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Tuesday
Oct192010

Halo: Reach Longevity Report

How long will people keep playing Halo: Reach?  Forever? or, just until Black Ops is released?

 

It has been five weeks (at the time of this writing) since Halo: Reach dropped.  The initial response was great, with nearly universal acclaim and only a few prominent detractors.  Personally, I got so caught up playing the game that I never got around to doing a review (not an issue since I didn’t get a review copy and had no obligation to do a review).  After the initial explosion of heavy play, I’ve seen a gradual decrease in people on my friends list who are playing the game, which is understandable after a month.  I’m starting to see Modern Warfare 2 pop up all over as many of my gaming buddies start prepping for Black Ops.  With that being the case, I thought I’d take a look at Halo: Reach’s current status and speculate a bit on its longevity.

To set the stage, here are some numbers:

  • ·         Halo: Reach first month (September) game sales:  3.3 million
  • ·         Games of Halo: Reach played online in first week: 70 milliion
  • ·         Total games of Halo: Reach played as of this writing (Oct 18,   2010; 11:52 pm): 35,557,826
  • ·         Players online in the past twenty-four hours:  1,485,630

From release data to current activity, those are impressive numbers.  We know from the previous Halo games that we can expect a good number of those users to keep playing the game until Halo 4 drops, or indefinitely if it never does.  Hell, there were upset gamers when the Halo 2 servers were taken down this summer, and that game was released nearly six years ago for the 360’s predecessor.  Given that history, it is only fair to say Halo: Reach is likely to have long legs, at least for the masses of Halo enthusiasts. 

                Moreover, I think Halo: Reach could surpass the first three (four if you count ODST, which actually only had Firefight to go with Halo 3’s multiplayer content.  Why will the game keep all those Halo fans and a good deal of casual game fans coming back for months to come?  Two things make it a no-brainer for me:  the Challenges system and the variety of other perks/honors.

                No game in history has more ways of rewarding and recognizing the accomplishments of its players than Halo: Reach.  Let’s count:

  1. Achievements:  the standard 1000 Gamerscore points divided nicely between offline and online goals.
  2. Credits:  Collecting credits allows players to buy items at the Armory.  Despite being 100% cosmetic, pimping out your character model for multi-player and campaign play is a blast.
  3. Ranking:  While building up credits, players are also building up ranking points.  A big achievement is tied to getting to at least Lt. Colonel.
  4. Commendations:  These rewards range from Iron to Onyx and are tied to huge credit bonuses. 
  5. Waypoint Avatar awards and career tracking:  Waypoint  combines play on Halo 3, ODST, and Reach to get a broad look at the player’s Halo career.   Players can earn Avatar Awards for reaching high Gamerscores in all three games and for specific achievements from the other games.

All that, and I’m likely forgetting something.  As I said before, no game has done a better job at providing a carrot on a stick for its players.  Perhaps the most impressive and addictive carrot are the Daily and Weekly Challenges.  Bungie reveals a new Weekly Challenge every Monday and new Daily Challenges every day.  These challenges force players to play different modes and to play the game in different ways.  For instance, a daily challenge might be “Kill 100 Grunts with headshots in Firefight Matchmaking” or “Earn 30 assists in Multi-player Matchmaking.”  Even though the only reward for completing a challenge is an appropriate number of credits, just accomplishing the goal is often reward enough.  I’ll freely admit that I’m addicted to the Daily Challenges.  Despite having little to no time to play games at the moment, I check the Daily Challenge list most mornings and attempt to get as many of the challenges as possible in the thirty minutes or so I have to play before toddler wakes up and starts his toddling.

Add to all the stuff above, the marvelous Bungie.net.  It hasn’t changed all that much since Halo 3, but the sheer amount of data available to the players is stunning.  If every game company allowed players access to the enormity of stats available to Halo players, I’d never get anything done at work. 

        I think that taken as a whole, the perks and credits and challenges and commendations and previously unmentioned user-created content guarantee a long and fruitful life for Halo: Reach.  I am, however, going to keep my eye on the numbers the week after Black Ops is released.  I’m really interested in seeing how much crossover there is between the Halo and COD communities.  

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Reader Comments (2)

I love halo reach since I watched the TV The big bang theory. Players experience the fateful moments that forged the Halo legend. http://www.pandamimi.com/index.php?c=product_games&keywords=halo&platform_id=0

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbeatleslove

I agree Danny those daily challenges are addictive. What I like about them is they encourage players to go back and play the campaign or other modes they would not normally play just to receive credits. I know I can actually get my brother to play firefight now and he is strictly a competitive player. One thing you forgot is the arena which is ranked play. This mode encourages players to play at least 3 games a day so they can eventually be put into a division. So there is plenty to do in the new Halo. I know i will be playing this game for quite awhile even when black ops come out. The only thing I don't like about it is some of the armor abilities. Well mainly the jet pack just because on some of the stages you are all but forced to use it because of the openess of a few of the levels. Armor lock also is a little overpowered. I love the new sprint option and the hologram is pretty cool although not as effective as some of the others. Overall Bungie improved tremendously over Halo 3 (which I feel was by far the weakest in the series). I am quite shocked the few amount of my friends that have already quit playing. I think the steep learning curve in Halo scares people off before they become fully immersed in the game. The COD series is much easier to play in my opinion is why so many have went back to MW2. A little suprising because of the obvious flaws that plague the mp in that game. I wish that if my friends are not going to play Halo with me they would at least go back and play COD 4 MW. This would make me feel better at least.haha

October 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIBLEEDBLUE3

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