Halo 5 Vehicle Concerns

Introduction:

I would like to voice my concern over how 343i’s game mechanic changes will affect vehicle play in Halo 5. Specifically here, I am talking about Warthogs. The thing that kept me popping Halo 3 and then Reach into my Xbox over other games was always the vehicle and objective play. So let’s take a look at how 343i handled their first outing.

I feel some of Halo 4’s most concerning issues stemmed from going all in on the path Reach took the first steps towards. In the process it began to resemble other games of the time, losing what identified it as distinctively Halo. However, in the realm of the vehicle mechanics in a multiplayer FPS, Halo was unique. Games like Battlefield 3 had vehicles but their play was drastically different, spare aspects of the Attack Helicopter (balancing retreat vs. aggressive offense / Co-Op communication to succeed). Therefore, let’s assume Halo 4 is a good indication of 343i’s design outlook on vehicle mechanics and will balance Halo 5’s vehicles against the new mechanics much the same way they balanced them in Halo 4 vs. that games new mechanics.

Halo 4 Vehicle Issues:

343i decided that the Warthog (ergo vehicles) would no longer be the apex power weapon on large maps. They systematically degraded most aspects of the Warthog towards this end:

1. Load Outs / Ordinances: No longer did you have to fight the other team for the paper to the Warthogs rock; scouring the map for sparse power weapons (a core Halo mechanic). You could simply spawn with a Plasma Pistol / Plasma Grenade combo in your back pocket or call in a Rocket Launcher in your Ordinance. This made the game of managing threats as a driver ridiculous, since there was no limit or general location of vehicle destroying tools on the map.

2. Whittling Damage: DMRs / BRs / Light Rifles did significant damage to vehicles. This made it so that from a great distance you could disable a vehicle with no real penalty, unlike having to blow through your precious sniper ammo in previous games to stop a dominating force.

3. Independent Vehicle Health: Vehicles having their own health that could be taken away with ease made it so that after one engagement a Warthog crew had to bail or become a double kill. However, unlike your enemy you could not spawn in with a new Warthog in your back pocket. Hogs were sparse, like the tools to kill them should have been. Having a Warthog’s health higher (Reach) or tied to the occupant’s health (Halo 3) forces skill shots to kill the occupants, instead of casual shots at a large target.

4. Chain Gun Balance: The most dangerous zone for a Warthog’s safety is close range. Yet despite the overabundance of vehicle killing tools in the hands of the enemy the decision was made for a shorter range, inaccurate chain gun. This forced any offensive play straight into the danger zone, every time.

5. Mini-Map Indicator: The addition of ultra clear, orientation displaying vehicle icons on the mini-map made camping around a corner waiting for your Plasma Pistol /Plasma Grenade combo multi-kill a breeze. Whereas in previous games a Warthog’s approach was slightly veiled by the vague indicator on the mini-map.

6. Level Design: And finally, the level design. Instead of Spartans taking a risk passing through an open area on the map towards an objective, it was the Warthogs taking the risk as they were funneled down narrow paths littered with infantry cover.

Why I Love Halo Vehicles (Halo 3 / Halo Reach):

So now that we have an idea of what I feel bad vehicle mechanics are, let’s discuss why I fell so deeply in love with vehicle play in Halo (mainly Warthogs and Falcons).

The Warthog presents an impressively cooperative mechanic. Hop in the Warthog gunner seat alone and maybe you can defend a spot for 15 seconds before enemy grenades have flipped you over. Hop in the driver’s seat of a Warthog alone in Slayer and maybe you get a few splatters. However, you get two teammates in sync with each other in that thing and it’s magic. The base mechanics are easy enough to learn, but mastery of co-op sync and managing threats is a skill.

As a Driver:

1. Control: First off, Warthogs are fun to drive. The controls are tight and make sense. The e-brake mechanic allowed for some awesome split second maneuvers, like breaking over a well placed enemy grenade to send you into a rolling blender of pain towards your enemies. Also with the physics making flips semi-frequent, the ability to affect the outcome of your spinning added a real nice skill check to the controls.

