Halo Wars 2 is still being played by over 30,000 players a week and it's on Game Pass

Oct 27, 2017
4,196
Germany
#1


For me, Halo Wars 2 turned out to be one of the best games of 2017. I lost so many hours in its multiplayer and I've now pretty much rediscovered my love for the game. To my surprise, the game is still super active and has a healthy player base, with over 30,000 unique players playing the game each week. On top of that the game is still receiving constant balance updates that keeps the meta-game and strategies fresh.


Data provided by the Halo Wars 2 API - Source

Having more than 30,000 people playing the game weekly still is quite an accomplishment for a rather niche console genre in my opinion. The game continues what the first iteration started: building a healthy community you can always play some good RTS rounds with now and then.

Halo Wars 2 - even to this day - is pretty much a perfect framework for all the features first-party Xbox games are known for. Xbox One X Enhanced support. native 4K rendering, very good and adjustable HDR support, Xbox Play Anywhere (Xbox and Windows 10), Crossplay between the two and of course the game is available on Game Pass.


Features from the old OT

The gameplay is far superior to the first Halo Wars - a game I also spent hundreds of hours with. Halo Wars 2 doesn't only look pretty amazing with detailed units graphics and especially expensive explosion and particle effects, it also offers a lot of variation and many different strategy and counter opportunities - something the first game was lacking. With all the DLC, the game today has 16 leaders, every single one proving different abilities, special units and strategies.


Overview from the old OT

Since the game in addition is available on Game Pass, so I want to encourage even more people to check out the game. Realtime-strategy-games on consoles are a rarity - but Halo Wars 2 is getting all the important parts right. From base building to controlling your units, from a really balanced and varied multiplayer to a great story campaign.
 
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Oct 28, 2017
1,245
#11
Nice OT, just installed this on Gamepass after skipping buying it retail. I had played the beta but didnt feel enough friends would bite. I know two mates who will school me on the revisit.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,168
#12
The campaign in Wars 2 was solid but it's the expansion that solidified the game as better than the original for me.

Sure it was only 5 missions but the pacing of them was so frenetic and well designed that they're some of my favorite RTS missions of the last decade.
 
Nov 15, 2017
1,497
#15
The campaign in Wars 2 was solid but it's the expansion that solidified the game as better than the original for me.

Sure it was only 5 missions but the pacing of them was so frenetic and well designed that they're some of my favorite RTS missions of the last decade.
I need to check that out. I liked the main game but it wasn't really the hottest thing in the genre.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,879
#17
Also this is intresting imo from Zhu from the March NPD thread this year.
That's because of Play Anywhere surely?

Digital copies are for 2 platforms while the Xbox Copy is for only one.

Game Pass will keep gaming communities alive going forward, and hopefully the 3rd party partners of the system will look at this and sign long term deals to be on the service instead of some coming and going in months
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,608
#18
That's because of Play Anywhere surely?

Digital copies are for 2 platforms while the Xbox Copy is for only one.

Game Pass will keep gaming communities alive going forward, and hopefully the 3rd party partners of the system will look at this and sign long term deals to be on the service instead of some coming and going in months
It shows that the game didnt as bad as people believed. It didnt do great in the NPD when it was released. But that was still retail copies and didnt include digital yet.
 
Dec 10, 2017
644
Biscay
#19
That's actually really good. I couldn't find matches when I bought it some months ago so I assumed it wasn't very popular. Glad to be wrong, I'll be back for sure one of these days.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,116
#21
Since the game in addition is available on Game Pass, so I want to encourage even more people to check out the game. Realtime-strategy-games on consoles are a rarity - but Halo Wars 2 is getting all the important parts right. From base building to controlling your units, from a really balanced and varied multiplayer to a great story campaign.
Nah, it is trash. Beggars cannot be choosers on the console, but if you are on PC, go Starcraft II or CoH2 for the RTS showdown. All we can do is hope for the Relic to deliver on AoE.

CoH2 had over 300k active players (two week window) when it barely cobbled 10k concurrents. 30k weekly players is low, it wouldn't translate to more than 2k concurrents.
 
