Getting the most out of, and into, vehicles in Halo: Reach

I’m a big fan of the Halo series, and Halo:Reach will probably be the epoch of the set. Multiplayer for Halo has always been the onus despite the rather sophisticated storyline and enemy engagements you can have in campaign. What I have noticed in the multiplayer, in particular, Big Team Battles (that is, matches with eight people per side on a suitably large map) is that vehicles tend to be poorly used and end up costing players a lot of deaths and frustration. I’m not exactly a fantastic player, but if you’re interested in some rudimentary skills and tactics when it comes to both implementing and fighting against vehicles then read on.Note: for sake of ease of understanding for casual players, I’ll just refer to the vehicles listed here by their nomenclature and not the laborious actual naming system. Another note: bad tactics refers to commonly witnessed tactics that are ineffective.

Warthogs, classic

Also known as hogs, piggers and jeeps, the warthog is the hallmark vehicle of Halo as a series. As such, they epitomize team cohesion and division of workload with a driver, gunner and passenger. The passenger, but no one else, is allowed to take an oddball, bomb, flag or other symbolic scoring device. Warthogs are susceptible to explosives but quite resistant against all other weapon fire. Lighter than what they look, they tend to roll and catapult in the air when fired with rocketry et al.

Bad gunner tactics: Firing wildly and non-stop, not paying attention to the fact that the belt will eventually burn out and need a chance to cool down. Constantly trying to get higher than what the firing range allows to get that pesky banshee only wastes time. More often than not, frustrated gunners will bail out and stop what can be the deadliest all-round vehicle in Reach.

Tactics as a gunner: Shielding in Halo is such that it takes a good number of hits to take down any one opponent. Focus on closer opponents far from cover, but be aware of the blind spot as opponents get closer in (in this instance it’s OK to jump out and try to melee them). The warthog’s gun is inaccurate at long range, but medium range targets should get the most of your ammunition provided your aim is precise.

Bad driver tactics: Taking advantage of the warthogs high speed, but going at a pace that won’t allow the gunner to get good kills, and will likely have the whole hog barrel rolling when you make a hard turn. Attempting to splatter at only medium speed. Staying in one place too long.

Tactics as driver: Try and predict where the gunner is firing and make the job easier for them- get targets in optimum range. If they’re decent, they’ll be firing on a target you may have missed. Keeping good mobility is important, but too fast will make you useless. Make sure if you do stop that the vehicle has a clear lane of escape when you do decide to accelerate again. Slow down for turns unless you’re very good (in which case a basic guide like this is useless). Ramming with a warthog is quite hard and easy to dodge although armor lock typically won’t destroy a bad attempt (but will send the ‘hog flying).

Tactics as passenger: Passengers usually aren’t very useful for warthogs, but equipped with a plasma pistol you can knock out enemy vehicles and have the speed of the warthog zip away from their aim.  In this way it makes taking out tanks and wraiths quite easy. Rocket launchers and plasma launchers are also good bets. You can also throw grenades will being a passenger but accuracy is nonexistent.

Tactics against warthogs: Exploit the warthog’s top heavy nature by pinning it somehow and lobbing grenades. A well placed grenade under the chassis will flip it over- another can explode the hog and kill the previous occupants in a nice explosion. Plasma grenades are superb if you can get close enough. Overcharged plasma pistols aren’t as useful- the gunner still has total maneuverability. Explosive armaments should be attempted as close-ish (or in the open) range to reduce the chance of it missing due to the warthog’s speed.If you want to be clever, an armor lock fully charged not only disables the driving but pushes a hog back, often tipping it over. If you have a rock to hide behind, having the warthog gunner burn out their gun is a fun tactic as you can pop out and fire at leisure. If you are close to the enemy warthog, feel free to jump into the passenger seat, turn to the right and melee the driver to death.

Warthog, missile

Tactics as gunner: The missiles are slow but mildly heat-seeking against vehicles, who should be your first duty. The explosions are large but not overly powerful, making them a sub-par choice against a single spartan. More than ever, the driver should let the gunner get a good aim or else the slow reload will be their downfall.

