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Bungie Weekly Update: 02/04/2011

Posted by urk at 2/4/2011 2:28 PM PST

No time for reams of wilted floral prose this week…the boss is really riding me. And that's not a euphemism. After years of checking off nothing but sedentary white collar action items, The Boss of Me has become embarrassingly bloated. Seriously, he's like a heavy bag with hair. Fortunately for you, my personal battle with muscle fatigue doesn't mean that you'll be turned loose into the online wilderness without any comforting words to keep you company this weekend. Nope, I would never do you like that (past Holiday break excluded). Instead, I pulled some strings and roped some other, more agile suckers into pumping out some copy on my behalf this fine Friday.

Most of the information my all-star cast of Bungie employees lovingly prepared covers the incoming matchmaking playlist updates we've been teeing up over the last couple of weeks. At long last Jeremiah is ready to talk about the next round of matchmaking upgrades that go live next Tuesday. But before Jeremiah delves into the bullet list of new multiplayer hotness, LarsyB wanted to step up and make some noise of his own about the next evolution of Firefight matchmaking.

As promised, Firefight Arcade is back. And yes, it's pretty insane. You can scroll down, right now, to get more details.

Firefight Matchmaking Updates

"Hey Firefighters, it's been a while since we've officially talked, and I wanted to let you know about some upcoming changes to Firefight Matchmaking.

With the next update, we're re-working the current playlists, and are very excited about the changes. The Firefight playlist is going away, but in its vacancy you're getting TWO "new" playlists. As you probably already guessed, Firefight Arcade and Firefight Limited are coming back permanently. Reaction was good to both, so we thought it was about time for a change. This way if you really want the pure Firefight experience you go into Limited, and if you just want to blow off steam, you hit up Arcade.

Initially these are just coming back as the playlists you've already experienced, but we have plans to improve them in the future. We've got some ideas in the queue, like removing weapon pickup across the board in Arcade, but compensate for that by removing Hazards and turning off Cowbell in Fistfight, for example. We've been listening, and expect to hear all the proposed changes before they happen. In the meantime, enjoy both Arcade and Limited in their initial form for now.

But that's not all. We're also making some big additions to Score Attack. We're filling out the playlist with a whopping 10 different gametypes. Some are takes on existing ideas, but others are community inspired concoctions. Of course this means the leaderboards are going to get reset, but you probably guessed that was coming. Below is the list of all the gametypes:

Firefight Arcade

Fistfight: Based on Rocketfight with weapon pickup enabled, Hammers and Sword starting weapons, added 200% Damage and Melee modifier, 2 each grenade count, Player Movement 120%, enable Grunt B-day, IWHBYD and Cowbell skulls, disabled dropship, 2X Overshields, Skirmisher Bonus Round, Loadout 5 is Hologram, 5 Second Respawn, added Heretics into Waves.

Nadefight: Based on Rocketfight with weapon pickup enabled, Grenade Launcher and Concussion Rifle starting weapons, added 150% Damage and Melee modifier, 4 each grenade count, enable Grunt B-Day, IWHBYD and Cowbell skulls, disabled dropship, 2X Overshields, Skirmisher Bonus Round, Added Evade for Armor Lock, and Hologram for Dropshield, 5 second respawn, add Heretics.

Rocketfight: Weapon pickup enabled, add: 150% Damage and Melee Modifier, 2 each grenade count, enable Grunt B-day, IWHBYD and Cowbell skulls, disable dropships, 2X Overshields, Grunt Bonus Round, Swapped out Armor Lock for Evade, Swapped out Drop Shield for Hologram, 5 second respawn, add Heretics.

Sniperfight: Weapon pickup enabled, add: 150% Damage and Melee Modifier, 2 each grenade count, enable Grunt B-day, IWHBYD and Cowbell skulls, disable dropships, 2X Overshields, Grunt Bonus Round, Added Sprint back in and Hologram, 5 second respawn, add Heretics.

FRGFight: Based on updated Rocketfight with Fuel Rod and Needler starts.

Plasmafight: Based on updated Rocketfight with Plasma Launcher and Needle Rifle starts, and 4x Plasma grenades.

Firefight Limited

FF Limited: Based off Firefight with 10 shared lives, once lives run out and all players are dead, the game is over.

Genny Limited: Based off Generator Defense with 10 shared lives, once lives run out and all players are dead, the game is over.

Crashsite LTD: Based off Crashsite, where teams start with no lives and one Generator to protect, kept 2X Overshields, but Damage and Melee Modifier is 100% now.

Legendary LTD: Based off Firefight Limited but set to the Legendary Difficulty.

Score Attack

Score Attack: 5 second respawns, enable IWHBYD Skull.

