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27 June 2013
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The Halo Bulletin: 6.27.13

06.27.2013 10:15

Bravo, here. The month of June has given me the opportunity to travel to several cities for Halo-related events, and I've met some awesome fans along the way. Two weeks ago, I found myself at Arena Gaming League's Knoxville Halo 4 tournament, where I had a chance to interact with fans, mostly discussing the updated weapon tuning. In Los Angeles, I watched competitors ferociously battle it out while getting the first hands-on look at Halo: Spartan Assault at E3. This past weekend, I traveled to Chicago, where I had the pleasure of providing commentary for UMG's Halo 4 event and continued to meet a ton of people who love Halo. However, none of these events compares to the Rooster Teeth Expo (RTX) in terms of cosplaying Red vs Blue characters. We'll also be seeing you at RTX in Austin, TX, next week!

As some of you might have caught on the RTX website, we'll be hosting a panel at the event called What's Next: Halo 4 Summer 2013. I'll be joining Frank, bs angel, Graeme Jennings, and more as we discuss some of the updates and plans that we have for this summer. If you'll be at the event, we'll see you from 1 to 2 PM CDT in the Main Ballroom. If you attend, you'll be eligible to participate in our in-person Halo 4 Free-For-All tournament, as well as eligible to pre-register for the brackets on-site as early as Friday morning. Keep an eye on Waypoint next week for more details regarding RTX!

Halo: Spartan Assault Q&A

Last week, we gave you a look at E3 and Halo: Spartan Assault. You probably had a lot of questions, so we let you ask away on the forums. I sent your questions to people who knew the answers: Kevin Grace and Graeme Jennings, to be exact. Read on for some additional insight into Halo: Spartan Assault!

Will there be any new weapons to use in this game or only weapons from previous games? -Cizlin

We have a suite of the old Halo favorites whilst adding some new turbocharged versions of existing weapons.

Will our profile for Halo: Spartan Assault carry over between Windows 8 PC and Windows Phone 8? -bfett9

Cloud saving is enabled in the game, allowing players to carry their profile over between Windows 8 (Tablet or Desktop) and Windows Phone 8.

How long will it take to complete the main Campaign in Halo: Spartan Assault? -TashiGAF

The main campaign contains 25 missions plus mission-specific and weekly challenges, which add to the gameplay duration.

Where does the story fit in the Halo timeline? -jesse7456

The story of Halo: Spartan Assault takes place in the hectic time between Halo 3 (where it looked like things were calming down as far as intergalactic warfare was concerned) and the start of Halo 4 (where said hopes were quite thoroughly dashed). Anybody who played Halo 4 met Commander Sarah Palmer and the idea of Spartan Ops, and Spartan Assault lets you go back and see where Palmer and this new Spartan mission structure got started.

How much will the game cost? -monkeyisbest

$6.99 USD.

Is 100% of the save data and game progress saved to the cloud? -Falcon 304

Games are saved locally and also saved to the cloud when the user is connected to the Internet.

While the Covenant forces seem to be that of the original empire, with Sangheili and Jiralhanae together, the inclusion of the Spartan-IVs and characters such as Parg Vol indicate that this might be a post-war splinter faction. Any clarification on who we're actually fighting? -Dark Auk

It's a bit too early to head down Spoiler Lane on this one, but you'll be fighting some familiar faces with interesting new motivations.

Will there be a large difference between the prices for each platform, or will it cost the same regardless of platform choice (PC, phone and tablet)? -SpiritHawk7

Price is the same across all platforms.

For the PC platform, will there be a physical disc for the game that one can pre-order and purchase from retailers, or is it download only like on the phone and tablet? -SpiritHawk7

Halo: Spartan Assault is available from the Windows 8 Store or the Windows 8 Phone Store; there is no physical disc.

Can we earn awards in-game that will benefit us in Halo 4, such as weapon skins, XP, Emblems and Armor? -a live dinosaur

Halo: Spartan Assault players will indeed receive extra content in Halo 4, including an Emblem and some XP.

