By 343 Industries -
After weeks of internal testing, feedback from the Team Arena Summer Preview playlist, and multiple rounds of feedback with Pro League teams, we’ve locked on final map layouts as well as map and game type combinations for Team Arena and the HCS Pro League. As of today, the Team Arena playlist will reflect the official HCS Pro League maps and game types.
The following game types will be played for the start of Pro League. As a note, extensive testing was done with the Assault game type, and at this time it has been determined that the game type could use some extra tuning before being integrated into Pro League play. The multiplayer team will continue working with Pro League teams on feedback and updates for future consideration.
Team Arena / HCS Pro League Summer Season game types:
2. The Rig
11. The Rig
Below you will find a full breakdown of updates to Team Arena maps and game types. Where applicable, the multiplayer team has provided additional context for these changes as noted in italics.
- SPNKr Rocket Launcher replaces the Plasma Caster at the Outside location
We wanted to replace the newly buffed Plasma Caster with something that still packs a punch but isn't as overwhelming. The iconic SPNKr Rocket Launcher fits the bill perfectly as the power weapon when playing Slayer, CTF, or Assault.
- Storm Rifles removed and replaced with Boltshots
Speaking of the Boltshot - it now has a place on top of each fan near the Turbine on the outside of the map. The Storm Rifle was a decimating force on a map as small as Empire. Removing the Storm Rifle plus adding the Boltshot again furthers the philosophy of making the mid-match decisions more interesting for a player, instead of always grabbing a Storm Rifle after respawning.
- SMGs moved from Red/Blue Platform to inside Red/Blue Base
When the SMGs were at the platform for each base, this encouraged the player to take the SMG over to the Tower side of the map. By moving them inside each base, players can have more freedom to choose where to go and hunker down to protect their flag in a heated match of CTF.
- Plasma Pistol moved to Mid
This change caters more towards the new Overshield placement when playing Strongholds. We didn't feel that its placement in Turbine would play well with the Overshield (Strongholds only) so close to it outside. For Slayer this location is just as close to the Overshield as it was before, but now closer to Tower 1.
- Removal of four Frag Grenades and two Plasma Grenades
- Reshuffling of grenade placement
Empire is one of the smallest maps in Halo 5: Guardians and launched with 20 grenades placed on the map. Combine this with players spawning with two frag grenades and you have a ton of grenade kills with less gunplay. To bring this closer to a balanced gameplay experience, we've reduced total grenade count to 14 and reshuffled the placement around.
- Battle Rifles removed
There were some frustrations around the Battle Rifle being the dominate precision weapon on the map and how it negatively affected the DMR and Magnum play. For this update, we're removing the Battle Rifle to make the precision decision more interesting between DMR, Magnum, and Boltshot.
- Removed DMR at Tower 3 and placed one at each of the Red/Blue Platforms
The theory behind the lone DMR at Tower 3 was to empower the player with a quick firing rifle that could outrange opponents from a height advantage. This didn't pan out as envisioned due to a few reasons, one of which was the dual Battle Rifles in each base. The goal here is to give each team a DMR to engage opponents from their side of the map instead of quickly getting overrun from the halfway mark of the map where Tower 3 is located.
- (Strongholds only) Moved Overshield from Tower 2 to Outside
We felt we had to move the Overshield to prevent the mosh pit gameplay that was prevalent during the first six months of Empire. The outside of the map created a great spot to force teams to make the call on capping a Stronghold or pushing for the Overshield. The previous placement didn't offer any decision making in that regard.
- (Strongholds only) Replaced Scattershot with SAW at Tower 2
The SAW is making its official debut into Arena when playing Strongholds only on Empire. The Scattershot played well during the first six months of Empire Strongholds but we feel that the SAW brings something new to the stable of power weapons in Arena - namely that it isn't capable of killing opponents with one shot. Something else to note is that this SAW will be restricted to having no extra magazines of ammo. There's no reloading, so make good use of your ammo.
- (Strongholds only) Removed SMGs from each base
With the addition of the SAW, we found that the SMG creates a muddy experience for players. It's difficult to tell whether you're getting shot by an SMG or SAW. Also, this change further strengthens the roles of the SAW as the power weapon and the Assault Rifle as the standard automatic weapon.
