US date released
March 3, 2009 
Mature (Australian Version rated M) (Or 16+) (In U.K. only) Teen (T) for Mild Blood, Mild Language, and Violence
Halo Wars is currently the only real-time strategy game in the Halo Universe. It begins in the year 2531, 21 years prior to Halo: Combat Evolved, during the Covenant eradication of the Outer colonies in the Human-Covenant war. The game was developed by Ensemble Studios, and is an Xbox 360 exclusive, like Halo 3. Unlike other Halo games, Halo Wars is rated "T" for Teen, downgraded from "M" for Mature given to most installments of the series. In the U.K, the game is a 16+ game, while Halo 3 is a 15+ game, although this is due to the two games using different rating boards. In Australia, the game is rated PG, as opposed to Halo 3, which is rated M. Downloadable content and support is currently being provided by Robot Entertainment, a studio founded by many ex-Ensemble Studios employees after its closing.
As of February 28, 2010 (or March 1, 2010), Halo Wars and HaloWars.com support was transferred from Robot Entertainment to Halo Waypoint, it was stated that Waypoint would provide "exciting plans", but this has yet to come to fruition.
On November 5, 2010, The Halo Wars Leaderboards were reset by popular demand.
On November 16, 2010, it was announced that HaloWars.com and Halo Wars Online Stat Tracking will no longer be supported. Along with the act, 343 Industries & Halo Waypoint plans to release one final Title Update (TU5) to fix a cutscene bug in Theater from TU4, and to unlink/disconnect the game from the site (Moving Forums to Halo Waypoint's). This change occurred on December 15, 2010. Although the stat tracking feature may be restored in the future as a possibility, however, it is highly unlikely.
On December 8, 2010, 343 Industries and Halo Waypoint announced a reversal in their decision, citing they were "...always uncomfortable with the idea...", and "...decided that the current plan of action was not in line with how we have always intended to support Halo games and the Halo franchise in general." This is not a delay, and only means that the Halo Wars Forums will continue to be merged with Waypoint's and Title Update 5 will come out some time soon.
In the RTS game Halo Wars, players can command armies of both old and new UNSC units during its first encounters against the Covenant, a massive collection of alien races that threatens to destroy all of humanity. Halo Wars will immerse gamers in an early period of the Halo Universe, allowing them to experience events 21 years prior to Halo: Combat Evolved.
With the guidance of the AI Serina, from the UNSC CFV-88 Spirit of Fire, the player leads UNSC soldiers and vehicles against classic Covenant foes, such as Grunts, Elites, Ghosts, and Banshees. Each group has its own strengths and abilities in battle. Strategic-minded players who react well under pressure will emerge victorious over their foes.
Halo Wars can be played in both single-player and online cooperative campaign modes. Additionally, up to six players can play three-versus-three match head-to-head over Xbox Live. Published by Microsoft Game Studios, Halo Wars is a title exclusive to the Xbox 360. Despite speculation of a version for the PC, Ensemble and Microsoft have repeatedly said that no such plans have been made or even considered. The Covenant is playable only in multiplayer and Skirmish modes.
Ensemble Studios began recording the music for the game in March 2008, with Ensemble's Music and Sound Director, Stephen Rippy, flying to Prague for the orchestral and choral parts and to Seattle for the piano and mixing.
The game was featured at the 2008 E3 event, held in July. It was shown on G4's E3 08 LIVE, showing a hands-on demo. Some newer off-screen demos were released, showing how the controls work and how battles proceed.
Campaign consists of fifteen levels which tells the story of Halo Wars.
- "Alpha Base"
- "Relic Approach"
- "Relic Interior"
- "Arcadia City"
- "Arcadia Outskirts"
- "Dome of Light"
- "Anders' Signal"
- "The Flood"
- "Shield World"
- “At this point in time, the Covenant is at its most evil. They are hell-bent on the destruction of humanity, on scouring us from the universe.”—Graeme Devine, Lead Writer, formerly Lead Developer.
The game's story is told through in-game cut scenes and in-game moments, as with the other Halo games. The game is set in 2531 and focuses around the Marine forces of the UNSC Spirit of Fire as they engage Covenant ground forces after the discovery of an ancient artifact during a journey to the partially glassed Harvest.
The story begins with the UNSC's early battles on Harvest, but also features another colony world, Arcadia, which holds "something of great interest to the Covenant". The planet is subsequently invaded by the Covenant and the UNSC must evacuate the planet while engaging the invasion force. The Flood is significant in the storyline and several massive Forerunner structures are also explored.
This game differs from previous Halo titles in that John-117 does not make any appearance, although several key SPARTANs, collectively known as Red Team, do factor into the plot. In contrast, the Spirit of Fire is "full of new characters", such as the A.I. Serina, Professor Ellen Anders, Sergeant John Forge, and the Spirit of Fire's commander, Captain Cutter. Some of these characters go planetside to aid the player. The single player campaign is purely from the UNSC's perspective.
While Sergeant Forge is patrolling the northern regions, Alpha Base was attacked and destroyed by the Covenant, with survivors fleeing to the countryside surrounding the area. Rounding up these survivors, Forge leads them in an assault that removed the Covenant presence and reestablished Alpha Base, returning it to operational status. Forge leads an assault on the relic site itself, removing the Covenant occupiers and preventing the enemy from destroying it to deny human access, and securing the site for Anders to examine it briefly before a Covenant counter-attack cuts them off from Alpha Base. Grizzly tanks launched from the Spirit of Fire manage to cut through the Covenant, linking up with Forge and his Marines, and escorting them back out through the relic while forces from Alpha Base held off the Covenant. Information gathered from the Harvest relic shows that the Covenant have been pointed to a second UEG colony, Arcadia.
Following the Covenant to Arcadia, they find that the most of the orbital defense ships have been either destroyed or damaged in battle with the Covenant (one of the many ships is the UNSC Pillar of Autumn which would be involved in the "Halo incident" twenty years later). Sgt. Forge and his forces deploy on the ground in order to assist the SPARTANs from Red Team in the effort to evacuate civilians from Arcadia City, via cargo transports. Afterward, the UNSC forces withdraw to a defensible area on the city outskirts, holding off Covenant attacks long enough for SPARTAN Group Omega to arrive and assist in the destruction of local Covenant forces. At the same time, the Covenant have erected a large energy shield generator around a site of importance, with undiscovered ruins surrounding the area, forcing the UNSC to deploy prototype Rhino plasma artillery to penetrate it. Moving in to examine what was of such interest to the Covenant, they come under attack from a Super Scarab, only partially complete and annihilating any UNSC forces in its line of sight. Eventually managing to destroy it, Anders and Forge begin documenting the area, only for the Arbiter to arrive, taking Anders prisoner and wounding Sergeant Forge, with Red Team arriving too late to assist. Rapidly heading out of the system aboard a starship, the Spirit of Fire follows, eventually emerging in orbit over a mysterious planet in an unknown location.
Deploying ground forces to search for Anders, the UNSC and Covenant forces come under attack from a previously undiscovered alien organism - the Flood. Managing to regroup and hold a defensible location, the UNSC forces manage to locate the source of the signal - an apparent body of water. The UNSC forces withdraw back to the Spirit of Fire as a concentrated Flood force begins to gather momentum, narrowly escaping annihilation, regrouping at the Spirit of Fire over the lake - which splits to reveal an entrance, and with swarms of Sentinels emerging to deal with the Flood. The Spirit of Fire manages to enter, proceeding through a docking system, removing Flood growths and moving through a system of concentric rings that filters out Flood biomass, the Spirit of Fire emerges inside a massive Shield World, immediately engaging a Covenant Destroyer and fending off attacks while conducting repairs.The Arbiter uses Anders to activate The Apex, revealing a fleet of Forerunner warships which the Covenant plans on reverse-engineering and incorporating into their existing naval forces to crush the humans quickly, without needing to dedicate all of their existing forces to the war. Anders manages to escape, using what had been her stasis prison as a translocation device, teleporting to the surface of the Shield World's interior, linking up with Forge and his Marines, who clear the area of Covenant forces and establish a base of operations on the Shield World. Removing the Spirit of Fire's FTL Reactor, the UNSC move it into The Apex, planning to detonate it - the chain-reaction will send the Shield World's sun into a supernova, destroying the installation and the fleet, denying it to the Covenant and saving humanity from near total defeat and extinction. The Arbiter attempts to stop them, but his Honor Guards are killed by Red Team, and Forge himself manages to kill the Arbiter with one of his own Energy Swords. Forge stays behind to detonate the reactor, while the rest of the UNSC forces activate a portal out of the Shield World, evacuate to the Spirit of Fire, and manage to slingshot around the sun to build up enough speed to escape the supernova's blast radius and the range of the Shield World's debris.
