Bungie Weekly Update: 8/01/08
Posted by lukems at 8/1/2008 5:03 PM PDT

Many Birds, One Stone Hammer

Before we get too far underway, ride shotgun in this ‘80s hatchback and let’s cruise back in time to the beginning of July:

The Bad News First

Recently, we’ve seen a moderate influx of things appearing in File Shares that don’t belong there. Some this is just tweaked content from Halo 3 that has been uploaded in sundry and illegal fashions. In fewer cases, there have been a relatively small number of incidents of folks uploading inappropriate non-game content to the File Share.

Fair warning: Users who have modified content on their File Share - regardless of who created said content - will be subjected to the full power of the Banhammer’s thrust. This includes some never-before-unleashed technology that will effectively terminate your Halo multiplayer experience online in every imaginable facet. In fact, the ban is so thorough that simply calling it the Banhammer is a complete understatement. I just couldn’t come up with a more hyper-exaggerated term that had the same feel. Banplatform? Banpocalpyse? Banmageddnon? None of those did the trick.

Last month we warned users here at Bungie.net that putting modified content in their File Shares would have disaster-filled repercussions on your Halo 3 Online Experience. This week, a new tool clicked into place behind the scenes that has enabled a variety of much-needed functionality for File Share abuse and misuse.

Amidst the carnage this week, a handful of users took up a torch for their banned cousins/brothers/friends/selves and asked why there wasn’t a “warning.” While it seems harsh, there was a warning here on Bungie.net and for several months there has been a tip in-game warning of cheating auto detection.

This week’s seeming “glut” of bans was an extremely small number of our users and here’s what warranted a ban.

Authoring modified content in a File Share

Our definition of modified content is content that is created or uploaded outside of the parameters of what can be done using the game-provided tools. This includes but is not limited to: “hacked” variations of maps and screenshots that are not Halo 3 images (you know what these are).

Also, it’s important to note that once you’ve downloaded a piece of moderated content and renamed it – the system considers you the author of said content. Simply renaming the content is not going to shift the onus of ownership from you to say, Shishka – the system is smarter than that.

Authors of uploaded modified content received the following prizes:

  • The account is permanently banned from Matchmaking
  • Permanent loss of File Share functionality.
  • The Xbox hardware has been banned from Halo 3 for a month.

Uploading modified content to your File Share

By definition, this is downloading modified content and then putting it in your File Share for others to download. Users did not make any changes to the file, which would assume ownership of said file.

Tell them what they’ve won:

  • Permanent loss of File Share functionality.

Let’s look at some frequently asked questions about the recent series of forceful ejections from Halo 3.

Q: WTF I only had a picture of Hitler Pikachu in my File Share that I’d renamed something hilarious to share with my friends and I saw these other guys had pictures of women doing unnamable things to each other. That’s dirty, mine is just a joke, unban me.

A: It’s wholly subjective to dictate what is and isn’t offensive. As a result, there is no subjectivity in assessing how files are treated. If a file qualifies as modded content regardless of whether it’s a walrus or a cartoon drawing – it is removed and the authors are removed from Halo 3 Matchmaking.

Q: Where was the warning for this? I just logged in and that was it? I’m banned?

A: Sure, we realize that not everyone tunes in on Friday to read the Weekly Update and folks probably don’t read the entire Terms of Service for Xbox Live, but that ignorance isn’t met with sympathy.

The issue of File Share abuse is a pretty serious one and we will continue to police it incredibly aggressively.

Q: I don’t have anything in my File Share, but I did save this hilarious Walrus picture. Will I get banned for that?

A: Currently, we’re not policing download activity. However, if you rename the file and upload it, you’ll be considered an author and banned from Matchmaking. If you upload the file to your Share, you’ll permanently lose the File Share.

Q: I made some uh, Forge "nude art" using the Halo 3 Forge, what is going to happen to me? Am I permanently banned from Matchmaking too?

A: Inappropriate content, albeit racist, pornographic or otherwise created in Halo 3's Forge can result in revocation of File Share use.

Q: I took a screenshot of this modded map, can I be banned from Matchmaking for that?

A: Nope, the screenshot of modded content isn't a bannable offense. Just don't upload the modded content to your File Share.

Q: OK, I’m really, really, really sorry that I filled my File Share with pictures of naked women. I won’t do it again. Can I have my File Share back please?

A: lololololol


AU Deuce

Last week I mentioned that there was a second Autoupdate coming to Halo 3 and that I'd talk about it this week.

Mostly invisible to players are a mess of backend changes that continue to pump more information to us about behaviors (naughty and nice), tendencies and general smoothing of issues underneath Halo 3’s hood that we weren’t thrilled with.

