HBO Playlist
Posted by KPaul at 8/22/2006 10:29 AM PDT
Naturally, one of the first communities we approached about a matchmaking playlist was HBO. There were others but HBO was the first to submit a truly unique playlist unlike anything else we've already released.

HBO acquired its unique taste for gametypes and propensity to flesh out the games most obscure options through many a LAN. Beginning shortly after the release of Halo, admins and patrons of HBO began to hold LANs on a fairly regular basis. Two or three times a year anywhere from 16 to 40 people would get together to play Halo, drink caffeinated drinks and consume cheesy products.

Over the course of many years they developed, through much trial and error, gametypes which are fun but which are certainly not standard. Either via one or two subtle tweaks or a complete molestation of the available settings, these gametypes are anything but run of the mill.

What HBO has done with this playlist is taken all of their messed up gametypes and integrated them into a playlist over which they had almost complete control. They chose the gametypes, every single setting, the gametype names and even whether it was team or rumble. Having enjoyed the convenience of bringing a six player party into matchmaking without having to go into a big team playlist, HBO chose to go with a 6v6 format with this playlist.

Because of the unique nature of the gametypes and the amount of mass confusion it may cause, we've decided to give you a preview of the gametypes here so as to prepare you. Don't say we didn't warn you.

King of the Hill

Sun King

Score to Win: 3 Minutes
Time Limit: 12 Minutes
Starting Weapon: Rockets
Shields: You wish

HBO loves fast-paced gametypes and this is certainly one of them. If football is a game of inches then this is a game of milliseconds. Once you touch the hill it basically explodes with rockets or grenades (both of which spawn on the map, by the way). You may think that HBO has enabled a hidden feature called "exploding hill," but you would be mistaken.

Options that would normally allow you to make significant time gains have been disabled for maximum frustration. Chief among those are moving hill and team multiplier, both of which typically permit one team to jump ahead at some point in time.

Your best bet in this game, seeing as the multiplier is off, is to only let one person in the hill at a time and to try to have your other players positioned as best they can to cover that one guy. No strategy is foolproof, especially in a rockets game with no shields... but in initial testing this was the most effective.

Crazy Otto

Score to Win: 1 Minute
Time Limit: 15 Minutes
Starting Weapons: Battle Rifle
Shields: Normal

Seems easy, right? It's low hill, sucker. Every single player on your team has to get one minute in the hill. Then, and only then, may you proceed to the post-game screen as the victor. If you're the kind of jerk that runs around playing every single game as slayer, regardless of the rules, we're going to have to ask you to leave.

As you might imagine, this is a crazy hill game and the hill will move every one minute. You're invisible in the hill as well, which can be the difference between getting pounced on by Battle Rifles the second you get in the hill and being able to rack up time for a while before anyone looks carefully enough to see you.

The only weapons on the map are Shotguns and the default grenades. You'll definitely want to grab a shotgun before you make it to the hill; its uses are two-fold: firing a random shot into the hill can light up an invisible guy and obviously the shotgun is also a formidable close-range weapon which is useful in a small area, such as the hill.



Score to Win:
30 Seconds
Time Limit: 15 Minutes
Starting Weapons: Rockets
Shields: None

No shields, extra damage, rockets only. Don't expect to be alive for very long. Luckily the respawn time is only 3 seconds so you'll be back in action soon enough. Because you can kill someone by simply staring at them really hard, you only need to get 30 seconds with the ball.

You are fast, extra tough and inflict massive damage with the oddball, so it's not all bad. If you don't immediately explode upon picking up the oddball, you can probably hop around for a few seconds before you get taken out by a rocket or grenade.


Score to Win:
3 Minutes
Time Limit: 15 Minutes
Starting Weapons: Shotguns
Shields: None

You may have noticed by now that HBO loves shieldless gametypes. This is largely as a result of Louis Wu's inability to kill someone before they turned around, this way his chances are much greater.

This game could prove easier to bottle up and protect the oddball carrier, as it's difficult to take out the oddball carrier from anything but super-close range with the shotgun and you have no grenades. Considering the fact that the oddball carrier is tougher than you and can deal massive damage with the oddball, you're going to want to keep your distance.

Capture the Flag

BC Shotties CTF

Score to Win: 3
Time Limit: 12 Minutes
Starting Weapons: Shotguns
Shields: None

The Official HBO Gametype, this one gametype became a classic at HBO LANs during Halo 1's reign, went on to become a classic on the HBO Halo PC server (and later the HBO COERCE server) and made the transition to Halo 2

What can make this game exceptionally challenging is that flag reset is at ten seconds and touch-return is off. In its original iterations, flag had to be at home to score and the score to win was set at ten, but since we don't want to make you sit there for two hours; that option has been disabled.

With shields off, nades on and close-quarters combat being the name of the game, this one gets very bloody very fast. There are various methods for getting the flags in and out of the base, I suggest you employ as many as possible.

Capture Madness

Score to Win: Unlimited
Round Time Limit: 5 Minutes
Starting Weapons: Battle Rifle
Shields: Normal

That score to win is probably making you second guess our decision to let community members make a playlist. However, it's actually pretty cool. It's your standard one flag CTF but you get one rounds a piece to score as many flag captures as you can. So if you score in the round, it doesn't end, you just keep going until the five minutes are up and the round is over.

