War Games refer to a collection of game types in Halo 4 in which you play competitively against other human players. These battles are training simulations performed by Spartan IVs onboard the infinity, which they use to improve their abilities for Spartan Ops. There are no computer controlled enemies in War Games; every single ally and enemy is a real human player.
War Games offers an interesting dynamic to Halo 4 quite different from either the Campaign or Spartan Ops. Because you are playing against real players, you get an opportunity to fight enemies much more intelligent than those in the Campaign or Spartan Ops. Therefore, some of the strategies that I provide for the Campaign do not work nearly as well in War Games. There is no single “best” strategy, so experiment with many different tactics and choose one that best fits your strengths and play style.
In War Games and Spartan Ops, you receive experience after completing each game. This experience is used to level up your Spartan IV character. As you level up, you unlock new equipment (such as weapons, armor abilities, and perks) and new armor. Each level requires more experience to unlock, so you will level up quickly at first and slowly later on. After you reach level 20, you will have unlocked all equipment, and any levels past that will have little effect on your gameplay.
There are 3 ways to gain experience. The primary way is to complete games in either War Games or Spartan Ops. After each game, you will be rewarded a fixed completion bonus and a much smaller bonus based on your success during that game. In general, you will receive around 2500 experience from shorter games (slayer, oddball, etc.) and 3000 experience from longer games (Spartan Ops, Big Team Battle, CTF). The second way to gain experience is by completing challenges. There are an assortment of War Games, Campaign, and Spartan Ops challenges that you can complete to gain extra experience, with rewards ranging from 1000 to 20,000 experience depending on the difficulty of the challenge. Challenges come in many variations, such as killing a certain number of enemies in a certain way, winning a certain number of games, or completing a certain campaign mission on a certain difficulty. New Challenges are added periodically. Finally, you can gain experience by completing commendations. Commendations are similar to challenges, but they have no time limit and new ones are never added. There is a large assortment of over 100 commendations, each with between 5 to 7 stages of completion. Every time you complete a new stage of a commendation, you receive a certain amount of experience. You can also gain new armor and weapon skins by completing the highest stage of certain commendations.
After you reach level 50, you can choose from 8 different Spartan specializations. Each specialization requires 10 levels to complete, and you unlock new armor with each level. After completing the final level of a specialization, you unlock a new perk. While these new perks only have a minor effect on gameplay, they do offer useful bonuses such as more experience per game, faster assassinations, or longer overheat times on vehicles. Once you complete all 8 specializations and reach level 130, you have completed the leveling progression and will no longer level up.
Throughout the leveling process, you will unlock numerous pieces of armor, all of which can be accessed from the “back” menu. This allows you to customize the way your Spartan IV looks in both Spartan Ops and War Games, but has absolutely no effect on gameplay. You unlock new armor by reaching new levels, completing commendations, and completing armor-specific challenges.
Unlike in the previous Halo games, you can create your own loadout in Halo 4. Each loadout consists of a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, an armor ability, a grenade type, and two perks. You can have 5 different loadouts at one time, allowing you to develop different combinations for each situation. These 5 loadouts are used in both Spartan Ops and War Games, so I suggest that set allocate 2 loadouts for Spartan Ops and 3 for War Games.
Below, I discuss which equipment to use in your War Games loadouts. However, these are only my opinions; you should develop a loadout that fits your play style the best.
Primary Weapon: I highly suggest that you use a headshot weapon as your primary weapon, as headshot weapons have a much longer range and kill enemies faster than any of the assault weapons. I suggest that you use either the DMR, Battle Rifle, or Light Rifle. Of these Options, the DMR is the most accurate, the Battle Rifle deals the most damage when not zoomed in, and the Light Rifle deals the most damage when zoomed in.
Secondary Weapon: You should always use the Plasma Pistol as your secondary weapon, no matter the situation. Although the Plasma Pistol and headshot trick does not work very well against human players, you can still use the Plasma Pistol to stun and jack vehicles and to remove peoples shields and melee them. The Magnum is inferior in damage and accuracy to the headshot rifles, and the bolt shot does not deal enough damage to be worthwhile.
