"Once, nearby telescopes listened for a message from the stars. Now, these silos contain our prepared response."
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Widely billed as the spiritual successor to Blood Gulch and Coagulation, Standoff is nonetheless dissimilar in many ways, being smaller in surface area, with larger, more labyrinthine bases. It also has a similar division of power weapons, with both sides starting with Rocket launchers. Each base has quick access to a Warthog out front, and a Spartan Laser in the middle. Standoff is best suited for mid-size symmetrical objective games.
The map is set on a peninsula surrounded by cliffs on three sides, the fourth instead has a single gate barring entrance from the main road. Because of the large satellite dishes in the distance and many signs in this area, it is presumed to be a UNSC ICBM launch and communications facility. There are three missile silos in three edges of the map with the two large bases on either side of them, and in between them still is a slight dip with clumps of rocks shielding the two bases from direct fire.
The bases themselves are extremely large compared to the ones of previous maps and have several main rooms with smaller rooms and exits branching off them. There is a switch inside each base that opens the windows to allow vision and also opens an automatic doorway allowing people in and out. In Capture the Flag games and Assault, this doorway is often used as an escape route and tactics include either waiting the bomb carrier outside the door while another player opens the door, or having the flag carrier run towards a waiting Warthog outside the entrance. Both prove effective.
On top of the bases are several fortifications along with Mongooses and a single Machine Gun Turret behind sandbags. These serve to discourage attackers along with the presence of the Spartan Laser.
There is also an Active camouflage power-up near both bases, next to each team's Rocket launcher, and when used effectively one can get into a base, take everyone out and get the objective in or out. Note that the rockets have been reduced to one magazine in order to make the map more balanced. The two bases each contain Battle Rifles, an SMG, grenades, a Brute Shot, a Mauler, an Assault rifle, a Magnum, and a Shotgun. There are also two Needlers near the Bubble Shield (one for each missile silo) and a few Spikers scattered around the map.
- The majority of games in Standoff are decided in the first few minutes because of the available weapons. That is because Standoff is a small map, and that some consider it overloaded with power weapons. A good strategy is to get the shotgun, then the Active Camo, then to make your way to the center to claim the Spartan Laser, killing anyone in your path. Shotgun camping in the bases is key for any gametype. Beware, a Mauler spawns in each base, too.
- A risky tactic is to drive the Warthog and open fire at the players attempting to grab the Laser. Watch out for players wielding the Rockets or Power Drain .
- If playing Team Snipers, try to crouch and hide in dark areas or bushes so that enemies can't see you as well.
- Warthogs are key to this game. There is one at each base, and if you get in it from the start, you have to be wary of the Spartan Laser and Rocket Launchers. However, having a Warthog is a great advantage for your team, even though it is risky.
- Picking up the Active camouflage at the start of the level and having your teammates hold off the enemy, and keeping them on their half of the map can make it an easy grab for the Spartan Laser in the center, considering there is a popular tactic to pick up the Warthog at the start of the game and charge for the Spartan Laser spawn point. Also, using this in conjunction with Rockets makes this an effective way to remove attacking Warthogs and, possibly, the other invisible player trying to secure the Laser.
- Randomly throwing Plasma Grenades toward the enemy base can get you a stick, if you're really lucky.
- The rocks in the center not only provide good cover but also are easy to get up on, which makes them a good viewpoint.
- In an objective game, if you are up for a suicide objective, grab a Mongoose and run to the opposing team's base, open the door, grab the flag, and escape through the entrance you just opened. From there you can pick up an Active Camo and run to your base to score, or you can just wait for an ally to come pick you up.
- Enemy Warthogs can be easily outmaneuvered on this map. The Brute Shot can flip it and you can bombard the crew with grenades. This not only kills the enemy, but also destroys the Warthog.
- The radar detects moving players on the roof of the base as well, be aware of this and don't fool yourself if you're defending your base.
- Keep the doors to your base shut, as it reduces the number of ways the enemy can enter and exit. Open the other team's door so your team can enter.
- A pair of SMGs spawn at each base, when dual-wielded, even shotgun users will be in jeopardy.
- An easy-access Shotgun at the start means a good defense if used in objective games, plus Plasma Grenades spawning near the entrance help take out the vehicles entering through the front entrance.
- Note that the switch in the base opens the windows and doors. It may give you a better view out of the base, but it also gives you more areas to defend, so it is best to prevent the switch from being flipped at your base and open their doors.
- A common strategy on this map is to camp near the switch once the doors are open to kill anyone trying to sneak into the base. Counter this strategy by throwing grenades through the windows to deter campers.
- Have multiple players go through different entrances at once. It will be difficult for campers to kill all of your teammates when you all attack at once.
- The center is a hotspot for grenades to be thrown. If you are willing to go through the center be sure to have a Bubble Shield.
