By now you’ve seen that Infinity’s Armory, the January update for Halo 5 Guardians has been released. You’ve likely already downloaded it too.
I’d like to take a few minutes here to go over what all was included in the update and what they each mean now and may mean for the future.
As always, click on pics to make bigger.
Okay, let’s start with the two “new” maps.
This map is a remix of Fathom. You will note many of the same elements within the map.
A huge difference though is the layout. It’s quite complex. For now, it may even be a bit confusing, until you get more used to it. Riptide has a lot more verticality to it and even includes a gravity lift. It’s not symmetrical like Fathom. There are power weapons aplenty on this map. Hydra and Fuel Rod Cannon to name a couple. There are also plenty of nooks in which to take a moment to let your shields recharge.
One thing to note is that just a few exceptions, you can toss nades over the tall walls and rain destruction down upon an unsuspecting (camping) enemy.
As this is a new map, there has not yet been a good strategy to come from gameplay yet. I’ve only played on this map three times so far. In those few games, I’ve noticed that players tend to gravitate towards top mid and also where the grave lift is. With it’s many hallways and varying levels, this could make for a great CTF, Oddball or Assault (Bomb) type map.
There are also several cool things to find in and out of the map. Placed around the map are several Grunts. Take some time to find them. (Go into a Custom game to do so, stress free of being shot at…). There are at least four that I know of. There may be more. Also, outside of the map, you’ll see a Whale breaching the water, a trio of Pelicans doing a fly-by, a couple of beach chairs and more.
So far, I’ve found this map to be complex. The texturing is great (though I personally do not like the sea foam green/teal color (personal preference). One side of the map is sandy, while the other sports leaks with water spewing out all over the floor.
Urban is the Warzone Assault variant of the Battle of Noctus. It’s a very open map as you can see form the pic above. As with all other assault variants, as the offensive team, you try to take over the garage, then the armory then blow up the core. What makes this map a little different from the other assault variants it that openess. It’s quite possible to get pistol kills from the garage to enemy base vice-versa.
As for gameplay, I’ve noted a few things. As the attacking team, you are initially at a disadvantage as you spawn very close to the garage. This gives a skilled defensive team the chance to spawn kill. (Though I haven’t seen that yet) One thing I have seen though, due to the spawns is a plethora of ground pounds from the defenders. Once the offensive team takes the garage, the armory is next. Here is where the real battle takes place. Defenders spawn mostly either at their base or (when looking at the pic above) top right. This can be exploited by offensive teams. Instead of the whole team going directly for the armory, a few Spartans can circle around (top mid of pic) a small hill and spawn kill defenders. Yes, I’ve done that. Also, with the center being circular, it’s a GREAT opportunity to do a hog run. Drivers can rack up splatters with ease, as well as gunners picking off enemies. LOTS of fun!! Well, unless you’re on the receiving end of it, LOL. Another thing I’ve noticed is that those bridges do not get used to often. That actually might be an advantage to use then. Though that will take some trial and error on your part.
Once the armory has been taken over, the defending team is hard pressed to hold the core. As with other Assault variants, the defenders are backed up into their base. They rarely spawn outside of it, from what I’ve seen, once it gets to this stage in the game. This makes it easy for attackers toga footing into the base. Whether attacking from either side or even climbing up the short walls in front and outside of the base, there are plenty of places in which to decimate the other team.
Other than Warthogs, I’ve not seen a huge use of vehicles. Sure the occasional Ghost and maybe a Gungoose or two, but not so much the bigger guns, like a Wraith or Scorpion. This may in part be due to fast matches that I’ve participated in. Your mileage may vary.
In any event, both maps are good. Riptide will definitely take more getting used to, while Urban you can jump feet first (into hell!). The only knock I can say about these two maps is that I’m not a big fan of remixes. Riptide is different enough those that you need new strategies. As for Urban, I’m not sure why this wasn’t released at the same time Noctus was. But, meh…we have it now.
There are a LOT of weapon skins that came in this update. Some good, some bad and one GREAT one!
