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Not So Common Sense - A Halo 2 Strategy Guide

by Overswarm

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Universal Rules

  1. Know Thy Enemy

    Every player is different, every player is unique, and every player is flawed. Every last one. There is no "perfection" that is attained by any human being struggling along in this mortal coil. Find your enemies flaws. Does he stay in the same few spots? Is he impatient if you do not go out in the open? Does he act rashly when he is impatient? Does he act rashly if he sees you? Does he only use the same few weapons? Watch your enemy like a scientist would be watching a wild animal; take note of where he goes, what paths he takes, how systematic he is. Most of the "Better" players are very systematic, and, therefore, predictable. If something is predictable, it can be stopped.

  2. Know Thy Battleground

    One thing all great military leaders know is to never let your enemy choose the battleground. Keep that in mind.

    If you know what weapons your enemy will use, then you can easily know where he will go. If you are playing in Lockout, and you happen to be playing someone you KNOW is a sniper, go on the opposite ledge, and just wait to shoot the fuel canisters to take him out. It doesn't matter if he has the sword or not, you'll get it after he dies.

    Know the fastest routes to anywhere, and know which are most traveled. Sometimes the longer route is the route best taken (such as going from one base to another in beaver creek).

  3. Know Thy Terrain

    Similar to rule #2, but this applies only to your immediate surroundings. Know exactly what you can jump on, what you can hide behind, if your sword will stick out; everything should be known. There should never be a "guessing"; there should never be a frantic moment where you miss the ledge. This game is very precise in how you control your character, know exactly to what extents you can move.

  4. Know Thy Equipment

    Have you ever seen anyone play with a timer? That's how they know when a weapon/powerup respawns, that is. Learn exactly WHAT needs to take place before the rocket comes back, before the sword comes back, before the overshield comes back, etc. etc. Your knowledge of this could lead to victory; lack thereof, defeat.

Plasma and Bullets

This shouldn't even be a part of my guide, but there are a surprising number of people who have been surprised when I tell them the difference.

For the most part, every gun in the game goes down one of two types. One is that it is a gun that shoots bullets, one is that it is a gun that shoots plasma. Weapons that shoot bullets are generally human, while those that shoot plasma are generally covenant, with a few exceptions.

Bullets differ from plasma in the fact that they:

  • shoot shorter distances
  • have a more sporadic accuracy
  • shoot faster
  • do less damage to shields
  • do more damage to actual health
  • are capable of headshots

Plasma differs from bullets in the fact that they:

  • shoot farther distances
  • have a more intact and predictable accuracy
  • shoot much slower
  • do more damage to shields
  • do less damage to health
  • are not capable of headshots


Explosives are different than other weapons in the fact that it does damage in a "radius". Meaning you don't have to actually hit them (although it is preferred), you just have to hit in their general area. Any damage in their radius that is received from anything other than being hit directly is caused "splash" damage.

I put the needler in this section as it does have some splash damage, even though it is very small. Read up on the needler section later though, as it differs from other explosive weapons.

One thing to really know about explosives is that they are capable of "compact" damage. Have you ever seen a grenade explode near you when you throw a grenade of your own? It generally kills you. All explosive damage combines when there are several explosions overlapping. As long as the explosives are near enough to each other, it is the center of both explosions that is the most dangerous. Knowing this, you should know it is better to stand directly on top of a frag grenade rather than stand near two frag grenades. The damage is not like bullets. Instead of simply stacking damage, the damage is combined and magnified.


Constants are easy to understand. Regardless, they will always do the same amount of damage. They are constant. They are very easy to aim, and easy to realize what the damage will be when the shot takes place. These weapons aren't bound by the normal rules, and don't fit into other categories.

