Weapon Sandbox #1: Tier 1 Assault Rifles

For once, the AR is actually a respectable gun - and I think that is a good thing. IMO a default starting weapon should be respectable and useful in a variety of situations and the AR succeeds at that. Naturally, there are many that feel the AR is too good, perhaps this is because people are used to the AR sucking or they feel it kills too fast for how easy it is to use. To that I say 18 of the other 21 weapons currently in the game have faster optimal TTK’s when used as designed. The BR75 is not one of those weapons yet everyone would still take a BR over an AR. The Disruptor is another with it’s own unique funtion and then there is the Mangler which can still challenge an AR in the proper hands. That seems like good weapon balancing to me.

The only change I would advocate for with the AR would be reducing the magazine capacity from 36 to 32 to limit its killing potential before a reload. A default weapon should be good for engaging a single enemy, it doesn’t need to be capable of doing anything more than that.


  • Optimal TTK: +1.25s (12 shield, 3 crit)
  • Suboptimal TTK: +1.65s (12 shield, 8 body)
  • Fire Mode: Automatic (~720 RPM)
  • Ammo: Kinetic (Ballistic), 32 Rounds
  • Range: Short - Mid, S-Link (Bloom)
  • Notes: Default Primary Weapon.

Replaces S-Link aim function with an under-barrel grenade launcher capable of firing frag grenades from your inventory at a high velocity that explode on impact.

The Plasma Repeater in Reach kind of sucked, but I will say I like the concept. An automatic plasma weapon that has a decreased rate of fire as it overheats is unique. Adding the Plasma Repeater to Halo Infinite can set the stage for a Spartan vs Elites game mode in the future, it is functionally the same as the MA40 AR (which is why they would be counterparts to each other) but it is different enough to warrant a spot in the Sandbox.


  • Optimal TTK: +1.20s (8 shield, 4 crit)
  • Suboptimal TTK: +1.60s (8 shield, 8 body)
  • SK Combo TTK: +1.05s
  • Fire Mode: Automatic, Decelerating (~600 to ~240 RPM).
  • Ammo: Plasma (Blue), 24 Bolts to minimum RPM.
  • Range: Short (Projectile Lag), S-Link (Bloom)
  • Notes: Overheat reduces rate of fire.

RPM no longer decelerates but the plasma battery reserve depletes faster as heat builds.

What are your thoughts on the above two weapons?

Note: Information in the ANALYSIS sections are pulled from various sources, it may or may not be correct… it is just there to provide additional information for how balancing could look.


Before you go happy and start spamming out “ideas” I want you to think about why a weapon exists the way it does in the sandbox and how it will affect gameplay.

Take your grenade launcher variant for example: how does it play in tandem with the sandbox? Is it literally just an upgrade for the AR because it’s essentially a Bruteshot combined with an AR? How would you feel to be at the receiving end of that?

For the Plasma weapons, do realise these were designed from the perspective of being wielded by the AI campaign enemies and shot at the players by enemies, hence the projectiles and the ability to dodge them if you strafe as a player. Especially the Repeater which was designed with Bloom which no one liked, hence most Reach Invasion players always went Infiltrator due to Elite’s stronger magnetism with the Needler letting them fire from much further away than Spartans.

I’ll tell you straight I’ll hate the Grenade Launcher AR. It’s too damn cheap as it’s combining 2 lowskill weapons to up its lethality significantly. Using it will get boring and Grenades and AR ammo are plentiful in Infinite. Being on the receiving end would be worse because 1 nade 1 spray and you can potentially kill multiple opponents within 1-2s.

Thank you for the feedback, I assure you I have put a lot of thought into this and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss it.

As it relates to the weapon variants, literally none of these are even currently available in multiplayer. The idea for the MA40 Grenadier is just that, a variant… something to use in campaign or for custom games / non-competitive game modes.

Additionally, you will find that every single one of my suggested variants will have pros and cons for balancing unlike 343’s current variants (how about that Arcane Sentinel Beam that literally breaks the game when given to a Razorback full of Marines or when melting a boss). Specifically, the MA40 Grenadier has no 1.4x smart link zoom (it is replaced with the Grenade Launcher functionality). This means accuracy at range is reduced - that’s a tradeoff for the ability to essentially throw frag grenades harder (note how I specifically mentioned the grenade inventory would be tied to the grenade launcher). If you think this is a brute shot and an assault rifle combo then you have misunderstood the concept.

As for the Plasma Repeater, it sucked in Reach and I specifically said that. That doesn’t mean the concept is bad, it just means it was not properly implemented, for example the Storm Rifle in Halo 5 was actually quite good. The above weapon would ideally perform just as well as the MA40 AR while being different enough to be included. Notice it kills slightly faster than the MA40 AR (to compensate for projectile lag) and bloom should also be significantly lower (if not non-existant) since it has projectile lag. Naturally, being a plasma weapon it is also more effective vs shields making it a better weapon to pair with the Sidekick in multiplayer than the MA40 AR which is noteworthy. Is the Plasma Repeater supposed to be a strong weapon? Not really. Can it be an interesting weapon for the Elites to use in campaign or maybe even for a potential future Spartans vs Elites game mode while being an equivalent to the MA40 AR. I think it absolutely can be, and that is the goal here.

Even more worrying, because last thing I want is Banished AI using this on me. This is why I have never felt good playing 343 era Halo games: They forget that guns need to feel good getting shot at.

After the failings of Jackal Snipers from H2, they have learnt nothing and gave 1 shot Binary rifles to Prometheans in H4, and Lightrifle near instant damage on your face from knights. And to show they literally never learnt at all, they gave Banished Shock Rifle and Commando.

