343 has told disgruntled Halo Infinite players that changes are coming amid a backlash to its cosmetics system.
Halo Infinite launched its free-to-play multiplayer last week, and while fans continue to praise its gameplay, they have heavily criticised battle pass progression and the price of cosmetics.
The backlash intensified yesterday with the launch of Halo Infinite's first limited-time event, dubbed Fracture: Tenrai.
This event, which is free to access for all players, contains its own progression track - and it's this progression track and associated cosmetics that have come under fire.
Fracture: Tenrai features the samurai-inspired Yoroi armour core and other related Yoroi armour pieces. A lot of Halo players want the Yoroi armour, and so have troubled themselves with the 30-tier event pass that launched alongside the limited-time playlist and event-specific challenges.
Progress on the event pass is made by completing the event challenges, which means you can't progress simply by playing the limited-time playlist. Once you've completed all available event challenges in a given week, you will have progressed as far as possible until the next Fracture: Tenrai event.
This means progress along this event pass is gated - you can only complete seven event-specific challenges during this first week of the event, which means you can complete seven tiers of the event pass. 343 said it plans for Fracture: Tenrai to make six total appearances over the course of Season 1, with its next appearance set for January 2022.
The way the event-specific challenges work also feels miserly. The event challenges are mixed in with the normal weekly challenges, so you have to complete normal weeklies just to access the event challenges you need to complete to progress through the event pass (still with me?). I'm sure some players will struggle with the event challenges, too - getting a double kill in the 4v4 limited-time playlist will no doubt sound like a breeze for some players, but newcomers or lapsed Halo fans may find it nigh-on impossible.
You can't spend real-world money on tier skips for the Fracture: Tenrai event pass, which is a good thing, but by gating progress 343 is blocking fans from working through the event simply by playing. It feels like 343 is stretching out the event to last the duration of Halo Infinite's already extended Season 1.
Adding to the furore is the fact 343 is selling limited-time, premium Samurai-themed cosmetics in the Halo Infinite shop (you need the Yoroi armour core, obtained by completing level five of the Fracture: Tenrai event pass, to equip all this stuff). The Chonmage armour set, for example, costs 2000 credits - or £14.39.
Fans have a number of problems with this. The price is an obvious concern. But there's also concern that the Fracture: Tenrai event pass does not include enough cosmetics to earn (16 of the 30 tiers are XP grants/challenge swaps) and that the cosmetics it does include will take too long to unlock - all while the shop sells the good stuff for cash.
This first week of Fracture: Tenrai closes on Tuesday, 20th November as part of Halo Infinite's regular Tuesday rotation, and then returns early January 2022. "So, you will have plenty more chances to get the Yoroi armour core and progress that free event pass with incredible samurai-inspired cosmetics," 343 said.
As the backlash to Halo Infinite's cosmetics and Fracture: Tenrai grew yesterday, Halo community director at 343, Brian Jarrard, took to Twitter to address the concern.
"Been traveling so slow to respond - but please know the constructive feedback is being heard loud and clear," Jarrard said.
"Changes will take time and our priority this week is giving the team a much deserved break for the holiday after a long final stretch. Thank you for understanding."
It's unclear what changes 343 plans to make based on feedback to the Fracture: Tenrai event and the in-game shop, but the developer has already stepped in to tweak main multiplayer progression after players complained it was taking too long to work through the battle pass.
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Joseph Staten, Head of Creative at 343 Industries, described challenges, battle pass progression and experience gain are "smaller rocks that we're able to move pretty easily".
"We can adjust those things relatively quickly," Staten said.
Halo Infinite's multiplayer is currently flagged as in beta. The game launches proper on 8th December.