Will we play Palmer as an ODST at any point in this game? -DecepticonCobra

No disrespect to the ODSTs, but once you make it to the Spartans, you stay a Spartan...so no; this story focuses on Commander Palmer's early days as a Spartan-IV.

Is there any significance to Palmer's armor being silver while Spartan Davis' is gold? -HaloFanForLife1


Is Halo: Spartan Assault going to become a platform to explore more corners of the vast and rich Halo universe? -erickyboo

We've definitely thought about visiting other important moments in the Halo storyline in a Spartan Assault kind of way, but all attention right now is on getting this first effort finished and as awesome as we can make it.

When will Halo: Spartan Assault release? -The Little Moa

July 2013. We have not yet nailed down the specific date. We'll announce the date just as soon as the details are finalized.

What's the story with the Brutes in Halo: Spartan Assault? Are they part of the Covenant Loyalists? Are they allied with Jul's forces? If so, why? -Toa Freak

We'll have lots more to say about who is or isn't in Halo: Spartan Assault once the game is out in the wild (and what we have to say will make a lot more sense then, too). On the upside, though, there's not long to wait!

As mentioned above, Halo: Spartan Assault launches next month! You can be sure that we'll have more Spartan Assault goodies coming your way in the Bulletins to come, so stay tuned. Also, stay tuned to see how much higher my scores are compared to others who have ever written the Bulletin.

Matchmaking Playlist Update

This coming Monday, we'll once again be adding some new items to Halo 4 Matchmaking, including new game types, maps and more. Check out the full details below.

Big Team Skirmish

Due to high demand, Big Team Skirmish will be making its Matchmaking premiere in Monday's update. We have chosen to offer 8 vs. 8 objective as a separate offering from Big Team Infinity Slayer so as to not disrupt our most popular playlist. However, we'll monitor population and trends so that we can react accordingly. The following 8 vs. 8 game modes will be offered when the playlists launches:

Big Team CTF - Longbow, Ragnarok, Complex

Big Team King of the Hill - Exile, Longbow

Big Team Regicide - Complex, Settler

These are some of our favorite map and game type combinations. We're super excited about Big Team Skirmish and hope you are, too! We're currently planning on adding additional maps and game types to this playlist in the future, so as always, swing by the War Games Feedback section of our forums and let us know what you'd like to see!

Flood Updates

Also coming next week is an infectiously fun Flood update. We've teamed up with the Community Cartographers and Flood fanatics to deliver a new game type and accompanying maps. The new game type, Hivemind, adds a brand-new experience to the playlist. To give you some insight into the development of this game type, I figured it'd be best to talk to the Cartographers themselves and allow them to explain the settings and project overall. Below is a note from Alzarahn and a few others who assisted in the development of Hivemind.

"I started by looking for a subsection of the community that focused on Flood content. This search led me to The Halo Forge Epidemic, The MK25 Clan, and various independent Flood forgers. I gathered together a group with a firm knowledge of Flood's gameplay balances and core concepts, with the goal of creating a singular, fresh new game type for the Flood playlist.

We endeavored together to create a Flood game type in which a player did not feel disadvantaged for spawning as either Flood or human; a balance between the two was crucial. The idea of a Flood player killing in two hits was adopted early on, along with the removal of Armor Abilities and the choice of every human's starting weapon, the beloved MA5D Assault Rifle. Concepts such as Initial and Random Ordnance as on-map weapon pick-ups, along with smaller changes to base player settings, were continually adjusted as we proceeded with community map testing.

Many great community Flood maps were polished to compliment the game type, which we eventually dubbed "Hivemind" in honor of how it was developed. I could spend hours describing the setup and core concepts of this particular game type, but I'll allow some of these community Flood developers to share what they believe makes Hivemind great:

"Hivemind gives humans a second chance to stay alive, while the default Flood is a one-lunge kill. This change increases the amount of time players get to spend on each map. Overall, it's a very balanced experience for the humans and Flood." - NARB GUY

"I truly enjoy the strategic aspects that this game type adds by allowing players to gather their own weapons throughout the map, not to mention that a two-hit Flood game type makes for a survivable and enjoyable environment for players." - Robius5991

I hope in the days to come that you can see the fruits of our labor and that the community is pleased with both what we've tried to create, and how we chose to create it. I'll see you in the playlist, dead or alive."

