Last week turned out to be a difficult read for some of you. It seems my own personal relaxation plans were superseded by long established expectations, and my motion to reduce the thirty minutes I typically spend haphazardly constructing the weekly update down to a significantly less exhausting fifteen was rejected. So this week, I’m ready to give it 110%. That’s right, thirty-three full minutes of unbridled effort.
You can’t see it, but I am typing so totally hard right now.
Jeremiah has also returned feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. And lucky for you, he's ready to squeeze some juicy details out of his ever-ripening spring matchmaking plans. Strap on your bib and get ready to suck back some sweet information!
Work is progressing on the May Matchmaking update for Halo Reach. We’re tentatively scheduled to deploy in early May, but as you probably already know that is always subject to change. Below you will find a list of changes which are currently being tested, these are also subject to change but I would not be sharing them with you if they weren’t very close to being finalized! Big thanks go out to the Community Cartographers for helping to get your community maps bubbled up into the sweet matchmaking froth of the May update.
Shotty Snipers: Shotguns and Sniper Rifles… don’t forget to bring marshmallows.
Splockets: Spartan Lasers and Rocket Launchers. It’s like getting punched in the face repeatedly, WHY DID YOU ASK FOR THIS?!
BOOM! Ball: Play Oddball (Hot Potato) with Grenade Launchers and infinite ammo.
Hog Potato: Get to the Warthog! Ride it around for points, pile your teammates in for more points. Does anyone else smell gas?
Shotgun Assault: Play Neutral Bomb Assault with only your trusty Shotgun.
Dino Blasters: Elites + Concussion Rifles + Bottomless Clip + Jetpack = 42
Rocket CTF: Play Neutral Flag CTF using Rocket Launchers. Yes you heard me, Neutral FLAG.
To The Death!: Duel to the death… swing, clang and deliver the final blow with no recharging shields.
Squad Slayer is a new 5v5 playlist featuring Squad Slayer (AR/Magnum) and Squad Slayer DMRs (DMR/AR) game variants. Both game variants will be 75 kills to win and offer Sprint, Hologram, Jetpack and Active Camo abilities. Big Party Restrictions will be enforced on parties of 4-5 players, allowing them to only match with other big parties. Maps include Condemned, Uplink, Tempest, Unanchored, Asylum, Uncaged, Ivory Tower, Countdown, Boardwalk, Powerhouse and Arena Zealot.
Team Size: 5
Max Party Size: 5
Big Party Size: 4-5
Max Local Players: 4
We’re adding Classic CTF, Neutral Bomb Assault, Crazy King and Oddball game variants to the Team Classic lineup. Additionally, we’re changing starting grenades for all game variants in the Team Classic playlist to 1 frag starts and the Overshield will now give 3x up from 2x. We’ve accepted updated versions of a few maps and added objective gametype support to others.
Classic CTF: Magus, Noble Creek, Prolonged, Prophet
Classic Assault: Magus, Noble Creek, Prophet
Classic King: Eclipse, Magus, Noble Creek, Prolonged, Prophet
Classic Oddball: Eclipse, Magus, Noble Creek, Prolonged, Prophet, Rat Trap
The dead rise again! Significant changes are being made to the Living Dead playlist. First and foremost we’re increasing the player count to 12. Next up we’re going to start using the Alpha Zombies game variant as our core offering, but the traditional Infection game variant will remain available for the time being. Alpha Zombies features Sprint for everyone including Zombies, while Alpha Zombies also have infinite equipment usage.
Big Team Battle
Assault is being added to Big Team Battle! In addition to adding Assault, we’re also adding several community maps. The following maps have been considered and some are still being playtested so this is not a final list, some of these may or may not be added.
The Arena, Team Slayer and Double Team
Abridged by Schmittler 5000 (Forgetacular BTB winner)
Wayont by FDL iGet Down (Original map from the iLoveBTB.com community)
Utopie by FDL FiFTy I (Paradiso rebalance from the iLoveBTB.com community)
Renegade by x black kn1ght
Trident by x black kn1ght
Temptation by tkblingx2
Always subject to change, blah blah blah… let’s just assume this is always the case and get on to the good stuff? OK! The following community maps are being considered for integration into The Arena, Team Slayer and Double Team where appropriate. Due to the inclusion of community maps, the Team Slayer playlist will be restricted to a maximum of 2 local players. For you wild and crazy split-screen fans, please see the Squad Slayer section above for where you’ll get your 3way and 4way action on.
