A giant update from Bungie last night sheds more light on what we saw in the multiplayer beta trailer last month. Load Outs and jet packs are explained, and an "armor lock" mode is revealed.
Load Outs were referred to briefly in that video and now get more explanation. Before a match starts or during respawn windows, the Load Out screen displays. You'll choose an Armor Ability, primary and secondary weapons and grenade cache, with the choice list governed by the playlist or game type.
"For some playlists, that might mean every Load Out features the same weapon sets with only the Armor Abilities to distinguish them. For others, it might mean that as the game goes on, you'll have access to more and more choices based on a number of factors we can fiddle with." Bungie says. "What it doesn't mean is that you will be creating your own custom Load Out to bring into Matchmaking. You'll be choosing from our prefabricated offerings, based on what's best suited for each gametype."
"Armor lock" is one of those armor abilities, joining active camo, the jetpack you saw in that video, and sprinting. All of these are explained in the update. Armor lock is an invulnerability mode but not without some drawbacks. While activating it immunizes you from grenades, projectiles and vehicle attacks, you can't move at all. You're also damned conspicuous, what with that energy field crackling all about, so using it carelessly absolutely exposes you to someone just waiting for that shield to drop. When it does, however, it releases an EMP burst whose size and effect depends on how long you engaged the lock.
The rest of the update comprehensively addresses the other abilities and weapons. The Dedicated Marksman Rifle and the Magnum are now five-shot kill weapons, four anywhere and one to the dome, so bye-bye four-shot kills. Go get the rest of the scoop on vehicles, assassinations and kneecaps (kneecaps?) at the link. And remember, the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta starts May 3.
Bungie Weekly Update: 04.02.10 [Bungie]