Much more visible to the players is some new functionality coming to Halo 3’s Experience system.

As it stands in Halo 3, Experience is collected into a single bucket which then uses your highest skill in a ranked playlist to give you your “Rank.” We’re adding new Playlist Ratings to Halo 3 Matchmaking.

Before I break down how things are changing here’s what is NOT changing:

  • We are not resetting your “Skill.” Your Trueskill value will not change.
  • We’re not resetting your current EXP. Your total EXP will still be displayed in your Service Record and that Rank will still be displayed in your Service Record.

However, at the Playlist level, things are changing noticeably.

While your total experience will still continue to climb in your Service Record, when AU2 goes live, we are enabling individual Experience ratings in each playlist. Playlist Ratings are based on how much experience you’ve accrued in a given Playlist. We’ll be basing your rating in a given playlist off of this value. When AU2 is released, we’ll begin tracking your experience per playlist, in that respect, everyone begins fresh. These new Playlist emblems will be familiar to Halo 3 players, but they have received a light graphical pass in game to distinguish Playlist Ratings from your Overall Rating.

In the simplest terms this means that becoming a General in Team Slayer is no longer dependent on reaching Level 50 and acquiring a certain number of total experience points. Via Playlist Ratings, players can reach General in as many playlists as they want .The currency powering these new Playlist Ratings is Experience.

Here's an example of how the Playlist Progression system could appear on Bungie.net. You can see the Progress bar beneath the name of the playlist as well as the parenthetical denotation of whether or not a playlist is Social or Ranked.

Under this system, however, players will have individual Ratings in each playlist and they’ll see a graphical treatment of that here on Bungie.net and they’ll see their current status for the playlist that they are in. In custom games, the Rating on a player’s Service Record will be the icon that other players see.

**UPDATE**

Here are some quick and dirty user questions on the Playlist Ratings from the Internet:

Posted by: Da Kr3w 4893
Can shishka or someone PLEASE clear up this new ranking system? I am honestly very confused.
1. Will each playlist have a seperate rank?
2. When the update goes live, when I go into a playlist, willl my rank show as a recruit?
3. Do you still have to be a 50 to be a general?


1. Yes. Ranked and Social lists each have their own ranks.
2. When you enter a playlist for the first time after AU2 you will be a Recruit in that playlist. In a Ranked playlist your SKILL number will still show.
3. To be a General on your SERVICE RECORD you must still be a 50 in a playlist, that is your Overall Rank. At the playlist level you can reach General from gaining Experience. Skill number is not required.


Toadie1979 asks: Explain to me how a General now could be a Gunnery Sgt. in one playlist is fair to others in there? I guess I'll wait till it goes live to make up my mind, but right now in theory, this is a horrible idea. I guess it'll even itself out after a few weeks, but MM is going to suck till it does.

Actually, we'll still be matching by Skill value the same way we have all along. At the playlist level, you'll still be matched against similarly skilled players, we're not resetting those numbers. We're adding a new metric for you to track your progress in a given playlist. If you're a 44 in Ranked Team Slayer, you'll still be a 44 and your 44 will still display. You will just be a level 44 Recruit in Team Slayer. After a whole bunch of games you may be a 44 General in Team Slayer.

Rank at the Playlist level is no longer contingent on the numerical "skill" value (the one to fifty). But Skill is still being used to determine who you will face because we want the matches to be as fair as possible.

Shishka’s Matchmaking August Playlist Update

Bring us home, Shishka.

Matchmaking changes for August, 2008:

Ranked

Team Objective

  • ADDED Oddball
  • ADDED King of the Hill
  • REMOVED Ghost Town from symmetrical map variants

 Team Doubles

  • ADDED Oddball
  • ADDED King of the Hill
  • ADDED 2 Flag on the Pit
  • ADDED 1 Flag on Blackout

 Ranked Big Team Battle

  • “Heavy” map variants added to Slayer rotation
  • Standoff Heavy modified for more insanity
  • ADDED Sandtrap Heavy

 DLC

 DLC Slayer

  • Increased weighting on Cold Storage

Hardcore

 MLG

  • REMOVED MLG Blackout

 Double EXP Weekends (In order of appearance)

  • Legendary Brawl (Ranked)
  • Grifball
  • Team Snipers
  • Living Dead

 You may be thinking to yourself “Hey, that’s a pretty short change list.” While a lot of the changes done this month were backend things that players will never notice, you would be right to think that August’s changes feel very minimal. The reason for this is that we’ve been focused on preparing a larger series of changes to Matchmaking for September. Much larger.

Much, much larger.

No, really. It’s huge. You should see how giddy Luke gets when I talk about the tentative plan.

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