halo-infinite‘s second season kicked off today, ushering in a handful of new maps, modes, and cosmetics to the popular multiplayer shooter. Developer 343 Industries detailed all of the minor changes in patch notes that are so long they come with a six-chapter table of contents.
They’re so long that you—by which I mean my colleague Zack Zwiezen, thanks Zack!—can turn it into a GIF:
Some of the stuff within isn’t news. We knew, for instance, that halo-infinite‘s second season would add a variety of modes—King of the Hill, the return of Attritionand the introduction of the battle royale-ish Last Spartan Standing—from day one. We knew, too, that it would nerf the arguably overpowered but fun mangler into the floor, a decision pros are thrilled about but that I personally will never recover from.
But we didn’t know just how badly 343 would nerf it. In addition to reduced melee damage, it also had its ammo stores slashed by 25 percent. On the plus side, the ravager, which 343 previously said it was considering improving, has been buffed into usefulness: You can now kill enemies with two standard shots. And the weapon’s alternate fire, a sort of charged-up burst, is now more than twice as powerful.
halo-infinite‘s least useful vehicles have been seriously improved as well. For one thing, the banshee, a flimsy, tough-to-control flying vehicle often jokingly referred to by players as the “badshee,” got totally overhauled. You actually have control over its speed now. The cooldown for its bomb has been reduced, and its standard plasma cannon. On land, the chopper, too, is stronger: You can destroy any vehicle (well, except for a tank) by ramming the chopper’s grill into it. Speaking of vehicles, bots, apparently, will now automatically hop in as “either passengers or gunners.”
Yes, they’re becoming even more human.
Equipment, too, has received a handful of improvements designed to keep players alive longer. The portable drop wall, one of the most invaluable pieces of gear in the campaign, will now spawn faster and can absorb more damage. And the overshield, already pretty damn powerful, now adds an entire half a shield bar on top of what it already added.
All of those changes are in addition to handful of notable quality-of-life improvements:
- You can now tweak the thickness of player outlines—a huge boon to players who may have low vision or be vision-impaired.
- The rocket launcher no longer takes 47 seconds to switch. (Also, firing it at a warthog’s windshield no longer deals bonus damage.)
- When you board an enemy tank, planting a grenade will instantly kill the pilot.
- For the 11 of you who complained, the left shoulder pad of the hyper-specific Jorge-052 armor kit now shows the proper texture.
For the most part, the changes are more than welcome. But the update has already irked certain corners of halo-infinite‘s most dedicated community, thanks to two errant lines: “Velocity gained from landing into a slide on a ramp has proportional reduction based on fall height” and “Removing or adjusting collision on small props and thin ledges.”
In other words, halo-infinite‘s so-called “skill jumps”—essentially, making use of not-quite-official movement tricks to zip around the map—are now in limbo. For instance, on the Streets map, you could jump on what appeared to be a purely cosmetic awning and clamber to a pathway that would otherwise require looping halfway around the map. (Optic Gaming’s Tommy “Lucid” Wilson frequently used this trick to great success in this weekend’s thrilling HCS Kansas City Major championship event for halo-infinite.) That one apparently is no more. Others, like an electrical box that served as a ledge on the Live Fire map, are also gone.
halo-infinite‘s highest-skilled players are apoplectic at the change. “Does 343 want Halo to fail? one player asked in a tweet about the removal of skill jumps. Another called the choice “baffling.” the Halo esports commentator Alexander “Shyway” Hope, who specializes in finding and detailing such skill jumps, tweeted that the change was “extremely disappointing” and called for 343 to hold a public discussion with players about it.
Even if skill jumps don’t come back, players will no doubt figure new traversal tricks over the coming days and weeks, and hammer out even more creative ways to make the most of the season. In the meantime, you can read the season’s entire patch notes here. Bring a bookmark.