Typically the Covenant fire their Plasma in bolts, which is accomplished by forming a magnetic bubble around the superheated ionized gas - once fired, the magnetic bubble holding the Plasma is guided towards its destination. Plasma fired in a narrow, concentrated beam is accomplished by modifying the magnetic field so that the superheated Plasma is guided continuously in a straight line towards its destination. The Plasma Beam is used on specific Covenant weapons and are reserved for assault platforms like the Type-47 Ultra-Heavy Assault Platform or the Locust. A Plasma Beam is used to take down large scale objects, that either may be in the way of infantry objectives, or as part of destroying a habitable area. If faced with a large military presence assault platforms can use their plasma beam to cut through armor and infantry with ease.
Locusts use their Charged Plasma Cannon to deal with structures that may be too small for a larger assault platform to destroy. Locusts may be able to perform hunter-killer roles, finding infantry and eliminating them. They can also fulfill an anti-armor role, capable of destroying heavy armor if needed.
Scarabs use their Front-Mounted Cannon to destroy large structures that may be blocking infantry objectives, or if an area must be effectively destroyed. Their main weapon can be used against vehicles if they are within the Scarab's line of sight. They cannot, however, be used in hunter-killer situations against single, or small groups of infantry.
Covenant capital ships also have a weapon that can fire a Plasma Beam and is used when a large ship is too close to a planetary surface to bombard it from orbit with its normal weaponry - Plasma Beams are fired from the belly of the ship right where the ship's central Gravity Lift is deployed when unloading troops and supplies.
- Weapons with the ability to fire a Plasma Beam can destroy obstacles with ease and speed, cutting down the time it would take Plasma Mortars to accomplish the same job.
- A Plasma Beam is easy to control, and can destroy with precision and accuracy.
- Can be used to destroy a large enemy presence with destructive ease.
- The range of destruction is not as effective as a Plasma Mortar, as the resulting impact will not spread outside of the initial impact zone.
- The beam can only sustain fire for a short amount of time before recharging.
- Fast and nimble vehicles can out-maneuver the weapon.
- It is ineffective at long range, as the magnetic field loses its energy at long distances.
- Since plasma beams inherently fire a continuous mass of energy over a sustained period, they are a larger drain on the system or platform firing them than a single-shot plasma weapon would be.