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18 September 2013
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The Halo Bulletin: 9.18.13

09.18.2013 14:21

As bsangel mentioned last week, it's because of all of you that we at 343 Industries get to work on something we love every day, and it's especially cool when we can share your Halo universe creations with the world. Bringing community-made content into Matchmaking is something that is very special to Halo, and we're super excited about the next installment of the ever-popular Community Forge Test playlist, which will focus on Halo 4's newest game mode: Ricochet. Certain Affinity has teamed up with the Community Cartographers to create a new Forge contest to find the best community-made Ricochet maps - let's talk about it.

Halo 4 Ricochet Forge Contest

If you haven't seen the official announcement, you should first check out the explanatory (and hilarious) video from our friends over at Rooster Teeth.

As you know, we have have been playing a great deal of Ricochet over the past few weeks, which has resulted in a lot of interceptions, yelling, and me demanding that everyone comes to my desk first thing in the morning to review my best throws from the evening prior. This past Monday, the Matchmaking Systems team updated the Ricochet playlist's maps with new variants as well as three new Forge maps, which we hope you high-flying goal scorers (and goalkeepers) have been enjoying. However, we know that there are undiscovered and yet-to-be-built Ricochet maps that you're wanting to share with the world, so we're happy to tell you that Certain Affinity's Halo 4 Ricochet Forge Contest is currently underway and accepting submissions!

They're looking for the six best community-created Ricochet maps on Forge Island, Ravine or Impact. Maps will be judged in phases by a panel of Certain Affinity members, Rooster Teeth members, Community Cartographers and individuals from 343 Industries. Not only will your map have a chance to be included in Halo 4 Matchmaking, but we've also got prizes. Oh yeah.


  • Autographed Champions Bundle poster (signed by Certain Affinity)
  • Autographed Halo 4 Concept art (signed by Certain Affinity)
  • Certain Affinity T-shirt
  • Autographed Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition (signed by 343 Industries)
  • Halo 4 T-shirt
  • Rooster Teeth DVD
  • Rooster Teeth T-Shirt
  • Rooster Teeth poster


  • Autographed Halo 4 Concept art (signed by Certain Affinity)
  • Certain Affinity T-Shirt
  • Autographed Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition (signed by 343 Industries)
  • Halo 4 T-shirt
  • Rooster Teeth poster


  • Certain Affinity T-Shirt
  • Autographed Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition (signed by 343 Industries)
  • Rooster Teeth poster

For a full breakdown of the rules, technical musts of the contest, as well as advice for creating a top-notch Ricochet map, check out the contest page. We absolutely can't wait to see what creations you come up with, and I am particularly looking forward to some new twists on Ricochet goal locations and map layouts. The top maps from the finals will be considered for placement into the Ricochet playlist. The submission time period will extends until 12:00 PM PT, October 8, 2013. Best of luck to all entrants!

Matchmaking Playlist Update

On Monday we made some updates to Halo 4 Matchmaking, and the specifics of this update were included in this week's Matchmaking Update - if you're interested, go read if you haven't already, and then read below for some additional insight.

The on-disc Ricochet maps have been updated to the "weapon tuning" layouts, with balanced and optimized starting spawns, weapons, and added geometry in select locations. Additionally, we've added Onyx, Dispatch, and Simplex due to their symmetrical, arena-type layouts. We'll continue to monitor feedback regarding not only the map selection but also goal, weapon, and ball respawn placement, and also cannot wait to bring in the best of the best from the Ricochet Forge Contest.

The map pool for Team Doubles has been updated, with maps like Pitfall, Graphite, and Onyx making their first Matchmaking appearance in the playlist. Additionally, Legendary BRs is currently available in the second voting slot, and we're glad to hear that you're enjoying the new game type in this setting. We've also seen feedback regarding on-disc and DLC maps being available in the first voting slot for split-screen players, and we'll be evaluating the voting options and likely making a change in a future update. Lastly, we are currently testing several maps for CTF Doubles, and hope to re-introduce the game type with improved settings and layouts in a future update as well.

Another thing we have noticed is that Big Team Battle has been quite popular this week. We've been reviewing feedback, and are currently considering additional map and game type combinations for the playlist, as well as reviewing currently weapon, objective, and respawn placements across the currently offered game types to create an optimal experience for 8 vs. 8 carnage. If you'd like to leave us feedback for this playlist, head over to the new Big Team Battle Feedback thread.