2. Cooperative Focus: The enjoyment one gets out of syncing with a teammate is very unique when the majority of mechanics in games we encounter are lone wolf endeavors. You had complete control of your gunner’s line of sight on the enemy, which required skill as you often are not looking where your gunner is shooting due to the manner in which vehicles are driven in Halo. The gunner also relied solely on you to manage their vulnerability. As soon as you saw those shields stripping off, you had to find an out or you’d have a dead gunner.

3. Dynamic Threat Management: As a driver you had the ability to improve success by managing threats via situational awareness. Heightened caution near the spawn of vehicle killing weapons and the places people retreat to when they acquire those weapons could greatly improve success rates. Also having clear visual and audio indicators of imminent danger (Plasma Pistol Glow / Spartan Laser Glare / Missile Lock Sound) allowed you to respond in an attempt to save yourself. These things created nice skill check layers in your engagements.

4. Offensive Capability: You did not need to simply be a supporting player behind the wheel. You could tip encounters to your favor in offensively unique ways. A well placed collision with an enemy vehicle could send one of you tumbling into a free kill for the gunner (great risk vs. reward mechanic). If retreat was not an option, you could push forward and splatter or knock off the shields of enemies in a final attempt to stay alive. The key was that all of these offensive options were tied to your primary job, driving.

5. Map Design: Vehicles could breathe in these maps. You find a lot better balance in the common areas between Infantry Zones and Vehicle Zones. A good Hybrid Zone would not have a small funnel with tons of infantry cover; nor would it have wide open space with no cover. However, there were still very distinct Infantry Zones and Vehicle Zones. Players would be enticed into passing into an opposing zone (Power Weapons / Objective Shortcuts for Infantry & Objectives / Holdouts for Vehicles). You could take vehicles wherever you wanted. It wasn’t typically easy to drive a Hog into these high risk areas and you usually didn’t last long, but you had the choice and freedom to get into exciting and unusual places.

6. Play Maker: Some of the most exciting moments in objective games and also the most soul crushing for me usually revolved around vehicles. These things could turn the tide of battle in the final moments in incredible ways. From crushing a flag carrier on a mongoose with a Warthog collision to a sudden death triple base splatter flag return for the win, vehicles were the apex power weapon. The feeling of loading up in the Warthog for the final Hail Mary in an objective match always got the blood rushing.

As a Gunner:

1. Offensive Capability: The turret on the Warthog was a murder machine. It found a nice balance between skill and sheer power. You didn’t have to be spot on all the time to manage a triple kill, but if you were praying while you be spraying things wouldn’t go well. It was for all intents and purposes, a power weapon.

2. Dynamic Threat Management: As a gunner you had awesome opportunities to manage threats. If you flew around a corner on three enemies you had a split second to assess the situation. Who is actually facing you? Do any of them have power weapons? What is my driver going to do? Etc. In that moment you had to commit, a mistake could turn a triple kill for your team into a double kill for three shieldless enemies. There was a nice skill check when engaging another Hog. The target you chose all depended on the situation. Escaping flag? Aim for the carrier, or driver if you don’t have a clean shot, to stop momentum. They got the jump on you? Aim for the gunner and leave their hog defenseless. Not feeling accurate today? They’re getting a double kill.

3. Cooperative Focus: Last, but probably most importantly is the Co-op feel. No matter how good your shooting is, if your driver made a bad call or not the call you were expecting, you are dead. No matter how awesome their driving is, if you’re shooting down the clouds or shooting the guy tea bagging himself next to the rocket guy, you are dead. A delicate balance of communication and understanding was required to keep the machine running. It was your job to protect your driver, his job to keep you moving. When the hog flipped, the driver popped out fast enough for him to flip it right side up without you missing a shot. This unique feeling of Mavrick and Goosing the joint up was a thirst I never quenched.

As a Spartan:

1. Teamwork: As community member Evil Mr. -Yoink!- said, “It takes a team to operate a Warthog; it should take a team to take one down.” For me this is a positive as a Spartan. The excellent teamwork of a Warthog crew forces it’s influence out onto the other team. You have to communicate and work together to topple the giant. It’s hard to single handedly hold off an enemy team and their Warthog to get a spawning power weapon alone. A well placed frag grenade may flip a hog temporarily, but without a team there to throw more nades and pepper the exposed driver; the Hog will usually be back up and running in no time.

