The only way you will ever be able to effectively drive the warthog is... by knowing how to drive it. Besides the basic controls, there are some tricks that will help you keep the car rolling along and not tumbling off a canyon.
Tip 1: Don't drive off without a gunner. That big gun on the back of the car is there for a reason.
Tip 2: Keep her steady. Infinite's warthogs drive more like a truck and less like a go-cart than the hogs of previous Halos, and while they don't weigh 5 lbs like in Halo 3 (more like 15) they are definitely top-heavy. They are also more difficult to steer than in previous Halos (almost like an actual APC, who would have thought), so drift is your friend in getting around tight corners or out of awkward situations where you are clearly outgunned. They also seem to have a bit more drift than in previous Halos - again, top-heavy - so you'll have to slow down a little sooner than in previous Halos to make those turns.
Tip 3: Don't drive off without a gunner. There is a reason the mongoose has been a staple since Halo 3. It's so people can get from place to place faster without wasting perfectly good warthogs.
Tip 4: When you catch air, use your thumbstick to rock the warthog back and forth as needed, or even to slow down a little bit, because Halo physics. This will be a key factor in whether you roll over when you hit the ground, likely getting you and your passengers in a sticky situation, or landing smooth and flat and being able to drive on your merry way. I've found that pushing the thumbstick in the direction opposite where the warthog is tipping does the trick, very much unlike a bicycle. This also works to a limited extent whenever you are caught in a roll, so make this trick second nature.
Tip 5: Don't drive off without a gunner. The gunner can do the work of two- or three-foot soldiers as long you don't drive head on into a crowd of enemies, but the warthog is otherwise a large, helpless, and tempting target that will quickly be turned to slag by the enemy.
Tip 6: The left thumbstick ONLY controls the throttle. The right thumbstick is what points your cursor, and THAT is going to be what determines where the warthog is going to want to go. It also means that mastering coordination between your left and right thumbsticks is going to be key to competently driving the warthog.
For example, if you turn your view to behind you but keep the throttle on full, the warthog will begin to turn but will also keep rolling trying to make that turn. If you drag your left thumbstick to the center left or right (depending on what direction you are turning, but I've noticed that turning the two sticks in opposite directions brings the hog to a complete stop) then the warthog will stop much more suddenly as it turns Tokyo Drift style, allowing a much quicker turnaround. Meanwhile, pulling back on the throttle - that is, reverse - will cause the warthog to back up in order to make the turn.
Tip 7: Don't drive off without a damn gunner. You won't make it far without fire support.
Staying Alive In Combat
Being a good driver won't do you much good if you get yourself blown up. Knowing how to approach and disengage the enemy will be key to keeping the enemy where you want them and turning into a burned out wreckage on the side of the road.
Tip 8: If you absolutely must, you can press A to swap from the driver’s seat to the gunner's seat and back again without ever getting out of the car. This can save time in a pitch but should be done as a last resort. Not only will you most likely be too hurt to stay in the fight and should retreat to let your shields recharge, but also because it is usually better to go find another gunner; the warthog has a large profile and is an easy target to hit, so it does not make for a very good stationary gun platform and should be on the move unless the situation commands otherwise.
Tip 9: Driving off into the fray all by your lonesome self is a really easy way to get yourself killed while contributing absolutely nothing to your team. This can put your team at a disadvantage, not to mention piss off your teammates, so you really shouldn’t do it.
Tip 10: Don't drive into a crowd of enemies. The warthog is tough and can lay down some serious fire, but it isn't a tank by any means. If you see a cluster of 3 or more enemies, it is going to be in you and your unarmored gunner's best interest to keep some distance, such as by staying back and picking them off - retreating to safety as need be - or by driving circles around them so you don't get surrounded while also allowing your gunner to get the guys that are behind cover.
Tip 11: If you see that there is nobody operating the gun on your back, find somebody to hop on before going into the fight. You can use your horn to signal "hop in, and let’s go kill those guys."
Tip 12: Like in other Halos, a healthy warthog will win head-on collisions with other light vehicles, the exception being the chopper. While you shouldn't get in the habit of recreating a Mediterranean naval battle, you can still ram anything smaller or more hurt than you to make it easier for your gunner to finish them off, or even kill them yourself depending on how hurt either of you are. Just keep in mind that this works both ways, and you may very well end up blowing yourself up. Angle of attack also plays a determining roll in who wins these bullfights - the guy that hits his nose directly on target is going to deal more damage than the guy that gets a glancing hit. Also beware of any grenades that the enemy may throw in anticipation of your ram.
