In the past two days I spent about 12 hours playing "Halo: Reach," and while I can't discuss most of what I saw due to embargo restrictions, I was able to get Joseph Tung, the game's executive producer, to talk about some of the insane armor unlocks in the game.
As he says in the above video, you can customize different pieces of your SPARTAN armor. The options are much more varied than what was in the "Halo: Reach" beta, allowing players to customize helmets, shoulder pads, chest pieces, knee pads, wrist accessories, sidearm accessories and even the color of your visor. Those are the sorts of things most people will be customizing.
There's another set of people that will undoubtedly spend 12 hours a day playing "Halo: Reach" when it launches. For those people, there are armor effects.
Armor effects are basically persistent visual effects for your armor. At the most basic level, players can unlock "Grunt Birthday Party," which will cause a spray of confetti to explode whenever someone kills them with a headshot. There will be four armor effects available to unlock at launch (with more likely to come post-launch), and they have no prerequisite rank requirement. You just need enough cash to unlock them:
Grunt Birthday Party (Cost: 100,000 Credits)
Player's head explodes in confetti when killed with a headshot.
Hearts (Cost: 200,000 Credits)
When the player dies, hearts appear around his/her body.
Pestilence (Cost: 1,000,000 Credits)
Player's armor constantly radiates a dark cloud of insects.
Lightning (Cost: 2,000,000 Credits)
Player's armor constantly radiates electricity.
I asked Tung whether he was concerned about these over the top armor effects taking people out of the multiplayer experience, but he's not too worried.
"We set the price at a certain point to where I think there will hopefully be a subset of people that ultimately get those effects, but I don't think there's too much of a concern. We already have wacky stuff like Headhunter, [a multiplayer mode] where there are skulls popping out of your head and Juggernaut where you move twice as fast as everyone else when you're the Juggernaut. When you're in multiplayer, we expect you to be in a different mindset. It's all about having fun, and I think [armor effects] fit fine there."
In my various multiplayer matches (which were strictly custom games, since the Matchmaking servers aren't up yet), I never managed to earn more than 500 credits in a single round. Getting 1,000,000 credits at that rate would take 2,000 matches, so it'll probably be a long while before you see too many people with insane armor effects.
Actually, scratch that. People are insane. I give it three days.