Bungie Weekly Update: 4/18/08
Posted by Achronos at 4/18/2008 4:29 PM PDT
Sketch writes:
Here we are again - it's Friday, which means it's time to uphold the time honored tradition of posting the Weekly Update to Bungie.net. I shall warn you again right now though - the new maps are out the door and we're all either pre-occupied with them or other, top secret stuff, so you won't find much of an actual update here today. 

To make matters worse, our regular scribes Luke and Frank are both out of the office. Again. Shishka and I are left to take the helm and take a futile stab at matching the update we cobbled together last week that was full of juicy matchmaking tid bits and hilarious photos of Frank. We used that all up. You will find no such content here today. What we do have is some helpful ProTips from Shishka on how NOT to earn Recon armor and a nice pictorial from Luke from his recent visit to the MLG Meadowlands event. 

Map Attack

The team is just as excited as the rest of you that our latest Halo 3 maps are finally out the door. We've been looking forward to this release as much as you and overall it's great to see that our fans enjoy the Legendary maps as much as we do.

On behalf of everyone here at Bungie, I'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased our new maps and continued to support Halo 3!

Avalanche seems to have found itself a home atop the list of best big team battle map in the history of the universe (according to some), while Ghost Town continues to catch people by surprise with its awesomeness since they were initially dazzled by the return of two known classics. And then there's Blackout. The remake that's 99% accurate to the original Lockout but with the 1% delta being just enough to incite flames and outrage from the depths of the community.  Of course we expect no less. Without rage and anger, what would our forums have left? (I kid, plenty of you make valuable contributions every day and I thank you for that)

Luckily plenty of people are having a blast on Blackout and (gasp!) even adjusting their play styles to account for the small difference over the original.  I've even seen some smart Forging at work to re-create a few of the missing jumps people are clamoring for. All three maps have a lot to offer and we've not even begun to see how people will use Forge to make all new ways to enjoy them. We'll be keeping an eye out for cool stuff to share in upcoming releases of Bungie Favorites. Sadly, there have not been any requests to include "Stoshout" in that mix.

Legendary Hiccups

Tuesday’s release of Halo 3's Legendary Map Pack had some users experiencing hiccups with the maps once they were downloaded. Let's take a quick look at some of the issues and how they can be resolved (or what we're doing to resolve them).

"Help! I downloaded the maps and tried to go into the Legendary-required DLC playlist and I am getting a message that says "'Maps not found.'

A similar issue popped up on certain Xbox 360s with the Heroic Map Pack. Rest assured, assuming you downloaded the maps, they are there on your Hard Drive, their existence just hasn't cached to your Xbox 360 yet. In order to find them, back out of Matchmaking to the Halo 3 main menu and then click "Custom Games" and select Maps. You should find the Legendary Maps in your map list then.

If you don't see the maps, you can try to clear your Xbox 360's cache: From the Xbox 360 Dashboard, navigate to the System blade. Press Y on the HD symbol and then press X,X, Left Bumper, Right Bumper, X, X. If you did it correctly you will see a message saying: "Do you want to perform maintenance on your Xbox 360 storage devices?"

With Halo 3, specifically, clearing your cache will clear your Recent Games, Recent Maps and Recent Films, so make sure you've saved anything you've played from those Recent lists in Halo 3 before clearing your cache.

We've also heard of a few reports of people experiencing map issues related to something else entirely. While we're still investigating, it would appear that people who have the maximum amount of content items for the game along with Heroic and Legendary may end up having issues loading the new maps. The maximum limit is 50 screenshots and 100 total combined content items like films, clips, game variants, maps, etc... If you're at this limit and experiencing map problems, try deleting one of your custom content items. We're digging deeper into the problem but our initial tests show that seems to do the trick.

"We were playing on Avalanche and a Wraith turned invisible and started dominating us in new and profoundly horrifying ways."

We're aware of this unfortunate issue, which is a product of a bug with tag systems on the map. Shishka has whipped up a fix which has already been deployed to matchmaking so you shouldn't encounter this bug there. However, it could still happen to you in custom games. To fix this yourself quick and easily, either save the version of Avalanche that's found in Matchmaking or, using Forge, delete the default Wraith and add a new one back and save it. 

"I tried to use your new screenshot filters on Blackout and all I saw was nothingness and sadness."

Nova and Pen & Ink and filters are producing all white screenshots on Blackout because those two filters specifically have conflicts with the lightmaps used in the nighttime lighting model that appears on Blackout. Because it’s only two of the filters, we elected to leave them on the map, rather than removing all of the filters from Blackout altogether.

Inside Bungie

Beyond the DLC maps and some ongoing related work, things are pretty busy here at Bungie. We have quite a few projects underway, all of which are far too secret to spill in this story. I'd love nothing more than to give you the blow by blow run down of our next steps in the World Domination 2008 play book but doing so would unleash the wrath of 777 flaming ninjas and I've got a small child who needs me to care for her. Suffice it to say that we're operating at 110% right now and even expanding some operations into a new building just up the street that's finally coming online for use. Which reminds me, we are still hiring. If you or someone you know has mad skillz, please check out our jobs page!

