Want to play great Halo 4? While I personally never played pro in any previous game in the franchise, I did coach a Halo 3 team back in 2008 for a short amount of time, which was enough to get me an ‘in’ into the MLG scene, so I’ve got a bit of experience. Plus during Halo: Reach, I ran a YouTube channel called Gaming Challenges that covered daily challenges that were both in-game and community made. Showing players how to improve their game was a fun experience for me and I want to continue that experience with not only a weekly competitive Halo column but by continuing content streaming through thus channel I previously mentioned.
I’ll come out and admit that when it comes to actual competitive play: I’m not that good because I don’t have the reaction time that I used to plus I’m at that age that even competitive pro players are getting old. It’s possible to keep up that competitive edge when you get old though with consistent training as famous pro players like Ogre 2 who just turned 26 in August can keep their edge.
Enough background on me; how do you make a typical player and make him into a better player? The first thing that you need to learn to become better at competitive Halo is learn what the game has to offer. That may sound really broad but it’s exactly what you need. Learn maps & how you can use them to influence your playstyle whether playing a simple Infinity Slayer game in matchmaking or you are playing Customs against Instinct. Every nook and curve the map has to offer creates opportunity to throw grenades or shoot pot shots to distract or damage your opponents.
By figuring out what the maps have to offer for each gametype, you have to figure out what weapon is going to be best for you and your particular situation. While the Boltshot (the Promethian pistol) is great at long range, you aren’t going to be running for the opening of an Oddball match to mid on Adrift with it since most people will be using the BR or DMR. Very few people like me actually would prefer the Carbine in a small quarters situation but I’ll explain my reasoning later on. Learn how to open each gametype properly for each map so you don’t start with a disadvantage.
The second thing that you’ll need to a good enough setup for your TV and sound. This one will be straight to the point but you need it because you can’t play Halo 4 on a black & white TV set. For a competitive player the least thing that you need to get is a 22” LCD 720p compatible TV with HD component cables & some kind of gaming headset that’ll be compatible with your Xbox 360. As I said before, those details are what you need to just start before you can even give playing competitive edge. You can’t be competitive if you are on a 45” TV playing split screen with the sound playing over your collection of 5.1 surround sound loudspeakers.
Playing with proper gaming headphones gives you a better surround sound experience but how do you decided which is going to be the best situation for you. You can purchase headsets from as cheap as $15 (Turtle Beach Ear Force XLC - Best Buy) to $300 (Astro A50) and TV’s from $150 (Vizio 22” 1080 LED TV - Sam’s Club) to as much as you can imagine. This week, I reviewed Skullcandy's SLYR Gaming headset. There are tons of options out there but you have to figure out what’ll be best for your particular needs with your budget. For someone unsure if they really want to buy this stuff, I’d suggest a low budget just to figure out what you want or stick with the current setup you have. The only reason I suggest a screen that small is because that’s what is used in MLG & AGL tournaments.
For this week, this is the final thing that you’ll need to know on how to start playing competitive Halo 4: communication and teamwork. Whether it’s meeting up with whoever you find through matchmaking or people you know in real-life playing at a local tournament, you need to find out what will be best for calling out enemies or situations. The Halo Council has been putting together some great videos to help you get started for community callouts which I highly suggest you use so those players that you’ll come across with have a clear idea of what you are talking about.
The problem with playing matchmaking is that sometimes the teammates you get have no idea what they are doing and don’t care if you win or lose. Let’s face it: if you’ve read this far down, you never want to lose... EVER. Losing is not an option and the best thing to do to prevent losing is to communicate with your teammates accurately. With the new heads-up display for objective games, Halo 4 offers less communication obligations so so there is less clutter in your headphones so you can concentrate on the important callouts.
Learn the game, have the right gear & communication is what you need to start playing competitive Halo. I’m sure this has been addressed a few times before on the Internet but people getting introduced to Halo 4 for their first chance need a stepping stone to figure out how to play better if they want to be competitive online for Halo 4. This weekly column will be posted on Sundays giving you guys something to read while getting ready for the week.