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Sunday, April 11

Maps Maps Maps Maps

A straight lift from the Bungie Weekly Update as there's too much shit going on in the real world.


Powerhouse
The map formerly known as Settlement is set amidst one of Reach’s more desolate regions. Look up and you’ll catch a glorious glimpse of some majestically mountainous outcroppings. Across the way – jagged, primordial spires emblematic of this region’s rugged terrain. Peer down and you’ll see the rerouted river spilling into the canyon below.





This installation might have once merely bent that meandering river in an effort to serve Reach’s rural settlers with much needed hydroelectric power, but now it’s been rerouted to provide fodder for a full scale war effort. Most rounds begin with a knockdown, drag out fight between players thirsting for the Rocket Launcher. If you’re looking to join the fray, you’ll find it resting in the spillway below. When you go in after it, be prepared to claw, scratch, and bite your way through some stiff opposition.

Good thing Powerhouse features a multitude of routes to facilitate plenty of unpredictable approaches. Stay low and wade through the water, cut through the buildings and drop down from the path above, or sprint your way in from the Rock Garden side of Powerhouse to pounce on unsuspecting fools salivating over the prospect of explosive kills.



And of course, you’ll probably be contending with adrenaline junkies dropping in from above via Jet Packs, overshielded opponents baiting you to waste one of your freshly acquired rockets by firing it straight into their locked armor, and predatory players cloaked up at the end of the gulley, patiently waiting for you to take the bait and step into their deadly web.

Which brings up a tangentially related point of contention.

There’s been a lot of discussion about Armor Abilities in the community over these past few days. It seems we might have gone a little too far in dispelling the myth that the Jet Pack would trump everything else to become the one and only Armor Ability worth breaking out. That notion is far from the truth, but it doesn’t mean that the Jet Pack isn’t a worthwhile Armor Ability. It is.

And if I were to guess, I’d posit that when the Beta moves into full swing we’ll simultaneously field complaints in one ear about how each and every Armor Ability is far too powerful while the other is regaled with tales of their total impotence and abject ineffectiveness.  The truth, as always, will lie somewhere in the middle. But we'll definitely be watching the Beta to make sure everything's on the level.

Ultimately, the impact of all the different Armor Abilities will be measured by how well you employ them. Their effectiveness will hinge upon a number of dynamic variables – using the right Ability for the right job, coordinating with your team to counter your opposition’s current selections, and mastering the nuances of each across the full spectrum of game modes.



Personally, on Powerhouse, I tend to start things off with Sprint. Not only is it an effective way to collect power weapons and attain advantageous positions quickly, it’ll also save your hide if you come under fire and need to get anywhere else fast (run away!). Powerhouse is packed with a wealth of terrain to facilitate a myriad of combat situations in both interior and exterior spaces, so it’s always a good plan to stay on your toes.

During the internal Beta I’ve been using my inertia to get in close and melee unsuspecting players to great effect. The force of the blow, coupled with the burst of speed provided by Sprint actually lifts the target off the ground, sending them reeling backwards after the impact. The first few times I saw it I was too amazed to do much of anything about it, but after the initial shock wore off I found it fun (and effective) to switch to my sidearm and put a round into their face after sending a unsuspecting sucker a-flying.





Other folks have their own preferences, of course. There are a lot of stories being told around the office now that the internal Beta is in full swing, and plenty of them have a lot to do with Armor Abilities. We’ll likely dig into the nuance of each one sometime later on so you can get a better idea of how you might make the most of ‘em. Like maybe next week or later “later.”





For now, let’s stick to the plan and take a look at the current default palette of weapons you’ll find placed about Powerhouse.

I Need a Weapon
  • DMR x 5
  • Focus Rifle x 1
  • Gravity Hammer x 1
  • Grenade Launcher x 1
  • Magnum x 3
  • Needle Rifle x 2
  • Needler x 2
  • Plasma Pistol x 3
  • Plasma Repeater x 1
  • Rocket Launcher x 1
  • Shotgun x 1
  • Frag Grenade x 6
  • Plasma Grenade x 6

Sword Base
It’s a base…for Longswords, right? Nah, not exactly, but you’ll definitely wanna do some flying once you get inside. The atrium you’ll be fighting over is five, maybe six layers deep. Depends on whether or not you count the upper air vent (if you happen to have the Sniper Rifle in your hot little hands, you probably will).





