Forums / Games / Halo Infinite

UNSC, Covenant, and Forerunner weapon balance

OP Fos Kuvol

Halo has always struggled with weapon balance. There are some good blanket rules, like bullets > health vs plasma > shields, and how the longer a weapon's range is, the longer it's minimum TTK should be, though neither of these rules have always been the case as seen with Utility vs Automatic weapons, or the Plasma Repeater in Reach. But generally rules like this are good. What I want to target though is how UNSC, Covenant, and Forerunner weapon variants balance with each other... Because most of the time I think it's a bit of a mess... So I want to introduce a new blanket rule.

UNSC weapons are the easiest to learn and master, but are less powerful overall.
Covenant weapons are the hardest to learn and master (i.e. slower projectiles, significantly less aim assist, weird shot patterns etc), but are more powerful.
Forerunner weapons are best-in class weapons, with high ease of use and fast TTKs, but they are less common on maps and have less ammo on pickup.

This should subtly apply to every weapon equivalent in the game going forward, and in some cases already does, but doesn't in others. The Storm Rifle in Halo 5 is a fantastic example of a Covenant weapon being stronger than the UNSC equivalent, with the drawback of firing projectiles vs hitscan. For Forerunner weapons I think they should always be treated as something between a normal weapon and a power weapon, or in the case of the ones that are already equivalent to power weapons; Super power weapons. But here are some examples of changes that this would cover:

Sniper vs Beam vs Binary:
As opposed to how they are currently balanced (The Beam Rifle being just better than the Sniper in every way), the Beam Rifle will instead have LESS aim assist than the Sniper, with the benefits being it's higher rate of fire, and being the stronger of the two against vehicles. The Binary would maintain it's beam, but would kill instantly if the beam touches the head making it capable of killing multiple players in a single shot if you sweep their heads.

Battle Rifle vs Carbine vs Light Rifle:
The Light Rifle is currently a perfect example of a best-in-class Forerunner weapon, it's just better than the Magnum, BR, DMR, and Carbine in Halo 5 so it would go untouched. The biggest differences are that the Carbine would now actually kill faster than the Battle Rifle, but would kick up with each shot, and have less aim assit making it noticeably harder to use.

AR vs Storm Rifle vs Suppressor:
AR and Storm Rifle are well balanced with eachother as they are, so targeting the Suppressor... Make it's killtime comparable to the Storm Rifle.

Shotgun vs Sword vs Scattershot:
The Shotgun is pretty well where I think it aught to be right now, so balancing the other two around them, I'd say have sword lunge range be a noticeable distance farther than the Shotgun's one hit kill range, but also make the aim assist for the sword much lower. So you won't get as much sticky reticle, but also so the radius of lunge targeting is a smaller circle in the center of your screen. That will make it require more skill to actually proc the lunge in the first place. For the scatter shot, bring back it's very high rate of fire from Halo 4, and an effective one-shot kill range matching the Shotgun's and it will absolutely feel best in class for close range power weapons.
Most of this is pretty good, but since we don't have any gameplay yet, we can't judge the balancing too much. I think these ideas would be great for some flights.

For the light rifle since it is really easy to get kills with it, I think you should be able to carry less ammo for it and make its mag smaller. The guns just need to have more noticeable roles in a fight, rather than having it feel like a reskinned variant of another gun (Like the DMR to Magnum in H5)
Most of this is pretty good, but since we don't have any gameplay yet, we can't judge the balancing too much. I think these ideas would be great for some flights.

For the light rifle since it is really easy to get kills with it, I think you should be able to carry less ammo for it and make its mag smaller. The guns just need to have more noticeable roles in a fight, rather than having it feel like a reskinned variant of another gun (Like the DMR to Magnum in H5)
Yeah, I was trying to think about how it could be applied as compared to the halo franchise as a whole. Looking back we've had a weird balance where Covenant weapons usually ended up being both harder to use, and weaker overall weapons at the same time and that seemed a bit messed up to me. It wasn't until Reach that you could realistically get away with primarily using non-human weapons, and even then it was an uphill battle fighting against a DMR with a Needle Rifle (until 80% bloom happened).

