The Halo 2 Guide to Multiplayer Dual-Wielding By Edward Fu firstname.lastname@example.org Last updated February 17, 2005 *** We interrupt this FAQ for an important announcement *** It is strongly recommended that you view this guide at GameFAQs to be guaranteed of the latest revision. I always update at GameFAQs promptly, but perhaps not so promptly on other sites and never on sites I don't even know about. *** We now return you to your regularly scheduled guide *** === Table of Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Ranking 2.a. Great 2.b. Okay 2.c. Terrible 3. Conclusion 3.a Special Note on Needlers 4. Version History 5. Thanks 6. Contact 7. Permissions === 1. Introduction Sick of throwing frag grenades uselessly? Have a compulsion to glue down the trigger buttons? Still in love with the pistol? Have really good aim but don't want to be a sniper? Then this guide is for you. Keep in mind: this is designed primarily as a guide for multiplayer action. In single player you are best off using what you have, with occasional use of a guide like this. Plus, in single player, grenades are significantly more effective. Another disclaimer: it is very very important to keep in mind that this guide is only useful if you face off against opponents of comparable skill. It doesn't matter what combo you have if you can't handle the weapons (applies to Plasma Pistol and Magnum in particular). Bungie employees could still kick your ass with Needler + Magnum if you can't handle Plasma Pistol + Magnum. Now, before I start discussing it, let's analyze why I feel dual-wielding is much superior than single-wielding. *In any open space like in the middle of Coagulation throwing grenades is a very difficult task. *In closed spaces a good opponent will charge at you if you throw a grenade, possibly killing you as well. *Two dual-wielded weapons will kill twice as fast as a single weapon. In short, I see few purposes to single-wielding a dual-wieldable weapon. If you have the guy trapped or if he doesn't know you are there you can toss a grenade in to good effect. It's obviously also useful to take down vehicles and masses of people with grenades. However, I am not arguing that grenades are useless. Rather, I claim their advantage is by far nullified by the advantage of having a second Plasma Rifle, or having a SMG in combination with the Magnum. Also notice that I only feel it's clearly worse to single-wield a dual-wieldable weapon. I'm not saying dual-wielding is always the way to go. Against two- handed weapons like the shotgun, Battle Rifle, Beam Rifle, rocket launcher, etc. dual-wielding can easily be outclassed. Plasma Pistol + Battle Rifle is probably the deadliest set of non-dual-wielded weapons in the game, AND you can still toss grenades. Having discussed that, let's move on to dual-wielding. 2. Ranking I won't discuss the relatively rare Brute Plasma Rifle. It's virtually identical to the regular Plasma Rifle, except that I feel it is worse in virtually every area for multiplayer. So think of it as a regular Plasma Rifle, but take the regular Plasma Rifle over it any day. Second, as I somewhat mentioned before, this does not discuss weapon combinations like Plasma Pistol / Battle Rifle, because that's not really dual-wielding. That's having two weapons, switching quickly between them, and putting them to great use. This leaves five weapons that can be dual-wielded: Submachine Gun (Human) - SMG Plasma Rifle (Covenant) - PR Plasma Pistol (Covenant) - PP Magnum (Human) - M Needler (Covenant) - N This results in a total of fifteen possible combinations (not twenty-five: PP + SMG is obviously the same as SMG + PP). The vast majority of them won't be of much importance (I have yet to see someone dual-wielding magnum and needler) or are nearly impossible to get (PR + PP is a rare combination not because it's bad, but because it's significantly easier to get a better combo) but the best combinations are extremely important to your survival, especially on XBox Live. To analyze these combinations, keep in mind the following facts: * SMG does most damage against flesh, followed by PR, M, PP, and N. However, N is more EFFECTIVE than PP and M (not counting head shots) because it homes in and can stick and explode on the body of the enemy. * An overcharged PP will remove ALL shields, including overshield. The next most effective against shields is PR, then SMG, then N, then M. * The only time you EVER want to NOT overcharge the PP is if the opponent is unshielded, upon