- If you are getting the enemy flag, throw a Bubble Shield down and grab the flag. You can get a couple of melee kills and buy time for someone to arrive in a Mongoose or Warthog.
- If you can, try to get both of the Warthogs, as it can be devastating for the enemy.
- Sometimes, using a Warthog to transport the flag carrier can get everyone killed, have the Warthog cause havoc at the enemy base so the flag carrier can run away on foot or escape in an allied Mongoose.
- In CTF, try to open the back entrance to the base to get the flag, as there will be more ground to cover, meaning fewer enemies near the flag.
- There are numerous Battle Rifles on the map. Try to take advantage of it, as there are no Sniper Rifles on the map.
- Camping can be extremely effective inside the bases and the numerous hallways.
- If done correctly, a player can throw a Plasma Grenade (spawns near the Camo) between the enemy's turret and fusion coils.
- A player can also throw a Plasma Grenade from the front entrance over to just behind the enemy's Warthog.
- Using a Battle rifle, you can shoot the two Fusion coils near the turret. A quick headshot will kill the person manning the turret.
- If an enemy Warthog comes from the cliff side of the base, get a Brute Shot and flip the vehicle off the cliff for an embarrassing kill.
- If you are playing Rockets, this is one of the few maps (if not, the only map) where firing rockets randomly at the enemy's base is effective.
- When using the Warthog, don't cut through the middle of the map, as it poses the danger of getting stuck or possibly boarded. Follow a long, circular looping pattern around the back upper part of the bases. This helps counter anyone using the turrets, and you will frequently catch the opposite team off guard as they leave their base.
- The turret is an excellent defense against attackers that are coming in front of the base. This also makes you a target for someone with a Laser, so be sure to detach or get away.
- Each base has a surprisingly good arsenal of weapons for defending the base. There is a Shotgun outside next to the Warthog, an SMG near the door of the flag room, a Mauler in the lower bunker room of the base, as well as a Plasma Pistol and Power Drain for effectively taking out vehicles, a Brute Shot outside on a rock, and the many Battle Rifles that surround the bases.
- If you have the flag, move around the outskirts of the map, because many players expect you to go through the center.
- A very efficient way to attack a base is to throw a Power Drain inside the objective room and rush inside or throw a few grenades. Make sure that the Power Drain has blown up before you enter or you will suffer as well.
- For good defense, have one person camp at the two connected entrances with the shotgun, another guard with a Mauler and the third person camp with the SMG's. In addition, don't stand clustered in your base. All an opponent needs to do is to throw a Power Drain into the base and a Rocket or Grenade to get a high multikill.
- If you are not good at capturing a flag or planting a bomb, stay in your base. Get the shotgun and pick up two Plasma Grenades. Then, camp, because you will do a lot of damage when people come in and try to plant the bomb or take the flag.
- Adding other vehicles on Standoff helps to pick up the pace on objective games, another Warthog for each base can be considered a positive change for this, as it encourages more teamwork and more vehicular combat.
- Adding man cannons like on Valhalla to each of the bases will greatly speed up the game, as it allows fast transportation to the other side, and on occasion, can be used to as a fast escape route.
- In Forge, you can open the doors in the bases and put a flag spawn point in there, so when you play CTF, the opponent has to open the base doors in order to get the flag, adding a fun extra step to the game.
- Seeing as the shield doors fit perfectly into most doors in the bases, this can be a great way to protect the inside of your bases from long range fire. In Capture the Flag or Assault, this can be used effectively to encourage close range fighting, which allows you to set ambushes in your base for the other team.
- Standoff was code named Jodrell Bank during its production. This refers to the massive radio dishes in the map's background, which are based on the similarly huge radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Macclesfield, United Kingdom.
- There are buttons inside both bases that open the windows and back entrances, however, they can't be placed back.
- If you zoom in on the moon using a sniper rifle, you will see the face of one of the developers in the lower right corner of it.
- If you zoom in at the closest radio dish, you can see a man standing on the platform behind the railing. The man is Travis Brady.
- The radio dishes in the background are designed exactly like the one seen in the Halo: Landfall trailers.
- It is possible to kill the sparrows flying around the map with a Sniper Rifle or Beam Rifle.
- Although Standoff is shorter in length than other symmetrical maps like Valhalla or Blood Gulch, it is much wider then either of them making it more of a circular shape.
- When viewing the game viewer on Bungie.net, Standoff's cameras have most textures missing from it, and the surroundings are completely different than the ones in game. The cameras seem to be from before the map's release, before the finishing textures were placed in their spots.
- If you look overhead, you can see and hear the ICBMs firing above you.
- If you look to the right of the closest dish with a sniper rifle, you can see a group of trees that spell "HOWL"
- The name of the map, Standoff, seems to fit with the western style in naming that the maps Hang 'Em High and Tombstone share.
- There are some heat warning signs with an "If you read this you are too close" advice.