The Magnum's Dilemma

In Halo: Combat Evolved, the M6D ‘Pistol’ was remarkably useful. It had a greater effective range than all but the Sniper Rifle itself and could kill a fully-shielded target with a minimum of three shots. In short, it was overpowered.

In Halo 2 (and all subsequent titles), Bungie made an effort to fill the sandbox with “a rifle that handles like a rifle, a pistol that handles like a pistol, and an SMG that handles like an SMG.” It made sense and gave us the beloved Battle Rifle. However, due to the inclusion of such weapons and the feature of dual-wielding, the M6C ‘Magnum’ was usurped of its predecessor’s niche and was made only effective when used in tandem with another weapon (the same could be said for the M6G variant in Halo 3). In short, the M6 sidearms have been under-powered in Halo’s sandbox after CE.

Halo: Reach and Halo 4 have given their respective Magnums greater effective ranges, but still kept their accuracy and damage outputs on a sub-par level when compared to similar weapons like the Battle Rifle or Carbine. Even without the inclusion of dual-wielding, the Magnum has remained inferior.

So, what do you think should be done with the M6 variant undoubtedly to appear in Halo 5? Should it be excluded from multiplayer? Should it endeavor to find a new niche to excel at? What do you think?

EDIT: To those saying that the Magnum’s current implementation is justified by the fact that its a “secondary weapon” and a “backup”, let me explain where I’m coming from in this debate.

In an Arena FPS sandbox like Halo’s, weapons should be considered “primary” or “secondary” based on the situation, not by design. When wielding both an Assault Rifle and a Battle Rifle, the Assault Rifle is considered “primary” in close-quarters engagements; whereas the Battle Rifle is considered “primary” in mid-range confrontations. Neither of these weapons are meant to be lesser than the other, but rather to excel in different situations. The Magnum currently does not excel in any situation where another spawn-in weapon couldn’t do so better.

A weapon should NOT be given the limiting role of “backup” in place of any real niche. The Magnum has been butchered into being an itentionally inferior weapon to others in the sandbox, having virtually no situation where it can effectively combat an enemy with a “primary” weapon like the Battle Rifle. That is not balance or equality among weapons.

On a side note, I personally loved the M6C/SOCOM ‘Automag’ from Halo 3: ODST. With its high rate-of-fire and powerful smart-link scope, it was a truly different iteration than the others. However, it was only effective against un-shielded targets like Grunts and Jackals, and so probably wouldn’t be a worthy inclusion to the multiplayer weapon sandbox.

> Halo: Reach and Halo 4 have given their respective Magnums greater effective ranges, but still kept their accuracy and damage outputs on a sub-par level when <mark>compared to similar weapons like the Battle Rifle or Carbine…</mark>

The Magnum is a side arm. It’s for backup.

I thought the Magnum in Halo 4 was great, especially after the TU.

I think Magnum should be on-par with “primary weapons”. I’ve never liked the idea of creating a “secondary weapon”, which is inferior to other weapons player can spawn with.

If I had to design Magnum, I think it would excel at 1 vs 1 fights. It would kill enemies slightly faster than, for example, Battle Rifle, but its small magazine would be a disadvantage againts multiple enemies.

If we could have a pistol that looked like halo CE’s with halo 4’s damage model that would be great. IMO reach and 4’s pistol take a complete dump on 2/3’s pistol.

I can run pistol only in halo 4 and still do almost as well as i would with a primary.

I think the mechanics are spot on for the magnum. The bloom allows it to be flexible: Rapid fire for close range, which is what it is meant to do, yet allow for long range support if the player keeps the bloom down. If movement is reactive as it was in Halo 2, I think players can do very well with it despite the lack of ammo to kill 2 players with good strafing and use of cover.

I prefer this one over Halo 3. Halo 3’s was just slow, even though one could dual-wield it in that game.

> I think Magnum should be on-par with “primary weapons”. I’ve never liked the idea of creating a “secondary weapon”, <mark>which is inferior to other weapons player can spawn with…</mark>

It’s not like you spawn with only a Magnum while someone else spawns with a BR. You spawn with the same selection of gear, lol.

If the Magnum should be on par with “primary weapons” then what point is it having a pistol in the first place? Why not just create a new rifle or simply omit a secondary in favour of more ammunition for your primary.

While anyone can certainly run around as if they were in a John Woo film using the magnum as a primary, the whole principle behind its existence is to serve as a backup weapon that, should you possess enough skill, can bail you out.

> > Halo: Reach and Halo 4 have given their respective Magnums greater effective ranges, but still kept their accuracy and damage outputs on a sub-par level when <mark>compared to similar weapons like the Battle Rifle or Carbine…</mark>
>
> <mark>The Magnum is a side arm. It’s for backup.</mark>
>
> I thought the Magnum in Halo 4 was great, especially after the TU.