2X Score Attack: Based on Score Attack, 5 second respawns, Weapon Drops and Hazards enabled, 2x Overshield, 200% Damage and Melee Modifier, 2 each grenade count, Boss Wave is Elite Spec Ops, Grunt B-Day, Cowbell, enable IWHBYD Skull, Update Loadouts so Grenades are set to Unchanged.

Gruntpocalypse: 5 second respawns, Weapon Drops enabled, enable IWHBYD Skull.

Skirmigeddon: Based on Gruntpocalypse, 5 second respawns, every wave is Skirmishers, added evade and hologram, enable IWHBYD Skull.

Sniper Attack: Hazards enabled, 5 second respawns, Updated Loadouts to include Sprint and Evade, 2x each grenade count, enable IWHBYD Skull.

Rocket Attack: Based on Sniper Attack, Hazards enabled, 5 second respawns, Rocket and Magnum starts, 2x each grenade count, update Boss Wave to be Hunter Kill Team, enabled Cowbell Skull.

FRG Attack
: Based on Sniper Attack, Hazards enabled, 5 second respawns, FRG and Needler secondary, 2x each grenade count, enable Cowbell Skull.

Crashsite: Melee Modifier also 200%, enable IWHBYD Skull.

Mythic Attack: 5 second respawns, enable IWHBYD Skull.

Fiesta Attack: Based on 2X Score Attack, 5 second respawns, Random Primary and Secondary weapons, enable IWHBYD Skull."

Thanks, Lars!

Multiplayer Matchmaking Updates

While Lars is totally in it for the fun and games, Jeremiah took a more business-like approach with his heaping helping of the matchmaking update. Below you'll find his executive summary of next week's multiplayer changes and additions.


  • Multi Team: As far as major playlist changes, the most notable is Multi Team which now features 4 teams of 3 instead of 6 teams of 2. Since Rocket Race doesn't work with teams of 3, we're upgrading you to Rocket Hog Race! We've also added 3 Ball to the lineup to replace the regular Oddball gametype.
  • Team SWAT: New gametype offerings are now available in the Team SWAT playlist. New gametypes include Oddball, Stockpile and 3 Plots.
  • Grifball: The Grifball playlist is returning for an extended stay as a Community playlist. We've updated to the latest gametypes and maps, as well as added the new maps Pinwheel and Oracle's Revenge.
  • Community Slayer: The second round of Community Slayer is coming and with it comes 14 maps (10 new!) built by members of our very own Bungie community. Similar to the previous run, we'll keep this playlist active for a couple weeks. Play, vote and let us know which your favorite Community maps are in the Optimatch forum!


  • Bro Slayer: This new gametype consists of Team Slayer with co-op style spawning, featured on a variety of maps in Team Slayer, Big Team Battle and Noble Map Pack. Similar to Invasion spawning you can cycle through teammates or choose from your backfield spawns, but watch out for backfield spawn campers!
  • Invasion Skirmish: Think of Invasion Slayer, with no vehicles and after capturing drop zones you get instant weapon drops that alternate between Spartan and Covenant regardless of who caps the zone. You'll still experience loadout and weapon drop progression as each tier advances. Three flavors will be available including Invasion Skirmish (SvE), Spartan Skirmish (SvS) and Elite Skirmish (EvE). These gametypes will be available on a variety of maps in the Invasion and Noble Map Pack playlists. Spartan Skirmish on Anchor 9 is my favorite, check them out and tell us what you think!
  • Assault: Players may no longer disarm bombs while their Armor Lock equipment is activated, this affects all Assault gametypes as well as Invasion gametypes with an Assault phase.


  • The new map variant "Uncaged" is being added alongside The Cage in the Team Slayer playlist.
  • The following maps have been updated to support Bro Slayer gametypes, make sure to download the latest version after playing in matchmaking to take advantage of the changes:
    • Anchor 9
    • Unanchored
    • Sword Base
    • Boardwalk
    • Powerhouse
    • Countdown
    • Tempest
    • Breakpoint
    • Paradiso
    • Hemorrhage
    • Atom
    • Boneyard
    • Spire
  • The following maps have been updated to support Invasion Skirmish gametypes, make sure to download the latest version after playing in matchmaking to take advantage of the changes:
    • Countdown
    • Boardwalk
    • Powerhouse
    • Atom
    • Anchor 9
    • Unanchored

It's a Bag…for Grabbing

As Jeremiah indicated, Community Slayer is indeed being completely revamped for its sophomore outing. The latest mutation includes some familiar favorites, some Foregtacular winners, and a smattering of honorable mentions. What it doesn't include is the first salvo of Forge creations from our Community Cartographers group, but rest assured those are coming soon. Patience, Willow. For now, here are the fourteen maps you'll find in the Grab Bag this Tuesday.

