OP: Halo has always been what you make of it. I think one of the biggest reasons people remember Halo 1-3 being "better" is because forge didn't exist in 1 and 2, and wasn't nearly as prevalent in matchmaking in 3 as it is in Reach.
I realize Reach had other things people didn't like, such as strafe acceleration not being quite right, reticle bloom, and AA's. However, I'll reiterate that Halo has always been what you make of it.
The problem most people have is they're unwilling to play customs. They think that having a high k/d or rank in matchmaking makes them cool or that somehow other people care about it. The truth is you can have all the stats in the world without having any fun, while you can have loads of fun with no stats.
Reach has had the option to recreate the "feel" of earlier Halos since launch more or less. Play customs with friends, tweak movement speed and damage, remove AA's, etc and you can wind up with something very similar (apart from reticle bloom) to the Anniversary playlist that so many Halo die-hards loved so much. We never had to wait for 343i to do it for us; it's just that most people are too lazy to put forth the effort.
Sure, it takes time to find a regular playing group of guys you can do customs with, but that's what sites like 7sins are good for if you don't have local players. Personally I've always done my customs in LAN parties at my house, but those are few and far between these days so I'll probably switch to online customs. All my friends are having babies lol, and my wife and I have no desire for kids.
Like I said, it's all in what you make it. My friends and I have this one gametype with 300% normal movement speed, 50% gravity, and everyone with overshields. I can't remember if I tweaked damage. It has infinite ammo and everyone spawns with rockets. We call it shao-lin rockets, after the shao-lin monks (spelling?). It's this crazy kung-fu fighting, warp-speed running, slow-motion jumping, jousting match with rockets. It's not Halo in the traditional sense, and yet it is exactly Halo because we've played customs since day 1 back in 2001 when CE came out. Oh yeah, and it's fun as all hell.
You will get out of Halo's multiplayer what you put into it. No effort, no reward, great effort, and great times will be had by all.
Good gaming to you and good luck.
Landed on exactly 500,000/500,000gs with exactly 18500 achievements and exactly 500 games. All 100% including DLC. Was going hard the first half of January to reach that goal! Finished it on 1-19-2016. Final achievement: Completion Serenity in Nero.
Last edited by lifeexpectancy; 10-07-2012 at 05:36 AM.