Exactly. It is essentially an inferior precision weapon. Why should this be, when we can choose to spawn with a Battle Rifle or Covenant Carbine? The Magnum holds no niche other than as the superficial “backup weapon”.

What advantages do you have from choosing the Magnum over the Battle Rifle?
Range? No. Shots-per-magazine? No. Damage-per-shot? No. Zoom strength? No. You see what I’m saying? It has no purpose in the weapon sandbox other than to be overpowered at any range by another “spawn-in” weapon (AR/SR at close range, BR/CC at mid-range, and DMR/LR at long-range).

EDIT: While the Magnum IS a sidearm, “sidearm” and “backup” aren’t colloquial. Look at the Mauler, Plasma Pistol, Boltshot, and ‘Automag’. They are sidearms, but they aren’t merely inferior forms of other starting weapons.

> > I think Magnum should be on-par with “primary weapons”. I’ve never liked the idea of creating a “secondary weapon”, <mark>which is inferior to other weapons player can spawn with…</mark>
>
> It’s not like you spawn with only a Magnum while someone else spawns with a BR. You spawn with the same selection of gear, lol.
>
> If the Magnum should be on par with “primary weapons” then what point is it having a pistol in the first place? Why not just create a new rifle or simply omit a secondary in favour of more ammunition for your primary.
>
> While anyone can certainly run around as if they were in a John Woo film using the magnum as a primary, the whole principle behind its existence is to serve as a backup weapon that, should you possess enough skill, can bail you out.

Funnily I was going to add “if Magnum is worse than the other spawn weapons, why not just add more ammo for the primary weapon and remove magnum from multiplayer” to my post. <_<

And if Magnum should serve just a backup weapon, it would be replaced by nearly every player as soon as they kill an enemy. I would rather give Magnum its own niche, which rifles wouldn’t fit very well, than remove it or make it inferior to anything but a plasma pistol.

I think Crysis 2&3 has a good example of pistols. They are effective in close combat but they have low amount of ammunation but they are poor at far medium-long range. Same kind of design wouldn’t fit with Halo since both games play differently, but Crytek did manage to make pistols worth using without resembling other weapons too much. And that made the pistols very fun to use, unlike in Halo 2&3. I would love to see 343 try to make Magnum useful and fun to use too.

I prefer the M6G**/M6H variants of the Magnum. They still remain useful, but you don’t treat it as a primary like you did in CE. With the Magnum’s high rate of fire, decent accuracy, and the fact that it can be switched to faster than any two-handed weapon makes it an ideal SIDEARM, and I still prefer having a BR/Magnum combo than having another non-power weapon with my Battle Rifle. By the time I finished switching and can fire say, an AR, I’ve could’ve already begun firing with the magnum on a weakened opponent.**

> > > Halo: Reach and Halo 4 have given their respective Magnums greater effective ranges, but still kept their accuracy and damage outputs on a sub-par level when <mark>compared to similar weapons like the Battle Rifle or Carbine…</mark>
> >
> > <mark>The Magnum is a side arm. It’s for backup.</mark>
> >
> > I thought the Magnum in Halo 4 was great, especially after the TU.
>
> Exactly. It is essentially an inferior precision weapon. Why should this be, when we can choose to spawn with a Battle Rifle or Covenant Carbine? The Magnum holds no niche other than as the <mark>superficial “backup weapon”</mark>.

There’s nothing superficial about it. It holds no deeper purpose or fits no elaborate niche.

When your primary fails you for whatever reason, the Magnum exists to provide a second chance at the cost of greater skill.

> And if Magnum should serve just a backup weapon, it would be replaced by nearly every player as soon as they kill an enemy. I would rather give Magnum its own niche, which rifles wouldn’t fit very well, than remove it or make it inferior to anything but a plasma pistol.

It is replaced by nearly every player, but that contributes to the whole idea of encouraging people to move around. They survive longer not because they simply spawned with more ammo, they actively seek ammunition and adapt to what they can find.

If you fail with your primary or get yourself into an undesirable situation you should be punished by death, however as I stated before the Magnum exists to grant the player a second chance if they possess enough skill.

Whether you come out on top or simply take an extra enemy down with you, the Magnum gives the player options that requires a little more strategy.

I would call backup a fair purpose for a weapon in a weapon sandbox.

Only because the Magnum (H4 version) is slightly inferior in theory doesn’t make it useless in practice.

Its purpose isn’t to win a fair and direct 1v1 duell against weapons like the AR/SR or BR/CC.
Its purpose is to back you up in situations like running out of ammo during a battle. It is even a proper clean-up weapon in my opinion because of its fast firing rate, heatshot capability and easy handling.