The idea of Covie weapons being harder to use makes sense, they are wholly alien weapons created to serve a religious crusade. But they should be more powerful to compensate, they are technologically and canonically superior. Forerunner weapons on the other hand would be so advanced there's no reason they shouldn't be as easy to use as they are powerful. It would give them a kind of canonical prestige over the other two factions, with their rarity and sparsity of ammo being what balances them.
Halo has struggled with balance for most of its existence, but I think the bigger issue is that Halo has had even bigger issues with designing unique weapons. We can tweak and balance the weapons all we like, but at the end of the day we still end up with a bunch of reskin clone weapons.

Eventually one of the weapons ends up edging out the others in performance and we are left with 1 of 2 scenarios. 1.) The starting weapon is the best of the bunch, in which case no one will ever pick up the other weapons in a similar class. Or 2.) One of the map weapons is objectively better in which case any sensible player which always swap out their starting weapon. Neither scenario leads to any interesting choices from players, its just a numbers game at that point.

There should never be a weapon that is objectively better in all scenarios than another weapon, but that is hard to avoid the way the sandbox has been designed since Halo 2.

If I were to have 1 blanket rule, it would be that no two weapons should be alike. They can still fill broad archetypes, but no two weapons should be similar enough that a player can switch between them without changing how they play. I can use a BR like a Carbine and a Beam Rifle like a sniper rifle because at the end of the day they are the same weapons with a different skin. I can't use a Plasma Pistol to nail headshots like a Magnum nor can I use a Magnum to EMP shields and vehicles. They are both "sidearms" for their respective factions, but their skillsets don't overlap.

If every weapon were as different from each other as the Plasma Pistol and Magnum are from one another the sandbox would be in a much healthier place.
WerepyreND wrote:
Halo has struggled with balance for most of its existence, but I think the bigger issue is that Halo has had even bigger issues with designing unique weapons. We can tweak and balance the weapons all we like, but at the end of the day we still end up with a bunch of reskin clone weapons.

Eventually one of the weapons ends up edging out the others in performance and we are left with 1 of 2 scenarios. 1.) The starting weapon is the best of the bunch, in which case no one will ever pick up the other weapons in a similar class. Or 2.) One of the map weapons is objectively better in which case any sensible player which always swap out their starting weapon. Neither scenario leads to any interesting choices from players, its just a numbers game at that point.

There should never be a weapon that is objectively better in all scenarios than another weapon, but that is hard to avoid the way the sandbox has been designed since Halo 2.

If I were to have 1 blanket rule, it would be that no two weapons should be alike. They can still fill broad archetypes, but no two weapons should be similar enough that a player can switch between them without changing how they play. I can use a BR like a Carbine and a Beam Rifle like a sniper rifle because at the end of the day they are the same weapons with a different skin. I can't use a Plasma Pistol to nail headshots like a Magnum nor can I use a Magnum to EMP shields and vehicles. They are both "sidearms" for their respective factions, but their skillsets don't overlap.

If every weapon were as different from each other as the Plasma Pistol and Magnum are from one another the sandbox would be in a much healthier place.
This was something I felt for a long time. Halo CE was amazing for how every weapon was distictly different, even the only two relatively similar ones (AR and Plasma Rifle) were totally different weapons in terms of playstyle. The only thing that eventually kept me from wanting this is that I realized the Carbine wouldn't be able to exist because in order to differentiate the BR and Magnum, the Magnum would have to be similar to it's Halo 2/Reach/4 variant, which was just a weaker Carbine. The Carbine is my favorite weapon in the franchise and as much as it would be better for the sandbox... I'd hate to see it go. Call me selfish.

One of my favorite things about Reach was how we had several equivalent weapons that had relationships like the Magnum and Plasma Pistol. Spartan Laser/Plasma Launcher, Grenade Launcher/Concussion Rifle, Sniper/Focus Rifle. Though it was kind of a situation where in all of those cases the Covenant version was objectively weaker for the intended purpose of that archetype... Though in the case of the Plasma Launcher and Focus Rifle they were better in other cases. Plasma Launcher was far more effective and ammo efficient at dealing with infantry than the Laser, and the Focus Rifle was basically the best Automatic and Utility weapon in the game at the same time by having comparable aim assist and straight up out DPSing all the normal-class rifles.
Fos Kuvol wrote:
WerepyreND wrote:
snip
This was something I felt for a long time. Halo CE was amazing for how every weapon was distictly different, even the only two relatively similar ones (AR and Plasma Rifle) were totally different weapons in terms of playstyle. The only thing that eventually kept me from wanting this is that I realized the Carbine wouldn't be able to exist because in order to differentiate the BR and Magnum, the Magnum would have to be similar to it's Halo 2/Reach/4 variant, which was just a weaker Carbine. The Carbine is my favorite weapon in the franchise and as much as it would be better for the sandbox... I'd hate to see it go. Call me selfish.

