Armor abilities are gameplay items featured in Halo: Reach and Halo 4. Similar to Halo 3's equipment pieces, these items can be picked up and activated by players. Unlike Halo 3's equipment pieces however, they are reusable.
Armor abilities are a refined gameplay feature of Halo 3's equipment. Instead of being single-use, each ability is reusable, with a cooldown time between uses. In campaign, the player begins with the sprint armor ability at the start of each level, and is able to swap it with other armor abilities they may come across. In multiplayer, armor abilities can be chosen through loadouts before a match is started or during a player's respawn time. Armor abilities can be manipulated like weapons in Forge.
Most armor abilities are enabled by a small device attached to the user's lower back, with each ability displaying a different color. When not in use, these devices will project a hologram that displays the icon of the ability, allowing for quick recognition from a distance or when switching abilities. When players are killed, the armor abilities will not be drop down.
All armor abilities are rendered useless to players when transporting objects such as Flags and Oddballs. If players attempt to use an armor ability, the object simply drops out of their hands. In custom games, the cooldown time can be altered and the ability to use armor abilities while holding objectives can be added.
 Halo: Reach
Active camouflage provides players temporary invisibility for a duration of 15 seconds, similar to the Arbiter's active camouflage feature from Halo 2. Its pick-up color is cyan and fully recharges from a complete depletion in 15 seconds. When activated, the player becomes invisible, with all sound heavily muffled for the duration of the effect. The ability loses its invisibility effect when the player moves at a certain pace: if the player starts running, they become more visible.
Active camouflage also includes a Radar jammer function where it will spawn a multitude of false dots on players' motion trackers within 25 meters.
Armor lock, sometimes referred to as Armor Lockup, is an ability that overcharges the player's energy shield, preventing the user from taking any damage. This ranges from repelling incoming explosive projectiles and removing plasma grenades to disabling, damaging or even destroying incoming vehicles. However, in doing so, the player is immobile and cannot perform any act. Once depleted, the armor ability discharges a short-range EMP blast effect and pushes players away from the user.
Armor lock can be activated for a maximum duration of 5 seconds. After a delay of 3 seconds, the armor ability will rechage for 11 seconds to a fully-charged state. The armor ability varies with how long the ability is used; the longer the player activates the ability, the farther the final EMP blast radius will be.
The technology was first developed by the Covenant for use on Elite combat harnesses, but was adapted for use by Spartan personnel. In Halo: Reach, the ability is usable by the Spartans, Elites and Brutes and is enabled through a shielding attachment found behind the user's armor. Its pick-up color is orange.
The drop shield provides players a spherical energy shield that also regenerates their health. In a way, it functions similarly to a bubble shield,, a deployable cover and a regenerator. While having similar appearance as the bubble shield, the drop shield is not entirely invincible - the strength of the shield is approximately three times that of a standard energy shielding system - and will deactivate when the damage reaches a certain threshold. The damage is represented in color stages from blue to red, similar to the deployable cover. Additionally, unlike the bubble shield however, plasma grenades will stick to the surface of the shield.
The Drop Shield does not regenerate players' health any faster than normal. Rather, it simply enables the player to regenerate his/her health to full at a similar rate to the base health regeneration rate. Thus, the faster the player's base health regeneration is, the faster the Drop Shield regenerates it. If the health recharge rate is set to 0%, then the armor ability will not regenerate players' health at all.
The drop shield expires and deactivates once the armor ability meter is at 3/4 full, after 15 seconds, unless it is prematurely deactivated from damage as previously stated. A new drop shield can be deployed 20 seconds after the first one was deployed, giving a 5-second window where the player is exposed. Damaging a drop shield will not reduce its lifespan unless it is completely destroyed. Also, a damaged drop shield will, if no further damage is done, repair the damage and return to full strength. The drop shield is available on the Medic loadout. Its pickup color is blue.
The Evade ability allows the player to roll in any direction to avoid danger, breaking enemy lock-ons and tracking in the process. Players can evade two times before having to wait 4 seconds for the ability to recharge. Its pickup color is purple.
The Evade ability is provided by a "plug" attached to an Elite's armor, described as a "dummy module" or "terminator plug" whose precise function is unknown. In any case, it appears to enhance the mobility of the wearer and is compatible with both Sangheili and MJOLNIR armor systems.
The Evasion speed scales with the movement speed of the player; the faster the player moves, the further he/she evades. In any custom game with speed set to high numbers such as 300%, the player will dash forward so quickly that they can traverse Hemorrhage in a matter of seconds. When used against a reasonably flat surface, it is possible to splatter oneself. Likewise, the base settings can be used to do various jumps that occur from impacting an object at high-speed, giving the player enough force to lift off the ground. It should be noted that Elites evade faster and farther than Spartans. Additionally, this ability is not available in the campaign to the player and will remain exclusive for Elite warriors.