- (Strongholds only) Increased width of Pit Stronghold
We've learned a lot about Strongholds as a game mode since its debut during the Halo 5: Guardians Arena MP Beta. One of those is that not all Stronghold zones need to be the same in size. The Pit Stronghold was fairly small and made it very vulnerable to grenades flying in from all sorts of places. We're increasing the overall footprint of the Pit Stronghold to further encourage gunplay and cat-and-mouse gameplay between combatants.
- SMGs moved out of Oven/Fridge locations to Bottom Red/Blue
This is very similar to the SMG location changes on Empire. This is going to promote different movement for SMG users instead of consistently heading into battle at the Green Tower location.
- Battle Rifles replaced with DMRs
We felt that movement was stifled just a bit when players could grab a DMR and immediately engage opponents from across the map. By moving the DMRs to the wings, players are now more free to move around the map. As with all changes, we'll keep a close eye on this and re-evaluate after a couple months of solid play.
- Removal of four Frag Grenades and overall reshuffling of grenade placement
To balance the overall experience, we've reduced total grenade count from 20 to 16 and reshuffled the placement around. A particular change to this is the moving of the Splinter grenades out of the "Maze" and replaced them with Frag grenades. The Splinter grenades can be found on the outside "Sneaky" steps near Green Tower as well as the previous location at the Red/Blue Elbows.
- Carbine is added to the old Suppressor location at Yellow Tower
- Added cover at Yellow Tower
This change in conjunction with the cover additions to Yellow Tower are being made to increase the flow and overall strength of this side of the map. The Carbine is a mid-long range precision weapon that's great at harassing opponents or descoping enemy snipers. We feel that with these changes, Yellow Tower will become a more powerful position on the map that teams can control.
- Boltshot moved to Red/Blue Cave
The Boltshot is one of the most underrated weapons in Halo 5: Guardians' sandbox. Coliseum's open lines of sight combined with the Boltshot's long red reticle range make this a stronger weapon than at first glance. We're excited to see how this weapon performs during the Summer Season of the HCS Pro League and in matchmaking.
- Battle Rifle added to the grassy area next to Lift at Green Tower
When we first tested out this refreshed version of Coliseum, we all-up removed Battle Rifles from the map. Through playtesting and feedback from the community, we found this was a bit too aggressive. We're adding a neutrally located Battle Rifle in the low grassy area next to the lift at Green Tower. We feel this will be a sought after weapon that due to its location will cause interesting movement and flow during a match.
- Suppressor moves to Top Mid/Top Catwalk
The Suppressor was at the top of Yellow Tower and now we're moving it to Top Mid because not unlike the Botlshot, it too has a long red reticle range that lets players engage opponents with the long sight lines Coliseum is known for.
- Removal of SMGs
- Storm Rifles moved out of Red/Blue Treehouses to on top of the Red/Blue submarines
The SMGs and Storm Rifles that were so readily available made the automatic weapon role a bit cloudy and lessened the role of the Assault Rifle. Removing the SMGs and moving the Storm Rifles out of the Red/Blue Treehouse and onto the submarines make route taking and decision making more interesting. Whereas before players just instinctually grabbed a Storm Rifle on their way through a treehouse, they will now make a conscious decision to go grab one. This also makes fighting a Storm Rifle player more interesting because you know that person made a real effort to get one.
- Removal of two Frag Grenades and overall resuffling of genade placement
To balance the gameplay experience, we've reduced total grenade count from 18 to 16 and reshuffled the placement around. Less grenade spam and more gun battles is good, right!?
- Location of the Railgun and Active Camouflage has been swapped
This is a subtle change but will over time have a large impact on Fathom gameplay. Moving the Active Camo to Top Mid should reduce the amount of burns and grenades flying in and killing the players competing over the power up. This should lead to more big play potential that just wasn't there when the camouflaged player was killed so easily with grenades in the cramped Bottom Mid location.
Railgun now becomes the heavily fought over item at Bottom Mid that will be prone to grenade explosions. The key difference here is that the Railgun doesn't get burned like the Active Camouflage does.