One of my favorite things about Reach was how we had several equivalent weapons that had relationships like the Magnum and Plasma Pistol. Spartan Laser/Plasma Launcher, Grenade Launcher/Concussion Rifle, Sniper/Focus Rifle. Though it was kind of a situation where in all of those cases the Covenant version was objectively weaker for the intended purpose of that archetype... Though in the case of the Plasma Launcher and Focus Rifle they were better in other cases. Plasma Launcher was far more effective and ammo efficient at dealing with infantry than the Laser, and the Focus Rifle was basically the best Automatic and Utility weapon in the game at the same time by having comparable aim assist and straight up out DPSing all the normal-class rifles.
I don't think you necessarily need drastic cuts to get the sandbox where it needs to be, but at the same time some cuts or drastic redesigns would be necessary to get the sandbox where we want it to be. Everyone has their favorites, but it just isn't realistic to try and please everyone, especially when development time and resources restrict the max number of weapons we can realistically have anyways. Someone is going to end up disappointed regardless, so we might as well try to make the most out of it.

As for specific weapons I think it is important to draw the distinction between weapons which are simply badly balanced and weapons that are badly designed. You mention the H2/Reach/H4 Magnums, but I think that only the Reach/H4 Magnums are badly designed as they are just meant to be crummy versions of your average precision rifle. The H2/H3 Magnums meanwhile are badly balanced, but I think a scopeless, close range oriented headshot weapon has potential to carve out a unique place in the sandbox when it isn't being held back by dual wielding concerns.

I'm honestly not to impressed with the Carbine as is(and frankly I think the Needle Rifle deserves another shot), but even if your average Halo game fails to have a truly diverse sandbox, I think there is enough interesting mechanics and ideas between past Halo games, REQ weapons, and even mods that we create a fully fleshed out sandbox without sacrificing much at all. We just need the will from both players and devs to go through with it.
WerepyreND wrote:
Fos Kuvol wrote:
WerepyreND wrote:
snip
snap
I don't think you necessarily need drastic cuts to get the sandbox where it needs to be, but at the same time some cuts or drastic redesigns would be necessary to get the sandbox where we want it to be. Everyone has their favorites, but it just isn't realistic to try and please everyone, especially when development time and resources restrict the max number of weapons we can realistically have anyways. Someone is going to end up disappointed regardless, so we might as well try to make the most out of it.

As for specific weapons I think it is important to draw the distinction between weapons which are simply badly balanced and weapons that are badly designed. You mention the H2/Reach/H4 Magnums, but I think that only the Reach/H4 Magnums are badly designed as they are just meant to be crummy versions of your average precision rifle. The H2/H3 Magnums meanwhile are badly balanced, but I think a scopeless, close range oriented headshot weapon has potential to carve out a unique place in the sandbox when it isn't being held back by dual wielding concerns.

I'm honestly not to impressed with the Carbine as is(and frankly I think the Needle Rifle deserves another shot), but even if your average Halo game fails to have a truly diverse sandbox, I think there is enough interesting mechanics and ideas between past Halo games, REQ weapons, and even mods that we create a fully fleshed out sandbox without sacrificing much at all. We just need the will from both players and devs to go through with it.
One idea I had for the Needle Rifle if it ever returned again, would be to go all in on it being a low-rof automatic weapon with a low skill gap, but the longest minimum TTK for utility weapons. Basically you wouldn't need to headshot with it to kill, as it will always supercombine in 7 needles regardless of shields, like the Needler does in every game other than Reach. But it's rate of fire is low enough that all the other utility weapons will beat it with headshots, possibly even after missing a single shot. Despite that it should still be headshot capable, it's just in a 1v1 their shields don't break until the 7th shot anyway. But the Needle Rifle would get the benefit being able to stick into vehicles and supercombine them if you hit 7 shots. It should be strong enough to destroy very light vehicles, like Ghosts and Mongooses, but require 3/4 to take out a tank. Against a Warthog it would take 2 to destroy it, but if you manage to land enough needles close enough to a one of the players in it you may get lucky and take him out. I feel like it would be fair, since it takes time to get 7 shots and once you see Needles attached to your vehicle you'll know what's coming, and which direction it's coming from. And if they don't pull off the supercombine in time, the needles dissipate so you only get the negligible impact damage.

