Halo Infinite multiplayer guide — everything you need to know

Halo Infinite screenshot
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Halo Infinite officially launched on December 8. The campaign is now available for everyone, and the multiplayer has dropped the beta label. If you haven't gotten your feet wet with Halo's new PvP mode, there's a lot to unpack here. From new gameplay tweaks to customization options, Infinite has plenty to offer competitive FPS aficionados. 

The moment-to-moment gameplay is by far the highlight. Developer 343 Industries nailed it here, offering first-person shooter mechanics that rival the greats, such as Destiny 2 and Apex Legends. Infinite feels like a modern game while maintaining Halo's core DNA, in most respects. 

But Halo Infinite's multiplayer is free-to-play, meaning that there is plenty of monetization to wade through. Most of the game's cosmetics are locked behind the premium battle pass, or real-money purchases in the store. It's a far cry from the days of old, though 343i has done a lot to satiate fans already, but that's the price you pay for F2P.

Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about Halo Infinite's multiplayer.

Halo Infinite multiplayer guide: Gameplay

Halo Infinite features familiar-yet-modernized gameplay. If you played Halo 5, you won't be too lost. However, if Halo 4 is the most recent entry you've played, you'll find many welcome changes. Movement generally feels quicker, ledge clambering is here, and the slide technique is pretty useful.

Halo Infinite screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

New to Infinite are the various power-ups, such as the grappleshot. These power-ups offer new methods of gameplay or movement. There's the repulsor, which can return grenades to the thrower, or boop people off of the map. The threat detector puts down a bubble that marks all enemies in it. The drop shield offers some cover, although it's pretty weak.

Several series staple guns return, such as the fan-favorite battle rifle, sniper rifle and rocket launcher. But there are some new faces, too, such as the Heatwave, Sidekick and Skewer. You'll start each match with the assault rifle and Sidekick, but you can pick up different options from walls and fixed spawn locations.

Halo Infinite shocked many players with its lack of a playlist selector. You load into either 4v4 Quickplay (or ranked) matches or 12v12 Big Team Battle. The former cycles between different game modes, such as Slayer, Capture the Flag and Oddball. Big Team Battle has Slayer, Capture the Flag and Stockpile (perhaps the worst game mode ever in a Halo game).

Halo Infinite screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Halo has some of the highest time-to-kill values in any FPS. It takes a lot of bullets to put down an enemy Spartan, making heroic lone wolf plays difficult, unless you have a power weapon. If you want the best chance at success, stick with your team. Halo rewards the steamroller mentality, where you and your team stick together and plow through the enemy team, one by one.

Vehicles can also turn the tide of battle, especially in the huge 12v12 matches. If you control a Banshee, for example, you can lay down a lot of damage on stragglers.

Halo Infinite screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

One thing you should keep in mind is that, unless you're in Slayer, you should follow the game mode's objective. I've noticed a lot of people just going for kills and ignoring the flags, capture points and Oddball carrier.

Finally, let's talk about the battle pass and the challenge-based progression system. Unlike some other battle passes, Infinite relies on completing certain tasks to earn XP. These range from getting kills with a certain weapon to playing a specific game type, or using a particular vehicle to earn a kill. These objectives can be especially frustrating, partially because you have very little control over some of these challenges.

343i has instituted a daily XP bonus from completing matches, which tapers down by the time you get to your seventh match. You can earn almost a full battle pass level each day if you play consistently.

Halo Infinite multiplayer guide: Customization

Halo Infinite continues Halo: Reach's legacy of Spartan customization. Unfortunately, the system is not as straightforward as we had hoped. At its root, Infinite has different armor "cores," which act like bases upon which you can build your own Spartan.

Halo Infinite screenshot

Yes, you can look like Emile from Reach. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

This isn't a bad thing But armor customization that you unlock through the battle pass applies to only one armor core. Whether it's different pieces, or even color coatings, true Spartan customization has some hurdles to overcome. There are also cosmetic options locked behind the premium battle pass and the in-game store, which makes things even more complicated.

When you unlock an armor piece or coating, you can go into the customization menu and try them on. It can take a while to unlock things, given the battle pass' slow progression. Furthermore, the components you get may not work on the armor core you want.

For example, the iconic Halo anniversary green color coating applies only to the starter Mark VII armor core. You cannot use it on the Mark V or Yoroi armors. The same goes for visor colors. This decision is baffling, since other games with similar customization schemes (such as Destiny 2) have universal color options. 

Just understand that for this first multiplayer season, you should prepare yourself to fork over some money for the full suite of customization options. At least the premium battle pass costs only $10.

Halo Infinite multiplayer guide: Monetization

Halo Infinite screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

We'll keep this short and sweet. Halo Infinite is a F2P live-service game, meaning that there are heaps of monetization tricks to keep in mind. The most obvious is the premium battle pass, which contains most of the game's armor customization options. If you want to make a Spartan who looks good, or who looks like one of Noble Team from Halo: Reach, you'll need to buy the battle pass.

Of course, there's an in-game store, too. For now, the store has a rotating selection of armor pieces and coatings. It's not egregious, as F2P games go, but keep in mind that some of the "cooler" options might require more cash on top of the battle pass. As the game stands now, you need to pay for almost all of the customization choices.

Halo Infinite multiplayer outlook

Halo Infinite screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Halo Infinite's multiplayer is a ton of fun to play, despite some customization and monetization headaches. The core gameplay is solid, and 343i deserves praise for making Halo feel truly modern. Even the sound design is great.

We hope that as we get beyond the holidays, 343 will address the community's pain points, such as the sluggish battle pass progression and the lack of a game mode selector. It seems obvious that most people simply want to play Slayer.

Cheating on PC also seems to be an issue for many players, so we sincerely hope that 343 institutes a better anti-cheat system. Despite these problems, however, we've enjoyed our time with Infinite's multiplayer, and we're excited to see where things go from here.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.