Sunday, November 11, 2012

Halo 4 Multiplayer - Armor Ability Guide

If you want to bypass the explanations for each ability, and just get the durations and cooldown timers of each - you can click here.  HOWEVER, you will be somewhat out of the loop in not reading this article at least once - not because I wrote it and want you to read it, but because it explains how some of these abilities can be used while cooling down, how many shots it takes the sentry drone to kill things, etc.

If you're looking for guides on the other loadout slots, you can click below for the respective guide:
Primary/Secondary Weapons + Grenades
Tactical Packages
Support Upgrades 

I love the Armor Abilities in Halo 4.  It really helps you define a role for your character.  In a way, this is the greatest choice you can make as far as customization is concerned - proper selection and use of these abilities before and during battle can make the difference between a mediocre (and struggling) Halo 4 enthusiast, and a dominating force to be reckoned with. 

I'm going to tell you everything.  Durations, activation times, approximate areas of effect, and most importantly (I haven't found anyone else doing this yet), I'm going to tell you the duration and recharge reduction of your AA abilities when you select the Tactical Package AA efficiency.

For clarification; the Tactical Package slot is another choice, just like Armor Abilities, that you select on your loadout.  I'm going to write a separate guide covering all of them, but since the AA Efficiency package can directly factor into your choice regarding which AA ability to take, it needs to be noted here.

All of these AA Abilities are unlocked with 3 SP (Spartan Points) so these descriptions can help you pick an ability early and save those points for experimenting with weapons and tactical packages.

*Note, I had to manually time these abilities with a stopwatch.  I did 10 experiments with each, this took a lot of time, but if you feel I've left something out or have misstated some information, leave a comment!

*Another note!  It's VERY IMPORTANT to understand that once you've expended all the duration on an ability, there is a period of time before that ability starts cooling down - 2 seconds.  So, in effect, when reading through the abilities below, the cooldowns from completely spent to fully available are two seconds longer then listed. 

*Final note (for now) all abilities can be activated again before completely cooling down, once they have restored 30% of their total duration.  Obviously the AA Efficiency package makes them available sooner, and more often.

Hologram - Releases an image of you that runs toward the target location.  This image shows up on the radar and can fool enemies into thinking it's you, or another player.  Particularly useful if you duck into a corner and sent out the hologram, then finish them off when they chase it down.

Regardless if you have the AA Efficiency (AAE) package equipped or not, the clone lasts for 7 seconds - which is ALSO the time the ability takes to cool down before you use it again.

With AAE the ability is ready again in 3.5 seconds!  You can not send out two clones at once, however, and the first one will disappear upon activating the ability again.  This can be confusing as hell for an enemy team, as you and a friend can team up and make it look like a parade on their radar.

Cooldown:  7 seconds
Cooldown w/AAE: 3.5 seconds
Clone Duration:  6.75 seconds, OR until the ability is activated again

Promethean Vision - Lets you see enemies through walls.  The longer it remains activated, the further away you can see enemies.  It emits a pulse from you, granting you sight as it expands.  Enemies can see this pulse on the radar, and it will give away your position even if crouched/otherwise invisible.

Duration: 5 seconds
Cooldown: 10 seconds

*Note, you can reactivate it again with a shorter duration about 3 seconds after it has started to recharge.  It takes 2 seconds after expiring before it starts to recharge.  So - once you completely use the ability, if you wait 5 seconds, you can use it again for 3 seconds.

Cooldown w/AAE:5 seconds!

*Note, you can reactivate it again with AA EFF equipped MUCH faster, if you wait 3 seconds after completely using the ability, you can use it again for 3 seconds.  This means you can have it effective about 1/2 the time - but the overall range will be depleted.

Thrusters - Provides a little mini-jump in a direction of you're choosing.  You'll move about 3 spartan-widths away from your current location.  You can also use this ability to extend the reach of a jump (not the height) if you time it correctly.

Cooldown:  3 seconds - be aware, it must cooldown completely before using it again.
Cooldown w/AAE: 1.5 seconds

Active Camouflage - Awesome if used correctly, worthless if used wrong.  Players correctly utilizing this ability will slaughter countless enemies who never see it coming.  While crouched, you will be completely invisible to the radar, and nearly invisible to enemies who have line of sight to you.  While standing, the faster you move, the less effective the camouflage is.  I highly recommend staying crouched at all times while using this ability.  Not only because crouching always hides you from the radar, but because it prevents the camouflage from being less effective due to moving quickly while standing.

Check out this video from N3ac3y at, it's a prime example of how to effectively use Active Camo:

*Note:  When you use active camouflage, enemies and friends alike will experience 'ghosts' on their radar.  Random indicators of enemies (or friends, in your teammates case) appearing all over your location.  Anyone paying attention will know that someone using active camouflage is close by.

