No meandering wordplay about the meaning of time or the results of our science projects in the opening of the update this week. Today, we're all business. And while we know you really want to read all about Halo 3: ODST, and that another week without any new information or even a meager progress report might feel like a kick right in the eye socket, trust us, we feel your pain.
That said, the proverbial gag order is going to get lifted soon. It might even coincide with a certain electronic expo slated to kick off in the very near future. While we can't get into the details of what, if anything, we'll be putting on public display, we can say that we're sending a small but agile strike force into the field. Keep your eyes to the skies.
For those sticking with the present tense, we have some June Matchmaking news, an update on Render-to-Video's beta progress, and a new screenshot contest poised to give you yet another shot at Recon armor.
Bringing Back the Sack
June is just around the corner and that of course means we've got a matchmaking update in the works. So you'll know exactly what you can expect once June's update rolls out sometime next month, we've brought Shishka online and asked him to deliver all the juicy details. He obliged. Read on to learn about the June update in our matchmaking maestro's own words.
"Oh god, it’s back.
For those of you that missed out on the Halo 2 version, Action Sack is a social playlist that explores the darker recesses of the Halo Sandbox. You will find little in the ways of parity between Action Sack and the current full time playlists. Action Sack is a unique beast designed with the social gamer in mind. If you come to Action Sack expecting serious business, you’ll probably leave a frustrated mess of a human being. To drive the point home, the playlist is social (so you will not see a TrueSkill™ rating), and worth zero EXP. There is no such thing as a General in Action Sack, so you can put those spare controllers away. Or better yet, maybe have some friends sit down in front of them.
Action Sack is a 4v4 playlist that you can join with friends and guests. The gametypes are…not normal. Some of them approach normalcy, but many are like walking into Crazy Town at crazy hour. What kind of gametypes are in Action Sack? Well, let’s take a look at a few of the gametypes you will find…
Halo 3 Gametypes You’ve Probably Played Before
Team Slayer. Players spawn with Rocket Launchers. First team to 50 points wins. 10 minute match time limit.
Team Slayer. Players spawn with random primary and secondary weapons. Ammo is finite (as opposed to the FFA version). First team to 50 points wins. 10 minute match time limit.
Team Slayer. Players spawn with Energy Swords. Highest score after four rounds wins. Players have three lives each. Three minutes per round.
Halo 2 Action Sack Classics
1 Bomb Assault. Bomb Carrier active camo and moves quickly, but is weak. Highest score after four rounds wins. 3 minute round time limit.
2 Flag Shottys
Capture the Flag. Players spawn with Shotguns, but no energy shields. First team to three flag captures wins. 12 minute match time limit.
Pit of Joy
Team King of the Hill. Players spawn with Energy Swords and 4x Overshields. Static Hill. First team to 150 points wins. 10 minute match time limit.
New Contenders for The Clowntown Crown
Pit of Lies
Team King of the Hill. Players lose one point per second while standing in the hill, but gain two points for killing a player while in the hill. Outside of the hill, players do 0% damage. Inside the hill, players do 200% damage and have 50% damage resistance. Hill moves once every minute. First team to 10 points wins. 10 minute match time limit.
Tug of War
Team Slayer. Players spawn with Battle Rifles. Points are gained by killing opponents, but lost by dying. Bonus points are awarded for killing sprees or eliminations. First team to 25 points wins. 10 minute match time limit.
Run for Cover
One Sided VIP Escort on a specialized Sandbox map. The VIP team spawns on the ground level with plasma pistols, and cannot damage their opponents. Points are awarded every time the VIP reaches an escort point, but are docked every time the VIP dies. Next VIP is chosen at random. Anti-VIP team spawns in the sky bubble with Sniper Rifles and Spartan Lasers, and are attempting to stop the VIP and lower the VIP team’s score as much as possible. When the VIPs escorts are nearby, they take on his color (gold) and their move speed increases.
Run Faster Next Time
Territories. Players spawn with gravity hammers and are invincible. Teams ride into the single territory on warthogs and must knock their opponents out of the ring. Highest score after 7 rounds wins.
Seismic Sumo Activity
The Rest of Matchmaking
Cubed – Timers on power-ups and weapons tweaked, popular hiding spots fixed
Vessel – Fusion Cores removed, known hiding spots removed
Plurality – Known hiding spots removed
Avalanche Heavy – All closed boxes on the ground have been replaced with open boxes
Punishment – Small update with changes to bases
Utah Mambo – Small update with tweaks to equipment spawn timing and spawning
Team Slayer – Team Slayer is now Mythic required
Team Objective - RETIRED
Multi Team – Multi Team is now Mythic required
Social Big Team – Social Big Team is now Mythic required
Social Team DLC – Social Team DLC is now Mythic required. Successful vetoes in Social Team DLC will result in a Mythic map.
