The Halo Infinite Tenrai event is better, but still needs work

The Halo Infinite Tenrai event just finished its second of six weeks, and while it’s greatly improved from its first iteration, there’s still a few kinks that need to be ironed out. 

Halo Infinite Fracture: Tenrai is a series of week-long events with its own battle pass that you can progress along by completing event-specific challenges. The first week of the Tenrai event took place shortly after Halo Infinite surprise-released back in November 2020, and the reactions were almost uniformly negative. The community expressed frustration at the speed of progression, which mimicked the rather slow pace of the main battle pass, and were confused about which cosmetics were available for purchase only versus which ones could be obtained through the Tenrai event for free. 

The second week of the Tenrai event (which ended January 10) showed marked improvement – 343 Industries clearly listened to feedback and has worked to make battle pass progression easier across the board. But problems and frustration linger, and it’s important that 343 looks at responses to the Tenrai event as indicative of larger problems within Halo Infinite. If the game is to have any sort of longevity, it’ll need to continue refining its free-to-play systems. 

Progression problems

Halo Infinite

(Image credit: 343 Industries)

The Halo Infinite battle pass controversy kicked off almost immediately after the game surprise-launched on November 15. Many players were frustrated at how long it took to progress between levels, as the game didn’t initially offer matchmaking-based XP. 343 Industries adjusted the per-match XP system two weeks later, giving players more chances to progress along the battle pass at a reasonable rate. The first Tenrai event, however, took place before the progression system was amended, so players were especially frustrated with the doubling of stingy battle passes. 

But 343 Industries made some major changes ahead of this latest Tenrai event that kicked off on January 4. You could make their way through 10 challenge tiers as opposed to seven, with the goal being that highly engaged players could speed through progression. You still have to return to play during the next Tenrai event, as everything can’t be unlocked at once, but it more aptly rewards engaged players and feels like much more tangible progress is made after each match.

The latest Tenrai event also fixed the system so that players were no longer forced to use the Challenge Swap consumable in order to get an event challenge that would go towards Tenrai progression. Instead, you were guaranteed to make progress towards at least one event challenge per day, as 343 Industries adjusted them so they appeared higher up in players’ challenge rotation. 

Despite the marked improvement of battle pass progression, players are still expressing frustration around the Tenrai event. That exists mainly in one of two camps: those confused about how the event works spread out over six weeks (and if they can still complete the event and get all the customization content if they miss a week), and those frustrated by the design of the cosmetics. 

The former is a larger issue within Halo Infinite, which still stands to streamline some of its menu content to make it easier for players to understand what they’re getting and how they’re getting it. The latter is part of a larger problem that spans all free-to-play titles: how developers choose what content will help monetize a F2P.

Shelling out for swag 

Halo Infinite

(Image credit: 343 Industries)

The first trailer for the Halo Infinite Tenrai event showed off some pretty wild samurai armor, but players quickly realized some of the items shown in marketing materials weren’t available in the free battle pass. Instead, they were in the Halo Infinite store, locked behind a paywall. 343’s head of design Jerry Hook recently admitted that this was a mistake the company was hoping to fix in 2022. 

“We want the events to be a place where you can earn new content and not care about whether you’re going to pay or not. And we want that content to be high quality,” Hook said during a Holiday 2021 Halo Infinite stream (opens in new tab). “It’s completely new, achievable stuff throughout the entire season. None of that should be available in the store. We made that mistake; I’m sorry about that.”

When the January 4 Tenrai event kicked off, there were better unlocks available, including armor coatings and armor pieces, some of which were initially meant to be paid in-store content. However, conspicuously absent from the free battle pass were the items sold in the store during the first week of the Tenrai event back in November 2021, which included a samurai sword hip attachment and the Chomage armor set. Those items will not be available to obtain for free, ever.

While this is an issue for many players who hoped to grind for those cosmetics, there are other complaints loudly echoing amongst the fanbase. For some, there aren’t enough color options for the Tenrai armor progression, especially when a new color was available for purchase only. “Eight dollars for blue” (opens in new tab) became a joke amongst players who shelled out some cold-hard cash to put a new color on the Yoroi armor core obtained for free through Tenrai progression. If you don’t want to pay money for a new armor coating, your Yoroi armor will remain a dingy grey – this is symptomatic of a larger customization problem at play within Halo Infinite, where armor cores don’t have enough coating options, and individual armor pieces don’t offer enough variety.

It’s hard to find a balance between free and paid content in F2P games, so it’s not like Halo Infinite is the only title that’s struggled to figure it out. Warzone has had a pay-to-win problem for well over a year now, and Apex Legends struggled to sort out its progression system long after its launch. 343 Industries seems keen to listen to feedback, so I expect the free/paid dynamic to improve as the game matures – especially since the team so openly states that Halo Infinite is meant to be played for years and years after launch. The Tenrai event is just a smaller version of the larger problem plaguing F2P games, and I expect its growth and change will mirror Halo Infinite’s progression at large. 

What will the next Tenrai event have in store for us? We’ll have to wait until February 1 to find out.

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