2. Weapon Balance: It is fun to be challenged. Having vehicle killing weapons have indicators to the driver adds an exciting dynamic. Waiting until the vehicle is in the wide open before aiming the Missile Pod at it or charging the laser to its popping point before barely coming out of cover took skill and tactics. Having to find the balance between notifying the driver and not blowing yourself up adds quite a bit of fun.

3. High Jacking: The addition of Jacking vehicles created an awesome dynamic for Spartans to turn the tides. It is a very high risk maneuver, since you have to get up in their grill to pull it off. The payoff is incredible since it doesn’t destroy the vehicle; it simply turns one team’s asset into the other team’s asset.

4. Secondary Objective: Another thing I like about having powerful vehicles on the map is that it creates a very clear new objective. When a Warthog is dominating, it inherently pulls more agro from all the players. Instead of your goal being to just kill more people than the other team or capture a flag, you find new purpose. You strive to free yourself from the crushing power of the Warthog power weapon and when you manage it, you find victory in it.

Halo 5 Vehicle Affecting Mechanics:

I am a fan of the new mechanics in Halo 5. The Infantry only portion of the Beta worked a delicate magic of feeling like Halo, but not like an eight year old game. However, there is a massive concern for what these mechanic changes mean for the Vehicle game. So let me briefly discuss some of these concerns with speculation, since we don’t even know if vehicles are in Halo 5. Also, let’s assume the vehicle mechanics are similar to Halo 3 / Reach.

1. Agile Movement: The level of added agility the Spartans have is nuts. Clamber and Thruster Packs are the most alarming. Kiss splatters goodbye. It seems that Clamber has enough of a pause that a gunner could take down a few Spartans scattering away, but it’s hard to tell. I could see possible aggravation as Spartans clamber up into safe nooks every single time a Hog rolls through. Thruster packs already have me angry and I haven’t even driven a Hog in Halo 5. Trust in holding “X” for a free Jacking. Thrust away from every splatter; maybe even toss a guaranteed plasma grenade stick for their trouble at no risk. People are upset about cat and mouse chases, this would be a sloth and mouse chase.

2. Kill Times: Faster kill times is nice for the gunner of the Warthog to counter the agility. The problem is that the driver and gunner are also far more vulnerable. I imagine popping a gunner in the head with a DMR at range is no problem. Perhaps the driver is a little more guarded by the Hogs body, but what good is a hog if no one will gun?

3. Vertical Design: There seems to be a trend towards Vertical Design in the small sample of beta maps. This is bad news bears for a Hog, which is not a Vertical vehicle (Come on Falcon!). Vertical design mixed with super agile, clambering Spartans sounds like Warthog hell.

4. Ground Pound: Ground pound could go either way. Too much of an effectiveness against vehicles with a Ground Pound and you force Hogs to always stay in Vehicle Zones. However, having it just send a Hog for a Brute Shotesque tumble would add all kinds of fun.

7. Larger Maps: The “stretching” of the maps to accommodate the added agility could really make a short range turret a nightmare. Perhaps the turret will be longer range or the Hog faster. Mostly, larger maps seem like a plus for Hogs though.

8. Hydra: Does it lock vehicles? Will two hits kill the occupants? Perhaps they just won’t allow it on Vehicle maps.

Conclusion:

343i has done a fine job with the Halo 5 we have seen so far. Not only did they produce a strong infantry only experience, but they effectively addressed the communities concerns after the Beta. There is however a giant portion of the Halo experience we have not seen. Objective and Vehicle play is crucial for my Halo experience. I hope I have effectively conveyed my love and fear about Halo’s vehicles in this post and I thank you for your time.

P.S. – Who would like to see a 2nd Beta that focused primarily on Objective and Vehicle play?

Reminds me of my first post on Waypoint, except much better!

I want Spartan Abilities to work, I really do, but Halo’s gameplay was only perfect because they created this fragile middle ground between ‘simple’ and ‘modern.’

