Halo Infinite: Multiplayer beginner’s guide

Grab your battle rifles and charge your overshields — Halo Infinite’s multiplayer mode is here. Originally said to come with the campaign launch in December, we were all treated to an early launch of the free-to-play multiplayer component to the game on the Xbox’s — and Halo franchise’s — anniversary in November. Aside from the few who were able to participate in the test flights, most people are going to be jumping into this fresh Halo experience for the first time.

Not only has it been years since Halo 5 came out, but Halo Infinite has also retooled the multiplayer to be more in line with how the more traditional Halo games used to play. They’ve gone back to the arena-based style the series was so beloved for, but also added in some new mechanics and systems to make it feel like a modern game. Then, of course, there are all the new maps, weapons, and gadgets to further spice up the sandbox. Whether you’re a seasoned Halo vet or picking up a plasma pistol for the first time, here is an essential beginner’s guide to Halo Infinite’s multiplayer.

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Experiment with the new Equipment

A samurai spartan using a grappling hook.

Equipment isn’t a new concept to Halo. We first saw it toyed with in Halo 3, but Halo Infinite brings it back with a whole new toy box of tools to experiment with. These include the much-advertised Grappleshot, Drop Wall, Threat Sensor, Repulsor, Overshield, and Active Camo. You can’t start a match with any of these unless it’s a custom game, and instead need to find and pick them up on the map like anything else. Once you have one, dying will drop it on the spot, so make sure to use it or lose it.

Do your best to learn what Equipment spawns on what map and where so you can grab them as often as possible.

Grappleshot: The Grappleshot is going to be the most popular piece of equipment just because of how versatile and fun it is. Not only can it be used to quickly zip you across the map, but you can also grapple onto enemy vehicles to hijack them or even other players to get in close for a melee kill. Alternatively, aim it at a weapon on the map to yank it toward you and snag it right out from under the enemy’s nose.

There are two main things to consider when using the Grappleshot. First is the yellow indicator. When you have the Grappleshot and are aiming at something that you want to grapple (a wall, weapon, vehicle, or player), you’ll know if you’re in range or not based on a yellow marker in your crosshairs. If the yellow indicator isn’t there, you’re too far and can’t grapple it. Second, don’t just grapple around without a plan. Zipping across the map like Spider-Man is fun, sure, but also leaves you wide open for enemies to take potshots at you. If you’re too aggressive, remember that you can cancel your grapple to get to cover.

Drop Wall: The Drop Wall is the Halo Infinite version of the old Bubble Shield. However, unlike the Bubble Shield, this deployable cover doesn’t surround you in a dome of unbreakable shields. Instead, you can set up a wall made of panels that can be destroyed if they take enough damage. Once broken, bullets and grenades are able to pass through with no problem. If you want to be tactical, you can pull a Space Invaders and break a section yourself to take some peak shots through the hole.

If you’re up against a Drop Wall, look for the actual device projecting it on the ground to take it all out at once in a few hits. The little metal device is not protected by its own shield, and a direct hit or two, depending on what weapon you’re using, is usually enough to bring the entire shield down.

Threat Sensor: Somewhat of a wall hack, this new Equipment shoots out a little tool that will send out a pulse that highlights enemies within an area. These are great to launch at choke points or vital points on the map to let you and your team know when and where the enemy is moving. It is particularly strong in most objective-based game types. Just make sure they don’t see you use it or they’ll avoid getting spotted by going that way.

If you’re feeling brave and sneaky, you can even attach a Threat Sensor directly to the enemy, creating a mobile beacon. Since most teams like to stick together, you’ll likely be able to monitor them and a teammate or two no matter where they go.

Repulsor: So far, the Repulsor functions best as a kind of panic button for incoming danger, but it does have more tactical uses as well. The main use is to repel incoming projectiles like grenades and even bump oncoming vehicles trying to splatter you away. You need to time it right, but this little bit of Equipment can easily save your life if a sticky is about to attach itself to your helmet.

For more fancy players, the Repulsor can also be a mobility tool. By combining the force blast with a jump, you can reach much higher ledges than a normal jump could ever make. This is great for positioning, but also as an escape option if you find yourself in a bad position. Finally, and this one is for the really insane people out there, you can tactically toss grenades and hit them with the Repulsor yourself to launch them much further and faster than your standard throw, but these tricks are more for show than a reliable use in most cases.

Overshield and Active Camo: These old and reliable Equipment types are back yet again. The main change applied to these familiar pick-ups is that they don’t automatically trigger when you pick them up. In Halo Infinite, they function just like any other type of Equipment and need to be activated first. Otherwise, the Overshield still doubles your base shields, and Active Camo makes you mostly invisible.

Just be careful using the Overshield in situations where an enemy has a plasma pistol since a charged shot from that will still drain you down to zero. And while invisible, try not to just run directly toward enemies. You still shimmer a bit, and if you end up in the crossfire and get tagged, you’ll be completely revealed.