For those who are fans of the Halo 2 BR, you’ve got it back! This iconic BR has been brought into Hallo 5 and is awesome! You want that old feeling again? It’s there. Feeling nostalgic? Bring out the H2BR! It’s a Legendary though, so don’t expect to see it too often, until you unlock it!
Next up we have the ‘Prestige” set of skins. Mainly consisting of Yellow and cyan with a thin white stripe, this skin looks pretty good and I think fits in the game better than all the rest in this update (not including the H2 BR).
The set of ‘Scratched” skins is a bit odd. It looks like something out of the ’80. I know, I live it! I’m not quite certain what 343 was going for here. But as skins go, it’s about middle of the pack for this update. Not bad, but not great either.
The Carbine skins are a real treat! Following the color scheme of the Fuel Rod skins, we have the Rain of Oblivion and Blood of Suban. The latter being noted as having needles. I’ve already got the certifications for both. (Got them both on the first day of release of the update) I have yet to use them though… I’ve completed my Carbine commendation. That’s the big reason why I haven’t used them yet. Hmm, perhaps I’ll bring them in-game for others to use???
Next we have what I consider Absurd Skins…
Okay, first before I talk about these skins, I want to go over something related. 343 wants people to take Halo competitive eSports seriously. Yet, these skins were shown off during the UK qualifiers of the Halo World Championship. What gives? Either be serious, or not. Having both in competitive is just too strange for me.
The ‘Ehh, Arr” and “Locke and Loaded” skins are a bit ridiculous, though I get the nod to Frank O’Conner’s Mister Chief and Spicy Locke. Still, is there really a place for this in Halo??? Next the FOOD skins, oh boy. A pizza skin for the AR and a French fry skin for the pistol? Really 343? This is too ‘Call of Duty’ -esque for me. It’s bad that some people now really want to get those skins. I have them both and will NEVER use them.
My friends and I joked about these two. I even came up with the idea for the next FODD skin… A salad! Yep, adorn your BR or DMR with leafy greens, red tomatoes and more. The name for the skin? Well “Tossed Salad” of course, LOL. (Seriously though 343, don’t, just don’t.)
These next 4 aren’t quite so absurd as the previous 4.
Old Abe is kind of cool. Being American, I like it, but it as well doesn’t really have a place in Halo. A story 500 years in the future where the United States is far different than what it is today. Not to mention, this does somewhat alienate non-U.S. players. Halo is a global game. I’d rather see an Earth skin. The Full Moon skin isn’t too bad. It’s not flashy like the others. I kind of like it. I did use this for a couple of games, but then reverted to my much more prefferd “Gold Standard” pistol skin. The BoomCo skins make sense from a business perspective. BoomCo, a division of Mattel, has the license to make Halo dart guns. You can find those in Toys R’ Us, Wal*Mart, Target and other stores. So bringing these toy-like skins into the game isn’t completely unexpected. I personally won’t use them. They aren’t as absurd as the food skins. Really, other than the bright colors, they aren’t bad at all.
Well, we only get one new visor in this update. Hypocenter is a pretty good gradient. Centering on the orange in the middle, it radiates light purple to dark purple towards the outer edges of the visor.
Two new stances have been made for the game. Patrol seems a little off to me. One arm holding the AR downward while the other arm just hangs to the side? That’s not how a patrolling soldier wields their weapon. Actually, I think it would have been better to swap the weapons in these two stances. Then the Patrol stance would look ‘giants’. LOL The Center Mass stance is nice. Totally fits within Halo.
There are 12 new emblems to attain in Halo 5 Guardians.Of these, nine are uncommon, then one each of rare, ultra rare, and legendary. I’m only going to point out a few of these.