If anything can upset that balance just as quickly as Sprint will, it’s giving players the ability to thrust 20 feet in the other direction at the press of a button. You have to at least be fully grounded to Sprint…

The MP designers NEED to see this. As a pilot/driver support and banshee offense, I can easily, without question say that the halo 4 vehicle mechanics are the main reason I stopped playing halo 4. Two, I swear, if you land everybullet at an optimal and honestly pretty lenient range, two clips from a dmr can kill a banshee. The amount of suppressed rage from what I just said is so potent, as though you would rarely get killed, The maps were small and everyone picked precision weapons, so it was always run to spawn, drive or hijack, flip flip flip flip flip flip roll roll roll flip flip flip away, and you’d have lost 20-60% of your health so many times. If vehicles aren’t balanced to be the focus of power in btb, and actually function well as they have before as you described, than I fear I will get sick real quick, as I greatly prefer vehicle combat to on foot, I’ll blame Starwars Battlefront II for that. Seriously though, someone tweet this to the head halo 5 mp designers, it is so important that they read this. I had only analyzed vehicles in conversation before, but this is such a well written postal that they better take this into heavy consideration.

H4’s warthog had the best traction, much better than sliding around like your on ice every second like in the previous versions

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> H4’s warthog had the best traction, much better than sliding around like your on ice every second like in the previous versions

Would you rather drive a fully armored killing machine on ice, or a well controlling block of ice through the firestorm that is the way overpowered weapons against your weak vehicle paired with the volcano that is the level design, which is highly against vehicular freedom and openness? I’d stick with the difficult to drive but enticing to master vehicle, because atleast I can practice without someone spawning with a sticky and killing me in less than 5 seconds.

I get the feeling vehicles are being buffed. The 'not-scorpion" showcased at the megablocks thing showed it had both the passenger machinegun and it’s own machinegun.

A second Beta for vehicle and objective play? Heck yes! The Halo 3 and Halo Reach Betas were released 4 months before their respective games came out–so if there’s a second Beta, it would probably have to come out sometime in May if the game’s getting released in September.

The amount of teamwork the Warthog requires in order to be effective is indeed, extraordinary-and I’m glad you pointed it out, because up until this point I hadn’t given that much thought. I also had no idea that the Halo 3 Warthog’s health was actually tied to the player. That’s pretty awesome. Now that I think about it, I used to get into beat-up Warthogs all the time in Halo 3, almost as if the Spartan’s shields sort of extended around the vehicle, I guess? Whereas in Reach and Halo 4 it was a case of…that thing’s beeping…there’s no freaking way I’m getting in that thing…I guess that’s why there wasn’t really much point to trying to chip away at a Warthog’s health in Halo 3.

I noticed that in Reach and Halo 4, the chaingun Warthog really didn’t seem to be that effective–I think it was mostly abandoned for the Gauss Hog and the Rocket Hog. Actually, just the Gauss Hog. That thing seemed to be effective at almost any range–as long as the vehicle wasn’t going too fast at the time. The Rocket Hog seemed to be for vehicle targets, and would frequently miss Spartans at any range. So at a guess, I’d say that the Gauss Warthog is still going to be hugely effective–the first shot is probably going to miss with the way Spartans can move in the Halo 5 Beta, but as to the second shot which will take place after Spartans use their thruster pack? Heh, heh, heh…anyway, I can’t actually see any of the Warthog turrets being any less effective than they were in previous incarnations of Halo–Spartans are still going to be stuffed if they get caught in wide-open spaces away from cover. As long as 343 industries doesn’t decide to cram even large maps full of massive amounts of cover, like they did in Halo 4, vehicles should still be effective.

Ground pound? Heh. Look, when an armoured vehicle weighing 3.25 tons smashes into a Spartan at 120km/h, what happens? When that same vehicle smashes into an immoveable wall in Halo, how much damage does the vehicle sustain? Heck, if I remember correctly, the Brutes used to basically have Ground Pound–leaping high into the air and smashing down on the player–there was no area of affect. Ground pound doesn’t even make sense the way it’s implemented anyway. Sure, have it toss the vehicle around. I don’t know where that AoE is coming from, but it seems to be a concussive force like the concussion rifle/brute shot, so as you said, it would be fun–far better than every player having this magical one-shot vehicle and Spartan destroying ability at the drop of a hat.

