Halo 2 — Advanced multiplayer tips

I’ve played my fair share of Halo 2. This guide is designed to help you ahead of the master chief collection. It’s targeted at Halo 2, but a lot of the advice transcends all subsequent versions of the game.

Weapons

Must have:

  • Battle Rifle

Also want (in order):

  • Rockets
  • Sniper / Covenant Sniper
  • Plasma pistol (noob combo)
  • Shotgun
  • Sword (sword is slower to kill with than shotgun)
  • Duel wield (Plasma Rifle + SMG, Magnum + SMG)

You should always be aiming for the above. Obviously if you’re in a tight spot, grab whatever will help (but not the needler).

Use the Battle Rifle (BR)

It’s the most versatile gun in the game. It’s great at medium and long range. And it’s usable at short range.

  • If you don’t spawn with one, first action is to get one. (You’ll just get killed by someone who has one).
  • Practice with it.
  • If you see someone — shoot them with your BR. Don’t throw grenades. Don’t run in the for the punch. Shoot them.
  • Learn the BR gun glitches in Halo 2 (BXR, BXB and maybe BRXR).

How the Battle Rifle works

Each burst from the BR has 3 bullets. So you need to keep the reticule over your enemy for the entirety of the burst.

BR is a 4 Shot kill. Once shields are down (you can tell because the shields kind of crackle) it’s one headshot (one bullet from the 3 bullet burst) or 3 non-headshots. So getting the headshot for that last shot is essential.

So go for: 3 shots to the body (hitting the chest is a bigger target than the head), last shot on the head.

The red reticle

If the reticule goes red, the game will probably ‘make’ your bullets hit them (regardless of lag). If they’re too far away you’re unlikely to connect as many bullets in the round. Shooting at people when the reticule is red is good. If the reticule isn’t red because they’re too far away — Zoom in (you’ll learn to instinctively know when they’re too far). Don’t zoom in if the reticule is already red, it’s harder to hit them zoomed in if they’re close and you lose your radar — zoom in just enough, no more.

When the reticule is red, if you place it over their head a small dot appears in the middle, use this to know when the game will register a headshot.

Weaving

It’s harder for people to shoot you if you are moving sideways on to them. If you run straight at them they don’t have to move their reticule much. If you jump, your path of flight is predictable and good players won’t miss.

When you fire off 4–5 shots to kill an enemy there is obviously a gap between shots (maybe 0.5 seconds). If you’re near cover (e.g. a wall) you can step out and fire a shot, as soon as it’s gone you can strafe back behind the wall, as the next shot is coming from the BR step back out. You’ll spend less time in the open where you can be shot and you’re moving sideways and harder to hit.

It takes quite a bit of practice to perfect, but it kind of looks like a weird dance. You’ll see good players do it.

Radar

If it’s on, watch it all the time. You should be constantly aware of what’s on it. On the assumption that everyone else is doing this, you can use crouch walking (you don’t show up on the radar when you do it) very effectively, especially with a short-medium range weapon like a shotgun or rockets. With rockets you can pre-empt somebody running round a corner and kill them before you even see them.

Knowing the environment

If you want to dominate learn every single map, learn where the good places for your team to hold are (usually up high, with good cover). Learn where all the power weapons spawn. There’s a decent guide to maps here and video run throughs here.

Weapon spawns

Weapons on halo 2 spawn when the game starts, it’s a free for all to pick them up. Once they’re empty and their dropped they spawn after a few seconds. If your team picks up the power weapons, you also have the advantage of knowing exactly when they spawn again next. Use the clock in the bottom right to track the time.

“I just dropped the rockets, they’ll be re-spawning soon”

Don’t stand on the power weapon spawn, good players will toss a grenade at the spawn time. Linger near the spawn, kill any guys who make a mad dash for them and go when it’s safe.

See this weapon spawning guide for Halo 2.

The sniper

Practice with it. Don’t be afraid to pick it up, everyone has to learn. Halo 2 is extremely forgiving with the auto aim. Try to use only the first zoom, only zoom in if the reticule won’t go red.

Smudging

If you move the reticule from right to left (or left to right) and it crosses some ones head, it will go red. If you pull the trigger ‘near’ the time it goes red, it’ll probably give you a head shot. This is called ‘smudging’ the effect has since been removed in subsequent games. It’s very effective.

Quick scoping

From close range you can go for the no scope. But quick scoping is often more effective. It involves pointing the sniper towards your opponents head, and then zooming in and very quickly pulling the trigger. When you do this, focus your entire being on any sign of a red reticule. If the reticule goes red, pull the trigger. As with smudging, halo 2 is pretty lenient.

