Bungie Weekly Update: Rare Thursday Edition
Posted by lukems at 9/18/2008 11:17 AM PDT
One Day Early – and Then Some

Because of today’s Bungie.net release, we’re releasing the Weekly Update a day early.

Title Update Zwei

Title Update 2 will download when you log in to Halo 3 on September 23rd. Smart alecky types guessed it would be either today (the 18th) or the 23rd as we make a habit of doing our updates on pretty particular days. If you poke around you’ll see that some stuff has changed here on Bungie.net, some of that stuff will flick on when TU2 turns on next week, and some of it is Live now.

When TU2 goes live next week we fully expect a crazy period in Matchmaking. See, there will be a period after TU2 goes live where not everyone will have the Title Update for a number of weird reasons like: You left your box on and the TU came out so folks who turn their boxes on are getting the new patch and you're playing the previous version of the game; Your Xbox doesn't recognize a new patch (clear your boxes' cache - Go to the System blade and select Memory. Press Y on the HD symbol and then press X, X, LB, RB, X, X. If you did this properly a message will appear saying: Do you want to perform maintenance on your Xbox 360 storage device. Selet the "yes" equivalent and then boot up Halo 3) or any number of other weird issues like the host has TU2 and the client doesn't or the client has TU2 and the host is on TU1, it's going to be a bit like the end of Ghostbusters, but we promise, that even though it seems like Matchmaking has fallen into the gaping maw of cement cracks - it will climb out.

We expect all of these issues to resolve within four or five hours of TU2 going live. We will be watching it closely.

For the Stats Whore in All of Us

The Web Devs here at Bungie are rolling out phase one of some significant changes to Bungie.net. The first batch of changes is available now, but the features that they modify are mostly tied to TU2. Throughout the site, you’ll notice a handful of small, courteous notes reminding you that functionality like the Playlist Ratings require actually participating in hoppers that track Playlist Ratings – again, those become operational on Sept. 23.

Notice the courteous message that reminds you that the Playlist Rating is not yet live. It will be on Tuesday. Relax.

Signed in users will see the new Achievements that mostly become available when TU goes live. One of the Achievements isn’t available until Sept. 25 (the Anniversary of Halo 3).

Notice the revised Player Snapshot, and the friendly message that is a reminder that this functionality is not yet enabled.

Players will notice that their Career Stats page has seen a pretty significant visual facelift. We’ve brought Ranked and Social stats onto the same page and allowed players to sort which stat they’d like to see first. The Gold Bars represent Ranked stats and the Purpley-blue (I’m colorblind) colored bars represent Social stats. Regardless of which preference you’re sorting by (Ranked on top, or Social on top), your medal chest sorting will mirror that preference.

Here's the revised Career Stats page. This dude isn't very good and hasn't played a lot. So your stats page will probably look similar yet different. Emphasis on the not very good, but at least you play a lot, amirite?

This change to the Career Stats page does a number of things. First, it unifies looking at a player’s stats, with users being able to easily tell what kind of player someone is. Do they mostly play Ranked? Social? Do they only use the BR in Social and exclusively use the Plasma Pistol in Ranked play like Shishka? That data is now digested very easily and quickly.

The second reason we wanted to get all of the stats onto a single page was for a new feature the Bungie.net team implemented: Player Comparisons. As the name suggests, this allows you to enter another player’s gamertag into the window and we’ll spit out a side by side comparison of the two players using the new stats view.

This is the Player Comparison's page. Here, you will be able to gather detailed side-by-side information of you and your own worst enemy. Mine is Gosset, and but he's bad enough where I don't even need to compare our stats. At least Tung represents.

Playlist Reminders

In addition to introducing Player Ratings, remember that on September 23rd, the long-awaited September Playlists will become live. The September changes, which we detailed a month ago are pretty invasive and introduce a bunch of new elements to matchmaking, while some old friends are retired. Rocket Race, which is being taken out back, spoke to with soothing vowel sounds and eased into the divine beyond, will occasionally reappear as a Double EXP playlist - the first appearance is scheduled for October.

The retiring of Big Team Social is a bit overstated as the Social 8 on 8 action is instead migrating to the DLC hoppers. Ranked Big Team, which has long-stared extinction in the face, is being hit with a meteor, but like some fauna on our planet, a 6 on 6 mode has been born from its ashes - Squad Battle.

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.

Shishka and I IM ALOT

So, when I take a break from playing Xbox Live and eating Pizza all day, I usually find some time to IM with Shishka - who sits directly across from me. Most of the time we IM about work stuff or like really important things: our favorite foods and colors are often really popular points of discussion, but sometimes we talk about various messages we've received through the Bungie.net private messaging software.

One message he received this week was from a chum across the pond offering to sell the whole studio BMW's and waive the import price. Then this conversation unfolded.

Lukems says: sure, i'll take a delivered BMW
Shishka says: it doesn't sound like it's just delivered.
Shishka says: Anyway, isn't it kinda out of line to be offering a deal like that?
Lukems says: LISTEN DUDE

Every morning, like almost nearly everyone else from Bungie, Sketch, Shishka and I make a trip over to Starbucks (or for the trendy, upscale hipster ponces who work here - the French Bakery further up the street). This morning after we returned Shishka and I chatted.

lukems: i luv u
Shishka: um, mistell?
lukems: that's right it's a friendship test.
lukems: you failed
lukems: hard

Outtro in Go Minor

Earlier this summer, my bipolar, crazy landlord told me, "The night is darkest just before the dawn."
Dawn is about to break. 
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