Maps, radar, and communication

New Halo Infinite Map Behemoth.

While learning the layout of maps is incredibly important, you will eventually know most of them like the back of your hand. To help that process, as well as make you and your team work together more seamlessly, you can now tag things on the map for all to see. You can’t mark anything, mainly just objectives, enemies, weapons, and enemies, but it allows for much more coordination. When you mark a specific spot on the map, it will even display the official name for that area to help you learn callouts. Enemies, meanwhile, get a unique red mark to differentiate a threat from anything else you mark.

Your radar is also back and just as handy as it’s always been. It will still highlight any enemy movement with a red dot but not reveal them if they’re either standing still or crouch-walking. Use this to your advantage, and crouch up on unsuspecting enemies to get the drop on them. Also, keep an eye out for extra-large red dots. These are vehicles, and knowing one is coming early might just give you enough time to avoid getting flattened.

A new feature for your arsenal is the A.I. that can send out a scan to show you what’s around on the particular map. Think of it like a bigger Threat Sensor, but instead of pinging enemies, it will show you where weapon stations are. Early in the game’s life, knowing where to pick up better weapons will give you a huge advantage over anyone rocking their starting arsenal.

Finally, a team that communicates well is way more likely to win. This obviously only applies to team-based games, but calling out enemies, vehicles, equipment, and all that useful intel, plus just sticking together, is what has always made for a successful team in Halo. One new feature you can also use to better collaborate is being able to drop your weapons on the spot. In all previous games, you could only discard a weapon by picking up another, making it very difficult to pass off a power weapon to a teammate in a clutch situation.

Use the right weapon for the right job

Spartans attacking each other in Halo Infinite

If this is your first Halo or you need a refresher, the different weapon types actually have different benefits for certain situations. Not counting power weapons, the overall classes of weapons are Kinetic, Plasma, Hard Light, and Shock. Kinetic and Plasma have been around since the first Halo, with Hard Light being introduced in Halo 4 and Shock being brand new.

Kinetic: These weapons are your more traditional human ballistic-based weapons. Think the Assault Rifle, Battle Rifle, and Pistol. These weapons don’t do a ton of damage against shields, which is every player’s first layer of defense, but absolutely shred player health once the shields have been stripped.

Plasma: Think covenant weapons here. These are your Plasma Pistols and Pulse Carbines that shoot out glowing balls of, well, plasma. Just like all the old Halo games, plasma weapons eat through shields like paper, but you’ll need to unload a ton of shots into someone once that shield is gone to actually get the kill. One other tweak to note here is that the Plasma Pistol’s overcharge shot no longer EMPs vehicles.

Hard Light: These are the Promethean weapons first introduced in Halo 4 and tend to shoot laser-looking projectiles. These are your middle-of-the-road weapons, being equally effective at stripping shields as they are at getting the kill.

Shock: The one new weapon type introduced in Halo Infinite is the Shock type. These are the weakest weapons across the board for both shields and health, so don’t rely on them in a firefight if you can avoid it. Instead, these weapons are your anti-vehicle weapons. Now that Plasma Pistols can’t disable vehicles, Shock weapons fill that void. Hit a vehicle with one of these, like the Disruptor or Shock Rifle, to stop them in their tracks for an easy hijack or stationary target.

While not universal, pay attention to some weapons that have alternate fire modes. Some just have your standard zoom, but hitting that same button with other weapons can change up how a weapon works. The Heatwave is a perfect example. It normally shoots a vertical shot, but hit LT and it will swap to a horizontal shot.

Weapon racks, power weapons, and training

Spartan on the battlefield

Speaking of weapons, most of them will be picked up from weapon racks on the map. These are easily found using the A.I. ping system we went over earlier and can have all kinds of weapons stashed inside. What’s notable is that they also won’t necessarily have the same weapon twice. Once a weapon is picked up, a timer you can see as a blue bar on the top of the box will start to fill up, and the silhouette of whatever weapon will be there will appear. However, even if the bar fills up, that weapon won’t spawn until the one previously taken is either used up or otherwise despawned. They will always be of the same weapon type, like a medium-ranged rifle or close-range option, so scout out where you can find the weapon type you are most comfortable with.

We all love the power weapons. Snipers, rockets, and a bunch of new toys come to Halo Infinite, but these won’t spawn in weapon racks like a normal weapon. They have their own distinct spawn points on the map, which do show up on your HUD to help you find them. They don’t spawn often, but in the right hands, can turn the tide of battle for your team.

Since it can be so unreliable to get a power weapon, and a bit nerve-wracking when you do, play around with them in the Academy area and when doing Weapon Drills. This is a perfect way to at least get comfortable with how all the weapons work so you know what you’re doing when you get one.

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