There used to be a clear hierarchy for vehicles in Halo. It went something like, “Tank beats Ghost. Tank beats Hunter. Tank beats EVERYTHING!” Just kidding. :slight_smile: I know this is a little off-topic, but in campaign, tanks had massive amounts of health, massive amounts of firepower [one primary, one secondary, and they could fit up to six people in gameplay. The troop transport hog had a similar thing. No guns on the vehicle itself, but in gameplay, it could fit up to five people, making it quite OP if used properly in campaign.

This actually brings me to my next point–the passenger. The passenger is an incredibly important role in the Warthog. Not only can the passenger significantly increase the Warthog’s offensive capabilities when armed with an appropriate weapon–ie, a Fuel Rod Cannon, a Rocket Launcher, an Incineration cannon–or perhaps a Hydra, but the passenger position is also incredibly useful when accomplishing objectives–the driver can transport them to the flag, the passenger hops off and assaults the base, whilst the gunner and driver provide a distraction and cover, and once the objective is acquired, the passenger hops on with the flag, and everyone in the Warthog makes a quick getaway to home base.

I’d like to see some more consideration given to the passenger position in Halo’s vehicles. Even without an appropriate weapon or an objective, I think that with a proper communication system–the ability to highlight threats or positions on the map, the passenger could fulfil their proper role–as a spotter, or the person assigned to “read the map” and tell the driver where they’re actually supposed to be going. Although, at the same time, I’d like the passenger to have a first-person view, like in Halo CE…now that was a deliciously cinematic experience.

Highjacking? I always liked the concept of being able to hijack vehicles. It was very difficult to accomplish in Halo 2, because the Plasma Pistol had no EMP effect. Geez. Ever since Halo 3, that thing has become too OP. Ability to eliminate shields and EMP vehicles? Then trying to fix the issue by reducing the amount of shots that can be fired but then making it equippable in loadouts? Yeah, the plasma pistol has issues…give the EMP effect to an actual power-weapon, already! Yep, I don’t think there’s much wrong with the concept of hijacking itself.

Hmm…what else was there…oh, yes. Halo CE dealt with the problem of vehicle health in multiplayer by simply not having it at all. That allowed people to kill the driver, and have the vehicle for themselves or their teammates later on. I’d like to see that returned for some gametypes. I think it added a different dynamic to multiplayer–not only did you have to kill the driver, you had to make sure that you didn’t kill the driver in a place where the enemy team could simply hop into the vehicle and continue ruining your day.

What I liked about Reach is that you could splatter better with eh warthog.
But if it would have ben like that in Halo 4 I might had done this all the time and not used a gun lol
It made me get out of the hog for some scorpion or just assault riffle.
I kind amiss that you could drive the mongoose while it was burning and not explode right away.
But that was only for the cool look so if they make them burn longer that would be fun.

I think they improved the warthog and mongoose movement.
Like they watched me play Fire Fight on Reach and fixed what was broke and overpowered.
If so blame me OP lol
I think its so much more fun to drive the hog in Halo 4.
I mean it is actually more like a vehicle.

You know what was always an issue with the halo vehicles?
They where like a bit levitating before they did hit the ground when jumping.
That might work when you are on a low gravity planet but somehow that even was on earth in each Halo game.
I have not such experience out of real life where the vehicle would not wanna hit the ground when driving fast over a ledge.
As much as Halo is from space, as much it need some steady points like vehicles everyone can play right away.

A lot of people can not play the game so well so they choose a vehicle which helps very well to get to know the controls and not be the too easy pray.
You can explore the maps while in multiplayer and still be some use for your team in the meantime.
For that you should have vehicles that follow the usual physic laws.
Yes I love it too when I shoot the tank or hog I use right in the air cause I reverse its magnetic pulls by tickling the game at the right spot.
But thats pretty cheap and unfair to others.
It also would bore me after a while.
I can avoid shots of people if I want by only side stepping and stuff but that gets boring.
I like to game for fun.

I think the hog driver here gets me right.
It was fun to have a teammate and create a massacre with only a warthog.
Good times but thats past, future is faster, and vehicles should match the game flow.
For everything else we have Big Team Heavies!
I hope we get that for Halo 5 ! * looks at 343 with a confident facial expression*

The fact that vehicular combat was not present in the beta was a Little bit of a concern for me. For a while i even thought they would remove them. Now, seeing how they balanced the game a little bit, a second beta would be really nice, but this time with vehicles and large BTB maps and such. Not just to see the vehicles or the tweaks they made, also to test things like the hydra lock on or the effect of ground pound on a vehicle.