Luke's MLG Recap

The Meadowlands hosted Major League Gaming (mlgpro.com) for their first tournament of the 2008 season and their first tournament using Halo 3 (MLG, and its old school roots Halo50k have a history with Halo games, having used Halo 2 and Halo: Combat Evolved, respectively). This adventure across the country to play an exhibition on Blackout, answer a bunch of questions about BR2 and Snipe 1 on Blackout and meet and watch some of the best Halo players in the world was my first trip to an MLG event, chances are, and it won’t be my last.

For those who are unfamiliar with the MLG brand of Halo 3, it is a fast-paced (literally, players move 10% faster), no radar mix of Objective (Oddball, King of the Hill and Capture the Flag) and Slayer games that require teamwork, coordination and a steady Battle Rifle (MLG’s starting weapon of choice). The MLG Playlist is available in Halo 3 interested parties under the Community section – before it moves to a new resting place beside Team SWAT under the Hardcore heading in May.

Meadowlands marked Halo 3’s MLG competitive debut, with the seeds for the tournament (where a given team is ranked versus the field of competitors) having been determined via MLG’s online ladders and over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the record-setting 256 field team “a perfect [sized] bracket,” co-founder Sundance DiGiovanni quipped would eventually pare down to just two teams, Final Boss and Team Classic – with Final Boss winning the double elimination tournament after climbing back through the losers bracket (click on bracket at MLGPro.com to see how the tourney unfolded).

Setting up the main stage.

Before all of these teams and spectators (MLG estimates upwards of 12k attendees over the course of the weekend) a whole bunch of work had to be done to ready both the tourney floor – where the games would be played and the mountain of infrastructure that would result in MLG’s live broadcasts and VOD (video on demand) from the event.

A look at the commentator's box overlooking the main stage.

To the right of the mainstage was a series of wires, computer kiosks and attentive brainy types setting up servers, capturing footage, outputting footage, and working with the commentator booth – which overlooked the arena for MLG’s Video On Demand (VOD) service. “This is our Yankee Stadium,” DiGiovanni said, pointing at the constructed theater.

A low light look at all the tournament stations that aren't part of the main stage for Halo 3.

Over the course of the three day tournament, there were almost always Halo matches on the mainstage. Early round battles on the mainstage often featured lesser known teams, in an effort by MLG to let as many teams as possible in the early rounds play on the mainstage. Of course, as rounds went on and production ramped up for the video stream, the names appearing on the mainstage became much more recognizable.

Finally, a good picture. The main stage closed for setup work.

MLG shows a bit of Bungie Love.

On Saturday afternoon, I played a game on the mainstage in a public exhibition of the map a bunch of you are playing, Blackout. I was teamed up with the Ogre Twins from Final Boss and Nexy and would face MLG motormouth Puckett, MLG overlord Sundance DiGiovanni and the other half of Final Boss, Strongside and Walshy.

In truly dramatic fashion, we lost 50-48, mostly due to my subpar performance. Truth be told, I spent portions of the match just watching my teammates screens, awestruck by the things they were getting away with. There’s this incredible sixth, seventh or eighth sense that I noticed a bunch of Pros have, where an average player (like myself) would die because I stayed engaged too long, these guys have a knack for MacGuyver-like escapes and then turning the tide on their opponent. It’s more complicated than just “they have better BR skills (they do)” or “they can snipe better (they do)” or even “they work well together as a team (oh, they do),” universally, the best players have a knack for escaping, surviving and then using the aforementioned skills to kill you – or they’ve told a teammate about their foe and there’s some tactical Velociraptor-on-Muldoon-style attack happening.

How Not To Get Recon

(Or “Luke’s Not Here, So Shishka Gets to Make Fun of the Internet Today”)

Since my glorious return to Bungie’s shining towers and churning pits of magma, I’ve seen a lot of requests for the ever-elusive recon armor. While I appreciate the honest and direct approach of asking, it’s not really the best approach to getting the armor because we’re not giving it out by request. There are a few ways to get Recon, but the best way is to do something awesome that doesn’t just impress Bungie, but entertains or betters the community as a whole.

However, some people (understandably) have trouble with our rather vague ruleset for Recon and try different approaches. For example, when recon was given out for a rather hilarious video of death by way of street cone, people thought “Oh, in order to get Recon, I have to be killed by a street cone.” Not quite. You see, the reason Recon was handed out in that instance was that the video spread through the community and found its way to Bungie. Everyone was talking about it because it was so damn funny, and that is what earned it recon.