- Alzarahn

I've had the privilege of playing several games of Hivemind myself and can't wait for the game type to go live on Monday. Thanks to the aforementioned gameplay mechanics and new maps, the game type creates an entirely new experience for the Flood playlist, and I'd recommend checking it out (even if you don't frequent the playlist). Hivemind will be offered on the following battlefields at launch:

Payload by Narb Guy
Drillsite by Pa1nts
Temple by Mr Pokephile
Repression by Auxi Klutch

Finally, if you can't wait and would like to get your hands on Hivemind before Monday, feel free to download the game type and above maps!


We've also been working on an update to the Dominion playlist. For starters, we have modified the resupply of the bases to provide mostly Loadout weapons and grenades rather than a large number of power weapons. Also, we've added a brand-new game type named Lockdown. This new mode focuses the action on one central base that both teams must fight to control. The scoring settings are as follows:

  • Score to win: 100
  • Capture Points: 0
  • Standard Capture Time: 1
  • Fortified Capture Time: 5
  • Fortify Points: 0
  • Fortify Time: 15
  • Resupply Points: 10
  • Resupply Frequency: 25
  • Last Stand: False

Note: Those of you who enjoyed the "Pit of Joy" in Halo 2 might take a liking to Lockdown's gameplay, which tends to be hectic, nonstop, and full of big explosions. We've also updated weapon and power-up respawns across the following maps in Dominion:

Overshield near Blue spawn

  • Repawns in 90 sec (86 in Forge)

Sticky Detonator above Red spawn

  • Respawns in 120 sec (116 in Forge)

Shotgun near each spawn

  • Respawns in 120 sec (116 in Forge)

Rocket Launcher on back beach in between Alpha and Charlie

  • Respawns in 120 sec (116 in Forge)

Needlers in each teleporter bunker

  • Respawns in 60 sec (56 in Forge)

Fuel Rod Cannon on main bridge

  • Respawns in 120 sec (116 in Forge)

Concussion Rifle near Red spawn

  • Respawns in 120 sec (116 in Forge)

Sniper Rifle near Blue spawn

  • Respawns in 120 sec (116 in Forge)

Energy Sword underneath Bravo

  • Respawns in 120 sec (116 in Forge)

Additionally, we've optimized spawns on Haven (removed the "ditch" spawns on bottom Open Ramp), fixed a rotating ordnance issue on Simplex, and updated voting options in Infinity Slayer, SWAT and Big Team Infinity Slayer to include an on-disk map in the first slot to allow for the best experiences for split-screen players and optimized overall map variety.

Action Sack's Mini Slayer will also be receiving a new map on Monday. The map, appropriately named Napoleon, uses a blocked-off section of Complex's central cliff-side base and provides compact, arena-esque chaos to tickle your Mini Slayer fancy. One of our very own testers, Daniel, forged the map and worked with the Matchmaking team to create an awesome, fast-paced map. I like it, and I think you will too. We're excited about all of the new maps, game types and settings, and we hope to see you online!

This week I spent some time and found some really cool screenshots. One day, I might be able to show them to you, but until then, bs angel is back with her favorite screenshots!

Halo 4 Screenshot Spotlight: Mantis

Previously, we turned the spotlight on traffic cones. This week, we decided to go with everybody's favorite armored fighting vehicle. Take a gander at the following Mantis images, and then capture your own for your shot at being featured in next week's Bulletin.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a scenery-themed screenshot (no Spartans allowed!). Then tag it with "Scenery" and "Halo Waypoint," and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

Until next week,


P.S. Discuss.