Grenade Type: I suggest that you use the Frag grenade as your grenade type. You can bounce Frag grenades around corners or up gravity lifts, allowing you to kill players that are out of your line of sight. When used in combination with Promethean Vision, this can be a very effective tactic. However, if you are very good at sticking your opponents, you may wish to use the Plasma grenade.
Armor Ability: In my opinion, Active Camouflage and Promethean Vision are the two best armor abilities for War Games. Promethean Vision allows you to see your opponents before they see you, allowing you to get the first shot and the element of surprise. It also allows you to easily see players using Active Camouflage. Active Camouflage allows you to stay hidden while snipping or sneak up on enemies, which is especially useful when using shotguns.
Perks: There are a large assortment of perks that provide minor bonuses. You should choose whichever perks complementing your play style the best. Some of my personal favorites include extra ammo, more frequent ordinance drops, and faster armor ability regeneration.
In order to obtain non-loadout weapons in War Games, you will need to rely on Ordinance Drops. Ordinance Drops are a new game mechanic implemented in Halo 4, replacing the previous system of weapon spawns. Weapon crates are dropped onto the battlefield from above, and can contain either a weapon, a power-up, or two grenades. There are two types of Ordinance Drops, and they are as follows:
Map Ordinance Drops appear throughout the map at the start of the game, and redeploy after a certain amount of time. These drops usually contain a tier 2 (Shotgun, Saw, etc.) or a tier 3 (Rocket Launcher, Binary Rifle, etc.) weapon, though they can also contain grenades or power ups. Any player can access a Map Ordinance Drop simply by walking up to the weapons crate and pressing x, just like swapping with a weapon on the ground. When you are near Ordinance, it will show up as an icon on your HUD. This icon displays your distance from the drop and what equipment is in the drop, so it is a useful tool for judging if it is worth taking the Ordinance. Drops of higher value take longer to redeploy.
Personal Ordinance Drops are rewards given to players after they score a certain number of points in a game. These drops are somewhat similar to “Kill Streaks” in the Call of Duty games. After you score a certain number of points (from kills, assists, objective completions, etc.), an option to call in Ordinance will appear at the top of your HUD. You will always have 3 options, which you can choose by pressing the corresponding direction on the D-pad. The middle option will offer a power up, the left option will offer a grenade or weapon, and the right option will offer a weapon. On larger maps, you are more likely to receive tier 3 or “power” weapon options. After you call in your Personal Ordinance, you will begin working towards your next one, though each subsequent drop requires more points. There is no limit to the number of drops you can receive in a single game, though realistically, you will usually receive between 1 – 3 drops in a typical game. After you call in a Personal Ordinance Drop, you can obtain your equipment by walking up to the weapons crate and pressing x. If you ever try to “steal” an enemy’s Personal Ordinance, you will need to hold down x for approximately 3 seconds.
Ordinance Drops also introduce power ups to War Games. Each power up provides you with some type of advantage for a set period of time or until you die. The Speed Boost power up allows you to move, throw grenades, reload, and punch twice as fast. It lasts for a long time and is very useful for carrying the flag in CTF or reaching objectives in other objective-driven game types. Damage Boost doubles all forms of damage that you deal (weapon, grenade, and melee) for a short period of time. This means that you can easily kill an enemy with a single melee, or kill them with two body shots and a headshot with a headshot weapon. When combined with more powerful weapons like the Saw, Beam Rifle, or Fuel Rod, you will become nearly unstoppable. Over Shields provides you with triple shield capacity, displayed as a second green bar covering your blue shield bar. This extra level of shields will not regenerate, and it will drain slowly over time.
Tips and Strategies
– If you are playing particularly badly one day, try playing a few games of Spartan Ops. This way, you can warm up against easier opponents and return to War Games once you are up to speed.
– If possible, try playing War Games with a large group of friends. Even if your friends are not great, you can communicate and execute group strategies, giving you an edge against teams of individual players. This is especially useful when playing objective based games.
– In general, I do not suggest that you use the Plasma Pistol/Headshot tactic in War Games, as most players can easily dodge the Plasma Pistol blast. Rather, you should reserve the Plasma pistol for stunning vehicles or for using against players at near point blank range, where they will be unable to dodge it.
