Community Blog: Halo: Reach Beta Info
Juicy tidbits gathered from around the net that YOU need to know for the Halo: Reach beta.
In Reach, Elites are bigger, they’re faster, and they boast better shield technology than their Spartan counterparts.
Size matters. And when we say Elites are faster, we mean it. Natively, Elites walk at the same pace a Spartan runs at full sprint - Add Evade into the mix, and they’re easily the most agile combatants on the battlefield in multiplayer.
Unlike Spartans, their health is not limited to recharging in thirds as their vitality is whittled away in stages, but will recharge fully without even the need for a health pack. Their health also recharges faster, as do their shields. Significantly faster.
So, how are we gonna work them into multiplayer? Well, in a number of ways. In some circumstances, like Arena, you’ll only square off Spartan vs. Spartan or Elite vs. Elite. In others, well…stay tuned.
Evade is an Elite-only Armor Abilitiy, it's the barrel roll seen in the vidoc. (As I suspected. I wonder if there are any other Elite specific abilities...)
Armor Lock is a small portable shield that surrounds the player, giving him a short invincibility, and delivering an EMP blast.
Active Camo is like AC from H1/2/3, but it also works as a Radar Jammer. I'll jam the radars of other players, friendlies, enemies, and your own.
And then, there's Jet Pack.
I think you understand how this works. Holding down a button will enable players to fly up in the air for short amounts of time.
All these AA need energy to be used. A gauge is shown in the HUD, when it's empty, there's no more energy, and you'll need to wait a short amount of time for it to be full again.
None of the AAs are blocked, all are available from the get-go. Playing SP or MP will influence which AAs you can use, and how you pick them. In SP, AAs are available before starting the mission, or can then be picked up during the mission. In MP, players choose before the game (or before respawning) their specific Load Out. Each Load Out offers a different weapon/AA. (This indicates Bungie will not let players create and save their own loadouts, I suppose to prevent abuse of certain combinations.)
Jetpacks will be featured in certain parts of the campaign, but not in all of it. Different AAs will be available in different levels, depending on what the mission needs. In MP, the AAs available for the Load Outs will be set by the gametype/map. Jetpacks will be in the beta. In the full game, players will be able to enable/disable Jetpacks in Custom Games.
At the beginning of each match or round, and again every time you wait out your respawn window, you are given the option of choosing a Load Out.
Load Outs are not player created or defined, but rather playlist and/or game type specific. Essentially, they allow you to choose your Armor Ability, your starting primary and secondary weapons, and your grenade cache on the fly.
For some playlists, that might mean every Load Out features the same weapon sets with only the Armor Abilities to distinguish them. For others, it might mean that as the game goes on, you’ll have access to more and more choices based on a number of factors we can fiddle with.
That's just one example to the right. Many gametypes will feature more uniformity in the initial selection.
What it doesn’t mean is that you will be creating your own custom Load Out to bring into Matchmaking. You’ll be choosing from our prefabricated offerings, based on what’s best suited for each gametype.
Don’t worry about power weapons being available right from the start, either. In most cases, you’ll still be finding those distributed via a number of methods throughout the battlefield, though if circumstance warrants it, we certainly can start you with, say, the Rocket Launcher.
And, of course, you can still loot the corpses of your fallen foes and you’ll still find sweet stashes of weapons strewn carelessly about the map for you to find and acquire.
One new weapon we’ve yet to really talk about is the focus rifle. This is the Covenant really long-range “reach out and burn your face off” sniper-slot weapon. We didn’t want to make just another sniper rifle, but we did want to fulfill that type of role so we made the focus rifle that utilizes a slightly different, “tracking” skillset. It’s not an instant kill weapon, it does significant damage, but you need to hold it on your opponent for approximately one and a half seconds to kill them. It’s more about long range suppression than instant death, but it still falls into the category of pseudo “power weapon” so it won’t be all over the map or included in load-outs.
HAMRICK: The focus rifle is probably the most frightening weapon to be attacked with in the entire game. It’s definitely the one I’ll be watching closest in the beta and we’re still tuning it.
MERRILL: The plasma launcher is the Covenant’s answer to the rocket launcher and Spartan laser all rolled into one. It’s primarily designed as an anti-vehicle weapon but it’s still quite effective against infantry. It charges then fires up to four super-heated plasma rounds that all track against bipeds and vehicles. It’s not actually firing plasma grenades, but the rounds do have a similar delay time from when they stick to the target and eventually explode. There’s a delay that leads to some really spectacular chain-reactions as well as quite a few “from the grave” medals.
HAMRICK: My favorite part of the plasma launcher is the delayed explosion for each round and the resulting chain reaction.
