Halo Infinite's Winter Update is here, and it's the biggest content release the game has gotten since its launch by a wide margin. Featuring new maps, a new mode, a free 30-tier Battle Pass, the Forge beta, campaign co-op, and more, the update has reinvigorated Halo Infinite with lots to play and earn.
In this high-level overview of the update, we'll go through everything you need to know about it, including its release time, all of the new content included in it, how it changes Halo Infinite's playlist suite, and more.
Halo Infinite Winter Update: Release date and launch times
The Halo Infinite Winter Update released globally at the same time for everyone. Players in the United States were able to play in the morning and in the early afternoon on November 8, while folks in other locations had to wait until the late afternoon or evening to play. Notably, the update didn't go live until the early morning of November 9 in some eastern regions.
Using information provided by Microsoft and 343 Industries, we've compiled a complete list of Winter Update launch times and dates for all major timezones in the table below.
|Scheduled release time
|Pacific Time (PT)
|November 8, 10:00 a.m.
|Mountain Time (MT)
|November 8, 11:00 a.m.
|Central Time (CT)
|November 8, 12:00 p.m.
|Eastern Time (ET)
|November 8, 1:00 p.m.
|Brasilia Time (BRT)
|November 8, 3:00 p.m.
|Universal Time Coordinated (UTC)
|November 8, 6:00 p.m.
|British Summer Time (BST)
|November 8, 7:00 p.m.
|Central European Summer Time (CEST)
|November 8, 8:00 p.m.
|Moscow Time (MSK)
|November 8, 9:00 p.m.
|Gulf Standard Time (GST)
|November 8, 10:00 p.m.
|Indian Standard Time (IST)
|November 8, 11:30 p.m.
|Singapore Standard Time (SNST)
|November 9, 2:00 a.m.
|China Standard Time (CST)
|November 9, 2:00 a.m.
|Japan Standard Time (JST)
|November 9, 3:00 a.m.
|Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
|November 9, 5:00 a.m.
|New Zealand Standard Time (NZST)
|November 9, 7:00 a.m.
Halo Infinite Winter Update: Battle Pass
A new 30-tier Battle Pass was included with the arrival of the Winter Update, giving players unlocks to earn while they wait for Halo Infinite Season 3's full 100-tier pass that's coming in 2023. Notably, this Battle Pass is completely free, meaning that all players will be able to acquire all of the items from it without spending any money.
343 Industries has gave fans a complete look through the new Battle Pass in the video above ahead of the update's launch. We've also listed all of the Battle Pass rewards in the table below.
|Mark V [B] Armor Core
|Brooch Armor Emblem
|SAP/SEC Left Shoulder Pad
|SAP/SEC Right Shoulder Pad
|Brooch Vehicle Emblem
|UA/Type Chobham Utility
|Brooch Weapon Emblem
|UA/Type GR Knee Pads
|SAP/GND Left Shoulder Pad
|SAP/GND Right Shoulder Pad
|SAP/CQC Left Shoulder Pad
|SAP/CQC Right Shoulder Pad
|Moa Assault Armor Coating
|UA/Type C1 Helmet Attachment
|SAP/SEC [K] Left Shoulder Pad
|SAP/SEC [K] Right Shoulder Pad
|Mark V Helmet
Halo Infinite Winter Update: New maps and mode
The Winter Update added two new maps and one new mode to Halo Infinite. Below, we'll go over everything there is to know about them.
New map: Argyle
Argyle is a narrow indoor arena map set inside of a UNSC vessel. It was designed using Halo Infinite's Forge mode, and is a tight battleground that promotes close-range and melee combat.
New map: Detachment
Also created using Forge, Detachment is a UNSC research facility that features a variety of both indoor and outdoor environments. As a result, this arena map encourages a dynamic, fluid approach to combat as players can be effective both from afar and up close.
New mode: Covert One Flag
Covert One Flag is a unique version of Halo Infinite's One Flag CTF game mode that was added in the Winter Update. Like One Flag CTF, the team of attackers has to assault the defenders and capture their flag in order to win a round. However, what makes Covert One Flag unique is that the attacking team is equipped with stealthy Active Camouflage pickups, while defenders need to utilize Threat Sensors in an effort to counter them.
Halo Infinite Winter Update: Campaign co-op and new achievements
The arrival of the Winter Update also marks the arrival of Halo Infinite campaign co-op, a feature that fans have been eagerly awaiting ever since the game's launch. With it, up to four players will be able to play through Halo Infinite's campaign together online. Note that the Banished's forces will scale up based on how many players there are in your co-op fireteam, ensuring that the game remains engaging.