Now unable to return to UNSC space with the speed an FTL drive would have afforded them, the Spirit of Fire's crew enter cryonics storage. The ship begins its long journey home, likely to take many years or decades. Here, Sgt. Forge's cryo tube is closed by Captain Cutter, who briefly nods, upon which the camera pans down to find the words "Sgt. J. Forge", acknowledging the sacrifice of the valiant Marine Sergeant.
In the final moments of the credits, Serina speaks the final words of the game, saying "Captain. Wake up. Something has happened," As the logo appears on the screen.
The ultimate fate of the Spirit of Fire is unknown. Investigations by the UNSC and ONI are officially closed a few years after it is officially designated MIA, but there is some evidence that the ship does at some point return to UNSC space, with the strongest argument being the number of Spartans present during the Fall of Reach; At the time, 25 of the remaining 28 are present on the planet, with the three missing identified as Gray Team and the remaining dead or missing all previously identified, leading credence to the idea that Red Team, do eventually reunite with the UNSC. However it is noted that since Spirit of Fire's crew were the first humans to encounter the Flood, information should have been reported to ONI, but the first recorded Human-Flood encounter was in 2552, 21 years later, on Halo Installation 04, meaning that either the Spirit of Fire did not come back or ONI kept the 2531 Human-Flood encounter a closely guarded secret.
Aside from CGI cut scenes and on-the-battlefield appearances, characters in Halo Wars often appear in talking head animations where a small view screen appears in the upper left corner showing the face of the character speaking at the moment.
Throughout the game several other characters are either mentioned or seen.
United Nations Space CommandEdit
- SPARTAN-II: SPARTAN-IIs are individually trained units who are arguably superior to all UNSC and Covenant infantry types. SPARTANs are equipped with a regenerating shield in addition to a health bar. The SPARTANs starting weapon are dual-wielded SMGs. When a SPARTAN takes control of an allied or enemy vehicle, the Spartan's rank is added to the vehicle's rank and the vehicle's stats are greatly increased. Spartans can also engage in hand-to-hand combat against certain enemies (Elite Honor Guards, Infection Forms, etc.). Only three SPARTANs can be deployed at a time and do not contribute to the player's population limit. They are outfitted with the MJOLNIR Mk. IV; the in-game units posses traits that are trademarks of the Mk. V armor, however, this is for gameplay considerations and is not accepted as canon.
- Starting Special Attack: 'Jack, hijacks an enemy, or commandeers an allied controlled ground vehicle or aircraft for their own. ('Jacking an enemy vehicle or aircraft takes time to complete, commandeering an allied vehicle or aircraft doesn't. During the time it takes to 'Jack a vehicle enemy troops can attack the hijacking spartan and possibly kill them, until the driver is thrown out the victim can and will continue to attack you and your allies's units or neutral targets, however allied troops will stop attacking that vehicle once the jacking process has started but will do so before then. Finally, fast moving targets such as warthogs or banshees are near impossible to 'Jack while in motion if you aren't quick or lucky enough.) The Scarab and Vulture gunship cannot be 'jacked for balance reasons.
- Upgrade 1: Chain Gun, SPARTANs swap their SMGs for a machine gun turret for more damage.
- Upgrade 2: Neural Implant, decreases the time it takes to 'jack enemy vehicles.
- Upgrade 3: SPARTAN Laser, SPARTANs swap their machine gun turret for a SPARTAN Laser, for additional damage.
- Hellbringers: Also known as Flamethrowers, which are anti-infantry units for the UNSC. These Marines are hardcore pyromaniacs equipped with heavier armor and flame-throwers that can be used to torch entire infantry units. Flamethrowers cannot attack air units. They also run faster then standard marines. 2 per squad.
- Upgrade 1: Flash Bang, special attack, Flamethrowers are equipped with flash bang grenades that temporarily stun other infantry. Stopping them from attacking or moving for a short time.
- Upgrade 2: Napalm Adherent, attacked units will continue to burn for a short time after the initial attack.
- Upgrade 3: Oxide Tank, Hotter flames from Flamethrowers increases damage.
- UNSC Marines: Marines are the Main-Line infantry units of the UNSC who are armed with MA5 Series rifles. Total 4 Troopers.
- Starting Special Attack, Throw Grenade, throws grenades at ground targets for extra damage. (Cannot throw grenades at Aircraft) 
- Upgrade 1: New Blood, adds an extra marine to the squad for better combat capabilities. (5 Troopers Total)
- Upgrade 2: RPG, replaces and upgrades the Throw Grenade special attack for more damage, (Unlike the Throw Grenade special attack, the RPG special attack can be used on Aircraft.)
- Upgrade 3: Medic, Adds a medic to the squad for healing after combat, the medic can heal wounded units, however the medic cannot resurrect dead soldiers. (6 soldiers total)
- Orbital Drop Shock Troopers: Also known as "Helljumpers", in reference to the heat of the HEV pods they use to descend from orbit, this is an available upgrade for marine squads. It can be upgraded at the Barracks. The upgrades effects allow the player to substitute standard marine squads with ODST teams (armed with M90 shotguns), as well as the HEV drop. The HEV drops can also be used as a weapon similar to the MAC Blast and also like the MAC blast the ability to drop has to be used in a visible area. To do so, the player must select the HEV drop ability and put them over the area that they wish to drop them in. ODST Squads have all the upgrades that were researched for marines. They are only available as the special upgrade for Captain Cutter. Effects include increased line of sight and more hitpoints. (6 soldiers total)
- Cyclops Exoskeleton: The Cyclops is an anti-building unit. re-appropriated support exoskeleton that can crush ground enemies in close combat, often finishing off infantry with impressive fatality moves. (Unique to Sergeant Forge) (1 per squad)
- Starting Special Attack, Throw, after combat the Cyclops will pick up wreckage of destroyed buildings and air/ground vehicles, when ordered to perform the special attack the Cyclops throws the debris at the specified target.
- Upgrade 1: Repair Kit, allows the Cyclops to repair friendly units (vehicles and buildings only)
- Upgrade 2: High-Torque Joint, improves the speed at which the Cyclops travels.
- M12 Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (Warthog): Can jump gaps, and has a ramming ability as its special attack. May be upgraded so its passenger has a grenade launcher. Ramming ability is strong enough to destroy a Ghost. Warthogs can collect resources from crates found on the battlefield.
- M808B Main Battle Tank (Scorpion): The M808 Scorpion is the basic UNSC tank. It can be upgraded to the "Grizzly" variant.
- Upgrade 1: The Scorpion gains the "canister shell" secondary ability which is superior against infantry.
- Upgrade 2: The Scorpion has a faster turret rotation speed giving it better reaction time in battle.
- Grizzly variant: An upgrade of the Scorpion, it possesses two cannons and a machine gun. This upgrade is only available when the player chooses Sergeant Forge as his or her hero unit in Skirmish mode or multiplayer.
- M312 Heavy Recovery Vehicle (Elephant): The Elephant, as it is more commonly known, is a Mobile Mini-base, and can carry squads into combat and also fulfill the role of a barracks in the field. During the campaign, it is used to tow the Spirit of Fire's Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine up a mountain to the Apex. During multiplayer and skirmish, it is Captain Cutter's unique unit. Note that the dialogue of the Elephant is drastically reduced after the "Defense Turret" upgrade is unlocked. (Only available if Captain Cutter is leader.)
- Starting Special Attack, Deploy, Turns the Elephant into a Mobile barracks, allowing you to train infantry out of it, any where on the battle field.
- Upgrade 1: Twin Engine, increases movement speed.
- Upgrade 2: Defense Turret, adds an autocannon to the Elephant whilst deployed
- Upgrade 3: Ceramic Armor, increases defensive capabilities.
- Gremlin: A combat support vehicle, the Gremlin is Professor Anders's unique unit. It attacks with an EMP cannon that disables vehicles or non-infantry units temporarily. This vehicle also sports a fairly weak laser turret for offense against infantry.
- Starting Special Attack, EMP Burst, disables all near-by ground vehicles.
