Building The Ultimate Halo
Building the Ultimate Halo Game
PART V: Weapons
Nothing really needs to change much at all in terms of how players aim their weapon. For example, iron sights would not be utilized. There are some aspects of aiming that need to be addressed, though. Aim assist (which comes in two flavors: sticky aim/reticle magnetism and bullet magnetism) should be no more than what is necessary for the game to play properly. With sufficiently accurate weapons, there wouldn’t be a need for large amounts of it to keep the player’s shots on track, though there is a necessity for at least some aim assist. Levels would be no higher than in Halo 1 or Reach. Also, players would have the option to reduce or disable reticle magnetism if they find all the forcible tugging on their crosshair to be an annoyance (as some do, including myself on occasion).
Reticle bloom is a feature new to Reach which I would include in this game. It is a visual feedback mechanism present on weapons with rate-of-fire-dependent accuracy, which has typically been a factor that applied to most of the automatic weapons in the Halo series. For many weapons, accuracy degrades with sustained rapid fire, and this would be indicated by an expanding reticle. The larger the reticle becomes, the worse a weapon’s accuracy gets. For example, the AR would have a maximum shot spread of 0.5 degrees when its crosshair is completely contracted, but when it is fully expanded that number increases five-fold. I am personally a big fan of this feature, as it is a valuable feedback mechanism, especially considering that Reach is the first game in the series where the primary precision weapons (the DMR and needle rifle) have shot spread that’s determined by how fast the weapon is fired. As in Reach, crouching would reduce bloom slightly by causing the reticle to reset a bit faster.
I’ve always considered dual wielding to be an overall bad and completely unnecessary addition to gameplay. It resulted in several weapons that were originally good single-wield weapons being reduced to mere “half-guns” that had questionable efficacy when not used in conjunction with another dual-wieldable weapon. While it was a major selling point of Halo 2, it was de-emphasized in Halo 3, where more emphasis was placed on single-wield weaponry, and was eliminated entirely in ODST and Reach. This game would continue having dual wielding omitted, and all weapons would be single-wield only.
However, if dual wielding were to be included (and that would be a huge “if”), I would only apply it to handguns. While a single handgun might not be quite as effective as a single-wield weapon, they could be extraordinarily powerful if you were carrying two. It would also serve to keep the M6 and Mauler distinct from their respective counterparts (DMR for the former, shotgun for the latter; the plasma pistol is already differentiated from the plasma rifle due to it being semi-auto and having the overcharged shot). So, in the end we’d have just three dual-wieldable weapons: one with precision and headshot capability, one with anti-shield and stun capability, and another that’s designed for close-quarters combat. That provides more than enough combos to leave weapons like the plasma rifle, SMG, and Needler single-wield.
As for other aspects of dual-wielding, I think if you swap from your dual-wield combo to your other weapon, you shouldn’t drop one of the two duals. They would both be holstered, one on each leg. However, it would still require that you drop your left-hand weapon or swap to your slung/holstered weapon to throw grenades, since you would need a free hand to do so. Furthermore, you wouldn’t be able to zoom in even if the weapon is usually capable of doing so, since you would of course not be able to look through two different scopes or sets of sights at the same time. I’m still undecided on whether the player should still drop his left-hand weapon to melee. On one hand, I don’t see any reason why you can’t pistol-whip someone when holding a handgun in each hand. On the other hand, it could be considered unbalanced if the player could also melee in addition to having doubleed firepower.
A new feature I would add would be the ability to modify certain weapons beyond their default attributes. This would be something simple, like being able to add various attachments or utilize special types of ammunition, but I think it’d add some more depth to gameplay. Since this feature has the potential to complicate weapon balance in Matchmaking, it should be restricted to Campaign, Firefight, and custom games only.
As for how this feature gets utilized by the player, there is a need for some new controls and/or user interface elements. For example, a radial menu like the ones in BioShock or F.E.A.R. 2 could be utilized. Alternately, a Crysis-style interface could be used.
Damage: The base amount of damage, in hit points, the weapon inflicts per hit (or per second, for certain weapons). For explosive weapons, this is the maximum damage, which is inflicted at the center of the blast. Damage does of course drop with distance away from the blast center. Damage curves will be shown on the right (click to enlarge thumbnail).
Blast Radius: For explosive weapons, the blast radius in meters.*
Fuze Length: For grenades, how long it takes to explode once armed.
Accuracy: The maximum amount of shot spread a weapon has, in degrees. Weapons with bloom/rate of fire-based shot spread are given a range of shot spreads; the lower number is the maximum spread for when the reticle is fully contracted, while the higher number is the maximum spread for when the reticle is fully expanded. Unless otherwise noted, weapons with shot spread will have a shot pattern approximating a Gaussian distribution, much like the AR or shotgun in Halo 1. For reference purposes, one degree of shot spread will result in a pattern with a maximum possible diameter of approximately one meter at a range of 30 meters, and for purposes of comparison, in Halo 1 the pistol had a shot spread of 0.2° while the shotgun’s was 10°.
Rate of Fire: How quickly the weapon fires, in rounds per second.
Projectile Speed: The velocity of the weapon’s projectiles, in meters per second.*
Ammo Capacity: For weapons not powered by a battery, the maximum number of rounds a magazine, etc., can hold.
