Check in here for strategies on completing the Daily and Weekly Challenges in Halo: Reach. If it’s your first time, click through the About HRD link above; and add comments below if you’ve got a good idea of your own for tackling the Challenges today.

Halo Reach Daily is dedicated to my Dad, who taught me what it means to take on a Challenge.

* * * CHECK OUT OUR DEFIANT ACHIEVEMENT GUIDE! * * *


DEFIANT SCREENSHOT OF THE DAY


DEFIANT SCREENSHOT OF THE DAY: xDawnxOfxAshesx


DEFIANT SCREENSHOT OF THE DAY today courtesy of xDawnxOfxAshesx, with an incredibly atmospheric shot that fits the map title Condemned. Thanks, DoA! Everyone, click to enlarge!

We’re running Screenshots from the Defiant Map Pack all week. Want to get on the Front Page? Start snapping some pix, yo!

Send your screenshots to haloreachdaily@live.com, or just make a file recommendation to us on XBox (Gamertag: Ender Xer0, with a zero), and we’ll take care of the rest. Remember: we’re not looking for Forge art or pix from the Internet; it should be a screenshot of YOU!


DAILY CHALLENGES


Summary

TYPES: Kills, Killstyle, Points
SETTINGS: Any Game Mode, Campaign, Firefight, Multiplayer
AVERAGE DIFFICULTY: Easy
TOTAL TIME: 60-80 minutes
OVERALL VALUE: ★★★★☆
TOTAL CREDITS: 6325

SHOOTIN’ AND LOOTIN’

Any Game Mode

Kills

Type: Kills
Setting: Any Game Mode
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 5 minutes
Value: ★★★★★
Reward: 1875

Kill 250 enemies in any game mode in Reach.

Take on this one last. You’ll rack up most kills simply by tackling today’s other Challenges, so no point duplicating your efforts. For your leftovers, our standard recommendations:

  • By far the most convenient carnage can be found at the opening of the Campaign’s ONI Sword Base mission. If you know it and don’t like the stigma of naked credit boosting, skip down. If you don’t know it, you can find a detailed rundown in the Owning On ONI permanent link on the top of this page.
  • But, if you don’t like the open credit farming that goes with Target Locating, simply rack up some quick kills in a Custom Game instead. Click on the Grunt Game Settings link at the top of the page for instructions on the best settings; you’ll also find a Custom Game there already set up for you.

THAT PINK MIST

Firefight

Special Weapon

Type: Special Weapon / Killstyle
Setting: Firefight
Difficulty: Grind
Time: 45-60 minutes
Value: ★★★☆
Reward: 1500

Kill 200 enemies with a Supercombine from the Needler or Needle Rifle in Firefight Matchmaking.

Of all the Challenges today, this one’s the real pain in the, uh, forehead (hi, Kat!) — meaning it’s the one you’ll spend the most time on. Because of that, we’ll go into a bit more detail, so pull up a chair.

OK, the Needler: An an unusual weapon ever since designers buffed it for Halo 2, with a Supercombine effect from needles microbursting after they strike; pin enough into a target, and the burst sets off a chain reaction for an instant-kill explosion. At the same time, though, this only works if enough hit before the first burst; stagger your shots, and you can empty an entire clip without ever triggering critical mass.

The effect also works differently on each class of enemy. Six needles will Supercombine a standard Grunt or Jackal; but Elites wear shields, so it requires seven to strip their protection before six more take them out. (And let’s not get started on Hunters.) But, at the rate the needles fire, it’s not like you can really keep count anyway.

The DMR Wannabe.

The Needle Rifle, meanwhile, Supercombines after only three shots against an unshielded opponent, but its autofire is pretty nerf — you can actually pull the trigger yourself just as fast. And, against an opponent without shields, why not just take a headshot and be done with it?

That said, it’s still pretty easy to Supercombine — particularly with the pistol, which features a homing reticule that aim-assists even stray shots while the circle stays red. This allows needles to bend around corners a bit, so you can dispatch an enemy even after you’ve lost line-of-sight.

Keep in mind, though, this actually works against you when firing into a pack: your reticule will flicker from one Covie to the next — especially as they maneuver under fire — meaning you might not successfully Supercombine any of them. It’s also a medium-distance weapon at best, so you’ll have to wade dangerously close to wild enemy fire rather than the much more sensible Needle Rifle strategy of picking off opponents from range.

The Halo 1 punchline, now packing some punch.