This, I realize, doesn't follow my concept of Covenant weapons compensating for being more difficult to use with more power. But if we are going for a unique gameplay experience, this would definitely separate it from a BR. They could even give it an extremely fast projectile (like Halo 3 sniper fast) so there is a very small amount of shot leading involved at longer ranges to make it that much more different.
Fos Kuvol wrote:
One idea I had for the Needle Rifle if it ever returned again, would be to go all in on it being a low-rof automatic weapon with a low skill gap, but the longest minimum TTK for utility weapons. Basically you wouldn't need to headshot with it to kill, as it will always supercombine in 7 needles regardless of shields, like the Needler does in every game other than Reach. But it's rate of fire is low enough that all the other utility weapons will beat it with headshots, possibly even after missing a single shot. Despite that it should still be headshot capable, it's just in a 1v1 their shields don't break until the 7th shot anyway. But the Needle Rifle would get the benefit being able to stick into vehicles and supercombine them if you hit 7 shots. It should be strong enough to destroy very light vehicles, like Ghosts and Mongooses, but require 3/4 to take out a tank. Against a Warthog it would take 2 to destroy it, but if you manage to land enough needles close enough to a one of the players in it you may get lucky and take him out. I feel like it would be fair, since it takes time to get 7 shots and once you see Needles attached to your vehicle you'll know what's coming, and which direction it's coming from. And if they don't pull off the supercombine in time, the needles dissipate so you only get the negligible impact damage.

This, I realize, doesn't follow my concept of Covenant weapons compensating for being more difficult to use with more power. But if we are going for a unique gameplay experience, this would definitely separate it from a BR. They could even give it an extremely fast projectile (like Halo 3 sniper fast) so there is a very small amount of shot leading involved at longer ranges to make it that much more different.
Yep, I've had similar thoughts regarding the Needle Rifle, my only concern is that precision weapons doing significant damage to vehicles tends to make me nervous. Its one thing to balance around a Spartan sized target at range, but hitting a vehicle even with a relatively slow moving projectile is many times easier. Generally speaking I'm okay with precision weapons shooting through windshields, canopies, etc, but I'm not a fan of them being effective at destroying vehicles outright in most cases.

That being said I've also toyed with the idea of the Needle Rifle as the sole precision weapon that can do decent damage to vehicles, it would just be closer to a pink, more balanced version of Dying Star. We could also apply that to the Carbine if we wanted, I'm just a bit biased towards the N'ifle. Ultimately I'd be happy with either suggestion :)

As far as Covenant design at large goes, I think we can make up for higher TTKs with extra utility like the Plasma Pistols overcharge, the plasma rifles stun, or the Needle Rifle's supercombine. I'm of the mind that we should really leverage the fantastic setting we have when it comes to Covenant and Forerunner weapons and go a bit more wild with weapon mechanics. If we are just going to have alien themed versions of basic human rifles, pistols, etc then I feel like that is a missed opportunity.
Fos Kuvol wrote:
Halo has always struggled with weapon balance. There are some good blanket rules, like bullets > health vs plasma > shields, and how the longer a weapon's range is, the longer it's minimum TTK should be, though neither of these rules have always been the case as seen with Utility vs Automatic weapons, or the Plasma Repeater in Reach. But generally rules like this are good. What I want to target though is how UNSC, Covenant, and Forerunner weapon variants balance with each other... Because most of the time I think it's a bit of a mess... So I want to introduce a new blanket rule.

UNSC weapons are the easiest to learn and master, but are less powerful overall.
Covenant weapons are the hardest to learn and master (i.e. slower projectiles, significantly less aim assist, weird shot patterns etc), but are more powerful.
Forerunner weapons are best-in class weapons, with high ease of use and fast TTKs, but they are less common on maps and have less ammo on pickup.

This should subtly apply to every weapon equivalent in the game going forward, and in some cases already does, but doesn't in others. The Storm Rifle in Halo 5 is a fantastic example of a Covenant weapon being stronger than the UNSC equivalent, with the drawback of firing projectiles vs hitscan. For Forerunner weapons I think they should always be treated as something between a normal weapon and a power weapon, or in the case of the ones that are already equivalent to power weapons; Super power weapons. But here are some examples of changes that this would cover:

Sniper vs Beam vs Binary:
As opposed to how they are currently balanced (The Beam Rifle being just better than the Sniper in every way), the Beam Rifle will instead have LESS aim assist than the Sniper, with the benefits being it's higher rate of fire, and being the stronger of the two against vehicles. The Binary would maintain it's beam, but would kill instantly if the beam touches the head making it capable of killing multiple players in a single shot if you sweep their heads.