One trick is to stand round the corner from a door way. The guy is going to run round. Set the sniper at head height, zoomed in one click. As soon as you see any sign of red in the reticule, pull the trigger — it’s reflex, very quick.

No scoping

Hold the sniper at head height — get lucky. It doesn’t go red when it’s not zoomed in, so you’ve got to be lucky. Being closer actually increases your chances here.

Grenades

Golden rule: If you’re playing to win don’t throw grenades in a BR fight. If you’re shooting each other out in the open and you launch a grenade. The other guy is going to get two shots off at you before it explodes. Grenades during a gun fight often miss (they jump to limit damage). If your teammate comes into the fight to help you half way through, those extra shots you did will make a difference.

So if you’re not using grenades in a straight out fight when are you using them? Throw grenades where you gun won’t reach. If you see someone right across the map and you won’t be able to kill them, you could toss a nade. If you think someone might be somewhere, throw a grenade. I primarily use grenades as a defensive weapon. If you’re shields are half down and you’ve run away, throwing a nade into a door way is a statement — you can come through, but I’m probably going to kill you. This gives you time to recharge your shields.

Another top tip is to bounce grenades off the floor. Grenades in halo hit the floor which triggers a fuse and blow up about 1 second later. If somebody sees the grenade they have time to try and avoid it. If it’s already hit the floor when they see it, it’s too late. So you want to skim grenades in front of your opponents so they chip up and explode very close to them. If someone is very close to you might want to throw a grenade right at the floor, it will chip up and explode very close to you.

The noob combo

The noob combo is one of the most powerful weapons in Halo 2. To use it you need the plasma pistol and the BR. You charge the plasma pistol to full, unleash it on an opponent, as soon as you let it go switch to the BR. When the plasma hits their shields are full drained, hit them with the headshot. It’s one of the quickest kills in the game.

There’s a risk that the plasma misses, so it’s wise to stay near cover. Fire off the plasma, duck into cover as you switch to the BR and pop back out once it hits to finish them. If it misses then you’re not overcommitted, you can duck out to cover.

The round and round

If you’re losing a gun fight it’s a good idea to hide behind something. Your enemy then has to either let you recharge your shields or they have to come get you. If you hide behind a smallish object (e.g. a 2metre x 2metre box), then when they come round the box you can run round the other side — they can’t get you. What you can then do, is drop a grenade up against the box as you run round, it will stop dead against the box and blow up in their face — tables turned.

Melee

Melee’s in halo do varying amounts of damage depending on your momentum. When you melee someone you can be standing still, running or jumping. Each of these does a different amounts of damage. Standing < Running < Jumping. If someone is going to run around a corner and you’re going to melee them, start jumping up and down and hopefully you can land a jumping melee.

Crouch jump

On halo 2 (and 3?) crouching whilst jumping means you can reach higher jumps (you tuck your feet in underneath you giving you more clearance).

Power ups

Overshield — Gives you an extra layer of shield. It takes about 3 seconds to power up, during that time you’re invincible. If an overshield is available and an enemy is nearby grab the shield at the last minute when your shields are low to turn the fight around.

Active camouflage — Makes you invisible. Your much harder to see if you stand still. When your shields go down you’re easier to see.

Teamwork

Obviously everyone says it’s important. It’s very important if you want to win. Halo is a game which is dominated by the BR in most open play. BR is a 4 shot kill (if you don’t miss). If two people shoot a guy together it’s two shots each, which takes about 1 second.

You want to be close to your teammates but not clumped so that one grenade or rocket is going to destroy your team. You want to be able to see them, and protect them. This is difficult to master and requires good communication.

The best way to do this, is to practice ‘setups’ on maps. Where you each have an allocated place to stand which automatically provides line of sight, with no clumping.

I think travelling in 2’s is often the best way. If you and a buddy spot 2 other guys, you should both shoot the same guy. He’ll die in the battle first, now it’s 2 v 1.

Communication is key, you need to be vocal about: where enemy players are, where the power weapons are and when they’re spawning. To call out where enemies are, you need to have names for each area of every map.

“He’s at top-mid”

You can learn the default callouts here and here .

Holding mindset

Last but not least, you need to hold your ground. Don’t go running straight at your opponent. Hold your ground as a team, try to take the lead and let your opponents come to you. Stay near cover, hide it out when things get rough. Let your shields recharge and go again. The further you stray from cover the more vulnerable you are. The holding mindset needs to be across your whole team, if 3 of you hold and 1 guy runs out to the other team and gets killed, you will lose.

See you on the Master Chief Collection ☺

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