First off, I am not a professional gamer – but I have dabbled in the competitive scene and usually fare well in matchmaking. The way I do things may not necessarily be the best, but I believe wholeheartedly in the principles this article talks about (at least right now).
In Halo there are three key components to you and your team’s success: communication, positioning and movement. We will discuss these three tools in depth, along with some miscellaneous tips. But first, let’s talk about how to get yourself prepared to use them.
Before anything else, follow these steps on your path to being better at Halo:
- Turn on game
- Start custom game
- Pick any map
- Run around said map
It can be boring by yourself, but this is the best way to gain the info you need. If you played sports at all, this is drilling. Scrimming against opponents will be more fun, but it won’t teach you as much or as fast as the drills. I can tell you this from personal experience: Jumping straight into matchmaking without taking the time to familiarize yourself with your environment will not go well.
Here are some things to work on during your custom games:
- Look for when and where things spawn.
- Look for and practice jumps and quick routes, with and without a flag.
- Know where you can and can’t be seen in specific strategic locations.
- Practice grenade throws and bounces.
- Practice throwing the flag. Some strategies require a well place flag throw.
Okay, the drills are done and now we can continue.
#1 Most Important Aspect of Halo:
It will take time and practice to learn the maps and their specific call-outs (Halo 5 displays call-outs for you in the bottom left corner) It will also take time to know exactly what to communicate in the short time that it is relevant. I suggest leaving your mic open and putting to words everything you see. I have gone into depth about what pieces of information to communicate in the past, so I will keep this short and only point out some issues that hinder communication in Halo.
Coordinate. There is nothing worse than watching three of your teammates jump onto a flag at the same time. Best case scenario you’ve only given up map control – worse case everyone dies and you’ve given up even more.
Don’t wait to call out a fight until after you’re dead. I see people start a fight, but wait to mention it until the they have lost. Tell me when and where you see someone. Let me know if you have 1, 2 or 3 shots into them. Let me know if they have received backup, or if you have to retreat so that I’m not left hanging on my own.
Don’t wait to call something out until you are done yelling. I get it, dying sucks and you’re mad. You died and are now tossing expletives at the jerk that just killed you, while at the same time he is turning the corner and killing me with the sword too. You could have said “sword guy coming into base right side… that MOTHER #%@$ing camper”….and achieved both good communication and your trash talk in a more appropriate order.
Don’t assume I know what happened. I’m probably also fighting, so you can’t expect me to notice that you were killed by xXR0ketUSeR420Xx with the rockets at Tower 2. When I venture over towards Tower 2 and get killed by some child wielding a WMD because he caught me by surprise, there’s some blood on your hands. Just let me know there’s an enemy presence there, with a power weapon, and even tack on how many rockets you saw him use. All of this is very valuable information.
Don’t stop talking because you are dead. Gone are the days of Halo 2 when death meant a silent teammate. In Halo 5, you can broadcast to your team after dying. You can even swivel your camera all around and see things your surviving teammates may not be able to. Be a ghost not a zombie.
Don’t be afraid to call something out for a friend. It can be hard to multitask, if you see a teammate engaging in a fight or getting caught by surprise and they’re not communicating it, call it out for the rest of the team. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Communication is the number 1 power weapon in this team based game. I can’t stress this enough. Use it and abuse it. Xbox live does not charge you per word so talk your heart out!
#2 Most Important Aspect of Halo:
On any given map In Halo, there are a number of strategically dominant positions. Sometimes these change based on game mode, team strategy and other in game shenanigans, but there will always be some. A team with superior map control skills will almost always defeat a team with inferior mechanical skills.
“What do you mean by map control?”, says the noobish voice in my head. Well, I’m glad you asked. I mean camping. Camp the hell out of a team. Set up a tent, start a fire, roast some marshmallows, fall in love with the outdoors, decide to stay, grow a beard that covers your entire face, only own one pair of clothes, try joining a wolf pack, be paranoid of the government and eventually die cold and alone…
You know, mother f***ing camping! So here are some tips for that:
Know the map: This one is simple but not so easy at first. Know how to get around, where things are, and where you should (and shouldn’t) have a presence. This will come from trial and error but an easy thing to do is to take the high ground. As you play with a team, things that work will make themselves apparent if you’re paying attention. Some strategies will evolve and others will die.
Hold the right spots: The best places to hold are ones that offer a few things: control over choke points, line of sight on significant locations, and personal safety. Sometimes you won’t be able to have all three but do you best to consider them. Don’t hang out where an easy grenade will defeat you or in a place that offers no defensive movement.
High Ground: High ground high ground high ground. Take the high ground because you can always drop down. Don’t just run blindly towards a control point or flag – in many situations the correct call involves first taking the high ground, perhaps by killing the bad guy who already has it. High ground. High ground… High ground.
Hold the lead: If the gametype is slayer and you have taken the dominant positions it is now your game to lose. Don’t die pointless deaths. If you are controlling the superior location that means you can choose when to die. If you take damage, just back away or side step into cover. It doesn’t take long for your shields to come back and your team should be able to cover you so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Do not chase kills: There are very few situations where it is worthwhile to give up a dominant position for (the possibility of) a kill. It is almost always better in the long run to lose the kill and maintain map control.
Shoot at everything that moves (of the opposite color): When you have map control, it is important to suppress the enemy. Keep the pressure on by firing anytime you see them. Even if you can only land one shot before they are back behind cover that is one less than your buddy has to land. In addition, you’ll be waging psychological warfare with an enemy who’s constantly seeing damage notifiers. You can beat a team by making them feel like they have nowhere to go.
