By ske7ch -
All Units! The UNSC faces a formidable new foe in its battle against The Banished with the arrival of the Hunter pair known as Colony! The first additional Banished leader to join the Halo Wars 2 fray features brand new units and abilities offering new strategies, tactics and gameplay across all multiplayer modes. Colony is available right now as part of the Halo Wars 2 season pass (or via a la carte purchase for $5.99) for both Xbox One and Windows 10.
Read on for an overview of the new units and abilities Colony brings to the battlefield as well as a synopsis of broader balance changes coming to Halo Wars 2 with this latest update.
Strange and inscrutable, the Hunter pair who identifies as "Colony" is believed to be either a representative for Lekgolo allied to the Banished or a specialized command form of the alien eel-worms. Colony defers only to Atriox and is charged with directing all Banished Lekgolo activities on the Ark, including creation and expansion of Lekgolo clusters for use in vehicles and other specialized applications. Though it cooperates with the Banished, Colony appears to have its own plans for the Ark. Most of its attention is currently focused on the activities near the resting place of the Forerunner keyships; missions undertaken outside the knowledge of other Banished leaders.
When called upon to direct Banished military operations, Colony’s strategy is to control the battlefield with large numbers of Lekgolo-driven constructs that it can heal and augment, buying time with Engineer Swarm and Living Barriers until it can call in reinforcements with Colony Drop and Devastating Host. It can also temporarily enhance friendly vehicles by infiltrating them with gestalts, using Vehicle Symbiotes. But time is the main ally of Colony, as its Combat Repair passive ability slowly heals all friendly units and structures.
Colony’s unique units open up new strategic and tactical options anchored by specialized Hunter units built to withstand (and dish out) a high level of damage.
The Goliath is what you get when both groups of a Lekgolo colony occupy a single, massive suit of armor. This gigantic, melee-focused unit excels at laying waste to enemy structures, can pull enemies towards him, and has a shoulder-charge ability to quickly annihilate groups of weaker foes.
Colony can summon a swarm of Huragok Engineers to the battlefield to heal allied units in the area for a limited time. An Engineer Swarm provides strong healing and is more cost-effective than UNSC Restoration Drones but are vulnerable to being show down by anti-air units if deployed too close to enemy threats.
The Enduring Locust has the range and multi-purpose usage as its basic brethren but gets a substantial bump in effectiveness thanks to its “Last Stand” ability, which deploys a number of infantry troops to fight on after the unit has been destroyed.
This pair of sturdy Veteran Hunters come equipped with an upgraded Beam Weapon to deal more damage than their basic counterparts.
These small mechanical units are considered “little brothers” of the Locust and what they lack in toughness they more than make up for in sheer numbers and symbiotic impact. Skitterers are cheap swarms that are pesky on their own but truly shine when they engage as guardians of (sometimes called “attach to”) a friendly unit – truly living up to the adage “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Once permanently attached to a host unit, a Skitterer will provide a hitpoint boost, offer healing as needed, and serve as a mini turret to bolster firepower output. The larger the host unit, the more Skitterers can be attached!
The hero unit in Colony’s forces is the intimidating, hulking Hunter Captain. This legendary unit is extremely slow but extremely resilient, making it an excellent front-line tank. With its Taunt ability. The Hunter Captain will force nearby enemies to attack him, providing excellent support for weaker, ranged units on the secondary line. To provide extra survivability, the Captain can siphon health from enemy units to heal himself and utilize Shock to debuff enemy troops and significantly reduce their armor. The Captain is a force to reckon with, particularly when bolstered by Skitterers.
This area-of-effect buff calls forth Lekgolo worms to swarm over targeted vehicles and buildings, increasing their armor and range. Unlike most other buffs, the positive effects of the Symbiotes is permanent, lasting until the affected unit is destroyed.
Colony can summon a wall of Lekgolo worms that act as barricades to block enemy ground vehicles, fortify chokepoints and protect friendly structures. Skillful Barrier deployments can also be used on top of enemy armies in mid-battle to divide and separate advancing forces.
Colony comes with added special abilities that are specific to Halo Wars 2’s Deathmatch, Domination, and Strongholds multiplayer modes. Here are a few of the most noteworthy additions:
- Hunters Brand – A relatively cheap Tier 3 ability that is similar to a Glassing Beam but is cheaper to deploy and thus can be more frequently used. Three beams converge on a target, dealing damage and briefly slowing affected units.
- Colony Drop – A Tier 3 ability that drops in a pair of Veteran Goliaths providing a quick strike team packing serious muscle.
- Devastating Host – This Ultimate ability is a powerful, large-scale Spirit drop that summons Hunters and vehicles buffed with Vehicle Symbiotes. The entire landing zone is buffed so any additional vehicles or structures in the area will also be affected.
- Combat Repair (Passive) – An Ultimate ability that provides a slow, healing-over-time effect to all structures and units for the remainder of the game!
The Colony add-on also includes two brand new Achievements for Halo Wars 2:
- Hunter/Hunted - User Hunter Captain's Taunt ability 50 times
- Turrets Everywhere - Attach 50 Skitterers to squads
Patch Notes & Balance Changes
In conjunction with the Colony release, Halo Wars 2 will also receive a patch that further improves and fixes various aspects of the game. You can check out the full patch notes right HERE.
Additionally, the design team has been going over player feedback and game data to make another set of balance tweaks and adjustments to most leaders and several units. You can read the full list of balance changes right HERE.
Lastly, the Colony update also ushers in the start of a brand new ranked season of online mulitplayer competition. Jump in and battle to establish your ranking for Season Two!
Waypoint & Halo App Update
As part of the Colony release both HaloWaypoint and the Halo App have been updated. In addition to being able to build and manage decks with Colony's units, the team is also exicted to launch ranked leaderboards for Halo Wars 2! See how you and your friends stack up and fight your way to the top to be immortalized in Halo Wars 2 history on each of the ranked playlists for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.
As a reminder - If you missed Kinsano, last month’s new leader, you can read more about the UNSC’s fierce and fiery Hellbringer commander RIGHT HERE.
For each of our content updates, our top priority is to make sure we deliver a smooth and polished experience, which meant we had to postpone Colony’s release. We know this can be frustrating for the community.
When Halo Wars 2 launched, the team set a target of releasing DLC “every third Wednesday of the month,” with the bigger goal of establishing a regular, predictable cadence of new content for players to look forward to. With the fluid nature of game development and two DLC leaders in, hitting that specific date every time is proving to be unrealistic. Looking ahead, we’ll continue to deliver new content each month and try to get it in your hands as early as possible, while making sure the dates we share are indeed when we ship.
With five more Leaders and two new campaign missions on the horizon, we’re just getting started! Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy the new units and abilities Colony brings to your Halo Wars 2 multiplayer matches!
Follow @Halo and stay tuned to Halo Waypoint for the latest info and remember to stop by our forums to share your feedback with the Halo Wars 2 team.