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Totilo and Croal argue about Halo 3

For the most part, MTV's Stephen Totilo and N'Gai Croal of Newsweek don't seem to like Halo 3. In a new series of back-and-forth journalism called Vs., these two are debating the merits of Halo 3"s multiplayer. There have been two parts to the article so far, and right now the consensus is essentially that Halo 3 is too hard. Specifically, learning Halo 3 can be unforgiving. Unfortunately, for many Halo players, this is completely true. There are no training modes, unless you count the campaign. Most people aren't concerned with teaching others how to play either. This leaves the uninitiated to absorb weapon strategies, map layouts, and gametypes by themselves, which can be a daunting task. Then again, Croal and Totilo also have yet to figure out how to initiate team speak (hint: press any direction on the D-pad, fellas).

We have to point out, though, that the Halo 3 multiplayer beta really isn't the best arena to judge Halo 3's multiplayer. That may sound strange, given that it is a multiplayer beta after all, but it's true. Right now, the Halo 3 beta is crowded with a relatively small sample of Halo fanatics (several million short of the projected pre-order numbers). These are people who live and breathe Halo, people who went through the Rule of Three, people who spent $60 on Crackdown just to play the beta. Naturally, you're going to be running into lots of people who are better than you. This smaller sampling also limits the effectiveness of the ranking system, as there are fewer people with smaller amounts of skill disparity. Also, and this is important considering N'Gai's misty-eyed memories of LAN parties gone by, there are no custom games in the beta (not officially anyway). Given that N'Gai is vocal about his displeasure at playing with strangers, custom games with friends sound like just what the doctor ordered.

If Stephen or N'Gai is reading this, we'd be happy to show you both some friendly matches of Halo. The rest of you can read parts 1 and 2 of the series below.

[Via HBO]

Read part 1
Read part 2

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Reader Comments (Page 1 of 2)

Sammy D Kat1

5-30-2007 @ 3:09PM

Sammy D Kat said...

All of my hard core friends have been playing the beta for months now (one works for MS), so I get the feeling like I'm going to be slaughtered once September rolls around.


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5-30-2007 @ 3:11PM

Spitkicker said...

As the best self-proclaimed Halo and Halo 2 player in the world...I have to disagree about the learning curve. I felt that after only about 2 games the controls were second nature. I actually screw up on Halo 2 controls now when we do split-screen and system link. Just my input. MTV sucks.


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5-30-2007 @ 3:15PM

rinks said...

The D-Pad for team speak is stupid. We have motion sensing radar and spartan uniforms but not voice activated team chat?


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5-30-2007 @ 3:17PM

rinks said...

Also- the beta is skewed because everyone, best and worst alike, are in the same game pool. That will change as people tend to remain at their peak level. Multi gaming right now is not a good indicator of what the final experience will be like. If you're a noob, the first week will suck ass, but after that, the better players will ascend the ranks and you won't see them again.


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5-30-2007 @ 3:19PM

bigbrew said...

MTV does suck. I don't think the learning curve is that steep. I mean, any game that is played online will be a little tricky until you get the controls and the strategy down. That's the beauty of human competition!


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5-30-2007 @ 3:20PM

ProjectEkim360 said...

wow i got one thing to say and one thing only. If you cant take the heat stay out of the street. nuff said.


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5-30-2007 @ 3:44PM

KaneRobot said...

The beta isn't for people new to the franchise, it's for people to test it out and give feedback. That's why it's a beta and not a demo.

The campaign mode will be all the "training" you need. From there you take what you've learned online and slowly improve by getting your ass handed to you until you learn, and slowly improve.

Why can't Croal and Totilo figure this out? Give me a game journalist job, I managed to.


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5-30-2007 @ 3:45PM

ryan said...

when the first halo came out, it was mindblowing how perfected it was at the time.

halo 2 was a test to see what Bunjie could do to make it better. they passed but they didn't do as well as their goal.

halo 3 is making sure that they meet those goals.

it's essentially the same formula but making it better. and it is a sport. like baseball it's new stadiums, fresh grass and uniforms.

if people think it's stale: perhaps they should find a new sport they like instead.

the rest of us "xbots": enjoy playing the game that will own 2007.


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5-30-2007 @ 3:46PM

xenocidic said...

all due respect, i love reading x3f, and I like halo3, but perhaps you should open up a new site called and post halo3 related news there.

over 50% of todays articles have been H3 related.


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5-30-2007 @ 4:07PM

GRT said...

Croal, at least, is very much a Sony fanboy, too. So you have to filter everything he says through your fanboy sieve.


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5-30-2007 @ 4:09PM

incrediblebulk92 said...

Um I sorta agree with number 9 up there, would clear up 360 fanboy a bit... I'm not too bothered anyway. Um yea but the thing thats getting old are people "reviewing" this BETA, and telling people if they should or should not buy this game... Most of their complaints are plain stupid, like you have to learn the map layout, Um how many games don't you have to learn the map layouts for? I think they need to realise that this is quite a competitive game


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Les Doodis12

5-30-2007 @ 4:11PM

Les Doodis said...

I can see where they're coming from as far as skill level is concerned. I'm not the greatest player so I stick to the social matchmaking and have a much better time.

But I'm not sure why they think the core gameplay is difficult to pick up. It's the same Halo with a few controller updates. Not too tough to make that switch.


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5-30-2007 @ 4:29PM

Desistyle said...

Definitely true. I think I'm pretty good at Halo, but I still sometimes get my ass handed to me playing the beta online.

There are definitely a lot of Halo fanatics that are incredibly good. When the game comes out in September, it'll be a lot more even..