Team Action Sack – New Social 4v4 0EXP Playlist. All DLC required
Team Mythic – Team Mythic is retired. Its maps and gametypes are migrated to Social Team DLC. Mythic TrueSkill and Social ratings will not
Double EXP Weekends (in order of appearance)
Social Living Dead (All DLC Required)
Team Flag (All DLC Required)
7 on the 7th
7-man FFA on Assembly
And that covers it. I’d like to thank the community members that helped me work out some of the kinks on these maps by joining my open party with zero idea as to what they were getting into."
Render-to-Video Public Viewable
As mentioned in the Bungie Blog earlier in the week, all of the Film Clips rendered out by our Render-to-Video beta participants are now available for public viewing. If you're reading this, "public" means you. Though you still can't cue up your own cuts for The Contraption to chew up and spit out as rendered video unless you have beta access, you can at least get a good look at what will be on offer when the beta process ends and the service becomes live. We're still targeting July and still holding strong to the caveat that we may alter the deal at any time
This week Roger and our online team have been busy dropping additional minutes into the mix in order to test out both the Standard and High Definition flavors of the Render-to-Video service. So far, so good. If you've been out of the loop and can't seem to figure out how to access any of the rendered video clips, we'll make it super easy on you.
Click on the link below to be transported into the entire collection. You can sort by date, rating, number of downloads, or relevance. Just make sure you have a good amount of time on your hands - there's a pretty giant collection already, and it's easy to get lost in all the amazing videos.
Bungie.net - Rendered Videos
Once again Stosh dug out a gem from the screenshot collection we have on offer and once again if it sucks you know exactly who to blame. According to Cable, today's image is actually "by design." He notes, "Ragdolls don’t physically interact with very many things for performance reasons. Dynamic crates (which fusion coils are) are one of those things they don’t interact with." Either way, this looks pretty painful.
Fusion Coil Man is Unfit to Drive
Vidmaster Annual Recon Competition
We made last weekend's contest a bit more complex than usual, requiring that the hoops we held aloft be jumped through by four man squads racing through Halo 3's final campaign level. Still, even with the added difficulty we saw thousands of entries. Thanks for playing. Winners have been notified.
We also received what seemed like thousands of private messages from players who've been banned from Halo 3's Matchmaking for one reason or another. More than a few claims were made along the usual lines: "Banned for no raison," "But it was my little brother playing," and, "I was over at a friend's house and he was the one who was cheating," all delivered lovingly into our inboxes even though we asked players specifically to avoid doing just that.
May 17th, 2009. Dog head in glass jar this morning, tire tread from 1996 Ford Ranger XLT. The Internet is afraid of us. We have seen its true face. Our PM boxes are extended gutters and the gutters are full of whining and when the tears finally overflow, all the boosters will drown. The accumulated filth of all their stolen EXP and rubber-banded controllers will pile up about their waists and all the fake Generals will open up a new message and type, "Can I haz Recon?" And we'll look down and reply, "No."
They had a choice...all of them
We know what you're thinking: "Really? A Watchmen
reference? That movie was so March 2009 and the soundtrack was kinda weird. Besides, what the deal with Night Owl and that lady in the flying ship? That was icky!"
Don't worry about it. You'll understand when you're older. We won't even make mention that it was a graphic novel as well. One thing at a time. For now, you'll just have to suffer the cold hard fact that if you've ever been caught cheating or boosting, for whatever reason, even if it was your little bro at the helm when it happened, you've ruled yourself out from being awarded Recon via any of our contests.
For those wondering if that means they're on The List - the compilation of names we've collected of players who might never
receive Recon via any method - the answer is probably no. We typically reserve those line items for the really egregious offenders, for example, players who convinced themselves it was a great idea to mod their way to the achievements that aren't available through official means just yet.
But if you've been banned for EXP boosting, your penalty has already been delivered. If you lost your File Share privileges, the consequences of your actions have already been realized. You can still have Recon come Fall, as long as you complete all of the Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST achievements required, just like everyone else.
And this isn't your cue to message us asking for a detailed itemization of each and every ban type for severity so you can determine if you have made The List. If your punishment was only temporary, or was confined only to Bungie.net, chances are you have nothing to worry about.
Since last week's winners have already been notified and are already rocking their awesome new armor, we figured the rest of you will want to know about this weekend's screenshot competition. Well, you'll just have to stop back tomorrow. As has become the ritual, we'll fill you in with all the information you'll need to know via our Bungie.net frontpage. Get your F5ing finger ready.
And with that, we're heading off into the weekend. The sun is up over Seattle and things are looking pretty bright. It's about time we started replenishing our Vitamin D stores. Stick around if you like. We don't mind. And of course, stay safe and stay tuned.