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Halo Weapon Sandbox Discussion: What We'd Want

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Hi guys.


Today I've done a pretty lengthy write-up on constructing a complete and fully functional weapon sandbox including - and rejecting - some of the weapons found in all FPS Halo games. The aim of this was to find an ideal matrix where every weapon plays a role, and does it effectively without any redundancy present, unlike the current Halo 5 sandbox. Each weapon has a short paragraph describing my opinion of it, it's potential in the sandbox, and what small or drastic changes I'd make to it to make it fit. Each paragraph doesnt go too in detail, and as much as I'd like to create infinite meta and depth, things like melee range aren't always very relevant.


The idea of the sandbox is loosely based on classic settings Halo, without considering it too much as that's a large topic in itself. Luckily, this franchise has a game which got the sandbox right, Halo CE, and so the core elements are based on that games matrix. Including skilled utility (Magnum), niche utility (Plasma Pistol), long range power weapon (Sniper), close range power weapon (Shotgun), etc etc. It is of course very expanded, since many weapons were added every game.


At the bottom is The Trash Can, which is full of weapons I feel do not add anything substantial to the sandbox, or are detrimental to the game, and are therefore made redundant. This is a very contentious subject and I'm sure my choices for the Can might be seen as questionable to some, especially considering this sandbox is loosely based on CE's, but then, you know, imo. Onwards....




Now, here's probably the easiest one to talk about; the CE Magnum was pretty much the perfect utility weapon. Included the right attributes:

  • Single-shot, skill-gap
  • Effective but not dominant at all ranges, able to contest all other weapons
  • Reasonable clip size and reasonable reload time

It's a testament to how good weapon design can make or break a game. CE's absolutely made it. 


Now, here's the thing. Since I'm discussing an expanded sandbox, you have to consider new sandbox interactions, which is why I'd make the blasphemous adjustment of making the pistol slightly less powerful. A fire-rate reduction of ~20% would do the trick, to help the more varied and goofy weapons have a better chance at contesting the Magnum's pure effectiveness.


So yeah, magnum just about unchanged would be perfect.




Now here's another thing CE did really fucking right; automatics. The AR in CE is also equally, if not more perfect then the pistol. Firstly, it is a designated secondary weapon, the weapon can't really do much in normal battle. It has a small effective range and a lot of spread, which is fine, because the range it is designed for it kills super quickly at. You run out of primary ammo, you pull it out, and go for the cleanup, while you're opponent foolishly prefers to reload his much more powerful magnum, because, you know, it's powerful, but alas ignoring the age-old shooter tip: When you run out, the sidearm gets pulled out.


But those things aren't what makes the AR so great. It's the whole point of this expose'; the depth. You all know it; melee range, quick-camo, fast meleeing. All things that make the AR more then just a secondary weapon, it's surprisingly the best at things that define the meta.


Now, with the SMG. The SMG has a lot of very different inceptions ranging from completely useless to stupid OP. Now, I hate redundancy in the sandbox, so the reason I'm keeping it instead of throwing in the trash is because I want to make a new weapon out of it. So my idea is a high accuracy, long range "skillful" machine gun. Reminiscent of the mg's found in OG arena game, it has similiar ROF, clip sized and reload speed as the current SMG, but has a lower optimal kill time of ~1.2, and a hugely reduced spread, as well as aiming tuned similair to the CE Magnum. It's most notable difference will be the reticle size, indicating it's greatly reduced range.


Here's a quick sketch, with the outer reticle representing the current H5 SMG, and the new SMG's spread appearing inside the black circle.




Skillful automatics. That's the idea, and I'd love to see it work. Now realistically, the new SMG would work like how an AR is supposed to work, and the AR works like how an SMG would normally work, so it might make sense to switch names around for this to work  :saucey:

Plasma Rifle


Now before I go any further, the Storm Rifle is a plasma rifle with a different skin. Extremely redundant when introduced in Reach (as the repeater).


Now, the plasma rifle has always been a niche weapon. High shield damage, low health damage. The version that did this the best was EASILY the CE Plasma Rifle.  Perfectly balanced as a shield melter, with the stunning a nice bonus buff to add depth.


Plasma Pistol


The bane of shields and vehicles. The reason the noob combo exists. A great weapon purely involving the skill of timing, although as of late tracks too easily. I think the Reach version was definitely my favourite, and very viable as a melter in both modes. I would like it to decrease the reticle range of tracking activation, but increase the speed of the bolts to compensate, and create an EMP burst when a charge hits a wall for added usefullness. Also stop making holding a charge consume ammo, which heavily nerfs the ammo capacity.


Focus Rifle vs Sentinel Beam


Now with sooo many shield melters, are these weapons really niche at all? The answer is yes, they are. Beam weapons are great, involving holding your trigger down, keeping your aim steady, and hoping your teammates pick them off. HCS season one saw the sentinel beam see a lot of play, to great success


Since these two weapons are essentially the same thing, I would like to see a normal H2A sentinel beam with a slight damage buff to contest the pistol and make it a true power weapon, and give the long range sniper scope from the focus rifle to give it use in BTB and long range viability.