Lastly, as mentioned last week, we'll continue to monitor the Infinity Slayer playlist to determine if DLC required Matchmaking is a viable option. To provide feedback on this, any War Games playlist, weapon balance, or the newly added Spartan Ops Skulls, check out the War Games Feedback section.

In the next update, which will fall on September 30th, we'll be updating the Team Snipers playlist as well as other items across additional playlists. Stay tuned for the details of what's coming.

Team Throwdown Update

Team Throwdown is Halo 4's premiere competitive playlist, featuring settings and maps used at LAN tournaments around the world. As we continue to support this playlist, we are evaluating ways to highlight players who stand out, as we see the playlist as the go-to proving ground for aspiring tournament-level players. While we do not yet have the specifics nailed down for this effort, we'd like to provide you with some behind-the-scenes vision into what we're looking to do, which includes:

  • Provide consistent updates on Waypoint that identifies, displays, and recognizes top 4 vs. 4 talent in this playlist
  • Feature content, interviews, and other exclusives with top 4 vs. 4 players and teams

We do not yet have a date on when we'll be able to begin all of the above from this playlist, but hope to start by the end of this year. The update may also come with a name change for the playlist as we look to create additional incentives and content. If you'd like to contribute ideas or offer feedback, please feel free to use the "Discuss" link at the bottom of the page. Outside of this update, we are also currently working with GH057ayame on the "v5" settings, which will be featured in Matchmaking in October, ahead of Arena Gaming League's "AGL10K" tournament on November 1st. As always, best of luck to all competitors, and we look forward to supporting this playlist and community in new ways in the future.

Halo 4 Global Championship Competitor Roundtable

I still find myself remembering moments from the Global Championship Finals on a regular basis - the excitement of the crowd, the energy in the room, the amazing level of gameplay - it was all an incredible display of passion for Halo. One of my favorite things about the weekend was seeing players from all over the community (and world) come together to compete in and celebrate the game we all love. This week, I thought it'd be fun to meet up with a bunch of players who competed in the finals. We discussed the Global Championship Finals event, argued about what's best about the Champions Bundle, and more. Pull up a chair and continue reading if you'd like to meet these guys and gals from all corners of the Halo community. In addition, we've got some previously unreleased photos from the finals, so enjoy!

To start, let's get to know everyone a bit. Tell us your gamertag, how long you've been playing Halo, and your favorite map and game type combination in Halo 4.

Nak3d Eli: I'm Nak3d Eli. I've been playing for 11 years. Pitfall Ricochet is my favorite.

Greenskull: I'm Greenskull. Been playing Halo since CE. Eli is right for once - Ricochet is the bomb diggy, especially on Pitfall.

Chig: I'm Chig. Been playing Halo since about 2002, Halo CE days. Favorite map and game type is Simplex CTF, with Ricochet on Pitfall now being a close second!

ElamiteWarrior: ElamiteWarrior, I've been playing for 10 years. Skyline Concussion Rifle.

Goosechecka: Halo CE, Grifball on Thin Ice.

GrimBrother One: GrimBrother One. Been playing Halo since it came out really. Favorite Map/GT combo would have to be either Lockdown on Exile or Ricochet on Haven.

Start a R1OT: Hi, I'm Start a R1OT. I've been playing Halo since CE and I freaking love Ricochet on Pitfall. (stop copying me, Eli and Green!)

Minolta1034: Minolta1034, I've been playing since Halo: CE, Pitfall on any game type but probably Ricochet.

SMG90: I'm SMG90. I've been playing Halo since Combat Evolved. I too enjoy Grifball on Thin Ice.

SnowPRO: I'm SnowPRO, 12 years (I'm 25 you darn kids), Ricochet on Pitfall.

POD Dust Storm: I'm POD Dust Storm, I've been playing for about 6 ½ years now, starting just after the launch of Halo 3. Favorite map / gametype would have to be Coagulation CTF. I had so many memories from playing four hour matches in my freshman year of college.

Tashi: My name is Tashi. I've been playing Halo since 2003. Currently my favorite map and gametype combo in Halo 4 is 2v2 Doubles Pro on either Rail or Pitfall.

Before we start talking about the Global Championship, I noticed a few of you liked Ricochet on Pitfall. Outside of the map and game type, what is your favorite item in the Champions Bundle (armors / stances / etc.)?

Greenskull: Stances, baby. I'm rocking the Determined stance I unlocked by playing Spartan Assault. I'm ready to pounce like a tiger or a cheetah or another cat-like creature.

