Bungie Weekly Update: 8/22/08
Posted by lukems at 8/22/2008 3:14 PM PDT
Tightening Up the Loose Ends

It’s no secret that what we originally envisioned for “The Bungie Fan’s Summer 2008” is ultimately much different from what “The Bungie Fan’s Summer 2008” has actually ended up being. The periods in between major announcements and any sort of reveals are lean ones. However in these lean times, on these long treks through barren, sun-scorched deserts, small scraps of manna have fallen from on high.

In recent weeks we’ve released a pair of machinima-based awards acceptance speeches. In both cases, astute fans noticed some hints and chicanery associated with both of these videos (if you’ve somehow missed them, watch them in the Bungie Media Player now). Additionally, in both cases overly zealous, froth-filled fans bathed in excitement, undoubtedly quivering at things they are looking at with a far-too strong microscope.

There will be no insertion of Campaign objects, enemies or friendlies via the Forge as folks have speculated. There will be no “bots” added to the game. The “set” on Rat’s Nest was designed to appear like a backlot of a film set, a holding area, not some depiction of a brand-new feature that implements Campaign objects into multiplayer.  Do consider this issue a closed one. Calm yourselves down, pump the brakes, and take a breath. 

We’ve of course heard the gums flapping on the Internet that Bungie is making more Halo stuff. We’ve never said that we’re finished with Halo 3; in the Edge acceptance video, we confirmed that the ride isn’t over. Ever since our independence last year and taking control of our destiny, we've been pretty open about the fact that we have three distinct projects underway within Bungie and they aren't all Halo related.

Remember, Remember It's Nearly September

The September Playlist update is going to be a bit different than previous months. First, the Playlist update will not be implemented until September 16. Before the bitter tears splash gently on your keyboard, we’re holding the September update until the 16th to coincide with Title Update 2, which releases on that very same day. The September playlist update is arguably the meatiest update Halo 3 has seen and something Shishka has been working on various aspects of throughout the summer months.

Snowbound and Epitaph have long been the source of much discussion and curiosity with e-folks wondering “What if there were no Shield Doors?” on this pair of maps. Admittedly, we were curious, too.  Jon Cable, one of our Sandbox Engineers, rejiggered an internal-use-only (as in, this will NEVER be available to folks, because it’s cagey, primitive and inelegant for public consumption, yet perfectly acceptable for our internal purposes) version of Forge that allowed Shield Doors to be deleted.

Epilogue and Boundless are the products of these tweaks that players can look forward to next month. Epilogue is the Shield Door-free version of Epitaph and it has seen some tweaks and knob-turns to the weapon layout, as well.

Unlike Epilogue, Boundless isn’t entirely sans Shield Doors. In both High and Low base, there are two entrances from the top middle portion of the map – those Shield doors remain. The others (at Shotgun, in the ice tunnels and out the back doors of both High and Low Base) have been removed. Like Epilogue, Boundless has its own series of weapon layout changes.

Epilogue and Boundless will not be replacing Epitaph and Snowbound in matchmaking, but rather they will exist side by side with the other maps – the focus in the short-term is to prioritize these revisions over the existing maps, so you should see Epilogue and Boundless more than Epitaph and Snowbound.

A new, Elephant-less version of Sandtrap, called Sand Tarp, will also appear in Matchmaking. In one-sided games Shishka has also flipped the attacking and defending side of the map – so instead of having to pull the flag out of the impenetrable crypt, the attacking team will spawn in the crypts and have to work their way to the downed Albatross side of the map.

Before we drill into the playlist specific changes, here’s the list of changes that will affect all of matchmaking.
  • Added Epilogue – Epitaph with no Shield Doors. Added alongside default variant.
  • Added Boundless – Snowbound with reduced Shield Doors. Added alongside default variant.
  • Added Sand Tarp – Sandtrap sans Elephants, default team spawns switched in one-sided games. Added alongside default map variant.
  • Added Pit Stop – The Pit with inaccessible spawn hives. Added alongside default map variant.
  • Ghost Town – No longer appears in any symmetrical gametype.
  •  Team Slayer – Spawning configuration in default Team Slayer now includes a secondary weapon – the magnum
  • Shishka is shuffling up the existing suite of playlists, moving things around, deleting others and adding some new playlists.
Ranked Playlists

Lone Wolves
  • Player count increases from six players to 8 players.

Team Objective
  • Crazy King Hill times increased to one minute. Hill Movement set to Sequence (was Random).

