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Pace

The term Pace has been used by various people to mean different things. While it isn’t a term I want to use in these lessons due to its ambiguity across the forging community, I feel I need to address a few interpretations at least once in this blog. And because I have begun to use the term Engagement to refer to how often players engage with each other, I will use the term Pace to refer only to how quickly a team can score.

What Pace Means To Others

To some the term Pace can mean how often players interact with each other. As I said, I specifically use the term Engagement for this definition. How often players engage each other is a key to balancing the Game Play so that it doesn’t become too hectic and frustration (too often), and it doesn’t become too infrequent and boring (too seldom).

To others Pace can mean the movement of a player across a map. For example, sprint increases the speed of the player’s movement. We will address this in more detail in a moment.

To others Pace can mean the player’s intent to steadily fire his weapon so that loss of accuracy is minimized. For example, we are told to pace our DMR shots so that we don’t fire into a larger bloom field.

But the definition of Pace that I want to use exclusively when talking about forging your map is how quickly the Game Play progresses. And the best metric of this is how fast a team scores.

Sprint Ability

Halo: Reach introduced Sprint as an ability through armor. Halo 4 made sprint a standard ability for all players at all times. In retrospect, Halo 4 did it more correctly, because maps must be designed in their sheer size based upon the speed of players’ movement, whether that is walking, sprinting, flying, driving, etc. It actually makes sense that a title will have sprint across the board or not have any sprint at all. You don’t want to forge a map to compensate for sprint if sprint isn’t part of the Game Type; nor do you want to forge a map without any consideration for sprint if the Game Type includes sprint.

Sprint serves only to traverse a large distance quickly. While sprinting, the players’ abilities to aim, shoot, or throw grenades is on hold. While carrying the flag, the ricochet ball, or the oddball, a player’s ability to sprint is disabled. Whether for Slayer or any objective carry Game Type, sprint does nothing to help score points faster.

So if sprint only helps you move across a large map faster, it stands to reason that there should be a reason for having a large map in the first place? With Halo 4, for example, the emphasis was to spawn as far from an adversary as possible. To maximize this Game Element, the map needs to be larger. To make it possible to traverse the map quickly to maintain a healthy Engagement cycle, sprint becomes necessary.

Safe Spawn –> Larger Map –> Sprint

To compensate for the need to sprint, disable engaging the enemy until traversing the map is accomplished.

Safe Spawn –> Larger Map –> Sprint –> No Engagement While Sprinting

So now that we see the relationships between these different Game Elements and the map that you want to forge, you should be able to see why sprint is incapable of increasing the Pace of your map. If anything, it lowers the Pace by making the distance that the flag must be carried longer than one should require; it delays the onset of Engagement slightly as a player moves out of sprint and begins to take aim; etc.

Vehicles

Vehicles can help increase encounters between players and it can also increase the movement of the flag across the map. But vehicles are not a sure solution to increasing your map’s Pace. There are other things that can interfere with a flag’s movement, for example. Once pinned down in an open field, the flag may sit there until reset to its flag stand.

But clearly a Mongoose or a Warthog can play a role in increasing the movement of a flag. And the Warthog can increase the fire power and speed with which that fire power is brought to bear upon the adversary. Each of these can positively impact your map’s Pace. Just don’t expect them to be the silver bullet. Their impact on Game Play is never in a vacuum.

How Much Pace Is Good?

It isn’t really clear how much Pace is good or healthy for a map. It has also been suggested that a variety of maps with a variety of Pace is good for a playlist, to offer a variety of Pace to the players as they vote. Perhaps…

But I would look at the majority of the maps in the playlist you are forging for and ask yourself how much Pace do they exhibit, how do you feel about it, and how can you improve the overall experience (e.g., by increasing or decreasing the Pace on your map)?

Chaos

As a short side bar I want to add that chaotic Game Play is not always a bad thing. But you need to fit such an experience with the right Game Type and map.

I have found that games that are best when they play chaotically are multi-team Game Types with a singular objective, like Odd Ball or KOTH. In these kinds of Game Types, you have a teammate or two, but you have many more adversaries and they also have teammates that you must deal with simultaneously.

Your map doesn’t need to be smaller to create the chaos – the variety of teams clashing together over a single objective will do that for you. In fact, a small map is likely to create chaos on just about any Game Type, including those that are best played in a more choreographed, strategic fashion.

This is not to say that a small map isn’t good, but if the Game Play predominately devolves into chaos, it may be worth looking at how to stem the chaos across the board.

Summary

Pace is a description of how fast a game unfolds, using the speed at which score is accumulated as the best metric.

Sprint doesn’t really increase a map’s Pace.

When done in a thoughtful way, vehicles can improve a map’s Pace.

Chaos is not a bad thing in and of itself, but I would consider chaotic Game Play acceptable only in singular objective Game Types played multi-team.

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