which the PP will kill faster than if you had overcharged it (unbelievably, an overcharged PP cannot kill an unshielded opponent). This is not Halo 1. The PP cannot serve as a PR if you fire really really fast. * Overcharged PP's are difficult to aim well, as they travel very slowly and barely home in. But they will remove ALL shields an opponent has, including any overshield. * You can get a head shot (kills person instantly) if and only if you use the M (okay, fine, sniper rifle too, but that's not a DWable weapon), and only if you actually can hit their head, and only if they have no shields. There is no other good use for the M. * Needles do damage when a person is hit with them, and if the needles stick they explode. Explosion damage depends on how many needles are in opponent. However, a shielded opponent can usually have needles bounce off of them (thereby not exploding) by moving sideways. (Much of this data I collected from T1 Hawk's excellent weapons FAQ) The fifteen fall into three types: Great, Okay, and Terrible They are also roughly ranked within the group, so for example PR + PR is better than PP + N. Don't take that too seriously, however: the difference between the Great combos is extremely minute. See the disclaimer at the beginning of this guide: when it comes down to PP + M vs PR + SMG the difference in skill of the combatants will far outweigh the difference between the combos. Great PP + M PR + SMG PR + M SMG + M PP + SMG Okay PR + PR SMG + SMG PR + PP M + M PP + N Terrible PR + N N + N PP + PP N + SMG N + M Notice: SMG is Great 3 times, Okay once, Terrible once. PR is Great twice, Okay twice, Terrible once. PP is Great twice, Okay twice, Terrible once. M is Great 3 times, Okay once, Terrible once. N is Great 0 times, Okay once, Terrible four times. This doesn't mean that SMG + M is Super-Great, though: a mix of Covenant and Human make up four of the five Great combos. It does mean that you shouldn't bother with N. Ever. (This is discussed later in the guide) This list will vary depending on several things: range; your aim; your opponent's skill; availability; and status of your opponent. RANGE: At long range you shouldn't even be dual-wielding: none of these weapons is very good at long-range. AIM: If you can't aim well at all you're better off with SMG's mixed with PR's (don't get any of the M or PP combos). OPPONENT SKILL: Weak opponents are often flustered if they are constantly under attack (particularly snipers): SMG's and PR's take them down easily. AVAILABILITY: If you can't find a PP + M, use SMG + M. It makes little difference. If the enemy has an overshield, PR + SMG works wonders, while if he has no shield dual SMG's rip through him EXTREMELY quickly. (Note: fun game type: no shields, everyone with only dual SMG's, no radar, small map like Ivory Tower. Total chaos.) In general, however, I have found this to be the list that works best for most. The only difficulty was breaking down the top six, for all of them are very very powerful. Let me analyze each combo now: 2.a. Great Of the Great combos, the only one that doesn't require at least some good aim is the PR + SMG. They are all so powerful, however, I generally advise that once you pick one of them up don't waste time searching for others: get killing already! PP + M Fearsomely effective. This, however, requires extremely accurate aim. Overcharge the PP and take down their shields, then go for the head shot. If done correctly, you only need one shot from each gun to kill them. If done incorrectly, you better switch weapons quick. It's difficult to aim, but if you can do it, go for it. My favorite use of it is on the map Coagulation during a CTF or something similar. Pick up the PP just above the Banshee side of the base, then go inside and take the M. If you aim well, no one can get past you without the rocket launcher / sniper rifle. Not even energy sword. Pros: Insanely good in the hands of a good aimer and can decide a confrontation in less than a second. Eliminates advantage of overshield. Cons: Reasonably difficult to find, but is feasible on most maps without wasting too much time (very easy on Coagulation and Ivory Tower in particular). Plasma overcharge takes a while to reach target. Requires very good aim (the best for any dual-wielding combo) with both PP and M, for if you miss the overcharge you won't be able to fire the PP again within time, and the M will take a while to kill a shielded opponent. PR + SMG This is the best dual-wielding combo for someone