The new Halo 2 maps should be available by the time you read this. Both are remakes of Halo classics, Hang ‘Em High and Derelict, now renamed Tombstone and Desolation, respectively. The new maps are only available via Xbox Live, and specifically, through the Halo 2 interface (from the Downloads item on the main menu), which while a blessing for original Xbox owners, presents a couple of minor challenges for 360 users. But nothing too scary.
Remember also that these downloads are tied to the Box, not the Gamertag, which means you should think carefully about which box you’re downloading to if you have a 360 and an old school Xbox. Again, we understand that’s going to be a pain for some tournament and LAN players, but we’re stuck with bridging the divide between olde Xbox Live and the new. This was as simple as we could make it while still making it available to original Xbox users.
Desolation's symmetry provides great balanced gameplay.
In the US, the maps are priced at $4 for both (this price will vary by international region) – but on 360, they can’t be purchased using Xbox Live Marketplace “points.” Some form of credit card payment is required. On Xbox, that’s not a problem, since a credit card is associated with the account – and that’s the card that the $4 charge will be applied to. The card must of course be valid.
Xbox 360 made it possible to buy a Live Account and Marketplace points without a credit card – so we apologize for the following inconvenience if you’re a 360 owner with no credit card attached to your Live account, but thanks to Halo 2’s olde school tech, this is the simplest way to do it:
- In the Xbox Dashboard, select the profile that you want to modify, and then select Account Management.
- Select Memberships.
- Select the membership that you want to update.
- Select Change Payment Options.
- Select Add Credit Card.
- Enter the credit card information for the card that you want to add. This can also be a debit or Visa (or similar) gift card, however, some restrictions may apply.
Now that’s the hard stuff out of the way, there are a couple of other things to note about the maps. For the first week or so, they will only be available in Custom Games, giving players the chance to download them before rolling them into Matchmaking. That should happen in about a week, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
There are a couple of bugs to look out for, and this one might cause some issues – especially on Euro 360s – but again, it’s an easy workaround:
The Xbox downloader and update programs needed to get AutoUpdate 5 and the new maps have an odd issue with support of the PAL-60 TV standard on the Xbox 360. This is simply because the backward compatible part of the dashboard was never updated for that resolution and it means you can’t use VGA to run these programs. However, fear not - to work around this, switch over to the composite (yellow) cable that shipped with your Xbox 360, get the update and the maps, and then you can switch back to VGA and play happily like nothing ever happened. Of course, if you’re using a VGA monitor, it does mean you’ll have to connect to a regular TV to complete that process.
We’ve had some mixed reports about availability worldwide, and yes, the maps may roll out more slowly in your region – simply try again later in the day. If you find that you can’t use your account to download the maps, check your settings, and check with a parent to make sure your 360 isn’t set with a protected “Child Account.” Other error messages may appear if a credit card is expired. Again, for 99% of folks, this shouldn’t be a problem, but the very nature of making it available for two totally different consoles makes this content a challenge we worked hard to overcome.
Now, the Matchmaking Playlist update will cause the same kind of growing pains as last time we updated the map selection – with some playlists unavailable to folks who don’t have the new maps (the reasons why are pretty self-evident) but here’s how the new Matchmaking playlists will break down when they go live next week:
· Rumble Pit – Unranked – FFA – New Maps Required!
· Double Team – Ranked – 2v2 Teams
· Team Slayer – Ranked – 3 / 4 vs. 3 /4 - New Maps Required!
· Team Skirmish – Ranked – 3 /4 vs. 3 /4 – New Maps Required!
· Team Training – Unranked – 3 /4 vs. 3 /4
· Team Snipers – Ranked – 3 / 4 vs. 3 / 4 – New Maps Required!
· Team Hardcore – Ranked – 3 /4 vs. 3 /4
· Team SWAT – Unranked – 3 /4 vs. 3 /4 – New Maps Required!
· Big Team Battle – Unranked – 5 / 6 vs. 5 /6
Tombstone's old-school logic causes some interesting challenges.