ODST’s Firefight mode is one of the rounds in the Omegathon this year, and understanding some of the ways in which it deviates from vanilla Halo I thought might be useful for our contestants. Then, after I’d gotten done reading it, I thought it was just interesting in general. I figured I might as well post it.
Halo 3: ODST Firefight Omegathon FAQ
Firefight is a 4-player cooperative game where the goal is to survive,
progress and score as many points as possible.
How does the game work?
Groups of randomly spawned Covenant enemies enter the battlefield via drop
ships or doors in successive waves. In general, each wave entails two
groups of random enemies. Once cleared, the next wave commences, signified
by an announcer and HUD message. For the purposes of Omegathon, this will
continue for 10 minutes or until a team has run out of lives.
Waves 1 through 4 will always be a random assortment of enemies - Grunts,
Buggers, Jackals, Brutes, Hunters and even Wraiths. Wave 5 will include a
random mix of enemies but will always include several Brute Chieftains.
A full “round” is complete after the final enemy is killed in the 5th wave.
Upon doing so, players will be rewarded with fresh health, additional lives
and replenishment of their ammo and health pack cache.
How do the difficulty modifier skulls work in Firefight?
The skulls from Halo 3 are back and integrated into the heart of the
Firefight experience. Skulls will systematically activate as players
progress through Firefight play with a new skull turning on at the start of
each new round (a new round starts upon completing every 5th wave).
At the start of the game, “Tough Luck” is enabled. This skull drastically
increases an enemy’s tendency to dive out of the way to avoid incoming
grenades, making them more nimble and agile against these attacks.
If you make it through to the end of the 5th wave and begin round two, a
second skull will activate in addition to “Tough Luck”. “Catch” greatly
increases the enemy tendency to throw grenades (including suicide grunts who
rush the player with armed plasma grenades).
At the start of Round 3, a third skull is added to the previous two. “Black
Eye” means that players can only regain health by melee attacking enemies.
Normally, as a player incurs damage, their HUD will turn red and if they
continue taking damage, their base stamina will deteriorate. However, if you
back off and remove yourself from danger, your health will restore and your
base stamina will not be affected. With Black Eye, the initial damage done
will not dissipate until you melee enemies.
These are the only 3 skulls that will possible come into play during a 10
minute game, depending how quickly and far a team progresses.
How does scoring work?
The base scoring system is similar to what is found in Halo 3’s “campaign
scoring” and competitive multiplayer mode. You are awarded points for every
enemy you kill. Extra points are earned for things like headshots, killing
sprees, multi-kills, assists, etc.
Killing as many enemies as possible, in skillful ways, without dying, is the
path to earning the highest scores. Larger, more difficult units like
Wraiths and Chieftains are worth a lot more points than something like a
Grunt or Bugger. Completing early waves faster means you can get to the
later waves, and higher scoring enemies, quicker.
Killing a teammate will result in a negative score penalty. Dying from an
enemy does not incur a score penalty but will reset any chain counters you
may have been accruing.
What equipment will the ODST team start with?
Each member of the squad will start out with the silenced pistol and sound
suppressed SMG (both of which can zoom) along with several frag grenades.
You will undoubtedly be forced to pick up dropped Covenant weapons along the
Players begin inside a start room that will also contain additional pistols,
SMGs and grenades. Once depleted, this ammo cache will not replenish until
the end of the round (5 waves complete).
Additionally, each starting area has 4 health packs. There will be two
upstairs and two downstairs on opposite sides of the room. Use these
sparingly but definitely use them to avoid a death (dying will reset your
ongoing score/chain multiplayer you’d otherwise be building). At the end
of a round, the stash of health packs is restored. (Also, the player’s
current health is automatically restored)
Weapons on the map, like turrets, are also replaced at the end of each round
(if they are removed from the tripod).
How many lives are available?
Each squad starts off with shared pool of 7 lives to work with. It’s
important to note that these are SHARED between all four players and makes
coordination, teamwork and strategic use of health packs a must. If one or
more players is alive at the end of a round, additional lives will be added
back to the pool.
How does the health system work in ODST?
ODSTs have a stamina bar represented at the top of the HUD. After taking
enough damage, indicated by a reddening of the screen, this base stamina
will start to erode. Alternatively, you can remove yourself from danger and
reset your initial damage state. The only way to get base stamina restored
is by use of a health pack. If you’ve played Halo: Combat Evolved, the
health model in ODST will be very familiar.
How does the game end?
For the Omegathon, teams will have 10 minutes to get the highest score
possible. The game will conclude when the time is up. Additionally, if a
team uses up all of their available lives, the game is over.
Is there any difference between the various playable ODST characters?
There are no gameplay differences between the available models. The only
difference is aesthetic and each character has their own unique first person
What other helps tips or insights should players be aware of?
. The X button will activate the “VISR” which is a night vision mode
that will make it easier to see enemies in the dark. There is no battery and
it can be activated as long or as short as a player wants.
. A turret that is on a stand has unlimited ammo until it’s ripped
off. It pays to try and not remove a turret until later in the round. At the
end of the round, a fresh turret will be granted if you did happen to remove
it during the prior waves.
. One or more Covenant Engineers may float into the gameplay area
during the match. While they can’t directly attack the ODSTs, they do offer
a bonus Overshield buff to all nearby Covenant units.
. When a teammate dies and there are no lives left, they can enter
into a free flying camera mode to watch the rest of the match. This can
often be invaluable to helping your remaining teammate(s) stay alive by
providing critical battlefield intel.
. If all but one of your teammates die but he/she manages to complete
the wave, they can bring your team back into the mix again for another shot.
. Wraiths are relentless and will not stop shelling a player until
they are destroyed. They are brutally accurate and have range to cover
almost the entire play area. You can board a Wraith and plant a grenade to
blow it up but you can’t commandeer it for use.
. The Covenant drop ships that deliver enemies for each wave cannot be