Weapons and their Categories:

Battle Rifle
Sentinel Beam

Plasma Pistol
Plasma Rifle

Brute Shot
Rocket Launcher
Frag nade
Plasma nade

Beam Rifle
Sniper Rifle
Plasma Nade (when stuck to player)
Melee (although each weapons melee is different)
Things you need to know about your guns
  1. Technical Accuracy

    Technical Accuracy is important, and the first thing you should know about every gun. To find the technical accuracy, follow this procedure:

    • Have someone stand directly in front of you, and then you fire the gun directly at their torso.
    • After that, have them move slightly back, and then repeat the process.
    • Repeat the process until you suddenly do less damage, or miss through fault of the gun.

    At THAT point, have that person move slightly forward, bit by bit, until you do the same "maximum" amount of damage, without missing. At the farthest point, you have found the ending point for optimal range.

    You should only use guns when they are in their optimal range, unless you have no other choice. Shooting beforehand simply wastes ammo.

    That is the "technical accuracy". How well the gun aims in of itself without any additional factors.

    Some guns, like the shotgun, have no optimal range, since their damage is inconsistent. Obviously, the guns with the best Technical Accuracy have the highest optimal range, and the greatest consistency. The sniper rifle and the Rocket Launcher being the top two.

    (You find real gun Technical Accuracy by bench rest shooting)

  2. Practical Accuracy

    After you have found the technical accuracy, this is what you need to find out.

    While technical accuracy is important, practical accuracy is what most people pay attention to.

    Practical Accuracy is the ability of a gun, cartridge, and marksman to aim and fire at a specific target... and HIT that target reliably, at will, and with confidence.

    Practical Accuracy is determined by two things.

    • The gun itself
    • The gun user

    Personally, I think the best way to find the practical accuracy is to play the campaign, but you can't do that with all the different guns as much as you'd want, for reasons of availability and ammo i.e., rocket launcher, magnum, etc.).

    So I'm going to tell you how to do it in multiplayer with some friends.

    Get yourself a good buddy, and play a game with no kill limit, time limit to an agreed upon time. Have that guy do nothing but run around you, jump, and be sporadic and random.

    Now, after you do it and the time limit goes up, write down your kills with the gun, shots fired, shots hit, and accuracy.

    Now repeat that, except your friend does it. Write down HIS kills with the gun, shots fired, shots hit, and accuracy.

    If your shots hit are near the same, but the kills are different, this is most likely a human problem. You need to work on what you are doing with the gun.

    If your shots fired and shots hit AND accuracy are near the same, but the kills are different, this is a gun problem. The gun is sporadic. That means the gun isn't quite the best gun in the world to use.

    If your shots fired and shots hit aren't the same, you can either do the math to where it evens out, or just have one of you do it again until they are close.

    You don't actually HAVE to do all that (although it is a bit more exact). You can just ask yourself:

    "Hey, do I suck with this gun, or does EVERYONE suck with this gun?"

    Practical Accuracy is very important. Know your limits, and know the limits of the gun. If there was no practical accuracy, and all that mattered was technical, we'd go around getting needler kills and no scope sniper headshots all day.

  3. Trajectory

    This mostly goes with grenades, but the brute shot, needler, plasma pistol, etc. all go along with it. Trajectory = the flight path of a bullet from gun muzzle to target, when considering actual guns. With this it is more than bullets, but, eh.

    Trajectory is something you just have to learn, but, if in doubt, just aim a little bit lower than what you'd instinctively do.

    Something a lot of avid grenadiers do to help their grenades land where they want is abusing the fact that you always throw grenades at the same speed, and they always go the same distance. Knowing this, you could stand somewhere in a map and know exactly where to aim to get the grenade to go somewhere. The object you look at is called a "marker".

    Raise your reticule to a certain place on a map, one far away and distinct enough to where you can always find it. Now throw a nade. If you are standing in that spot, looking at that place, and throw a nade, it will always land there. Use that to your advantage, until throwing a grenade to that spot becomes instinct.

Home | Advanced Combat Techniques | Articles and Extras | Map Guides
Matchmaking Gametypes | Movies and Commentary | FAQ

Advanced Combat Techniques
Main | Aiming and Manuevering | Anti-weapon Guide | Jump Techniques
Movement Techniques | Vehicle Guide | Weapon Guide