Oct 27, 2017
219
Norway
#22
Last time I tried playing 1v1 I sat in a queue for over an hour without finding an opponent (this was about a year ago on PC), so seeing this is a bit of a surprise. I should get back into this
 
Jan 21, 2018
5,939
#23
Nah, it is trash. Beggars cannot be choosers on the console, but if you are on PC, go Starcraft II or CoH2 for the RTS showdown. All we can do is hope for the Relic to deliver on AoE.

CoH2 had over 300k active players (two week window) when it barely cobbled 10k concurrents. 30k weekly players is low, it wouldn't translate to more than 2k concurrents.
Warcraft 3 is doing 5k concurrent at the moment. And that game is one of the best rts games ever made. So having 2k concurrent for a console RTS seems fine to me.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,116
#26
This seems like hyperbole
Both regular multiplayer and Blitz are sub-par experiences compared to other PC games. Plus they credited themselves for "designing" Blitz mode even though they ripped it from other games, like EA's Battleforge.

Here is a video review of the RTS community content creator, who works for the strategy game studio right now:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQQXuNs3h2Y
 
OP
OP
Klobrille
Oct 27, 2017
4,196
Germany
#27
Warcraft 3 is doing 5k concurrent at the moment. And that game is one of the best rts games ever made. So having 2k concurrent for a console RTS seems fine to me.
He just throws random numbers around without any credibility. Just let him.

He's entitled to his opinion of course - and if he doesn't like the game, that's alright. Good most people have a different view on this though.
 

ghostcrew

Spooky
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
6,223
United Kingdom
#28
Both regular multiplayer and Blitz are sub-par experiences compared to other PC games. Plus they credited themselves for "designing" Blitz mode even though they ripped it from other games, like EA's Battleforge.

Here is a video review of the RTS community content creator, who works for the strategy game studio right now:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQQXuNs3h2Y
I love Starcraft 2 and I can appreciate liking those a lot more (they’re industry leading games no doubt) but I still maintain that calling Halo Wars 2 ‘trash’ is a bit hyperbolic. But you do you ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,608
#29
Sure PC games have alot of other options. But alot of them are intimidating also. Halo Wars is way more "casual" in that way so its easier to jump in in the RTS world.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,168
#30
Sure PC games have alot of other options. But alot of them are intimidating also. Halo Wars is way more "casual" in that way so its easier to jump in in the RTS world.
Absolutely this.

The game scratches the same "popcorn" RTS feeling that Command and Conquer used to have for me.
 
OP
OP
Klobrille
Oct 27, 2017
4,196
Germany
#31
From my hundreds of hours with the game, there is simply a really good learn and skill curve. It’s really easy to get into the game and win some fights, but it takes time to really master the game and perfect your strategies. Just how it should be for a RTS. For reference, I was the #11 best players in the world in 3vs3 some time ago.
 

m23

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,852
#32
I love this game so much, I just recently starting playing again but getting destroyed in MP most of the time. Still fun as hell though.
 
Oct 28, 2017
3,627
Belgium
#33
Sure PC games have alot of other options. But alot of them are intimidating also. Halo Wars is way more "casual" in that way so its easier to jump in in the RTS world.
Is there any way to check if the PC population has grown since Halo Wars 2 released on Game Pass? PC gamers couldn't find anyone to play with/against before cross-play was implemented, even in the weeks after release. This indicates Halo Wars 2 didn't do that well on PC when it released (which is no surprise with a €70 pricetag and the broken state of the Windows Store back then). But Game Pass at least fixed the price issue, so it is possible that more people jumped in because of that.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,980
#34
I'm not an rts fan and haven't had a chance to play it yet (I want to play the MCC update as my reentry into the halo franchise) but I always liked the idea of expanding on a franchises genre and having it done well as Wars seems to be. Kudos on the fanbase and the developers.
 
