The Halo Bulletin: 10.16.13
I've heard people say that once you work in the videogame industry, you start to play less and less videogames. While I like to think that I and many others at 343 tend to break this stereotype, it is true that all of us don't get to play as much Halo as we would like. (Note: If we did, no actual work would get done, ever.) For this reason, it's particularly special when a bunch of us can get together and play Halo for a few hours and meet new friends and fans. This past Monday was our latest Community Playdate, where a bunch of 343'ers hopped into the newly released Oddball playlist.
Community Playdate: Oddball
As expected, the Oddball playdate proved to be an awesome session of carnage-packed ball tossing. Round after round, we played a wide mix of traditional Oddball, and the two new game variants, Legendary Oddball and Stickyball. While the team went undefeated in Stickyball throughout the evening, I continually rushed the ball spawn at the start of each game, continually learning (the hard way) that you shouldn't rush the ball spawn in Stickyball, because approximately nine Sticky Detonator projectiles will be waiting for you when you get there. Tip: Don't try to grab the ball off the start of the match. It's just not gonna happen.
In the end, the team went 11-1 over the course of the playdate, and had a blast playing with all of you. I talked to the full 343 roster after the games to hear what they had to say, and also grabbed some screenshots to recap particularly ridiculous and epic moments.
The 343 team in "perfect" formation in a game of Oddball on Simplex. This was either the best idea ever, or the worst idea ever.
I arrived late to the playdate but quickly contributed to our team with helpful callouts like; "I've got the ball!" and "Wait no, I'm dead." and "Where the heck are you guys?" Coincidence that we went undefeated after I joined? I think not. My favorite plays were the clever ball movement (passing is most crucial) and bs angel giving her best "I saw a SPIDER!" screech after dying. Stickyball was super fun and I can't wait to see it included in the amazing montage videos I know our talented community will create.
SamPand leads the rush to re-take the back tower in a game of Oddball on Abandon.
I played several roles on the star-studded 343 team during Monday's run of the new Oddball playlist: Distractor (distracting the enemy by jumping around and melee'ing the air), Spotter (for bs angel's betrayals), Assist King (for the other team), and last but not least - Spartan Armor and Pose Coordinator (Menace stances everyone!). Unfortunately, none of these supporting roles really did anything to help my CSR, but I'm still happy to have participated.
bs angel accidentally picks up the ball, and her teammates sprint away from her on a game of Oddball on Abandon. This is typical.
Gamertag: I am known by two names, Magic Hands and bs angel. I'll let you guess which one is relevant to Halo.
Objective always has been, and likely always will be, my game type of choice. There's just something magical about the transformation of individual players into a well-oiled flag capturing, site extracting, hill controlling, and, in this case, ball holding machine. During the 12 game playdate, we had some great plays, and also some not so great plays (DON'T JUDGE). Through it all, though, good games were had. Big thanks to everybody I repeatedly shot in the face. The opposite to those that were unkind enough to return the favor.
Laskan (on the HaloWaypoint gamertag) defends our post during a match of Stickyball on Solace. In the background, I appear in a poof of smoke.
TTL Laskan here. Oddball has always been one of my favorite game types. I have many fond memories of running circles around the little dome on the first floor of the bases of Midship, yelling "Front door! Front door!" as guys crossed over shotty on their way to try and ruin my day. I also had to work double duty to not get repeatedly betrayed by bs angel. It's not a joke people, she WILL betray you, and probably with a sticky 'nade. Whoever made the Stickyball game type and gave her sticky 'nades on Loadout is going to get a strongly worded email. So with an eye on the ball, and an eye on bs angel I thought I was safe... Enter JayFresh006 who decided, for one evening, that he'd take up the mantle of main slayer betrayer. There was nothing I could do, I was out of eyes to keep on things. Despite all of that, we played well and finished the night with only one loss, which one of the opposing players had tweeted about before we even stood up. #notsohumblebrag
I'm gonna be looking to avenge that loss all weekend. Great games, all!
My mission: Grab the Overshield, grab the ball, and then RUN.
Gamertag: B is for Bravo
I had an awesome time playing the new Oddball game types. As I mentioned on Twitter, if you were on the team who beat us in Legendary Oddball on Abandon, you've been permanently banned. Thanks for playing, everyone!
We'd like to thank everyone who joined in to celebrate the return of Oddball as a featured playlist. As a reminder, our next official Community Playdate will be on Monday, November 11th, where we'll be playing the Community Forge Ricochet playlist. To see our schedule of playdates, head over to the Matchmaking Playlist Calendar. Speaking of the next Matchmaking update, we've got something new for you. We give you: the first ever Community Choice Poll!
