Get the Most Out of Skulls
Posted by lukems at 10/3/2007 3:20 PM PDT
By now it’s entirely possible that you’ve scoured the Internet – well, you don’t really need to scour, just possess a modicum of skill with Google – in order to find at least the nine scoring skulls found in Halo 3. In addition to unlocking achievements and being used to increase your score in the Campaign Metagame (see Ske7ch’s guide, here), the varying scoring skulls change enemy behavior and game experience in a variety of ways. Here are some of our favorite combinations for maximizing the challenge in both the solo and co-op campaign experience in each level of Halo 3.

 Keep in mind these aren’t necessarily going to be idea for racking up the achievements for scoring (you’re going to die, a lot)—they are definitely do-able, but if you’re just going for the 15k score (in all missions aside from The Ark and The Covenant), these might not be the most efficient ways to go about accomplishing such things. Before we jump in to how to play the game on Normal, and a series of suggestions for how to maximize the challenge in Halo 3, let’s revisit Ske7ch’s chart on what the Gold Skulls actually do.

Skull   

Point Multiplier

Effect

Iron

 3x

IRON: There's a reason this skull is worth a whopping 300% score multiplier. It's a real nightmare. In co-op games, if one player dies, you all restart at the last checkpoint. In individual games, if you die, the entire mission restarts. Ouch.

 Black Eye

 1.5x

BLACK EYE: The only way you can recharge your shields is by landing melee attacks on your opponents.

 Tough Luck

 1.5x

TOUGH LUCK: All of your enemies will dive with incredible success away from your grenades, plasma pistol bolts, needles and vehicle splatter attempts.

 Catch

1.5x

CATCH: Enemy units will throw grenades at an alarming rate - Roger Clemens-style.

 Fog

 1.5x

FOG: Your motion tracker is disabled.

 Famine

 2x

FAMINE: When enemies drop their weapons, they will have considerably less ammo in them.

Thunderstorm

1.5x

THUNDERSTORM: Each enemy receives a field promotion and is upgraded to their next available level.

Tilt

2x

TILT: Enemy resistances are greatly increased. For example, the Brute power armor is normally pretty resistant to human weapons to begin with and fairly fragile against plasma shots. With Tilt turned on, the Brute armor is practically 100% resistant to any human projectiles and can only be taken down by plasma bursts.

Mythic

2x

MYTHIC: Every enemy on the field now has double their normal amount of health.


If You’re Going to Play on Normal…


If you insist on playing on Normal, the mode where you run around like a green-armor plated God, squashing foes as they cower in fear and desperately flee any number of bullet hoses that you wield, you can still get a pretty decent challenge out of the game – but it will play differently than the Halo 3 you’re likely familiar with. Aside from Iron, which when you’re playing solo forces you to restart the level, a reasonably skilled player can make their way through Normal with every other Gold Skull enabled.

The combination of Mythic, Tilt, Tough Luck and Famine – something you’ll see repeatedly suggested throughout this brief guide – makes fighting the Brutes feel similar to fighting much more intelligent, equipment deploying versions of the Elites, but without rapidly recharging shields. The Famine skull adds an element of resource management to the game, each weapon becomes important, much like Combat Evolved’s Legendary mode.  But on Normal, it’s Black Eye that changes everything. Having to melee foes to regenerate your shields turns Halo 3 into something  that feels completely different than a Halo game—something much harder, something only masochists need (but whatever, it’s still Normal difficulty).

Step It Up

On both Heroic and Legendary solo there’s a core group of Skulls that will make the game fundamentally tougher. Tough Luck, Thunderstorm and Mythic are at the center of this configuration.

Tough Luck’s increasing of the way Brutes, Grunts and Jackals dive out of the way of grenades make each grenade pretty precious, sticks will be much harder to come by.

Thunderstorm increases the field rank of each unit, but that doesn’t mean that every Brute automatically becomes a Fuel Rod Cannon wielding nightmare. Instead you’ll see more appearances of resistant-to-weapon types Gold Brutes with more vicious weaponry at their disposal. Grunts and jackals upgrade as well, but thankfully, Carbine-wielding Jackals don’t evolve into Beam Rifle wielding jerks, either.

Mythic increases overall unit health considerably. Increasing unit health also depletes your ammunition and their increased life length will also increase the variety of behaviors your foes will display. Instead of fleeing and falling over dead after a stray BR pellet clangs off of their head, Brutes and Grunts will flank, retreat, surround you and kill you.

The next skulls you should use to spice up the porridge are Famine and Tilt. With energy shields laughing in the face of human weapons, each weapon having less ammo, enemies having more health, diving out of the way more intelligently and receiving field promotions, Halo 3 should give any good player a sizable challenge on both Heroic and Legendary. If you’re playing three or four-player co-op, we recommend flipping on the Iron skull as well, because it is pretty weak to have your fourth player hang back and when three folks die that fourth player gets out of combat and respawns everyone. That’s not strategy, that’s weaker-y.

Additionally, since you've got multiple eyes on the battlefield, you might as well get rid of Radar and turn on Fog. Communicate with your buddies a little bit more, open voice is enabled.