- Upgrade 1: Focusing Lens, EMP Cannon causes more damage and has a longer range of attack.
- Upgrade 2: Chain Amplifier, EMP Burst can "jump" from target to target causing damage to each and temporary shuts-down ground vehicles.
- Rhino: The Rhino is a heavy tracked unit that has a greater defense but lower attack than the Scorpion. The Rhino is armed with a heavy prototype plasma cannon stolen from the Covenant that fires giant plasma bolts. The Rhino is only in the campaign and not available in Skirmish. It is incapable of attacking air units. During the campaign, it is used during Dome of Light to break through a Covenant energy shield on Arcadia.
- Starting Special Attack, Lock-down, Locks the Rhino down for greater range and damage.
- Wolverine: The Wolverine is a specialized anti-aircraft vehicle that uses guided missiles to shoot down enemy aircraft, such as Banshees or Vampires. While powerful in this aspect, it is especially weak against infantry and anti-armor vehicles, and must be heavily protected.
- Upgrade 1: Volley, special attack, where the wolverine can attack ground units with its missiles.
- Upgrade 2: Dual Launchers, doubles the amount of missile pods (2 before researched, 4 after) attached to the wolverine for double the normal damage.
- Cobra: The Cobra is a heavy anti-armor vehicle armed with a pair of rail cannons which can easily tear apart enemy armor.
- Starting Special Attack, Lock-down, Locks the Cobra down to increase range and damage of rail cannon to massive proportions at the expense of mobility. Cannot shoot as far as the Covenant Locust.
- Upgrade 1: Deflection Plating, adds extra armor plating to the cobra for better defense when in lock down mode only. (Deflection Plating can deflect other cobra shots as well as other large caliber bullets/plasma projectiles, however, whether or not the large caliber bullets/plasma projectiles are actually deflected seems to be up to chance).
- Upgrade 2: Piercing Shot, upgrades rail guns so they can pass through more than 1 target while locked down.
- D77-TC Pelican Dropship: The Pelican is used via a UNSC ability that is called from the Spirit of Fire menu. The pickup area is selected, then the drop-off area. The Pelican can transport multiple units at one time. A single Pelican drop can airlift 6 infantry squads and three vehicles. It cannot carry Elephants. If it is destroyed, all units being carried by it are lost as well.
- Shortsword-class bomber: Shortsword bombers perform low-altitude bombing runs for support on the battlefield. Does the bombing run for Sergeant Forge's carpet bomb leader ability, drops the disruption bomb and drops the cryo bomb for Professor Anders' leader ability.
- Hornet: The Hornet is the main line air unit for the UNSC. A light gunship that can carry two passengers to provide support and fire on enemy ground and air targets. This unit does not have a special attack.
- Upgrade 1: Wingmen, Adds two marines equipped with rocket launchers to the side seats of the Hornet for greater damage.
- Upgrade 2: Chaff Pod, a passive upgrade, the chaff pod allows better avoidance of incoming missile attacks.
- Upgrade 3; Professor Anders Only (Super unit); Hawk, the Hawk is a further upgraded version of the Hornet that is equipped with a mounted laser for large damage. The dual auto-guns have a slower rate of fire but sport increased damage per shot.
- Vulture: The Vulture is a large gunship that can deliver heavy amounts of fire against all targets. It is the UNSC "Über-unit", and though it is nowhere near as strong or resilient as the Scarab, it makes up for this deficiency by being less than a third of the cost of a Scarab in both population and supplies.
- Starting Special Attack, Active Barrage, launches a volley of missiles at a target.
- Upgrade 1: Mega-Barrage, doubles the number of missiles during the Active Barrage special attack. (4 missiles fired before upgrade, 8 missiles fired after upgrade)
- Pod: This dropship, larger than both the Pelican and Vulture, delivers extremely large objects, such as portions of Firebases, to predetermined ground positions.
- Darter: A short range shuttle craft designed to transport troops and supplies requiring the use of a ground based supply pad.
- Firebase/Station/Fortress: Provides the basic base of the UNSC with optional "add-on" buildings that can increase its usefulness. May be upgraded to a station then a fortress (Captain Cutter Can drop in already upgraded stations and starts with a Fortress).
- Firebase, 3 Buildpads and the Command Center.
- Station, 5 Buildpads, Command Center, and 4 Turret Foundations
- Fortress, 7 Buildpads, Command Center, and 4 Turret Foundations.
- UNSC Reactor: The reactor provides power for a UNSC base to run on. (Adds to tech level)
- Upgrade 1: Advanced Reactor, doubles the total energy output (worth two tech levels)
- UNSC Air Pad: This provides UNSC air units along with upgrades for them.
- Vehicle Depot: A vehicle depot provides heavier vehicles for the UNSC to use and upgrade.
- Field Armory: A combination of machine shop and laboratory that provides high-tech upgrades for the UNSC.
- UNSC Barracks: The barracks can provide a number of infantry types for combat and to upgrade.
- UNSC Supply Pad: Supply Pads are used to get supplies from the Spirit of Fire via Albatross dropships.
- Upgrade 1: Heavy Supply Pad, Adds an extra landing pad so that more supplies can be landed at once. (More supplies gathered over time)
- In Skirmish Sergeant Forge builds Heavy Supply Pads right away.
- Upgrade 1: Heavy Supply Pad, Adds an extra landing pad so that more supplies can be landed at once. (More supplies gathered over time)
- Base Turret: Initially armed with an M202 XP Machine Gun. Only available on "Station/Fortress" Command bases.
- Upgrade 1: Medium Turret, Adds an extra M202 XP Machine Gun (1 before upgrade 2 after) for more damage, also increases health and range. (Researched at Field Armory.)
- Upgrade 2: Large Turret, Adds two extra M202 XP Machine Guns (Totaling 4 after upgrade) for more damage, increases health and range. (Researched at Field Armory.)
- Also the M202 XP Machine Gun can have extra fittings mounted on to it. (Researched on the turret)
- Flame Mortar, this add on causes extra damage to infantry.
- Rail Gun, this add on causes extra damage to vehicles.
- Missile Launcher, this add on causes extra damage to aircraft.
- Unggoy (Grunts): Fight in lances consisting of a Minor Elite (Arbiter or Regret as leader) or a Minor Brute (if leader is the Brute Chieftain) and several grunts (Totaling 3 grunts and 1 Elite or 1 Brute).
- Starting Special Attack, Plasma Grenade, the squad will throw several plasma grenades at the target (cannot throw at aircraft). The Plasma Grenades do not detonate on impact. Rather they detonate after several seconds after being thrown.
- Upgrade 1: Peons; adds an extra grunt to the squad for better combat capabilities.
- Upgrade 2: Needler; the grunts upgrade their plasma pistols to needlers for greater damage. (This upgrade also allows the squad very limited anti aircraft capabilities).
- Upgrade 3: Deacon; adds a grunt deacon to the squad that boost combat values from their religion.
- Suicide Unggoy (Suicide Grunts): This grunt squad is highly devoted to their religion, and will go on a kamikaze rage for the greater good of the gods. A larger methane tank on their back will explode and causes heavy or fatal damage to infantry, vehicles, and buildings. (4 grunts per unit)
- Starting Special Attack: Suicide; the entire squad goes into suicide mode and if the grunts get into close range to the chosen target they explode, causing massive damage.
- Upgrade 1: Zeal; speed is increased during suicide mode.
- Upgrade 2: Defile; suicide explosion causes extra splash damage.
- Bomber Unggoy: A grunt that carries an explosive that can eliminate an entire infantry squad. They only appear in Campaign.
- Sangheili (Elites): In addition to leading Unggoy lances, Elites serve many other roles, such as pilots of specific vehicles and aircraft.
- Elite Honor Guard: Honor Guards serve as powerful anti-infantry units. The honor guard is a leader-specific unit of the Prophet of Regret. (1 per unit)
- Upgrade 1: Cloak; enables the active camo special attack making the honor guard invisible to foes until its camo runs out or is ordered to attack a target.
- Upgrade 2: Personal Shield; adds a personal shield to the honor guard, making it more durable in combat.
- Ripa 'Moramee: An antagonist in the campaign and a leader unit in multiplayer. The Arbiter starts with dual energy swords and rage special attack that drains resources but makes 'Moramee go on a "killing spree". Ripa 'Moramee will face extreme difficulty against sentinels, even in rage mode. Counter this weakness with any unit that can attack air units or with the Arbiter "Fiendish Return" upgrade.