Affinity by GodlyPerfection
Enclosed by Kymicals
Kingdom by Sikamikanico
Synapse by HWM BlacKnight
Treasury by JoeSki73
Not really, there’s actually a long list of minor tweaks and fixes that will also occur as well as a brief visit from our good friend Doubles Attack, but for details on that you will need to wait. Enjoy your weekend!
Thanks Jeremiah, you big lug. I take back every mean thing I ever said about you behind your disgustingly hairy back.
In Bungie.net news, the online team upgraded some of their tools this week, bolting on some much needed hardware to the already supercharged Banhammer. For a while now, a certain some of you have been deliriously happy over your ability to systematically tag disrespectful and immature phrases onto other player’s File Shares. Like toddlers discovering that the load in their swollen diaper can pull double duty as brown finger paint, you smeared your filthy tags all over our communal playroom.
That's naughty, and Mommy isn’t happy with the mess you’ve made. In fact, Mommy is very
disappointed in you. Yes she is. Mommy is very disappointed and she wants you to take time out and think about what you’ve done.
The initial rounds of depressingly necessary parental punishments are already underway. Players who tagged File Share content with variants of an “author rams” meme have now had their ability to rate and tag content temporarily revoked. Repeat violations will result in more severe punishments.
It should also be noted that we’re not going to nuke the existing tags. It’s not necessary. Instead we’ve chosen to simply alter them to read “My Favorite File.” Players who were systematically targeted by their disrespectful brethren will now find that their content is some of the most beloved work to be found on Bungie.net. Kudos!
Of course, there are plenty of other nasty tags still floating around out there. Multiple flushes will be required. We’ll be doing some more diligent work in the days and weeks ahead to eliminate these foul bits of detritus from our facilities, and in the future, we’ll do a more thorough job of mopping up new messes (and mess makers) as they arise.
Michael Williams wanted me to note that although we’re being as careful as we can not to scrub any legitimate tags with our stiff-bristled brush, there are bound to be some undeserving tags that get wiped clean. If you ran over an Elite with your Warthog and want to tag the experience “author rams elite,” we suggest you employ more obvious meta data. Go with something simple, yet descriptive, like, “splatter.” Not only will you avoid a brief trip to Banadu, but you’ll also be tagging your content with a much more relevant, and intuitive keyword so other people can find it more easily.
Outside of tagging, more work is being done to improve Banhammer functionality on other fronts, as well. As new justice meting systems come online, expect to see more and more people filling our forums up with their salty, but delectable tears. If all goes to plan, the next swing is going to leave a really nasty mark.
Speaking of leaving a mark on Bungie.net, our dear friend OWA 000 is back to rough up our stats collection systems. Last time we made mention of this matchmaking madman
, he was running roughshod through Lost Platoon (and our online leaderboards) and we joked that his Firefight high scores didn't count.
Now he’s back to break campaign. While it’s not unusual for us to see players doing the unexpected, it is refreshing to get a nice, respectable note in the aftermath of their deeds. Here’s what our hero had to say for himself this week (spoilers), relayed through the inbox of our very own, totally unbiased Portal 2 Evangelist, Jason Sussman:
"So I went and did something crazy again and got 117,000,000 points on reach in a single campaign mission as a sort of thanks to Halo and Master Chief with the 117 reference.
On the last level Pillar of Autumn you can grenade jump up to the mass driver early if you want, so I decided to put 10 skulls on Legendary difficulty to help with the multiplier and went for it. It took roughly 2,500 – 2,600 minutes in-game time and almost a full 7 days in real-time just to do. I also saved the film.
Thanks, though. It’s cause of you and the guys at Bungie that I was able to do all this in the first place. Since it was the last Halo game you were going to be working on I wanted to do something for you all, so I did the only thing I could do...play Halo. Tell everyone I said thanks and that I said hi.
Oh almost forgot to mention. I broke Bungie.net again with that game, so all the stats
are different from B.net to the Saved Film and all that."
