When you have bad news, it’s best to get it out of the way quickly. Like a Band-Aid torn from a hairy forearm. I’m going away for a while. Not to an institution, or anything like that, but to a warm and happy Holiday place where I’ll be celebrating the end of the year with roasted chestnuts and my extended, nutty family. I know. You’re devastated.
A lot of Bungie will be following suit, and as a result our regularly scheduled news, blog posts, updates, and tweets will slow to a snail’s pace. However, while the front page won’t be lighting up with holiday cheer again until the end of the month, Gossett insists I remind you that all of the functional bits of Bungie.net that you might take for granted – the stats, the forums, Bungie Pro, and all the rest of our abundant online offerings – will remain up and running to hold you through the holiday season.
I also should tell you that we still have some goodies designed to help you spread some cheer to you and yours throughout the holidays up in the Bungie Store – including the mysterious Bungie Aerospace t-shirts we told you about for Black Friday.
If you’re in the giving or receiving mood, you should check it out. I bet you could get all your shopping done without ever leaving the house. (Fresh air is overrated these days, carcinogens are everywhere. It’s best to stay cooped up and cozy. )
We’ve been spending a lot of our own time cooped up in the cathedral like theater downstairs. It’s not a terrible way to spend the workday, to be honest. Just a handful of paunchy, yet strikingly handsome men, a few thousand Forge submissions, and me, all tangled up in a totally Plutonic, but totally loving embrace.
So yup, you didn’t read the subject line wrong - we’re delaying the official announcement of our Forgetacular winners. We thought we had it all wrapped up with everything well under control leading right into the final week…and then you buried us under the weight of a ridiculous amount of carefully crafted community maps.
Since we’d dedicated nearly all of the allotted time evaluating the first half of the map submissions, we don’t think it’s incredibly fair to blaze through the second half in record speed, so we’re extending the evaluation and playtest process until January 2011!
If you submitted a map variant, please keep the file stored in your File Share.
The bad news is this delay means that if you win, you won’t have your hands on the prize until after the New Year has been already rung in. The good news is that we’ve already evaluated and tested a lot of great content, and we have more than enough to build several playlists packed with user created content.
The plan of attack currently being coordinated by our test maestro, hot dog eating champion, and newly nauseous friend, Dave Gasca (he gets deathly ill when we check out your maps on the big screen), is to introduce “weekly” Grab Bag playlists, like Firefight Versus, stuffed to the gills with nothing but your maps. Weekly is in quotes because if certain playlists are well-received we reserve the right to extend them, and if certain playlists are deemed “poop,” we reserve the right to pull the plug immediately.
So, for example, the initial Grab Bag playlist in this format could be something like Team Slayer Grab Bag on a dozen community maps (this number is also totally fabricated for demonstration purposes), and the next could be something like Big Team Battle on a dozen totally different spaces.
After each week rolls by, we’ll pull voting data, check out forum feedback, and add/remove maps where it makes sense. The next time the same playlist comes around in the rotation, you should see some old favorites and new entries comingling to add spice and give us the opportunity to show off plenty of new submissions.
The ultimate goal for all of this work we’re undertaking is to find the maps you like best, let you play them to your heart’s content, and ultimately inject the best of the best into the appropriate, more permanent playlists.
None of this will affect the official selection of winners, mind you. So, if you see your map in the rotation early on, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve won (though it doesn’t rule you out, either). That said, we have something special in mind for anyone who gets their map into matchmaking, whether it’s in one of the rotating Grab Bags or otherwise.
And it’s not a bag of Dave Gasca’s dried-up playtest puke.
This week, the MLG playlist blasted off to universal praise and acclaim. Everyone was happy from word 'go' and nobody acted a fool on our Twitter. Good times were had by all.
Anyway. Gravity settings were botched due to a tool ingestion oddity so foul Jeremiah doesn’t want me exposing it to the Internet. Nasty stuff. Contrary to popular belief, introducing a new playlist into our matchmaking environment is a far more complex operation than just copying gametypes, pasting them into a spreadsheet, and saving the file off to a server in some dark room somewhere.
Complex excuses aside, Jeremiah toiled throughout the rest of the day to fix the biggest ticket items and he’s trolling Optimatch now to corroborate and resolve any additional, outstanding issues you might be coming across. We’ll also continue to keep an open channel to the powers that be over at MLG headquarters so we can scramble the jets as new maps and game modes are introduced into the official MLG lineup.
In non-MLG news, we also hurled Breakpoint Invasion into the DLC Grab Bag, so if you were looking for more new map smell, jump in and get your sniff on.
In more future focused news, the whole team is now turning their eye to the existing offerings, and you should expect to hear from us soon, not just about new additions, but improvements to all of our lists across the board. Please keep in mind that none of these changes come cheap and easy, so a little patience is required, but rest assured that we’re still dedicated to honing our matchmaking experience to a sharp edge on the ever revolving grindstone of hard work and voting data lubrication.
