Halo: Reach can be, and for many is, a tough game to master. With its varied armour abilities and different play-style to that of Halo 3, many who considered themselves "professionals" at Halo 3 jumped into Halo: Reach and found that the different game mechanics were completely alien to them.
Halo: Reach has been out for quite some time. If you're new to Reach, the chance of finding players close to your rank is low, meaning that you're most likely going to have a hard time getting on your feet against players who have been playing for months, or even since the game's launch last September.
This guide will help you overcome these problems and help you to become a better player at Halo: Reach's multiplayer.
Wait, I Can Kill With the Plasma Pistol?!
Among the many things that have changed with Halo: Reach, weapon balance is arguably one of the biggest. Unlike in Halo 3 which saw players completely avoiding any plasma-related weapons (expect for the plasma grenades), Bungie has ensured that every weapon serves its own purpose.
Basically, all weapons are now usable and can be used to kill enemies; that includes the plasma pistol which is now surprisingly stronger than its counterpart in Halo 3 which could only down shields at the most. If you've even seen a Reach trailer, then you'll know that the game features a large variety of new Covenant weapons. To learn more about how to properly use these weapons to your advantage, be sure to check out the Halo: Reach weapons guide.
Another thing to take note of is recoil. When continually firing a weapon, you'll notice that the cross-hair begins to get larger. When this happens, you'll want to either stop shooting (if it's an automatic weapon) for several seconds, and maybe dive into cover, or if it's a weapon like the DMR you should take things slower. This is key to winning DMR duels that you'll encounter in nearly every Reach match that you play — it's no longer about who can throw the most amount of bullets towards someone, but rather who can actually hit. Even if things are looking like you're about die against someone who's shooting at a considerably high rate with their DMR, do not speed up your shooting — you will most likely win the fight.
So to sum up the weapons, just remember that this isn't Halo 3, all weapons do serve some sort of purpose and can all be effectively used to kill enemies in certain situations. Don't be afraid to pick up said weapons.
Charging Into Battle
Most Halo 3 players will try to play Reach the same way they played Halo 3 online — by charging towards enemies and expecting that when they melee them that they'll get the kill. If you're one of these people, stop right there. Reach now has a health system similar to that found in Halo: Combat Evolved; as long as your opponent has a tiny bit of shield remaining, you won't be able to kill them by hitting them with your weapon.
What this means is that Reach is a much more tactical game. There's no more going "lone wolf" in a game of Team Slayer, because it will get you killed. The fact that maps now have more than one alternative route to go to means that you're going to need to pick your armor abilities carefully. I know the Jetpack seems cool, but there's really no point in using it on a map like Powerhouse because you become the enemy's number one target — you'll be easy picking. Use the Jetpack ability on a map like Sword Base which consists of multiple floors.
Armor abilities play a huge role in Reach now. Many avoid Sprint simply because it seems so basic, but you can benefit greatly with it on any type of map given the layout. Abilities such as Armor Lock are great for both maps that have vehicles and running into the middle of a battle, as you can become a distraction to the enemy while your team mates (or, other enemy players if you're playing Slayer) take care of them. These are just a couple of examples, some people might benefit more from certain abilities than others so it's advised that you experiment with them for a while before finding the ones that most suit your play style.
All in all, just remember not to charge towards an enemy while shooting at them, even if it's with the Assault Rifle. Weapons are much more powerful and don't require you to get closer to the enemy — by moving towards them you're increasing the chances of the enemy hitting you more despite the recoil.
Aside from what's been mentioned above, there really isn't much more to discuss. You see, no one game of Reach online is the same. Every time you join a match, there will be one, maybe two, people who contribute to a game being different from the one you just played, even if it was on the same map. There are many reasons for this as stated above — whether it's the level design which spews out hundreds of different tactical opportunities or the armor abilities that force players to stay on their toes.
There is no way to be 100% prepared for a match in Reach, that's what makes the game so unique and popular. One of the most important rules, however, is to have fun. It sounds silly, but if you get frustrated during a match and your mind begins to fill up with nothing but pure rage, chances are you're going to do worse than you already were.
Keep a clear mind, keep positive and laugh off the moments when you're killed in a very heated battle; it can do you wonders. Remember that Reach is much more tactical; it's more Battlefield than it is Call of Duty; it's about assisting teammates, not jumping in at the last second to snatch a kill — you actually gain more "cR" from getting assists (6 points) than you do getting a normal kill (4 points).
Good luck out there.
- Text is based on author’s experience. All images found throughout the article are from Bungie, the developers of Halo: Reach.