Needle Rifle


Now this may be a point of contention, but I've trashed the Carbine in favour of the Needle Rifle. Why, you ask? Balance.


Because you see, the Carbine after Halo 3 was always a redundant weapon. It originally was a spammy single shot alternative utility weapon, but its now fully redundant and one dimensional.

The Needle Rifle was balanced as the yin to the yang of the plasma rifle. The Needle Rifle was week against shields, but insanely effective against health. Super quick headshots, or super quick supercombine, in it's own niche. It was a bit underpowered in Reach which is why it never really saw much play. Although made redundant as a utility weapon by the pistol, it can still exist as the Carbine did against the BR, an alternative pickup in social, customs and maaaaaaybe competitive, but in this role as a higher TTK (~1sec) than the magnum, and much much much higher range.


It could also have the possibility of adding the Light Rifle's in-scope damage bonus, for added depth. That mechanic alone does not save the Light Rifle from redundancy however.




Shotguns have played very differently throughout Halo. One of the biggest mistakes 343 did with it was give it range, taking it's niche role away and making it an overpowered instant-kill weapon. I think there has been no perfect shotgun, with Halo 3's being the most balanced imo; a mix of Halo3's and CE's shotgun would be just fine I think.


Something I've never liked about the shotgun is it's lack of depth. It's better then melee, and it beats the sword, and that's about it. I would like to see the ability of booby traps be added to it. Shoot a surface, holding down the trigger, and very shortly a beep will indicate a trap has been planted at the center of the spread. A light will blink, and the area of the pellet spread will glow an iridescent amber. Triggering the trap will result in an explosion, similar to the size and range of a Halo 3 spike grenade. To add more aesthetic goodness, we can make the shotgun a covenant shotgun, turn the pellets into needles, and make the trap a needle explosion.




That would look, and play, sick.




One of may favourite 343 additions to the Halo sandbox. Like a shotgun, but with depth built in. The bouncing is sick, and what makes this weapon special. To differentiate it properly from the shotgun (and talking in relation to the H5 version), I would increase the fire rate, increase the range, reduce the spread, reduce the damage, increase the clip and increase the reload time. Which is essentially a weaker Loathsome Thing.


Energy Sword vs Grav Hammer


This is a hard one for me, for a few reasons. Firstly, it's a bit of a cancerous weapon. Lunging, one-hit melee kills are not very fun to play against, and many people thought negatively about its affect on gameplay going from CE to H2. I think the best way to fit this weapon in would be to make it more like a traditional shooter combat knife. What I mean is instant unsheathing, quicker melee's, slight lunge (1/2 of Halo 3's distance) and normal instant kill. That's what I think it always shouldve been, and I'm never gunna not like the feeling you get hitting a phat sweaty bulltrue  :walshy:


A mechanic I would like to add is holding down the trigger for an extended period of time (~3 seconds) charges up an EMP burst akin to the plasma pistol, but not guided. Would add some much needed depth.


Grav Hammer has a place: Grifball, with Halo 3's being arguably the best version and the best fit for this sandbox. Also for casual map grav shenanigans, super fun weapon.


Sniper Rifle vs Beam Rifle


In this case I think most people will agree that the CE or Halo 3 sniper's were the most skill, rewarding, and best balanced. They're each very different and fit nicely in their respective sandboxes, so how do we compromise between the two? Is the recoil a good thing? Do we want a high fire-rate? These are questions that are hard to answer.


But the answer is more akin to the CE sniper. If we have the magnum as the utility, we need a sniper to contest it, which the CE was made for. Halo 3's was balanced for spread BR's and slow movement, making a slow fire rate and recoil help balance it, but the CE one is what we need. For balance, a slower fire-rate might work to stop it from just eating up bodies too easily, and tune aiming closer to H3's for skill reasons  :ghost:


The Beam Rifle was *this* close to being trashed, but it does add something. The risk/reward of quick-shotting to get quick kills vs the overheat is a great involving gameplay mechanic, and gives it unique pros and cons compared to the sniper. Not much would be lost if we got rid of it, but even the small variance it gives to Team Snipers is enough to keep it in. A low recoil Halo 3 version of course.


Binary Rifle


In Halo 4, the Binary rifle epitomized the thing I hated about Halo 4. Instant kill, OP weapons, and assloads of bullet magnetism. In Halo 5 they turned it from a weapon to despise to a weapon to appreciate. Now, it's balanced.


With elements from the Halo Reach Focus Rifle, it requires a quick sustained beam to kill, meaning the enemy can respond, but you can kill him from anywhere. It's a power weapon heavily suited to BTB and requires extra focus to make every shot count.


Incinerator Cannon


Read above. Once unskilled and OP, now with skill and depth. Fire a shot equivalent to a Fuel Rod cannon (now made redundant), or hold to unload the stupid AOE goodness of bouncing balls of flame. It's got a design similar to the caster, but more powerful AOE and explodiness.




