For a while now, the dominant narrative around Infinite Halo is that interest in the game, once perched confidently atop Mount First-Person Shooter, has fallen off a precipice. But that’s about to change when season two, “Lone Wolves,” premieres on May 3. Folks, it sounds (and looks) dope AF.
Infinite Halo, first released last November on Xbox and PC, is the first game in the series to feature a free-to-play model. Like many games with a similar model, it’s built around a seasonal framework. Players widely praised Infinite‘s fundamentals – the guns, the movement, the heavy dose of nostalgia – but criticized everything from expensive cosmetics to a general lack of new and updated content. (The splashing special event of the game, Fracture: Tenrairepeated five times throughout Infinite Halo‘s first season, with another occurrence scheduled for later this month.) For its part, developer 343 Industries instituted changes, like lower cosmetic prices, throughout the first season.
Developer 343 Industries teased Infinitethe second season of “Lone Wolves”, in an exciting but extremely brief trailer, with a sizzle reel of new maps, cosmetics, and heavy lines of dialogue (“We always have room for another wolf.”). This trailer is in addition to a series of blog posts of the last few weeks outlining the granular changes.
There’s a lot to like. Additionally, you can win $10.
Ok, no technically, but you could, in theory, buy a premium battle pass and never have to buy another. In January, 343 announcement that players could earn credits – the in-game currency spent on HaloThe microtransactions of that amount to roughly $1 for 100 – just by playing, but haven’t gone into the weeds. Now we know how it works.
Those who purchase the premium battle pass for season two (battle passes cost 1,000 credits) can earn 1,000 credits during the pass. You could potentially bank those 1,000 credits, spend them on the premium battle pass for season three, earn 1,000 credits from that pass, bank them for season four, and so on. Of course, this assumption depends entirely on three factors. Premium Battle Passes for future seasons are expected to cost 1,000 Credits. You should be able to earn 1,000 credits from these premium passes. (Representatives for 343 Industries did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.) And you would need the time, patience, and energy to complete all of said battle passes.
But “free money” isn’t the only thing worth writing about, because Infinite is getting a slew of new additions next month, including two new maps.
A huge sticking point for gamers was how Infinite Halo cast with ten cards, a pretty slim number on paper unless you scrutinize the circumstances. One of the initial cards, Behemoth, was so hated by the community that 343 Industries ended up removed it from rated playlists. Another, Launch Site, is what experts describe as “just the worst”. And three of those maps have been relegated to the Big Team Battle scale playlist, which has spent months languishing with minimal functionality. Effectively, that meant Infinite Halo players were relegated to five maps that were actually reliably fun.
Arena playlists will get Catalyst, a small-scale map that appears to be set on some sort of Forerunner structure. Meanwhile, Big Team Battle—which is working now!– gets a new card called Breaker. The season two trailer shows lava. In any case, if 343 continues to add two additional cards each season, this rate will put Infinite Halo on track to have the same total number of cards as before Halo Games. There is also a deep well to draw from; it’s the first Halo under the responsibility of 343 which has not yet presented redone versions of popular maps from previous games. (Fingers crossed for Halo 4‘s Haven.)
Infinite Halo will also see a bunch of new playlists. King of the Hill, the long-running mode in which players fight for control of a small space – and the one I personally haven’t shut down about wanting in the last six months – will be available from start of the season in “multiple playlists.” Much like Attrition, the tense team deathmatch that was playable for a few weeks in January.I called him.) When he returns, you will no longer be frozen in place for a few seconds after being revived by a teammate.
More curious is the Last Spartan Standing mode, which is less known than King of the Hill (which has been around for ages) or Attrition (literally playable in Infinite already). the official line is that it’s a “free-for-all elimination mode,” though details like when it’ll be released or even a preview of how it works aren’t available. Data miners believe it will be a 24-player Big Team Battle variant, something akin to a miniature battle royale.
Capstone rewards are also getting a much-needed overhaul. Every week, Infinite Halo offers players a unique list of 20 challenges: rote tasks like “complete two Slayer matches” or “kill 50 players in PvP”. If you eliminate them all, you unlock this week’s Synthesis Challenge. Completing which gives you the final reward of the week.
Capstone rewards are everywhere right now. On the one hand, when they’re not worth wasting time on – say, an emblem that’s both lousy and also appeared as a reward for two of the previous five weeks – players feel discouraged to complete the grind. . But when the rewards are impressive, players say they feel too much pressure to play, or even feel some FOMO for not being able to commit to the time. The rewards outlined so far for “Lone Wolves” seem to strike a solid balance: of the five detailed, it’s a mix of stances, weapon skins, and vehicle skins. John Junyszek, Halothe main community manager, mentioned boring prizes like emblems and backdrops will not be issued as final rewards. It’s a key sign that 343 is listening to its playerbase, internalizing the feedback, and actually making some crucial changes.
This is all in addition to various balance tweaks for weapons (missing, the pest) and equipment (the drop wall, the overshield). Exciting times, if you are a Halo fan.
But ‘Lone Wolves’ isn’t quite the magic bullet Infinite Halo needs, as it is going to launch without some promised features. Support for the co-op campaign, which could support two players in split-screen and four players online, was to be launched with the release of the season. This has since been delayed and is now scheduled for an unspecified date later in the season. (“Lone Wolves” should last about three months.) And except for one noticeable leak, the Forge authoring tool cannot be found. Although it was always intended for Infiniteof the third season, 343 has not officially released the details.
The big question for Halo players is whether “Lone Wolves” can reinvigorate players who have bounced back from the game, or whether it’s too little too late. In my mind, there is a precedent here. Just look at the one from 343 Halo: The Master Chief Collectionarguably among the most disastrous launches for a big-budget online game… maybe ever? But 343 stayed with itbeefed up the servers, added a bunch of new content, integrated enticing targets and seasonal models, and turned around. Halo: The Master Chief Collection was, for a time there, one of the best multiplayer shooters.
Can 343 score the same hat trick twice? Only time will tell, of course. But for the first time in a long time, I feel optimistic about Infinitethe future.