- (Strongholds only) Moved the Basement Stronghold closer to Yellow Corner to more balance out the control between the three Strongholds
Another subtle change that has had a definite impact on how Strongholds plays on The Rig. Before it was very "set up" based with teams wanting to control the Basement and Nest Strongholds. This change makes it more "rotational" based with teams moving from Stronghold to Stronghold and trying to execute on total control points instead of a two Stronghold set up.
- Replaced Plasma Caster with Fuel Rod
Before the Plasma Caster was buffed in the recent Memories of Reach update, it was very rare for anyone to risk their lives to go for it. We feel that the Fuel Rod will indeed be that true power weapon that forces teams to take into account when planning their next flag or bomb run. We also feel that due to Truth's largely open sight lines combined with the low splash damage and projectile speed of the Fuel Rod, it won't become the "win button" either.
- Removed SMGs at each base
- Moved Storm Rifles to the bottom door at each base
Having two SMGs and two Storm Rifles in such proximity to each other proved to be not ideal. When it came time to remove one or the other, we found that we could've gone with either one for balance reasons, but chose to keep the Storm Rifles as they simply fit the Covenant theme very well.
- Hydra Launcher added to Bottom Mid
In the previous version of Truth, Bottom Mid was a wasteland. It's incredibly vulnerable to the entire map and didn't offer anything to get players to go there except to quickly get to Top Mid. We're hoping that the Hydra is something players can choose to go for but not be something that overwhelms the map and completely changes how Truth is played. We're excited to see how this one plays out.
- Removed BRs at each base window
- Replaced Carbine at Pink 2 with a BR
- Similar to the Battle Rifle change on Coliseum. This change is twofold. First, we wanted to promote more movement and reduce the likelihood of a player sitting in the main window of a base and laying down Battle Rifle fire which was so prevalent in the previous version of Truth. Second, we removed a Carbine at Pink Tower 2 in favor of a Battle Rifle to create an interesting dynamic between those two precision weapons and the battle between two players wielding them.
- Moved Frag Grenades to each base window
There's now two Frag grenades at each main window to Red/Blue base. The reasoning here is to give players potentially four grenades to lob into Pink Tower 2 or Carbine Tower to pressure opponents in those locations.
- Moved Splinter Grenades to Top Mid
The Splinter grenades move to Top Mid to further incentivize teams to go there and use it as a power position on the map.
- Plasma Pistol moved to Plaza/Garden
The previous placement of the Plasma Pistol in Loading Dock/Dip seemed too far out of the way for players, and at times was very powerful in a Strongholds match at Bottom Mid. By moving it into the Garden area, we found that it makes it more interesting for teams to grab and use to attack opposing snipers or defend against overshielded opponents.
- Added a Splinter grenade to Lift and to the Bridge above Under Bridge/Dip
These additions are to better spread around the Splinter grenades and to have them utilized more in Plaza as the locations for the other two Splinter grenades are very out of the way.
- Hydra Launcher moved from Plaza/Garden to bottom of Driveway
The Hydra feels great on Plaza. Moving it to the bottom of Driveway gives the player some interesting angles from a very low position to try and get missile lock on opponents on Top Mid, Cinema, Garbage Truck, etc. Also, we're making the change to adding the Hydra to Strongholds as well where we're expecting it to play a big role.
- (Strongholds only) Active Camouflage moved to Top Mid
- (Strongholds only) Rail Gun removed
We're removing the Railgun for this go around because Plaza Strongholds is very hectic and with the other weapons available (Shotgun, Plasma Pistol, Hydra) we felt it was a bit too much. As always we'll re-evaluate after the Summer Season of Pro League.
With the removal of Railgun we now have an ideal location to place Active Camouflage. This will feel more balanced for both teams off the initial rush as the previous location favored the Blue Team.
- (Strongholds only) Reduced radius of Nest Stronghold
- (Strongholds only) Increased size of Bottom Mid Stronghold
We're reducing the radius of the Nest Stronghold as it felt too powerful for someone to capture it while hiding behind cover near the top of the lift. This should in turn make the Stronghold more contested and feel a bit more fair.
The Bottom Mid Stronghold is getting a bit of a change as well. It's now less in size length wise but larger in size width wise. This is to make it a bit more balanced for the team trying to capture the Stronghold from the Driveway side. Before they only had the Taxi to hide behind. This change will focus more around the center structure between the Taxi and Garbage Truck.
