Halo Infinite, out in its entirety this week for Xbox and PC, has officially flooded the tubes. Surely you’ve heard of friends playing it. They may have sung its praises as a top-flight arena shooter, or a return to form for a dormant series. They may have also lambasted its battle pass as a glacial mode of meta-progression. They wouldn’t be wrong, per se, but worry not, as there are several tricks you can avail yourself of that significantly speed up the process.
Like many games based on a similar model, progression in Halo Infinite’s free-to-play PvP mode is dictated via a battle pass. By completing matches or knocking out weekly and daily challenges, you earn XP. Every 1,000 XP you earn, you jump up a level. Every time you hit a new level (there are 100), you unlock a new cosmetic option for your avatar, a futuristic supersoldier known as a Spartan.
Halo Infinite’s battle pass has fielded criticism since before day one. Some players have pointed out the glaring differences in the cosmetics you get from the free version of the pass, versus the premium one (which costs $US10 (A$14)). Others said progression through the battle pass — which is intended to sate players until May 2022 when Infinite’s first season wraps up — is too slow and unrewarding. In response to the latter, developer 343 Industries eased things up, first granting XP for the mere act of completing matches, then significantly increasing the amount of XP you get for those matches. But if the progression is still too glacial for you, the following advice should help speed things up.
Pop XP boosts on Tuesdays
Your slate of 20-odd weekly challenges resets every Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. ET. That’s the best time to pop any XP boosts — single-use items that double how much XP you earn for the next hour. Depending on how unlucky you are, i.e. how many rounds of Total Control you get saddled with, an hour should cover you for about half a dozen matches.
Most of those initial teed-up challenges are a cakewalk — tasks like “complete one big team battle match,” or “kill five enemies with an assault rifle.” All of your starter challenges are worth 200XP by default, giving you 400XP with the boost active. Now, combine that with the revamped default XP you earn for simply completing matches: 300XP for the first (so, 600XP with the boost), 200XP for your second and third (or 400XP), and 100XP for games four through six (200XP). Boosted, that’s 1,600 delicious experience points.
In other words, if you complete just one challenge in your first match, you’ll automatically level-up once. Knock out two more challenges — and, again, those you get at the start of the reset are the easiest — in your next match, and you’ll level-up again.
Some notes, although bear in mind 343 could of course change things any moment:
- I’ve noticed that, if an XP boost’s countdown expires while you’re in the middle of a match, you won’t get double XP from your challenges.
- The display text for XP boosts says 30 minutes on-screen, as was the original duration, but that’s a lingering typo from before 343 instituted the change. You can check how much time is really remaining from a boost you’ve activated by viewing your battle pass progression page. You should see a countdown next to your XP bar.
- XP grants — single-use items that add a lump-sum of 250 XP to your battle pass progression — aren’t doubled by XP boosts either. I know. Total bummer.
Master the art of the kill(steal)
Halo Infinite is ostensibly about being brave. But if you find yourself challenged to score kills with a disruptor or some other useless weapon, cowardice is the way to go. Wait until your teammates are about to win a fight, then steal the kill from under them. It’s an easy way to work toward any challenges that are giving you grief, plus, you give your teammates the pleasure of earning a shiny “assist” medal.
Also, it’s really freakin’ funny.
For the shock rifle, stay back, wait until you see a teammate knock out an opponent’s shields, then pop them with a body shot. For the stalker rifle, do the same, but remain even further away from the fray, and make use of the rifle’s ridiculous zoom. (Both strategies are most effective in big team battle matches, where there’s too much going on for other players to pay much attention to you.) For the disruptor, stand on the sidelines of a skirmish and hit an unshielded enemy with a handful of shots (three should do it), then run away. For the ravager…yeah, maybe use a challenge swap (see below).
On a similar note, finding the specific weapon you need for a challenge can be maddening, but it might just mean that particular weapon hasn’t spawned for that round. In Halo Infinite, most weapons share spawn points, alternating between two different weapons of the same class per round. Shock rifles and stalker rifles share a spawn, for instance. Battle rifles and commandos do, too. Same for the bulldog and the heatwave, or the gravity hammer and the energy sword. If you’re having trouble finding the exact weapon you need to complete a challenge, double-check the various weapon spawn points on a given map. It could be there.
Use your challenge swaps wisely
In addition to XP boosts and XP grants, Halo Infinite features one other consumable progression item: challenge swaps. These allow you to swap out any challenge. Just hover your cursor over the challenge that’s ruining your day, and click the “A” button (on Xbox). You earn a bunch of swaps just by making your way through the battle pass, but you can supplant your stores by, uh, drinking Rockstar energy drinks or eating Pringles not-chips.
To get the most bang for your buck, don’t concern yourself with when you should use them, but rather with when you shouldn’t. Don’t use them on challenges on which you’ve already made progress. (If you’ve done it once, you can do it again.) Don’t waste them on weapon-specific challenges. (See above.) Don’t use them on any challenges that are worth 200XP or 250XP. (Those are the easy ones.)
Crucially, don’t use any challenge swaps unless the weekly reward — a prize earned for knocking out all of the challenges in any given week in addition to a final “capstone” challenge — is something you really, really want. Once you’ve hit the max on the battle pass, you won’t be able to earn more challenge swaps at no extra cost.
It’s easy to imagine a dark future scenario: You’ve maxed out your battle pass, you’ve used all your challenge swaps, you’re head-over-heels for the weekly reward (an actually cool armour colour), and…you’re stuck with “hope to the heavens that your teammates are consistently competent enough for you to win five matches of oddball” as your last challenge before opening up the capstone.
Also, in the exceedingly rare event that you somehow use a challenge swap and then get a copy of a challenge already on your list (yes, it can happen), you can progress toward both at the same time. Super rare! But super helpful.
If you must, give yourself over to The Brands
Obviously Chipotle isn’t anyone’s first choice for lunch, what with the history of e.coli outbreaks, but the price for…wait, it’s just five challenge swaps? For one burrito bowl? And you don’t even get free guac? Yeah, I can’t recommend this.