Almost three months have passed since Microsoft’s 343 Industries launched Halo 5: Guardians for the Xbox One. We knew going in that the studio expected to treat Halo 5’s multiplayer experience like a service, bringing new features and adding in new content over time. Since launch, the studio has added new weapons for all the game’s multiplayer. Warzone Assault and regular Warzone multiplayer modes have picked up fresh maps. There’ve been matchmaking tweaks and performance improvements. 343 even delivered the Forge creative engine that it promised before the game launched.
The January Halo 5 Update that the studio unveiled at the beginning of January doesn’t add any new modes, but does include some new maps and content. Here’s what you need to know about the January Halo 5 Update before it arrives on your Xbox One console.
When is the January Halo 5 Update Coming?
The January Halo 5 Update is scheduled for this week, according to what 343 Industries is saying about the update on Halo Waypoint today.
Treating Halo 5: Guardians as a service is what makes the January Halo 5 Update possible. Rather than add content in packs, Microsoft is releasing new content for the game at a steady pace every month. When the January Halo 5 Update arrives, it’ll be in the form of a title update for the base version of the game.
Xbox One consoles with Always Connected Mode turned on will download the January Halo 5 Update on their own once it’s available. Users without Always Connected Mode turned on will need to manually download the update the first time they open the game after the update arrives. We don’t yet know how much free storage users will need on their system to get the update installed.
We’ll learn about the exact storage requirements when the January Halo 5 Update goes live.
Update: The January Halo 5 Update is available on Xbox Live now. The update requires 3.3GBs of additional space to install.
What New Maps are in the January Halo 5 Update?
Halo 5: Guardians is picking up two massive new maps with this update. There’s a single new map for Warzone and Arena.
Riptide is for lovers of Arena, which is Halo 5’s classic multiplayer experience. Made of Forerunner technology and more, terraforming equipment and pods line the walls of the entire map. A large area perfect for enhanced jumps and murdering opponents with long-range rifles is set in the center. 343 Industries is encouraging players to battle over the level’s catwalks.
Urban has a huge court-yard with long sight lines that makes sniping even more of a priority. To be clear, 343 Industries built this map for Warzone Assault, not basic Warzone.
January Halo 5 Update Changes and Feature Upgrades
- New Arena map Riptide added
- New Warzone Assault map Urban added
- Over 50 new REQs including weapons, armor, emblems, and more have been added
- Modified color of Blue Team in multiplayer to improve Red vs Blue balance
- Increased Warzone REQ Leveling speed
- Increased Warzone weapon despawn time from 5 seconds to 20 seconds
- Fixed exploits on Overgrowth that allowed players to get out of normal map boundaries
- Fixed map holes on Recurve, Basin, and Deadlock
- Fixed issues with Trident that allowed players to shoot through certain walls
- Added Line of Sight toggle option for use in custom games, such as Octagon
- The option to change teams has been added to the pause menu in custom games
- Fixed “fast fall” and “slide boost” exploits
- Reduced the zoom time of the SPNKr Rocket Launchers
- Increased brightness of the Classic BR scope
- Reduced melee damage while boarding Wraiths and Scorpions
- Sword of the Faithful Beam Rifle now kills with a headshot
- Fixed issue where Maintain Sprint being toggled off didn’t allow players to slide when sprinting
- Spartan Rank Progress now appears under all players’ nameplate
- Active Roster updated to show whether or not friends are joinable and/or can be spectated
- Rarity is displayed for REQs in Spartan HUB Customization
- Players can now see equipped customization items from Spartan Appearance, Spartan ID, and Weapon Skins rather than going to each individual menu screen
New and Updated Features:
- Bounding box preview when navigating through objects in palette menu
- “Delete all objects” button added to map properties (Fireteam leader only)
- “Reset map properties” button added to map properties (Fireteam leader only)
The New REQ Cards Coming in the January Halo 5 Update
Every Halo 5: Guardians update includes new REQ Cards. These REQ Cards can’t be used in the game’s story, but can be used in Warzone and Warzone Assault. Participating in Warzone unlocks REQ Points that you can spend on REQ Packs. You can also purchase REQ Packs with your own money.
The line-up of new arms in the January Halo 5 Update has some gems. For starters, there’s a new REQ Card that unlocks the Battle Rifle from Halo 2. This new rifle has a 2x scope with targeting so that it’s great for firing quick rounds at a reasonably far distance.
Joining that new weapon are the Rain of Oblivion and Blood of Suban REQ Cards Rain of Oblivion is an Uncommon REQ Card that includes an automatic Carbine gun and an extended magazine. Blood of Suban is a Rare version of the Carbine that shoots Needler shards. Hit an enemy with enough shards and they explode, just like with the standard Needler.
Wind Up and Stop Stabbing Yourself are two new Assassination animations for Halo 5: Guardians. Two colorful weapon skins are coming too. Each adds rainbow colors and the animated version of Spartan Locke or John 117. Both are Legendary REQ cards, meaning it’ll take a lot of REQ Card purchases before players get them, theoretically.
Lastly, there’s the new Achilles Armor set. Now typically, players get new armor pieces and helmets as they unlock more REQ Packs. The Achilles Armor set is different from other armors in that you don’t get it from REQ Packs. Instead, it’s an incentive to found and play with Spartan Companies, the sort-of guild creator tool that launched alongside Halo 5. To get the armor a Spartan Company needs to reach level 3 in all Kill Commendations 343 Industries says. To get the helmet, Spartan Companies need to reach level 5 in Kill Commendations.
A new copy of Halo 5: Guardians is $39.99 directly from retailer GameStop. Directly through the Xbox Store Microsoft is still charging $60 for the game.