Free to Be
The Heroic Maps are free and available now on Xbox Live Marketplace. You’re going to need the maps for a number of playlists, both Ranked and Social, so if you haven’t downloaded them, click on Marketplace in the Start Menu in Halo 3 (the menu that comes up when you press start) and from there find “Heroic Maps” and download away. We’re requiring the Heroic Pack in playlists so that players will see them appear at their regularly scheduled rate in Matchmaking.
We also ask you very kindly to spread the word – the fewer people showing up in matchmaking without the new maps, the more likely you are to find them in regular matchmaking. We’ve found that lots of folks, through habit, simply aren’t aware that the Heroic maps are available for free. If you meet those people in the lobby, remind them (politely) that they can get them for free. And since you guys already know the process, you’ll be doing them a solid and making matchmaking better for the whole world. In effect, you’ll be a hero!
Flip the Switch
As noted on the front page, and hopefully discovered by now, if you’ve logged into Halo 3 today – Team SWAT returns for a bonus weekend after last weekend’s version of the Double EXP fast-paced headshottapalooza turned off early. We identified the cause of the issue and it’s one we hope to not see again.
Team SWAT will be available until Monday morning at 2 a.m., where it will disappear and another long-clamored for playlist will appear in Halo 3: The MLG Playlist.
MLG (Major League Gaming), for unaware folks, is an organization dedicated to competitive gaming at the highest level. Using the Forge they’ve taken Halo 3’s maps and gametypes and distilled them down into a focused series matches requiring teamwork, accuracy and coordination. For a pretty detailed description of MLG’s gametypes and settings head over to their site and check out the changes and their reasoning for them: MLGPro.com/playlist.
We’ve found that the MLG style has a real flavor to it. A few games and you'll start to detect that subtle but important rhythmic difference. It usually takes a couple of games to roll back into “regular” Halo’s more serene pace. The slight speed and damage changes really do take some getting used to. Even if you’re not a fan of the hyper-competitive gametypes, give it a try, you might find you like it better than you think. Certainly fans of Team hardcore, the list this one replaces, should find a lot to like.
As for SWAT’s long term future, don’t worry, this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of it. Halo matchmaking is about to go into its predicted renaissance period, with lots of new maps, gametypes and even more energy and variety than before.
Our Your Favorite Things
With your help, Bungie Favorites is going to see a considerable overhaul and revamp in the coming months. Right now Bungie Favorites is updated “when it’s updated” and we haven’t really had the manwidth to dedicate to scanning File Forums and checking everything out – it is an incredible time and volksvacuum getting lost in the File Forums searching for glittering needles among the dowdy bulk of the haystack.
This is where you come in. We want to see your Best of the Best in Screenshots, Films, Games and Map Variants. The easiest way to manage this pipeline is to ask that large fan Communities, like the folks at HBO, Tied the Leader, Rampancy, AoR, X, Y, Z, Q, come up with the best stuff from their Community and get it ready for admission to Bungie Favorites. Filter out your own junk and let the cream rise.
Interested in participating? Here’s how to get started.
Have one person from your organization/community group/web site send me a message on Bungie.net with the subject line Bungie Favorites. In that mail please include the email of who your Community Group’s primary point of contact will be for their one-month ownership of Bungie Favorites and the Web site/Bungie.net Group/organization you’re representing (please include a link so that we can check it out). Once we’ve rounded up a bunch of groups, we’ll send a mass mail out to the emails we’ve received with the dirty details on Favorites and the form to use to submit your two updates for Bungie Favorites that month, in addition to the details to include in the files.
Those details will include a document to fill in with links to the slot and File Share for a given piece of content, whether it’s a Film, Map, Gametype or Screenshot. In addition to some naming conventions and friendly reminders to promote your organizations in the file’s description and let people know where they came from. Lastly, we’d like to have a quick write-up explaining any gametypes you include so that folks reading Bungie.net can promote your website, files and Community here on Bungie.net.
The Reason You Came
Earlier this week we showed the third map from the Legendary Pack, Blackout (a remake of Halo 2’s Lockout). Just like he’s done with the rest of the Legendary Maps, Stoshy took a break from licking his wounds to put together an overhead of the map, complete (this time) with color coded notations for which level of the map a given weapon is on.
The below comparison image shows a then-and-now portrayal of how Lockout looked and how Blackout looked. At first glance I was actually started to gripe about the Fusion Coil placed on Blackout, but when I squinted through my colorblind eyes I did see that Lockout had a Fusion Coil in nearly the exact same spot.
We’ve seen a lot of complaints based on screenshots about how this plays, but believe us when we tell you that for everything that’s changed subtly, there have been subtle improvements made too. You’re going to find far more problems fixed with Blackout than meet the eye and the fact is it feels precisely the way it did before, give or take the odd jump.
We also think that people are going to be pretty excited about some of the Forge elements included in Blackout too – including a couple of nifty but vital surprises that can completely change the way the map flows and feels.
Anyway, you probably stopped reading this already so you can rack up some double XP in SWAT, so get back to it by all means. And we swear it won’t turn off at midnight on Saturday this time. Or at least, we hope it won’t.