The hologram ability is designed to confuse or distract the enemies' attention. To allies, the holographic copy would appear as a white dot on their radar. The ability functions by pointing the targeting reticule at a destination and deploying it like other armor abilities. When activated, the hologram will run in a straight line to the destination and stop once it reaches its designated location. The hologram will flicker away if it is either damaged enough or if it reaches its 10 seconds lifespan. A new hologram can be produced after just 7 seconds, which would immediately dissipate the old one.
The hologram has a default movement trait (speed and gravity) and, as such, does not inherit the player's movement trait.
The Jet Pack ability varies with how long the ability is used. The longer the player activates the ability, the longer the player would be able to remain in the air but at the consequence of having the ability depleting faster. Thus, it is recommended that the player use the ability in bursts, which would deplete the ability less than a sustained flight. Additionally, fall damage still applies to Jet Pack users should they fall from the air. The Jet Pack scales with the set gravity; so the less gravity is set, the higher the jet pack can lift the player.
The Sprint ability allows the player to move at an increased speed for approximately four seconds. In campaign, it is the default armor ability. Its pickup color is green. When activated, the player's character model will pant heavily. The sprinting scales with the player's movement speed; the faster the player moves, the faster the player sprints. Weapons cannot be used during the sprint.
Canonically, the "Sprint" function operates by bypassing the safety limiters of the MJOLNIR actuators and "muscles", allowing better performance at the expense of heat regulation, overheating the user if used for prolonged periods. This "hack" was developed by Catherine-B320.
 Halo 4
 Active Camouflage
The T-3 Active Camouflage system bends light around a structure, hiding it via advanced pattern realignment. It is similar to the version in Halo: Reach, however the jammer no longer makes false hostile contacts appear on the motion sensor, rather it makes neutral contacts appear and in a much tighter grouping than before, therefore not only preventing the user from using it to trick enemies, but possibly giving away their location. Despite this, it still is an effective tool for hiding outside of cover and ambushing enemies.
The Autosentry is a support drone used by the Prometheans to suppress enemy combatants. It fires an enegy bolt at a moderate rate, and can be taken down in several shots.
 Hardlight Shield
The Hardlight Shield fuses particles of light into a powerful barrier. The shield is deployed in front of the player.
The Holographic Decoy is designed to confuse or distract the enemies' attention. Aiming at a hologram deployed by an enemy will make the reticule turn red, making the decoy even more convincing. However, it still can be distinguished by its linear path, lack of shield flare, and the fact that it doesn't react to the environment. There is an easter egg that allows it to teabag an enemy corpse.
 Jet Pack
 Promethean Vision
The Z-5080 Short-Range Spectrum Augmenter/Vision enhancement armor ability allows a user to see through solid objects, keeping them apprised of approaching enemies from any direction. It also renders cloaked enemies visible and allows the player to line up their shots while in cover. It also has long range capability.
 Regeneration Field
The M2705 Regenerative Kinetic Dispersal Field first applies a force to remove hostiles from the presence of the user and then temporarily appropriates armor system functions, targeting biological and combat vitality oriented armor functions in order to repair the user.
 Thruster Pack
The M805X Forward Acceleration System/Fulcrum Mitigating allows Spartans equipped with the [GEN2] MJOLNIR armor to navigate easily across any terrain. It can also be used to speed ones decent off an edge. In terms of its intended purpose, it doesn't move the user over a great distance. There are numerous tricks that can be used to navigate maps, and even a trick to survive sticky grenades.
- Hologram and Active Camouflage are great armor abilities to use during Infection gametypes as hologram can confuse zombies and active camo will straight up hide from them. These work well as they, to an extent, depend on the enemy not looking hard enough, something zombies don't have time to do.
- It is often advantageous to have a teammate using the Drop Shield ability in both Firefight and standard Multiplayer modes. This is due to the fact that this ability will heal wounded teammates without wasting health packs.
- When using the Active Camouflage, try "crouch walking." This will allow the invisibility to last longer and make it harder for the opponents to see the player while he/she is still moving.
- When one's Energy Shields are low or completely depleted, use Armor Lock until the energy shields recharge as much as they can before Armor Lock de-activates. This will ensure that a sudden ambush after a battle that left the shields depleted will not overwhelm one.
- Active Camo can be useful during Generator Defense matches. While enemies are focused on the generators, one can sneak up on each one and assassinate or stick them.
- Promethean Vision is the only armor ability which can be used while carrying a detached turret. Using any other armor ability will cause the player to drop the turret.
- Armor abilities are weakened in War Games, in relativity to Campaign or Spartan Ops. This means that armor abilities have a shorter use time (Hardlight Shield, Autosentry, etc.) or have a weaker effect (thruster pack has shorter travel distance, players cannot jump while deploying the Hardlight Shield).
