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  • Writer's pictureCizlin

Item Spawners - Technical Preview September/October 2021

Within Arena and BTB modes, equipment items, grenades, weapons, and vehicles spawn on various plates and racks. These item spawners exhibit various behaviors that depend on both the item being spawned and the mode in which it spawns (Arena or BTB). The below sections are included in this article

Tier Explanation

This section is copied directly from the July Tech Preview version of this article. I am including it here since it is still very relevant for understanding the Tier terminology used throughout this article and in other places on the site.

Tier 1 items start their respawn timer as soon as they are picked up or disrupted off their spawn. Once that timer elapses, a new copy of the item respawns. An example of a Tier 1 item in Halo 5: Guardians would be the Battle Rifle. If you pick one up from its spawn point, another one will spawn a set amount of time after you first acquired it. That means multiple Battle Rifles can be in play at once from the same spawn.

Tier 2 items do not start their respawn timer until the existing copy of the item has either been fully used (i.e. all ammo fired) or despawned. There cannot be multiple copies of the item at once. An example of a Tier 2 weapon in Halo 5: Guardians is the Shotgun. There can only be one Shotgun from a given spawn on the map at a time. Until all the ammo in that Shotgun has been fired or the Shotgun despawns, the respawn timer for the next Shotgun will not start counting down.

Tier 3 items have a fixed respawn time based on how long the match has been running. These items spawned on Weapon Pads in Halo 5: Guardians and had visible, clearly announced timers leading up to their spawns. The Sniper Rifle, for example, respawned every 3 minutes during the match. So, if a match had a 12-minute timer, the Sniper Rifle would respawn at exactly 9:00, 6:00, and 3:00 on the timer, regardless of whether a copy of the Sniper Rifle already existed on the map.

Vehicle Spawners

In the September/October 2021 Technical Preview, players got their hands on vehicles for the first time. In Arena, and in some cases in BTB, vehicles are spawned very similarly to other sandbox items: on top of spawn pads.

This screenshot shows an example of a Warthog spawner that is nearly ready to spawn its Warthog. The blue bar on the closest side is nearly full, indicating how close the vehicle is to respawning. The spawner also projects a hologram of its vehicle when the respawn bar is close to filling completely.

All Vehicle Spawners fall into the Tier 2 category, whether in BTB or Arena. This means that there can be no more than one vehicle from a given spawner at any time. When the vehicle is away from the spawner but not destroyed, the spawner will display a red warning symbol above it with a red progress bar. Until the vehicle is destroyed or despawned, it will not begin respawning.

This screenshot shows the Mongoose spawner, which is nearly ready to spawn in a new Mongoose.

Although the hologram wasn't working in this screenshot, this shows the Ghost spawner.

Vault Spawners

The BTB map Fragmentation offered a special reward to players willing to defend one of two Forerunner doors for 20 seconds: access to a Vault containing numerous randomly selected weapons, equipment, and grenades, including some power options. Interestingly, the Vault contained multiple different spawners, including a spawner not seen elsewhere outside of Weapon Drills.

When entering the Vault, the first spawner offers grenades. The grenades on this spawner are random and may change between each access of the Vault.

After the initial grenade spawner, this large Power weapon spawner offers the player one of the Power-type weapons in the game. It seems to respawn after a successful Vault defense, containing a new random Power weapon each time.

Behind the unique Power weapon spawner, a Power equipment spawner and a normal weapon spawner could be found. Any Tier 1 or Tier 2 weapon could appear in the weapon spawner, and its contents were randomly rerolled each time the Vault was accessed. The same is true for the Power equipment spawner.

The final spawner in the Vault is this equipment spawner. It is located halfway up the ramp in the back left of the Vault, and it spawns a random equipment item that changes each time the Vault is accessed.