uninterested in aiming the M, or for extreme close range. The PR tears through shields very quickly, and the SMG lays waste to the flesh beneath. There's really not too much else to be said about this easy-to-find combo. Pros: Fast death thanks to the anti-shield PR and the anti-flesh SMG. Easy to find these weapons. Cons: Takes a tad longer to kill than with a M, making you vulnerable to a good M aimer. Also has no advantage against the overshield like the PP does, though still quite effective. PR + M Think of this as a slightly modified version of PP + M. Instead of two shots killing the opponent, however, you need to take down their shields using the PR first. It does have the advantage of having considerably more ammo than the PP + M combination, and it constantly sprays them with fire, making it effective against weak snipers. In addition, the PR is much more difficult to dodge than the PP. Unfortunately, an overshield will make this combination much more weak because the M cannot do enough damage to help take down the shield like the SMG can. Pros: Constantly does damage, almost as fast as PP + M Cons: Weak against an overshielded opponent. Doesn't kill as fast. Somewhat difficult to find this combo on most maps. SMG + M This is an extremely commonly seen combo and for good reason. It is almost identical to the PR + M, except for the fact that it's weaker against an overshielded opponent. SMG's work slower against shields than PR's, and by the time you get to flesh it's more important to hit the head shot than do damage with the SMG. There's little reason to choose this over PR + M. That having been said, you'll rarely have the option to choose. Considering you start with an SMG and can find a M quickly, it's better to start killing than waste time searching for a PR. Pros: Same as PR + M, but you can afford to be a little worse in aiming with the M because the SMG is very effective against flesh as well. Also easier to find. Cons: Slightly weaker than PR + M, worse against an overshielded opponent compared to any combo with a Covenant weapon PP + SMG The last of the 'Great' combos, this is quite similar to the PR + SMG and the PP + M. The reason I don't feel this is as powerful as they are is because of the slowness of the PP overcharge and the inability to get a head shot. However, if you manage to hit the opponent with the overcharge, it'll be faster than taking down the shields with a PR, and the SMG will lay waste to him much faster than a M for many people (especially if you miss the overcharge). The PP, as usual, will also destroy any overshield. Plus it's the second-easiest combo to find, in my experience. Using it is simple: overcharge then spray with SMG bullets. Pros: Very effective against an overshielded opponent. Faster than PR + SMG if you land the overcharge, and faster than PP + M if you can't aim very well with M. Also slightly more effective than PP + M if you miss the overcharge. Easy to find. Con: Relies quite a bit on you landing the overcharge, like the PP + M. Plus, a good aimer with PP + M will defeat you easily anyway. 2.b. Okay These combinations are tolerable. If you pick them up, you may as well keep them, but keep an eye out for other combos. PR + PP A candidate in the "Why Bother" category. If you pick up a PR or PP, you'll almost certainly be using it with the default SMG instead. Still, it's almost as good as PP + SMG, and you might find yourself using this on Midship. Pros: Almost same effectiveness as PP + SMG. More effective if you don't land the overcharge, less if you do. Cons: There's little reason to get this set of weapons, considering both are more effective with a M or a SMG. PR + PR This is a decent combo. However, it's really not feasible. It does rip through enemies quickly, and it suffers no recoil as the SMG's do...but this is almost never seen. It's near-impossible to get two PR's on most map without wasting too much time. If you do get it, great. If not, don't worry too much. I think it's made even worse by the fact that the default weapon is an SMG, and PR + SMG is much more effective than PR + PR. Pros: Quite effective, more than the Human counterpart SMG + SMG, especially against an overshielded opponent. Cons: Not as effective as PR + SMG, which you'll most likely be using instead. Two PR's are rare. SMG + SMG This is the easiest-to-find combo of all. It's effective, but not as much as PR + PR, and the recoil is doubled with two SMG's. Still, it's an excellent set of weapons, and considering