By Jonathan Charles | Aug 15, 2012 10:54 AM EDT
Speaking to IGN, 343 Industries Designer David Ellis ran through Halo 4's Specializations - in-game bonuses players can unlock upon reaching level 50. Halo 4 will offer 8 specializations in total, with 2 immediately available at launch.
Specializations offer players 9 levels of aesthetic armor items, with armor, weapon skins, visor colors, and emblems available. At level 50, players reach the tenth level of their chosen Specialization and unlock the gameplay bonus.
Specializations do not stack.
Ellis posted on gaming forum NeoGAF that players must reach the maximum level, 50, before picking Specializations. Players are not required to re-level, unlike Prestige mode in Call of Duty.
The Wetworks mod is 1 of 2 Specializations available at launch. With this option, players using Promethean Vision, the map-scanning ability, show up as outlines rather than a red figure as normal. Sprinting is dampened, though Ellis reiterated players continue to show up on radars.
Pioneer is the second Specialization available at launch, granting bonus experience points. However, players cannot use the Specialization in the final moments of the game and revert back to a different Specialization. Experience bonuses build up over time.
The Engineer Specialization allows players to see an Ordnance Drop before non-Engineer players; Engineer also extends the range of the arrow pointing to the weapon drop. Ordnance Drops appear on the map, and a player can choose a weapon or bonus by pressing the down button on the D-Pad. Available weapons and bonuses include a Needler, a Shotgun, or a speed modifier.
Tracker provides a simple bonus: players can request another Ordnance Drop. This mod sounds like a one-time-use ability.
Halo 4 gameplay demos showed scope weapons not zooming out when players are shot, and this may be thanks to the Rogue Specialization. "As you're taking shots, it allows your reticle to be more stable," Ellis said to IGN.
Stalker lives up to its name: a player's previous killer appears on the HUD when the dead player respawns. It also tracks enemies who have attacked players, though Ellis did not describe the duration of the effect, its effective distance, or how close players need to be to death for an enemy to show on the radar.
Pathfinder reduces the cooldown on weapons and allows a faster movement speed when using detached weapons like turrets.
Finally, Operator dampens the ability of EMP blasts to stop a vehicle's movement - if a charged Plasma Pistol is fired at a Warthog, for instance. Vehiicle health also recharges faster with this Specialization in place.
In the wake of the announcement, some in the gaming community are worried about balance. Can 343 Industries prevent a Specialization from dominating competitive and casual multiplayer gaming?
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