  • Aspirocity
  • Capacitor
  • Enclosed
  • Obsidian
  • Thrust
  • Amulet
  • Carnage Palace
  • Chimaera
  • Cougar Plaza
  • Historical Site
  • Mine Site
  • New Venice
  • Seclusion
  • Treasury

On Being Special

Earlier this week, the prestigious Visual Effects Society announced the winners of their 9th Annual VES Awards and what do you know, we came out on top in the category of Outstanding Real-Time Special Effects in a Video Game. We're the best around! Everyone else can suck it down!

While modesty might not be my strong suit (I'd mark my effortless charm, dazzling intellect, or irresistible visual appeal as top contenders), Cinematics Lead CJ Cowan wanted to provide a more down to earth approach. Since he had boots in the mud, here's a little bit of embedded journalism from the man himself.

"It's always an honor representing everyone back at the studio at an event like this. This award definitely belongs to the entire team! But since someone has to stick around up here and work on this new project, Harold sent down the following away team:

For the Animated Character category, Lee R. Wilson, Joe Spataro, David Hunt, and Jason Robertson represented. For Real-Time Effects, it was Marcus Lehto, Steve Scott, and myself.

The event was at the Beverly Hills Hilton, in the same spot the Golden Globes were at a few weeks ago. We felt like celebrities on the red carpet in our (mostly) rented tuxedos (you'll have to ask Steve and Marcus why they own tuxedos and work in games). That feeling of being important disappeared when none of the reporters knew who we were, though.

After an… interesting dinner of rice-stuffed chicken and a Klondike bar shaped like a pyramid, the show got going. Congratulations to the guys over at Blizzard for the StarCraft II win, but we hate you for beating us. (-:

Here's Steve's acceptance speech. You know your joke is nerdy when it falls flat in a room full of visual effects artists and animators.

Editor's Note – The content of this video has been deemed too embarrassing for public consumption, even by my standards. To give you a taste, Steve broke the ice by telling the audience that he felt as if he'd "rolled a natural twenty." If you sympathize, or even understand the comparison he was making, I am deeply sorry. If not, move along. – Urk

Afterwards, we celebrated with Christopher Nolan* down in the hotel tiki bar. Steve insisted we all drink out of a bowl of rum with annoyingly long straws. Because that's what you do when you're wearing tuxedos.

*I'm sure Christopher Nolan was celebrating too, but not in the tiki bar."

CJ also wanted me to show off our VES submission reels. If you're into peeling back layers and seeing the technical innards of the game's you play, these should give you a brief, but interesting insight into some of the elements that have to come together to craft a beautiful and believable simulation.

It's Your Birthday

Not really. But Week 4 of Bungie's All-Stars did come bearing gifts. Though we got off to a slow start due to some complex mission parameters...

Eventually the good stuff started rolling in and we've once again got a great batch of content to put on display. And once again, we saw a lot of people who were on the same wavelength.

Plenty of participants relied on Auntie Dot to supply the brilliant visual icing.

And more than a handful went for a metropolitan approach, even though the Super by his lonesome was decidedly not Reach related.

Some abandoned logic and got all weird on us.

Um. Yeah.

Some went with a more Noble, iconic approach.

More than a few contained massive spoilers.

And a lot of the entries just flat out made us smile, laugh, and once again beam with pride over the display of creativity and talent our community can muster at a moment's notice.

While I am not at liberty to declare a winner just yet (I love that last one), I am going to hand out a small constellation's worth of stars for my personal favorites. Seven, to be precise. In the short term future, our Visual Design Team will huddle up and decide which design works best for our birthday celebrations, and when (and if) a winning design is chosen, we'll be back in touch with all interested parties to deliver the payload of promised prizes.

Next week I'm going to get everyone in on the action, regardless of their personal artistic prowess. All you're going to need is a copy of Halo: Reach, an online connection, and access to email. Oh, and a jar of coconut oil, a newspaper, and a pair of metal tongs.

More details Monday morning.

Blame Stosh

Stosh has been busy working on increasing your mobility. The latest round of mobile Bungie.net features has been deployed. If you haven't already made yourself familiar, here are few more details in pictorial form straight from the man himself.

You can now browse playlists, save content searches, search for gamertags, check out your commendation and challenge progress, and watch some Blame Stosh videos from the comfort of your mobile phone. And speaking of Blame Stosh:

Oh, and you can now watch Rendered Videos online much more easily through a little something called Bungie TV.

Just visit the Rendered Films section of Bungie.net and click on the television icon indicated above for a wild and wonderfully entertaining ride. Stosh guarantees that it won't rot your brain.

That's it for this week. Stay out of trouble.