NEWS - Thursday, April 3, 2008

MLG Playlist is Live in Halo 3

Major League Gaming loves Halo 3. The Halo series has been a huge part of our league since the very beginning. We love to play it, we love to test it and we love to see people compete. The primary goal of MLG’s settings is to create the most fun and balanced environment possible for competition. By tweaking settings and making choices about which weapons should be used, we try to offer an equal playing field to all. We believe that through playing our settings you will not only have fun, but you will also get better at the game--all the while still serving up the same basic elements of Halo 3 that you already know and love.

The end result of creating these competitive settings, we hope, is that the best team will win (the one with the greatest individual skill, game knowledge and teamwork), not the luckiest. This does, however, in some cases require some unfamiliar changes, such as altering the location of a power-up or removing a particular weapon. Ultimately, though, we think that people who give our settings a chance will find the game feels the same, but the experience will be more competitively balanced. If you play Halo 3, you will pick up MLG settings with ease!

With the introduction of the new MLG Playlist in Halo 3’s Matchmaking system, you’ll have the opportunity to play these settings with the rest of the Halo 3 world. The more casual players who don’t play in as many custom games will quickly discover how enjoyable and accessible MLG settings truly are. We cannot wait for the release of this list and look forward to seeing a wider audience playing our settings!

In order to create competitive balance we have tested every aspect of the game. Many weapons, items and settings have changed for very specific reasons. For example, any weapon that may create an inconsistent result (Hammer, Spike Grenades, Flamethrower, etc.), although fun, have been removed from competitive play to minimize randomness. The testing process for MLG settings is ongoing and liable to change. That said, some core values tend to remain consistent. As our league commissioner and lead game type designer have stated, “all of our Base Player Trait changes were made in an effort to speed up the game.” Read on if you wish to hear a more detailed explanation of the rationale behind specific aspects of our settings.

The MLG Playlist Will Include the Following Game Types:

Team Slayer:
The Pit

Multi-Flag CTF:
The Pit

Team Oddball:

Team King of the Hill:
The Pit


For an exact listing of the game settings, click here

The Nitty Gritty: What We’ve Changed and Why

We use the Battle Rifle as the primary starting weapon because it allows you to defend yourself from your spawn in virtually any situation. When starting with a weapon such as an Assault Rifle, you are extremely vulnerable from anyone attacking you from mid-to-long range. With the Battle Rifle, you can deal damage across the map in long-range situations and also in close-range situations with a melee-plus-head-shot. It also requires teams to focus on team shooting, whereby two players located in different areas of the map focus fire on an individual to kill them quickly. Teams need to create strategies to place each player in a position in which they can help each other, and having a Battle Rifle as the starting weapon emphasizes this essential aspect of competitive play. Lastly, the Battle Rifle requires more aiming skill because you must pull the trigger as opposed to the spray-and-charge nature of the Assault Rifle.

Player speed has been increased to 110% to help increase the speed of the game. Also, strafing becomes more important because it is now harder to follow a target strafing since they are now faster. An effect of the increased speed is the ability to hit jumps with greater ease. While some people dislike this aspect we look at any side effects of map maneuverability as a necessary byproduct of increasing the game speed.

Damage has also been increased to 110% to help increase the speed of the game. The Battle Rifle still requires a minimum of four shots to kill. Since it now takes 11 actual bullets to kill instead of 12, shooting in long-range situations has become more effective due to the way the bullets spread across the map. The damage increase was the best way to minimize the randomness of the Battle Rifle spread. That one bullet can turn a long-range seven-shot kill into a six-shot kill. It now also takes two shots + melee to kill someone rather than the default three shots + melee. Grenades and Rockets now deal more damage in their blast radius as well. All the changes created by adding extra damage help to increase the speed of the game and, with the Battle Rifle specifically, reward players for accurate shooting.

Shield Recharge Rate was set to 90% in an effort to speed up the game. Here is the reasoning behind the change: If two players fight each other and one gains the upper hand, but the other runs away, the player who gained the upper hand is given an extra split second (7/9 of a second to be exact) before their opponent’s shields are fully charged, should they choose to pursue. For example, if two players fight in The Pit’s rocket hallway and one retreats to the area over by the overshield, the player who didn’t retreat can pursue their opponent into that area and has a better chance of finishing the kill. We believe this extra incentive to pursue wounded opponents speeds up games. We also believe that this incentive has a larger positive impact than the negative impact of wounded players waiting a split second longer to return to the action.

Rockets respawn on a constant timer of three minutes and snipers respawn on a constant timer of 2.5 minutes. The overshield and camouflage respawn every two minutes after being picked up. These times have been increased from default settings to promote more map movement. Obviously, this alteration also breaks dominant team setups and requires teams to assert their map dominance from many positions (i.e. it discourages camping one spot for an entire game). These weapons spawn on a constant timer so that both teams will know exactly when they will spawn and can be prepared to make an attack for them. Teams need to shift strategies every time a new weapon or power-up is about to spawn to be prepared to fight for it. A battle lost or won for a power item can completely change the outcome of a game.

All weapon and power-up locations have been placed strategically to either break setups or promote movement. Some weapons are located in hard-to-reach areas that create a risk to get them (Sniper on Construct). Some weapons are located in the middle of the map to make it an even fight over it when it spawns (Rockets on The Pit). Every weapon, power-up, and grenade has a specific reason for being where it is.

Each piece of equipment was removed for individual reasons. Here’s a short explanation of each one:

* Power Drainer – Too powerful: It is too easy to throw a power drainer into a room with a grenade and pick up easy double and triple kills.
* Regenerator – Too powerful: It is extremely difficult to kill opponents when they are sitting inside the regenerator unless a well placed rocket or sniper head shot is made.
* Bubble Shield – Slows down the pace of the game and promotes camping. Also unfit for objective games when a team is team shooting the objective carrier and he simply throws down the bubble shield to regain shields and either camps in it or runs away.
* Deployable Cover – Slows down the pace of the game. (see bubble shield)
* Portable Grav Lift – If we feel players should be able to reach an area with a gravity lift, we will create a way up permanently and not only once every three minutes.
* Radar Jammer – MLG settings all turn the radar off, so this wouldn’t do you any good anyway.

There you have it. As new maps are released, as Bungie updates the game and as professional players develop dominant strategies, MLG settings evolve. We always listen to constructive criticism and with the help of Forge and the Theater, Halo 3 offers us a new world of possibilities to make it the most competitively balanced console game ever. If you haven’t already, go download MLG settings and see what they are all about for yourself...

Download the Most Recent Version of MLG Settings


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