To be honest, I haven’t experienced the feeling in Halo 4 that the Magnum is overly useless or redundant only because its niche is backup.
I think it does a fair job in the weapon sandbox, since it has provided proper backup in Halo 4 in many situations in close as well as in mid-range with its scope, damage output, fast firing rate, heatshot capability and easy handling.

What should the Magnum become alternatively?

Should it become a semi-power weapon on the map?
I think a CE version wouldn’t feel right anymore.
Should it get a certain effective range as niche?
But is there anything left? Close-range is filled, mid-range is filled, long-range is filled.

I favor sidearms (pistols) being the weakest of the game out of necessity, but NOT weak to the point of uselessness. They should have some stopping power (or specific function such as the Plasma Pistol) otherwise what’s the point?

Should you be able to kill a fully shielded Spartan with your sidearm? No. But you should be able to mess them up somewhat.

My ideal pistol:

ODST’s RoF
Halo 4’s RRR
Halo 3’s power
Zoom (completely nonsensical but still iconic Halo)

> There’s nothing superficial about it. It holds no deeper purpose or fits no elaborate niche.
>
> When your primary fails you for whatever reason, the Magnum exists to provide a second chance at the cost of greater skill.

But realistically, how often is that going to happen? The only times when I have used the Magnum (aside from Halo CE), is either when I just purposefully wanted to make my life more difficult or when it was the most useful weapon at spawn in Reach (AR starts). You don’t really run out of ammo often. If you survive long enough to run out of ammo, chances are that your second weapon is a power weapon.

I don’t think I ever found myself using the Magnum in Halo 4 to an extent that I could remeber anything about it. But I deem sidearms fairly pointless when the reload times are fast and you can find weapons on the ground that are more powerful than your primary. I’d rather have the Magnum as a weapon with genuine purpose rather than as a second chance that’s never going to be needed.

To those saying that the Magnum’s current implementation is justified by the fact that its a “secondary weapon” and a “backup”, let me explain where I’m coming from in this debate.

In an Arena FPS sandbox like Halo’s, weapons should be considered “primary” or “secondary” based on the situation, not by design. When wielding both an Assault Rifle and a Battle Rifle, the Assault Rifle is considered “primary” in close-quarters engagements; whereas the Battle Rifle is considered “primary” in mid-range confrontations. Neither of these weapons are meant to be lesser than the other, but rather to excel in different situations. The Magnum currently does not.

A weapon should NOT be given the limiting role of “backup” in place of any real niche. The Magnum has been butchered into being an itentionally inferior weapon to others in the sandbox, having virtually no situation where it can effectively combat an enemy with a “primary” weapon like the Battle Rifle. That is not balance or equality among weapons.

> So, what do you think should be done with the M6 variant undoubtedly to appear in Halo 5? Should it be excluded from multiplayer? Should it endeavor to find a new niche to excel at? What do you think?

I’ve said my piece before. It should become a backup/emergency/dual wield weapon.

Something you pull out when your primary just ran dry and it’s faster than reloading, when you have one hand on the objective and realistically can’t manipulate your full sized rifle well, or grab two of them and go to town.

But I can’t see it going back to becoming what is was in CE: A weapon that is equal to and capable of standing up to full sized rifle weapons. That just borderlines on absurd because it defies logic. Shorter barrel size and smaller projectile size means inaccuracy at long ranges from a lack of spin on the bullet and slower max velocities, which mean less damage, because of a smaller powder load.

Sure, CE danced around that last one with the explanation that the Magnum’s bullets were semi-AP/semi-explosive but why hasn’t the UNSC adapted those bullets out to full sized rifles yet?

> But realistically, how often is that going to happen? The only times when I have used the Magnum (aside from Halo CE), is either when I just purposefully wanted to make my life more difficult or when it was the most useful weapon at spawn in Reach (AR starts). You don’t really run out of ammo often. If you survive long enough to run out of ammo, chances are that your second weapon is a power weapon.

And personally I find that a problem.

Why bother having a max ammo counter, or magazines for that matter on the precision weapons, if it’s never going to have any relevance in combat.

> I’ve said my piece before. It should become a backup/emergency/dual wield weapon.
>
> <mark>Something you pull out when your primary just ran dry and it’s faster than reloading</mark>, when you have one hand on the objective and realistically can’t manipulate your full sized rifle well, or grab two of them and go to town.
>
> <mark>Why bother having a max ammo counter, or magazines for that matter on the precision weapons, if it’s never going to have any relevance in combat.</mark>

For the first highlighted segment, I’d like to point out that that can be done with ANY weapon. It doesn’t have to be a swap to a “secondary” weapon with that as its only real purpose. If instead of selecting one “primary” and “secondary”, players could spawn with two “primary” weapons that fulfill different combat roles (AR and BR, for instance), you could still do this.

As for the second… can you elaborate on what you mean by this?