GrimBrother One: Easily new armor. Prefect is gorgeous. New weapon skins are sick as well. I definitely hope that we begin to see more post-launch options like this made available in the future, whether it be for Halo 4 or beyond.

Goosechecka: Flank stance because I look sneaky.

Tashi: My new sexy Steampunk Battle Rifle.

Nak3d Eli: I agree with Green. The new stances are pretty badass.

Minolta1034: I love 'dat blue pistol, ODST armor is sweet too because we all know ODST's are the best.

Start a R1OT: I definitely rock the Confident stance. I like my Spartan to look sassy.

SnowPRO: I still love that Recon armor.

Chig: Like everyone else said, the new stances and armor are awesome! Rockin' the Mark V armor and the Menace stance.

The Global Championship Finals were earlier this month at PAX Prime. As a competitor, what were your expectations heading into the event?

GrimBrother One: I'm screwed.

Goosechecka: To lose in the first round.

SMG90: Please God, let me get one kill!

ElamiteWarrior: Not to be the first pro knocked out, and to make it to the second day.

POD Dust Storm: I was aiming to make it through to Saturday and lose the first round then. Didn't exactly turned out the way I planned.

Chig: I came into the tournament looking to win. Was very confident in myself going into Saturday, which then if I had just one bad game I'd be out of the tournament and I unfortunately had that bad game a little earlier than expected.

Start a R1OT: I was hoping to get at least one kill in each round. Clearly I set some high expectations.

ElamiteWarrior: For Ace to finish top 2 as well. (laughs)

Greenskull: I never expected to win, but I expected to hold my own. That all changed when I unknowingly played my first round against Ace himself. When I met him at the after party, the first thing he said was, "I killed you in the first round." Yep.

Minolta1034: I was feeling OK, I am by no means a pro player but I thought, "Hey, I have played with Bravo, Eli, and a bunch of other MLG guys, this will be tough, but nothing I can't handle." Boy was I wrong. I knew I would get beat, but going up against some of you in a tournament scenario was mind blowing. I wasn't playing the game, the game was just kind of happening around me while I was trying to catch up with it, and before I knew it I had lost all of my matches.

Nak3d Eli: I wanted to make it through the Friday qualifiers, and I did. Got knocked out on Saturday with some big names and enjoyed the rest as a viewer.

SMG90: Then they were telling us we could only get shirts if we advanced to the second round. Then you saw people getting nervous.

Goosechecka: I had five people in my pool and top four advanced. I somehow ended up 6th...

GrimBrother One: It definitely was a crazy wake up call. I was amazed watching guys do things and play off the map in ways I literally just never would have thought of.

Tashi: My expectations were to first and foremost have fun and hope I get lucky. Turns out, I didn't because I had some top players in my group. *shakes first at Legit, Dersky and Hunter JJX* I had a blast though so I'm not too down about it. (laughs)

Goosechecka: After I got knocked out, I watched everyone get their next times written on their cards. I asked the guy writing down the times to write something on mine so I didn't feel left out. He wrote, "Come back next year."

How did the Halo 4 Global Championships compare to other LAN tournaments or events you've been to?

SMG90: The Halo 4 GC was so much more energized. You could sense to electricity in the air.

Goosechecka: The atmosphere was electric, especially the final. Definitely the most impressive display I've ever seen. That said, the camaraderie amongst the participants waiting to play was great. By far friendly and more supportive than any competitive event I've been to.

Greenskull: I've never been in a room with that much excitement in my life. It was insane. I kept looking over at Grim and GH057ayame to see their awestruck faces.

GrimBrother One: It felt like the World Series. Production values through the roof and talent around every corner.

Minolta1034: Production quality, the reactions of the audience, and the energy at the GC was awesome, no comparison to other events.

POD Dust Storm: It was the most intense atmosphere I've ever experienced. I think that's what you get with competitive Halo from the best players in the world. I've been to lots of Halo tournaments over the past years and this blew all of them out of the water. The commentary and analysis was above and beyond everything I've ever seen.

Tashi: I've been to other LANs and was even lucky enough to attend major tournaments in the Halo 2 era. Halo 4 GC was by far the single greatest competitive Halo event I've ever experienced. The presentation was outstanding, the gameplay was exciting and compelling and it was an amazing experience being in that massive crowd.

Start a R1OT: I've never actually been to any other LAN tournaments, so I wasn't completely sure what to expect with the Global Championship. But, it was beyond amazing. Like nothing I've ever seen before. The vibe in the room was so energetic.