Max. Ammo: For weapons not powered by a battery, the maximum amount of ammunition the player can carry for the weapon, including both spare ammo and what is actually in the weapon (e.g., the AR’s max ammo is 192 rounds — 32 rounds in the in-use magazine and 160 spare rounds/five spare magazines). Specialized/non-standard ammo types around counted separately, and the player can carry just as much special ammo as they can standard ammo.
Battery Life: For battery-powered weapons, the maximum number of shots a fully-charged battery can provide before depleting.
Overheat Rate: For battery-powered weapons, how long it takes for the weapon to overheat (assuming heat gauge is at zero).
Stun: For plasma weapons, how much the weapon stuns the enemy.
Sights: The sights or scopes the weapon has or can be equipped with and their degree of magnification. If a weapon lacks sights, then 5x magnification binoculars like those first introduced in Halo 2 are activated when the players zooms.
Other Features: Any other special attributes the weapon possesses, such as headshot capability** or the ability to accept attachments (other than scopes).
Damage Modifiers: Any damage penalties or bonuses a weapon may possess. See Appendix II in Part 2 for a fuller explanation. Note that “Player Shields” and “Player Health” includes the shields and health of the Elite character in Campaign, though NPC Elites have their own modifiers. Human NPCs also take damage to health like the player does. “Sentinel Armor” modifiers apply to Enforcers and Constructors as well.
*Note: Halo 1′s code used “distance units,” which were approximately equal to 3 in-game meters, for its standard unit of length (Reach uses “world units” which are identical in size). I simply translated the distance unit figures I have for H1′s weapons back into meters. I’m not sure what Halo 2 & 3 use for units of length, though I assume they used the same units as H1 and Reach.
**Note: As in previous Halo games, headshots can only be inflicted on an enemy whose shields are down or are sufficiently weak that the weapon’s damage bleeds over to the target’s health (i.e., a headshot to an enemy with only 5 HP of shields from a headshot-capable weapon that inflicts 15 HP of damage would kill them), as shields take the same damage from a weapon regardless of where the shot hits.
NOTE: All stats for the handguns assume that they are all single-wield only. Certain stats (mainly damage, rate of fire, and/or accuracy) might change somewhat if dual wielding is retained. All handguns would have somewhat quicker melees than larger weapons and, when applicable, faster reload speeds than their larger counterparts (i.e., the pistol would reload faster than the DMR).
1. M6 Pistol
Damage: 13 (AP rounds) 25 (HE rounds) Accuracy: 0.4 to 1.5° Rate of Fire: 3.5 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: hitscan Ammo Capacity: 8 rounds Max. Ammo: 48 rounds Sights: none or 2x smart-link scope (optional attachment) Other features: Silencer (optional attachment) Flashlight (default) Variable ammo types: AP (standard) HE (special) Headshots kill instantly Damage Modifiers: Player Health: 140% Jackal Shield: 0% Hunter Armor: 20% Flood Flesh: 150% Sentinel Armor: 25% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Notes: This particular iteration of the M6 pistol would function similarly to the M6G from Halo: Reach. It would be capable of using standard light armor piercing rounds, or the explosive M225 SAP-HE rounds from Halo 1. The latter would of course be in shorter supply than the former since they are much more powerful. When using the standard AP rounds, the pistol’s per-shot power is slightly lower than the DMR’s. However, it has a higher rate of fire than the DMR, which gives it a slightly faster kill time, though this is in turn counterbalanced by the pistol being less accurate and having a considerably smaller magazine capacity. The HE rounds, however, would make the pistol into a veritable hand cannon just like the M6D, almost doubling the weapon’s firepower. The pistol could also be fitted with either the familiar 2x smart-link scope or a silencer, the latter which would be useful for stealth (the scope and silencer could be made incompatible, requiring the player to use on or the other, but not both at the same time). The silencer would of course greatly reduce the weapon’s volume, making it to where no one could hear the weapon firing past a certain relatively short range. Also, in multiplayer the silencer would make it to where the player wouldn’t show up on the motion tracker when firing while standing still. While the scope would be standard equipment for the pistol in multiplayer, I would likely include a silenced pistol as a pickup on the map and/or as part of certain loadouts in gametypes that support loadouts.
