Saturday, April 20

Specific details on Halo 4's weapons update

Following some earlier words, the Halo Bulletin has some more words on the Halo 4 weapons update. Enjoy, with BS Angel's compliments:

Touching any part of a game, regardless of how insignificant it may seem, is a risky, complicated and lengthy undertaking. We often don’t divulge the minute details of the process, simply because it’s tedious and, quite frankly, boring. We know there’s a large amount of interest in the upcoming weapon tune update, however (yes, we read the forums!), so we wanted to invite you into this process so you can get a glimpse behind the curtain and a head start on providing feedback. The cracking open of this door started last week when we shared our basic goals in regard to weapon tuning. Today we’re opening it even further by discussing the progress that was made last week.

As you read today’s update (and the rest that are coming), I ask you to remember that everything is subject to change. One of the facts of shipping games and updates is that until it’s out the door and in the wild, changes, both big and small, happen for a variety of reasons. We anticipate going through several waves of iteration and even more waves of testing before landing on our final design. So below is where we are today but not necessarily where we will be tomorrow.

TL;DR: The below tweaks are nowhere near final. In fact, they are as far from final as they can be without being not final. Please recognize this is a work-in-progress, we will clearly communicate our final plan once we know it, and until then, we’ll provide weekly updates about its current status.

With that out of the way, Bravo is now going to take you through the past seven days of Halo 4 weapon tuning efforts.

Bravo here with more news on overall weapon balance. We have been actively tweaking, tuning and testing the weapons in the Halo 4 sandbox, and we’re now at the point where we can share some of the details with you. I sat down with Quinn, a fellow member of the Matchmaking Systems Team, to get an update on these particular efforts, and the following details the progress we’ve made since last week. Please note these details are not final, and we’ll once again provide an update on the current status of the weapon tuning efforts next week.

As you may have guessed, the first area that we felt the need to tackle was primary weapons, specifically the precision rifles. There are two schools of thought with rifle balance: One suggests that we should reduce the power of the DMR, and the other suggests that alternate weapons should be bumped up to balance out the sandbox. Both things being said, there can be a middle ground. Looking at the DMR, we currently feel that the kill time should remain unchanged, as the weapon has become a clear favorite amongst the community due to its reliability and consistency. So tuning the Battle Rifle, LightRifle and Carbine against this weapon presented quite a challenge. Here are the tweaks that have currently been made, and the challenges associated with each.

Battle Rifle

Right now, we feel that the mid-range role of this weapon is undermined by the strength of the DMR. To combat this, we are looking at decreasing the kill time for the Battle Rifle through various tweaks. This means testing a “4-shot BR” (currently, the Battle Rifle takes 5 bursts to kill) with a reduced rate of fire, though these changes are not final.


At this time, we have adjusted the range at which the reticle turns red to match the DMR.


The Carbine has been adjusted to take one less shot to kill, bringing it to a 7-shot kill. This change was applied because we felt that players who used this weapon and took the time to become skilled with it were not rewarded due to the weapon’s kill time.

These changes have sped up the kill times of some of these weapons, which will provide a faster overall Halo 4 competitive War Games experience. The above tweaks have also led to the need to adjust the automatic weapons, which would likely be beaten at even the closest of ranges if tuning ended with the above changes. As a result, the Assault Rifle, Suppressor and Storm Rifle have all received a slight damage buff along with an auto-aim decrease that requires players to be more accurate than they would have previously. This means that while these automatics will be slightly more deadly at close range, they will require that players are more accurate.

Lastly, as we’ve mentioned in the past, we understand the need for viable and effective vehicles in Halo multiplayer, and as a result, we’re looking at bumping up the damage on both the Warthog and the Mantis chain gun. This is not the extent of our tuning, and we are actively investigating tweaks to additional weapons, such as an aim-assist decrease on the Beam Rifle.

If you’d like to leave your thoughts and opinions about this update, head to the ‘Discuss’ link at the bottom of this page, orjoin the discussion over in the Weapons Feedback thread in the War Games Feedback section. We’ll continue to monitor the forums as we test and tweak these changes, and once they go live, we’ll be looking for and reacting to feedback to ensure that the weapon tune provides optimal experiences across all of Halo 4’s game modes and playlists.

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