Yeesh! Already seems like a complete hassle, right? But wait, there’s more. In Firefight, most enemies – Grunts and Jackals – usually hit the dirt with remarkably little effort; in fact, until the Mythic Skull powers up, it’s pretty damn difficult to Supercombine a Grunt without accidentally killing him first. (Grunt leaders will sometimes hang on until the blast; standard Grunts, not so much.) So, unless you’ve got an open, uninterrupted shot, you might needle them to death inadvertently and miss the big blast.

With all that in mind, then:

  • Your best bet remains Firefight Arcade, which offers unlimited lives, unlimited ammo, spiffy overshields and — most importantly — two different gametypes that feature needle-weapon loadouts: FRGFight, which starts you with a standard Needler as your secondary, and PlasmaFight, which backs you up with a Needle Rifle.
  • You can still make significant progress toward this Challenge in any other unlimited-ammo Firefight that lets you pick up weapons: A scattering of Grunts will have armed themselves with basic Needlers, while Jackals remain otaku for the Rifle version, so you won’t have trouble finding these. Avoid the limited-ammo gametypes, since Needlers burn through ammo so alarmingly fast that it’ll hardly seem worth it.

    A n00b combo, in a needle fight? Yep!

  • Elites, meanwhile, can be wily as hell in dodging fire; and, as noted above, they’re rocking Energy Shields, so you’d likely need a reload before a Supercombine even becomes possible. If you hit a Wave of them, consider ditching one of your Needle weapons for a secondary Plasma Pistol; flash their Shields with an overcharge burst, then finish with the needle spray. When his Shields drop, the Dino will stand and howl in place like like a drag queen whose wig has been pulled off, making him an easy, stationary target.
  • Vote for wider, open maps, since enemy units will tend to spread out, giving you an opening to farm for Needle weapons without drawing fire from every Covenant on Reach. Plus you’ll be able to cut loose with an uninterrupted stream (Needler) or three steady shots (Rifle) without wandering around the middle of a plasma crossfire.

* * *
We also get a lot of reader mail here aboard the Pillar of Awesome from our devoted readership on Reach, including their own suggestions for tackling Challenges. So, from Madmosche:

I go into Score Attack and choose Rocketfight. Unlike Sniper Attack, where weapon pickup is disabled, you can recover any weapon in Rocketfight, and you’ll get unlimited ammo. Kill the first set of enemies with Rockets, pick up a Needler and get to killing! I stay near the respawn points and let them come to me, so in case I die the weapons will stay close to the spawn and I can go right back to getting Needle kills.

So there you have it: More free needles than a government giveaway program, and no need to share with others. We like it! Thanks, Mosche!

POINTS PYRAMID

Campaign

Scoring

Type: Score
Setting: Campaign
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 10 minutes
Value: ★★★★★
Reward: 1750

Score 40,000 points on any Campaign mission.

Yikes, 40,000 points….seems like a lot. Guess what? Where we’re going, it won’t make a difference.

Tip Of The Day

Fire up New Alexandria, which starts you in a Falcon and pits you against enemy vehicles, worth far more points than ordinary Covies. Then switch on five Skulls: Tough Luck, Catch, Famine, Thunderstorm and Tilt. None of these affect aerial combat, but still register as major point multipliers. And don’t worry about the ground combat, either: We’re not getting out of the chopper.

Play on whatever difficulty you find comfortable, though harder ratings will attract enemy aircraft more rapidly; Heroic is likely a good balance between enemy numbers and how tough they fight, though go ahead and load up Legendary if you’re a solid pilot who’s good on the stick.

Ignore Phantoms and concentrate fire on the Banshees; though the transport ships score massive points, they don’t represent an aerial threat, they’re heavily armored, and the Banshees will quickly swarm you to protect their troops. Just pick off the Banshee flights as they approach — you’ll hit 40K in almost no time at all.

A few pointers:

  1. Look out for rooftop Shades as they fire into the sky; if one catches you by surprise, you won’t have much chance to defend or evade.
  2. Keep an eye on your Falcon as well; you can land and call in a fresh one at any time, so no point storming into a dogfight with your chopper already trailing fire.
  3. If the Banshees seem to have better things to do, simply coast toward your current Objective and cut loose on rooftop enemies — you’ll score some points, and enemy aircraft will take notice quickly enough.
T-HUG IT OUT

Multiplayer

Single Match

Close-Quarters

Type: Killstyle
Setting: Multiplayer
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 5 minutes
Value: ★★★★★
Reward: 1200

Kill 6 enemies with close-quarters combat in a Multiplayer Matchmaking game.

Grrrrrrifball.


WEEKLY CHALLENGE


TIP OF THE SPEAR: LASO

Campaign

Legendary

Skulls On

Type: Completion
Setting: Campaign
Difficulty: Hard (solo) / Medium (co-op)
Time: 60-120 minutes
Value: ★★★★
Reward: 13000

Complete Tip Of The Spear on Legendary with All Skulls On (LASO).