it's what you'll most likely be using, get used to them. Dual SMG's can take down an Energy Sword. But an overshield would make this tough to recommend. Pros: Enormously easy to find. Effective. Cons: Not as effective as all the above combos because of a lack of a anti- shield or head shot weapon. Bad against an overshielded opponent. M + M This is an interesting combination. On one hand it's rare (though it's pretty easy to get on Lockout). It's also bad against shielded opponents (and don't even think about using this on an overshielded opponent). Plus you wouldn't want to use this if you can do SMG + M. On the other hand...this is probably the best combo (with SMG + SMG a very close second) against unshielded opponents. UPDATE: In retrospect, I've slightly changed my mind. It's sufficiently powerful that it's certainly worth picking up and having some with. However, I would still choose dual SMG's over this combination, simply because anyone with an overshield would completely waste you if you tried to use it. Pros: Twice the M, twice the chance of a head shot. Cons: Weaker than SMG + M, which you'll most likely be using instead. Rare. Takes a while to take down shield. Awful against an overshield. PP + N This is a funny combination. It does happen to be the only feasible combination involving a needler. The overcharge eliminates shields, the needles stick and explode always to flesh. On the other hand.....it's a needler. There is absolutely no reason you want the PP with a N instead of an SMG or PR or M. A good aimer can kill you faster with an PP than a N if you are unshielded (Keep in mind the words good aimer, however). Plus the needles will bounce off a moving shielded target. The only time I can think of to use this is if all you have is a PP and you can't find another weapon. Pros: Needles are good against flesh, and the PP removes all shields. Also removes overshield advantage. Cons: Why would you ever want a much more rare needler in this position instead of the default SMG or a M or a PR I have no idea. 2.c. Terrible These are just plain terrible. Four of them are rare anyway. In almost every case you are better off with ANY weapon in the N slot. PR + N This is a rather silly combination. It works on the same way the PP + N, but it takes slightly longer for the PR than the PP to remove shields, unless you're terrible at aiming the PP. Regardless, however, you're better off with ANYTHING other than the needler in this position. Pro: Better than PP + N if you can't aim Cons: See PP + N's con. Plus, it's not as effective as PP + N, especially against overshield N + N This combination you really only see on Battle Creek. It's certainly possible (and it is indeed fun to spam the map with needles all over), but I see no reason why to do this. A shielded opponent will have needles deflect off of him as long as he keeps moving, and needles don't do enough damage against shields. It'll certainly kill people quickly if they have no shields, but by the time you whittle their shield down they'll probably have killed you. Not to mention it STILL kills slower against unshielded opponents than other weapons. In general, I find that while you can kill someone with it, almost all of the time you'll be dead as well. Not worth the effort. It barely ranks above PP + PP and N + SMG because you can usually kill someone with this before dying, as opposed to just dying. Pro: The explosion of the needles is good against unshielded opponents. Can usually kill an opponent. Cons: Any shielded opponent worth his salt can avoid having needles stick to him. You're never going to be able to use this on an unshielded opponent, and even if you could, other weapons will still kill faster. More effective to stick with something else. Also very rare. PP + PP This combination makes no sense. You'd have to land two overcharges AND hit them several more times. Forget about it, considering how hard it is to land an overcharge and how long it takes to cool down. Amazingly, however, a UNOVERCHARGED plasma pistol will kill an unshielded opponent faster than the needler. Why do I therefore rank PP + N over PP + PP? Because it's infinitely easier to hit an unshielded opponent than with an unovercharged PP. Besides, any other weapon in one of the PP slots will be much more effective. Pro: Takes away overshield. Cons: Still a useless, rare combination. N + SMG For once, this combination is bad in and of itself, not because it's rare. The SMG takes too long to eliminate the shield, and the