Progress through the campaign is also shared between all players, so when you return to the save you used for co-op in singleplayer, you'll be able to pick up right where you and your friends left off. Additionally, Mission Replay is shipping alongside co-op, allowing you to replay old story missions whenever you want.
Something important to note is that campaign co-op is limited to online network play only. 343 Industries has chosen not to implement local split-screen co-op for Halo Infinite, so you'll need to play with your friends online to explore Zeta Halo together.
New campaign achievements
The update also includes 24 brand new achievements to Halo Infinite's campaign, some of which will require you to work together with several other players in co-op to complete. In the table below, we've listed all of them, along with their associated objectives and the amount of Gamerscore you'll get for unlocking them.
|Mix Things Up
|Get at least one kill with every available weapon and grenade on the Banished ship.
|Defeat Tremonius with the Skewer.
|Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly
|Destroy both Phantoms before they leave Outpost Tremonius.
|Out with a Bang
|Kill the Tower commander with a Plasma grenade.
|Workplace Safety Violation
|Kill an enemy with the Banished mining laser.
|Conservation of Momentum
|Complete the Conservatory in less than 15 minutes.
|It Really Does Beat Everything
|Eliminate all enemies at the South Beacon with a Scorpion Tank.
|In the Nexus, kill the Hunter pair with melee final blows.
|Kill 40 enemies with the Stalker Rifle at the Command Spire.
|Turnabout is Fair Play
|Kill one Chieftain and use his turret to kill another in the Repository.
|More Than He Bargained For
|Defeat War Chief Escharum without ever fully losing your shields.
|What's Rightfully Ours
|In co-op, capture all Forward Operating Bases on any difficulty.
|Wardens of Zeta
|In co-op, complete all seven Banished outposts on any difficulty.
|In co-op, answer all UNSC distress calls on any difficulty.
|In co-op, eliminate all Banished High-Value Targets on any difficulty.
|In co-op, kill 100 enemies while all players are riding air vehicles.
|In co-op, splatter 50 enemies while riding in a vehicle with another player.
|In co-op, kill 50 enemies while riding a Mongoose with another player.
|Keep It Steady
|Kill 5 enemies with a Sniper Rifle from a vehicle. All players aboard vehicle share progress.
|Kill 5 enemies with a Gravity Hammer from a vehicle. All players aboard vehicle share progress.
|In co-op, kill a Hunter and its bond brother within three seconds of each other.
|You, Me, Same Page
|In co-op, destroy all cooling towers at the Dig Site within 60 seconds of each other.
|In co-op, destroy four Fuel Silos within five seconds at either Ransom Keep or the Forge of Teash.
|Wolves at the Doors
|In co-op, lower all three gates within 15 seconds of each other at Riven Gate.
Halo Infinite Winter Update: Forge beta
The Halo Infinite Forge beta released with the Winter Update, giving all players access to the powerful level editing and map-making tool. With Forge, players can edit existing maps or create new ones by spawning in terrain, structures, props, sandbox items, spawn points and zones, and more. It's even possible to group multiple objects up and then save them as a prefab, which is useful if you design a particular structure that you like and want to use it again. Visual and audio effect nodes can also be used to decorate maps, and it's also possible to change map weathers and skyboxes as well.
Forge also features a powerful node graph scripting engine that makes it possible for players to create custom power-ups, set up special "events" like making an aircraft fly by and drop bombs when you activate a button, make their own HUD pop-ups, and more. On top of that, you can also add extensive navmeshes to your maps that allow AI-controlled bots to navigate them.
Shipping along with Forge is Halo Infinite's Content Browser, which is a tool that allows players to upload Forge projects for others to download and use. The Content Browser will include a developer-curated Recommended tab, as well as tabs for the most popular modes, maps, and prefabs created by the community. In addition to being accessible in-game, fans will also be able to use the Content Browser while logged into their account on the Halo Waypoint website. The Custom Games Browser, a system that will give players the ability to join ongoing Custom Games lobbies, will pair excellently with Forge when it releases at the start of Season 3 on March 7, 2023.
For more on Halo Infinite's Forge beta, make sure you review 343 Industries' official Forge beta FAQ.
Halo Infinite Winter Update: Match XP beta
The Winter Update also overhauled Halo Infinite's progression systems with the launch of the Match XP beta. As you probably guessed by the name, the purpose of the Match XP beta is to begin testing a new form of progression that puts less of an emphasis on weekly challenge completions and rewards player performance, while also making weekly challenges and Halo Infinite's Ultimate Challenges easier to finish.
At its core, the Match XP beta system revolves around awarding players XP for completing matches, providing them with sizable amounts of bonus XP for winning, being in the top half of their team's scoreboard, and playing the objective often. The developers say that Match XP is being labeled as a beta for now since they plan on adjusting XP values based on feedback, but ultimately the new system is here to stay.
