Warthog stunt jump

Posted April 30th 2020

Associated movies

  • BCM424 - Easy; Warthog stunt jump (5:46)

About a minute's drive after the Pelican rendezvous area, you reach what Cortana calls a "gap in the trench". What she means is, some dang fool of a ship designer forgot to continue the road! There's a shallow ramp to launch off, then far below there's a big metal curve to land on, from where you can ramp up to make an easy smaller jump into a passage.

Approaching the scary gap, Cortana advises that "at top speed we should be able to clear it". But if you indeed just gun the Warthog to take the jump at top speed, there's trouble in prospect. The hog invariably nosedives - sometimes quite severely - and that very often leads to ejection or death when you hit the metal curve.

In fact, when I did a test comprising 50 jumps on Heroic, I got killed 13 times and ejected 32 times (losing health 8 times). Only on 5 jumps did I remain seated; and even then I always lost 4 health bars. All in all, a pretty poor showing. Death rate: 26%. Ejection rate: 64%. Remaining seated: a meagre 10%.

The outcome is basically a lottery with a significant chance of death, and I remember this being quite an annoyance to me, something I spoke of harshly in my old Level preferences article (nowadays I feel warmer to the level though, having become much more experienced with the escape drive).

Lift off the gas about now

Lifting method

But there's a considerable improvement you can make by lifting off the gas just before the hog is about to leave the ramp. More specifically, cut the gas when the front of the hog is about halfway along the final section of the ramp (the section which starts at the door). Curiously, this mitigates against nosediving to some extent. You do still nosedive quite often, but there's also now a significant chance that you remain at a fairly shallow angle, something I think of as 'floating'. Sometimes you can even be fairly level.

A further benefit is that because you wiped a bit of speed, you land on the metal curve a bit further back where it's steeper, making the landing softer (unless you hit the very start, which is actually flat). If I recall correctly, that was the rationale I originally had for lifting off the gas (long ago - can't remember when).

Floating quite nicely

When I tested this by doing 50 jumps on Heroic, I was killed 4 times, ejected 30 times (losing health only once), and remained seated 16 times (never losing health). Compared to before, the ejection rate is similarly high (60%) but the death rate is much reduced (8% compared to 26%), while the rate for remaining seated is approximately tripled to 32% (and there was never any health loss with that, unlike before).

Of course, you have to be careful not to lift off the gas too soon, or you'll kill too much speed and fall short. My advice to cut it when the front of the hog is about halfway along the final section is based on some experimenting. Maybe you could improve your results a bit by fine-tuning exactly where you lift, if you're able to be more precise, but that's up to you to test.

Instead of lifting off the gas, another idea is to hit the brakes. That can give some similar results. But when I started testing, it was looking to be inferior to lifting off the gas, so I didn't pursue it further. Braking has a rapid strong effect, which in my case was leading to falling short quite often. Felt hard to control. While trying this out though, I noticed a curiosity. In the vicinity of the ramp, the hog's brake lights don't work. Weird!

Spinning to glory

Spinning method

While the lifting method is an improvement, it's still quite fickle because the desired floating doesn't always occur. This third method however, makes things entirely a matter of skill, and as such, you could potentially land well every time if sufficiently adept. The method is simply to put the hog into a spin just before leaving the ramp - which you can do by jinking one way then the other. The spin stabilizes the hog in flight, which means no more nosediving!

In further regard to the jinking, I'd say the first jink should be fairly minor and the second one stronger. That's how I think of it anyway. Takes a bit of practice to get it right. The jinks should balance out so that the hog ends up going straight ahead. Bad jinking can take you off course, which is the main hazard. You could end up on top of one of the sides to the metal curve, or worse. You also mustn't lose too much speed through the jinking, or you could fall short.

KLUNK! - Successful landing

Ideally you want to do one full rotation in flight, nice and neat. But it usually doesn't matter much if you over-rotate, as long as you end up in the metal curve. I spent some time trying for two full rotations, just to be flashy, but couldn't manage it. Best I can do is around one and a half, which is no good as you end up facing the wrong way.

For this method I did some testing comprising 20 jumps (when feeling sufficiently in the groove with my jinking). On 13 jumps (namely 65% of my tries) I remained seated, losing health only twice. On 3 jumps I was ejected, and on 4 jumps I went off course, though at least the situation was recoverable. Out of the 20 jumps, I never died at all, and only lost health once.

With a bit more practice I expect I could do even better and bump up that 65% success rate (counting 'success' as remaining seated). But even that 65% is already much better than the 32% I got with the lifting method. If you're a confident spinner, this is surely going to be the best method for you.