- Leader Power: Rage; The Arbiter goes into a massive killing frenzy where the damage he does is massively increased. This is the only time in the game where the player can take direct control over a unit. The attacks are very fast slices and a powerful lunge attack.
- Unit Upgrades.
- Upgrade 1: Fiendish Return; a percentage of the damage dealt to the Arbiter is reflected back to the unit that dealt the damage.
- Upgrade 2: Vicious Blades; increases damage dealt and damage reflected.
- Upgrade 3: Ghastly Vision; a permanent cloak is activated and increased damage is reflected.
- Leader Power Upgrades
- Upgrade 1: Defiant Rage; health is partially restored after every kill. (unknown if larger kills grant more health restored)
- Upgrade 2: Spiteful Rage; rage mode requires less credits to run.
- Upgrade 3: Blinding Rage; damage done in rage mode is increase massively, nearby units will have increased combat abilities well in proximity to the arbiter while he is raging.
- Elites: A pair of Elites that wield Needlers and have an energy shield. They are not included in skirmish mode, and are exclusive to campaign mode.
- Elite Honor Guard: Honor Guards serve as powerful anti-infantry units. The honor guard is a leader-specific unit of the Prophet of Regret. (1 per unit)
- Mgalekgolo (Hunters): Hunters are heavily armored and armed with fuel rod-launching cannons, like in Halo: Combat Evolved. They are the Covenant's anti-vehicle infantry. (2 Hunters per Squad)
- Upgrade 1: Bonded Shield; adds the hunter's shield which deflects many projectiles.
- Upgrade 2: Spirit Bond; if both the Hunter pair is alive, they will do greater damage. (If one hunter in a pair dies and the player heals it to full health, the spirit bond will not appear. As the spirit bond does not apply to resurrected Hunters.)
- Upgrade 3: Assault Beam; fuel rod cannon is upgraded to a powerful beam for greater damage increase.
- Kig-Yar (Jackals): Jackals fight in pairs in Halo Wars and provide good defense against Infantry but little defense against grenades, explosives or vehicles. Armed with carbines, jackals are anti-infantry units.
- Upgrade 1: Defense Gauntlet; gives the both jackals a hand-held energy shield that deflects incoming projectiles. Will collapse after taking too much damage.
- Upgrade 2: Beam Rifle; Jackals swap their carbines for beam sniper rifles for more damage.
- Upgrade 3: Supreme Gauntlet; the defense gauntlet no longer collapses after taking damage.
- Jiralhanae (Brutes): In battle the Brutes wield Brute shots, which are devastating against infantry and effective against light vehicles. Due to their limited battlefield use prior to the events of Halo 2, they are apparently leader-specific units belonging to the Brute Army Commander.
- Upgrade 1: Jump Pack; gives brutes the jump pack ability, allowing them to let brutes fly for a short distance.
- Upgrade 2: Electric Shot; adds a stun to the brute shot grenades that stuns infantry for a short time
- Brute Army Commander: The Brute Chieftain is unique because of his ability to serve massive close range attacks that cause a lot of damage, but cannot attack airborne units without his leader power, the Vortex.
- Leader Power: Vortex; the vortex is basically a floating time bomb of doom that deals large amounts of damage when near enemy units and can explode causing more damage, by pressing the A button.
- Unit Upgrades:
- Upgrade 1: Inheritance; adds a stun feature to the gravity hammer.
- Upgrade 2: Birthright; brute chieftain's gravity hammer can force his enemies toward him.
- Upgrade 3: Destiny; the brute chieftain deals more damage
- Leader Power Upgrades:
- Upgrade 1: Tsunami; Larger vortex, more area of effect, and damage.
- Upgrade 2: Hurricane; Larger vortex, more area of effect, and damage.
- Upgrade 3: Singularity; Larger vortex, more area of effect, and damage.
- Prophet of Regret (San 'Shyuum): Prophets fight from their Gravity Thrones and can attack enemy infantry with their destructive plasma weapons. The only selectable in-game Prophet is the Prophet of Regret, who can only be used if he is chosen as a "leader" before the start of the game. The Prophet starts with plasma cannons and a leader power called "Cleansing Beam" that fires an excavation beam down from a carrier in orbit.
- Unit Upgrades:
- Upgrade 1: Blessed Immolation; Upgrades the Prophets plasma cannons for fuel rod guns for damage increase.
- Upgrade 2: Ancestral Perversion; Two Combat Protectors help defend the Prophet from enemies.
- Upgrade 3: Divine Absolution; The hover throne that the Prophet sits on becomes a fully fledged flying unit. (This upgrade makes the Prophet vulnerable to anti-air units, the Prophet is still also vulnerable to ranged anti-infantry units).
- Leader Power Upgrades:
- Upgrade 1: Regret's Sentence; Medium sized cleansing beam covers a broader area and does greater damage.
- Upgrade 2: Regret's Doom; Large cleansing beam covers an even bigger area and does more damage.
- Upgrade 3: Regret's Condemnation; Same size as the Regret's Doom cleansing beam but does more damage.
- Unit Upgrades:
- Type-47 Ultra Heavy Assault Platform (Scarab): The Scarab is a super-unit that can destroy infantry, ground vehicles, and aircraft with ease. The Scarab is extremely resilient to most weapons fire. Both the Halo 2 and Halo 3 versions have been seen, though the Halo 2 era Scarab has not appeared in more recent Halo Wars videos and demos. Spartans are unable to hijack Scarabs, with the exception of one campaign level in which the Covenant abandon a scarab and you have a choice to get it. The Scarab is unique in its ability to traverse what is considered "rough terrain". In other words, the Scarab can climb over cliffs, mountains, and some structures because of its size and structuring. This makes it the only deployable ground unit in the game able to do so. This unit does not have any upgrades due to its immense power and with a population cost of 20 per unit, only two can be deployed at a time in standard skirmish matches, while up to four can be built in deathmatch.
- Super Scarab: Seen in the 7th campaign level and is larger and more powerful than a normal scarab. It's legs aren't built yet and cannot be used, but relies on power generators scattered throughout the map for energy to turn its head. Despite the vulnerability of its power source, it is still a very dangerous threat capable of incinerating anything in moments.
- Type-32 Rapid Assault Vehicle (Ghost): The Ghost is a light attack vehicle that excels against infantry but not other vehicles.
- Upgrade 1: Boosted Ram Special Attack, similar to the Warthog's Ram ability the Ghost gains the ability to ram target, most effect when running over enemy infantry.
- Upgrade 2: Strafe, the Ghost can evade incoming projectile attacks (Rockets and Grenades)
- Upgrade 3: Scout Shield, a light shield is installed to the Ghost giving it the ability to take more damage.
- Type-25 Rapid Assault Vehicle (Chopper): The Chopper is a scout-class vehicle available only to the Brute Chieftain leader. The Chopper starts without any guns and is only able to ram hostile ground targets. This unit takes the place of the Ghost when playing as the chieftain, the chopper takes up two population unlike the ghost to make up for its greater attack power and durability.
- Starting Special Attack: Run Over, same function of the Ghost's Boosted Ram ability or the Warthog's Ram ability, The Chopper with smash into a given target causing damage, most effective on infantry.
- Upgrade 1: Autocannons: Adds a pair of explosive-shot cannons. Granting additional attack
- Upgrade 2: Stabilizers: Improves accuracy of Chopper's guns and damage.
- Upgrade 3: Ramming Targe, adds ceramic armor around front wheel base of Chopper, increasing Run Over damage and reducing damage taken.
- Type-26 Assault Gun Carriage (Wraith): The Wraith is the main battle tank of the Covenant and is armed with a plasma mortar and a plasma turret capable of decimating enemy infantry and harassing aircraft.
- Upgrade 1: Heavy Shield, an energy shield is added to the Wraith, which deflects damage from the health of the Wraith until it is depleted.
- Upgrade 2: Scorch Special Ability, a superheated plasma projectile is shot at a target that does damage after the it has hit the ground.
- Upgrade 3: Plasma Modulator, the normal plasma mortar is larger causing more damage.
- Honor Guard Wraith: This unique looking type of Wraith is only available by activating a skull exclusive to the special edition, which also requires Xbox Live to obtain.
- Type-30 Light Excavation/Anti-Fortification Platform (Locust): A smaller counterpart to the Covenant Scarab which is described as a "building-killer". The Locust walks on four legs and looks similar to the Scarab but is much smaller. It's Plasma Beam is Purple/Pink and does major damage to buildings but must be in packs of three or more to do damage to heavy enemy vehicles.
