Like most life lessons, those doled out by JFK International Airport’s inquisitive TSA agents must be learned the hard way. After Dave Candland setup an ill-advised airport security joke, a lovely young lady with a surprisingly tender touch supplied our away team with an unexpected punch line.
“Blue gloves or clear?”
I would have taken pictures of the events that followed, but my phone had already been confiscated and I was in a somewhat compromising position. We prostrate ourselves for you. Or is it prostate
? Either way, my excruciatingly intimate adventures through LAX and JFK are finally over, and after missing out on two consecutive Bagel Fridays, spending too much time not sleeping on turbulent planes or in musty roadside motel rooms, and enduring two full days saturated by dude musk at Claude’s Halo pajama jammy jam (more on that in a bit), I have to say it feels great to be home again.
Hell, I’ll even go so far as to say that I missed you.
And it looks like at least one of you missed us, too.
Yup, truth told we have been less and less active on Bungie.net as of late. Part of that is owed to my aforementioned travel arrangements, but a significant amount of my time is also now being dedicated to other upcoming endeavors that won’t make a splash on the front page until Bungie Day closes in around us. Unfortunately, that means there are just too many balls in the air for me to juggle without letting a few fall to the ground.
More explicit details about those balls in the weeks ahead. Today, we’re gonna go back in time. First stop on our magical mystery tour: the dark and pungent bowels of Banadu.
Well, technically you weren’t playing this “dame game” to begin with, my eloquently disappointed friend, but I do feel obligated to respond to your carefully wrought inquiry. In fact, allow me to cook up a quick Q&A that tackles everything in one fell swoop (which, in point of fact, is my absolute favorite kind of swoop).
Let’s kick it off with a recap of Jeremiah’s forum notice
, just in case you’ve yet to lay eyes on it.
“We have executed a round of Credit Resets with a temporary Credit Ban for accounts which have habitually exhibited idling or "AFK" behavior while playing in Firefight Matchmaking. We'll be keeping a close eye on all of the accounts which we have taken action against. Further action will be taken if necessary, up to or including a temporary or permanent Matchmaking Ban.
When you idle or "AFK" frequently you're causing a negative impact on the enjoyment and integrity of the game for other players. Anytime you are in a Matchmaking session of Halo: Reach you are expected to be actively playing the game, we award you Credits in good faith and trust that you are earning them. Violating that trust by earning Credits that you don't deserve and negatively impacting the experience of other players will result in the removal of Credits.
Furthermore, using network manipulation to splinter a Matchmaking session so you can benefit from games intended for groups of players is not acceptable. When you do this you deprive the other players in your session of a teammate and you degrade their online experience. We have provided a single player Firefight playlist called Score Attack which you can use if you wish to play alone.”
Q. OMG! All my hard earned Credits were stolen from me! What’s going on!?
A. A few thousand players have been spending an awful lot of time exploiting matchmade Firefight games to rack up Credits without having to work the controls. While we couldn’t care less what you do with your apparent abundance of spare time, we do care about the negative impact you have upon other poor players who have been forced to endure your shenanigans in Firefight for far too long. As a result the Banhammer was recently upgraded, and this brand of bad behavior is now being punished with Credit revocation, Credit earning bans, or Matchmaking bans depending on the severity of the crime.
Q. I wasn’t hurting anyone! Why do you care if I construct depressingly elaborate systems that allow me to earn Credits while I’m busy re-watching my Twilight DVDs?
A. I’m going to be right back with your answer in just a bit. While I’m away, please stare at the following image for approximately fifteen minutes. Repeat each time you feel the urge to “play” some Firefight.
Seriously, keep staring. Something amazing is about to happen.
Q. Why don’t you just detect idle players and boot them from the game?
A. We do that, too. Those caught in the latest net are players who actively circumvent our standard detection methods. They’re like the Michael Jordans of Not Playing.
