Halo Infinite is implementing a target marking mechanic for its multiplayer. The ping system is a change for the series, and carries big implications.
Communication between players is one of the key components of Halo that separates the casual and pro players, and Halo Infinite is adopting a ping system that will reinforce and encourage communication between players, even those without a headset. Being diligent with calling out enemy locations, power weapons that have respawned, or who’s going for the flag can have a huge impact on where teammates aim their attention – and their guns. While this isn’t as important in free-for-all, it often makes the difference in competitive 4v4 modes, so Halo Infinite’s ping system will hopefully make a difference for many.
Halo is far from the first video game with a ping or marking system. Shooters like Warzone, Fortnite, and especially Apex Legends have capitalized on the function long before 343 Industries announced it would be coming to Halo. The increased popularity of ping systems has actually made the feature something of an industry standard, and with Halo following other popular marketing trends like free-to-play multiplayer and battle passes, many players were unsurprised at the inclusion of a ping system. For others, however, the notion of callouts carried with it its own pros and cons.
Halo’s uses for a ping system will be similar to those of titles that have also implemented one. It’s “a feature where players can mark a spot in the world,” said Lead Multiplayer Designer Andrew Witts in a July 2021 Employee Spotlight interview. It “lets their teammates know vital information, like an enemy position or a weapon location.” What the ping system does is simple. Depending on how it’s used, however, its effect on gameplay can be hugely significant.
On the plus side, pinging vehicles is a great way to encourage allies to join up for a strafing run in a two-seating vehicle like the Falcon, or Halo Infinite’s new transport vehicle, the Razorback. One of the series’ ongoing frustrations has always been sitting in a warthog, honking, and watching teammates run in the opposite direction. Placing a marker on a co-op vehicle or bomb drop-off point could potentially draw in teammates or push in objective modes. While it could potentially impede their option to play more stealthily, throwing a ping on enemies can be a great way to counter common griefing issues like camping.
Some players are dubious about the inclusion of a ping system, but 343 Industries is doubling down on it, even incentivizing players to use it with new in-game medals and points. “The game awards you for it,” said Halo Infinite’s Live Operations Producer, Sam Hanshaw. “You actually get points, you get a Mark Assist if someone kills someone who you’ve marked, and it stacks with the normal assist points. There’s a medal you can get for marking enough people who get killed.” Now open to public multiplayer previews, whether Halo Infinite’s ping system undergoes any changes will be determined by how it’s used and received in these months before launch.
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