Heroic Solo Recommendations:
Mythic, Tough Luck, Thunderstorm, Famine

Heroic Co-op Recommendations:
Mythic, Tough Luck, Thunderstorm, Famine, Tilt, Fog

Legendary Solo Recommendations:
Tough Luck, Thunderstorm, Famine

Legendary Co-op Recommendations:
Mythic, Tough Luck, Thunderstorm, Famine, Tilt, Fog, Iron

Of course, pick and tune and balance your Campaign experience the way you like it--I used to play a lot with Catch on, but now the Grunts and Brutes throw like Brett Favre. What are your favorite Skulls to use in each level of the game? Let us know via the forum link below!

Maption Sack Double EXP Weekend Live! 

Posted by urk at 9/10/2010 9:09 AM PDT

Oh, we're not done yet!

A 4v4 mix of Double EXP Slayer and Objective gametypes on a whole mess of your own community created maps.

Category: Double EXP Weekend
Max Party: 8
Max Team Size: 4
Heroic/Mythic Map Packs Required
Updated 12/03/2009

Gametypes

  • Team Slayer (33.3%) - First team to 50 kills wins. 12 minute match time limit.
  • Team BRs (21.6%) - First team to 50 kills wins. Players spawn with Battle Rifles and Assault Rifle secondary weapons. 12 minute match time limit.
  • One Flag CTF (11.8%) - Round based Capture the Flag, one team has a flag while the other attempt to capture it. Most captures after four rounds wins. Four minute round time limit.
  • Multi-Flag CTF (21.6%) - Both teams are attempting to capture the other team's flag. First to three captures wins. 20 minute match time limit.
  • Multi-Flag CTF BRs (11.8%) - Both teams are attempting to capture the other team's flag. Battle Rifle starts. First to three captures wins. 20 minute match time limit.

Maps

  • Actuality-Break (Foundry)
  • Apex (Sandbox)
  • Backdraft (Sandbox)
  • Battle Dome (Sandbox)
  • Ber Ber Creek (Sandbox)
  • Borderline (Sandbox)
  • Breakdown (Sandbox)
  • Bridgeo's (Sandbox)
  • Chimera (Sandbox)
  • Colonnade (Foundry)
  • Conduction (Sandbox)
  • Coup d'Etat (Sandbox)
  • Cryptic (Sandbox)
  • Cryptic Fate (Sandbox)
  • Deity (Sandbox)
  • Eighty Grit (Sandbox)
  • Elysium (Sandbox)
  • Emperor (Sandbox)
  • Exhibition (Sandbox)
  • Fortress (Sandbox)
  • Fracture (Sandbox)
  • Gauntlet (Sandbox)
  • Haven (Sandbox)
  • IZ9 Courtyard (Sandbox)
  • The Kingdom (Sandbox)
  • Lotus (Sandbox)
  • Neosho (Sandbox)
  • Nocticulent (Sandbox)
  • Onyx (Sandbox)
  • Pantheon (Sandbox)
  • Paranoia (Sandbox)
  • Pilaster (Sandbox)
  • Pivotal (Sandbox)
  • Rat Trap (Sandbox)
  • Ravinia (Sandbox)
  • Reflux (Sandbox)
  • Regicide (Foundry)
  • Reminiscent (Sandbox)
  • Renovation (Sandbox)
  • Requiem (Sandbox)
  • Salvation (Sandbox)
  • Sand Towers (Sandbox)
  • Sentiment (Sandbox)
  • Skystation (Sandbox)
  • Solarium (Sandbox)
  • Static (Sandbox)
  • Stonehenge (Sandbox)
  • Subversive (Sandbox)
  • Synapse (Sandbox)
  • Tartarus (Sandbox)
  • Topple (Sandbox)
  • Transgression (Foundry)
  • Tribal War (Sandbox)
  • Undulation (Sandbox)
  • Vengeance (Sandbox)
  • Workplace Bravo (Sandbox)

Tags: Halo 3

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Where's Mah Dooble EXP?! 

Posted by urk at 9/2/2010 5:52 PM PDT

Fix your -blam!-, Bungle!

So, yeah, This week's Double EXP Weekend is running a little behind. I blame Ninja 0n Fire. (He tells me that some fairly large updates are being deployed and as a result, we'll likely not see the Double EXP Weekend go live until tomorrow, or, *gulp* "later").

When it is ready to go, we'll let you know.

'Under Fire' - ubald Render 

Posted by urk at 9/2/2010 9:00 AM PDT

Feet first into awesome.

Looks like ubald unleashed another render over at HBO. This one's a WIP and part of a much larger collection that will ultimately serve as a webcomic. But you should check it out now.

ubald: Halo Rendered Comic

Tags: Halo 3: ODST

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Chronicles of ODS Steve #81 

Posted by urk at 9/1/2010 9:30 AM PDT

Faux Chief.

This week's Steve's getting all Batman on some Scarab carapace.

Chronicles of ODS Steve: Faux Chief (#81)

Tags: Halo 3: ODST

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Top 10 Halo 3 Kills on The Pit: Episode 59 

Posted by urk at 8/30/2010 9:00 AM PDT

You know the deal.

Anoj didn't submit his latest entry to Comm Chatter, but they gang at HBO picked up the slack. Besides, even without Anoj's familiar wordplay, we all know what this video's about anyway. There's like ten kills. You can submit your own for next week if you're astute enough to figure out how to make it happen.

Top 10 Halo 3 Kills on The Pit: Episode 59

Tags: Halo 3

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