2. Plasma Pistol
Damage: 20 (normal) 70 (overcharged) Accuracy: 0° (+ homing for overcharged shot) Rate of Fire: unlimited semi-automatic Projectile Speed: 120 m/sec (normal) 75 m/sec (overcharged) Battery Life: 150 shots (normal) 12 shots (overcharged) Overheat Rate: same as in Halo 1 Stun: 0.15 sec Sights: none Other features: Overcharged shot Damage Modifiers (normal): Player Health: 60% Player Shield: 60% Elite Shield: 200% Hunter Armor: 20% Hunter Flesh: 50% Sentinel Armor: 200% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5% Damage Modifiers (overcharged): Player Health: 60% Player Shields: 200% Elite Shields: 500% Jackal Shields: 400% Hunter Armor: 25% Hunter Flesh: 50% Sentinel Armor: 200% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Notes: The plasma pistol would once again become a formidable anti-personnel weapon, functioning almost identically to how it did in Halo 1. Instead of the anemic little plasma bolts from Halo 2 & 3 (which made the weapon useless on its own as a killing tool), the normal shots would once again be capable of causing significant damage, and their stun effect, which caused an enemy’s movement speed and turn radius to decrease significantly, would return as well. The overcharged shots would, in addition to remaining an extremely effective shield-breaker (one shot fully depletes all but the strongest shields), once again be capable of causing damage to a target’s health (note that bleed-through would not apply to charged shots). Their tracking would also be like it was in Halo 1: good but not too good, unlike in Halo 2 where the charged shots never missed what they tracked or in Halo 3 where the tracking was negligible and required a somewhat difficult-to-get lock-on. They would still be capable of temporarily disabling a vehicle. Given how effective the charged shots would prove to be, I might retain the feature where the battery continually depletes when a charge is held. With the offensive capabilities closer to the Halo 1 version combined with the ability to disable vehicles, the plasma pistol would be a versatile, effective, standalone weapon that is outright deadly in the right hands.
Damage: 8 to 160 (8 per pellet × 20 pellets per shot) Accuracy: 10° Rate of Fire: 2 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: 600 m/sec Ammo Capacity: 5 shells Max. Ammo: 25 shells Sights: none Other features: enhanced melee damage (+5 to base) Damage Modifiers: same as Shotgun
Notes: The Mauler wouldn’t change appreciably from how it functioned in Halo 3. While it has less accuracy than the shotgun (due to its shorter barrel, for purposes of the fiction) and inflicts less damage, it fires twice as fast, reloads much faster, and the blade on the handle would give it enhanced melee damage. The Mauler-melee combo, a popular attack in Halo 3, would not be as easy to execute since the melee lunge would likely be removed, though it would still be very dangerous. In fact, when using a Mauler in multiplayer against an opponent with full shields and health, with the damage figures listed above a single well-placed shot (at least ¾ of all the pellets) at very close range followed up with a jumping melee would be fatal, though in order to kill someone with a running melee as a follow-up attack, it would require at least 19 of the 20 pellets to hit an opponent beforehand. Taking into account damage modifiers, the player may wish to strike with a melee first and then fire the Mauler, which would likely prove a more dangerous attack than shooting first and then meleeing.
1. MA5 Assault Rifle
Damage: 10 Accuracy: 0.5° to 2.5° Rate of Fire: 10 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: 900 m/sec Ammo Capacity: 32 rounds Max. Ammo: 192 rounds Sights: none Other features: 1.5x headshot damage Flashlight (standard attachment) Grenade Launcher (optional attachment) Variable ammo types: AP (standard) "Shredder" (special) Damage Modifiers: Jackal Shield: 0% Hunter Armor: 20% Hunter Flesh: 60% Flood Flesh: 70% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Notes: The AR would be as accurate as its Reach incarnation, with extremely low shot spread when firing in short, controlled bursts. It’d be the same old “spray” but with a lot less “pray.” However, it would have more punch than the Reach AR, doing more damage per shot. It would also receive several notable alterations. For one, it would be capable of inflicting extra damage with headshots, much like the Halo 1 version of the plasma rifle (see below). It would also be capable of being modified much like the pistol. The default configuration would be a bare-bones affair that’s no different from what we’ve seen in the past, except the flashlight would be treated as an attachment (though it’d come standard). However, the flashlight attachment could be swapped out with secondary weapon attachments. The most viable attachment would an underslung 40 mm grenade launcher. The grenade launcher attachment would have the same velocity and ballistic arc as the Reach grenade launcher. The grenade would inflict the same damage and have the same blast radius as a plasma grenade (though the damage modifiers would be the same as the frag grenade’s), but it would lack the EMP effect associated with the Reach grenade launcher. Another possible attachment could be a shotgun, which would be comparable to the Mauler in terms of performance. Either attachment would obviously give the AR much greater firepower. A secondary weapon attachment would be treated as an alternate ammo type in terms of how the player toggles between it and standard rifle fire. There could also be non-weapon attachments, such as a low-power scope (say, 1.5x or 2x magnification), which could replace the familiar electronics suite (ammo counter & compass) structure.
The AR would also be capable of using multiple ammo types. In addition to the standard armor-piercing rounds, there would be the “shredder” rounds mentioned in the novels, which are apparently some sort of fragmenting/frangible rounds designed to “shred” soft targets. Therefore, the shredder round’s special attribute would be the ability to inflict double damage on any organic enemy. However, they would still inflict the base 10 HP of damage on shields, Hunter armor, or mechanical targets. Another possible ammo type would be incendiary rounds, which could cause extra damage to mechanical targets as well as ignite combustible targets such as a Grunt’s methane tank. There could very well be other special ammo types, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head right now.