- In Halo: Reach, take advantage of the jammer on Active Camo. You can use it to move at top speed and get into position while the enemies that don't have line of sight on you can't be sure of what you're doing because of the jammer.
- In campaign, the player almost always starts, and can complete the level, with the Sprint Armor Ability. The only exceptions to this are in Exodus Rally Point Alpha, where a player must have a Jetpack to advance the level, and during a short sequence in the Pillar of Autumn (where the player pushes through the UNSC Commonwealth), in which the player will spawn with Armor Lock. As there is no additional need for Armor Lock at this point, this was likely an oversight.
- Before, it was previously thought that each species can only use certain armor abilities (Elites were thought to be the only ones able to use Evade, and Spartans were the only ones thought to be able to use Armor Lock and Sprint). In the final product, this is not the case as both species can use all seven Armor Abilities.
- In the early stages of the game development, Elites using the Armor Lock ability were shown with a red aura instead of blue, while Spartans had a large and bulky attachment to their backs. However, these changes were erased before the game was released, so now both Elites and Spartans use the same blue armor lock.
- Skirmishers have the ability to use the Hologram armor ability.
- Armor Abilities will change form depending on whether a Elite or Spartan is using them. That is, Elite will have Armor Abilities made from purple metal, while Spartans have Armor Abilities which appear dull silver and rectangular. If a player drops an Armor Ability, it will take the form of the way it appeared on the player's back. The only exception is Evade, even if a Spartan drops it, it will still appear like a Covenant ability. This is odd as while on the Spartan's back, it can clearly be seen to share a design to other Spartan Armor Abilities (dull silver and rectangular).
- In canon terms, the Armor Abilities have only been seen in use during the Fall of Reach, due to the fact they were introduced in Halo: Reach as a gameplay element. As Reach was the UNSC's primary military complex, prototype technologies such as Armor Abilities may have been developed and tested exclusively on the planet, thus explaining their absence in the other games. In addition, other Halo games occur in the time period after Reach falls, having John-117 as the only Spartan working alongside regular UNSC forces with limited military assets due to the Fall of Reach. Halo: Reach is centered around a Spartan team on a UNSC fortress world, with support and equipment more readily available.
- Noble Team (aside from the player) can be seen sprinting or using Armor Lock without the required attachments. Likewise, Brutes and AI Elites use their Armor Abilities (Armor Lock or Evade) without the necessary external attachment. Brutes aren't even wearing any sort of Energy Shielding that could be supercharged with Armor Lock.
- If one were to use Hologram and walk into the projection, they would notice that no matter what helmet they are wearing, the inside of the helmet of the hologram will always be the same. One can see this at the beginning of Noble Actual when Noble Six puts on his/her helmet. This was likely done to save time and resources.
- There are a total of seven Armor Abilities in Halo: Reach, another reference to Bungie's favorite number.
- In the game Crysis 2, there is a Hologram ability almost exactly identical in function to that of Halo: Reach's. However, it is a weapon attachment rather than an armor ability.
- If a player's Energy Sword is depleted, the blade can still be seen when Active Camouflage is activated.
- In Halo 4, a player's Hologram will not show any customized weapon skins, nor any customized emblem.
- Any weapons that are stored on the back when not in use clip right through the jetpack.
- Holograms cannot use the mechanical lift on Reflection or the large tubular gravity lifts on Spire, even though they are affected by all other kinds of gravity lift or human-made lift, such as man cannons or the air lifts on Reflection.
- Armor abilities are often used to produce glitches. A few examples of armor abilities-related glitches are the Armor Permutation Glitch and the Infinite Armor Lock glitch.
A player about to swap Sprint for the Hologram armor ability in the campaign level Nightfall.
 List of appearances
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Bungie.net: Armor Abilities
- ^ Halo: Reach Multiplayer Trailer
- ^ a b c d Halo: Reach - Game Manual
- ^ IGN.com: E3 2010: Firefight in Halo: Reach – Bigger & Better
- ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update: 09/10/10
- ^ YouTube: Halo: Reach Firefight Introduction and trailer at the Reach Press Event June 15, 2010
- ^ GameInformer - Interview on Halo: Reach sandbox
- ^ Youtube: RvB Deja View
- ^ RvB Wiki: Deja View
- ^ Twitter: Ken Taya's Twitter
- ^ Gametrailers: Gametrailers TV with Geoff Keighley, 12:08
- ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update: 4/16/10 ("And if you were worried about players flying with the flag via Jet Pack, I can assuage those fears. Won’t happen. If you have hold of the flag, using an Armor Ability will cause you to drop it instantly. Pick it back up, and the effects from your Armor Ability will vanish. Same goes for any multiplayer specific object you can hold in your hot little hands.")
- ^ Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta
- ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update 06.18.10
- ^ Bungie.net: Skirmisher hologram?!?