The Bungie Halo Humpday Challenge
The Bungie Humpday challenge has been on a bit of a break the past two weeks. In fact, we haven't had anything to say about the weekly matchup since the severe
we took from team Japan.
So, where have we been the past two weeks? Some may say we crawled into a hole, licking our wounds, scared to show our heads again. While that was true immediately following that ass kicking, we're Bungie, and we've never been ones to back down. Instead, we regrouped and took a long look at our rag tag team of weekly volunteers and tried to figure out what went wrong. Team Japan certainly wasn't our only loss but it was one of our most lop sided and it really stung. Something needed to change.
To really illustrate what happened, lets look back at one of the greatest come back stories in modern history...Rocky IV. In that match against Japan, we were Apollo Creed to their Ivan Drago. It was a massacre. However, like a young Italian Stallion, we dug deep and began training for our revenge. We traveled behind enemy lines to train in it's purest form - internal scrimmages and random forays into matchmaking toughened us up and helped us improve our teamwork. A few of us even went on long runs in the deep snow and did hanging sit-ups in a run down barn for good measure.
Now, fast forward to yesterday and our pending match with the folks at
High Impact Halo
...Our team was lean and mean, ready for battle. While we have made improvements in our gameplay and teamwork, the decision was ultimately made to change the way we approach the Humpday Challenge. Two things happened differently this time: 1.We formed a hand picked team (that did not include Frankie) and 2.WE picked one of the gametypes
In the past, the Humpday has usually been about whatever Bungie people happened to get online for the time of the match. While we often had good players, we seldom had a good "team." In addition, the larger the teams became, the worse our teamwork and record became. We settled for a 6 v 6 match with specifically recruited players who were able to meet online ahead of time to warm up AND play as a unified team. Our "dream team" of sorts was primed and ready and luckily we didn't disappoint. Note that the stakes were much higher, we had everything to lose. If our dream team couldn't even win, our will may have very well been crushed once and for all. Luckily, that wasn't the case.
The other change involves the rules of engagement. Historically, opponents were allowed to pick all three gametypes and we were at their mercy. Many times this resulted in lop sided gametypes that we've never once played and clearly put us at a disadvantage. That, along with the fact that we just don't have as much gameplay logged as our challengers, was too much for us to overcome. From now on, WE pick one of the gametypes. Is changing the rules to our benefit after the fact a cheap tactic? Hey, it's our challenge, we'll change 'em if we like!
High Impact Halo
The folks at High Impact Halo have a rep for tearing apart the inner fabric of Halo and finding ways to do things never imagined by the development team. As such, their intimate knowledge of the game is second to none. We expected a close battle and we got one. After a quick 8v8 match in Big Team Battle to warm up (ending in a tie) we were ready to meet our challengers. Here's the line up:
Sketch - Brian "someone has to write this up" Jarrard - Community
Chucky - Charlie "this sandwich isn't even toasted!" Gough - Engineering
Ruiner - Paul "my beard is cool" Bertone - Design
New001 - Joseph "I have the highest level in Bungie" Tung - Producer
Frankie* - Luke "Frankie never looked so good" Timmins - Engineering
Eamon - Eamon "my real name is my gamertag" McKenzie - Engineering
* Note - A few of the Bungie folks were playing from the office, where available retail boxes and connections to Live are in short supply. As a result, Luke (aka Abe Froman) was forced to useFrankie's Xbox and gamertag. It actually wasn't a secret plan to lull our competition into a false sense of security, though initially it did seem to have that effect.
1 Flag CTF on Zanzibar - First to 3
General Tone of Game:
The first game was picked by us, so naturally we HAD to win it. We started on D and quickly stepped into our roles and dashed for the appropriate weapons. For the most part, our entire team stayed inside the base, calling out incoming attackers and converging on their location. Team HIH got the flag but it didn't move too far. The gate never even got opened.
Once we got our turn on offense, New001 was inside the base in the blink of an eye (seriously, he can rush faster than anyone I've seen). The flag was already out front before we really even got started. We continued to push and push and eventually were able to grab the flag and run it back along the sea wall for a score.
The next round went much the same, only this time HIH got the flag back with mere feet of the score point. Somehow, miraculously, we were able to shut them down and hold off the score as time expired. On our next run, once again we rushed the base immediately and after a few coordinated assaults were able to emerge with the flag. Ruiner and New001 continued to strike before anyone knew what him 'em.
After another well fought but ultimately unproductive offensive run by HIH, it was our turn to put it away for good. Keeping with our same strategy, we pounded their base with a well orchestrated push and emerged with the flag and our first victory. Throughout the match, Eamon owned the sniper rifle and laid down long range death on anyone unfortunate enough to get into his cross hairs. The kudos award for game 1 goes to Eamon.
3-0 Bungie Wins
Team Slayer on Lockout - 100 kills
General Tone of Game:
Twelve players gunning it out on Lockout can get really intense, really fast. Team Bungie started on the sniper tower and we battled across the map with Team HIH atop the flag base. We started with Battle Rifles for this match so anyone within eyesight was within range. Long range attacks plus ample grenades = a cornucopia of destruction. This match went back and forth for the first half but we took a small lead after that and never looked back. "Frankie" led the Bungie team with 26 kills including a 7 kill spree. Choosing to play a bit more cautious, I earned the honor of longest lifespan and least amount of deaths (with a respective 16 kills).
100-79 Bungie Wins
Neutral Flag CTF on Colossus w/ Snipers
General Tone of Game:
Our third and final game was somewhat of an odd variety. Neutral Flag CTF Snipers!? Huh? Initially we were kind of skeptical but I must say that once the game got started, it was a blast. The flag spawns up top, near the sniper rifle location, and both teams make a mad dash for while dozens of sniper trails streak through the map. On our first attempt, we were nearly within scoring distance only to discover that the flag reset insanely fast. Ok, this wasn't going to be as easy as we thought...Team Bungie did get the first score, literally moving the flag inch by inch as carriers were sniped down one by one. Eventually we threw enough bodies at it to get it home and score. As soon as someone spawned, they got a sniper shot to the head. If you were lucky, you could get behind a wall quick enough to line up a few shots of your own.
The battles were frantic and eventually the score was tied 2-2 (we're pretty sure one of the HIH scores came by scoring from BELOW, but hey, all's fair in love and war). I encourage our readers to round up some friends and give this gametype a try. It was definitely a good time.
3-2 Bungie Wins
Thank you to the fine folks representing High Impact Halo for a great set of games. The fights were intense, the skill level was high and the sportsmanship was fantastic. In closing, I asked members of the Bungie team if they had any memorable moments or quotes to reflect back on...
"So, that's not really Frankie, right?" (question posed by team HIH)
"Before the first game and before we told them it wasn't Frankie, someone on their team said, 'Cool, Frankie's here, maybe now we'll have a chance!"
"I remember a few times when Joseph yelled out, 'holy @#$% we just rocked their @#$*%ng world!!'
"I remember the Big Team Battle game we played as a warmup when some kid on our team asked, 'What's the best thing to put on a cold sore'
"..and I told him the best treatment is heavy kissing."
"'When did the humpday challenge become an elitist event? waaaaaaahhhh..' Oh wait, I heard that this morning, not last night."
Stay tuned next week for a super special edition of the Humpday Challenge. It will be played here in the studio, face-to-face with our opponents, on new maps!