- Upgrade 1: Overdrive Special Ability, drains shield power to increase power of the beam cannon.
- Upgrade 2: Shield Amplifier, restoration of shield is much quicker.
- Type-26 Ground Support Aircraft (Banshee): The Banshee can attack infantry, tanks and other air vehicles due to its twin Plasma Cannons and single Fuel Rod Cannon. Fuel Rod Cannon is not used on other air craft.
- Upgrade 1: Special Attack: Boost, unlocks the ability to boost across a distance at greater speed however the Banshee cannot attack while boosting.
- Upgrade 2: Repeating Cannon, the Banshee's plasma cannons fire at a faster rate, increasing damage done over time.
- Upgrade 3: Sacrifice, when the Banshee is heavily damaged, it will attempt to kamikaze into any nearby ground targets (Infantry, Vehicles, or Buildings).
- Type-25 Troop Carrier (Spirit): The Spirit is the rival to the UNSC Pelican, capable of carrying vehicles and infantry in addition to giving them fire support. The screen for the Spirit of Fire is not available for the Covenant Leaders and therefore these cannot be called upon to transport troops or vehicles in skirmish or multiplayer modes as the Gravity Pads, at each Covenant base, can provide means of transportation
- Type-29 Close Support Fighter (Vampire): A fast, manuverable Covenant Aircraft. Armed with a pair of fiendish plasma guns, Heavy AA Needler and a furious Statis Beam.
- Upgrade 1: Special Attack: Stasis Drain, locks down the targeted enemy aircraft, which drains health and repairs the attacking Vampire. However victim can still fight back.
- Upgrade 2: Stasis Bomb, when a target is fully drained by Stasis Drain, it will explode with a large area of effect.
- Huragok (Engineers): Sent into combat zones to repair damaged vehicles and structures, as well as squads of infantry. An Engineer may repair other Engineers, but not itself.
- Upgrade 1: State of Grace, repair/healing rate of the Engineer is increased.
- Upgrade 2: Harmonious Digestion, Engineer travels at a higher rate.
- Outpost/Keep/Citadel: Provides the basic base of the Covenant with optional 'add on' buildings that can increase its usefulness. Outpost can be upgraded to Keep and then to a Citadel.
- Outpost, 3 Building Pads, 1 Command Center.
- Keep, 5 Building Pads, 4 Turret Foundations, 1 Command Center.
- Citadel, 7 Building Pads, 4 Turret Foundations, 1 Command Center
- Shield Generator: Provides shield protection for the whole Citadel. It is possible to have multiple shield generators, thus improving the Citadel's shielding.
- Warehouse: The warehouse is how the Covenant receive supplies. Gravity lifts bring supplies down and workers move them to their proper area.
- Upgrade 1: Blessed Warehouse, upgraded gravity lifts let more supplies to be brought down at once, more supplies gathered over time.
- Heavy Plasma Turret: The main defenses of a Covenant base, a turret starts out with only a plasma cannon(s) on it however unit specific upgrades can be help when fighting Infantry, Vehicles, or Air Craft.
- Heavy and Medium Plasma Turrets are researched at the Temple, Light Plasma Turrets are built if none of the upgrades are purchased.
- Plasma Mortar Upgrade, An attached Plasma Mortar to the turret adds a bonus to fighting infantry.
- Fuel Rod Cannon Upgrade, A twin set of Fuel Rod Guns are attached to the frame of the turret, giving a bonus when fighting vehicles.
- Heavy Needler Upgrade, Two large Needlers are mounted on the frame of the turret, giving a bonus when fighting Air Craft.
- Heavy and Medium Plasma Turrets are researched at the Temple, Light Plasma Turrets are built if none of the upgrades are purchased.
- Temple: A Covenant research building, the upgrades are very expensive but are very effective and powerful.
- The Temple is the Covenant version of the UNSC reactor where you get research higher tech levels.
- The Temple is also the Covenant version of the UNSC Field Armory where additional research and upgraded tech is bought here.
- Age of Doubt and Reclimation are researched here, granting a higher tech level (Tech 3 max)
- Summit: The roost of the Covenant air force, the Summit builds Banshees, Vampires and Engineers.
- Hall: The home of Covenant soldiers, Grunt lances, Jackal pairs and Hunter pairs are trained here. The building also researches minor upgrades for Covenant infantry.
- Factory: The manufacturing plant of the Covenant, the Factory builds Ghost scouts, Wraith tanks and Locust walkers.
- Anti-Vehicle Barrier: Same device used to block tunnels on the level Tsavo Highway in Halo 3, most likely used for defense. To be used, infantry needs to go on it like a Deployable lookout tower. It is both available in campaign and certain maps in multiplayer
- Type-29 ASG (Shade): The Halo: Combat Evolved variant of the Shade is featured as a defensive Structure. This is only available in Campaign.
- Deployable lookout tower: Can be used to garrison infantry units from both players (in co-op), increasing their combat capabilities.
- Mega Turret: A massive turret featured in campaign where the Mega Turret looks like an upgraded version for the Heavy Turret. It's power is very high and it is advisable to take it out with the MAC Blast. It is also featured as a neutral garrison able structure on Tundra. Here it fires in barrages and takes time to recharge. It is indestructible (but as always, the garrisoned troops can be killed).
- Gravity Lift: Each Covenant base has a Gravity Lift right outside. Gravity Lifts let the Covenant's players to do "Hot Dropping" which allows to send any units (except the Scarab) directly to their Leader's location. If the players leader is in close proximity to a bases Grav Lift, it will not be active. You can also set your rally point on the Grav lift so that as units are released from your base they are almost instantly teleported to your leader.
- Glassing: This appears to be used as a Covenant super weapon. The glassing ship can fire this from orbit to destroy ground positions and units. Can be upgraded for an even more devastating effect. This is named the "Cleansing Beam" in the game and is the Prophet of Regret's leader power.
- MAC Rounds: These explosive rounds are fired from an orbiting ship onto the target in the designated area you choose.The orbiting ship (Spirit Of Fire) can fire MAC rounds to decimate Ground positions and units alike. This can be upgraded to have even more devastating power. In the game this is known as a "MAC Blast" and is Captain Cutter's leader power.
- ODST: The ODST is a super unit only available to Captain Cutter. They are more powerful than normal marines and can be dropped from orbit. For more information on the ODSTs go to one of the previous articles: UNSC, Section: infantry, Unit:orbital drop shock trooper.
Generally Hostile UnitsEdit
- Insurrectionist Infantry: Can be found occupying neutral base sites, and the area around any Forerunner structures and/or garrisonable areas that give bonuses, supply elevators, reactors, etc. They come usually armed with Assault Rifles, and in conjunction may use Rocket Launchers and snipers.
- Sentinel: Standard Sentinel, fires a standard beam, doing medium damage. Occupies Forerunner Neutral base sites and Sentinel factories..
- Super Sentinel: Can slow down enemy units and have a more powerful sentinel beam than the standard Sentinels, cannot attack air units, rendering it harmless against air units.
- Protector Sentinel: Able to be "attached" to units, providing either a rechargeable energy shield, replenishing health, or a pulse laser weapon depending on the type of Protector. The "Ancestral Perversion" upgrade gives the Prophet of Regret two of the pulse laser types on any map.
- Sentinel Shop: Produces Sentinels for the player who stands near it. Only found on the multiplayer levels Repository and Glacial Ravine.
- Forerunner Supply Elevator: Produces supplies when infantry are garrisoned inside it. Equivalent to an additional Supply Pad or Warehouse. Means you can build one less Supply Pad/Warehouse.
- Forerunner Spire of Healing: Heals any friendly units nearby for the player who controls it. Only found on multiplayer levels Frozen Valley and Barrens.
- Forerunner Teleporter: Instantly sends units to another teleporter location. In most maps, these are just one way.
- Forerunner Bonus Reactor: Increases tech level of any player that controls it. This will mean you can have an extra slot on open in a base for other usage.
- Forerunner Life Support Pod: Increases the max population for any player who controls it. Only found on the multiplayer level Beasley's Plateau.
- Forerunner Fort: Outpost guarded by automated systems, including laser turrets and a shield wall. Retracts in on itself after sustaining enough damage.