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5-30-2007 @ 4:31PM

k0llateral said...

I'm really tired of people pulling that card when theyre too lazy, or whatever, to actually make an attempt at getting good at a game.

Halo 1 was a perfect example of the perfect learning curve. It was easy to get used to the controls and familiar with the levels and basic strategies, but if you wanted to get REALLY good at it, you had to practice and learn all the little tricks and things to compete with the best.

What stupid people like these guys are asking for is another Halo 2. REALLY easy to get used to the controls and basic gameplay, and easy to get "good" at. There is an invisible ceiling in Halo 2, that wasn't there in Halo 1, a point at which you just cant get any better, and its sad that the ceiling is so low to the ground.

One of the reasons I have hope for Halo 3 is that after playing, there is a glimmer of hope that the ceiling has been removed, if not at least moved much higher.

I'm glad to see Bungie acknowledging their fuck-ups and I have a lot more faith in Halo 3 than I did way back when I first saw it.


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5-30-2007 @ 4:53PM

Gareth said...

I won't comment on getting my ass kicked for the first week I played the beta because I'm sure 90% of the players out there did in some fashion, but eventually got the hang of it and are getting better. I want to comment on the team playing aspect which Totilo and Croal started talking about: It barely exists. I've stopped playing team based games all together because either people don't know how to use the talk function or don't want to play as a team. I think I would if I had some friends who had the beta, but Halo players are dicks when it comes to team games. GoW has much friendlier players because there is a lot more communication in Gears for some reason. It was said on this site that Catan has much friendlier players there too. Why are Halo players unfriendly? As for training, aren't there Xbox "Ambassadors" who are supposed to be people who helped out newbies on Live?


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5-30-2007 @ 5:13PM

Lion said...

I must be lucky. I have finished in the middle of the pack every time I've played the beta. Never won, and I've never been at the bottom either. For a guy that has only played Halo 2 multiplayer once (and has never played Halo's multiplayer at all) I never felt dominated at all in the Halo 3 multiplayer. Honestly, I just thought it was a lot of fun. In my opinion, the multiplayer is marvelously balanced. I spent the first minute learning the controls (earned just two or three deaths during that time) and got into the swing of things rather quickly. The game may be tought to master, but it is very easy to pick up and play. Even a novice like me can have fun without the frustration of being dominated.


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5-30-2007 @ 5:17PM

Grindstone said...

90% of the games I play are team based, but then, prior to playing video games I was out making friends and getting other worldly skills. Now I play with friends online.

So we're supposed to agree with one of two n00bs here? Let me put it this way -- if you played Halo 1 or 2, playing Halo 3 should be a really easy transition. I say this from experience.

I've had about a half-dozen people play the beta at my place, and even those with minimal FPS experience were able to put up kills and play without complaining. Sure, it's tough in the beginning, even I was nervous just because it was something new, but 160 games later, I feel that this is the true successor to the previous two titles, and there's no denying how addictively fun this game is, despite being a "beta".

So these two n00bs can shut it. They're woeful opinions are based on terrible skills and the propensity to be a perpetual victim. May they find a good attorney to sue for their short-comings, but I won't give an ounce of sympathy to those who do not try hard.


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5-30-2007 @ 5:46PM

russny said...


I think you're being a bit harsh in this situation. Some people simply don't have enough spare time to "try hard". I remember I used play H2 for a long time and got pretty good, but then I stopped playing for a few months and when I came back, I got my butt kicked in almost every game. This just shows that in order for a player to stay on a competitive level, he must play pretty much non-stop.

Custom matches will surely rectify these scenarios, as you'll be able to play with your friends who are equally skilled. I'm just not sure how effective the matchmaking system is. Playing H3 beta I have yet to be matched against equally skilled opponents. Yes, my skills are pretty bad right now, but I'm sure I'm not the only one; there have to be people out there whose skill level is close to mine. People who play 4-8 hours A WEEK and not 8+ hours a day. I'm really hoping this will change once the game goes retail, because as it is now, I find it pretty frustrating losing a 1-on-1 duel 85% of the time.

Sorry for any G&S errors - don't have time to proof read.


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5-30-2007 @ 5:50PM

schiftya2 said...

Are they serious? Halo 3 too hard? "Learning Halo 3 can be unforgiving". Wow, that's hilarious. I wonder what they'll think of Shadowrun or what they thought of PDZ. They must have thought those games are impossible. Halo 3 is being made for the mass market and can't afford to be "too hard". And that is why it is not hard at all to learn. These guys must really suck at video games, like a lot. I really hope Bungie pays no attention to these idiots and don't "dumb" it down anymore to where it becomes like Halo 2 with the massive auto-aim.


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5-30-2007 @ 7:01PM

Grindstone said...

russny, I'm married, have a kid, and work at a Law firm that requires 45 hours of work a week, minimum. As such, my gaming trends are under 8 hours a week pretty easily.

Now granted, for the beta there is some disparity in the match-making because it is limited to those invited and those who bought Crackdown. As such, my gunnery sargeant rank has been spanked hard by Captains, Majors and other ranks. So I'll give you that portion of the argument.

However, in terms of learning Halo 3, it has got to be one of the simpliest FPS games out there, easily trumping any Tom Clancy game in terms of button placement and functionality. I would like to hear their perspective on those games and an equal comparison. I think what they want to say is, "Where is the auto-aim assist I relied on"?

I maintain my stance that these two journalist are n00bs to the 30th power, and that they could play Halo 3 well enough, but that they have other agendas to preside over. I've had n00bs at my place playing Halo 3, and I kid you not, after a couple of games, the button layout became intuitive, and the ability to play the game came within a limited time frame.


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