Tip 13: Don't drive off without a gunner. Seriously, why the hell do people keep doing this? Are they that stupid? FFS
Tip 14: The warthog, though lightly armored, DOES provide protection for its occupants and the armor is exactly where you see it. For example, the gunner is very exposed except for that plate on either side of the barrel, while the driver is the most protected, being resistant to fire from everywhere except for the sides. You should use this to your advantage, not only to keep you alive but your occupants too. You may need to turn the warthog towards or away from where you are getting shot from in order to provide a little bit more protection for whoever is most hurt.
A very common example of this is turning your right aft side to the enemy, maximizing your own protection (while unfortunately exposing your gunner) in order to buy yourself enough breathing room to get you and your crew to safety. Another common example is pointing your nose towards enemy in order offer a little more protection for your gunner while you back up around cover, using your nose and armored windshield as an extra layer of protection for your poor gunner.
Whatever the case, it is worth keeping in mind that some parts of the warthog are more vulnerable to damage than others, and as your hog starts to break down, so will your protection (an armored windshield won’t protect you if it gets blown out).
Tip 15: The warthog comes in three varieties, including the razorback. There is the standard M12 warthog, with a gatling gun on its back, the M12R rocket hog, which has effectively replaced the gauss hog from previous Halos, and the M15 razorback. While they function in much the same way, to use the most effectively will require different tactics.
The M12’s gatling gun is a rapid fire weapon that is great for suppression and picking off infantry, and can hurt other vehicles as well, even more heavily armored ones (just not very well, so don’t go toeing it off with the scorpion). Because it excels at shredding infantry out to medium-long range, this will be your go-to vehicle most of the time and so long as you keep some distance from the enemy you should be able to drive circles around them so that your pedestrian teammates can close in the gap that you created. Unless of course you left them behind in which case the enemy will quickly close in on you.
The rocket hog fires rockets (duh) that are good against vehicles and okay against infantry, but is not as effective at an anti-personnel role as the regular warthog. Its rockets do, however, have splash damage, and so can be used to get enemies that are behind cover. This will be your vehicular counter to enemy vehicles, but proceed with caution in more enclosed areas since you don’t have the same suppressive capabilities as the M12. Drive more conservatively towards the enemy when using the rocket hog.
Finally, the razorback is a true APC, with no mounted weapons but can carry 3 passengers at once, not only making it perfect for Stockpile but also (theoretically) making it the hog capable of delivering more firepower than any other warthog! It can even carry a detached turret on its rear end for later use, or even the flag! However, because the razorback does not carry any mounted weaponry itself, it really is a personnel carrier, and after dropping off your troops you really should get to safety until your men need you to pick them back up. So get to cover while your guys pick up those power seeds and then get them back to base.
Regardless of which variant of the hog you are using, all of them will do you little good if you don’t have someone aboard to shoot the enemy, so don't go driving off by yourself.
In CTF and other objective based gamemodes, the warthog really shines through. The ability to quickly drive to the objective, lay down serious fire, have a guy pick up the flag (or whatever else the objective is) pick him up and quickly return to base means that the warthog is arguably the most important or at least useful vehicle in the game. A competent warthog crew can make or break these game modes.
Tip 16: The enemy is going to expect you and your crew to try and get to the objective and will prepare themselves accordingly. This means that you will need to be ready to drop off your passenger and then get to a place of relative safety while still being in a position for your gunner to keep the enemy at bay.
This may mean parking behind a rock with just enough exposure for your gunner, but while this will make it easier for both your gunner to kill the enemy and for your passenger to get back to the hog it will also make you a sitting duck for enemies to lob grenades at, launch rockets towards, or even board and steal your ride.
It could also mean driving circles around the base, which makes it more difficult for the enemy to kill you, but also makes it trickier for your gunner to kill the enemy or for your passenger to return to you with the objective.
It is ultimately up to you to decide what is the best course of action in order to balance your safety with being able to effectively complete the objective. In general, however, it is best to keep moving at some pace and to keep your distance from infantry.
Tip 17: DON'T. DRIVE OFF. WITHOUT. A DAMN. GUNNER.
Tip 18: You maybe tempted on Stronghold to park the warthog on the objective. My experience has shown this to be a bad idea. If the enemy is on the objective, they will quickly lob grenades and other hurtful devices your way, forcing you to get out of there unless you want to die. Conversely, there is not much reason to park the warthog on objectives you have already captured, either because the enemy will be lobbing whatever the can in there and will end up killing you anyways or because you could be providing help elsewhere on the map.
Having said this, it absolutely IS a good idea to have the warthog in view of the objective, either killing enemies trying to capture the zone or keeping them suppressed so that your teammates can get in there and do their job.
And there you go! As you can see the warthog is a remarkably useful vehicle that can turn the tide of battle in the hands of a competent crew, and a skilled driver can make all the difference in whether you get that flag back to base of blow up the moment you leave your own. Hopefully you learned something of use, or at least worth thinking over, and I hope to see you driving circuits out on the killing field!
Let me know if I missed anything, and I will happily look at it.
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