2. Plasma Rifle
Damage: 14 Accuracy: 0.1° to 0.5° Rate of Fire: 10 shots/sec Projectile Speed: 150 m/sec Battery Life: 200 shots Overheat Rate: 3 sec @ max. ROF Stun: 0.05 sec Sights: none Other Features: 1.5x headshot damage Damage Modifiers: Player Health: 50% Player Shield: 150% Elite Shield: 200% Hunter Armor: 20% Hunter Flesh: 50% Sentinel Armor: 200% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Notes: The plasma rifle would be as formidable as it was in Halo, perhaps more so, including regaining the ability to inflict extra damage with headshots (the H1 PR was the only automatic weapon in the series with the capacity to do extra damage with headshots) and, more notably, the ability to briefly stun an opponent. One thing I never liked about the H1 version is that there was substantial shot spread with sustained fire (the maximum shot spread was 5°), which hardly makes sense given that its relatively slow projectiles require a substantial amount of leading to hit a target past close range. Therefore, shot spread would be reduced considerably for this version. Since this accuracy increase may make it too effective of a weapon if it had the same amount of stun as in Halo 1, I would likely cut the stun to a third of what it was in that game, thought if it proves necessary to do so I would eliminate it entirely.
3. M7 Submachine Gun
Damage: 6 Accuracy: 0.8° to 4° Rate of Fire: 15 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: 600 m/sec Ammo Capacity: 48 rounds Max. Ammo: 288 rounds Sights: 1.5x reflex scope Other features: 1.5x headshot damage Silencer Flashlight Damage Modifiers: same as Assault Rifle
Notes: When I first wrote this article, I had conflicting ideas on how to differentiate the SMG from the AR, though Halo 3: ODST has provided some solutions, which I’ve mixed with a couple of ideas of my own. While the SMG would be both weaker per-shot and less accurate than the AR (recoil would be removed, though), it would have a higher rate of fire. While it wouldn’t have as many attachments as the AR or any special ammo types, it would be capable of utilizing a silencer, which would function identically to the one used by the M6 pistol, rendering the weapon more or less inaudible past a relatively short distance and not having the player show up on the motion tracker when firing while stationary. The silencer would be equipped to the SMG by default wherever it occurs, thus eliminating the need to find one (removing the silencer, if an option, could come with a slight increase in damage and/or accuracy). So, what it lacks in accuracy and raw power it makes up for in stealthiness. The stealth aspect would be the main means of keeping if from being redundant. Furthermore, unlike the AR, the SMG would come equipped with a scope by default.
Damage: 18 Accuracy: 0.2° to 1° Rate of Fire: 7.5 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: 180 m/sec Ammo Capacity: 24 rounds Max. Ammo: 168 rounds Sights: none Other features: 1.5x headshot damage Enhanced melee damage (+5 to base) Damage Modifiers: Jackal Shield: 0% Hunter Flesh: 80% Flood Flesh: 80% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Notes: While the Spiker wouldn’t have the versatility or fast-moving projectiles of the AR, the stealth capacity of the SMG, or the anti-shield and stun abilities of the plasma rifle, it would have more raw power than all three. Though the spikes are relatively slow (only about 20% faster than a plasma rifle bolt), they would inflict a substantial amount of damage. Combine that with 50% damage increase for headshots, and a player with good aim and leading skill could kill an enemy quicker than they could with an AR or PR. Its magazine capacity would be cut in half to balance the increase in per-shot power. Also, the Spiker’s dual bayonets would give it higher melee damage than the AR or PR. Finally, the spikes would still ricochet off of hard surfaces and would exhibit a ballistic arc flight path (i.e., the spikes fall over distance).
Damage: 10 (needle) 80 (supercombine) Blast Radius (supercombine): 3 m Accuracy: 4° (random spread) + homing Rate of Fire: 10 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: 18 m/sec Ammo Capacity: 19 needles Max. Ammo: 95 needles Sights: none Other Features: "Supercombine" capability Damage Modifiers (needle): Jackal Shield: 0% Hunter Armor: 20% Flood Flesh: 120% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 0% Damage Modifiers (explosion): Jackal Shield: 150% Elite Shield: 300% Hunter Armor: 20% Hunter Flesh: 50% Flood Flesh: 300% Sentinel Armor: 400% Vehicle Armor: 20%
Notes: This version of the Needler would be most similar to the Halo 1 version. There are two slight differences, though. First, the “warm-up” time where the weapon takes a second or two to get to its maximum rate of fire would be removed — the rate of fire would be a flat 10 rounds per second. The second change is making the needle velocity and tracking closer to the Halo 3 version. In order to accomplish this, the speed of the needles would be increased by at least 50%, possibly more if need be. The degree with which the needles homed in on targets seemed good enough in Halo 1, based on the apparent turn radius, but at a sluggish 12 m/sec, the needles moved too slowly. The bumped up speed should make the tracking mode more effective than it was in Halo 1, perhaps to the degree of efficacy seen in Halo 3. However, unlike in Halo 2 & 3, the “supercombine” would no longer be instantly fatal to most enemies, that is unless of course the target is weak enough to die from the damage, and it would rather inflict only 33% more damage than it did in Halo 1 (according to Halowiki.net, it inflicted about the same damage as a rocket in Halo 3, thus explaining its lethality). Of course, this means the Needler wouldn’t be quite the go-to gun anymore for dealing with Brutes (7 needles plus a supercombine only inflicts 150 damage, while a Brute Minor has 210 HP of health on Legendary), so complacent players who are used to spraying pink death at them will have to either get more creative or just burn through more needles.
