Campaign Difficulties: How do they work?

Easy. Normal. Heroic. Legendary. You know the drill. Usually the difference is enemy health, enemy damage, enemy rank, and number of enemies (and probably a few other things). Halo Infinite’s campaign is introducing a new mechanic that difficulty will have to be balanced around: Spartan Core Upgrades.

It is confirmed that the five upgrades Chief can acquire are Grappleshot, Thrust, Threat Sensor, Drop Wall, and Shield Core. The first four are simply limited-use, optional equipment that you can add better abilities to, but the Shield Core seems to be a direct buff to your health. While we don’t know what every upgrade in the tree will be, I did notice that the first upgrade was, “Shields increased to 115%” (paraphrasing ya heathens). So how is this going to affect difficulty? Are enemies balanced around having that upgrade or not? If players decide not to take this upgrade for whatever reason, will the game be too hard? What if it goes the other way? Will Shield core make it too easy?

I’m sure 343 has thought of this and found a solution, but I figured I’d bring it up since I had not seen anyone else mention it.

And while we’re on the topic, do you think there will be any new skulls that affect equipment?

Well according to IGN general difficulty seems pretty tame (the gameplay footage they showed was Heroic from what they said) but that doesn’t necessarily mean Legendary is close in terms of scaling, so it could be like Halo 2/5 where your shields pop in a second.

Its not just Spartan upgrades either, ability to use Weapon/vehicle variants into any battle is absurd compared to what we used to have in previous Halos.

Bosses might be the most effective method 343i will employ to humble players. Tremonious could be a complete wuss compared to later foes. They have other things they could do, but this is what we know of so far.

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If players decide not to take this upgrade for whatever reason, will the game be too hard? What if it goes the other way? Will Shield core make it too easy?

I believe the game will have some type of scaling or adaptability to what the players does, like the upgrade they obtain. It would allow for the game to not feel too hard or too easy
Example is if the player upgrades their health, then maybe the game will multiply enemy health or damage by a certain percentage depending on difficulty and how much they’ve upgraded it. We’ll have to wait and see how they’ll handle it.

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And that’s the problem I’m worried about. If the game scales with my upgrades, am I really upgrading? If I gain 15% more health, but enemies start doing 15% more damage, what’s the point? People are going to take that perk because it makes the game easier, but how does 343 balance enemies so it doesn’t become a requirement?

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Enemies will not scale ala Skyrim or other RPG’s.

It’ll probably just follow simply conventions; as you progress through the story the enemies/encounters/bosses become more difficult, and so it encourages you (but never forces you) to explore zeta Halo beforehand and get good gear and allies.

Scaling wouldn’t even make sense as there aren’t tons of upgrade paths and there aren’t too many of them that are just power scaling.

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God I hope we don’t get H2/5. Reach and CE should be the aim IMO. Game Informer’s footage looked like Heroic, but IGN’s looked like B-roll footage on Easy. I’m sure the journalists played on Heroic like they said, but I’m not convinced. But that’s just my opinion and it’s off topic anyways.

Vehicles and weapons will be an issue, but they already have three balances.

  1. You have to find the special item in the world. This could mean finding a hidden location (that could be locked behind story progression), fighting a boss (which requires you to use your skills to earn the right to the weapon).
  2. Valor. We know that we will gain valor by completing side objectives. And we can use that valor to call in weapon, vehicle, Marines, etc. But again, this is only accomplished by defeating the Banished and earning the right to call in better things.
  3. Skill. Just being in possession of Nornfang won’t stop me from missing every shot.

That said, there isn’t really anything stopping players from cheesing bosses with powerful weapons. Of course, players could just choose not to use them. But the bosses really do look formidable, so we may need them, which again, is ok, because we earned the power skill.

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This is my guess as well. Kind of how Pillar of Autumn (CE) is super easy even on legendary, but The Maw is a struggle. So the question becomes, how difficult do the encounters become? Will the final mission assume you have every upgrade and be balanced accordingly?

Again I’m mostly concerned about the Shield Core because it gives you a raw stat boost that affects every encounter whether you want it to or not. Every other item is either limited-use or only become relevant if you chose to use it. Something like the grapple’s “shock cable” would only be useful in 1v1’s since rushing for a melee isn’t always the best idea especially when surrounded by enemies. And supposedly it is useless against Hunters.

All in all, assuming the 15% shield boost is the max shield upgrade and the rest do something more dynamic, it may end up not mattering too much.

Side note: Just thought of an idea. What if instead of being passive, permanent boost to shields, it instead unlocks the ability to find Over Shields in the world. You can hold 1 at a time and use it when you need it, but OS usually doesn’t last long in a tough fight. Maybe bosses are the only enemies that carry them (kind of like H3’s Chieftans with Invincibility), making them super rare.

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I don’t think the shield core upgrade really matters on the higher difficulties. If you are playing Legendary (as all legends should) then 15% at best is only going to give you another shot of damage, now if this were enough to survive a melee from a boss or something then maybe its amazing, but on paper doesn’t seem all that meaningful as everything just eats shields for breakfast.

What will be OP is anything that increases damage output, like maybe the Threat sensor has an upgrade where enemies in range take 30% extra damage, now that would be bonkers and would make bosses into cannon fodder.

We’ll just have to wait and see what all the different upgrades are.

Hope to see OS/Camo in Campaign for sures, haven’t seen it in a Campaign since Halo 2 IIRC.

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Good point. The natural changes in difficulty could balance out the Shield Core anyways. No one would care if the game is too easy or Easy or Normal, and Legendary is supposed to be hard. Heroic is where I hope they strike that balance.

Yeah I’d prefer 343 didn’t touch damage boost with 10 foot pole.

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I don’t believe that IGN’s footage was on Heroic.
She said that she played her 4hours on heroic but she did not say that it was Heroic in the video. She was not the only one at IGN who played it.
I’d say it was normal or easy.

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why in Johnson’s name would she not show her own footage? Not only is her footage probably better, it also doesn’t make sense because it means that she didn’t capture it which should be like videogame journalist 101.

It could just be that Legendary is a much wider gap then it is typically, or maybe that they were given game cheats… idk.

IGN is not hers. Again, she wasn’t the only person at IGN who played, it might as well be the other guy’s footage. Or someone else. She is not the editor for the channel as far as I’m aware.
You could be right ofc, I’m not claiming to know anything. I just don’t find it likely that heroic was nerfed quite that much.

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She did say she got her butt kicked quite a bit, so maybe they didn’t want to show her dying a bunch/hiding in a corner waiting for her shields to recharge. That, or other footage looked more “exciting”… which is hard to believe.

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