Tip Of The Week

There’s no other way to say this: You’ll probably never do this alone. (And, if you can handle a Legendary level alone without dying, you won’t need any advice from here.) And while it’s not quite Mythic difficulty — SLASO is solo-only, and includes the Blind Skull — it’s pretty damn close.

So, fair warning: if you’re tackling this, it will be out of inspiration for a personal challenge or from a psychological defect that compels you to complete all Challenges. The 13K bonus is pretty damn skippy, but since you’ve already played the campaign, you won’t earn much besides the Challenge award, and you could easily score that many cRedits playing for an hour on the new Defiant maps (and without the aggravation).

Another major problem: The level’s just so goddamn long — easily twice the missions before it, and probably most of the ones after it too. It’s also filled with nonstop ways to die instantly: heavy vehicles, Hunters, Shade Turrets, Suicide Grunts, explosive weapons, Kat’s driving, all sorts of crap.

So, while it’s true that the game scales up the difficulty for more players in co-op mode, you’ll want the three more guns at your side; otherwise, it’ll just be a very long day of level Reloads. Take note, however: Tip of the Spear also features entire sequences that seem designed to eliminate the co-op exploit of Checkpointing a weak player forward after the rest of the team does the heavy lifting; no “guarding the rear flank” on this one.

OK then. The level’s much too long for a detailed walkthrough, so instead keep in mind some strategies that help on Legendary difficulty no matter which mission:

    Symbol for the unofficial "Mythic" Difficulty

  1. On Legendary, Reach becomes an almost entirely different game; rather than the run-and-gun, blaze-of-glory style you enjoyed on Normal, Legendary relies much more on strategy than sheer skill. Your kung fu may be strong, but you won’t be able to ninja your way out of a Legendary plasma shitstorm.
  2. Since the Iron Skull will force the entire team back to a Checkpoint after a single player death, you’ll also need to play even more defensively— stealthy when possible, and get-the-fuck-out when necessary. If you think you’ve just done something that would make an awesome kick-ass clip for your File Share, you’re probably not doing this right.
  3. In almost every situation, look to bypass encounters entirely. You’re not working toward a Campaign score, so no need to take out every enemy — or, actually, any enemy — if you can skip them. (After all, Reach will get glassed anyway, yeah?)
  4. To do this, keep an eye out for perimeter runs along the outskirts of hot zones — not only will natural cover help you slip past Covies more easily, but they’ll be shooting only from one or two directions; get caught in a crossfire on Legendary and you might as well go grab a sandwich while your game Restarts.

    You didn't really think you'd actually be able to play this part, right?

  5. When you can’t bypass enemies, keep a distance/headshot weapon handy for taking them out at range. Use the level’s geography to find positions that offer clean lines of sight for precision kills before the enemy AI even figures out where you are.
  6. Effectively skipping one encounter can even bypass the encounter that comes after it, since enemy and vehicle drops often coincide with combat progress; you might find a subsequent battleground entirely empty, since the Covies will have only begun their landing sequence while you’re already getting the hell out of Dodge.
  7. If it looks like the designers want you to engage a major battle from an obvious point of attack, DON’T. The obvious attack points are for Normal difficulty. You’ll want another way in, or around, taking out an objective from afar or skipping a firefight entirely. For example: the game maneuvers you to neutralize the massive anti-aircraft guns by destroying their inner cores, which you can only access by blazing through a firestorm of Covie hardcores; but you can actually take out both guns simply by pounding the main turret from a distance with Rocket Hog or Revenant fire.

So: Kat's driving, or the Falcon pilot flying into an EMP field -- which one's more retarded? (Trick question, it's a tie.)


Your biggest danger in losing the Challenge will be as your Falcon runs the gauntlet toward Spire; any lagging Teammate will Checkpoint into a turret, so there’s no hiding — and if the Falcon goes down, it’s game over for everyone on board.

The good news: your Falcon turret packs a Grenade Launcher with a bottomless clip rather than single shot, and without the hassle of reloading the thing actually fires pretty goddamn fast. Make use of its EMP burst to paralyze vehicles and take down Elite Shields, and always be anticipating where your next shot will need to go.

Whew! Quite a lot to keep in mind as you try to do the Campaign’s longest level on its hardest difficulty without dying once. To help you out, here’s a two-part video walkthrough — done SOLO — by the guy who invented the so-called Mythic Difficulty. (He’s just doing it here on Legendary, though.)

Good luck!

PART ONE:



PART TWO:


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