A Microsoft representative told GameSpot an Xbox Live Gold membership is required on Xbox One but not PC.
This beta, which follows the first one from June 2016, features the Blitz mode. This is a card-based mode where players put together a team comprised of air, ground, and infantry units. You can learn a more about the mode in the video above and GameSpot’s preview video here.
This beta has one map, Proving Grounds, and it supports 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 play via matchmaking.
In an Xbox Wire post, Microsoft explained that all Faction Leaders and Blitz cards that are in the full game will be in the beta. Additionally, there will be daily and weekly challenges that Microsoft rolls out as a means to stress test some elements of Halo Wars 2. The beta ends on January 30.
Progress from the Halo Wars 2 beta will not carry forward to the full game. However, people who play the beta can earn up to two Blitz card packs for the full game. Simply download and log in to the Halo Wars 2 beta and you’ll get one of these, while you’ll earn the second for completing a match.
You can submit feedback to Microsoft through the Halo Waypoint forums.
Blitz is just one of Halo Wars 2’s modes. There is a campaign (playable solo or via co-op) and other multiplayer modes such as Domination, Strongholds, and Deathmatch. Finally, Halo Wars 2 includes a mode called Blitz Firefight.
Halo Wars 2 launches on February 21 for Xbox One and PC. It is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, so buying it digitally on one platform gets you access to the other for free. All progress, including saves and achievements, are available on each platform.
Halo Wars 2 is in development at Total War studio Creative Assembly and Microsoft’s own Halo team at 343 Industries. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a partnership with THQ Nordic to release a disc-based physical version of the game at retail.