Why Halo 5's radar is driving some players up the wall

So near, sonar.

Halo's radar is a Spartan's most useful tool. For years players have used the motion tracker to spot the movement of enemies who dare to enter their sphere of influence, red blobs flashing as aliens or enemy Spartans close in for a kill.

Halo 5, which came out last Tuesday, also has a radar. But loads of players are complaining about it. Why?

Here's are just a few examples of the many complaints on Halo Waypoint (the official Halo forum), and the Halo subReddit.

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It turns out, developer 343 reduced the effective range of the Halo 5 radar after the game's beta finished and before the game proper launched, from 30 meters to 18 meters. In the Warzone mode, which is played on huge maps, the radar range was reduced to 25 meters.

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Halo 5's 30-meter range radar as it appeared in the beta.

It's this change that has sparked the debate among the Halo community, with some saying the shorter range means enemy players can too easily get the jump on them, at least compared to previous Halo games.

Here's player Halloween G on Halo Waypoint:

I actually stopped using it altogether after about 30 minutes of getting killed by someone standing about 10 feet away from me. The reduced distance is not enough time to react for an incoming enemy, especially with the pistol being as effective as it is. I expect this to be tweaked soon.

The radar issue is exacerbated by Halo 5's increased mobility. With the thruster, Spartans can dodge, air boost, clamber and sprint. It makes for a more fluid style of play and greater efficiency in travel around multiplayer maps.

Because of this, it's easier for enemy players to get within melee distance of you, which can cause frustration if you're on the receiving end of an assassination or a shoulder charge from a player who barely registered on your radar.

Here's oB_Quiet on the Halo subReddit.

It's nigh useless compared to the original radars. I often find the extra mobility of this game allows players to be within melee distance before my radar see's em. If I babysit my radar 24/7 I'll catch them but then I focus on the tiny radar in the corner more than my screen.

In all the previous games I'd glance between my teammates positions, use my own eyes and then look at my radar to get a pretty good idea most of the time where my enemy was. I've gone from a solid 1.6-1.8 K/D ratio consistently in all the other Halo games but now I'm at around 0.8 at best in this Halo 5.

I find the lack of radar range, with tiny maps is causing me to get killed from behind SO much.

I find the radar works fine on some maps, particularly the smaller, close quarters maps you find yourself playing on Arena, but feels redundant on the larger maps, and in particular the wonderful Warzone game type.

In a post on Halo Waypoint, 343 explained the radar change, saying the "giant" 30-meter range in the beta "negatively affected the game".

...players of all skill levels relied too heavily on the big radar range. Lesser skilled players never looked at it, the higher skilled players always looked at it, and the top level players did both as they quickly learned the maps and understood where everyone was by a quick glance at the radar.

So we've decided to drastically reduce the range of the radar down to 18 meters. The radar has now become less of a motion tracker that sees through multiple rooms and is now more of a combat tracker that promotes engagement. If someone shows up on your radar, they are REALLY close and a fight is about to go down. This is something that we feel is in line with our equal starts philosophy where everyone at all skill levels and competition will be playing the same game.

Of course, there's always a learning curve when it comes to the release of a new Halo, and an associated period of adjustment players must go through while getting to grips with new systems and tweaked abilities such as the radar. But it'll be interesting to see whether 343 changes the radar range now the community has reacted strongly to it.

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About the author

Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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