Team Doubles
  • This playlist now requires ALL content (Cold Storage, Legendary and Heroic maps are being used in Team Doubles)
  • Objective Gametypes have had their appearance frequency reduced.
  • Crazy King Hill times increased to one minute. Hill Movement set to Sequence (was Random).  

Ranked Big Team Battle
  • This playlist is retired.

Introducing Squad Battle
  • Squad Battle is a Ranked six on six Playlist designed to fill some of the void left by excising Ranked Big Team Battle from the Halo 3 Playlists. Squad Battle gametypes are focused on Slayer and Capture the Flag and this playlist currently requires the Heroic Map Pack.

Social Playlists

Big Team Social
  • This playlist is retired.

Rocket Race
  • This playlist is retired.

Multi Team
  • Rocket Race has been added to the gametypes and set with a low weighting.

DLC Playlists

Since Big Team was cut from Social, eight on eight action is reborn in the overhauled DLC playlists section of Matchmaking. DLC Slayer and Objective are both retired. These playlists require Halo 3 Downloadable Content (at least up through Legendary, but in the case of FFA, it requires all DLC) to participate.

  • This is an eight-player Free For All hopper focused on DLC content. The gametypes contained herein are a mix of Slayer, Objective and Infection modes.

DLC Big Team
  • Eight on eight Social Slayer and Objective action (Gametypes from Big Team Social)
  • Focused on DLC content (Requires both Heroic and Legendary Map Packs)

Hardcore Playlists

  • Objective Gametypes, SWATGuns set to skip after veto
  • Weighting on all Objective games, SWATGuns and Magnums reduced
  • Player Damage Resistance set to 150% (was 200%), players no longer spawn with grenades
  • SWAT map variants now have Carbines and grenades available to pick up.

Head to Head
  • This playlist is retired.

Sketch's PAX Attack
The Penny Arcade Expo is just a week away and we’re scrambling to put the finishing touches on what should be a sweet experience in our swanky Bungie booth (#752). I mentioned before that we would have some new multiplayer content and today I can confirm what many of you have already surmised – “Purple Reign,” officially named “Assembly,” will be available to play. This Covenant themed map is a symmetrical battleground, not too unlike Midship but a bit larger. (NOTE: This is NOT Midship nor is it meant to be a remake of Midship, it’s purple, but otherwise it’s all new and awesome).   

So far we have a pretty sweet lineup of events taking shape for the booth.  Each day we will have two one-hour blocks for the “Recon Challenge” where fans will play 2v2 against some Bungie folks for a chance to win Recon armor.  Luke & Shishka will be competing in some challenges as well as team “TnT” (Joe Tung & Luke “Abe Froman” Timmins ) and another twosome consisting of Lars Bakken and Joe Tung. Any of these three teams could be your free ticket to easy Recon armor.  In addition to the Recon Challenges, we’ll also have some special appearances in the booth.

On Saturday afternoon, music maestro Marty O’Donnell will grace us with his presence to sign and give away some soundtracks, pose for photos and mingle with the masses.  Following Marty’s appearance, Jen Taylor, the voice of Cortana, will be in our booth from 4 to 6 p.m. to sign stuff and meet with fans. And don’t get any ideas – Bungie Security Stalwart Jerome Simpson will be on hand to regulate as needed.

On Saturday and Sunday we will also have an “Artist’s Alley” where Bungie art folks will be representin' and handing out prints of their work, signing stuff, talking shop and maybe even doing some custom sketches for you (if you ask nicely I’m sure Mehve will hook you up).  Sunday will also be the day to come and meet Joseph Staten, writer and cinematics director for Halo 1 & Halo 2 as well as the author of the recently released “Halo: Contact Harvest” novel.  Each day we’ll also be offering plenty of chances to win various prizes - people who come with a knowledge of Bungie trivia will improve their odds of getting loot.  Of course throughout all of this, we’ll have plenty of people from the Bungie team mingling and hanging in the booth to answer your questions, talk shop and maybe even talk some trash.  

If spending money is more your thing you’ll be happy to know that we will also have a few exclusive t-shirts available for purchase.  We didn’t produce very many so when they’re gone, they’re gone. Here’s a look at what we’ll have to offer:

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The night is always darkest...

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It's not you, it's us.

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We will show thee things which must be hereafter.

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Seis de Mayo!

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A Garden of Earthly Delights!

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