Being an avid vehicle user, it didn’t take long for me to notice that vehicles had taken a backseat in Halo 4, and probably unintentionally.
The Warthog, and vehicles in general, have been reduced in usefulness to becoming basically obsolete to gameplay, especially in BTB, in which they are meant to be a focus. This is due to some very key design flaws with the game as a whole.
I’ll start by giving a run down of the Warthog, which will be my focus for around half of this post. The handling, in my opinion, is great, but the armor/health and the weapon stats on the chaingun variant are what caused the degredation of the Warthog into a deathtrap on wheels.
The Warthog’s armor is simply not strong enough. The amount of weapons that can quickly destory the Warthog is too high. Many of them players can spawn with. A major factor in the effectiveness/usefulness of vehicles, most obviously the Warthog, is the amount of weapons that can damage them quickly and substantially. The BR, DMR, and Light Rifle (especially so) are able to quickly whittle down the Warthog’s, and its operators’, health and destroy it with relative ease. This is partly because Halo 4 uses a toned down, slightly revised, version of Halo Reach’s vehicle system. Damage to vehicles will eventually destroy them regardless of the occupants’ statuses. This seems logical from a realistic point of view, but from a gameplay standpoint it is terrible. In Halo 3, if any occupant of the vehicle was still alive the vehicle could not be destroyed until the player was killed. This provided a more fair competition between vehicles and infantry, because infantry had to focus on the occupants of a vehicle rather than the actual vehicle, which is a much larger target. Going back to the point about starting/infantry weapons vs vehicles, the inclusion of the Plasma Pistol and Plasma Grenades as loadout weapons put an extreme dent in the ability of vehicles as a whole to take part in battles effectively. A single player can take down a Warthog or most other vehicles with loadout weapons. It takes a team to operate a Warthog; it should take a team to take one down. A fix on the Warthog’s part would be to increase the overall damage threshold it can endure, making it less vulnerable to loadout weapons and grenades, or reverting back to Halo 3’s vehicle health system.
Moving on to the Chaingun Warthog’s weaponry. In its current state, the chaingun can hardly compete with a single footsoldier, let along a group of them. The accuracy is comparable to mounting an automatic shotgun to the back of the Warthog. Since the chaingun is so inaccurate, it forces the driver of the Warthog to move into closer ranges, in which it is the most vulnerable, which amplifies the drawbacks fo the ridiculously weak armor previously mentioned. The damage done by the chaingun is also quite low, with a footsoldier being able to contend rather easily with it at almost all ranges except for close range, but this is partly due to the inaccuracy of the weapon to begin with. As it stands, the Chaingun Warthog is only really viable in close ranged or defensive engagements, and barely viable at all for offense. This can be fixed rather easily by tightening the bullet spread by quite a bit, increasing the damage, and/or increasing the time before overheating. The ideal solution, in my opinion, would be a combination of those.
To conclude my issues with the Warthog, I’d like to take a few sentences to discuss Halo 4’s BTB map design and how it plays a large part in forcing vehicles into the backseat they are currently in. The map design for Halo 4’s larger maps has been largely unforgiving for the Warthog and vehicles of all types. Every single BTB map, besides possible Ragnarok, forces vehicles along a specific path, making them predictable and forcing them into vulnerable, close range positions. The best example of this is Meltdown. The figure eight design does not allow for much maneuverability and it is almost certain that a vehicle will meet a group of infantry, most likely with some type of anti-vehicle weapon. On this map vehicles are forced to cross the bridge or area under it unless they want to tumble along the countless rocks strewn along these set vehicle paths. Vehicle gameplay is stale and simply unfair when there are set paths; this should have been obviously to 343i’s map designers. Previous Halos’ BTB maps have always been relatively open with room to maneuver, with “suggested” paths (ring around Sandtrap, for example), but these paths were not forced like in Halo 4.
Down below I’ve made several changes that could be made to Halo 4’s, and future Halos’, vehicles as well as revisions to BTB’s settings:
-Reduce amount of Loadout Plasma Grenades to 1
-Eliminate major power weapons from Ordnance (Rockets, Spartan Laser, etc)
-Remove Plasma Pistol from Loadouts; place on map and/or in Ordnance
-Revert to Halo 3’s vehicle system
-Design large maps with a focus on balanced vehicle play
If you made it this far into this post, I’d like to thank you for reading, and I would love to hear your thoughts on this.