Great post!

I want Warthogs to be ridiculously overpowered (vs infantry) this time, to motivate teamwork and because vehicle battles are damn fun. I want BTB to return to the Halo 3 days

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> > 2533274978414969;5:
> > H4’s warthog had the best traction, much better than sliding around like your on ice every second like in the previous versions
>
>
> Would you rather drive a fully armored killing machine on ice, or a well controlling block of ice through the firestorm that is the way overpowered weapons against your weak vehicle paired with the volcano that is the level design, which is highly against vehicular freedom and openness? I’d stick with the difficult to drive but enticing to master vehicle, because atleast I can practice without someone spawning with a sticky and killing me in less than 5 seconds.

Neither, I want 4’s handling and the rest like the old games.

They need to make the banshee’s tricks not useless. Like, Reach style.

Also, not paper vehicles.

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> The fact that vehicular combat was not present in the beta was a Little bit of a concern for me. For a while i even thought they would remove them. Now, seeing how they balanced the game a little bit, a second beta would be really nice, but this time with vehicles and large BTB maps and such. Not just to see the vehicles or the tweaks they made, also to test things like the hydra lock on or the effect of ground pound on a vehicle.

It was the H5G: Arena Beta for a reason.

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> P.S. – Who would like to see a 2nd Beta that focused primarily on Objective and Vehicle play?

Oh ya I would love a second beta that had this focus. I liked the arena beta and if I liked this 2nd beta idea I would preorder H5 in a heartbeat. And I agree with you that to help counter the agility of the Spartans that they buff up the warthog

> 2533274857380709;2:
> P.S. – Who would like to see a 2nd Beta that focused primarily on Objective and Vehicle play?

I would love to have a 2nd Beta for vehicles and objectives. 343i has definetly done a great job on the “competitive aspects” but I would love for 343i to get our views on other crucial things like objectives and vehicles.

I loved BTB in Halo 4, i think it balanced very well the sandbox aspects. Nothing was too overpowered, and it kept the action going. High vehicle spawn coupled with strong Spartan counter measures made gameplay unpredictable and chaotic at times. Going back to Halo 2 and Halo 3 BTB feels… empty and slow paced.

Halo 4’s Warthog felt really “off” to me. I felt like it was too good (too accurate, specifically) at long-ish range, and the fact that it could be shredded by a DMR was ridiculous. It was like they encouraged you to stay at a distance, but then punished you for doing it. It drove like a dream though.

It seems like all of the vehicles in Halo 4 were done well on their own, but then suffered when thrown together with other mechanics in the multiplayer setting. Namely for the reasons that the OP stated, such as spawning with plasma grenades and plasma pistols.

Personally i don’t want Halo 5 to be unbalanced towards vehicles, i don’t see why they should be more resistant. Vehicles should have a shot life span, you kill a lot during those moments and then its taken down. Otherwise it becomes frustrating. For instance Ragnarok is so much better than Valhala for that reason. Not only vehicle spawn faster but because have more means to dispose of them the match is never one sided.

> 2533274873910058;19:
> Personally i don’t want Halo 5 to be unbalanced towards vehicles, i don’t see why they should be more resistant. Vehicles should have a shot life span, you kill a lot during those moments and then its taken down. Otherwise it becomes frustrating. For instance Ragnarok is so much better than Valhala for that reason. Not only vehicle spawn faster but because have more means to dispose of them the match is never one sided.

What?? That’s the entire point of vehicles! Most vehicles should be powerful, resistant killing ransportation machines. The tank felt more like a mongoose in terms of health. And Ragnarok on Slayer was just people camping on their side of the map because their vehicle would get -Yoinked!- up if they moved past the hill. Valhalla was better because it was much more active and less campy. I should also mention that the banshee is PAPER. Seriously. In Halo 4, it was absolutely useless. The proper way to disable vehicles in past Halo games was either with a vehicle of your own, precise aiming, hijacking, or use of a power weapon. Now, all you need to do is spray a little bit and the vehicle is a flaming mess. Vehicles weren’t even worth getting, especially with the ordnance drops.