Once again, the BoomCo label is included. And again, I agree with this. I’m VERY happy that the Brute emblem has been put in. Perhaps a nod to Halo Wars 2 (with it’s upcoming new Brute Villain)? the Forge Monitor is fantastic! This is definitely a nod to the Forge community. It’s nice to see 343 acknowledge them even more with this special emblem. I have it and am using it as of this writing. Now…about that number 12? Hmm, seems 343 jumped the gun there and thought their Seahawks were going to make it to the Super Bowl this year. The 12 is a nod to the “12th Man” that refers to Seahawks fans. Ah well, maybe next year, LOL. Snake makes its way back into Halo. I know a few folks that are very happy about that. The last 3 are renderings of villains. The Kig-Yar and Unggoy are funky in a cool way. The Warden is awesome! I used this until I got the Forge emblem. It’s menacing. Great addition!
Now we get to what many consider the ‘meat’ of the update. Armor/Helmet variants!
I’m not a big fan of the Stalker helmet in general. SO this one doesn’t matter much to me. That armor skin though? Wow, I dig it! It does kind of paint a target on you, but still, I like it. I used this for several days when I got it. Definitely a neat skin.
Again, as with Tracker, I’m not a big fan of the Infiltrator helmet. Too small of a visor for me. Though, I will say, the strips on it look pretty cool.The armor is definitely the better of the two Infiltrator piece, IMO.
Gungnir Dvalin..Oh my. I’ve only slightly used Gungnir armor. I haven’t yet unlocked this variant yet, but when I do, I KNOW I’ll be wearing it for a time. Something about that helmet I just really like. The Mark V Alpha is a welcome throwback to Halo CE. It most definitely fits.
Next we have two NEW armors.
Let’s start with Atlas.
The base version of Atlas is decent. The helmet is a bit big, but then, with a name like Atlas, that’s understandable. Again, I’d like to be able to change that white color to something else.
The Vigilant variant isn’t too different, with a muting of the white third color.
Unbound is a little more dramatic in color. The jaw of the helmet looks like it’s on fire a little bit. The accents on the armor are well placed. When I get both parts of Unbound, I’ll wear it too, for a time.Achilles…oh you BEAUTIFUL thing of BEAUTY! Yes, I know I said the word twice, well close to it.
Achilles is the historical maturation of the original Spartan armor of Greece. This armor however is NOT easily attainable. First, you MUST be a member of a Spartan company. Which reminds me, if you’re not in one, or yours is a bit inactive, please consider joining the official HaloFanForLife Spartan Company! https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/spartan-companies/halofanforlife
To get this armor, your Spartan Company must first COMPLETE Level 3 of ALL Spartan Company Kill Commendations.
While the armor is very cool, it’s the helmet that does it for me!!! To get that armor, your Spartan Company must complete Level 5 of all Spartan Company Kill commendations. THIS is a goal, HFFL is striving for! We might not be the first to get there, but so long as we get there, I’m fine with it!
Once I get this helmet, I am very likely NEVER going to change it to something else in Halo 5.
Before I wrap this up, let me go over some of the patches that happened in the January update, that weren’t mentioned above.
• The Warzone REQ leveling speed has been increased so you can get those higher level REQ weapons and vehicles.
• The despawn of weapons in Warzone has been increased from 5 seconds to 20. This is a VERY good thing. NO more calling in a weapon, being killed and losing that REQ. Now, if you can get back to it fast enough, you may still find that weapon there. At least you’ve got 15 more seconds to play with!
• Exploits in Basin, Deadlock, Overgrowth and Recurve fixed. (No more getting out of the map folks!)
• Fast Fall and Slide Boost exploits fixed
• Increase brightness of Classic BR scope. Is that really a good thing??
• Less melee damage when boarding Scorpions and Wraiths. (A slight bit more time for your teammates to get that ‘Busted’ medal and save your vehicle.)
• Beam Rifle “Sword of the Faithful” now grants a kill with a headshot. Whew! Thank goodness!
• Many new Forge elements added. Kill Ball, H2 BR, Gravity Volumes, Grids, Crates, Hazmat Suit (a pretty cool new addition), Locker, Shelves (Those two you will see in a map I’ve forged), and Canisters. There are varying sizes for the non-prop items. Check out the menu of which in Forge in Halo 5.