May 28, 2018
393
#35
I can't believe I haven't played this yet, me and a buddy where ranked 2nd in the world at team doubles in halo wars 1 at one point. Not even thought about playing 2 :(
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,608
#40
I really liked the campaign, It had freaking Blur cutscenes and because its a spinoff they could do a nice more contained story. Wich is quite refreshing. Atriox was a beast also and a great villian.
 
Oct 27, 2017
452
#41
It's well deserved, such a fantastic game. It made my top 5 last year and hopefully this is a sign that the series will continue. Creative Assembly did a great job.
 
Oct 30, 2017
514
Bel Air MD
#44
From my hundreds of hours with the game, there is simply a really good learn and skill curve. It’s really easy to get into the game and win some fights, but it takes time to really master the game and perfect your strategies. Just how it should be for a RTS. For reference, I was the #11 best players in the world in 3vs3 some time ago.
Awesome, compete in any tournaments?
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,249
#46
30,000 wau isn't particularly impressive though I suppose it's just about enough to keep the multiplayer ticking over.

I, and the friends I bought it with, all stopped playing within a fortnight of its release despite all playing the original Halo Wars for years. It felt desperately mediocre in comparison and that's without pointing out the numerous bugs and performance issues that got in the way of playing it. It felt like Creative Assembly were asked to focus primarily on the Blitz mode, which Microsoft were hoping would be as successful a monetiser as Warzone, and that the single player and main multiplayer suffered as a consequence. I genuinely cannot believe how safe the multiplayer design was, practically identical to the original with a handful of near meaningless changes, but with some of the most interesting aspects (covenant leader units) removed. Completely laughable in comparison to the changes Ensemble Studios made between each of their games.

I'm glad to see that barely anyone plays blitz, I hope those at Microsoft and 343i learn from that.
 
OP
OP
Klobrille
Oct 27, 2017
4,196
Germany
#47
but with some of the most interesting aspects (covenant leader units) removed.
I couldn't disagree more with your post (still respect your opinion), but the quoted part is just plain wrong. Every Leader - UNSC and Banished/Covenant - has its unique Leader Hero unit. It's simply overall much more balanced compared to the first game (hero units in HW1 almost were MOBA-like additions), which resulted in high-level play only having a handful of viable strategies available.

This is the complete opposite to Halo Wars 2, where - also thanks to balance updates and meta-shifting changes - pretty much every single unit has its viable role in the sandbox, resulting in a ton of different strategies. As someone who spent hundreds of hours with both games, Halo Wars 2 is simply the better game. It's not even close from a gameplay perspective.
 
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m23

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,852
#48
I couldn't disagree more with your post (still respect your opinion), but the quoted part is just plain wrong. Every Leader - UNSC and Banished/Covenant - has its unique Leader Hero unit. It's simply overall much more balanced compared to the first game (hero units in HW1 almost were MOBA-like additions), which resulted in high-level play only having a handful of viable strategies available.

This is the complete opposite to Halo Wars 2, where - also thanks to balance updates and meta-shifting changes - pretty much every single unit has its viable role in the sandbox, resulting in a ton of different strategies. As someone who spent hundreds of hours with both games, Halo Wars 2 is simply the better game. It's not even close from a gameplay perspective.
Yeah, I agree. I put tons of hours into HW1 but I much prefer HW2 when it comes to gameplay. Much better balanced and many more viable strategies. The support for this game from the devs has also been amazing.

Edit: Just to add, now that' it's on Gamepass I really hope they work on some more content for the game. I really want another expansion of some sort.
 
Nov 6, 2017
1,311
#49
That's fantastic. I was worried it had just come and gone. It's a beautiful and fun game, and I hope PC strategy-game fans don't pass it up just because it's on Windows Store.
 

Apo

Member
Oct 28, 2017
109
#50
The campaign in Wars 2 was solid but it's the expansion that solidified the game as better than the original for me.

Sure it was only 5 missions but the pacing of them was so frenetic and well designed that they're some of my favorite RTS missions of the last decade.
Sadly the expansion Awakening the Nightmare is not part of game pass. :( If Microsoft adds the expansion to game pass this would convince me to pay for a month.