No need to thank us. We’re thoroughly impressed. (We’re also sending you a bill for breaking our database servers.)
Thanks for playing, OWA.
Our User Research team deployed the latest and greatest version of our player survey program this week. Again. If you really like clicking on radio buttons, or you desperately want to weigh in on your disgusting personal gaming habits, we’d love to hear from you. You just need to register with a valid email address, and take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to answer some not so hard hitting questions. More detailed instructions can be found at the link below.
If you’re an international player, please note that our zip field does not allow spaces or dashes. But don't worry, we're not xenophobic. You can simply remove them and supply the data as one, unbroken string, or simply leave the field blank. If you’re not international, but just ultra-careful with sharing your personal data, you can elect to leave non-required fields blank, as well.
We're now in the final stretch of our charity drive for Japan Quake Relief. If you were putting off a wristband or Bungie Store item purchase, now is your last chance to get some goodies and have the proceeds donated to the Red Cross, earmarked for Japan aid and relief efforts. April 30th is the cutoff.
The Bungie Store
If you've already pitched in, we can't thank you enough for your generosity. You rock!
Last week we published an impressive image of a Hunter constructed out of Lego blocks as part of our All Stars competition. Turns out it was submitted by a player who had nothing to do with its elaborate assembly process but hoped to snag a star anyway. Tsk, tsk.
It’s okay, though. I didn’t award the player a star for their "effort" anyway. The gamertag had an extensive
ban history. (Don't worry, as long as your history isn't really
dirty, I won't withhold a star from you.)
The real mastermind behind the blockscapades, Monday Noodle, was exceedingly gracious about the egregious misapplication of credit, and politely pinged me on B.net to notify me of my mistake early in the week. While he didn’t demand, or even request, that I pimp his wares, I think it’s only fair that we show off his hard work and talent to make up for past transgressions. His portfolio is mighty impressive. You should sample it.
In particular, his Warthog is relevant to our interests this week. Click the image to check out the rest of his brilliant work.
If there’s one piece of UNSC equipment that has become an iconic character all its own, it’s gotta be the UNSC Warthog. So this week, I had some lofty expectations. When I conjured up the context for the competition, my mind immediately went back to a Brad Rigney painting we commissioned for ODST in 2009.
If you ask me, Rigney nailed the hog's character with this piece. Turns out, most of you were in a much more comical mood, and the screenshots I received were primarily of two main persuasions: actual warthogs blended with UNSC trappings, and screenshots of Warthogs parked in a field somewhere, abandoned and melancholy with only the gentle breeze to keep them company.
That gave me a sad. But it doesn’t mean there weren’t any great images to be had. (Rhyme Time!) Far from it. Check out this week’s batch of All Star offerings. The Flickr photostream up first contains my favorite in-game screenshots, several of which earned their creator a Star nameplate, and the following embedded images are all original, hybrid, or humorous works of art, of which several have also been awarded top honors.
Great work! Aside from the good batch of mind blowing images posted above, I also received a few other oddities for consideration. The first is an industrial audio extravaganza that will take your earholes on a journey that transcends time and space. Buckle up, strap on your headphones, and prepare yourself for some Vehicular Manslaughter
Suck it down, Marty. There’s a new maestro in town!
The second oddity is the uncanny portrait you see below. While for you it may simply be a realistic depiction of a beloved composer, for me it is a striking image of a father figure, his face painted with a heartfelt smile that belies an inner sense of swelling pride.
You can bet that Marty will be wearing that same loving smile when he walks over to my desk later this afternoon, coffee mug in hand, to congratulate me on yet another stellar update.
I do it for you, Marty. I do everything for you.
Stosh is working on some pretty slick mobile stuff, but I’ve been told I can’t talk about it just yet. Something about tubes and timing. While he won’t allow me to work a feature reveal into this week’s update, Stosh did deliver a video depicting some kind of insane new game mode for you to digest.
I have zero idea what’s going on in that clip, but my thirty-three minutes are up anyway. If you want to know more, you can grab the map and game variant from the author's File Share
. Oh, and before you close your browser and fire up some weekend Halo, head over to HBO and check out A Fistful of Arrows
. It's incredible
See you next week.