– On larger maps, you will find a large assortment of vehicles. If you are on foot, I suggest that you stay out of the large open areas so that enemy vehicles will leave you alone. However, if you see a lone enemy vehicle with no other enemies nearby, you can use your Plasma Pistol to stun the vehicle and either jack it (for Ghosts and Banshees) or plant a grenade in it (for Wraiths, Scorpions, or Mantises). Never try to stun and jack/destroy a Warthog with a gunner, as the gunner will still be able to shoot while the vehicle is stunned. After you jack a vehicle, be sure to boost away immediately so that the driver cannot re-jack you.
– If you are a weaker player, do not try rushing towards the tier 3 (power weapon) Map Ordinance Drops at the beginning of a game. In general, many players will rush towards this point at once, and you will most likely be killed before you can reach the drop.
– If you ever see a red laser pointing at you, this means that a player is aiming at you with either a Spartan Laser or a Binary Rifle. Both of these weapons can kill you with a single shot, so it is vital that you run for cover immediately. Jump around sporadically as you run to make yourself a harder target to hit.
– Always avoid walking into large open areas. You will be very exposed to enemies wielding long range weapons, and you will be unable to take cover quickly
Loadout Weapons (Headshot Rifles):
– When using headshot weapons other than the Light Rifle, try to avoid using the scope unless the enemy is very far away. Using the scope does not increase weapon accuracy, and it will block a large amount of your peripheral vision. This will make it easier for other players to sneak up on you.
– When using the Light Rifle, zoom in whenever possible. The Light Rifle deals more damage when you are zoomed in.
– When sniping with any headshot weapon, do not always engage an enemy as soon as you see them. Rather, wait until they run out into the open and away from any cover. As soon as you start shooting them, they will begin sprinting for cover, so it is vital that you can both remove their shields and kill them with a headshot before they can reach safety.
– When using a headshot weapon or a fully automatic weapon at close range, try jumping and moving sporadically to make yourself a harder target to hit. However, only do this if you can still hit your target consistently.
– When you first see an enemy up close, it may be your first reaction to throw a grenade at them. However, in the time it takes for you to throw the grenade, you can deal more damage by simply shooting the enemy. Therefore, your first reaction when you see an enemy should be to shoot them, and only use grenades to bounce around corners when you do not have a direct shot at them.
– At very close range, headshot weapons deal a lower damage per second than fully automatic assault weapons. Therefore, you will usually lose if you encounter an enemy with an assault weapon at close range. Always try to pick off the enemy before he can get close.
– If you have been hit by an enemy multiple times with a headshot weapon and they are still full health, do not try to engage them with your headshot weapon. Unless you get very lucky, you will undoubtedly lose. Rather, run for cover and engage them once your shields regenerate.
– If you already have good weapons when you receive a Personal Ordinance Drop, consider choosing a power up. Power ups are even more effective when combined with powerful weapons. In particular, Damage Boost will make you nearly unstoppable when combined with a powerful weapon.
– Do not try to call in Ordinance when enemies are nearby and can see you. They may try to kill you and steal your Ordinance before you can grab it.
– Call in your Personal Ordinance Drops as soon as you can find a safe place to do so. If you wait to call in Ordinance, any points you score will not be counted towards your next drop.
– Consider using Speed Boost in combination with short ranged weapons like the Saw, Shotgun, or Scattershot. This will allow you to come within range of the enemy faster, so they will have less of a chance to pick you off from a distance.
– Both Damage Boost and Over Shields last for a very short period of time. Therefore, to benefit most from these power ups, play much more aggressively when you are using them. Try rushing into the enemy base or into the center of the action; although you may die, you should get quite a few kills before doing so.
– You can melee much faster than usual when you have a pistol drawn.
– If you choose to melee the enemy, be sure to time your attack carefully. Wait until they have roughly 30% of their shields remaining, at which point you can kill them with a single attack.
– When you are in a close-quarters indoor area, you can use a Plasma Pistol and melee combination to quickly take down a single enemy. When you know that an enemy is approaching your position, begin charging your Plasma Pistol and wait behind a doorway or corner. As soon as the enemy steps through the doorway or corner, shoot him at point blank range with the Plasma Pistol and follow with a single melee attack. This tactic is especially effective because you melee faster with the Plasma Pistol drawn.
