Hey everyone. Before I dive into this topic, I wanted to make a few things clear. I am not going to be speaking on behalf of the Halo community, nor will I be talking about the entire Halo community. These are just my observations based on my experience from visiting various Halo-related sites and forums. Just to be clear. Okay, if you still feel like reading, let’s get this started.
Over the past few years, I’ve grown more and more frustrated with being a part of the Halo community. Why, do you ask? Well, any time I go on a Halo-related site such as Halo Waypoint or /r/halo, I see so much negativity and hostility among everyone, for various reasons. Whether it be people bashing 343i for whatever reason, people bashing the new Halo, or people bashing other people for having a different opinion, this is what I usually see online, and I am beyond tired of it. So, when did this all start? Here is a brief history lesson on what has been dubbed by some as The Great Schism of the Halo community.
The foundation of The Great Schism actually started with Halo 2. I know! Halo 2? How could people hate Halo 2? Isn’t that supposed to be like the golden standard for Halo fans? Well, not to everyone. Halo 2 got so much hate back in the day, that a website called Halo2sucks.com was created. Users there would discuss how Halo 2 was so much inferior to Halo CE. Now, that site has long since been shut down, but this was the first crack in what would become The Great Schism.
Halo 3 then came out, and many Halo 2 fans got upset with what changed. Namely, the BR spread being too much, the lack of hitscan weapons in Halo 3, the melee system the ranking system, and equipment. The small crack gets a little bit bigger.
So, even though a small, but vocal minority voiced their dislike for Halo 2 and Halo 3, we’ve only seen small cracks so far. It was with Halo: Reach in 2010 that the crack became a large split. With all the new features and abilities that Bungie added to Reach, Armor Abilities being the main new addition, the fanbase began to noticeably split. There were those who wanted all the new abilities removed, and those who liked them and wanted them to stay. Now, the crack is quite large and very visible to the Halo community. You knew which side you were on. Heated debates were had, arguments were made, and insults were thrown, and this is where many Halo fans would say that The Great Schism truly started. But wait, it gets worse.
Bungie left Halo in 2011, handing the keys to the franchise to 343 Industries, who were eager to bring new Halo games to fans across the world. Their first task as head of Halo was that they decided to alleviate many of the problems people had with Reach. They nerfed Armor Lock, reduced reticle bloom on the DMR, and adjusted playlists, and this pleased many Halo fans. There were those who opposed these changes, but for the most part, people were happy with the changes 343i made to Reach.
Then 2012 comes along, and Halo 4 is released. It is 343i’s first real Halo game, after they released Halo CE Anniversary in 2011. Halo 4 was their game, not a remastered version of a timeless classic. This was their chance to prove that they are worthy of continuing the Halo franchise, and it sold well. It got good review scores. It had hundreds of thousands of players online killing each other in multiplayer. I personally really liked Halo 4. Sure, it wasn’t my favorite Halo game, but I thought it was a good first game from 343i, and I thought they made a lot of necessary changes that made Halo 4 much better than it was at launch. However, this wasn’t enough for many people.
Halo forums and sites became battlegrounds between those who liked Halo 4, and those that didn’t. Insults were thrown back and forth like hot potatoes, comments were removed by mods, and bans were issued. Compared to Reach, these arguments and debates became much more intense and heated with Halo 4. What was a large crack became a gaping ravine. Oh yeah, and it still gets worse.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection was supposed to “save” Halo and bring back the glory days. #WeBack was used all over Halo sites and in tweets related to Halo. Surely this would quiet down all the raging and fighting among fans right? Not even close. Granted, 343i is mostly to blame here, since Halo MCC was a mess at launch, and for many people, it still is a mess. Had Halo MCC been working properly at launch, then there would be nearly as much negativity and hostility among fans right now. 343i deserves the heated criticism that they’ve been getting for the unacceptable state Halo MCC is still in, but sending 343i employees death threats, calling them incompetent, and bashing them to no end is going way too far if you ask me. None of that is going to make 343i fix the game any quicker, so doing it just makes those who do look whiny, immature, and just plain bad in general. That gaping ravine created from Halo 4 somehow has gotten even wider, and will likely get wider even more with Halo 5: Guardians. The pieces are already beginning to get in place from the beta. The Great Schism is raging even stronger than it was back in 2010, 2011, or even 2012.
Visit the Waypoint forums, /r/halo, or some other Halo-related site, and you’ll see practically nothing but people bashing 343i, people saying how Halo MCC sucks and it broken, or people saying how Halo 5 will suck. I know about TeamBeyond.net, but I don’t really visit there, since I’m not really a competitive Halo player. However, I know that it is basically the successor to The Halo Council, and that place was beyond toxic before it got shut down. All this raging, arguing, whining, and flaming that I see online is absurd, and quite frankly, I am beyond tired of it.
This isn’t even what bothers me the most. I could live with all the anti-343i circlejerking and all the Halo MCC and Halo 5 bashing. What bothers me the most, is that any opinions differing from popular opinion gets buried, downvoted, and attacked. Practically every time. Show any support for 343i, Halo 4, Halo MCC, or Halo 5, and prepare to get attacked by people who are going to tell you how wrong you are or how you’re just a 343i apologist. I’m sorry, but are we as humans not allowed to have our own opinions? Just because someone has an opinion that you might not agree with, doesn’t mean that they are wrong and that you should then insult them.
Now, I know that this is very common on sites like Reddit, where the popular opinions get upvoted to the top, while unpopular opinions often get downvoted to oblivion, but it is magnified ten fold with the Halo community.
The Halo community needs to be more accepting of each others opinions. No one has the right to insult and attack someone for having an different opinion. There are millions of Halo fans around the world, and not all of us will have the same opinions.
You may be asking yourself, “Man, why is this guy even visiting those sites anymore?” Well, I love Halo, and I want to keep up to date on Halo news as much as I can. Unfortunately, that usually means visiting these often toxic forums and communities and hoping that there is some news available or good discussions going on. The latter rarely ever happens, in case there was even any doubt.
So, what am I saying here? What is the point of all this ranting? Well, the Halo community, at least online, can be quite toxic and unpleasant, to say the least. I think that it has come to a point that many people are simply leaving these sites and forums because of how toxic they can be. I know that I’ve come close a few times, but something keeps me around, I don’t know what though. I’m not saying that the entire Halo community is toxic, but you know the saying, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch? Yeah, the same thing kinda applies here.
People have every right to be angry at 343i for the mess that Halo MCC is still in, and people have every right to voice their displeasure of Halo 4, and the direction 343i is heading in with Halo 5. It is just the way many people choose to voice that displeasure is what is so frustrating about it all. Basically, less insults and pitchforks, and more intelligent and thoughtful discussions would be wonderful. Keep in mind that this is a video game that we all love, and nothing more. It shouldn’t be more than that to everyone. Halo is great, but it is a video game, not life.
Thank you to everyone who decided to read all of this ranting. I really just had to vent about this somewhere. You certainly don’t have to agree with anything that I said, as these are simply my opinions and observations. Maybe I just need a break from Halo, I don’t know. I do know that I’ll be visiting Waypoint and /r/halo a whole lot less now, and it is quite sad. Back before Halo 4, I found Waypoint to be quite civil and friendly, and /r/halo still has the occasional good discussion thread or quality post every so often. However, much of this friendliness and quality often gets drowned out by negativity and hostility now.
I also want to thank the good friendly members of the Halo community. There are plenty of friendly Halo fans out there, I know it, but you just have to speak up a bit more since it’s tough to hear you over all the Negative Nancys. I’ll always be a Halo fan, no matter how toxic the community gets.
Until next time.