By ske7ch -
After months of internal work and weeks of public testing - and then even more internal iteration - the weapon tuning update for Halo 5 is nearly upon us! When the “Overtime” update releases tomorrow, Nov. 2, a number of weapons in the Halo 5 sandbox will be tweaked and modified across every game mode – Arena, Warzone, and Campaign. Today, we're bringing you a deeper dive into the tuning test with insights into the reasons for these changes, how the public test fared, and what you can expect to find when you boot up Halo 5 tomorrow.
Brace yourself – we’re going very deep here and there’s a lot of dry information to digest (but we also have charts!). If you aren’t a fan of sifting through thousands of words, you might want to check out the on-demand version of today's live stream instead (available HERE). I recommend you check it out anyways if only to hear from Quinn direct and see him work some glorious whiteboard magic.
TEEING UP THE TUNING
We’ve written a lot about the weapon tuning test already, so to get up to speed with the most in-depth background primer, be sure to check out the original blog HERE. If you’re just joining us and want to dive right in, here’s the quick tl;dr summary:
- 14 different items in the Halo 5 sandbox are being updated and re-tuned with tomorrow’s game update
- The goals behind these tuning changes are twofold –
1. Revitalize and re-balance the Halo 5 sandbox to a more desirable state
2. Strengthen the unique roles for each weapon and reduce role redundancy.
- From Sept. 11 through Oct. 2 a special “Tuning Test” playlist was added to facilitate public testing and feedback on the newly tuned weapons
- Player feedback – via forums and official surveys – along with game data was analyzed and used to help inform additional internal iteration and adjustments where warranted
- When the Halo 5 update launches tomorrow, newly tuned versions of these weapons will be added across the entire game!
- Following the release, the team will be monitoring data and feedback closely in case additional refinements are necessary
One big thing to keep in mind as you’re reviewing these changes is that as of this release we are not making changes to the load outs or weapons-on-map in Halo 5. During the tuning test, we experimented with a BR/Gunfighter loadout and specifically tweaked some of the on-map weapons to ensure they got adequate testing.
For now, our focus is on these tuned weapons themselves and making sure that these changes have the desired effects - so we won’t be introducing an additional variable of altered game settings at this time.
Of course, loadouts and settings are certainly an interesting aspect of refreshing Halo 5, and are things we’ll be looking more into down the road. For now though, everything will remain as-is with all of the items listed below replacing their current in-game counterpart.
Key Concepts & Terminology
In order to go deep on these changes we need to first establish a few common terms and baseline understanding for certain traits inherent in Halo 5’s weapons. And to be clear, none of these are new things – they’ve been present in Halo 5 (and really in all Halo FPS games) since day one. When the sandbox team is tuning weapons, think of these as the levers and knobs at their disposal that all combine to give each weapon its unique role and feel.
- Aim Assist – This value affects how ‘easy’ it is for a projectile to hit the target. Think of this as a gentle helping hand to reduce the accuracy penalty if you’re not 100% perfectly lined up on your target. In a world where we have split second battles occurring over network conditions, aim assist helps to make things a bit more forgiving/consistent and generally feels better as a player.
CQC – “Close Quarters Combat” – used to describe engagements that are up close and personal at a close range.
DPS – Another straightforward value – this refers to “Damage Per Second” and if every bullet fired hits the target, this is the avg. total damage value per second of use. DPS is a common method to understand how powerful a weapon is. The higher a weapon’s DPS, the more lethal it is. This is a factor of several things such as rate of fire, accuracy, clip size, and damage multipliers.
Falloff Range – This value applies to both “Magnetism” and “Aim Assist” and is measured in terms of “near” and “maximum” range values. Think of this as the point where the effectiveness of magnetism or aim assist begins to decrease and is less than the maximum possible value. All weapons have a curve where there’s an ideal sweet spot range where a weapon receives maximum benefit from things like magnetism and aim assist and then as you move out from that center – in both directions - that benefit decreases.
Headshot Multiplier– This is pretty straight forward – when a bullet or projectile hits the intended target in the head it will do extra damage compared to landing the same shot on the torso.
Red Reticle – When you’re using a weapon and have an opponent in your sights within the intended optimal range, the reticle turns red. A red reticle means that the weapon’s aim assist is in play. “RRR” refers to the weapon’s “red reticle range.”
Shots to Kill – similar to the above except this is the actual minimum number of shots needed to finish an opponent (again, assuming all shots land). “Shots to Shields” is the same measure but in reference to the shots needed to pop an opponent’s shields.
Time to Kill (TTK) – A general measure used to describe the lethality of a weapon. If a player is firing against an opponent and every shot lands, this is a measure of how long it will take before the target dies.
We were intentionally vague with details when the public tuning test rolled out as to not influence or add bias to player feedback. Quite simply, we wanted you to play and draw your own conclusions and provide pure feedback, not pass judgment by reading a blog before you even picked up a weapon in game.
Now that the testing is complete and the feedback has been analyzed and acted upon, it’s time to dig into the weapon-by-weapon changes to shed some light on what’s changing and why. Many items in the tuning test worked out pretty good with the real-world results aligning with the internal design goals the sandbox team was targeting. However, some weapons did not quite hit the mark and as a result received another round of tuning adjustments to address feedback and discrepancies between actual and intended results. Below we will detail each weapon, talk about what was changed in the initial tuning test and then what was further changed for the final release (where applicable). Please note that even though we’re calling this “final”, the team is ready and standing by to closely monitor and conduct further fine tuning and iteration if warranted.