> In an Arena FPS sandbox like Halo’s, weapons should be considered “primary” or “secondary” based on the situation, not by design. When wielding both an Assault Rifle and a Battle Rifle, the Assault Rifle is considered “primary” in close-quarters engagements; whereas the Battle Rifle is considered “primary” in mid-range confrontations. Neither of these weapons are meant to be lesser than the other, but rather to excel in different situations. The Magnum currently does not.

The Magnum operates at both ranges equally, it’s flexible. It cannot really compete with the BR or AR in their effective ranges but it can compete with them to a proper extent outside of their effective ranges in my opinion.

> A weapon should NOT be given the limiting role of “backup” in place of any real niche. The Magnum has been butchered into being an itentionally inferior weapon to others in the sandbox, having virtually no situation where it can effectively combat an enemy with a “primary” weapon like the Battle Rifle. That is not balance or equality among weapons.

The term “real niche” is subjective in that regard.

Like I’ve said previously, it’s purpose (niche) is not to equally compete in 1v1 battles with other weapons.
It’s purpose is to back you up when you have no time to reload (i.e.) but need to keep fighting. I think the Magnum excels in such situations because it’s flexible, since it has the same amount of effectiveness in close as well as in mid-range. An AR could not provide that as a second primary to your BR for example.

I feel that the ODST Automag is workable. The thing you have to keep in mind with ODST is that the damage tables are a little weird in that game. Projectile weapons are much weaker against shields across the board. Naturally we wouldn’t want to just port the automag(I mean it takes two magazines to break the weakest brute shield).

But an 8-9 shot automag with a most of the same attributes would be a nasty little thing. Best in class accuracy, high DPS, but has “sidearm” magazine capacity, and lacks the damage at range of say an LR.

I would say the other option for the magnum is to make it a hand cannon. Basically buff the H3 magnum’s accuracy and a damage to a 3 shot.

The ‘issue’ with these 2 options is that they may be a little too powerful for a “standard” sidearm. They work as alternatives to other ‘primary’ weapons(such as the pick two system you’ve mentioned before.

However I don’t think they would work in a “backup” capacity which I think we would both be fine with.

> I think the Magnum excels in such situations because it’s flexible, since it has the same amount of effectiveness in close as well as in mid-range. An AR could not provide that as a second primary to your BR for example.

The magnum(I assume we are talking H4) isn’t really any more effective at close range than the headshot primaries. Due to the excessive bloom the Magnum only has an advantage over say the BR is at point blank, which doesn’t do much to make up for its faults. You may as well have a Carbine in your back pocket.

There is no situation I would run around with the H4 magnum as a primary if I had the choice.

> The Magnum operates at both ranges equally, it’s flexible. It cannot really compete with the BR or AR in their effective ranges but it can compete with them to a proper extent outside of their effective ranges in my opinion.

That is my point. It isn’t designed to be exceptional in any situation. It is “secondary” by design, and is only really effective against weapons outside of their niche or when another weapon has weakened the opponent.

> The term “real niche” is subjective in that regard.
>
> Like I’ve said previously, it’s purpose (niche) is not to equally compete in 1v1 battles with other weapons.
> It’s purpose is to back you up when you have no time to reload (i.e.) but need to keep fighting. I think the Magnum excels in such situations because it’s flexible, since it has the same amount of effectiveness in close as well as in mid-range. An AR could not provide that as a second primary to your BR for example.

“To a proper extent” is also subjective, when you get down to it. Needless to say, my words still carried the point I was trying to get across, just as yours have.

The inclusion of the Magnum can’t be justified only by its being able to clean up kills and challenging other weapons outside of their intended niches, as practically all weapons in the sandbox have those capacities. That is not a “niche”, because every “primary” weapon can accomplish it. The AR could (and does) indeed clean up a kill from my BR-fire.

In what situations do you find that the Magnum could do so and the Assault Rifle could not? When the BR had only landed one shot? In that scenario, you have been bested by a player with better aim with the weapon best suited for the situation (mid-ranged combat).

I personally think the Halo R/ 4 template is already an ideal platform for creating a niche for the magnum. Fast minimum kill time and Bloom.

All the magnum needs for it to have a niche is for it’s kill time to be superior to the utility rifles at close range. There for it can fulfil the role of a close range specialist precision side arm.

Before Turbo The H4 magnum was actually fulfilling this role quite nicely. But post turbo the Magnum has a roughly an equal kill time to the likes of the BR and it can only achieve this kill time when fully spammed. Thus it provides little tactical value beyond acting as a clean-up weapon.

I think in Halo 5 The BR should have a 1.4 second kill time and that the Magnum should be a 5 shot kill with a ROF equal to that of the CE Pistol and as such have a 1.2 second kill time. The Magnums bloom should also be calibrated should that it can kill at its max ROF at a fair balanced distance.

P.S. It should also sound like the CEA Pistol :stuck_out_tongue: