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Halo Wars 2 Campaign

OP Haze1 rah

I recently finished the campaign for Halo Wars 2 and while it was quite polished mechanically and visually, I could not help but feel disappointed by the story that was being told. My main issue was the new faction “The Banished”. They are made out to be a bigger threat then they are and possibly can be. This is because there has been no mention of this faction in any Halo books, movies or games. This does not mean they are not allowed to exist in the universe but what it should have meant is a better explanation of why they have remained irrevalant to the rest of the galaxy. The creators should have set them out as a small rebel faction that had been in hiding from the covenant during their reign. Once the covenant had fallen they emerged and set out to conquer small war bands, increasing their power. However, they did not do this and force fans to accept this newly mentioned faction was strong enough to rival the covenant... yes that is actually what they try to say. This can be seen with the AI known as Isabel (Who I detest because of her fearful nature) talking about the history of Atriox: “cutting a swath across the galaxy”, “the covenant has two targets... they almost got us... Atriox they never came close” and “Covenant could not contain him at the height of their power”. All these lines are too ambitious and go against the history and facts of the covenant. For one, the covenant had the ability to burn entire planets so all they had to do was find this large faction of killers which would stand out like a wolf among sheep and burn them to ash. Two, they make out the Covenant was not strong enough to fight both Atriox and humanity but the Halo lore dictates that for a long period of time Humanity was on the run, meaning the Covenant was hunting down and destroying human worlds. This disproves the fact the covenant could not have destroyed the rebellion during this period of time as humanity was in no shape to pose a threat to the Covenant. I could go on on but I will stop myself. Tell me if you agree or if you don’t, try to disprove my points.
If we are to keep things to strictly to the game, Isabel never really defines the Covenant v Banished at least in scale. The Human-Covenant war was religious in nature as well thus the priority, thus more important than what started as a small scale mutiny in the ranks.

Due to the larger war, it probably was low on the to do list. Isabel also describes raids, which may imply the Covenant may not have been aware who was making the raids and unable to put two and two together. As with Atriox arriving on the Ark, it still seems Atriox is amassing supplies and weapons as if he hasn't made his big move yet, even in regards to the Covenant, who no longer really exist outside of small remnant factions.

Human insurrection becomes a sidelined event event when the Covenant show up at Harvest, its not hard to believe the Covenant government could initially dismiss a mutinous outbreak. "They didn't come close," may imply they initially didn't know who they were even looking for, and/or when it did occur it was too late.

I am glad you threw this question out there. I actually just ordered The Rise of Atriox before coming over to Waypoint and am reading up on more Banished/Spirit of Fire lore. The Phoenix logs add a lot.

Does everything make sense? No. But I'm enjoying the ride.

Cheers,
Brad
Once I go and obtain all the Phoenix logs I will read them in hopes the story will make more sense. Though I still find it hard to believe that a massive religious army such as the covenant did not have the resources to destroy the Banished rebellion, as after all they have done so before with the likes of the grunt rebellions. Another thing that bothered me was how Atriox took the ark with minimal retaliation. Yes the portal closed which meant no more humans could come to the ark but there should have been a significant human force stationed there already to protect and hold it. It does not matter if it was after “The war”, enemies are everywhere and the ark is the greatest technological marvel in the galaxy. Also, I could have sworn it was implied in one of the books that the brutes had been reduced to primitive warriors after the war due to the wrath of elites, lack of technology and their own arrogance. One of the Kilo-Five books maybe?
@Hazel rah

I just wanted to add one point, Atriox form of war I believe is something more close to Guerrilla warfare, in Spain they had this form of war against a highly superior enemy, France. During the Peninsula War Spain was victorious despite the militar advantage of the France Army. I can see Atriox victorious against the Covenant, even if they had ships that can wipeout one planet.
I think the fault is mainly with Isabel over-exaggerating things. As SquareRigged said, the Banished were probably very low on the Covenant priority list and thus didn't really have a hard time avoiding them. Isabel wouldn't know this however, so coupled with her crew getting wiped out very easily, I think she assumed the Banished were much more of a threat to humanity than they actually were. To the Spirit of Fire, they do pose a major threat because it's Covie ship and crew vs. human ship and understaffed crew thanks to the first Halo Wars. So, I think Isabel just over-exaggerated because if I recall later in the game they only presented the Banished as a threat to the SoF (which they clearly are as I stated earlier), hence why they created a Halo to send and get reinforcements. So, in my opinion, this is a non-issue.

Edit: To address your latest post OP, I think if the Banished did meet some retaliation and wiped them out that would tie in to my original point of Isabel thinking they're more powerful than they already are. Also, the Ark rests at an unknown location outside of the galaxy and the range of the Halo rings, so external enemies are a non-issue (though this does bring up questions about how the Banished and SoF ended up there in the first place). Also, the Brutes did have a civil war that brought their technological state back to the stone age, but they've been in the Covenant for hundreds of years so they would quickly get reacquainted with technology. I believe these are all the points I wanted to address in your new post but I will edit again if I see something else. (Edit again: if you're talking about the Brutes after the human/covenant war than yes some of the Brutes may have gone back to their primitive state but there are also Brutes that allied or started their own Covenant splinter group factions, I believe such a Brute was found in Halo: Envoy).
I continually forget the Ark is outside of the Milky Way galaxy.
"Hey, look up in the sky, is that..."
"Focus!"

MasterOfWar6615 raises a good point, how did the Banished (all of them) get to the Ark after the portal from Earth closed? It was never revealed either he the Spirit of Fire was pulled through slippage to arrive at the Ark, when she had no drive for that.

I've been out of the lore loop for awhile but my enjoyment of HW2 and the original H3 missions are bringing me back in. Hunters in the Dark takes place on the Ark so I think that might be next on my read list.

Let's not forget that Mendicant Bias is still buried on the Ark somewhere.

Cheers,
Brad
Reading some of the Phoenix logs I came across one titled ‘Rise of Atriox IV’ which seems to give more insight and actually fits in better with Halo lore. It states that Atriox was running from the covenant and with their downfall he has been able to emerge. One of the characters then go on to say “Brutes don’t have a strong leader to stabilise them” which supports my other point of them being in a primitive warrior state, though the other character in the conservation is meant to disprove this point but does so in a strange way. Despite that I believe they should have lead with this type of story rather than the one conveyed by beloved Isabel. But I wonder, how did she come across all this Atriox information if she was stranded on the ark and humanity had “minnimal” information on them?
Haze1 rah wrote:
Despite that I believe they should have lead with this type of story rather than the one conveyed by beloved Isabel. But I wonder, how did she come across all this Atriox information if she was stranded on the ark and humanity had “minnimal” information on them?
Yeah you're probably right some of that info would have been better in the main story to clear some things up. As to how they got the information, the Swords of Sanghelios probably had records of every group that split off from the Covenant and shared that info with humanity so humanity could watch out for them. And what Isabel did with this information could definitely be labeled as over-exaggeration but again since they changed that by the end of the game I still don't really consider it an issue.
Haze1 rah wrote:
Reading some of the Phoenix logs I came across one titled ‘Rise of Atriox IV’ which seems to give more insight and actually fits in better with Halo lore. It states that Atriox was running from the covenant and with their downfall he has been able to emerge. One of the characters then go on to say “Brutes don’t have a strong leader to stabilise them” which supports my other point of them being in a primitive warrior state, though the other character in the conservation is meant to disprove this point but does so in a strange way. Despite that I believe they should have lead with this type of story rather than the one conveyed by beloved Isabel. But I wonder, how did she come across all this Atriox information if she was stranded on the ark and humanity had “minnimal” information on them?
I started re-reading the logs myself and came across an annotation in the Banished buildings section stating "more than a decade of raiding,"

So, it seems Atriox and the Banished came about towards the end of the Human -Covenant War.

Another interesting anecdote is the Colony entry suggesting the Lekgolo are after something specific on the Ark as well.

A lot of foundation for another battle over the Ark in my opinion.

Cheers,
Brad