Rifles (Non-automatic) & Other Long Guns
1. BR55A3 Designated Marksman Rifle
Damage: 16 Accuracy: 0.05° to 0.75° (random spread) Rate of Fire: 2.5 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: hitscan Ammo Capacity: 15 rounds Max. Ammo: 90 rounds Sights: 3x optical scope Other features: Headshots kill instantly Flashlight Damage Modifiers: Player Health: 150% Elite Shields: 125% Jackal Shield: 0% Hunter Armor: 20% Flood Flesh: 125% Sentinel Armor: 20% Light Vehicle Armor: 15% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 10%
Notes: This iteration of the DMR would function almost identically to the DMR from Reach. The DMR is the best mid-range weapon in the series since Halo 1′s M6D pistol, and is far better than the random, inconsistent burst-fire BR from Halo 2 & 3. The only major change I’d make to it is increasing the maximum shot spread when firing at its maximum rate of fire (or “spamming the trigger,” as it’s sometimes known) by about 50% to reduce its efficacy in close quarters. In regards to the Halo fiction, it probably wouldn’t be the same model weapon as the Reach DMR (M392), as the player would be fighting mainly alongside Marines once again instead of the Army (the M392 was exclusively Army weapon after being phased out of service in the Marine Corps in 2548). Rather, it would be explained as being in the same family of guns as the BR, just with a different designation and capabilities. It would, however, still look more or less like the DMR, which had a similar profile to the BR sans the carrying handle.
2. Covenant Carbine (Needle Rifle)
Damage: 11 (needle) 80 (supercombine) Blast Radius (supercombine): 3 m Accuracy: 0.05° to 1° (random spread) Rate of Fire: 3.5 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: hitscan Ammo Capacity: 21 rounds Max. Ammo: 126 rounds Sights: 2x smart-link scope Other Features: Headshots kill instantly "Supercombine" capability Damage Modifiers (needle): Elite Shields: 120% Jackal Shield: 0% Hunter Armor: 20% Flood Flesh: 125% Light Vehicle Armor: 15% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 10% Damage Modifiers (supercombine): same as Needler
Notes: I’m still not set on whether I’d want the Carbine to function like its Halo 2 & 3 incarnations or like the Needle Rifle from Reach. I’m leaning towards the Needle rifle, as the old Carbine was more or less functionally the same as any old UNSC weapon, just purple and alien-y looking and firing green bullets. Also, in the Halo fiction, the Carbine apparently wasn’t introduced by the Covenant (or at least cataloged by the UNSC) until 2551, and this game would likely take place shortly before then. If it did function like the needle rifle (and all the stats above assume it does), it would be functionally near-identical to its Reach incarnation. Specifically, the needles would only be capable of supercombining in an unshielded enemy, unlike the Needler which would once again be capable of causing a supercombine even against shielded infantry (this could be explained in the fiction as the rifle’s brittle, high-velocity needles shattering on impact with shields and other “hard” targets). It would still take only three rifle needles to create a supercombine, which would be identical to that of the Needler.
3. SRS 99D AM Sniper Rifle
Damage: 100 Accuracy: 0° + recoil Rate of Fire: 1.5 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: hitscan Ammo Capacity: 4 rounds Max. Ammo: 24 rounds Sights: 5x/10x smart-link scope Other features: Night vision (usable only when zoomed in) Headshots kill instantly Penetrates lightly-shielded/unshielded infantry Variable ammo types: APFSDS (standard) Incendiary (special) Damage Modifiers: Jackal Shield: 0% Elite Shield: 150% Hunter Armor: 20% Hunter Flesh: 200% Flood Flesh: 5% Sentinel Armor: 20% Light Vehicle Armor: 15% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 10%
Notes: The sniper rifle would only experience a few small changes. It would retain the recoil and slower rate of fire it had in Halo 3 and Reach. The shots would still be able to punch right through most enemies and keep going (they would also ignore any kind of helmet protection any enemy may have), damaging anything else that might be behind them. However, this would only happen if the shot hit an enemy with light shields (<100 hit points worth of shielding) or no shields. If a shot cannot break a shield, it would be stopped by it. The shots would also not penetrate more heavily armored targets like Sentinels, Hunters, and vehicles. I would also re-add the night vision ability from Halo 1. The night vision can be rendered nearly useless by bright lights, particularly sunlight. Also, the sniper can inflict damage to vehicles like in Reach, though it wouldn’t be quite as effective in this regard (e.g., a Banshee would take up to eight hits to shoot down). I’d also consider giving the sniper rifle alternate types of ammo; in addition to the standard armor piercing rounds, there could be incendiary rounds, which could cause extra damage to mechanical targets as well as ignite combustible targets such as a Grunt’s methane tank. Finally, to make no-scoping an even greater challenge, the sniper rifle’s crosshair would either be a single dot or not exist at all when not zoomed in rather than having the same crosshair it does when zoomed in (savvy players could use the computer display seen on the scope).