needles will be ineffective if the shield is in place. Rather pointless except against unshielded opponents, upon which this STILL kills slower than dual SMG's. If you ever happen to have this, ditch the needler immediately, as ANY other weapon in its place will be more useful. Even grenades. It is, however, more effective than one other combo... Pro: SMG and N are effective against flesh, once they get to it... Cons: The N is useless here. It yields roughly same results as a single SMG N + M At last we arrive at the stupidest combination of all. Think of this as a heavily dumbed-down N + SMG, which is weak itself. First of all, the needles will bounce off a shielded opponent (let's not even discuss the overshield). In turn, the M is ineffective against a shielded opponent (no head shots). Needles will stick and explode against flesh. But by that time, you most likely will have killed him with the M's head shot. ANY other weapon in EITHER slot will be more effective than this horrible combination. In some sense you could even think of this as a SMG + M, but horribly slower at removing the shield. Pro: Erm...I suppose if you somehow eliminate the enemy's shield, you can get a head shot. But you could do that almost as fast with a SINGLE M, so there's no point in keeping the N. Cons: You can't remove the shield fast enough with this combo. Don't even think about overshields. === 3. Conclusion * Good aim in Halo 2 will take you far. Plasma Pistol + Magnum kills like no other dual-wielding combo. Learn to land overcharges and head shots. * Magnums are not useless as many newbies tend to believe. They are incredibly effective when dual-wielded with the right weapons (PP, PR, and SMG) * Needlers are not useful as many newbies tend to believe. They are incredibly ineffective when dual-wielded with ANY weapon. Never bother with them. * Single player is not necessarily the best source for multiplayer strategy. Single player rewards camping and excessive caution far too much. More importantly, it makes the player focus on the wrong weapons. PP is far more effective in multiplayer, and the Brute Shot and Needler are far worse. Speaking of which... 3.a Special Note on Needlers I've received quite a bit of email regarding this. I still hold to my original anti-needler position, for several reasons: * Needlers are rarely strong enough to kill the opponent before they kill you. * Dual needlers are certainly fun, but they are rare. * Needlers make poor combinations with many weapons. However, I'm not criticizing the needler for being ineffective. Clearly the needler can do good damage, and it's a better option than no weapon at all. Unfortunately, it is far outclassed by many other weapon combos. Only PP + N is feasibly effective, yet even then any other weapon would be more effective in the needler slot. So in other words, it's not so much that needlers suck, it's that it sucks in comparison to everything else. === 4. Version History: 1.0 First version of the GameFAQs guide 1.10 Added some clarification on my position on needlers, plus a small note in the M+M section. Also touched up the stylistic in random areas and added a short disclaimer on skill up top plus some minor organization changes. Added some things into Thanks. I may yet rewrite the whole thing, I don't like the way the guide sounds. 1.11 Fixed a crapload of line break errors and other minor stuff === 5. Thanks I'm going to say thanks to: CJayC (only if he accepts this guide, which he has) Bungie - I wish they'd fix some glitches, but they still did a great job with the game. Kudos for not cracking under the hype. My Halo 2 buddies - For making me learn the hard way how effective PP + M can be T1 Hawk's weapons FAQ - For helping with much of the data. Universal FAQs - Because I wouldn't have otherwise written this. LUElinks - Just because I can. LlamaGuy rocks. Wikipedia - The best site ever, a symbol of all that I admire in the technological world: a free, open-source, decentralized source of accurate information. Inspired me to start writing. Everyone who emails me - I appreciate you taking the time to do so. === 6. Contact My email is email@example.com Contact with anything you like about this guide. I will respond to every email, though perhaps not as promptly as I'd like. === 7. Permissions Very simple: if you want to use this on another site, go ahead as long as you give me credit and tell me about it. I am proud of the fact that I have not misspelled "dual" as "duel" a single time in this guide.