Oh the SPNKR, how we love the. The premiere Halo powerweapon, in all it's blast-radius glory. When It comes to it's best version, it's safe to say CE's - or the very similar Reach one -is the best version. For skill reasons, I have always wanted a higher velocity and smaller blast radius, to make aiming more relevant and timing jumping more effective. Chuck in Reaches heat-seeking capabilities for extra BTB shenanigans.


Spartan Laser


Oh the Splaser, how we love thee. The kind of AA, and a warthogs worst fear. When you see the red glow it's already too late. It's a great weapon, showcasing the skill of timing as well as taking opportunites. Halo 3's was the coolest one, even though theyre all pretty much the same..


Grenade Launcher


The pro pipe is hands down one of the best weapons in a Halo. Straight out, without a doubt. Involves the skills of timing, projectile aim and rebound all in one weapon. Also includes the option of predictable 'splosion or a timed EMP. Incredible weapon that was both challenging and incredibly fun. Unthinkable how it's only ever featured in one Halo game.


In an updated sandbox, it needs a buff. Luckily, the only buff it needs is a damage + radius buff, everything can stay the same as it perfectly is. The Railgun is trashed because this plays a very similar role, but x1000 more rewarding, deep and fun.


Sticky Det


Was overshadowed by it's older brother, the pro-pipe. Way too situational to be very effective, and too clunky to see any competitive play. The only buff it needs for PURE STICKY SHENANIGANS is a quicker reload time and a slightly faster projectile speed. Great weapon with the capabilities to be insanely fun.


Plasma Caster vs Brute Shot vs Concussion Rifle vs Plasma Launcher vs Hydra


This is where stuff gets interesting.


So here's 5 unique, niche weapons. All do uniques tuff, but there's certain things I dislike about all of them:

  • Brute Shot & Hydra too weak
  • Concussion Rifle, spammy and one-dimensional
  • Caster's second mode is mostly useless
  • Plasma Launcher's first mode is mostly useless


I'm not going to go over each of their attributes one by one necessarily, but instead form a weapon that makes the best of everything. Now the key to this weapon is two fire modes; Firstly tapping to launch single projectiles, and Secondly to track with multiple projectiles.


Now what were going to do with the first mode is take the attributes of the PREMIERE skilljumping weapons of Halo 3 and Reach, and make it fire explosive, concussive and physically displacing projectiles, with a reletively fast fire-rate. 2 Direct hits for a kill, with small damage radius but large displacement radius. Like the concussion rifle, this involves  PURE FUCKING SHENANIGANS. 


The second mode holding down the trigger, loads up-to 4 projectiles to track and eventually blow up prospective target in the same way as the Plasma Launcher. The projectiles deal twice as much damage as the first mode, but take about 50% longer to load up then the OG plasma launcher. MORE FUCKING TRACKING SHENANIGANS. 


Will probably be the best social/BTB weapon ever made.


 The Trash Can :salt:

  • Boltshot
  • Suppressor
  • SAW
  • Needler (pure noob gimmickry)
  • Carbine (explained above)
  • BR (made redundant)
  • DMR (a glorified Magnum with a range buff)
  • Light Rifle
  • Mauler
  • Flamethrower (except for campaign)
  • Fuel Rod Cannon
  • Railgun (instant kill weapon, mini spartan laser, yuck)
  • Spiker




Sorry if I missed any weapons or made nasty grammar errors, I kinda should have been asleep instead of doing this, but eh. Also note I didn't talk about grenades or vehicles, as much as I would love to. That's just more time and effort that's not with me right now, but feel free to bring that stuff up in the thread and start a discussion, I have thoughts on literally everything. Like seriously, I couldve written like 3x more than this, including meta, map interactions, anecdotes, and competitive viability. But holy shit I need to give myself a break with this Halo stuff  :lxthul:


TL;DR the concussion rifle is the best weapon of all time

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Don't have any problem at all with nerfing the Ce Magnum slightly.  I've had the same thought before, it's necessary to make some other weapons actually viable additions.


Halo Ce's Shotgun had tons of range, even if it didn't have a large OSK range.  I do like your idea of giving it the potential to lay traps though, so it's not just a generic CQC Bam-You're-Dead weapon.


Don't get the Flamethrower hate.  It's not particularly skillful but still has potential to add depth and at the very least is fun for BTB.


We could rework the SAW into a "beam" weapon via making the accuracy perfect, nerfing the killtime and maybe giving it an overheat mechanic.  Not really necessary but just a thought.


The Fuel Rod cannon could function like Halo PC's version of it, which fires a fast moving, arcing projectile.


-Actually just forget I said anything about the Plasma Weapons-

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Why would you make autos "skillful?" We have skillful precision weapons; autos would just be easier precision weapons. They need to have a secondary purpose; supressing or spotting camo, double melees, or something. I feel that would be a better trade off.

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