Q. It wasn’t me! It was my four year old! Why did I get caught up in all of this madness?
A. If your little bundle of Firefightin’ joy is playing without taking extended, mid-game breaks from the action you likely won’t be caught by our new detection mechanisms. That said we’d like to take this opportunity to recommend that you present your children with more age appropriate entertainment experiences, like say Maxim Magazine
or an episode or two of Spartacus
Jokes aside, if you believe your supervised child’s style of play fits the modus operandi of a player attempting to avoid idle detection (namely, short bursts of play punctuated by long spells of in-game inactivity), we recommend you set up a custom game for them so as not to negatively impact other players’ experiences. After all, few people want to play with someone who has a rotten load in their pants. A lesson Pete Parsons has learned all too well.
Of course, we want to ensure that any potential false positives are properly identified. Top Men are doing double and triple checks to make sure only legitimate offenders are punished for their crimes against humanity.
Q. You will rue the day you banned me! How does it feel to know that I’ll never play Halo again?
A. It hurts deep down inside.
Naughty bits out of the way, let’s dig into some welcome community behavior.
Most of the submissions I received for this week didn’t exactly line up with my call for vehicle-themed commercials. Ultimately, I ended up entertaining a wealth of screenshots that simply fell into the “kick ass” category. That’s okay, I’m still gonna hand out a bunch of Star nameplates to those that impressed.
Mobile Mans and Womans, click here
Seven of the images featured above have earned their owners a new nameplate. Of course, we did receive a good handful of customized ad concepts to showcase, too. Keep scrolling.
It's the future. Anything is possible!
Gotta read the fine print.
Yup, we got a lot of Warthog. But they weren't the only vehicles to earn some sweet sales pitch lovin'. Here's the rest of the offerings I thought deserved some face time.
And as the cherry on top of this week’s commercialized submissions, a Warthog Tricktage. If this doesn’t sell you on the ‘hog, I don’t know what will. Turns out you don't need frags to make these pigs fly.
While I’m not going to get into the details of my super-secret Los Angeles excursion, I can and will talk at length about the incredible time I had in Connecticut last weekend. Arm in arm with Dave Candland and my ginger hologram, Cameron Pinard, I descended deep into the dark and verdant woods for a chance to take part in what’s reported to be Claude Errera’s final Halo LAN party.
If you don’t know who Claude is, you should be ashamed of yourself. Bad, you. He’s essentially both the father and the creepy uncle of the Halo community, and when the call went out that he was hosting a get together in his humble abode, fans came from far and wide to participate in the festivities.
I want to take a second to thank Claude for letting us crash his party. Though Dave and Cameron are veterans on the Halo LAN circuit, this was the first community-only LAN party I’ve ever attended. Hopefully, it won't be the last. Not only was it reinvigorating to witness players come together around the games this studio has built, it was inspiring to see just how strong their friendships had become over the last ten years. At times I felt like I was intruding on something sacred, but for the most part I simply felt humbled to be a part of it all.
If you want to check out some more official action shots or read Claude’s thoughts on the sendoff, you can see the gallery at HBO
and Claude's article for “The Age of Gratitude
,” a WordPress site dedicated to encapsulating a decade of meaningful Halo memories, by clicking on the links inline. (You're welcome to submit your own thoughts to The Age of Gratitude when you’re done with the update if you’re willing. We’d love to read them.)
To everyone who attended Claude’s LAN this year, thanks for making us feel like part of the crew. You’re the real reason all of this has been, and continues to be, so worthwhile. The gratitude is for you. Now please, for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, grab a bar of soap and take a -blam!- shower. You stink!
Stosh has been on the move this week, too. Some folks have discovered breadcrumbs tucked away into the folds of Bungie.net that just might lead to something he’s been working on for a little bit now.
Stosh discovered this video. It is not made of breadcrumbs. He does not recommend that you eat it.
That’s it. Anticlimactic on the heels of such a long break, I know. Don’t worry. We’ll make it up to you soon. Stay tuned.