The Halo series has made plenty of refinements to multiplayer over the years, but one of the biggest changes is the addition of Warzone in Halo 5: Guardians. This massive 12-on-12 mode is bursting with new challenges and fascinating new features. All this might be a bit daunting for newcomers – or even series veterans. So here are seven key concepts to keep in mind before you enter the battlefield.
We can’t stress this enough. If you want to play Warzone for serious, plug in your headset and get vocal. All kinds of information can prove crucial, even to teammates without headsets. For example, did you make a run on an enemy base and discover that it’s only populated by computer-controlled Marines? This is very good information to share. Did you spot an enemy camping in an unusual location? Call it out, so that teammates can hunt them down whether you survive or not. The most successful teams are those who work together; don’t be afraid to start up the communication, even if no one else is talking.
Closely related to communication is the concept of the buddy system. With Warzone taking place on such enormous maps, there’s less worry about enemies being able to take out closely grouped teammates in one shot. So, find a friend or two and work in tandem; often, simply presenting more than one target to the enemy can spell the difference between a quick death and a satisfying victory. And every great driver needs a great gunner, so be sure to let your teammates know when you’re calling in a Scorpion or a Warthog.
Stay in the Game
Given that a Warzone match runs to 1,000 Victory Points, it’s easy to get discouraged if you’re losing by a few hundred. But there are loads of things that can turn the tide: legendary bosses, a run on the enemy Core, or even just dumb luck. We’ve seen game after game where the leaders got complacent and lost to a nail-biting, come-from-behind rally (and we’ve been the victims of a few, to be honest). Keep your game face on and don’t get reckless. It’s not over till it’s over!
Don’t Ignore A.I. Bosses
In Warzone, you’ve got huge swarms of human players roaming huge maps. But keep an eye out for periodic invasions of tough enemy Bosses! These high-end Covenant or Promethean targets can make the difference between a win and a loss with their hefty rewards of Victory Points. Even better? If you’re particularly lucky, you can steal a takedown out from under the enemy. Consider packing powerful long-range weapons to help make the difference.
Take a Break
Warzone is fun as all get out, but the epic matches can take a toll on your concentration. Recharge with some closer-quarters four-on-four Arena action. Breakout is particularly refreshing, with its sports-like pacing and quick-fix action. But make sure you explore all of what Arena has to offer; new modes and old favorites will have you rested and ready to jump back into the large-scale conflict in no time.
Use REQs Wisely
In Warzone, you can grab Requisitions from handy kiosks in any friendly base. Some are unlimited, able to be used in every game. But most – the ones that can really turn the tide of battle – aren’t. So, it’s key to learn the right tool for the job, and to know whether to use it or not. For example, say you’ve got a valuable Promethean invading on a Banshee. Requisitioning a rocket launcher would be a good idea! Only… not always. If you’re winning or losing by several hundred points and the game is close to wrapping up, it might be better to hang onto that launcher for another day. Take a peek at your cache of power weapons and vehicles before every match to get a sense of what you have a surplus of. But remember that Warzone keeps a stream of new REQ points flowing, which lets you unlock new packs pretty regularly. So don’t be too stingy with your single-use gear.
Remember That Everything Counts
We’ve already mentioned taking on A.I. enemies, but don’t forget that there are lots more ways to help your team out in Warzone. Capturing bases nets a nice point boost, so always stay on the lookout for poorly defended outposts. But being a good Warzone player isn’t just about scoring: You can also help immeasurably by calling out enemies, transporting teammates in multi-person vehicles, or simply just keeping the enemy busy while your buddies go for an objective. Warzone is a big mode, and your experience is going to be affected by more than just raw kills.
There’s a lot more to Halo 5: Guardians than Warzone, of course. See for yourself: The game is available right now, exclusively on Xbox One.