I’ve been getting a lot of angry messages about how we are forcing players to adopt the Noble Map Pack to play the majority of our playlists. Someone even called me dumb. Can you believe it?
Though we already covered this ground, here and elsewhere, it looks like it bears repeating.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY DLC TO PLAY IN ANY OF THE PERMANENT PLAYLISTS
The only hopper that requires DLC is the DLC-only hopper. Because it’s DLC only. That blinking text in the lobby is telling you that the DLC maps are recommended, not required.
Also causing some confusing on the “I really don’t feel bad for you” front: Full Party Boosting. Some considered Tyson’s forum mention that we wouldn’t be banning or imposing Credit penalties on players who boosted in a full party (who weren’t impacting unwilling participants) to mean that as long as you were in a party full of players, you could do anything you wanted to. Not so. Though we won’t institute any penalties for bending the rules of the Credit earning mechanisms inside of a full party, we can and will continue to enforce our Banhammer policy for other bad behavior, even if everyone you’re playing with is in on it.
Things like network manipulation and idle party boosting are not on the pardonable offense list, full party or otherwise. If you’re going to take the easy road, keep your hands on the wheel and obey the laws of traffic. Don’t come sniffling to me when you see the cherries light up your rear-view mirror.
If you have a mobile device, this probably isn’t news. You’re likely reading this in mobile format right now. If not, pull over to the side of the road and load up Bungie.net. There’s no app to download, and no fancy URL you need to bookmark. It’s all handled through the magic of the Internet, and it works on nearly every device.
I’m actually typing up this update on Thursday, as I’m already out of the office. Last I heard, Steve Lopez was in the editing bay (his basement), judiciously toiling away to get the latest podcast ready for your listening pleasure. You may actually be listening to it right now, for all I know. Or, it may not drop until next week.
My nails, I am biting them.
[Editor Note: Sorry folks, the new podcast won't drop until next week. Stop hitting 'refresh'.]
Either way, our not-so-regular podcast got a small shot of fiber in the month of December, but you shouldn’t expect to hear anymore offerings from now until the end of the year. I do have more planned – one which could be amazingly explicit if all goes to plan – but we’re definitely not going to hit our goal on the year. Sometimes when you reach for the stars, all you get is a face full of pesticide dropped by a low-flying crop duster.
Even though we didn’t get as many podcasts canned as we’d have liked, we hoped you did enjoy the shows we were able to patch and cobble together.
Even though I am out of the office, my official vacation hasn’t kicked off quite yet. Right now, I’m down in Los Angeles for a couple of award shows, the IGAs and the VGA’s, tagging along with studio veterans Marty, Marcus, and Joe. We’re all very well dressed and getting ready to walk the Red Carpet.
I’ve never put feet to velvet before, but Pete assures me I have nothing to worry about. He says I’ll be functionally invisible and nobody will notice me anyway (Ginger jokes!). That’s fine by me. I’ll probably be the only dude not wearing any makeup.
While I’m out and about, make sure you check out our Twitter feed
for in the field updates.
I can’t promise another Biebergate incident, but a boy can dream, and if we do manage to draw the ire of any other Hollywood types again, rest assured that I will be there, in the shadows, snapping photos for our next major expose.
Oh, and though promises have gotten me into some trouble before, I will say that if Marcus makes his way onstage again, his t-shirt will NOT be tucked into his jeans.
Never again. Not on my watch.
After the break, we’ll kickoff coverage for this year’s Bungie Winter Pentathlon games. Even though this is an internal event, not open to the public, I plan on dropping more exhaustive coverage than ever before, giving you good reasons to stay tuned with some simple games you can take part in for t-shirts, DLC codes, and other miscellaneous items of interest I can drum up to help get you into the gaming spirit.
For those unfamiliar with the What and the Why of the Bungie Pentathlon, here’s a brief interview I cooked up with Grizzled Ancients Charlie Gough and Dave Dunn back in 2008 to help get you in the mood. Below it, I’ll also link you over to an orgiastic recap of the Newbies victor y in 2008.
I have no idea what this week’s Blame Stosh will be. It might not even exist. If there’s nothing below this sentence save my fond farewell, you know exactly who to blame. (Okay, I lied. Stosh anticipated my leave of absence and provided the content in advance!)
Make sure you check back before the holidays to partake in our holiday card, hand-crafted by our own extraordinary artist maven, Lorraine McLees, in high resolution gloriousness. (Seriously, it’s amazing.) Oh, and the online team might put in some extra hours to keep you company on Friday. No promises. They’re a busy crew. If they can squeeze something in, they will. If they can’t, they won’t.
See you soon, Seventh Column.