Warthog, “laser”

Also known as the Gauss ‘hog. Only used in campaign matches and brutally powerful- one hit kill for enemies and only a handful for any vehicle.

Ghost

The eponymous ghost is fast, stable, maneuverable and capable of strafing strategies.

Bad tactics: Assuming that you can ram everything, trying to get it into tight areas or around blind corners.

Tactics: Only attempt to ram opponents from behind, so they don’t know that you’re coming, or on maps that don’t have armor lock as an option (which will destroy a ghost rather easily). The plasma bolts are strong and can get a lot of exposed enemies. As a driver, you’re constantly exposes from the sides so if you’re low on health feel free to burst out of harm’s way to replenish shields. As a bonus, ramming elites is even easier. Never get too close to the enemy or stuck in a corner- ghosts are very easy to hijack. As ghosts get damaged, their ‘wings’ get clipped making ramming a fair bit harder.

Tactics against a Ghost: If you have armor lock, pretend you don’t until the last minute (lag may make this a foolish option). Overcharged pistols really take it out of ghosts- after the first shot though give them another once the gun has cooled down. Hijacking a ghost is quite easy but grenades rarely tip them over. Small arms fire is fairly effective against them.

Banshee

The howling death-dealing banshee, a commonly used and abused flying monstrosity. Hopefully the tactics here will save countless spartans from needless death.

Bad tactics: Trying to ram anything, spinning around aimlessly, being inside one if its wings are gone and its spewing out plasma.

Tactics as a Banshee pilot: Pressing the armor ability button and moving the analog stick lets you do flips and tricks, making it much harder for enemies to hit one and typically scrambling any heat seeking weaponry. It is almost always best to swap weapons to the green blobs of death and not the little blue plasma bolts. Stay high up, and try to dominate every area as staying in one area too long will have your opponents wise up.

Tactics against a Banshee: Small arms fire, in particular the Designated Marksmen Rifle, are surprisingly effective against a banshee- don’t ignore one and just keep firing until it dies. Banshees are quite overpowered and taking them out should be priority one. Warthog and standing turrets typically don’t have the range or aim to be particularly effective, and most explosive weaponry is too slow; sustained, accurate DMR or Needle Rifle fire *will* bring one down. Armor lock and medic shields are sufficient to stand up to their explosions.

Scorpion Tank

Large and brutish, Scorpion defeat practically all other vehicles but are prone to hijacking.

Bad tactics: Constantly firing, running into enemy encampments, frantically reversing everywhere.

Tactics as main gunner: Aim your shots- the explosion’s range is not enormous but the shell is fast. You’re somewhat exposed but good team support should keep hijacks to a minimum. The gun’s blind spot is not helped much by the axillary machine gunner so there’s no reason to get too close to anyone.

Tactics as auxiliary machine gunner: There’s three ways you can go about being the machine gunner. One is to try and eliminate hijacking attempts; your range of fire is limited though so there’s no guarantee (and you’re rather exposed too). The other is to use the gun to take out opponents separately from the main gunner, who is no way obliged to wait for you to do so. Thirdly, you can use your firing path as a guide for the main gunner, showing targets that they might have missed, and potentially getting some kills yourself.

Tactics as a team member: Following the tank and their path of destruction isn’t such a bad thing to do. Most bad guys will be focusing on bringing it down, letting you get some easy kills and taking care of the exposed would-be hijackers. A team like this supporting the tank is a powerful force.

Tactics against Scorpions: A tank by its lonesome isn’t a hard quarry. Jump into a Mongoose and drive behind it, hijack and pop in a grenade. You can melee while hijacking to rid yourself of the occupants and keep the tank, but keep in mind it’ll be close to exploding. Don’t think you can avoid its gun by flying up to avoid it, and never try to outpace an entrenched tank camping somewhere- get the weapons necessary such as a Spartan Laser or focus on other enemies.

Mongoose

Small, prone to flipping and fast. Mongooses lack armament and are typically used for flag carrying missions.

Bad tactics: Trying to ram anything that isn’t acutely unaware of you, stopping in exposed areas, not slowing down for turns.