– You can perform a tactic similar to the one explained above with the Magnum as well. Wait behind a doorway or corner as an enemy approaches and melee them as soon as they step in front of you. This will fully remove their shields, allowing you to finish them off with a quick headshot. Once again, this is especially effective because you melee faster with the Magnum drawn.
– You can throw grenades much faster when you have a pistol drawn.
– Promethean Vision is especially useful when bouncing grenades, as it allows you to see where enemies are hiding behind cover and around corners.
– You may consider creating a grenadier class, in which you choose the perks that give you extra grenades and make your grenades deal more damage. You can then use this class in close quarters indoor maps, where grenades are the most useful. Be sure to use Promethean Vision with this loadout.
– Do not throw grenades when you have a clear shot at an enemy; this wastes precious time that you should spend shooting them. Rather, use Frag grenades to bounce around corners or cover if the enemy tries to take cover or run away.
– With a little practice, you will find that it is very easy to bounce frag grenades around obstructions. To do this, simply think of the frag as a bouncy ball, and throw it at the angle at which you would throw a bounce ball to reflect around a corner. Keep in mind that the grenade will roll slightly after landing.
– Frag grenades are the most effective in tight hallways, as they will not roll away from their target before detonating.
– Many player’s first instinct is to run around a corner and hide when they are injured. However, if you can properly bounce a grenade around the corner, you can kill the player before their shields regenerate. If possible, make the grenade roll slightly past the player so that they will instinctively run back around the corner towards you, where you can then finish them with your weapon.
– When using the Sniper Rifle or Beam Rifle, consider engaging enemies at medium or close range without zooming in. This way, using the weapon feels a lot like using a headshot weapon, and in my opinion, makes it a lot easier to use. Kill the enemy with either a headshot or two quick body shots. It is easier to do this with the Beam Rifle, as it retains near perfect accuracy when fired without zooming in (while the Sniper Rifle does not). You will get 20 points instead of 10 for every kill, even if you don’t get a headshot.
– The Binary Rifle is one of the most powerful weapons in War Games, as it allows you to kill infantry with a single body shot. The Binary Rifle is very inaccurate when not zoomed in, so I suggest that you always zoom in. I also suggest that you only engage enemies from a distance, as it will be easier to hit them and they will have a harder time shooting you back. Notice that the Binary Rifle emits a red targeting laser at all times, so enemies will know when you are aiming at them. Therefore, you need to act fast and shoot them before they can run to cover.
– When using a rocket launcher (such as a Fuel Rod, Rocket Launcher, or Incinerator Cannon) against infantry, always shoot at the enemy’s foot. All three of these weapons will deal enough collateral damage to kill a full-health player with an indirect hit. This way, they will not be able to dodge the missile, while if you fire directly at them, they may be able to dodge it. Furthermore, I suggest that you jump just before shooting to give the rocket a more downward angle towards the enemy’s feet. This will make you less likely to miss.
– Although it is only a tier-2 weapon, the Rail Gun is an extremely effective weapon in War Games as it can kill an enemy in only one hit. As you charge it up, make sure that you are aiming at the enemy, as it will allow you to achieve a lock-on. That way, the projectile will home onto the enemy as you fire, making it nearly impossible to miss. When charging the Rail Gun, realize that it has a much shorter charge time than the Spartan Laser.
– Because the Spartan laser has very limited ammunition and takes a long time to charge, I suggest that you save it for destroying vehicles. The Spartan Laser emits a targeting laser as you charge it up, so your enemy will have plenty of warning before you fire. This makes it very difficult to use against infantry. On the other hand, due to its immense damage output, the Spartan Laser is great against vehicles, and can kill most in a single shot.
– When using short ranged weapons such as a Shotgun, Energy Sword, or Scatter Shot, take cover behind doorways and corners and wait to attack the enemies until the cross the doorway/corner. When combined with Promethean Vision or Active Camouflage, this technique can be even more effective.
– When using the Saw, notice that it has incredibly short range, and should be used similarly to a shotgun or melee weapon. Get as close as possible for maximum damage, and stay in close-quarters areas to avoid being picked off from a distance. The Saw is especially useful when combating multiple enemies at once surrounding an objective.