Technical Preview September/October 2021 - Livestream Overview
Updated: Feb 9
The next Halo Infinite Tech Preview is coming up very soon, and 343 has put up another livestream showing off Bot improvements, the new Training Mode, and a match of BTB. While much of the content in this livestream was seen in July and a few of the recent Inside Infinite blogs, we did get a new look at the 4v4 map Behemoth and a full BTB CTF match on Fragmentation. Let's dive in!
While discussing Bots, we get a few glimpses at Training Mode on Live Fire. There are two new details here. For one, the grenade indicator in the bottom right now shows the damage type of the grenade at all times, rather than only when picking them up. Additionally, the Bot that is barely visible behind the wall is using a non-blue Armor Coating, which means Bots are now featuring randomized customization.
During this footage from Training Mode, the player walks over a Mangler, and we can see that it is considered a Kinetic weapon. Now, rather than displaying the damage type after the name of the weapon, it comes before the name and highlights the entire weapon name in the damage type color (yellow, in this case).
"For this next preview, one: we've bumped the difficulty kind of across the board especially since we're now introducing Recruit into the mix... So the Bots should be a little more challenging this time, and we've kind of flipped on a couple of new behaviors that we're interested in seeing. So, Spartans will share some information with each other as though they're teammates trying to call out positions." - Sara Stern
In the upcoming Tech Preview, all four difficulties of Bots will be available in Bot Arena and Training Mode. In addition, each Bot difficulty has been increased, with new behaviors added that allow Spartan Bots to communicate with each other.
"Bots have some quirks when it comes to vehicles. They know that they don't like them, but they aren't sure how to really deal with them. So that's something that we're aware of." - Sara Stern
While Bots are quite proficient at fighting on foot, there's plenty of work that needs to be done for them to be effective vehicle operators. So, while they won't be using vehicles much in the Tech Preview, they'll be great targets for players to shoot at.
"We're going to have one Bot playlist, and it's going to be a random assortment of Bot difficulty on the enemy team." - Brian "ske7ch" Jarrard
The Bot Arena playlist in the September/October Tech Preview will feature a random mix of Bot difficulties on the opposing team for each match, creating a larger variety of enemy team difficulties during the Tech Preview.
When selecting the Shock Rifle in the Weapon Drills, the description reads "Semi-automatic rifle intended to support from a long distance. Projectiles arc on impact to damage nearby targets." We'll see this arcing ability in a moment, but the weapon seems to fill a role similar to that of the Focus Rifle in Halo: Reach, being a long-range support-focused rifle.
Although a bit blurry, this screenshot shows the new loading screen for the Tech Preview. This section of the Campaign features a gap between segments of the ring. Through the gap, stars are visible, showing that the gap extends through the entire ring. There's also a random tip that appears in the bottom left.
When striking a target with the Shock Rifle, other enemies near that target will be shocked by arcing electricity branching from the original target. Although this shock effect does less damage to the secondary targets, it can weaken them for a teammate to finish them off or for your own well-placed grenade.
"We have retuned all the star score values in this, so it should be more aligned with -- as you master your skill level, you should be able to move up the chain there." - David Ellis
In the last Tech Preview, the Weapon Drills were too easy to 3-star, so the Academy team has retuned the Weapon Drills to make earning 3 stars a little more challenging than before.
"Didn't you tell me that it'll arc off the flag pole as well in the CTF game?" - Brian "ske7ch" Jarrard
"Yeah, so gameplay objects, it can arc off vehicles, so you can use all that stuff." - David Ellis
Not only does the Shock Rifle arc off enemies, it can also arc off vehicles and even gameplay objects like the CTF flag.
To show off Training Mode, David Ellis jumps into a match on Behemoth, the new map coming to the Technical Preview on Sunday, Sept. 26. Within the Training Mode, the player can modify multiple gameplay settings without needing to end the game by using the Training Options, accessible through the Pause menu.
