343 Industries might be activating the shutdown valve on Halo 4’s map packs — “Castle,” the final planned offering under the War Games Pass, was released earlier this month (joining the Crimson and Majestic map packs) — but with a fresh season of Spartan Ops inevitably due out this year and a perennially thriving player base under its wing, community support is in full swing.

Ironically, the latest swing is a balancing act. 343 has begun developing a weapon tuning update for Halo 4, and this week’s Halo Bulletin has outlined the team’s early-stage progress.

Before addressing the changes currently being built into the game, 343 community manager Jessica “BS Angel” Shea stressed that the studio’s designs are still… very preliminary:

“TL;DR: The below tweaks are nowhere near final. In fact, they are as far from final as they can be without being not final. Please recognize this is a work-in-progress, we will clearly communicate our final plan once we know it, and until then, we’ll provide weekly updates about its current status.”

That being said, producer Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky crafts an intriguing first draft.

Halo 4 Weapon tuning

Dudynsky writes that the team has explored “two schools of thought” related to primary weapons, in this case the DMR: “One suggests that we should reduce the power of the DMR, and the other suggests that alternate weapons should be bumped up to balance out the sandbox.”

Presently, 343 is striving for a happy medium, opting to preserve the kill time — the “reliability and consistency” — of the fan-favorite DMR, while delicately tweaking the Battle Rifle, LightRifle and Carbine against it. The Battle Rifle is seeing its kill time reduced from 5 shots to 4, further aligning  it with the DMR as a mid-ranged weapon. The LightRifle is being adjusted to have its reticule turn red at the same range as the DMR. And the Carbine, meanwhile, is receiving an upgrade to its kill time, quickening from 8 shots to 7.

The mid-range muscling, however, threatens to create a dearth of strength in the short-range department. Consequently, 343 is experimenting with damage boosts to the Assault Rifle, Suppressor and Storm Rifle; however, they would coincide with an auto-aim decrease to ensure that as much attention is placed on the cross hairs as it would be on the trigger.

Halo 4 Weapon Balancing Update

Finally, recognizing Halo’s need for vehicle violence, Dudynsky reveals that a damage increase is being worked in to both the Warthog’s and Mantis’ chain gun. He claims that 343 is “actively investigating” even more changes, such as an aim-assist decrease on the Beam Rifle, and invites fans to submit their own ideas and responses in the “Weapons Feedback thread” of the Halo forums.

The update on Halo 4’s tuning initiative comes just weeks after 343 Industries was purportedly considering the use of microtranastions in Halo 4 — possibly for custom cosmetic designs. Weapon balance, as some of the reaction demonstrated, isn’t the only volatile ingredient of a satisfying game experience. Assuming the update is slated for delivery free of charge, though, it’s hard to knock the intention of genuine fan service.

How would you like to see 343 Industries modify the weapons of Halo 4 as the game goes forward?

Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: Halo Waypoint