It's a different concept. It's certainly different than the one flag CTF you're used to seeing in matchmaking as the round doesn't end after a flag capture. There're very few objective gametypes at all which are set to allow an infinite amount of successes. This gametype takes great advantage of the availability of that option, however.

Chamb0 CTF

Score to Win Round: 2
Round Time Limit: First to 3
Starting Weapons: Battle Rifle, Magnum
Shields: None

This is another unique (re: utterly confusing) scoring system. The only real anomaly is that you need to score twice in a round to win. That's not all that's different about this game, however.

As you may notice it's very nearly SWAT CTF, save for the scoring system. But aside from the scoring system, you become invisible and damage resistant once you pick up the flag. No grenades, as with SWAT, so taking out the flag carrier can be somewhat difficult, especially if their back is turned to you.

Team Slayer

Tower of Power

Score to Win: 100
Time Limit: 20 Minutes
Starting Weapons: Shotguns
Shields: Nada

There are some who said that Tower of Power would never see matchmaking. They're kind of still right. For those of you unfamiliar with Tower of Power, it's played on Ascension and the point of the game is to see which team can hold the tower and rack up the most kills from it. With only shotties (no grenades either) you have to get in close and attack with some level of coordination or you won't be able to dethrone the team occupying the base.

However, there's no way that we can guaranty that one team or the other will occupy the tower or that the other team will attempt to unseat them (especially if they've got the lead). However we can at least say that we tried.

The tower and its turret should be where you gravitate towards naturally anyways, so hopefully the flow of the game is maintained in matchmaking, but if people end up fighting all over the place then that's their choice. Their choice to get torn up by the turret.


Score to win:
Time Limit: 15 Minutes
Starting Weapons: Plasma Pistol, Random
Shields: Normal

This game has quite a storied past. In its current form, as played by many an HBOer, it is an oddball game in which most everyone plays for kills, although I've asserted that you can play for whatever category you want. No one touches the oddball, you see, so nobody really wins. If you play for kills and get the most then you feel good about yourself. If you play to get the most beatdowns and you do that, then hooray.

However, since you can pick up the oddball, even though you're not supposed to, people will. And because there's no real way to win, people would grab that just so they can up their invisible rank in the Community Playlist. So we set it to a Slayer gametype and hopefully that'll be just as fun, despite the fact that there's an objective.

The most important part about this is that you spawn with a Plasma Pistol primary and a random weapon secondary. Covenant weapons spawn on the map, so expect some dual needler action and tons of stickies.

Despite this perversion of the original gametype and specifically the purpose of the original gametype, this still makes for quite a fun experience.

Base Jumping

Score to win:
Time Limit: 15 Minutes
Starting Weapons: Random, Battle Rifle
Shields: None

This is a very goofy version of Bonus SWAT. The primary light vehicle is the Warthog but the Spectre is making a rare appearance in matchmaking as the secondary light vehicle. Since I believe this is the first instance of bonus points in matchmaking, here's a basic breakdown: you get extra points for all the medals you earn as well as headshots.

The biggest variable in this gametype is the random weapon, obviously. If you get a needler, sucks to be you. If you get a sniper then you could be sitting pretty if you can get in a good position to use it. Luckily you've got the Battle Rifle as your secondary so anything you get on your primary is really just a compliment to it. My advice: Shoot them in the face.
Top 10: Online Multiplayer Console Games 

Posted by urk at 11/3/2010 9:21 AM PDT

ScrewAttack shows us some love.

If you're not familiar with what ScrewAttack does, it's about time you got acclimated. And what better way to introduce yourself than with a video where they sing our praises? Bam!

Cover your ears if you aren't into naughty language. Thanks to HBO for pointing us in the right direction.

Tags: Halo 2 (Xbox)


Backwards From Dawn, Part 1 

Posted by urk at 4/20/2010 9:17 AM PDT

I Hardly Knew Thee...

Forward Unto Dawn is taking a look back at Halo 2 with a fresh perspective. Get your own eyes on at the jump below. Thanks to HBO for the heads up (and the bandwidth).

I Hardly Knew Thee...

Tags: Halo 2 (Xbox)


One Final Effort 

Posted by urk at 4/16/2010 1:51 PM PDT

There are those who said this day would never come...

Read Full Top Story

Tags: Halo 2 (Xbox)



Posted by urk at 4/15/2010 10:10 AM PDT

Halo 2 is still going strong!

Looks like the Xbox LIVE team has yet to flip the switch. Halo 2 is still online and operational. If you're looking to get some last minute games in, now's the time - there's no telling when it's going down!

Tags: Halo 2 (Xbox)


Walshy's 2nd - Halo 2 Montage 

Posted by urk at 4/15/2010 9:19 AM PDT

Goodbye to you.


"This is the amazing Walshy's second montage on youtube. No description needed, but I'll give one anyway. Walshy is an amazing Halo 2 player, and is on one of the best teams, Final Boss, with players like him, Ogre 1, Ogre 2, and Strongside. This montage is a very honest montage with great editing and gameplay. Many snipes, sticks, multikills, and no scopes etc. I hope you enjoy it and leave a comment for me to read!?"

YouTube - Walshy - 2nd Halo 2 Montage

Tags: Halo 2 (Xbox)



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