Battle Rifle vs Carbine vs Light Rifle:
The Light Rifle is currently a perfect example of a best-in-class Forerunner weapon, it's just better than the Magnum, BR, DMR, and Carbine in Halo 5 so it would go untouched. The biggest differences are that the Carbine would now actually kill faster than the Battle Rifle, but would kick up with each shot, and have less aim assit making it noticeably harder to use.

AR vs Storm Rifle vs Suppressor:
AR and Storm Rifle are well balanced with eachother as they are, so targeting the Suppressor... Make it's killtime comparable to the Storm Rifle.

Shotgun vs Sword vs Scattershot:
The Shotgun is pretty well where I think it aught to be right now, so balancing the other two around them, I'd say have sword lunge range be a noticeable distance farther than the Shotgun's one hit kill range, but also make the aim assist for the sword much lower. So you won't get as much sticky reticle, but also so the radius of lunge targeting is a smaller circle in the center of your screen. That will make it require more skill to actually proc the lunge in the first place. For the scatter shot, bring back it's very high rate of fire from Halo 4, and an effective one-shot kill range matching the Shotgun's and it will absolutely feel best in class for close range power weapons.
What about brute weapons eg hammer mauler spiker
Fos Kuvol wrote:
Halo has always struggled with weapon balance. There are some good blanket rules, like bullets > health vs plasma > shields, and how the longer a weapon's range is, the longer it's minimum TTK should be, though neither of these rules have always been the case as seen with Utility vs Automatic weapons, or the Plasma Repeater in Reach. But generally rules like this are good. What I want to target though is how UNSC, Covenant, and Forerunner weapon variants balance with each other... Because most of the time I think it's a bit of a mess... So I want to introduce a new blanket rule.

UNSC weapons are the easiest to learn and master, but are less powerful overall.
Covenant weapons are the hardest to learn and master (i.e. slower projectiles, significantly less aim assist, weird shot patterns etc), but are more powerful.
Forerunner weapons are best-in class weapons, with high ease of use and fast TTKs, but they are less common on maps and have less ammo on pickup.

This should subtly apply to every weapon equivalent in the game going forward, and in some cases already does, but doesn't in others. The Storm Rifle in Halo 5 is a fantastic example of a Covenant weapon being stronger than the UNSC equivalent, with the drawback of firing projectiles vs hitscan. For Forerunner weapons I think they should always be treated as something between a normal weapon and a power weapon, or in the case of the ones that are already equivalent to power weapons; Super power weapons. But here are some examples of changes that this would cover:

Sniper vs Beam vs Binary:
As opposed to how they are currently balanced (The Beam Rifle being just better than the Sniper in every way), the Beam Rifle will instead have LESS aim assist than the Sniper, with the benefits being it's higher rate of fire, and being the stronger of the two against vehicles. The Binary would maintain it's beam, but would kill instantly if the beam touches the head making it capable of killing multiple players in a single shot if you sweep their heads.

Battle Rifle vs Carbine vs Light Rifle:
The Light Rifle is currently a perfect example of a best-in-class Forerunner weapon, it's just better than the Magnum, BR, DMR, and Carbine in Halo 5 so it would go untouched. The biggest differences are that the Carbine would now actually kill faster than the Battle Rifle, but would kick up with each shot, and have less aim assit making it noticeably harder to use.

AR vs Storm Rifle vs Suppressor:
AR and Storm Rifle are well balanced with eachother as they are, so targeting the Suppressor... Make it's killtime comparable to the Storm Rifle.