So yep, it’s well suited for Jet Packs. But that doesn’t mean it’s not set up to take advantage of all the other delectable tools of destruction Halo: Reach has on offer – turns out, Sword Base is a complex and layered arena ripe for all modes of play.

Bottom floor is 1a or 1b, depending on which side you happen to be hanging out on. A-side features red ambient lighting, B-side rocks the blue. You’ll have to figure out the rest as you go. Like Boarding Action or Prisoner, the overhead probably just leaves you scratching your head in wonder and confusion. Best way to get acclimated is to dive right in, mandibles first.





One of Sword Base’s defining visual features sits in a small pool of water, right smack in the middle of the marble ensconced lower level. This curiously goniochromatic Covenant mechanism not only looks a bit out of place here, it actually displaces anything that happens to wander into its electric blue upward energy thrust. Savvy players will learn to utilize this oddity to quickly maneuver to a number of vertical perches. Others will lift off only to flounder about in midair, eventually falling back down to the ground floor, exposing themselves to a hail of enemy fire.

If they’re really unfortunate, they’ll find themselves a victim of an air-to-air assassination, which is just about the most awesomest thing I have ever laid eyes on. Maybe even more awesomer than the air-to-ground assassination, but I haven’t made up my mind just yet.

Anyway, how’d this sweet, alien technology end up in the care of the Office of Naval Intelligence, you may wonder? Read the placard. Not everything in this sector has been classified.



Those looking for more shortcuts should be aware that there’s also a chilly updraft in one of the lower ventilations shafts on 1a and one crazy, radiological ride that’ll whisk you quickly from 1b to 5b (where the player with the Shotgun or the Sword will probably be waiting to guide you face first into the afterlife).

Sword Base also features blow-uppable computer monitors, smashable wall-mounted screens, and knee-high destructible glass on some of the small balcony perches. (Sometimes I like to just run around and break stuff. Like after Sketch jumps into one of the online forums and scoops the update. Turns out I find the sound of glass shards tinkling to the floor somewhat soothing.)



And since there are plenty of perches, you certainly should expect to see a significant measure of traversal by way of Jet Pack. But even though there’s plenty of vertical play going on, Jet Pack isn’t the only Armor Ability you’ll want to load out with. Again, I find Sprint really useful, but plenty of players use both Armor Lock and Active Camo to great effect on Sword Base. Though the central atrium is nice and open, the interior spaces are somewhat labyrinthine and you’ll find that remaining unseen or invincible for a brief spell is a particularly nasty tactic if you want to keep it close quarters or snag some of the exposed power weapons without exposing your face to too much enemy fire.

The Sniper Rifle is beneath the bamboo on the ground floor and the Plasma Launcher is on the upper catwalk. You’ll want to keep tabs on ‘em. Here’s the rest of the stuff you should know about on Sword Base:

What the Ladies Like
  • DMR x 6
  • Energy Sword x 1
  • Magnum x 3
  • Needle Rifle x 3
  • Needler x 2
  • Plasma Launcher x 1
  • Plasma Pistol x 3
  • Plasma Repeater x 3
  • Shotgun x 1
  • Sniper Rifle x 1
  • Frag Grenade x 4
  • Plasma Grenade x 4

Overlook
We’re gonna stay pretty tight-lipped on the Overlook front and let the pair of images below do the talking this week. There are some really interesting wrinkles in the way you’ll acquire weapons in this space, but all those intricate details bleed over into the game type you’ll be playing on Overlook in the Beta. We’ll get to all the ooey-gooey Generator Defense stuff soon enough. All in due time.




But Overlook’s aesthetics give us a good reason to talk about a couple of other topics that have been up for discussion in recent weeks. 

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