4. Focus Rifle
Damage: 150 per second Accuracy: 0° Rate of Fire: continuous beam Projectile Speed: hitscan Battery Life: 15 seconds of fire Overheat Rate: 3 seconds of continuous fire Sights: 4x/8x smart-link scope Other features: Thermal vision (usable only when zoomed in) Damage Modifiers: Jackal Shield: 50% Hunter Armor: 10% Flood Flesh: 50% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Notes: While the beam rifle is essentially a re-skinned sniper rifle that overheated instead of requiring reloading, the focus rifle introduced in Reach is a far more distinct weapon, functioning like a Sentinel beam that’s equipped with a sniper scope (in fact, according to the fiction it was developed by reverse-engineering the Sentinel beam). For this reason, I’d pick the focus rifle over the beam rifle as the Covenant sniper weapon. However, it would be tweaked a bit from how it functioned in Reach. First off, it would receive an increase to its damage. Given how it functions, I feel it is too weak in Reach as compared to the sniper rifle. It should take not more than about 50% longer to kill an enemy with continuous fire as it would to kill an enemy with two sniper rifle rounds.
Other changes would be giving its scope different magnification levels than the sniper rifle, which would further differentiate the two. Also, instead of night vision, it would have thermal vision. Both are good for dark places, though the thermal vision’s ability to detect heat sources gives it different strengths and weaknesses. For example, enemies or running vehicles are more well-defined (oranges, yellows, & reds against the colder blue background) and it can see through fog or even detect camouflaged enemies, but certain enemies won’t show up (the insect-like Drones, for example, as they are presumably cold-blooded) and anything sufficiently hot, such as a large fire, can effectively blind it. Finally, the scope would also have a range indicator like the sniper rifle’s, though in Covenant script.
5. M90 Shotgun
Damage: 18 to 270 (18 per pellet × 15 pellets per shot) Accuracy: 7° Rate of Fire: 1 round/sec Projectile Speed: 480 m/sec Ammo Capacity: 6 shells Max. Ammo: 30 shells Sights: none Other Features: Flashlight Damage Modifiers: Player Shield: 50% Jackal Shield: 0% Hunter Armor: 10% Flood Flesh: 150% Sentinel Armor: 50% Light Vehicle Armor: 10% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Notes: The shotgun would have the same ammo capacity it had in Halo 3, but otherwise it would function very similar to how it did in Halo 1. It would fire 15 pellets per shot, with the pattern retaining the same Gaussian distribution from H1 (as opposed to Halo 2′s “donut spread” or Halo 3′s random distribution). However, to keep up with the rest of this game’s accurized arsenal, the maximum spread would be reduced substantially from the usual 10 degrees. The damage done per pellet would no longer drop with distance (it ranged from 25 to 18 to 8 damage points per pellet in Halo 1). Since the shotgun would be considerably more accurate than before, I chose the middle value as the single invariable damage figure. It would do less damage up close than before, though the damage is still more than enough to put down many enemies in Campaign or an opponent in multiplayer with one well-placed shot within a few meters.
1. Rocket Launcher
Damage: 250 (rockets) 120 (missiles) Blast Radius: 6 m (rockets) 2 m (missiles) Accuracy: 0° Rate of Fire: 1 round/2 sec Projectile Speed: 30 m/sec (rockets) 45 m/sec (missiles) Ammo Capacity: 2 rockets Max. Ammo: 8 rockets Sights: 2x smart-link scope Other features: Enhanced melee damage (+10 to base) Variable ammo types: SPNKr rockets (standard) Homing missiles (special) Damage Modifiers: Hunter Armor: 60% Flood Flesh: 200% Sentinel Armor: 40%
Notes: The rocket launcher functions almost identically to how it did in Halo 1. The rate of fire is the same, the reload speed would be as slow, and the rockets travel at about the same speed. However, I would seriously consider retaining homing rockets, but only as a special ammo type, perhaps something similar to the missiles from the Halo 3 Missile Pod. These missiles would inflict much less damage than the standard rockets and have a smaller blast radius, but would fly faster. Also, they would lock on to vehicles in the same fashion as the Halo 2 rocket launcher and have a similar degree of tracking. Unlike other special ammo types, ammo packs containing missiles could be found on maps that utilize vehicles. Having missiles as a specialized rather than standard munition would place more emphasis on the usage of weapons that require leading one’s target. Homing missiles, which due to their greater ease of use (homing weapons inherently require less effort to use to maximum effect than do non-homing weapons), would be more valued and sought-after than other munitions effective against vehicles, thus requiring them to be scarcer.
2. Fuel Rod Gun
Damage: 75 Blast Radius: 4.5 m Accuracy: 0° + ballistic arc Rate of Fire: 1 round/sec Projectile Speed: 45 m/sec Ammo Capacity: 5 fuel rods Max. Ammo: 20 fuel rods Sights: 2x smart-link scope Other Features: Enhanced melee damage (+10 to base) Damage Modifiers: Jackal Shield: 200% Elite Shield: 140% Hunter Armor: 60% Flood Flesh: 300%
Notes: The fuel rod gun would retain the same appearance and functionality (i.e., magazine-fed, same RoF) it had in Halo 2, 3, & Reach, but the projectiles would behave more or less like they did in the first game, inflicting the same damage and having the same ballistic arc trajectory. Unlike in Halo 2 & 3, where the projectiles had a slight homing ability when used by NPCs, the FRG would not have any homing ability in this game.
