How to Get Started in ‘Halo Wars 2’

A few tips to master combat as the USNC or Banished. 


The Xbox One exclusive Halo Wars 2 can prove to be a little confusing if you haven’t played the original on the Xbox 360. Like many other real-time strategy games out there, Halo Wars 2 is entirely reliant on unit production and resource management. But instead of focusing on detailed upgrade trees and a wide variety of units, it seemingly prides itself on a simple interface with units that don’t require too much micromanagement. Most of your time in the game will be spent moving your troops around the battlefield and expanding your reach across the map, which can be a challenging endeavor.

Here’s a few tips to help get you started.

Nicholas Bashore

Complete the Tutorial

Even if you feel extremely confident in your ability to figure out the mechanics behind Halo Wars 2 on the fly while diving into the campaign or playing multiplayer, make sure to spend around 30 minutes completing the three tutorial missions when you get started. The first tutorial revolves around basic unit movement and management with a handy set of shortcuts which will help you keep the flow of battle going. This is followed up by a tutorial focused on base management, building units, and queuing up an army of forces for when you need them most. The most important one, however, is the final tutorial covering Blitz mode, one of Halo Wars 2’s new game modes centered on a deck of cards you use to summon units into battle. Each tutorial offers a brief look into the mechanics of their respective topic, and rewards you with a bit of experience and a Blitz Card pack for your time.

Nicholas Bashore

Build Bases Around Supplies

Unlike many real-time strategy games which revolve around constructing individual units to head out and collect resources from around the map, Halo Wars 2 allows you to directly siphon the resources required for unit production, upgrades, and repair directly through one of your main bases on the map. Whenever you first start up a match in Halo Wars 2 or establish a new base of operations on the map, make sure to fill at least two of your building slots with Supply Pads and Power Generators to start building up your pool of resources as soon as possible.

In the late game, these hefty pools of resources will help you maintain a massive army since resource cost is so high on advanced unit types like tanks and aerial support, as well as the technology upgrades required to unlock them.

Nicholas Bashore

Capture Resources Around the Map

When you set down your base of operations, you’ll want to establish supply and power routes, but also be sure to send out a few scouts to look around the map for resources you can capture and defend. Not only do these various structures and marked locations add to your resource pools down the line, but they can help lure enemy patrols away from your main base while you establish a line of defenses.

In Halo Wars 2, there are three major ones to worry about: Forerunner structures (marked with a small lightning icon), blue crates, and yellow barrels. Forerunner structures can be captured and will continually add to your power reserves so long as they are held, blue crates can be picked up once and will award bonus supplies, and yellow barrels can be picked up once to grant bonus energy. Take advantage of these map resources as soon as you can get your hands on them. Otherwise, you’ll be forfeiting a valuable set of strategic locations to your enemy.

Nicholas Bashore

Build Additional Bases ASAP

Regardless of the faction you play or the leader you end up using, every base you establish only has a maximum capacity of six building slots available when fully upgraded. If you stick to your original base of operations, eventually you’ll reach a point where you don’t have the ability to produce enough resources to upkeep a diverse army of units or you don’t have the power to create a mixed army of units to eliminate your opponent on the battlefield. Once you feel comfortable with your starting base of operations, start heading out to empty base locations on the map and setting up additional bases of operations to make it harder to the enemy to eliminate you in one fell swoop with a few heavy units. What’s great is that each of these bases also shares resource pools, meaning that you don’t have to worry about keeping each individual one stocked to remain a functional part of your forces.

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