- Protector Plant: Produces three types of Protectors for the player who stands near it. Only found on the multiplayer level Labyrinth.
- Energy Wall: Generates an impassable energy wall when garrisoned with troops. Found on the multiplayer maps Glacial Ravine, Fort Deen and Tundra and on the campaign level Escape.
- Relic: Releases Flood upon an enemy when infantry are garrisoned inside it. Only found on the multiplayer level Release.
- “There is quite a bit of concern regarding how we’re going to fit the Flood into our game and keep it in canon which surprised me, but I promised them all that the Halo 1 canon is intact and that they would have to wait and see how we integrate the Flood.”—Graeme Devine
Flood Infection Forms, Combat Forms, and Carrier Forms are the Flood's main attack force. In the February issue of GamePro, it was confirmed that there would be new Flood forms in Halo Wars. New ones tend to include a new form, which appears to be named the 'Bomber Form'. It appears to drop acid on units and buildings and when killed, drops infection forms. The reason the Flood cannot be controlled by the player is due to balance issues, as they would have to be balanced out against the two playable factions. In the multiplayer map Release, they are a hostile force to both sides of the battle and can be exploited by the players as a blessing or a curse.
In respect to keeping the appearance of the Flood in canon with the rest of the series, the game has the Spirit of Fire traveling back to Earth at speeds slower than light after its mission had ended, making it impossible for them to report the existence of the Flood. However, this raises further controversy over the presence of the Spartans on board the Spirit of Fire.
- Infection Forms have the ability to crawl over walls, increasing its potent abilities, and is able to reach ground no other forces can reach. When any infantry units encounters Infection forms, they are usually attacked and infected. This applies to all combat infantry units (except hero units such as John Forge) in the game, including both Grunts and Jackals, turning them into Combat Forms and making use of their weapons.
- Combat Forms: The standard fighting force of the Flood. There are six additional types of Combat Forms: Marine, Flamethrower, Elite, Brute, Jackal and Grunt forms in-game. Note when the infected units turn into the corresponding combat form, that unit's rank (if any) also goes with the combat form, making it more deadly.
- Infected Marines: Marines or ODSTs (and possibly Medics) that have been infected by the Flood. They come in squads of four (or, in one mission, six) when they spawn on campaign and skirmish maps, or individually when they were formerly owned by a player and then infected. They always wield Assault Rifles and Shotguns despite previous equipment.
- Infected Flamethrowers: Flamethrower marines that were once owned by a player and then infected. They always wield Flamethrowers, as with living UNSC Flamethrower Marines. Infected Flamethrowers are a bit of a sub-category of Infected Marines, as they are exactly like Infected Marines but just wield Flamethrowers.
- Infected Elites: Elites that were infected by the Flood. They come in pairs and use a melee attack instead of weaponry when they spawn, or individually when they were formerly owned by a player and then infected. They are the only Combat Form with a Melee attack.
- Infected Brutes: Brutes that were infected by the Flood. They come in pairs when they spawn in campaign, or individually when they were formerly owned by a player and then infected. They always wield Brute Shots, as with living Covenant brutes.
- Infected Grunts: Grunts that were once owned by a player and then infected. Depending on their previous weaponry they will always wield either Plasma Pistols or Needlers. They also retain the ability to throw plasma grenades.
- Infected Jackals: Jackals that have been infected by the Flood. They come in pairs when they spawn on skirmish maps, or individually when they were owned by a player and then infected. They always wield Carbines and Defense gauntlets (that can be overloaded) when infected by player controlled Jackals, despite previous weaponry, but have been encountered with Beam Rifles when they are in scripted positions (i.e. additional reactors on flood levels).
- Carrier Forms: A suicidal unit that explodes and delivers its payload of Infection Forms directly into enemy lines.
- Flood Growth Pods now function as a double-edged sword: shooting them will sometimes releases precious resources for weapon and vehicle upgrades. At other times, however, they will release either a swarm of Infection Forms or a cloud of Flood spores, both of which can destroy infantry squads in seconds. They appear as either large flood "eggs" the size of small vehicles, or as multiple of the Halo 3 variety growing on tall stalks.
- Flood Thrasher Forms: Large, about the size of an Elephant. Essentially an anti-vehicle Flood form, although easily killed.
- Flood spore clouds: A green mist that if units are in for too long, they are killed and infected. It should be noted that these can not be killed except on occasion by flamethrower marines and will decimate infantry ground forces in seconds due to their superior speed in comparison to UNSC ground units. It is also advisable to keep vehicles separate from ground infantry as the infected troop will often destroy the vehicles as they transform.
- Flood Swarms: The first-ever-seen flying incarnation of the Flood, described by developers as "infected buzzards crossed with evil bats". These creatures travel in large airborne packs, and can emit dart-like projectiles to puncture enemies.
- Flood Bomber Forms: Large, bloated, airborne Flood forms. They attack by dropping Flood Growth Pods full of Infection Forms onto enemies.
- Flood Barracks: Organic structures that ceaselessly churn out a variety of attackers. They can't be destroyed by "conventional" weaponry, but players can damage them enough to force them into a withered, dormant state. The effect is only temporary, and given enough time, the Barracks will recover and begin producing more Flood forms.
- Flood Root: This form appears to be a defensive unit that "whips" or grabs units that get close to it.
- Flood Colony: A large structure found in heavily infested areas. Used as a "base" by the Flood. Regenerates only in the Campaign mode, otherwise opens up new base slots when killed.
- Proto-Gravemind: This appears to be the main Flood's base's building. It seems to be connected to the Colony Forms, as whenever they take damage, the Proto-Gravemind takes damage too.
- Flood Nest: A small organic building, shaped like a jellyfish which creates Infection Forms and Carrier Forms.
- Flood Launcher: Stationary tower-like forms that fire globs from their tops at enemies. These glob-like projectiles will release a spore cloud. This makes them dangerous to approach. It appears Spartans are immune to the clouds.
- Flood Den: A medium-sized building form which Flood Swarms and Flood Thrasher Forms come out of.
- Flood Vent: Large vents covered in Flood biomass which create Flood Bomber Forms.
Civilians are only encountered on Mission 4: Arcadia City, where the Spirit of Fire and Spartan Red Team helps them board Cargo ships for evacuation from the city. They function as normal infantry units, with five people per "squad" and a health bar that can be healed from a Repair Beam. They have no offensive capabilities at all. It is also possible to kill them using carpet bomb.
- Arcadian Police: They come armed with M6D pistols, but do little damage and are easily killed.
- Adam - Adam is a male civilian, possibly a child due to the fact of a mother heard asking where her son Adam is. He is near a terminal. He is only seen when you activate a control panel that opens up a door to a tower. He runs out and goes toward Cargo Ship Two. If you can manage to escort him to the ship without him dying, you will unlock the "The Real Winner" Achievement. This is difficult as if he gets shot once, he dies.
- Adam's mother - She is not seen, but when you move your troops close to the terminal, or activate it, she will ask if you have seen her son.
Ambient life forms were planned to be encountered during gameplay. They may have been found on the battlefield, and might have reacted to the actions of the player's forces (such as firing a weapon, flying around or near them, etc.). Examples include the Space Owl, the Harvest Whale, the Arctic Beast, Ice Hound and some sort of eel-snake creature that has yet to be named.
These creatures have been cut from the game, as the only ambient life visible on any campaign or multiplayer maps are birds who do not visibly react to actions taken by the player.
Throughout the campaign and in Skirmishes, the player must advance their technology in order to increase their army's power. When technology is increased, more units, upgrades, and buildings become available. For instance, infantry units can receive additional members or stronger weaponry. Field Armories or Temples (and the upgrades within them) can become available with increased technology as well.
The tech tree is different for the two playable factions. When playing as the UNSC, the player advances by building and upgrading reactors. The Covenant moves through the tech-tree in Ages by purchasing upgrades at the leader temple; players can advance to the Age of Doubt and the Age of Reclamation respectively. Players can also advance by capturing Forerunner Bonus Reactors.
When a Reactor is built or an Age is researched, OR a Forerunner Bonus Reactor is claimed, the tech number on the top right of the screen goes up. If, say, a reactor is destroyed, the number goes down. Different buildings, units, and upgrades require higher numbers for use.