3. Brute Shot
Damage: 60 Blast Radius: 3 m Accuracy: 0° + ballistic arc Rate of Fire: 1.5 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: 45 m/sec Ammo Capacity: 6 grenades Max. Ammo: 24 grenades Sights: none Other features: Enhanced melee damage (+10 to base) Damage Modifiers: Flood Flesh: 300% Hunter Armor: 50% Sentinel Armor: 40% Vehicle Armor: 50%
Notes: The Brute Shot would do more damage than it did in Halo 3, taking only 3 direct or near-direct hits to kill someone in multiplayer, but it would have a slightly lower rate of fire. Otherwise, the BS’s grenades would have the ballistic trajectory they always had.
4. Spartan Laser
Damage: 400 (80 per pulse) Accuracy: 0° Rate of fire: 3-second charge time + cool-off period Projectile speed: hitscan Battery Life: 4 shots Overheat Rate: 1 shot Sights: 2x smart-link scope Other features: Overpenetrates targets Damage Modifiers: Hunter Armor: 50% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 75%
The laser cannon would function pretty much identically to the Reach version. Instead of a single blast, each laser shot would consist of five distinct pulses separated by about a frame. This means that it is capable of grazing shots: if only one pulse catches the target, it may fail to take it out, though it would still inflict a decent amount of damage.
5. Heavy Machine Gun
Damage: 18 Accuracy: 1 to 2.5° (as turret) 2 to 5° + recoil (when detached from mount) Rate of fire: 10 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: 900 m/sec Ammo Capacity: infinite (mounted) or 200 rounds (detached) Sights: none Other Features: Turret-based weapon, removable from mount Damage Modifiers: same as Assault Rifle
Notes: This version of the .50-caliber machine gun turret would likely remain a single-barreled weapon like the Reach HMG and would still place the player in third-person view and slightly reduce their speed. It would be considerably less accurate than the assault rifle as well when it’s removed from its mount due to the awkward nature of the “Hollywood-style” handling of the weapon, and on top of that it would generate prodigious recoil when firing at its maximum rate.
6. Plasma Cannon
Damage: 14 Accuracy: 0° (as turret) 0.5 to 1.5° (when removed from mount) Rate of Fire: 12 rounds/sec Projectile Speed: 150 m/sec Battery Life: infinite (mounted) or 150 shots (detached) Heat Capacity: infinite Stun: 0.05 seconds Sights: none Other Features: Turret-based weapon, removable from mount Damage Modifiers: Same as Plasma Rifle
Notes: The plasma cannon would once again be the Covenant equivalent of the human’s machine gun turret. It’s basically a somewhat faster-firing version of the plasma rifle that doesn’t overheat. While it does less damage over time than its UNSC counterpart and requires leading one’s target at longer ranges, it does have a slight stun effect. Also, even though it doesn’t overheat, it does have some shot spread when being carried around due to the same awkward handling it shares with the Gatling gun. This inaccuracy should balance out the aspects of the weapon that give it an advantage over the plasma rifle. As with the HMG, the plasma cannon would force the player into third-person view, though unlike in Halo 3 the player would retain full or nearly full mobility.
1. Energy Sword
Damage: 151 Battery Life: variable (10 kills in multiplayer) Damage Modifiers: Elite Shields: 300% Jackal Shields: 200% Flood Flesh: 150% Hunter Armor: 20% Light Vehicle Armor: 25% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 10%
Notes: The sword would likely function differently since I would most likely remove the lunge. Instead of a lunge, it would swing in a wide arc, inflicting damage to everything within an area of effect wider than that of a regular melee, similar to how Zealots in Halo 1 could kill multiple targets with a single sword slash. The existence of sprint should more than make up for the lack of a lunge. Attacking with the handle of a depleted sword would be functionally identical to a regular melee, including damage and modifiers thereof.
2. Gravity Hammer
Damage: 150 (hammer impact) 80 (shockwave) Standard melee damage (handle strike) Blast Radius (shockwave): 6 m Battery Life: 20 shockwaves Damage Modifiers (hammer impact): Light Vehicle Armor: 50% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 25% Damage Modifiers (shockwave): Elite Shield: 200% Flood Flesh: 300% Vehicle Armor: 10%
Notes: The hammer would, like the sword, probably function somewhat differently since there would likely no longer be any lunging melees. The hammer strike would be slower and have a somewhat longer range than a regular melee attack (0.5 to 1 m longer) but otherwise function the same way. The shockwave it generates would be centered on its head, and like before would be much like a grenade blast, except it’s harmless to the hammer’s user and generates considerably more force, enough to knock infantry back a couple of meters and even flip a light vehicle over. It could still also deflect grenades and rockets. If the player hits their target with the hammer, both direct impact and maximum shockwave damage is inflicted. Once the battery is exhausted, the player could still strike with the head, though striking with the handle would be faster. Attacks with the handle would function identically to regular melee attacks.
3. Sentinel Beam
Damage: 90 per second Accuracy: 0° Rate of Fire: continuous beam Projectile Velocity: hitscan Battery Life: 20 seconds of fire Overheat Rate: 2.5 seconds of continuous fire Sights: none Other Features: see below Damage Modifiers: Hunter Armor: 20% Light Vehicle Armor: 20% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Notes: While the Sentinel Beam isn’t as powerful as most other weapons, it is a hitscan weapon with no shot spread, so hopefully that makes up for its lack of raw power. If not, I may add some form of stun to it like the plasma rifle, though since it doesn’t fire individual shots like the PR, the SB would have to reduce a player’s movement somewhat, perhaps by 10%. Alternately, the beam could push targets around, which it appears to do in Halo 3′s Campaign. In addition to keeping opponents at bay, it could even shove a target off a ledge, which could potentially kill them depending on how far they fall and/or how much prior damage they sustained.