Within the Training Options, players can change their Primary Weapon, Secondary Weapon, Grenade Primary, Grenade Secondary, and Equipment. They can also set the number of Friendly Bots and Enemy Bots, change the Bot Difficulty (only one global setting at the moment), and choose whether to Reveal Enemy Location at all times.
In the Tech Preview, the player can spawn with all the weapons available in the previous flight, as well as the Shock Rifle. For Grenades, all three grenade types from the last flight are available, as well as the new Dynamo Grenade. Finally, for Equipment, all equipment items that could be used previously can also be equipped here. Additionally, players can equip the new Repulsor equipment item.
The player can choose to have 0-3 Friendly Bots and 0-4 Enemy Bots. All four Bot difficulties (Recruit, Marine, ODST, and Spartan) are available in this Tech Preview.
The other three Training Options available to players are Playfighting, which prevents the Bots from attacking the player while enabled, Infinite Ammo, which does not include Bottomless Clip, and Deathless, allowing the player to avoid dying no matter how much damage is taken. Falling off the edge of the map will likely still kill the player, however.
"The same arcing effect the Shock Rifle generates, the Dynamo Grenade is going to do the same thing to great effect." - Brian "ske7ch" Jarrard
Back in July 2020, during the Campaign Trailer, the Master Chief throws an electric grenade which we now know to be the Dynamo Grenade. One of the features of this grenade is the ability for electricity to arc between enemies caught within its effect radius and other nearby enemies. Since it bounces around, the Dynamo Grenade can be very effective at damaging a large number of enemies at once.
At last, we get our first glimpse at BTB CTF on Fragmentation. The player jumps on the Warthog Turret, ready to gun down some enemies. The reticle for the turret is similar to how it appeared in the original Bungie Halo games, but it is significantly smaller in size, showing how the turret is more accurate in Infinite.
At this point, a Dynamo Grenade is thrown into the mix, damaging the Warthog until it suffers from an EMP and stops moving. As it turns out, Shock-type damage from any source will EMP vehicles after a few ticks of sustained damage.
The initial Flag spawn is located away from the main base in the center of a small Forerunner structure. What's interesting is that later, we will see the Flag spawn in a different location. More on this later.
Here, the player picks up the enemy Flag, which puts a plus-like reticle on the screen and creates a trail behind them. When the player is damaged, their location is revealed to the enemy team, allowing the enemies to more easily hunt down the Flag Carrier.
"We have done some tuning especially for BTB in terms of how CTF plays compared to Arena." - Fernando Reyes Medina
Although many of the same modes available in Arena are also present in BTB, the finer details of how they play are slightly different. While Medina did not go into detail on the different changes, one of them seems to be that enemy Flags can be scored while your Flag is away from home.
Remember the "cache of power" mentioned in the Inside Infinite blog post from September 20? Turns out, you can use your Personal AI to hack a console on the BTB map Fragmentation. Assuming an enemy doesn't interrupt the hack, after 20 seconds, the hack will complete and the door will open temporarily. Inside, players will find power weapons and power ups, rewarding them for defending the door for so long. The loot cave will refresh after a few minutes with new gear, giving a reason to come back later in the match.
After their first flag has been captured, the losing team's second Flag spawns underneath the main base, which is a new feature for Halo Infinite's BTB.
It is possible to Sprint while carrying the Flag, but doing so will reveal the Flag Carrier to the enemy team. Sprinting with the Flag will only make the Carrier as fast as a normal player's movement, so be mindful of the best time to Sprint.
At this point in the match, the Cobra team (red) has had two of their Flags captured. The third and final Flag spawn is located on top of their base, as seen here.
"Total Control is an area control mode where you have to capture three different zones at the same time to score. Once you score one point, a new set of zones is selected in different parts of the map to add some variety, and the first team that does that three times wins the match." - Fernando Reyes Medina
There will be three BTB modes featured in the Tech Preview: Slayer, CTF, and a new addition called Total Control. In Total Control, players must capture and hold all three available zones to score one point for their team. When all three zones are captured, three new zones will spawn elsewhere. The first team to score three sets of three zones wins.