- “Overhang” renamed to “Nest”
- “Mid Yard” renamed to “Bottom Nest”
The previous names of Overhang and Mid Yard were confusing and didn't foster better communication amongst teammates. Nest and Bottom Nest are much stronger names that should hopefully improve this.
- Boltshots replaced Storm Rifles at Blue/Red Rampart
This is the previous location where the Storm Rifles used to be. This should make grabbing a Boltshot more accessible than where they were before on the bridges leading out to Top Mid.
- Plasma Caster replaced Fuel Rod Cannon
The Plasma Caster is a legitimate power weapon now! Regret is a small scale map, but with the curvy surfaces that make bouncing 'Caster grenades a bit more balanced then say an Empire or Fathom. We also found that the Plasma Caster is a bit less overpowering than the Fuel Rod was. Pushing with a Caster is a bit more difficult than the Fuel Rod was in the tight spaces of Regret.
- Storm Rifle replaced Needler in Tunnel
We really like this change. The Storm Rifle feels great in the tunnel location as it can rock opponents that go through there. This also makes a Storm Rifle player feel more unique and powerful because the odds of running into another Storm Rifle player is greatly diminished as there is only one now on the map.
- Battle Rifles replaced DMRs at Blue/Red Ledge
Regret is a smaller scale map where the Battle Rifle just feels better to play on than the DMRs did. Plus, who doesn't love more BRs?
- Moved the Needler to Bottom Nest
The Needler is a strong weapon when used on an unsuspecting victim. By moving it to Bottom Nest, we've found that the open location is better contested than the Tunnel. Even if it isn't contested, this will at least help teams see when another player has picked it up.
- Removed Plasma Pistol
- Brute Plasma Rifle replaces Light Rifle at Red Nest
The Brute Plasma Rifle does close to the same job as the Plasma Pistol does to Overshielded opponents, and is a solid change of pace - not to mention a fun weapon to use.
- Light Rifle replaces Battle Rifle at Red Bend
In Slayer matches, a common strategy is to hold up in Blue Base with a Sniper Rifle and pick off opposing players trying to overtake your position. This change is designed to give the team pinned down in Red Base something to use to counter the sniping player.
- Plasma grenades at the batteries in Red/Blue Yard replaced with Frag grenades
- Frag grenades at Red/Blue base replaced with Plasma grenades
We're doing this one to increase the potential "Combat Evolved" opportunities for the Rocket Launchers that spawn outside in Slayer and Strongholds. Albeit at a cost to trying to "Combat Evolved" the Sniper Rifle in Slayer matches.
- (Strongholds only) Adjusted Red initial spawns to be more fair to Blue initial spawns
Pushed some Red spawns back to balance out the run times to strongholds, powerups, and power weapons during the initial rush.
- (Strongholds only) Moved Active Camouflage to Security
- (Strongholds only) Overshield moved to Pit
We really liked the uniqueness of the previous locations, but just as the Light Rifle change alters the opening rush in favor of the mid game, this change alters the mid game in favor of the opening rush in an attempt to make it more fair. Example being that Red previously team got Overshield for "free" and also had a good fighting chance for Active Camouflage as well. This change should better balance out the opening rush.
- (Strongholds only) Increased height and width of Red Nest Stronghold
We felt there was more room to increase the size of the Stronghold to prevent it feeling like a grenade trap. Also, by increasing the height, players can now capture the Stronghold by sitting on top of the cover at Red Nest.
- (Strongholds only) SPNKr Rocket Launch replaces Plasma Caster
Everyone loves the SPNKr, and it has some nuanced differences from the standard Rocket Launcher that work well on Eden.
- Stasis CTF will be included in the lineup for Pro League launch, with no changes from the base variant that launched with Memories of Reach. As with all maps in the list, we’ll continue to monitor, tweak, and respond to feedback.
Updating the Team Arena playlist with new and improved settings has been a process that wouldn’t have been possible without feedback from you, the community. We hope you’re excited to jump into Team Arena and watch the first Pro League matches on Thursday, June 2 on Twitch.tv/Halo. We’ll see you then!