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'Halo 5' multiplayer ditching loadouts, will return to competitive arena play

The “Halo 5: Guardians” multiplayer beta trailer revealed at Microsoft’s E3 2014 Xbox One press conference Monday was the briefest of looks at what 343 Industries has planned. Design Director Brad Welch shared more details today and revealed that the game is going back to the basics of what made “Halo” multiplayer great.

The “Halo 4” multiplayer brought the concept of loadouts to the series for the first time to build on the Armor Abilities that came with “Halo: Reach.” The implementation of loadouts and the ability to call in Ordnance Drops was largely panned by the “Halo” and competitive communities due to the amount of randomness they introduced to online matches. That is all being scrapped judging by the teaser trailer which announced “next generation arena multiplayer” and Welch’s follow-up post to Twitter.

“Arena means what you'd expect - competitive focus, level playing field, map control. Spartan abilities are player mechanics not loadout [Armor Abilities],” Welch wrote.

“There'll be more details as we get closer to the beta,” he continued. “Nice to be doing it early enough to have a chance to react to beta feedback!”

So what are Spartan Abilities if there are no Armor Abilities? “Things that every player can do inherently with their Spartan,” Welch clarified.

In other words, matches where one player starts with a jet pack, another has active camouflage and another begins with Promethean Vision to see through walls are a thing of the past. All players will start matches on even footing.

There are a Halo Ring full questions left to answer about the “Halo 5” multiplayer but the main takeaway from Welch’s Tweets is what are the Spartan Abilities that will be available and how will they be obtained? The teaser trailer hinted at the return of the Thruster Pack, the ability to slide and an Iron Man-like ground pound attack. Meanwhile, Welch’s comment on map control suggests that Spartan Abilities may be power-ups that can be picked up. Presumably, some abilities will be part of default move set as well.

The “Halo 5: Guardians” multiplayer beta will launch on the Xbox One in December and is included as part of the “Halo: Master Chief Collection” that is due out in November. The collection will include the first four “Halo” games from the series, with “Halo 2” receiving an HD upgrade treatment, and all four games will retain their multiplayer and game mechanics on dedicated servers. This will be followed by the full release of "Halo 5" in the fall of 2015.

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