Community Choice: Ricochet Game Types
One of our team's goals is to empower the Halo fan base in providing feedback that impacts real updates to Halo 4 Matchmaking. Through areas like the War Games Feedback forum section, we've introduced new maps and game types, tweaked spawns and weapon placement on various maps, and more based on your feedback and input. Moving forward, we'll be providing you with some of our options for upcoming Matchmaking playlist updates, and letting you select which you'd like to see implemented. Read below for the details of the very first Community Choice Poll!
In the next Matchmaking update on October 28th, we'll be premiering the Community Forge Ricochet playlist which will contain the top six finalists from the Halo 4 Ricochet Forge Contest. To augment and vary your experience in this playlist, we've decided to add an additional Ricochet game variant to the playlist. This week, we're kicking things off by asking which Ricochet variant you'd like to see in the Community Forge Ricochet playlist.
Each of the above game types offers slightly different experiences. To help you choose, we've further detailed them:
Quickochet is the intersection of Ricochet and Halo: Reach's "Hot Potato." Loadouts and overall game settings are identical to Ricochet, but after a certain period of time, the ball will explode at random. Get ready to string together some passes!
In Shotgun Ricochet, teams must move together as they inch across the map and eliminate each line of defense. Players are equipped with Shotguns, Plasma Grenades, and Thruster Packs. With lots of in-your-face combat, this game type makes Ricochet up close and personal.
Legendary Ricochet pits teams against one another with preset starting Loadouts in Halo 4's Legendary experience (Battle Rifle starting weapon, no Armor Ability, Motion Tracker enabled).
Head here to vote on the Waypoint forums. Voting will be open for approximately four days. Next week we'll announce the Community Choice winner along with the Matchmaking Update!
As we briefly touched upon earlier, we released some updates to Matchmaking on Monday, including the aforementioned Oddball playlist, an update to Team Throwdown, and the removal of the Majestic DLC requirement from the Team Slayer playlist. Additionally, we'll have more details about our upcoming and in-progress CSR program which will highlight top players in Halo 4 Matchmaking each week. We are actively considering moving this effort to the Team Slayer playlist to provide an optimal experience and make it accessible to the largest 4 vs. 4 audience. Remember to head over to the War Games Feedback section if you'd like to provide us with your thoughts and suggestions.
Halo Pumpkin Stencils
If you're like me, you use every excuse you have to make Halloween Halo-themed, including but not limited to extreme UNSC-themed cosplay, spelling Halloween "HALOween" every chance you get, and epic pumpkin carving. Pumpkin stencils are back once again this year, so get your saws, scoopers, and scrapers ready. Or, if you have one of those high-powered, cordless, handheld, intricate pumpkin carving tools, get that thing ready. If you're up for a challenge, we've got six brand-new pumpkin stencils for you. Click on the image to download the stencil, which are ordered by difficulty.
I know I'll be giving the Global Championship and Mister Chief stencils a shot and will post my results on Twitter and in upcoming Bulletins. If you'd also like to see additional stencil templates, check out last year's designs. Once you've created a masterpiece out of one of the above designs, be sure to send a picture to our official Twitter account or post on our Facebook page for a chance to be showcased on Halo Waypoint. Also, if you'd like to take your pumpkin(s) to the big leagues, submit it into Halo.Bungie.Org's 343 Guilt O' Lantern Contest. The first prize is pretty cool - a just-painted Mister Chief Canvas.
Good luck, and may the best carver win!
Halo 3 Games with Gold
As we mentioned last week, Halo 3 is now free for all Xbox Live Gold members! The title will be free as part of the Games with Gold program, which gives two free games each month to all Gold members until the release of Xbox One. The promotion will be available until October 31st. Whether you'd like to play through the campaign, jump into Matchmaking, or play split-screen with your friends, head here to download. If you've got questions about the DLC or Matchmaking playlists, head over to the Halo 3 FAQ. Lastly, we'll be organizing a Halo 3 Community Playdate for later this month - keep an eye on next week's Bulletin for the details.
Screenshot Spotlight: Armor Ability
Last week, we turned the spotlight on Forge art. This week, we decided to go with an Armor Ability. Take a gander at the following Active Camo 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 Oddball game type, and then tag it with "Oddball" and "Halo Waypoint", and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!
With that, this week's Bulletin comes to a close. Be sure to stop by next week, where we'll discuss the upcoming Matchmaking update, reveal the final maps from the Halo 4 Ricochet Forge Contest, and more.
Until next week,