Like any ability, you can use it again after it has began cooling down for 20% or more of its total duration.  However, there are penalties for starting active camou. early, or ending it before it finishes its duration timer.  You'll lose about 5% for doing either.

Duration:  16 seconds
Cooldown:  14 seconds
Cooldown w/AAE: 7 seconds

Autosentry - Your own personal turret that appears over your head and shoots things, the closest thing, as a matter of fact.  It takes 5 shots to take down an enemy's shields, and 4 more shots to finish them.  It fires a shot every second, and it always fires at the enemy's chest.

This ability really shines on big team battles, where it will help you pick up LOTS of assists, and occasionally kills.  It takes anywhere from 2-3 seconds to destroy the turret depending on what gun your enemy is using, 3 shots for a DMR or battle rifle, or a few more for things like the assault rifle, etc.

*Note while 'summoning' the turret, your spartan will stand still and be completely vulnerable for 1.5 seconds.  There is no way to end this vulnerability early by un-summoning the turret.  Once you select 'activate' you're stuck there until the turret appears.  So, don't do this out in the open.

Duration: 1 minute or until shot down.
Cooldown:  18 Seconds
Cooldown w/AAE:  9 seconds

*Note that if you call back the turret by using the AA ability button again, you will completely expend the duration.  Triggering the standard 2-second timer before the ability begins to cool down and make itself available again. 

Regeneration Field - Probably the best all-around AA, the regeneration field has the same drawback as the autosentry, in that your spartan is vulnerable for 1.5 seconds while activating it.  Once active, however, you and all allies in the area (about 10 Spartans in diameter) will have their shields slowly regenerated.

It's not invulnerability, enemies shooting at you delay the effect about a half second, so this won't save you from getting killed in direct engagements with a few enemies, but it will almost certainly be enough to outlast an opponent 1v1 and down them if they aren't also in a regeneration field.

Health restoration:  When not taking damage, it takes a full 3 seconds to completely regenerate shields, that's pretty sick.  'Health' is completely restored once the shield begins recharging the shields, which is immediate as long as you aren't getting shot.

Duration (add 1.5 seconds for the activation vulnerability):  10 seconds
Cooldown:  30 Seconds (it begins cooling down IMMEDIATELY, there is no 2-second down-timer as with the other abilities.
Cooldown w/AAE: 15 seconds.  You can almost constantly have a regeneration field up, with only a 5-second overlap without having one if you equip the AAE.

Jet Pack - Hovering over the battlefield (temporarialy) has its advantages.  You can jump over terrain that could otherwise cause you to make a lengthy, and probably exposed, run around.  Unfortunately, while death from above can have its own advantages, it comes as a double-edged sword.  It's NEVER a good thing to make yourself visible to more enemies, which you always do when using the Jet Pack.

*Pro Tip:  Never just turn on the jetpack,  always jump into your activation.  This provides you with some extra height and momentum necessary to get the most (or anything, really) out of your Jet Pack.

Duration:  2.5 seconds of lift - you'll need to play around with this in order to understand exactly what you can, and can't Jet Pack to on certain maps.  It'd be unfair and nearly impossible for me to guesstimate the overall effectiveness of the height gained by using this ability.

Cooldown:  7 Seconds. 
Cooldown w/AAE:  3.5 Seconds. 

*IMPORTANT NOTE:  The Jetpack can begin to restore some of its duration if unused for a second.  This amount restored is TWICE AS MUCH when using AAE.  That can significantly increase your air time if planned correctly.

Hardlight Shield - Throws up a deflective barrier in front of your Spartan.  Deflective is a key word there, as with the correct angle it can actually return fire to the enemy shooting at you (more noticeable if they're using an automatic weapon, like the assault rifle).

Duration: 5 Seconds
Cooldown: 10 Seconds
Cooldown w/AAE: 5 Seconds

*How much damage does it take?  That's a difficult question to answer, since there's no way for me to say "It takes 20 points of damage!" since Halo doesn't distribute damage numbers.  I can sum it up in a few ways:

-Unless your enemy is using an explosive weapon (rocket launcher, etc), they will not be able to break the shield before it runs out of duration.
-Explosions do less damage.  A frag grenade will take down about 2/3rds of your shields if it lands in front of you.  A rocket will just take your shields down instead of outright kill you.  A plasma grenade will bounce off it.
-Holding off two enemies is tricky, it depends on what weapons they're using and if they're hitting all their shots.  As a general rule, expect to survive against two people 1/2 the time.

Hope this helps some people, I scoured the internet for this info, and didn't find it anywhere.  Tell your friends!

Once again, to see JUST the abilities and their duration/cooldown timers, click here.


  1. Just a beginner so excuse me if this is a dumb question. What button initiates the special armor abilities?


Got something to say?