The launch of the Match XP beta also brings improvements to weekly challenges, which are becoming more "general" in nature and will be able to be completed in any matchmaking playlist. Players will only have to complete 10 challenges to get to the weekly Ultimate Challenge instead of 20, too, allowing them to earn their Ultimate Reward faster.
Halo Infinite Winter Update: Playlist schedule and matchmaking changes
As part of the Winter Update, 343 Industries also reorganized Halo Infinite's matchmaking playlists a bit. The multiplayer content suite is being divided into groups of permanent and rotational playlists, with the former staying available at all times and the latter changing over time. Here's a list of all of Halo Infinite's new permanent playlists:
- Quick Play
- Big Team Battle
- Ranked Arena
- Tactical Slayer
- Team Slayer
There are three types of rotational playlists: a Rotational Core Slot, a Rotational Social Slot, and a Rotational Ranked Slot. The core slot will feature modes that are close to the core Halo arena experience, while modes in the social slot will typically be wackier in nature. Rotational ranked modes, meanwhile, will be designed to foster competitive gameplay and will have their own Halo Infinite rank and CSR. When the Winter Update hits, the following modes will be available in these rotational slots:
- Rotational Core Slot: Covert One Flag
- Rotational Social Slot: Social Slayer
- Rotational Ranked Slot: Ranked Survivors (Attrition and Elimination)
The images below show the projected Halo Infinite playlist schedule for November and December. Note that these are subject to change at any time.
Halo Infinite's matchmaking experience has also been improved in the Winter Update, with the developers adding Local Region Matchmaking options and adjusting quitter penalties and ban logic in competitive ranked play. Now, you'll be able to choose between searching for games in your local region or searching across all regions (the developers use Asia, Australia, Brazil, Europe, and North America for Halo Infinite's servers). The former option should ensure a good connection, while the latter may result in more balanced matches and lower queue times.
As for the competitive changes, the Winter Update introduced a new algorithm for CSR gains and losses that puts less of an emphasis on individual performance and more of one on whether or not your team wins or loses. Additionally, on November 10, a change is being implemented that only flags and/or bans the first player that quits out of a ranked match.
The developers also tweaked CSR logic during uneven ranked games by making it so that while the first player that quits from a match early will lose 15 CSR, every other player on both teams can only lose or gain 5 CSR. This was done to make leaving uneven matches less punishing, while also ensuring that players aren't able to gain too much CSR by defeating outnumbered opponents.
Halo Infinite Winter Update: Sandbox balance changes
Finally, the Winter Update brought a variety of balance adjustments to Halo Infinite's multiplayer sandbox to ensure that nothing is too dominant and that rarely-used weapons are made more effective and useful. We've listed all of the tweaks below.
- Increased base shot damage from 20 to 28
- Increased charge shot angular velocity from 20 to 35 degrees per second
- Increased charged shot guided angular velocity at rest from 50 to 70 degrees per second
- Increased guided angular velocity at rest from 25 to 35 degrees per second
- Decreased angular velocity from 50 to 30 degrees per second
- Increased targeted leading fraction from 0.35 to 1
- Increased guided projectile error radius from 0.2 to 0.22 degrees
- Increased Headshot Prioritization Angle from 0 to 0.1 degrees
- Increased Bullet Magnetism Angle from 1.25 to 1.3 degrees
- Increased Aim Assist Angle from 5 to 6.25 degrees
- Decreased minimum error angle max from 0.8 to 0.6 degrees
BR75 Battle Rifle
- Headshot Prioritization Angle reduced from 0.25 to 0.2 degrees
- Bullet Magnetism Angle reduced from 2.4 to 2.2 degrees
- Bullet Magnetism Range reduced from 20wus to 18wus
- Bullet Magnetism Falloff Range reduced from 12wus to 10wus
- Increased magazine ammo count from 10 to 12
- Increased detonation timer by 0.2 seconds
- Fixed a physics bug that allowed “snap sliding”
For more context about why these adjustments are being made, as well as a look at some changes that the developers are planning on making in the future, we recommend reading through the official Winter Update balance changes blog post.
Halo Infinite is available now on Xbox and PC. Despite its issues, it's one of the best Xbox shooters on the market right now for fans of arena-style FPS combat, and since the multiplayer is free-to-play, there's zero barrier to entry. The campaign is fantastic, too, as it features exhilarating gameplay and an excellent story.
Halo Infinite promises fans the most ambitious Halo experience to date, featuring a fantastic campaign with a vast open world and an excellent story as well as a free-to-play multiplayer — bolstered by the Winter Update — with strong core gameplay and plenty of cosmetic unlocks.
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