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What are the most effective ways to power-level in Halo 4? I know that multiplayer and campaign counts towards the two "Rank up your Spartan-IV to SR-#" achievements ("Not Some Recruit Anymore" and "Movin' On Up"), but are there specific game types and missions that are more effective for ranking up fast than others? Does this change as my rank gets higher? Is there any penalty for maximizing experience gain?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The fastest way to gain experience depends on what you're best at.

For instance, if you can consistently place close to the top of the leaderboards in a multiplayer game mode, that's probably going to provide the best experience gains per unit time spent. Don't play a free-for-all game type if you're more of a team player, and vice versa.

Likewise, if you're terrible at multiplayer, you're almost certainly going to get better experience bonuses from Spartan Ops. If you're going to play Spartan Ops for XP, go for the Matchmaking version. You can only play the current episode (for now, at least) and you must play Heroic. However, episodes go by quite fast, there's no friendly fire, and you'll tend to end up with ~4-6k experience per op. I find this to trump any XP per time invested in any other mode. If you've got double XP tokens, this is the place to use them.

When it comes to "War Games" style multiplayer matchmaking, I find personally that the "unusual" team game types tend to net me more experience. Anything with a Wraith, a Warthog (if I have a good teammate), or an abundance of power weapons and I'll do well. If you don't play with a coordinated party, these might not be the best for you. I have friends who insist that team slayer is the fastest way (or SWAT, whenever that becomes a playlist...). For me, though, I'll lose a BR or DMR fight often enough that I tend to end up with a K/D of less than 1.

Do note that you'll gain an good chunk of experience just for finishing out a round in online matchmaking, so don't quit early if you can avoid it, even if the game is going poorly. This bonus is by design, to give incentives to people for not quitting early.

Another thing to pay attention to is the periodic challenges. You can see these by pressing Start on most of the menu screens (this menu is called the "Spartan Hub"). Select the Career pane, and then the Challenges button. There's big bonuses on offer for varying time periods in various game modes.

Keep these in mind when you're deciding what to play - the playlist and difficulty matter for some, but for others you can set the game to easy and play on a level/game type you know well and walk away with a sizeable gain in a short amount of time. Whenever I start to play, I'll check out these challenges and try to knock out the fast ones before I do whatever I'm really planning to do.

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Commendations return from Reach, and there's typically a few of these that are crazy easy to farm in specific spots... (Target Locator in Sword Base, anyone?) I don't have enough data yet to recommend these, though. – agent86 Nov 7 '12 at 12:54
I've found that the Flood gametype is a good way to get experience fast, as the games are short. – SaintWacko Nov 12 '12 at 14:57
@SaintWacko, yeah, that's one of the 'unusual' game types. Personally, I find Grifball to be pretty good for this, and Big Team Slayer. But that's me - others (even in my little group...) don't seem to always agree :P – agent86 Nov 12 '12 at 15:18
I wish they had Grifball in Matchmaking, I miss that. I wonder if they'll do special gametype weekends. – SaintWacko Nov 12 '12 at 16:03
I don't know if balances have changed since you wrote this, but I'm getting 12-15k per round of Spartan Ops, when using Dew XP. You can only do that for so long, but if you can come by the 200 codes to meet your Gamertag limit, that seems the definitive answer to me. – EBongo Dec 18 '12 at 4:34

Just play infinity slayer, you get around 1000 EXP just for finishing the game then depending on how good you play you will get more.

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Well, if you want fast games then Flood is probably the best. Each round lasts like 2 minutes and the game in total lasts about 6~8 minutes with the loading and everything. You get a free 1,000exp just for finishing the game and w/e extra points you get add on that. It's a little better than the longer game modes, but you will probably end up with a -K/D spread unless you have quite a few games under your belt.

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Not to be a soda company shill, but Mountain Dew is running a Halo 4 double XP promotion. So if you like that stuff and you like Halo, that's one way you can power level.

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Infinity slayer is good; I consistently get at least 10 kills per match with default weapons. On average I get 2500 exp per game. I played for 30 minutes and am at SR 9.

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I'm SR 31 and get an average of 5500 exp per game and at least +15kd per game. I earn the most points in Koth.

I capped out experience twice - yesterday and today. The highest possible at this point in time for Halo 4 is SR 31.

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agent86 provided a great answer - but just to add a response to the last part of your question there is a penalty of sorts for maximizing experience gain, in that there is a daily xp cap. When you hit this cap, commendations and challenges no longer award XP - so it can be kind of a bummer.

Also, another slight note that I'll add - get one or a few kills when playing Spartan Ops, even if you like to drive the vehicles and let a friend shoot. I managed to play an entire round as driver of the Gauss Hog, with zero deaths - and my reward was a measly 250 xp. Likely this is to prevent AFKers, but apparently their algo also punishes "wheelmen".

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What I am doing is offline, but it's quick. Go to Forge and either mess around with it or leave it on. From what I have found from fooling around with Forge:

30 minutes messing around/build/nothing in Forge = 555 EXP

After 30 minutes, you'll need to save and quit to gain exp again.

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protected by agent86 Nov 8 '12 at 1:42

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