It took a little longer than we would have liked but we're happy to announce that later tonight the new maps will finally be integrated into the Halo 2 Xbox Live matchmaking playlists. As you know by now, the original map release didn't go as smooth as we had hoped due to some billing and download issues and then a few wrinkles with the maps themselves. Over the past two weeks those problems were all addressed - everyone should be able to download the maps just fine and the geometry issues that were discovered in Tombstone have been addressed.
As a result of this map "repair", everyone who purchased the maps prior to Monday 5/7 will need to download them again. This is required if you want to play the maps online - only the new versions will work in Matchmaking and they are not compatible with the older versions for custom games or offilne play. You will not, I repeat, you will NOT be billed a second time if you already purchased the maps. However, do keep in mind that each purchase is tied to a single Xbox console. If you downloaded it on your Xbox 1 the first time and try to download it again on your Xbox 360, you will be charged again. Or, if you were one of the few who found the billing loop-hole the first time and weren't charged, you will be charged this time.
Tonight's update means that both new maps will be REQUIRED in order to participate in some of our matchmaking playlists. However, we are keeping several playlists in their oldschool state so if you don't have the new maps you will still have some options. Here's the breakdown of what will be available after this update:
Rumble Pit - Unranked - New Maps Required
Double Team - Ranked
Team Slayer - Ranked - New Maps Required
Team Skirmish - Ranked - New Maps Required
Team Training - Unranked
Team Snipers - Ranked - New Maps Required
Team Hardcore - Ranked
Team SWAT - Unranked - New Maps Required
Big Team Battle - Unranked
Of course you can continue to play custom games with or without the new maps as much as you'd like.
We've been bracing you for this for a little while now but we're also resetting all Halo 2 online rankings tonight as part of this update. In light of the new maps, changes we've made to some banhammer functionality and a desire to regroup the population to better facilitate game matches, we are wiping the slate clean. Naturally this will cause joy for some and outrage for others. Hey, it's "just a number", right? And the people who were legitimate high level players should have no problem quickly ascending the ranks once again.
Lastly, we are finally happy to confirm that Tombstone and Desolation will be available for free download in early July. We don't have the exact date locked but it will be around the first week. Stay tuned to Bungie.net for the final details.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support of Halo 2 and your patience as we've been working through some of these issues.