Nak3d Eli: The tournament was the most intense e-sports competition I have ever seen. The competitors were top notch, literally the best from around the world, and the crowd was super energetic throughout the weekend. Absolutely loved it.

Start a R1OT: Yeah, everything about the Global Championship made me want to pay more attention to competitive Halo gaming because the finals got my adrenaline pumping and my heart racing from all the excitement.

Goosechecka: I also got to sit right in front of the 405th ladies and gents, so my Grifball shirt got shown every time the camera panned in their direction. Win.

Nak3d Eli: Minolta, I have to agree with you - the audience and energy at Halo4GC was unparalleled.

ElamiteWarrior: I thought it was exceptionally well done. I saw there was a lot of time put into the thought and execution of it all. There were a few things that could have gone more efficiently, but overall a great success and more than I expected for a first time tournament. The production value and experience though was unreal. It was the most pumped I've ever been at an event. The performances, casting, hosts and everything was superb. I was so excited during one kill I was so flexed and excited I literally punched some dude in the back of the head.

Chig: I've been to about 30 major competitive tournaments for Halo, and I'd say the Global Championships was right up there with the best of those, if not better. Like Elamite said, the performances, the production, the hosts, the casters, and the crowd were phenomenal. And I thought I felt something hit the back of my head during the Finals, Elamite.

SnowPRO: I have been to several major events over the past years. Nothing compares to Sunday in terms of excitement and scale at the Halo 4 GC.

Greenskull: This image sums up the tourney for me:

GrimBrother One: In a nutshell, it made me all of the sudden "get it" when it came to the Halo competitive scene. I've never been as involved in that side of the Halo community but I've always grown up playing and watching sports of all kinds. During the Global Championship, especially the finals, I got the feeling that I truly was witnessing masters at their craft. Like, you may not understand golf, but you know when you are watching Tiger Woods that you are watching something special. It was incredible. I felt no different than watching a Game 7 of a "major" sport championship.

SMG90: So I've never really been into sports. Let's just say after the Halo 4 GC, I get sports now.

Goosechecka: I don't follow competitive Halo (since there's no Grifball), but it didn't matter. The excitement was contagious and every single person in that room was united, even only for a few hours, not as "pro players" or "casual players" or CTF or Swat or Grifball fans, but as Halo fans.

GrimBrother One: Totally agree with Goosechecka. It was truly a galvanizing moment for members of a myriad of Halo communities all coming to watch the absolute best participate in something that has been an integral part of Halo becoming what it is today.

Okay, onto the serious stuff. Did you know that Seattle had such wonderful weather?

POD Dust Storm: Yes, it's a PAX Prime specialty!

Goosechecka: I feel like Seattle weather is a liar. I always hear about how it's always rainy, but the last five PAXs I've been to it hasn't rained once.

GrimBrother One: Yes!


SnowPRO: Never knew he was such a nice guy.

Start a R1OT: Not a clue! This was my first trip to Seattle and I was pleasantly surprised.

GrimBrother One: I love Seattle. I've been trying to move there for a year, darnit.

Tashi: Each time I've visited Seattle the weather has been amazing. This whole cloudy and rainy all the time malarkey is just a myth.

Chig: Seattle weather was awesome! A lot better than here in good ol' Indiana. The weather along with scenery of Seattle and seeing Mt. Rainier was amazing. I hadn't ever seen a snow capped mountain before!

Greenskull: I lost my sunglasses at a PAX party and it was quite the annoyance due to the sunny weather.

Tashi: Myth: Busted

Were there any players that surprised you at the Global Championships?

Tashi: Ace.

SnowPRO: ContrA. Didn't expect him to place so high.

Goosechecka: We had 2 Grifballers make it legitimately to the second round. That was kind of surprising. (Shoutout to Nanadel and Nuclear Taco 42!)

Minolta1034: I am surprised Nak3d Eli made it as far as he did.

Nak3d Eli: I'll take that as a compliment, Minolta.

Chig: I think the fact the Str8 Sick didn't win surprised me! He won every FFA that he played all weekend, but just couldn't clutch it in the 1v1's. And then there's the obvious answer Ace... surprised everyone!

GrimBrother One: I was surprised by TSquared going out when he did, and Ace taking it all the way past both Legit and Pistola.

Tashi: I didn't expect Ace to win the entire thing! I mean, I know the guy has some serious skills as I've been following the competitive scene for a long time but that was totally unexpected. I thought Legit, Ninja or Pistola were going to walk away as the champion.