"So, if you didn't get an invitation to the first weekend, don't fret. There will be additional chances for Xbox Insiders to be able to join on the fly via the Xbox Insider Hub, and we're also going to look at a way to distribute additional Steam Keys, along the lines of allowing PC players to invite a friend for that second weekend. Those details will be coming soon to Halo Waypoint, so stay tuned for that." - Brian "ske7ch" Jarrard
In a rare move for the Insider program, there will be opportunities for players to join for the second weekend beyond signing up for Halo Insider. On Xbox, these opportunities will go through the Xbox Insider Hub, and PC users may be able to refer a friend to join on Steam.
In this livestream, we got a closer look at Bot improvements, the Training Mode, and a full match of BTB CTF. Although not as information dense as the last Tech Preview livestream, there were still plenty of neat details to discuss.
Bots now feature randomized customization selections.
The HUD has been slightly updated to always show the damage type of the selected grenade within the grenade indicator in the bottom right.
The weapon pickup prompt has been updated to show the damage type before the name of the weapon, with a highlight applying to the damage type and weapon name. For example, the Mangler, which is a Kinetic weapon, has its name highlighted in yellow, alongside the Kinetic symbol.
Bot competence has been improved across the board.
In the September/October Tech Preview, Bots will have randomized difficulties on the enemy team in Bot Arena. Additionally, all four Bot difficulties are available in Training Mode.
Bots don't like using vehicles at the moment, but this is an area that will continue to improve over time.
The Shock Rifle is described as a "Semi-automatic rifle intended to support from a long distance. Projectiles arc on impact to damage nearby targets."
The new loading screen in this Tech Preview shows a top down view of a gap in Zeta Halo that will be in Campaign. Stars are visible through the gap, implying the split goes all the way through the ring.
The new loading screen also features a randomized tip with helpful information for the player.
When striking a target with Shock damage, some of the damage will then arc to nearby gameplay objects (such as weapons, vehicles, or even CTF Flags) or players. Vehicles and players will take a lower amount of damage from these arcs.
It will be more difficult to obtain three stars in each Weapon Drill in the upcoming Tech Preview, encouraging true mastery of the weapon to reach these thresholds.
Training Mode features unique Training Options in-game, accessible from the Pause menu.
Training Options include:
Friendly Bots (0 to 3)
Enemy Bots (0 to 4)
Bot Difficulty (all four options are available but can only be set globally for all Bots)
Reveal Enemy Location
Playfighting (Bots can strafe and defend but not attack or do damage)
Dynamo Grenades will have a similar arcing effect to the Shock Rifle, suggesting it is a feature of the Shock damage type.
The Warthog turret reticle is very small, but similar in its visual design to the original Bungie Warthog reticle.
Sustained Shock damage EMPs vehicles and damages all occupants of the vehicle.
When a team's Flag is captured by the enemy team in BTB CTF, their next Flag will spawn in a new location. On Fragmentation, these locations are:
0 Captures: Small Forerunner structure off to the side of the main base.
1 Capture: Underneath the main base.
2 Captures: On top of the main base (most similar to Valhalla)
Holding the Flag puts a plus-like reticle on the screen, but only melee is possible to attack with while holding the Flag.
Getting damaged while holding the Flag will reveal the Carrier's location to the enemy team.
Players can Sprint while holding the Flag, but this will only bring their speed up to the base movement speed of non-Carriers. It will also reveal their location to the enemy team.
Modes that are in both Arena and BTB have been slightly modified to play better in BTB. For example, in CTF, your team's Flag must be at home to score in Arena, while it can be away to score in BTB.
On Fragmentation, there is a Forerunner door with a small console beside it. Using your Personal AI to hack the door and defending them for 20 seconds will allow you access to a small room with power items. The hack can be interrupted by enemy players.
The "loot cave" will refresh after some time, at which point the door can be hacked again.
Total Control is a new mode for BTB. Teams must capture and hold all three available zones at once in order to score a point. The first team to earn three points will win.
There will be opportunities for non-Insiders to participate in the BTB weekend of the Halo Infinite Tech Preview. More details will come soon.