Even if players manage to avoid the Bungie banhammer for acquiring Halo: Reach early, they'll still be punished with the deletion of in-game progress.
Last month, Microsoft and Bungie promised permanent bans to those that were detected playing Halo: Reach early. However, with the game's September 14 release date closing in quickly, Bungie accepts the fact that some players may have gotten their hands on a legitimate copy of the disc, perhaps through a negligent videogame store employee. To keep things even, Bungie has detailed its plans to revert all Reach progress to zero on launch day.
Just to let the "lucky few" know, Bungie says it considers the current state of Halo: Reach a "test environment" where all features are not enabled, such as matchmaking. If something isn't working, but you're playing Reach before September 14, it's probably best to leave tech support alone until the game officially launches.
But Bungie also states that nobody will get a head start as far as in-game currency goes. Specifically, Bungie is talking about credits that can be spent on armor effects and other bonuses. "Don't get too attached to any fancy new gear you might have already acquired," Bungie writes on its website.
"Consider any expenditures or investments you've made in the Armory the cost of doing business early. It's nothing personal; we just want to make sure the playing field is kept nice and level upon launch. It's only fair."
So even if you're able to convince Fred at Walmart to let loose an early copy of Halo: Reach by meeting you in a dark alleyway late at night, it won't give you a head start on the game's Armory system. Some of the bonuses revealed so far include Spartan heads popping like confetti and armor that radiates electricity, at quite the expense of credits. Just don't get frustrated if you earn them before Bungie wants you to and they're taken away.