Halo Infinite
Image: 343 Industries, Xbox

It's a new year, and that means there's a whole new schedule for Halo Infinite's Halo Championship Series (HCS). 343 has already provided a "year 2" outline - detailing the maps, modes and settings players can expect.

Here's the full rundown from Halo Waypoint, which also highlights new balance updates as of Tuesday 10th January. All of the adjustments consider player and fan feedback while aiming to provide a platform for competitive and entertaining matches all year long. Balances and adjustments will be ongoing throughout the year.

"Our aim for Year 2 of HCS with regards to map and mode combinations is to refine the list to respond to player and fan feedback, as well as well provide a platform for competitive and entertaining matches all year long. We believe it’s important that there’s a stable foundation of maps and modes throughout the season, but that we’re also making additions, subtractions, and adjustments as we go. There’s a fine balance here that we believe we struck in Year 1 and we hope to strike again in Year 2 of HCS.

"Below is the list of map and mode combinations for the start of Year 2 of HCS, expect this to evolve as more maps and modes release for Halo Infinite."

Map and Modes

  • Capture the Flag
    • Argyle (New addition for Year 2)
    • Empyrean (New addition for Year 2)
    • Aquarius
  • Slayer
    • Empyrean (New addition for Year 2)
    • Aquarius
    • Live Fire
    • Recharge
    • Streets
  • King of the Hill
    • Recharge
    • Live Fire
    • Streets
  • Strongholds
    • Recharge
    • Live Fire
    • Streets
  • Oddball
    • Recharge
    • Live Fire
    • Streets

Balance Updates

"Regarding balance updates, we know the competitive community has shared a lot of critical feedback since launch as well as since the most recent updates in November and December 2022. Here’s what we’re working on and when you can expect the updates."

Update 1: Empyrean and Argyle, Tuesday Jan 10. (RANKED / HCS ONLY)

  • Argyle:
    • CQS48 Bulldog: Replaced with MK50 Sidekick
    • VK78 Commandos: The VK78 Commando in each base will become BR75 Battle Rifles
    • Fusion Coils: Removed
  • Empyrean:
    • Fusion Coils: Removed
    • Scrap Cannon: Removed
  • Detachment:
    • Drop Wall: Total charges reduced from 2 to 1
    • Fusion Coils: Removed

Update 2: Sandbox tweaks, targeted for mid-February ahead of HCS Major Charlotte.

  • Ammo Rack Update:
    • In the Ranked Arena playlist and HCS, each Weapon Rack will now be set to a “Red Rack” meaning once a weapon is picked up, the Rack won’t spawn another until the weapon is despawned.
  • Frag Grenades:
    • Damage radius will be reduced
  • Drop Weapon mechanic:
    • Speed will be at parity with normal weapon switching.
  • S7 Sniper Hip Fire:
    • Reduction in random error angle when no-scoping.

These two balance updates will be followed by a third one, which is expected for Season 3. 343 has provided an idea of what to expect, but keep in mind none of this is final at this point in time:

"Update 3: We’re still finalizing all of the changes we’re looking to make here so please don’t consider these to be 100% final until we circle back and confirm in February. The soonest that these could release is Season 3."

  • Footstep audio:
    • We adjusting footstep audio to better suit competitive play. Enemies are now harder to hear at distance and easier to hear when very close, and we improved accuracy of enemy location based on footstep audio when enemies are above, below, or behind you.
  • Mangler:
    • Will vault from competitive. Will undergo a rework in the future before being reintroduced.
  • Sword:
    • Will vault from competitive. Will undergo finer tuning before reintroducing as well as updated placing on maps better suited for the weapon.
  • VK78 Commando:
    • Slight retuning to reduce effectiveness. We felt the Winter Update pushed the needle a little too far, tuning again to find the sweet spot.
  • Spike Grenades:
    • Reducing randomness to alleviate frustration.
  • Disruptor:
    • Overall, we’re looking to reduce effectiveness and/or utility of the weapon in order to find the sweet spot.
  • Pulse Carbine:
    • Will vault from competitive, will explore a rework in the future.
  • Plasma Pistol:
    • Slight retuning to reduce effectiveness in order to find the sweet spot.
  • Ammo Reduction:
    • For competitive, we’re reducing ammo for Heatwave, Stalker Rifle, CQS48 Bulldog, and Shock Rifle.

Other new additions coming to both Season 3 as well as ranked/HCS include Shroud Screen equipment and the M392 Bandit Rifle. Beyond this, 343 aims to improve its response time to player feedback and continue making smaller tweaks throughout the season to maintain competitive balance.

"With regards to timing, our intention is never to pull the rug out from our competitors and make significant updates just before an event. There will be times however where we prioritize ensuring the event is played on as balanced/competitive sandbox as possible and thus may enter moments where players wish they had a bit more time to familiarize themselves with tweaks. Things that we will avoid in that tightened timeframe would be the addition of new maps, new modes, new equipment, new weapons, etc. However, you could see the removal of certain items, or slight adjustments to existing items. As we did with the updates above, we will work to let players and fans know what’s changing and when in order to be more transparent and ensure players can be as prepared as possible."

So - that's the year 2 outline for Halo's championship series. What do you think of the incoming adjustments and changes? What else would you like to see from Halo Infinite in 2023? Leave your thoughts below.

[source halowaypoint.com]