TLDR; Game Night was fun but plagued with a few issues, all further ones will be hosted on Skype. Add me at mesonak-thedudeofdudez anytime you wish.
Meso here! We held our first Xbox One Game Night today, December 5th, 2015; the games played were Halo 5 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, both for the Xbox One. The purpose of this topic is basically going to be a postmortem on the Game Night itself, outlining how it went, what went wrong, and some steps we’re taking to make sure future game nights go a bit smoother.
Basically, here was our initial idea. We were going to play Halo 5 first, and then swap to MCC later on if things got stale/we wanted to try some custom games. Depending on what the turnout was, we were going to have multiple parties featuring different TTV Members that would rotate between the games. We would invite fans into a lobby until it fills over, and then set up a new one with another TTV Member that would then invite more people, and so on.
From the first moment, things went wrong. I was the one that was responsible for adding everybody to my friends list so I could add them to the different lobbies, yet I was plagued by unforseen connection issues that I had never seen before the moment I booted up Halo 5 for the day. Such amazing issues included:
- Getting dropped from Halo 5 lobbies every minute or so
- Not being able to view any options when going to my friends’ profiles in the Halo 5 roster
- Inability to send Xbox One party invites
- Frequently dropping from Xbox One parties when I was able to get them set-up
This was obviously frustrating, as I was the focal point of the Game Night yet I WAS THE ONE PLAGUED WITH UNFORSEEN TECHNICAL ISSUES IN THE ELEVENTH HOUR - ahem
Anyway, after about 20 minutes of attempting to hash out the issues with myself and Var wondering why his headset wouldn’t transmit his audio while we were in the Halo 5 lobby, we eventually pulled an audible because we didn’t want to delay the Game Night any further. I invited as many people into the others’ H5 lobby as I could for the brief seconds I was able to remain in it, and then performed several internet and console restarts in order to maintain some semblance of consistency.
I eventually was able to get it to work, and while the others had fun, I began the slow process of trying to corral a party together consisting of the people left who I hadn’t been able to add in. I had no way of knowing if the people I had invited to our initial lobby had actually even received my invites or if the invite had simply expired when I was kicked out. Ergo, I just started mass-messaging everyone telling them to friend request Eljay so he could help recruit people as well. I decided to focus my efforts on getting together a party of my own and, miraculously, my connection issues ceased and allowed me to do just that.
Unfortunately, we ran into some more problems. Xbox One only supports a party size of 12 people, whereas the maximum limit for a Halo lobby is 16. Because of this, if we opted to use Party Chat (which had much higher quality audio), we’d lock off four people. So we were forced into using Game Chat which sounded terrible but it was our only option. Additionally, the reason why Var had some issues with his headset earlier was nothing to do with his microphone, but rather that Halo 5 doesn’t actual have functional game chat in a lobby, unlike other games. You have to wait until the game actually begins in order to talk to each other. This meant that figuring out what to play next was a process that couldn’t be contributed to; I ended up making somebody else the party leader who had more cool, custom game types and just letting them do whatever because it’s not like we could actually plan it out easily.
All while this was going on I was still trying to add people to my friends list on Xbox, deal with connection issues on their part, and do my best to make sure the people who couldn’t fit into my lobby were funneled towards Eljay’s. We were able to do this for quite a while, and it worked pretty well, from what I can see at least.
Later on into the evening, I caught wind that Eljay and Ven decided to go over to MCC. I made a big show about how I was heading over and encouraged some people to come with me. When we got there, because of the relatively broken nature of MCC, connection issues once again abounded with me and several others, and it got to the point where Game Chat completely broke when a match was started. I know for a fact that myself and several others played through numerous, full-length custom games without hearing a single bit of chat audio. This was a problem solely reserved for MCC, as Halo 5 worked relatively smoothly. Eventually, I ended up moving back to Halo 5 and playing a few more games with people and leaving Eljay/Ven to manage the MCC lobby, as they seemed to be having a better time than I was.
I don’t know if everybody who wanted to join was able to at least get in a match or two. Probably not; there are most likely at least a few individuals who waited around and, for whatever reason, weren’t able to be included, and for that, I’m very sorry. I know that feel very well. Trying to control and manage large groups of people on Xbox One while redirecting traffic, messages, and concerns towards others and attempting to be semi-entertaining is no easy feat.
That being said, what are some steps we’re taking to ensure a smoother Game Night system in the future, you may ask? Simple.
All future Xbox One Game Nights will be conducted via Skype. You can add me on Skype at Mesonak-thedudeofdudez at any point if you’d like to participate in future events. This will serve two purposes: on the one hand, it will rid us of the problem of trying to choose between Game Chat or Party Chat, as well as any unfortunate glitches that may bring. Additionally, the audio quality will be far superior, and skype is a far easier to use platform than Xbox One messaging.
What will likely end up happening (specifics TBD) is we will have 2 or 3 pre-established Skype chats with different members of TTV contained within. You’ll be able to converse amongst yourselves and with us, and we can hop in-between the different Skype lobbies to greet the different groups of people. Additionally, Skype will provide an easier way to keep track of peoples’ gamertags to know if they’re actually included or not. We’ll hash out this system a bit more before we do another Game Night and provide concrete specifics, but just know that it will be held on Skype and you’re free to preemptively add me at any point.
I’m sorry this one was rather bootleg, but it was our first one on this console and that comes with a myriad of problems. I hope that those of you who were able to play with us had a fun time, and that those who weren’t so fortunate won’t take it personally. Believe when I say that it means a lot that you came out at all, and I thank you for your support and being willing to hang out and have some fun.