BTB Differences

BTB featured numerous changes to the ways that items spawned from Arena matches. For example, all weapon, equipment, and grenade spawners behave like Tier 1 spawners, where the respawn timer for the item begins as soon as the item is removed from spawn. This includes Power weapons and Power equipment (even though they use the Power spawners from Arena), as well as any weapons that were in Tier 2 in Arena. Additionally, all equipment spawners provide the maximum number of charges for the equipment item.

Some spawners randomly vary their item on subsequent spawns. Most of these spawners can be found in the Vaults. The unique Vault Power spawner seemed to link its respawns to successful Vault accesses, but more experimentation would be needed to verify this theory.

Power weapons would sometimes be dropped from the sky in the form of ordnance pods. These pods were marked with bright green lights and exploded to reveal the weapon inside when approached. The spawning from these ordnance pods seemed random, but there might be a more complex system behind them.

Vehicle spawner pads were static and behaved just like they do in Arena (Tier 2 spawners). However, vehicles such as Ghosts, Wasps, Banshees, and Scorpions could only spawn by Pelican drop. Warthogs were also included in the possible drops, allowing for more than 2 Warthogs at a time in some cases. In the screenshot above, the Scorpion is marked with a gold-colored vehicle symbol. This symbol was only gold for the Scorpion, Wasp, and Banshee. It was gray for the Ghost and Warthog.

Pelican drops also seemed to be a bit random and were certainly asymmetrical, although they were designed to escalate to bigger vehicles near the end of the game. Unfortunately, this escalation occurred very late into most matches, meaning that sometimes a Scorpion or air vehicle would arrive when only 30 seconds remained.


With the inclusion of vehicles and BTB, the latest Tech Preview gave us plenty of additional information about how items spawn in both Arena and BTB. Here's what we learned.

  • All vehicle spawn pads in Arena and BTB use the Tier 2 rules for spawning: only one item from the pad may be on the map at a time. The respawn timer begins when the current item is destroyed or despawns.

  • Vehicle spawn pads have a holographic display of the vehicle they spawn and a small bar on either of their longer sides that indicates how long the player must wait before the vehicle respawns.

  • If the bar is red, the vehicle already exists elsewhere on the map.

  • If it is blue and partially filled, the vehicle is in the process of respawning.

  • If it is blue and fully filled, the vehicle has respawned and is ready for use.

  • On the BTB map Fragmentation, players can capture a Vault on either side of the map by hacking a console and guarding their Personal AI for 20 seconds. After the hack is complete, a Forerunner door opens, revealing the following:

  • A random pair of grenades

  • A random Power weapon

  • A random non-Power weapon

  • A random Power equipment item in a unique spawn box otherwise only seen in Weapon Drills

  • A full stack of a random non-Power equipment item

  • BTB spawns have the following changes from Arena spawns:

  • All weapons, equipment, and grenades use the Tier 1 behavior, although Power weapons and Power equipment still use their unique spawners.

  • All equipment spawns as a full stack (e.g. picking up Grappleshot from a spawner provides 5 charges instead of 3).

  • Vault spawners change the items they spawn each time the vault is accessed, even within the same match.

  • Additional Power weapons are spawned in the form of semi-random ordnance drops: weapon pods that fall from orbit in various locations and produce a bright green light to mark their location.

  • Vehicle spawn pads use the Tier 2 behavior that is used in Arena, but additional vehicles are spawned via semi-random Pelican drops.

  • Pelican drops are designed to escalate over the course of the match, starting with Ghosts and occasional Warthogs and ending with Wasps, Banshees, and in rare cases, even Scorpions.

  • The escalation in the Tech Preview was very slow, unfortunately, which meant that these more powerful vehicles rarely saw use.

  • The Wasp, Banshee, and Scorpion drops were marked with gold vehicle indicators, while the Ghost and Warthog drops were marked with gray indicators.

  • Pelican drops are asymmetrical, meaning one team may gain access to a powerful vehicle before the other team does. However, these drops usually balance out after some time.

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