I had a chance to sit down with Spikemouth, coach of the Fnatic Professional Halo Team, to talk about the Armor Specializations released today and what they mean to competitive gameplay.
OS_Apollo: Thanks for agreeing to do this!
SpikeMouth: Not a problem, anytime.
OS_Apollo: So, 343′s “HUGE” announcement that will change Halo Multi-player as we know it. Turned out to be Armor Specializations, what are your thoughts on them; given the information we were given?
Spikemouth: Well I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. I think people are jumping the gun a little bit and overreacting on it. No one can really judge it until they get their hands on the games. However, from what I read, I see this as adding a very interesting and possibly even exciting twist to competitive Halo.
OS_Apollo: I agree completely, given the amount of customization right out of the box that we will have, this will add another level to high level play. If we decide to use it that is. Are there any combinations of the armor that you see a competitive team (4 man team plus a coach) use and be very strong together?
Spikemouth: The team composition is going to play an important role in this game if this is what we choose to use in competitive Halo. Let’s take League of Legends for example. Each player has their own role to play in game to help their team win. This will be a similar strategy used in Halo 4.
Let’s start with the Engineer. The Engineer is going know where the random weapon drop will be falling a few seconds before everyone else does. Depending on the distance of the weapon, an indicator will show where it will be dropping. That allows him to tell his team where the weapon will be dropping on the map.
Then you have the Tracker. If you receive an Ordinance Drop with a terrible selection and you were hoping to get something else, well the Tracker has the ability to re-roll for a new all new selection to match your play style.
Following that you have the Stalker. When you die as the Stalker, an icon of the last player to kill you will appear on the HUD. Attacking enemies receive this as well, so like Ellis has stated, is good for both retaliation and revenge.
Finally, you have the Rogue, which has the Stability Mod which will keep your reticule more stable for long distinct shooting and sniping.
Now let’s put all four of these on one team and talk about how they could benefit each other. It all starts with Engineer which is able to determine the location of the weapon drop seconds before everyone else. By doing so he can tell his team exactly where the drop will be happening, therefore their team can begin to push over there. While that is going on the Tracker will be able to decide what will be dropping during the weapon drop. If the enemy team does not have a Tracker, they are forced to deal with whatever drops. However, the Tracker can use this to their advantage and either bait the team or change the drop and get a new selection. The Tracker will reroll to best fit the team’s playstyle. So now not only do you know where the weapon drop will be happening, you also have the choice of rerolling for a new selection.
However, with that going on, you’re going to need support in order to obtain these weapon drops. Therefore, your Stalker is going to be used to determine the location of the last enemy that killed you as well as his teammates. This allows your team to plan out the best route of attack to acquire these weapons. Lastly, you have the Rogue. The Rogue, which has the Stability Mod, is going to be your long distance slayer, either with a Sniper or another long range weapon. I got to play Halo 4 at E3, and I feel that the Rogue will have a big influence when it comes to long range. There seemed to be more recoil on the weapons which made it a bit harder to snipe. It may have just been that I wasn’t used to the Halo 4 sniper, but I think this will play an influence in a match. So, this means your Rogue is going to be able to help secure these weapons he’ll be set up to attack the enemy from a distance due to the Stalker telling his team where they are. Now all of this is said without the inclusion of the actually armor abilities like Promethean Vision and such which will also play a major role in this.
The way this team comp is set up will also create more chaos on the map, on parts that you may now have expected a battle to occur. The randomness of this is going to create a lot of fast paced and exciting game play. Every player needs to be focusing on their role because these roles could play as game changers. Now regarding coaching, a lot of the coaching will still be the same. However, that will be something I will need to figure out when I finally get my hands on the game and am able to sit down and go over everything with my team. From what I’m aware of is that the game could be set up like previous Halo’s as well so we could have weapon timers as well if we chose but that will have to be determined after the game is released.
OS_Apollo: So that is a serious combination, at a high level of play, one mistake could cost the game. What do you think about the possibility of switching abilities mid game?
Spikemouth: Well the idea of switching mid match could also be a good thing. Say your team acquires two snipers at some point of a game. That means you’re going to want to switch around to have two rogues that have the Stability Mod. Or maybe you’re in a close game and it’s nearing the end, you’ll want to switch to a Wetworks which will allow you to sprint without making as much noise. The ability to switch mid game could also be the game changer in a match. If they didn’t allow this, you could lose a game and say “If only I was able to switch to this class after I died last time.” It’s stuff like this that will make the game more exciting for both the players and especially the spectators. The opposing team may not be aware of a change near the end of the game. They could be expecting one thing and get surprised by getting something else. This will force teams to think more under pressure and adapt to the change.
OS_Apollo: Switching gears here, into something we can both talk about, with these new specializations, do you think the coach’s position is going to change due to this?
Spikemouth: Well I do think the coach’s position will change a bit. Obviously, with random weapons come random timers. Meaning that the coach’s won’t be able to time weapons anymore. However, the coach will still be responsible for setting up his team with proper positioning in game as well as determining when to push or not. For myself, weapon times was only a small portion of what I actually do for my team, and I’m sure something new will come along once the game is released that will require the coach to learn something new. We won’t know for sure until the game is released and we’ve all had some time with it. Of course all of this is said thinking that we are using the new format for competitive Halo. Since we have the option of having regular weapon and timers, we’ll just have to wait and see how each plays out in Halo 4 and see what everyone decides to use for competitive play.
OS_Apollo: Well I promised a short interview! And I have nothing else! So that about does it, do you have any shout outs before we finish up here?
Spikemouth: Definitely! Big shoutout to everyone at Fnatic as well as all of our amazing sponsors, RaidCall, MSI, SteelSeries, Eizo, Slappa, and Own3d. Another big shout out to my teammates Kyle, Cory, Matt, and Mike. Big shoutout to my family and friends whom have supported me the entire way through my gaming career. Finally, a big shoutout to all of the fans out there that have supported myself as well as the rest of Fnatic. Without all of you, none of this is possible! Thank you all! <3
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