Forge bug fixes:
The following bulletin section I copy/pasted.
• General Stability updates to Forge
• Grouping two or more groups together now properly updates the budgets and works as intended
• Fixed various objects with missing descriptions (+ English strings in non-English languages)
• Fixed a crash caused by duplicating a group with a maxed out budget
• Fixed a crash caused by trying to delete scripts when none are in use.
• Fixed an issue where adding objects to groups did not reset the group count.
• Fixed an issue that capped scripts useable on an object at 7. Players can now use 8 scripts.
• Fixed crashes caused when working with groups that had objects that don’t exist
• Fixed issue with setting fog to “None” doesn’t actually result in no fog
• Forgers can no longer “weld” Mantises
• Fixed broken bullet collision for: Accent: Ceiling [32x80x16; corner; left] and Accent: Ceiling [32x80x16; corner; right]
• Resized Block [32x32x16] to be correct size
• Resized Block [64x64x48] to be correct size
• Fixed Cylinder [24x24x80; full] so collision model matches render model
• Fixed Cylinder [24x24x80; half] so collision model matches render model
• Fixed Cylinder [64x64x24; full] so collision model matches render model
• Centered text on Sign [armory; 2x10x8]
• Fixed incorrect physics behavior with the soccer ball
• Fixed some missing object/folder descriptions
• Forerunner [Pulse] sound object now attached to the correct sound
• Many objects physics changed from ‘Fixed’ to ‘Phased’ at first setting.
Okay, so let’s try to summarize this a bit. We got two ‘newish’ remixed maps. Both a good, though if you don’t like remixes, you might not be as impressed by them. The assassinations added are brutal and fantastic. Well, that’s if you want a little more violence in your Halo. And really, who doesn’t? LOL
This next part is where I see the biggest division of opinions. I’m with the crowd that wants realistic skins, not some jokester stuff like pizza and fries. I get that Halo has humor. I just think this is a bit too far. The other crowd wants ridiculousness like this. Hmm…I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.
The visor, stances and emblems are welcomed additions. Though a couple of odd choice, therein.
Armor variants are expected now at this point and 343 delivered. It’s the two NEW armor sets that steal the show though, especially the Achilles armor.
Many minor tweaks to the game. Nothing too game changing, except for possibly the added despawn time for weapons in Warzone. Exploits fixed in several maps. Finally, lots of Forge updates to existing objects and a few objects introduced.
All in all, I’d say this was a good update, with those few exceptions noted above. One thing to take from this though…Was anything added that really improves the game? No new game modes. No completely new maps. Skins, Emblems and the like are fine, but are rather simple. We want something of substance in the updates too. I’m told we will finally get Ball mode game types in February’s update. Here’s hoping that becomes reality. I’m yearning for Oddball, Grifball, and Assault (Bomb)! Not to mention, Infection and Race. These game types many feel should have been there from the release of the game. I agree. However, I think I know why they weren’t. In order to keep people checking back and playing the game longer, I think 343 believes that by adding new game types, people will come back to Halo. My issue with that? They should never feel like they want to leave Halo in the first place.
Alienating whole Halo communities such as Grifball Hub, the Racing community and Infection fans for months after the release of the game, isn’t a good sign. I do hope 343 learns a lesson from that
The other thing to consider and this goes beyond this month’s update, with 2.5 million dollars raised through REQ pack purchases, why not invest more of that, you know…into the GAME? Instead of just giving it away to pro-players. Many of which to this day continue to bitch and moan about the settings of competitive Halo.
We as a WHIOLE community need a balance of competitive and casual play. So far, Halo 5 isn’t quite doing that. It’s still way to slated towards the competitive end. This is why news such as Halo Reach having more active players per day on average than Halo 5 is not surprising and a bit disturbing. No way should a 5+ year old game be beating the NEW game. Yes, backwards compatibility is what helped spark the Reach population, but still…
Well, that’s my take on this month’s update and a few other Halo related things. DO you agree? Disagree? In part or whole? Let me know! Reply below.