Even still, there are other people who wish to get recon, but lack the scruples to get it legitimately. These people attempt to trick their way into getting Recon. These geniuses attempt to lie to us to get Recon, as though we’re not going to figure them out. For example, check out this message I got on Xbox Live a week ago: 

“Hi I lost my recon armor and frank connor said I should message u to get it back”

Lost it? Maybe you left it at your Mom’s house. The truth of the matter is that we control who does and who doesn’t have recon, and we are able to tell exactly who and who shouldn’t have it. So, saying you lost it isn’t going to work because we can look you up and know there’s no reason as to why you should’ve had it to begin with. You may as try telling me that you’re actually me and that I need to mail myself my social security number because I forgot I was going to do that yesterday. It’s obvious to us, and we’re going to know. It’s stupid to even try.

The worst I’ve seen so far though, is coming up. But first, let’s talk about The List. Most fans see the Recon situation as a pair of lists; those who don’t have Recon, and the shorter list of people that do. I’m not so nice. For me, there are three lists. The two mentioned above, and then the list of people that will never have Recon. Take for example the following case.

A Bungie employee recently received the following message over Bungie.Net:

Hello, my gamertag is [Omitted] and my names [Omitted], im 15 and live in Michigan.

Anyways, I'm a big fan of Halo, as a matter of fact i sold my PS2 o buy a Xbox, Halo2, and Xbox LIve. I spend so much time on this game. It's my life. Just last week my older brother who is 21 deployed to Iraq. Last Monday he died in action, ='(. It's been miserable these last few days.

Now, this is not a lie, my brother who also played Halo wanted Recon. He would always be like "I wish i had it" BlahBlahBlah.

Ever since he passed, I've been thinking of ways to remember him. And it hit me, Recon Armor. Now, Now, I know what you're thinking: "Some other little kid asking for Recon" One, i could care less about the armor, I just want it to honor my brother who died fighting for us. =( This is not a pathetic attempt to get that dreaded armor. I know you will probably block me, or just flat out ignore me. But, before you do just please put yourself in my position and think about it. It would mean so much to me. And more than likely i wont receive the armor, could you at least reply explaining why? It's not a lie what kind of sick person would lie about something like this for video game armor?!

Once again, please don't just ignore it. and at least reply. If you even read this which i doubt.

Please consider this.

Thank You, Sincerely [Omitted] ='(

Present company excluded, we’re generally not in the business of being skeptical, and this really pulled at our heart strings. It’s impossible to imagine how such a tragic loss must feel.

Unfortunately for our friend, we have a sharp memory. The young unnamed person above had pasted this exact message in a window directed at every person on Bungie.Net with gold text. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, what is a bad thing is that he had done the same thing with his previous version of the message several months ago:

Hello, my gamertag is [Omitted] and I’ve been a fan of Halo since Combat Evolved and really love the series and everything you guys produce.

You guy’s are the reason I sold my playstation in order to purchase Halo and an Xbox. I love you guys! Last week my cousin also a Halo fan Gamertag: [Omitted] passed away. I made a thread about her in the forums and it got over 300 replies. She was awesome and loved Halo. It’s been really tough this last week without her. I have been grieving ever since last Wednesday. This is not a lie, I’m telling the truth and just need something from my friends at Bungie. I’ve not tried taking L337 screenshots, or faking videos for Recon Armor, I’m a great member of the community and have done nothing wrong. The reason I want Recon armor is because my cousin [Omitted] who I love and miss oh so much, wanted Recon so very much. I just want it to honor her, and remember her. I want Recon for her. I don’t want it to run around saying ‘Hey I got Recon’ I want this armor for my late great cousin [Omitted] =’(

Thank you, Bungie


This isn’t something a good person does. This is something a terrible, terrible sub-human does in an attempt for something as petty as a visual for a video game. And this is something someone wants to do if they want to guarantee to themselves that they’ll never, ever have that visual. And, for the would-be heroes out there, I did confront the above user on the topic and he confessed. When I told him that he was put on the list to never receive Recon, he tried to bribe me.

The List is not a happy place. If you’re on it, you’ll never have Recon. If we were to flip a switch one morning and unlock Recon on every 360 in the world, you would still not have it. People who are caught lying end up on The List. People who are caught cheating end up on The List. People who are banned from Matchmaking for any period of time are on The List. You don’t want to be on The List.

On the ligher side, we do give out Recon for good deeds, awesome film and film clips and map variants. It’s not all doom and gloom over here. It’s just easier to point out what won’t get you Recon, rather than what will. To be clear, the following:

  • Asking a Bungie Employee over XBL or Bungie.Net
  • Asking on the forums
  • Asking AT ALL
  • Repeating exactly or closely what previous people have done to get Recon
  • Lying
  • Cheating
  • Complimenting my figure

…Will NOT get you Recon. They will, however, earn you varying levels of ire, and two of those (Lying and Cheating) will get you on The List. And now that you know about The List, perhaps you should rethink your Recon strategy if you’ve been going about it the wrong way.

And that's a wrap. Sorry, no funny pics today. See, I warned you that you'd be better off spending your time playing the new Halo 3 maps! 
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