciating, but here is the thing, when multiplayer works for that brief match or two, it is worth the 15 minutes you waited in the lobby to play. It is an amazing trip down the road of nostalgia, but it is also a clear argument of why Halo has sustained itself as a franchise. Playing through the four games 100 and some odd maps, the game never feels like a let-down. You never feel cheated. The race for power weapons and the lack of load-outs (that is all except Halo 4) are a testament to a by-gone, and some would argue, better era of multiplayer gaming.
Halo is not the only game of this generation to be suffering launch issues. Sony’s recent exclusive on-line social racer Driveclub has been almost unplayable itself in terms of its online components, so much so that the PSN Plus version of the game has been postponed indefinitely while they try to resolve their issues, and that game came out more than a month ago. Knowing how it feels to go even one week without the content you expected due to this generation’s server issues is more than enough thank you. At least in the meantime, with Halo you have four relatively kick-ass campaigns to satiate your need while matchmaking is being fixed.
Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar