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Overview  

In the upcoming installation of the Halo franchise, Halo: Reach, the multiplayer system has been adjusted to further iterate and evolve the familiar gameplay.  This adjustment includes the addition of new weapons (i.e. Designated Marksman Rifle), the removal of old weapons ( SMG and BR notably), the addition of Loadouts, Armor Abilities, new game modes, and much more.  The ideas of Loadouts and Armor Abilities are potentially the biggest departures from the existing Halo gameplay.  Loadouts are Bungie's own way of defining character classes.  Loadouts are preset options which determine what primary weapon, secondary weapon, grenade, and armor ability you will spawn with.  The available Loadouts is completely dependent upon the game type and the point within the match.  For example, as the game type Invasion progresses, the quantity of Loadouts increases (max of five), as well as the power of the assigned weapons.  Each Loadout will have one assigned Armor Ability.  Notably, all armor abilities will be disabled when the player is carrying an object that is part of an objective game type.  Part of the evolution of gameplay in Halo: Reach is the differentiation between the Spartans and Elites.  Therefore, in addition to having different characteristics (i.e. Elites' bigger hit box and Spartans' non-regenerating health), both species have different available Armor Abilities.  

Spartan Specific Armor Abilities

Armor Lock

Armor Lock takes the idea of the Bubble Shield 's invincibility
 Blue Spartan in Armor Lock.  Red Spartan shooting for no reason.
and applies it to the Spartan MJOLNIR Armor for individual player use.  When the Armor Lock ability is engaged by the player  the Spartan player slams their fist into the ground and goes down on one knee.  Once in that position the invincibility shield covers the player temporarily.  For the duration of the ability the player's armor is resistant to every form of damage, including vehicle damage and melee attacks.  There is no official word from Bungie on the maximum duration of the Armor Lock, however, the ability can be disengaged whenever the player wishes.  When the ability is disengaged after being engaged for at least 1.5 seconds, a small EMP burst is emitted from the player bringing down nearby enemy's shields.
 

Sprint

The Sprint Armor Ability is pretty self explanatory, although, quite shocking for a Halo game.  This is the first time in a Halo game that a player has been able to run at a significantly greater speed than the default run.  The ability to sprint as a Spartan will allow players to close a medium range distance to an enemy much quicker negating any weapon advantage the enemy might have with a longer range weapon than the player.  There is no official word from Bungie on the maximum duration of the ability.
 

Elite Specific Armor Abilities  

Evade

This Armor Ability it the Elite version of the Spartan Sprint Ability.  At its simplest, Evade is a dodge
 Roll Out?
maneuver for the Elite.  When Evade is engaged by the player, the Elite will 'roll' in whatever direction the player is moving in.  It works while strafing or moving forward/backward.  While the player model appears to roll from the perspective of teammates and enemies, the first person perspective of the player appears to dip down and swiftly move in the desired direction.  There is no actual rolling of the players perspective.  Based on videos of multiplayer gameplay from Bungie, it appears as if Evade can be use multiple times in close succession.
 

Active Camo

See Invisibility .  It is safe to assume this will have a recharge mechanic similar to the jet pack so players cannot be invisible the entire time.  It was mentioned that the invisibility appears to have a colored hue to it from a teammate's or enemy's perspective that coordinates to the color of the players armor.  Additionally, the faster the player moves with camo engaged, the more visible they are to enemies. This will possibly make it easier to spot invisible enemies so the Armor Ability does not create too much of an advantage. 
 

Armor Abilities for Everyone  

Jet Pack

The Jet Pack Armor Ability is available for both Spartan and Elite.  It is shown on the character model a
 Sailing ... Christopher Cross would be so pleased
s an add- on on the back of the armor in archetypal jet pack fashion.  This ability has a charge mechanic so it cannot be use continuously.  Brad described the control as 'floaty' during the Ask Me Anything video detailing the Reach Multiplayer Beta.  All weapons, even assassinations, are still usable when the jet pack is engaged.  This ability has heard the most out cry from fans claiming it will unbalance the gameplay too much.  Even a Bungie employee claims in the Carnivale ViDoc, "the jet pack is crying out for abuse."  
 

More Abilities in Full Release?

In the most recent interview with Bungie Designer Luke Smith, he hinted that there will be more Armor Abilities available with the full release of Reach due this fall. 

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