MERRILL: Another new weapon in Reach is the grenade launcher, aka “the pro pipe.” This was primarily designed to fill a similar role to the plasma pistol and give the Spartans an EMP-capable weapon. It has two modes of fire – manual and auto. If you pull the trigger and release it, a single round will fire and detonate upon hitting a target. If you keep the trigger held, the player can choose when they want the grenade to detonate. You can essentially leave a cooked grenade on the ground around a corner as a trap and detonate it from a distance or have it explode in mid-air to take down a flying opponent.
HAMRICK: It’s important to note that we definitely do not view the grenade launcher as a “power-weapon” like the rocket launcher or sniper rifle. We want this to be something that can be included in load-outs; it’s more akin to the shotgun in that regard.
HAMRICK: Another new weapon in the beta is the plasma repeater. It’s basically the Elite answer to the assault rifle.
MERRILL: We needed a good equivalent to the AR that we could include in multiplayer but not have it break the campaign. We needed to leave the plasma rifle as fairly weak with slower projectiles in single-player to fight against but we also needed something similar, but better, for the Elites to wield in multiplayer. It is their “jack of all trades, master of none” mid-range weapon. The main defining aspect is that it’s heat-based.
HAMRICK: Your rate of fire for the plasma repeater is tied to its heat. It won’t outright overheat like the plasma rifle does but as it heats up the rate of fire will slow. You can manually vent it, all or partially, and your rate of fire will increase accordingly. You can also still melee or throw a grenade while you’re venting.
MERRILL: One side effect of the overheating is that as the rate of fire slows, the accuracy actually increases.
HAMRICK: The shotgun is also back. The biggest change in Reach is that it will now only fire inside the crosshair – previously it would sometimes fire out of the reticule. The projectiles are a bit tighter grouped now, doing a bit more damage and making you have to aim a little bit more, but the range is also just slightly increased.
JARRARD: There will be plenty more staples making their way back to Reach as well, all rebuilt from the ground up and looking better than ever. The plasma pistol now has a slight area-of-effect EMP blast when an overcharged blast hits. It can hit multiple targets (including yourself if you’re not careful). The magnum is back and it packs a punch, especially when you can land headshots. This is going to be an old friend in Reach, the effective secondary weapon you’re happy to have in your back pocket. You’ll also see needlers, sniper rifles, the gravity hammer, energy swords, rocket launchers and assault rifles.
JARRARD: Load-outs let players pick from a set of weapons and armor abilities, suited to their play style, which they’ll get access to when they spawn. For example, the “Airborne” load-out includes the jetpack, assault rifle, and magnum. The available load-out options will vary depending on which gametype is being played. In matchmaking this is something Bungie will configure but in custom games, players will be able to define their own load-out options. Things get very interesting in team games as players coordinate their load-outs and respective strategies while their opponents counter with their own tactics.
MERRILL: Think about load-outs as kind of a “dynamic class” system. We liked some of the elements you get with a class, but we’re not changing your base model or locking you into that choice. You drop in with your preferred play style, but if you decide your chosen load-out isn’t working, the next time you spawn you can select something different.
HAMRICK: That’s the nice thing because it happens a lot – as a match progresses, you and your team will shift to different load-outs and so will your opponents.
JARRARD: Nothing needs to be unlocked or “earned.” All the weapons and abilities in the game will be available from the outset but not all will be included in every campaign mission or multiplayer gametype. There will be plenty of items to unlock in the armory to customize your Spartan but they are strictly visual upgrades.
HAMRICK: An ability that we haven’t talked about yet is Armor Lock. It’s kind of a throwback to the old school bubble shield but you always have it on your person and it’s intended to keep you safe. It’s kind of like a block. If your opponent closes on you with a shotgun or is about to land a melee blow or run you over with a vehicle, you can engage Armor Lock and become temporarily invulnerable. You can’t move, aim, or shoot. You’re stuck there, but you can’t be killed. You can do that up to three times on one charge or you can do one sustained lock for a few seconds.
There is also a knockback and EMP blast component. The longer you hold your Armor Lock, the more pronounced the effect will be. There are three different tiers – if it’s just a short lock, I’ll get a small knockback and a tiny bit of EMP up to the max level, which is a much larger knockback and EMP blast. It’s really intended to say, “hey, you better not mess with me, I’m extremely dangerous even though I’m trapped in here!” It’s particularly effective against vehicles as well. Also, if you’re stuck with a plasma grenade or have needles in you, they’ll be knocked off when you engage Armor Lock. (FINALLY! A WAY TO SHAKE OFF STICKIES! AWESOME!)
HAMRICK: Yeah I can use Sprint and a sword to come at you like a freight train or I could use Sprint to run away from you when you’re coming at me with a sword.
MERRILL: And then I would use Armor Lock on him as he’s about to hit me with the sword and stun him and then come out and unload my shotgun.
More info on the way. See you all in the Halo: Reach Beta!
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