The banished do not use UNSC weapon variants, and I do not advocate for the Banished to use UNSC weapons at all, athough 343 already went there because there aren’t enough weapons in the sandbox.

It seems like you are reaching with this to be a criticism of the MA40 Grenadier concept, I mean the Banished already use the SPNKR and the Hydra.

Do you think the MA40 Grenadier should use frag grenades or maybe more tactical/non-lethal grenades. Like maybe smoke or flash?

I haven’t thought too much about the addition of tactical grenades yet, but I was considering letting the under-barrel grenade launcher fire any type of grenade.

The design of the Spike Grenade is what lead me to going against this… if there was a UNSC smoke or flash grenade I don’t see why it couldn’t be compatible though, always open to suggestions!

@Windjammer19 I’m just spit balling ideas here… I know you’re a fan of the Reach Grenade Launcher so I’d be interested in your take on this.

For the Reach Grenade Launcher, what if it had alternate fire modes which could fire different grenades types? I’m thinking all of the grenades would deal a base explosive damage, however depending on the type of grenade selected the secondary effects would be different. You could even have different ammo types for the different grenades:

  • Hardlight = Flash Bang
  • Kinetic = Smoke Bomb
  • Plasma = Sticky Detonator
  • Shock = EMP

This could essentially apply to the MA40 Grenadier as well.

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I agree more with @Sodium_Bath, do we really want to get shot at by a grenade launching AR? I’d rather see the Grenade Launcher comeback or sticky detonator, or brute shot.
In general, I don’t like the idea of weapon variants. They just cause clutter in the game, like in Halo 5. You don’t just have one AR, you have 30 each of them having 6 different scopes. Most of them being completely useless, but some being insanely OP. It just makes the game play super differently. Why have an expanded mag AR? We could just have the SAW instead.

I responded to this already:

I agree we don’t need a bunch of variants… but I don’t see an issue with having unique variants for fun. For example, the MA40 Grenadier would be the only UNSC weapon in the sandbox with an alternate fire mode. I for one would have fun with this thing in Campaign, grenade launching a brute and then changing to the full auto mode to finish them off.

And It’s not like this thing has unlimited ammo or something, I proposed tying it to the Frag Genade inventory… do you guys throw fits when you get Frag + AR combo’d in multiplayer already?

I plan for all three of these to come back in some capacity as well… the difference is these aren’t variants. Variants should not be part of the core multiplayer.

No one wants to go up against an Arcane Sentinel Beam or a Striker Sidekick that kills in 3 shots.

A pretty interesting idea, but I don’t think the mechanic really needs to go that far. Lore-wise, the UNSC is already capable of all those effects (Smoke/Flash grenades exist in real life, the Sticky Det. is proof of an adhesive human explosive and the GL naturally used an EMP munition anyways).

Personally I think your idea would work better as just full on separate variants. Having the Grenade Launcher be this sort of Swiss-army gun might be a little too much to balance especially in Ranked.

Idk, I’m just not sold on the “using inventory grenades as ammo” part. It’s interesting and could be awesome for Customs, but again, balance could be an issue.

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@hudso8 @Sodium_Bath

This is a key point. Variants never share ammo with the base weapon or other variants. So if you get 64 rounds, that’s it. Then it could be treated like Tier 2-3 weapons to control availability.

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I agree with this feedback, I’d like for the Grenade Launcher to be considered a Utility weapon (it sort of already is with its EMP and manual detonation feature), however there is a line… too much utility is also a bad thing there needs to be an identity.

I’m assuming this is in relation to the Under-Barrel grenade launcher idea? I’m not sold either 100%, I want the under-barrel to be balanced (even though its a variant there should still be balancing). So I was going for:

  • Pro: Being able to essentially throw grenades harder.
  • Con: Losing 1.4x smart link for AR accuracy.

The dilemma for me was always how to work in ammunition, how do you replenish your grenade launcher inventory. I think I’ve overthought this because to your point, the weapon variants don’t replenish ammo. Maybe you just start with 1-2 underbarrel grenades and that’s all you get. Open to suggestions here, I’d like to see a combo bullet & explosive weapon variant for the UNSC.

I suppose as a campaign only weapon it could be fun.

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Yes, if it wasn’t clear that’s how I view weapon variants. In Halo Infinite the variants are not currently in multiplayer so I assumed this would be clear… the variants in Halo Infinite could never be added as most of them are just broken as far as balancing is concerned.

Yeah, that’s what I’m suggesting. Also from a lore/logic standpoint, frags are basically pin-operated M67 grenades, which are very different from the 40MM grenades found in launchers. So picking up a frag shouldn’t give you another round IMO.

Ammo is the great equalizer. An empty AR is just as worthless as an empty Rocket Launcher.

With exception of the loot caves on Fragmentation, but those require you to hold a zone for like 30 seconds before you can even get them.

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I have not been playing Halo Infinite much lately thanks for the heads up, there has probably been a few changes like this I’m unaware of. I actually think loot caves is a cool idea to implement special weapons like variants… provided they are balanced which I still think Halo Infinite did a poor overall job of in the campaign.

Can you get the Sentinel Beam or Sidekick variant in a loot cave? Those things are super OP.

It was added at the start of Season 2 I think.

I believe every HVT/variant weapon can be grabbed. But it’s random, so you don’t know what you’ll get. It seems more weighted toward Tier 2-3 weapons, but the UNSC Tier 1 variants can appear (I’ve only gotten a BR and VK-78).

The Arcane Sentinel Beam is 100% as busted as you fear it to be. Luckily it barely has any ammo.

At the end of the day I consider BTB to be super casual anyways it was probably my most favourite game mode when I was playing, Variants would only add to the fun.

Might have to check it out.

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