The first thing you'll notice about this game is that it is complex, it requires teamwork and knowledge of units and tactics totally different to the vanilla StarCraft 2 experience.
Experienced players can coach or help you in game, don't worry if you struggle in your first few games.
For this guide we will be playing as a UNSC faction but much is true for any of the Covenant factions too.
Let's talk about the map
Both UNSC and Cov start with three outpost planets and a homeworld. Radar helps to spot approaching ships as an early warning.
No matter which faction you choose, you have starting units/production buildings spread out across all four areas.
If two outposts are destroyed, the HQ on the homeworld becomes vulnerable to attack. If this HQ is destroyed, it is game over for that team.
In the top right corner you will find Halo. It gives a resource bonus if you capture the beacon and you can acquire Forerunner cruisers. First come first serve, It is typically the target of an early rush.
Economy - Where does the money come from
You need money to pay for Spartan IIs and capital ships. Income is generated by Outposts and HQ on a timer, income gradually trickles into each team member.
You can upgrade each outpost and HQ to get more income. Upgrading your outposts is the major point of this game and is how you succeed. Even if the enemy controls all economy spots on Halo, you can still have a higher economy and therefore win by upgrading your economy spots first.
If a player quits your team, don't panic. You get their income straight to you so even a 2 v 3 could win the game.
Remember to defend your planets, as income is shared losing one will hurt the entire team. The team does gain a slight amount of money to compesnate for the loss of a planet, but in the longrun, it is nothing compared to the loss of a planet.
Moving between planets
Infantry and ground vehicles will forever remain trapped unless you move them with transports. For the UNSC they will use pelicans and larger troop transports built from the ground factory.
Covenant have phantoms and larger transports too.
Be careful not to enter enemy radar until you are ready and watch out for enemy navy ships which could blow up your entire army before they have had a chance to fight.
Always try and move with a naval protection fleet incase the enemy is camping that planet with their navy. You can always ask for navy to give you a few ships so they don't have to be there.
Teamwork will always win
The Navy player needs to counter the other navy player and provide air support, Without a strong navy, transports won't be able to invade the enemy planets.
If you are an army player, you'll need navy to back you up but if you don't communicate and tell navy where you are going, then he might go North while you go South and the enemy team will have some fun with your unguarded transports.
Even if your ground army does land, enemy air support can do a lot of damage to a clumped up group of units. Some units (Spartan-IIs and Spec Ops Elites) are devastating in combat and can often turn the tide of a pitched battle but their numbers are few. Working together is important.
Remember to try out new tactics and approaches, even an experienced player might be caught out by a new tactic you employ that puts a dent in their plans.
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To discuss tactics and learn from the regular core players, it is also easier to find game lobbies.