Veterancy points increases a unit's statistics, such as attack, attack speed, defense, etc. This number can be calculated by counting how many stars a unit has above their health bar. This is the number of veterancy points said unit has. The stars, or Veterancy Points. are acquired only after a unit or a group of units have defeated enemy structures, units, vehicles, or other combat related situations. They are also gained by upgrading the unit. A unit has a maximum of 3 stars, except a Spartan-Commandeered vehicle, which has a maximum of 14 "Veterancy Points" for Tanks/Grizzlies and Hornets/Hawks. All other Spartan-Commandeered vehicles have a maximum of 13 "Veterancy Points". Some special player units in campaign mode (example: ODSTs in the level Anders' Signal) that have a maximum of 5 Veterancy Points. A mist effect appears briefly over a unit when it gains a veterancy point, though this is hard to see unless closely watching the unit. When a unit gains more veterancy it grows stronger; for example it can take over 4 MAC rounds to destroy a 14 veterancy scorpion.However under special conditions the maximum number of veterancy stars is 17.
Certain characters belonging to both the Covenant and the UNSC have been confirmed to be "leader factions", which are sub-factions with unique units and bonuses. All of the Covenant leaders appear on the battlefield and have unique in-game abilities. The UNSC leaders on the other hand do not appear on the battlefield but instead have economic bonuses and "super units" (upgrades of normal units). Currently known leaders are Captain James Cutter, Sergeant John Forge, Professor Ellen Anders, Ripa 'Moramee, an unknown Brute Army Commander and the Prophet of Regret. Each leader has a number of unique features, for the UNSC it's "super units", economic bonuses, unique units (Cutter's Elephant, Forge's Cyclops and Anders' Gremlin.) and leader powers (ODST Drop/MAC Blast, Carpet bomb and Cryo bomb, respectively to leaders stated previously) that can be called from the Spirit of Fire. The Covenant on the other hand have a unique unit (two for the brute leader) and a "hero unit" (their leader) with their leader power attached to the "hero unit". The Prophet of Regret's ability is to glass enemy forces (known as the "Cleansing Beam" in Halo Wars), which causes significant damage to both structures and units, however it also drains resources while active. His unique units are Elite Honor Guards. Ripa Moramee's leader power is "Rage Mode", which can empower nearby friendly units, but at the cost of draining resources for every second this mode is active. He can also upgrade to infinitely cloak himself. Ripa Moramee will also have the ability to train Suicidal Grunts. The Brute Chieftain can use his Gravity Hammer to create a vortex which sucks in infantry, then the player can press the A button to create a massive explosion. The Brute Chieftain's unique units are a pair of Brutes wielding Brute Shots (which can be upgraded to have jet packs) and the Chopper.
Although Covenant leaders are limited to one unit at a time, they are some of the strongest units in the entire game and are immune to stun effects.
UNSC Leader PowersEdit
- Transport: Call a Pelican down to transport selected units (maximum of three vehicles and six infantry units) to a selected area of the map. Transport costs 200 resources and does not have a recharge time.
- Disruption Bomb: A bomb that deactivates any leader powers and prevents others being activated in a short radius during the effect.
- Heal and Repair: Heals all units and repairs all structures in a selected area. Heal and Repair costs 350 resources and will only heal/repair friendly units and buildings.
- MAC Blast: Calls down a MAC blast from Spirit of Fire's' onboard MAC. Upgrades allow for more shots before the power has to recharge. This power can only be used by Captain Cutter. MAC Blast costs 600 resources.
- ODST Drop: ODST pods, individually aimed by the user, are called down at 100 resources each. The pods will spawn a whole ODST squad. Note that it is much faster to drop them from their pods than producing them in a Barracks or via the Elephant, but beware; if your reactors are destroyed or a bonus reactor garrison squad is killed you won't be able to drop more. (Unique to Captain Cutter)
- Cryo Bomb: The Cryo Bomb freezes any units and buildings within the blast radius. Units are unable to move when frozen, and buildings halt all activity. When frozen, air units have a chance of falling to the ground, shattering instantly. The more the Cryo Bomb is upgraded, the freeze time and the chance to make air units fall increases. Note that this also has an effect on your team. (Unique to Professor Anders). Any units that are equipped with shields fare better against the cyro bomb and also have extra time escaping than other ground units. Cryo Bomb costs 600 resources.
- Carpet Bomb: Calls in a bomber to wipe out a large area. Effective against mass infantry or ground vehicles. The more times it is upgraded, the stronger and larger the carpet bomb is. Carpet Bomb costs 600 resources and does not damage air units. Note that this also kills any friendly units caught in the line of fire. (Unique to Sergeant Forge)
- Main article: Black Box (Halo Wars)
Black boxes are a new feature in the game. Black Boxes are collectibles in the Halo Wars campaign that when collected, they add new events in the Halo Wars Timeline. They look like black boxes with yellow stripes on them and can be picked up by any unit. When you collect one you can just resign straight away and you will still have it. The timeline covers many of the important events from the games and the novels. There is only one black box on each level in the game.
Six units, the UNSC Cougar, UNSC Fox Cannon, Covenant Air Artillery, Covenant Gorgon, the UNSC Falcon, and the UNSC Leviathan were under development early in the game along with the ability to actually construct individual buildings. The developers later announced that these units been cut, as they had decided to focus on more recognizable Halo units and simpler gameplay.
Before Ensemble conceived the idea for The Apex, the storyline was supposed to feature a Covenant mining asteroid that was located at a Forerunner ore refining mechanism. This concept tries to show the scale of the large Forerunner machinery in place with machines that are still operational, although now controlled by the Covenant. In the end the mining aspect of the story was removed from the game.
Another piece of deleted content is ambient life (i.e. Thorn Beasts, Harvest Whale, etc.) This may have been because the game already has some minor 'pathfinding issues' and the wildlife would have just been an obstacle.
Just like Halo 2 & Halo 3, Halo Wars has strong characteristics of online gaming. Halo Wars' live gaming characteristics include Direct voice communication & Online leader boards. Unlike any of the other Halo games, now your vehicles' and troops' armor will change to the teams color so you can get red Hunters, black Grunts, orange Hornets etc. There is no specific information regarding player ranking but players are able to achieve the ranks of Recruit, Lieutenant, Major, Commander, Colonel, Brigadier, and General. Multiplayer is up to 6 players at a time in a match. Two player online Co-op for the campaign story is available in the game.
Each multiplayer map apparently takes place on a different "world", each with its own musical theme and playlist. The Halo Rings won't be in the story, but may be included in future maps for multiplayer.
- Beasley Plateau - A multiplayer map set on a dense jungle plateau.
- Chasms - A multiplayer map set on a frozen region of Harvest.
- Blood Gulch - A multiplayer map based off designs from Blood Gulch, the Halo: Combat Evolved map.
- Release - A multiplayer map set on a Flood-dominated environment.
- Fort Deen - A multiplayer map set on Fort Deen, UNSC military base.
- Tundra - A multiplayer map set on an icy area and has a mega turret in the center with Covenant Energy Barriers surrounding it.
- Pirth Outskirts - A multiplayer map set on the outskirts of Pirth.
- Crevice- A multiplayer map set on a Flood-dominated environment.
- The Docks - A multiplayer map set in the city of Arcadia.
- Labyrinth - A multiplayer map set on an open, bridge-like map in a forest environment.
- Repository - A multiplayer map with a Sentinel factory in the middle.
- Terminal Moraine - A multiplayer map set in an icy environment with two timed Forerunner bridges that provide access to tactically important locations.
- Frozen Valley - A multiplayer map set in a large, open area of snow with a Forerunner Spire of Healing in the center.
- Exile - A multiplayer map set in a Flood-dominated environment.
Historic Battle Map PackEdit
The Historic Battle Map Pack was released to Xbox Live Marketplace on July 21, 2009 and sells for 800 Microsoft Points. Along with 4 new maps, the DLC includes 4 new achievements as well. The maps included in this map pack are:
Halo Wars features a "Skirmish Mode", where the player can battle on multiplayer maps against an AI opponent in 1vs1, 2vs2 and 3vs3 match. There are 14 skirmish and multiplayer maps. There are two modes in Skirmish, Standard and Deathmatch. Three more modes are available if you have the Strategic Options DLC (800 Microsoft Points): Keepaway, Tug of War, and Reinforcements.