Tactics as a driver: You *can* ram as a mongoose but the kill would be a lucky one. Mongoose are good to get you to the battle fast but don’t rush into a skirmish while driving one as you are supremely exposed. Be warned when carrying a flag bearer et al.: they slow down the mongoose in addition to making it drastically top heavy and prone to tipping.

Tactics as passenger: A good anti-Wraith team could use a overcharged plasma pistol wielding passenger hop out then hijack. Otherwise, its better to go for a bigger vehicle.

Wraith

Bad tactics: Getting into the thick of battle when you could be lobbing plasma at a safer distance. Just firing haphazardly into the far corners of the map hoping for a lucky kill.

Tactics as main gunner: The Wraith has a short boost capable of splattering an enemy, and its bulk makes it unlikely to be destroyed by an armor locking opponent. Small arms fire is ineffective, so don’t concern yourself too much about it. The plasma bursts are difficult to aim but have a massive spread- try to aim where the opponent is going to be as opposed to where they are.

Tactics as auxiliary gunner: The firing range of the weapon is a little better than the opposing number on the Scorpion, but the bolts are quite weak and inaccurate at long range. Due to their obvious colours, useful to indicate to the main gunner where bad guys are at.

Tactics as team member: Identical to the Scorpion tank support group.

Tactics against Wraith: Slow and pondering, hijacking is probably the best option- even explosive weaponry needs to be quite sustained to take out a Wraith. Shooting with a high powered weapon at a Wraith’s energy core- located at the back of the craft- is also a good move. Don’t get too close to the front of the damn thing either.

Revenant

A mix between the Wraith and the Ghost, the Revenant is fast and nimble, but carries a rather impressive plasma cannon and room for a passenger.

Bad Revenant Tactics: Inaccurate firing, getting caught in tight positions, getting too close to other vehicles especially ghosts and warthogs (who typically outgun them). Trying to outmaneuver ghosts.

Revenant tactics: The bolts have less splash but suffer from the Wraith’s issue that they are quite slow. It’s hard to fire at small targets but the gun is a one hit kill. If opponents come within boarding distance boost away and re-engage. If you must engage warthogs, try and hit the side to send the pig flipping. Ghosts are usually too nimble to get hit by the gun unless you have a good passenger. Ramming is a little difficult in a Revenant, but good strafing and bombardment are excellent ways to pin enemies down for others to either kill or flush out.

Tactics as a passenger: An overcharged plasma pistol will hold down any vehicle for easy destruction- a winning combination.

Tactics against Revenants: Harder to armor lock and pin down, sustained rifle fire is OK against them. Passenger melee death is a good way to take care of the drivers if you get close enough.

Falcon

The large helicopter is dubbed “Warthog of the skies”. It holds a pilot and a gunner on each side.

Bad tactics as a pilot: Moving far away from everything. Moving too quickly around everything, not exploiting both gunner by aiming the craft incorrectly so the gunners can’t get around to fire at.

Tactics as pilot: Keep the craft steady and strafing for the gunners. The guns are short ranged, meaning you’ll have to get in close to be effective (but they are very effective against practically anything). Protect yourself too though- the cockpit is a glaring weak spot. Don’t worry too much about being skyjacked as it is quite unlikely given the small potential area. The Falcon might be best used wading into a ground battle with your own team on the ground engaging enemies- both gunners can quickly wipe out the distracted foes. It is possible, but extremely difficult, to ram with a falcon and is only recommended if you don’t have gunners. A good Falcon team is excellent against Banshees who will have a hard time hitting a Falcon with their plasma bursts.

Tactics as gunners: Very similar to Warthog gunners, although there is only blind spots at either end of the aircraft. You are also quite exposed, so hopefully the pilot recognises when you are taking damage.

Tactics against Falcons: Small arms fire is practically useless against a falcon. Sniper rifle fire can hit the cockpit,  and overcharged plasma can occasionally disrupt the hovering. The biggest weakness against the Falcons are straight up explosive weaponry, especially heat seeking rockets (1 or 2 will do) and plasma grenade launchers (3-4 grenades will do the trick) – the Falcon simply isn’t maneuverable enough to dodge them.

So there you have it. Rudimentary but hopefully useful in those big team battles.

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~ by freeze43 on March 4, 2012.

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