Shotgun vs Sword vs Scattershot:
The Shotgun is pretty well where I think it aught to be right now, so balancing the other two around them, I'd say have sword lunge range be a noticeable distance farther than the Shotgun's one hit kill range, but also make the aim assist for the sword much lower. So you won't get as much sticky reticle, but also so the radius of lunge targeting is a smaller circle in the center of your screen. That will make it require more skill to actually proc the lunge in the first place. For the scatter shot, bring back it's very high rate of fire from Halo 4, and an effective one-shot kill range matching the Shotgun's and it will absolutely feel best in class for close range power weapons.
What about brute weapons eg hammer mauler spiker
Brute weapons could be tuned in a way that they are particularly powerful, but extremely clumsy. A Brute sniper for instance would not be hitscan, you would be forced to lead your shots significantly. But it would basically fire a spike-javelin that would one shot anywhere in the body. I'd also imagine the Brute sandbox being the most effective at killing vehicles. But honestly... I kind of wouldn't want more than 3 factions of weapons in the game. It creates bloat and there's already too much of that. I'm not even sure Grifball has enough of a following anymore to really warrant bringing the hammer back.
Fos Kuvol wrote:
Most of this is pretty good, but since we don't have any gameplay yet, we can't judge the balancing too much. I think these ideas would be great for some flights.

For the light rifle since it is really easy to get kills with it, I think you should be able to carry less ammo for it and make its mag smaller. The guns just need to have more noticeable roles in a fight, rather than having it feel like a reskinned variant of another gun (Like the DMR to Magnum in H5)
Yeah, I was trying to think about how it could be applied as compared to the halo franchise as a whole. Looking back we've had a weird balance where Covenant weapons usually ended up being both harder to use, and weaker overall weapons at the same time and that seemed a bit messed up to me. It wasn't until Reach that you could realistically get away with primarily using non-human weapons, and even then it was an uphill battle fighting against a DMR with a Needle Rifle (until 80% bloom happened).

The idea of Covie weapons being harder to use makes sense, they are wholly alien weapons created to serve a religious crusade. But they should be more powerful to compensate, they are technologically and canonically superior. Forerunner weapons on the other hand would be so advanced there's no reason they shouldn't be as easy to use as they are powerful. It would give them a kind of canonical prestige over the other two factions, with their rarity and sparsity of ammo being what balances them.
When you said they are superior to human weapons, my mind thought "Well rocket launcher pretty much always wins over most things..." and then I had the idea. Plasma grenades are pretty much just sticky grenades... they are supposed to be superior technologically... so what if the plasma grenades could chain high damage energy through spartans that are close together, but the chain damage lessens as it hits more spartans.
The main two factions have always had weapons that function differently but fill the same role and range group. With forerunner weapons they attempted to make another set of equal weapons which means replicating functions and ranges. The H4 suppressor was essentially the SMG of the game and the light rifle tried to bridge the BR and DMR.

As you say the forerunner weapons are supposedly the best in class so I feel they should be semi power weapons (suppressor, light rifle and boltshot.) So I propose some modifications to them to make them better or more interesting than the others but not overpowering.
Suppressor - rather than being a close quarters specialist like H4s version or strange underpowered needler (granted the H5 version is actually pretty good) I feel it could dominate both close and mid range rather than being suited to one by have more ammo in its cap. High fire rate and low damage but when you scope it doubles ammo usage increases damage and tracks slightly. Visually instead of the side opening up it extends forward and slims out.
Light rifle - It should function as it does in H5 but when you scope you can charge a shot that deals knock back. No extra damage to playes from the charge but a little more vehicles and can slow or bounce smaller vehicles around.
Boltshot - It should have a little more ammo and remain burst fire. Lose the tracking ability but, regain the charge it had in halo 4. Change the charge so that the longer you charge it the more ammo you use up but the stronger the shot becomes. So you charge it for 1 second and use maybe 5-10 rounds but it's not enough to kill a person. The longer you charge it the stronger it becomes. So you have to plan ahead if you intend to kill with the charge rather than popping out the corner like in H4.
I admire the inclusion of Forerunner weapons in the discussion, it's something I'm avoiding entirely. Too hung up on classic weapons before Halo 4 introduced the new set.

Depends on what the campaign is gonna include. I'm hoping for more Covenant (Brute) weapons and them being the main antagonist.
Halo 3 & 5 both had solid weapon balance. Some weapons were messed up, like how the BR in H5 is currently much weaker than the magnum, light rifle, and even carbine.

#MakeH5BRGreatAgain😎
C0RRuPTT wrote:
Halo 3 & 5 both had solid weapon balance. Some weapons were messed up, like how the BR in H5 is currently much weaker than the magnum, light rifle, and even carbine.

#MakeH5BRGreatAgain😎
Halo 3 didn't really have great balance, not compared to Reach, 4, or 5. Honestly the first 3 games as a whole had major balance issues that didn't get addressed until much later.