Note that this mostly pertains to mid range weapons like the BR, Carbine, Light Rifle and Magnum. Spraying at them with an Assault Rifle at a distance is won’t do much more than give away your position.
Get kills before grabbing the flag: This one is not black and white. There will be times when getting a well timed touch on a flag will save a game, but there are many more times where holding position and securing the area will more likely lead to a flag capture.
Grab the power weapons: This goes for the power-ups like invisi and overshield as well. If it’s up, grab it. The power weapons provide leverage for map control big time. Don’t let them have anything, just implement scorched earth style shit. Even if you are not good with a particular weapon – grab it. It’s better that you have it than the opposing team. Of course, there are times when going for a power weapon might be too risky – but even then, you may be able to use it as bait. Whatever you do, just don’t forget about them. It only takes a few well placed rockets or sniper shots to break a line and turn the game around.
Don’t Panic: If you’re facing a worthy opponent, you’re going to lose map control at some point. Don’t freak out. If it’s slayer and you have the lead, you are just fine. You still have control because they will have to come to you eventually (or they lose). Keep your head down, don’t give away free kills and wait for your moment to strike.
If it’s an objective game, you are in a worse situation – but not all is lost. Please, do not run out of your base over and over trying to get that guy on Carbine 2, that’s just not going to work. Running around like a grunt is never necessarily helpful, but doing it while at a disadvantage is pointless. Coordinate your attack. Throw a grenade to push him back, wait for your team to get shots on him or suppress his teammates, and then push to initiate your assault.
#3 Most Important Aspect of Halo:
When you first start up Halo 5 and jump into a match you may feel clunky. It’s hard to explain – almost like the game feels slow with every object being blocky or having an edge of some sort. This may continue for a little while, longer perhaps for someone who has never played a Halo game before. But once you get comfortable, you will get used to it. This is one of those things that you can’t really learn just by reading about. The best ways to learn effective movement in Halo is to watch others play, or just run around maps as much as you can. When I played Halo 2 competitively we spent time just practice jumping around maps. We would look at the ground and have to make it all the way around a map hitting key jumps. Since learning this from text is unrealistic, I’ll try to keep this brief and only point out things to keep in mind while feeling it out.
Learn the maps: This point has been repeated several times now, so you have no excuses. You need to be comfortable strafing, jumping, and quickly traversing the map while under fire, and without necessarily facing the direction you’re moving.
Strafe: For anyone who plays shooters this should be second nature. Mastering the strafe in Halo can be a game changer. Throwing in a crouch or a well timed jump can really lower the amount of damage you take during a fight.
Crouch Jump: Most skill jumps In Halo 2 required the player to use a well timed crouch to reach higher locations. This is not required as much in Halo 5 because of the new vault mechanic. However, there are still jumps that need a well timed crouch. There are windows and other small openings that can be jumped into if timed correctly. Master this, and you can surprise an enemy or get out of danger quickly. It’s worth it.
Sprint: Sprinting is now in Halo, master it. Your shields will not recharge while sprinting so learn when sprinting will save your life, and when it will get you killed.
Abuse the boost: Another ability new to Halo 5 is the boost. Learn it, love it and use it often. The most obvious use for it is to make certain jumps easier (or to make them possible at all) but that’s far from boost’s only use. In a pinch, I use the boost as a quick emergency strafe, and to avoid grenades and rockets, or disorient a sniper lining up a headshot. I’ll use the boost as a mini sprint while my shields recharge, or even just to move faster from time to time. One of my favorite things to do is jump and boost backwards right before I get assassinated and take out my would be killer. Boost is my favorite new addition to Halo, abuse it.
Carry the flag: You’ll have to carry that flag eventually, so you might as well get used to it. You move slower while carrying which means some jumps will be harder or impossible to make. Practice making important jumps with the flag because it might just save a game. There will also be times where you need to throw the flag. Tossing the flag from bottom mid up into your base and out of the hands of the bad guys can save buy your team the time needed to score.
Take the time: Maps in Halo are designed to be traversed. The more you play the more you will realize that things are placed almost solely for you to jump, run or land on. Take the time to learn. Take the time to really scope out your surroundings. Practice getting from the lowest level of a map to the highest with the least amount of movement.
Inden’s Mini Miscellaneous Tips
- Don’t die. Shields respawn faster than people do. In most situations it is better for you to live than to sacrifice yourself for something.
- Shooting a grenade will trigger its explosion.
- Don’t forget to hip fire. If you get taken out of zoom or are close to mid-range shooting from the hip might be the better option.
- Lower your sensitivity. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you struggle with the precision style gameplay of Halo, try lowering your sensitivity and see if that helps.
- You can boost with the flag.
- Don’t be afraid to drop the flag and fight. Sometimes the flagnum magnum will be enough, but if you have a power weapon use it. Also don’t underestimate movement speed in a gunfight.
- Aim where their head will be. That seems silly and simple but it will take practice. Keep your reticle at head level so when a bad guy comes around a corner you can just pull the trigger. SWAT is a good way to enforce this.
- Practice with all the weapons in the game. Halo 5’s arsenal is the most well balanced that I have seen in any Halo game. Some may fit certain play styles or situations better but they all serve a purpose.
- Overshield and Invisible powerups spawn every two minutes from the time they are picked up. Keep track of their respawns and keep control of them. They are very important.
- A charged Plasma Pistol will remove an Overshield (and do other useful things, too).