Damage: 75 per second (direct fire stream) 30 per second (burn damage) Accuracy: see Notes Rate of Fire: continuous flame Fuel Capacity: 15 seconds of fire Sights: none Other Features: Sets most targets, objects, & surfaces on fire Damage Modifiers: Jackal Shield: 50% Elite Shield: 150% Hunter Armor: 50% Hunter Flesh: 50% Sentinel Armor: 50% Light Vehicle Armor: 20% Heavy Vehicle Armor: 0%
Notes: The flamethrower’s stream of napalm would likely retain the same area of effect and limited range as the Halo 3 version. Like the other third-person view weapons (the HMG & plasma cannon), the player would retain full or nearly full mobility when carrying the flamethrower. The flamethrower is dangerous not because it can kill more quickly than other weapons, but because it sets things on fire. A target, object, or surface remains on fire for several seconds after they were last exposed to the fire stream. A short burst is enough to kill an opponent in multiplayer, though they’ll still live long enough to potentially initiate a counterattack before they burn to death. Of course, constant exposure to the fire stream will kill an enemy much quicker.
NOTE: By default, players would be limited to two of each type of grenade. Grenades would have the same throwing arc as in Halo 1.
1. Fragmentation Grenade
Damage: 100 Blast Radius: 7.5 m Fuze Length: 1 sec Damage Modifiers: Hunter Armor: 25% Hunter Flesh: 50% Flood Flesh: 200% Sentinel Armor: 40% Vehicle Armor: 50%
Notes: The frag grenade would combine aspects of its Halo 1 and Reach incarnations. It would inflict about the same base damage as in Reach (H1′s grenades are about 20% more powerful than Reach’s, relatively speaking), but have the same fuze length as the Halo 1 frags. Also like in Halo 1, they would arm only after they came to rest.
2. Plasma Grenade
Damage: 120 (splash damage) infinite (against most "stuck" targets; see below) Blast Radius: 6 m Fuze Length: 3 seconds Special features: Adheres to infantry & vehicles Damage Modifiers: Jackal Shields: 200% Elite Shields: 300% Hunter Armor: 25% Hunter Flesh: 50% Flood Flesh: 200% Sentinel Armor: 300% Vehicle Armor: 50%
Notes: The plasma grenade would function the same as it did in Halo 1. While it can stick to an enemy to kill them instantly (this does not apply to vehicles or certain infantry units; refer to the Enemies section for infantry units that are resistant), it has a longer fuse and a smaller blast radius than a frag grenade. It also would the same base damage as it did in Halo 1, which means that it cannot kill an opponent in multiplayer who has full shields and health. This contrasts to the Halo 2 & 3 incarnations of the plasma ‘nade, which in multiplayer can instantly kill an enemy with full shields and health without having to stick them, which kind of diminishes if not defeats the purpose of the weapon’s most distinguishing characteristic.
3. Incendiary Grenade
Damage: 60 per second Blast Radius: ~2 m or 1 target Fuze Length: detonates on impact (flame lasts for 4 seconds) Other features: Sets most targets, objects, & surfaces on fire Damage Modifiers: same as Flamethrower
Notes: I really liked the incendiary “firebomb” grenades from Halo 3. However, it wasn’t very common as only Brute Stalkers, which were rather uncommon, carried them in Campaign, and they were rarely found as pickups. They were also not found by default on any multiplayer map, supposedly because it would cause framerate issues or something to that effect. I’d like to change that. Firebombs would be carried by a wider variety of Brutes and could even be found as pickups in weapon caches. They would be found on certain maps in multiplayer as well, though they might not be as common as plasma grenades. They would function pretty much the same as in H3, bursting on impact and setting things on fire. It would set fire to only one target or, if it hits a surface, create an irregularly shaped pool of flame averaging around 4 meters across. While there is no impact damage, the 2200° C fire deals a lot of damage. A direct hit on an enemy is a guaranteed kill unless they have very strong shields (e.g., an overshielded opponent in multiplayer or a high-ranking Covenant soldier). Anything stepping into the pool of flame would suffer considerable damage as well.
4. Lotus Anti-tank Mine
Damage: 250 Blast Radius: 6 m Fuze Length: Proximity fuze, 3 sec. arm time Damage Modifiers: Same as Rocket Launcher
Though classified as a grenade for gameplay/inventory purposes, the Lotus mine would technically function very similar to the Halo 3 trip mine, being a powerful proximity explosive. However, it would be smaller (about half the H3 model’s size) and emit no light. To reduce incidences of accidental betrayal, it would have a bright red waypoint over it that is only visible to the allies of whoever deployed it. To make it more effective than the old trip mine, the Lotus mine would have the same blast radius and inflict the same damage as the rocket launcher. Due to their power, they would be hard to come by in matchmade multiplayer, being restricted to maps that support vehicles.
(July 27, 2012) Customs Recap!