In Halo 3 the only relevant non-power weapons were the BR, and Carbine. With the Plasma Rifle having a small niche, and everything else not even being worth it. Even as far as power weapons were concerned aside from the Snipers, Rocket, and Shotty/Sword the rest of the caste was virtually useless. Heck even the Shotty was basically only good on Epitaph. Big Team allowed the laser to be viable, on account of the vehicles. But that was it. The long list of useless weapons is crazy, pistol, AR, Spiker, SMG, Plasma Pistol, Needler, Brute Shot, Mauler, Gravity Hammer, Missile Pod, Sentinel Beam, Fuel Rod, Machinegun turret, Plasma Cannon, and Flamethrower... You *can* kill with them, but most of the time you'll just get BR'd down, and trade at best. At least the vehicles were all good for something though!

In Reach I can honestly say that unless I have a Spiker or Plasma Rifle, neither of which appeared on non-community maps, I was equipped well enough to confidently take on a DMR. Halo 4's only complete stinker is the Suppressor. Halo 5 you're only gonna have a bad time if you're trying to get a kill with just a Plasma Pistol, but that's not what it's for.
Fos Kuvol wrote:
Halo 3 didn't really have great balance, not compared to Reach, 4, or 5. Honestly the first 3 games as a whole had major balance issues that didn't get addressed until much later.

In Halo 3 the only relevant non-power weapons were the BR, and Carbine. With the Plasma Rifle having a small niche, and everything else not even being worth it. Even as far as power weapons were concerned aside from the Snipers, Rocket, and Shotty/Sword the rest of the caste was virtually useless. Heck even the Shotty was basically only good on Epitaph. Big Team allowed the laser to be viable, on account of the vehicles. But that was it. The long list of useless weapons is crazy, pistol, AR, Spiker, SMG, Plasma Pistol, Needler, Brute Shot, Mauler, Gravity Hammer, Missile Pod, Sentinel Beam, Fuel Rod, Machinegun turret, Plasma Cannon, and Flamethrower... You *can* kill with them, but most of the time you'll just get BR'd down, and trade at best. At least the vehicles were all good for something though!

In Reach I can honestly say that unless I have a Spiker or Plasma Rifle, neither of which appeared on non-community maps, I was equipped well enough to confidently take on a DMR. Halo 4's only complete stinker is the Suppressor. Halo 5 you're only gonna have a bad time if you're trying to get a kill with just a Plasma Pistol, but that's not what it's for.
Okay, I think Halo 3 has some serious balance issue, but I can't let a lot of this slide. The Shotty, Sword, hammer, and Mauler are all strong weapons you would be crazy to avoid picking up, they are just limited by range just like most of their counterparts from past and future games. The Laser in 3 is far and away superior to the Reach version and being "viable against vehicles" is the entire point of the Laser. The Needler is as good as its Reach counterpart, it is a solid weapon when you are in its sweet spot for range and a lock on weapon like the Needler shouldn't be incredibly powerful in the first place. The Brute shot like is Concussion counterpart it a effective as a soft vehicle counter and is great at keeping close range power weapons like the sword at bay(though the concussion rifle is better at this.) The Missile Pod was always useful and the H3 turret isn't great, but it is far better than the Reach turret. The Fuel Rod doesn't appear on any multiplayer maps but its still an effective spam cannon, it just isn't as powerful as some later incarnations.

The list I would make for truly bad weapons in H3 is almost identical to the one I would make for Reach. H3: AR, SMG, Spiker, Plasma Rifle, Plasma Pistol, support weapons(sans missile pod), Magnum. Reach: AR, Plasma Repeater, Spiker, Plasma Rifle, Magnum, Turrets. That isn't to say the rest of the sandbox in either game is perfect, but the list of truly bad weapons boils down to the same issues with underpowered Magnums, underpowered bullet hoses, and underpowered turret class weapons and honestly not much has changed.

343 upped the damage on many under-performing weapons in H4/H5, but the boring, redundant weapon design that has plagued the series since Halo 2 never really went away. I give 343 a lot of credit for making most weapons lethal again, but just making them lethal is only half the equation. As long as we are stuck with cookie cutter weapon design, there is always going to be balance issues like we saw in H5 where there are 5 precision weapons tripping over each other in the same niche and the BR got the short end of the stick in the last patch.

Reach does do some things better than H2/3 and even H4/5, but many of the balance issues that date back to H2 have never really been resolved by either developer. I would say 343 has done a better job, but it is really a marginal improvement at best.