In Standard mode, you start off with 0 tech level and 800 resources. All units must be upgraded including turrets and leader abilities. The population limit starts at 30 for the UNSC and 40 for the Covenant. In Deathmatch, you start with 15,000 resources and a tech level of 4 for the UNSC, and 3 for the Covenant (Building a Temple increases your tech level to six, but more importantly gives you a leader). All your units, buildings and leader abilities are already fully upgraded. Your population starts at 15 and you gain 10 population for taking over a base, up to 99. When you lose a base, the population limit goes down by 10. In Keepaway mode, you capture the flag from your opponent and bring it back to your base. In Tug of War mode, the objective is who can field and maintain the strongest army who wins. In Reinforcements mode, you have to adapt your tactics as you are granted waves of troops, much like an endurance battle.
Editors of OXMs January 2009 Halo Wars article played on a multiplayer map called "Blood Gulch". It was stated that it is not the same map as that in Halo: Combat Evolved, but some elements have clearly been used in the design for the map. It is also known that you have to win a Skirmish match on every playable map with all the different leaders in order to achieve the Playin' the Field and the Gallivant Around The Galaxy achievements.
- Main article: Halo Wars: Original Soundtrack
The music for Halo Wars was composed by Ensemble Studios in-house composer Stephen Rippy, with additional music by his long time collaborator and game Audio Lead Kevin McMullan. It was recorded in Prague, Czech Republic by 45 members of the FILMHarmonic Orchestra and a 21 voice choir at CNSO Studio No. 1. The score was released as a single CD package with a bonus DVD containing additional tracks, 5.1 surround sound mixes of some cues and a behind the scenes video showing the recording sessions of the Halo Wars main theme and various trailers for the game. It was also put up for retail as a digital download over iTunes and Sumthing Digital. The response to the score was almost universally enthusiastic, with most critics praising Stephen Rippy's taking the series into new stylistic territory while still paying homage to and reworking classic themes and ideas.
Marketing Promotions and ReleaseEdit
An Alpha test was done for Halo Wars, concluding during May 2008. The test was open only to several thousand Microsoft employees, including Bungie Studios, in order to locate any bugs or glitches, and to test its performance over Xbox Live. It consisted of a brief "tutorial" and multiplayer, and was "limited to a specific set of units." It is unknown how long the Alpha test was conducted, or when it began.
During the Alpha test, anti-air units were glitching so that their effectiveness was lessened, and Scorpion tanks and aircraft were extremely powerful. Aircraft strength was lessened to prevent players from sending in air-strikes against the enemy Command Center and crippling them too easily, ruining many a protocol player's chances of victory. This actually isn't an element of the game, but in fact a "balance issue".
- Main article: Halo Wars Demo
On February 5, a demo for Halo Wars was released on Xbox Live for Xbox Live Gold Subscribers. The demo was made available to non-Gold subscribers on February 12. The demo also set a record for the most downloaded demo in one day.
E3 2008 TrailerEdit
- Main article: Five Long Years Cinematic
Five Long Years is a Halo Wars cinematic preview released on the July 14th of 2008 depicting the five year long struggle to reclaim Harvest from the Covenant, as well as being the first cutscene for the game. The trailer can be downloaded from the Halo Wars official website or here.
Field Trip To HarvestEdit
Field Trip To Harvest is a cinematic preview that was released to the public on October 3, 2008 showing the UNSC's retaking of the planet Harvest and the Covenant's finding of a Forerunner structure. Also, in the conversation between a Zealot and the Arbiter, there is mention of "the Infection". This was speculated to be an introduction to the Flood in Halo Wars before the release of the game, but because no Flood were encountered on Harvest, it is almost certainly just a name for the Humans on Harvest.
The Call To BattleEdit
The Call to Battle is a collection of already known cinematics, but it also shows some campaign maps. You can also see that you can make a lot more units than in the demo.
Unknown Trailer VideoEdit
On February 8, 2009, the Taiwanese Xbox Live website released a four minute-long trailer which contained spoilers detailing the later story of Halo Wars. It was soon taken down, and other sites which put it up, including halo.bungie.org, removed it at the request of Microsoft Game Studios. However, several sites still have the video. The music from the trailer has been confirmed to be "Optimus vs. Megatron", a song from the Transformers movie. It can be watched here.
ViDoc: Halo Times TenEdit
- Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Halo Times Ten
On January 23, 2009, the first ViDoc of Halo Wars was released on Xbox Live marketplace. It tells how a different perspective can change the gameplay and an announcement of the demo planned for February the 5th.
ViDoc: Expanding The ArsenalEdit
- Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Expanding The Arsenal
On February 3, 2009, the second Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It tells about Spartans and hero unit abilities.
ViDoc: Strategy on XboxEdit
- Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Strategy on Xbox
On February 12, 2009 the third Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It describes the controls featured and what expectation there are of the game. Like the previous ViDocs, this one features cinematic scenes.
ViDoc: Jaws of VictoryEdit
- Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Jaws of Victory
On February 19, 2009 the fourth Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It informs the viewer about tactics, including multiplayer and the developers' tactics.
- All the cutscenes were pre-rendered CGI sequences created by Blur Studios. This does not include the "vignettes" (Intro and Conclusion sequences) which were rendered in-game using the game engine.
- The Doritos snack food held a sweepstakes where the winner got a voice role in the game.
- Halo Wars didn't start as a Halo game at all. Six months were spent developing a control scheme for a viable RTS for the Xbox 360, which was later pitched to Microsoft, asking to use the Halo IP, to which Microsoft agreed.
- There are Skulls in the campaign like in Halo 2 and Halo 3, which add replay value. They may increase or decrease the score, and there is an achievement for getting Gold on a mission with all "Rebel" skulls which make gameplay harder when turned on.
- Unlike Halo 3's skulls (and most of Halo 2's), you need to achieve a certain goal to make the skulls appear.
- During the introductory level in the E3 demonstration video, UNSC Marines can be seen doing push-ups behind the barracks, being drilled by a Drill Instructor. This has been dropped from the final version.
- An article released by ShackNews states that Halo Wars is Ensemble's last game, and that they are laying off any personnel not essential to the game's completion. In fact, the supposed layoffs were confirmed merely as a rumor, and that while Ensemble was indeed shutting down after the shipment of Halo Wars, layoffs had not begun. However, some of Ensemble's employees had started the company Robot Entertainment, and offered the executives at Ensemble a job there.
- There have been several bugs in the game since the first Xbox Live update. One particularly irritating bug is when in game lobbies, every button except the analog sticks are rendered useless for a variable amount of time.
- The demo had been downloaded over two million times in the week following its debut, setting a "day one record" in its initial release.
- On the cover of Halo Wars, the helmet visor of the front most Spartan reflects the Arbiter and part of the honor stave on cover of the Limited Collector's Edition of Halo Wars, implying that the two sides are meant to be "facing" each other.
- Canada-based Mega Bloks has released several Halo Wars construction sets.
- In-game, it is possible to train one more Marine or Grunt squad than the population allows. This cannot be done with any other units.
- Halo Wars's Online Stat tracking on HaloWars.com along with the site was planned to be shut down on December 15, 2010. This was reversed on December 8, 2010, due to fan outcry and an image to maintain.
- There are currently a total of 5 Title Updates and 2 DLC Packages for Halo Wars.
- The 'peons' upgrade for the Grunt squad according to the manual adds two extra Grunts to the squad. In game however, Only one extra grunt is added.
- Halo Wars is the only strategy game in the Halo series.
- Halo: Combat Evolved was originally planned to be a real-time strategy game, but was changed early on in the design stage of development.
- The game's crosshair is similar to the MA5B Individual Combat Weapon System from Halo CE.
- Professor Ellen Anders keys the translated code "Æ 9 N M U" on the Forerunner console to activate The Apex. This code does nothing on the Halo Waypoint Classified section.
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo Wars Announcement Trailer
- Halo Wars: Limited Edition
- Halo Wars Title Updates
- Halo Wars Skulls
- Official website
- Halo Wars announcement
- Extended Halo Wars E3 montage
- Halo Wars Profile Page
- Halo Wars GC 2008: Halo Wars Hands-on
- Halo Wars English Manual
- Halo Wars Quick Reference Tech Tree
|Halo trilogy||Halo: Combat Evolved • Halo 2 • Halo 3|
|Reclaimer Saga||Halo 4 • Halo: Spartan Assault|
|Upcoming games||Halo • Halo 5 • Halo 6|
|Other Halo games|| Halo Wars • Halo 3: ODST • Halo: Reach|
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
|PC/Mac Remakes||Halo PC • Halo 2 Vista|
|Cancelled titles||Halo: Chronicles • Halo MMO • Halo DS|