Start a R1OT: I was surprised by everyone in the top 8. I've never witnessed people play Halo like that before. Mind blown.

ElamiteWarrior: Snipedown, I thought he was gonna make top 8. That's free-for-all for you though. You can't have a bad game, otherwise you're out.

GrimBrother One: Pistola "Houdini-ing" the hell out of the 78 grenades that Ace rained down upon him in the final.

Tashi: Oh yea Snipedown, good call. I really expected him to be in the top 8.

Nak3d Eli: I enjoyed seeing the international competitors make it as far as they did. Other than that, I never expected the finals to be as intense as they were. Every kill, back and forth, tying up the match to enter a heart-pounding sudden death tiebreaker. Couldn't have asked for a better finale to the championship.

ElamiteWarrior: Coach Diesel outplacing Flamesword was a little surprising.

Chig: (laughs)

Pistola's gameplay (and remarks) surprised many at the Halo 4 Global Championship, including host Jessica Chobot.

During the 1v1 matches, we saw kills from the LightRifle, Boltshot, Concussion Rifle, and Pulse Grenades. Were you surprised to see so much variety in the finals?

Greenskull: I was really surprised with some of those Concussion Rifle kills. Amazing stuff.

SMG90: I am so used to seeing strict usage of the Battle Rifle and Frags in competitive play - it was really nice to see everything get mixed up a bit.

Minolta1034: I couldn't believe how big of a role the Concussion Rifle was playing. Some incredible shots with that thing I never would have expected.

SnowPRO: Pistola getting that scoped LightRifle kill was insane. The close matches were the best part. I expected at least one dominating victory but they all stayed interesting. The use of multiple weapons added to that.

GrimBrother One: Agreed on the Concussion Rifle kills. Mine only fires angry marshmallow globs that alert enemies to my whereabouts. I didn't know they could actually cause damage.

ElamiteWarrior: I must say, the top 4 playoff in 1v1s was the best possible format for this event. Great idea.

Nak3d Eli: I knew there would be variety, but I was surprised by how efficient some of those guys were with those weapons. As everyone has pointed out, Pistola's LightRifle kill was pretty amazing!

Tashi: I saw Ace come around a corner to chase Pistola with the Concussion Rifle out. I yelled, "Wwitch to your BR!" Because he was going to have to shoot the Concussion Rifle down a flight of steps. He didn't. He just walked around the corner and hit Pistola twice in the body with Concussion Rifle directly. And then I remembered he's one of the best players in the world.

Focused faces: Ace and Pistola battling it out in the final match of the tournament.

Lastly, what would you do if you had won the $200,000?

Greenskull: Buy a car. Nothing fancy, just something to get me from A to B.

Tashi: I'm going to Disneyland!

Chig: I would have paid off my tuition, helped my parents out *typical answer* Then take my girl on a shopping spree and save the rest!

GrimBrother One: I'm supposed to say "take care of my parents."

SnowPRO: I would start a series of LAN tournaments in the Seattle area. Help the community that helped me.

Start a R1OT: Pay off student loans and buy a new car.

SMG90: I'd save and invest most of it. Help my parents with tuition and maybe a few other things.

POD Dust Storm: I would pay back my parents for the college education they helped pay for, probably get a new car, donate some to charity and invest the leftovers.

GrimBrother One: In all honesty, help a bunch of great people out with some small things that would be big deals to them, and then invest at least half of it.

Goosechecka: Pay off my graduate school student loans. After that, I'd take the remaining $5 and get a large Cold Stone Peanut Butter Cup Perfection.

Start a R1OT: Grad School: Forever a loan.

Goosechecka: (laughs)

ElamiteWarrior: I'm glad I didn't win it. I would already be in Vegas, but who knows, I love roulette and could have doubled down. All in on RED!

Ace, younger brother of ElamiteWarrior, screaming in celebration after winning the $200,000 grand prize.

Thanks for joining us today and as a Global Championship Competitor. Hope to see everyone again soon!

Lastly, but certainly not least-ly, bsangel is back again with another Screenshot Spotlight.

Screenshot Spotlight - Energy Sword

Last week, we turned the spotlight on the Prefect helmet. This week, we decided to go with everybody's favorite slicer and dicer. Take a gander at the following Energy Sword screenshots, and then capture your own for your chance at being featured in next week's Bulletin.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot that features the Ricochet game type, and then tag it with "Ricochet" and "Halo Waypoint", and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

With that, this week's Halo Bulletin comes to a close.

Until next week,