The Bungie Guide to Game Modes
A pre-launch guide to some of the game modes you'll be playing in November, and a good chance to get a little advantage over the opposition. First up, one of the newest, and most radically different game modes in the game.
Part One: Swords
You’ve read a lot about Swords by now, and we should probably explain what it is, and how you play it. For one thing, we feel pretty confident saying that Swords is quite unlike any other game mode, in that it is both frantic and stealthy at the same time. Swords can be found in the sub menu of the “Slayer” rules.
Basically, each player is equipped to begin with a Covenant Energy Sword. The Energy Sword is a twin-bladed weapon, which can work using either the melee button for rapid, dangerous strikes, or when in range and locked-on, the player’s reticule will turn red, indicating that a powerful and deadly lunge-strike is available. Timing your press of the right trigger to coincide with the reticule turning red, is key to excellence in Swords.
Unlike the Campaign mode, Swords in multiplayer last forever, and never lose their deadly lock-on ability. Soon, the ground will be littered with corpses and dropped Swords. The player will also note that they are equipped with grenades – these will prove to be a deciding factor in the game, and has the bonus effect of lifting the oppressive and frightening silence with a few staccato explosions every now and then.
Swords works best on small maps with a few players, or medium size maps with lots. Large maps are just too, well, large. Lockout, Ivory Tower and Midship are probably best, but large groups could enjoy games on Zanzibar, Ascension and even Colossus. One on one matches work brilliantly on Lockout and Midship, but everything else can get lonely.
I'm gonna give you such a stabbing!
Motion tracker is by default active, since it actually adds to the tension, but some players may deactivate that feature in the quick options. We prefer to keep it on. Not knowing if a player is above or below you adds a note of terror to a tense match of Swords.
Speaking of above and below, we should mention that the lunge isn’t just lateral. If you have a lock on a player above or below you, that killer-lunge will make you leap directly at anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way. You may think you’re safe on a ledge looking down, but a locked-on Sword-wielding player can lunge a lot higher than he can normally jump. The vertical game becomes vital for success.
There are tons of tricks you can use to succeed. Camping can work, but many’s the player who’s been caught squatting behind a crate, forgetting, apparently that he has a huge, meter long glowing sword sticking out. Some players prefer a fishing expedition – lure an opponent towards you, and then retreat, but remain facing the sucker. The nanosecond he’s in range, hit that right trigger. Naturally, he can do the same, so keep your wits about you.
Waiting in a gap between structures, say, on Lockout or Ivory Tower, can also prove fruitful. As a player makes the leap across the gap, you can lock, lunge and strike. He’ll never know what hit him.
We like to increase our controller sensitivity for this game mode, since rapid turns, and quick vertical looks are essential. Some players may prefer to retain the smooth predictability of a lower setting, but we want speed, always. This is especially important as you track vertically, or need to spin around quickly.
If you're playing on a small map with a large number of players, be aware that there is ALWAYS someone behind you. If you just made a kill, it's prudent to immediately spin around, since the fight probably attracted the attention of another Swordsman.
You can change the default Swords options easily.
Your spawn point can make the difference between life and death. If there are only a few players, they will tend to spawn quite safely, at some distance from the nearest player. However, as a map becomes crowded, spawn points can become more hazardous, although if you're facing in the right direction, it is possible to spawn conveniently behind someone, without of course alerting his motion tracker.
That exact phenomenon makes kill-stealing (basically swooping in on weak, injured players) especially effective in Swords. It's low and dirty, but it works. Watch a melee battle and attack the victor in his moment of triumph. You can also lob grenades at two circling opponents to create confusion and occasionally get a nifty double-kill.
If you end up in a tight corner and find yourself thrashing the right trigger frantically, you're gonna get killed. You won't be able to achieve a lock in a panic and the right trigger attack is too slow. Switch to the melee button immediately if things are getting stabby! This is easier said than done, but with practice, it'll come naturally.
If you're dodging, dodge left or right. A locked-on player can miss if you sidestep at just the right time. Be careful too, when lunging, since foolish dives forward can take you over the edge of a precipice. And you don't want to yell some stabby smack-talk seconds before the Guardians kill you...
Lie. Seriously. On System Link games, and now on Xbox Live, try saying things like, "I can't believe I just fell to my death!" And then make with the stabbing. You'd be surprised how effective it is. Just ask Shishka or Sketch….