In-game match mayhem courtesy of 343 and MLG. Never have so many expert players faced off against each other with one plan in mind: Insane takedowns in the name of quality strategy guide creation.

Creating the most colossal, in-depth, and generally splendid-looking official guide to Halo 4 isn’t a project to be taken lightly. In fact, it took a crack team of shut-ins, eccentrics, and fine craftspeople, as well as the immense help of 343 Industries, to formulate the final guide you’re moments away from being able to purchase. In this two-part blog, I wander through the guide’s creation, my experiences during the months of intense gameplay and content-wrangling. The first part of this blog charts our plan for Infinity; the multiplayer section of this guide.

After some initial meetings back in the spring of 2012, we settled on the idea of assembling the very best authors for this project. The part-man, part killing-machine Alex Musa was drafted to write the walkthrough, while a quartet of the very best MLG pro-gamers was enlisted to serve as Spartans for War Games. Meanwhile I’d been kidnapped from my post in Skyrim to act as Executive Author; essentially ensuring the guide met the highest possible standards. It wasn’t long before MLG’s four-man wrecking crew descended into 343 Industries’ Kirkland offices, and some of the finest strategic content was gathered… as well as a lot of shouting and consumption of energy drinks.

I’ve worked with a few Pro-Gamers in my career, but after some preliminary matches it became clear that I was dealing with a group of extremely high-functioning hominids. The MLG Pros – Michael “Strongside” Cavanaugh, Michael “Flamesword” Chaves, Marcus “Elumnite” Lovejoy, and Brett “Naded” Leonard – couldn’t have been more competent, despite their lack of challenge when facing me: David “Bullet Sponge” Hodgson. We soon realized a much greater test was needed. After they’d had a full day with the game, we set up matches against some of the production crew from 343 Industries that wanted a challenge. You could cut the ferocious competitiveness with an Energy Sword.

But these victories – and the weeks of further competition and advice from 343 Industries – would have been for naught if our multiplayer section wasn’t the most dynamic ever seen in a Halo guide. With my previous experience writing official strategy guides for Halo 3: ODST and Halo Wars, I knew we needed to put these experiences down on paper (or into the digital realm, depending on the guide you buy) in the most detailed way possible. During our time at 343 Industries, the MLG Pros quickly nailed down the fundamentals before expanding their knowledge to cover the new and changed features in the Halo 4 multiplayer experience. The result is a multiplayer section unmatched in strategy guide history.

Whether you’re piloting a Mantis, or picking out a series of scenic steps to Jet Pack or jump over, we’ve got your multiplayer matches covered.

After a tactical primer; where terms such as “juking” and “baiting” are explained for the newcomer, there’s a robust section on general tactics with key advice on playing well on your own and in a team. The basics of movement, how and when to engage the enemy, and numerous “top five” pieces of advice from each MLG member are revealed to grant you the knowledge to better your game. We’ve picked out the best loadouts, weapons, and given thorough advice on every game type from CTF to Flood. We’ve also included advice for adjusting your controller’s sensitivity and even the way you hold the controller in your hand. Basically, if it’s part of a pro-gamer’s repertoire, it’s given as tactical advice in this guide.

Naturally, a gigantic part of the 343 Industries visit was spent diving into every single War Games map. We’ve flagged every hot-spot with an appropriate name and provided specific advice if you’re fighting in or near these locations. There is also combat advice for every pertinent game type, as well as step-by-step visual knowledge of some particularly crazy shortcuts and jumps you’d never find on your own. With full-color maps rounding out the chapter, every page oozes with knowledge you’d normally need to watch countless hours of MLG matches to figure out.

Whether you’re playing these matches for fun, or have tournament gold planned for your future, you’ll find close to 200 pages of Halo 4 multiplayer knowledge to read up on. Battle-tested and tournament-player approved.

Next time: Ex-U.S. Marine and current Spartan-wrangler Alex Musa helps regale us with thoughts on the campaign information contained in the official guide.

Purchase the Halo 4 Prima Official eGuide now!