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13 November 2013
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The Halo Bulletin: 11.13.13

11.13.2013 17:41


The Halo Bulletin

This month not only marks one year since Halo 4 shipped, but also one year since I moved out to the West Coast to join the 343 Industries team. The past year has been filled with getting settled into my new home, adventures and challenges of all kinds, and naturally a little bit of missing home. This being true, I invited my parents out to visit this past week and enjoy the beautiful weather that Seattle has to offer in the fall months.

Since I started competing at Halo tournaments several years ago, something that I've always had trouble with is explaining my job to others. The question is often unavoidable when meeting new people. "So what exactly do you do?" they ask, with the assumption and expectation that this is a pretty simple question to answer. Regardless of how well I try to explain my job, most people have always assumed I just played videogames all day. However, I've spent a great deal of time explaining to friends and family members exactly what I do at the studio - working on Matchmaking updates, community and industry events, and future projects that neither you nor they know about. Through this, I think I've somewhat broken the "videogames all day" stereotype.

This past Monday, I told my visiting parents that I needed to do something for work that evening. They must've assumed that it would involve something like a computer, email, or even a sketchpad and pencil. That night, they of course found me in my home, on my couch, yelling into an Xbox Live microphone while playing Halo in this month's Community Playdate. If anyone asks, I just play video games all day. I give up.

Community Playdate: Multi-Team

On Monday evening, I joined several 343'ers in this month's Community Playdate. We had five total players searching in the new Multi-Team Playlist, which meant that we would get split up onto separate teams every game. As a result, my goal and battle cry became "I don't care if we win, just don't let my coworkers win." Overall, this slightly confused my teammates, but worked pretty well. I personally had a blast shooting friends from work all night, so I hit them up yesterday to see if they had as much fun as I did.

Gamertag: SamPand
"I loved playing in the Multi-Team playlist Monday night! Luckily, I was put on the same team as TTL L askan because 40% of the time, we'll win every time! Guaranteed.

My favorite games were King of the Hill on Ragnarok, where I turned the hill into my own personal parking garage. Whether I was on Green, Yellow, Blue, or Red Team, you better believe I was bringing a Mongoose or Warthog to the gun fight and loving every minute of it."


SamPand and JayFresh006 using the "Parking Garage" strategy on Ragnarok King of the Hill.

Gamertag: HaloWaypoint

"Billy here. This was my first Community Playdate with the 343 Industries crew and I contributed by making sure no one else took over the spot for "person who got shot in the face the most." I was frequently paired with Bravo, and despite not being able to hear him for some odd reason (I'm sure he blocked me) watching him play was a site to behold. It seemed like Laskan was the true dominant force of the evening, and if I saw him in my sights, I got the heck out of the way. Multi-Team Oddball was the most hilarious, since it's four teams running for the ball, and at choke points it would become a festival of assassinations. Loved it! My personal highlights would have to be getting my first ever Airsassination and getting two assists on killing Bravo. That equals one kill, right?"


JayFresh006 protects a teammate while I take a nap top middle on Haven Multi-Team Regicide.

Gamertag: JayFresh006
My spirit was willing but my aim was weak for this round. I really enjoyed the frantic pace and controlled chaos of Ricochet, Regicide, and King of the Hill. I spent most of my time going Rambo on objectives and kills; an aggressive strategy that was probably pretty entertaining for the pros and often placed me neatly at the bottom of the leaderboard for my team. It was some of the most fun I've had getting my butt kicked.

The highlight for me was landing a Hail Mary on SamPand's retreating Warthog on Ragnarok for a memorable double-kill. As always the community continues to teach me new things—often the hard way—and were great company. Good games everyone and thanks for playing!


Upon reviewing this film, it appears there was a point in Abandon Oddball where the Red, Yellow, and Blue teams all banded together in an effort to take out Laskan.

Gamertag: TTL L askan
"If there was a theme of the evening it was "Shut Up and Get Behind In Front of Me... Sir". I spent the whole evening using my coworkers as bait and shooting at the Spartans who were shooting at them. I didn't tell them that was what was going on because if "The Plan" is exposed, "The Plan" will sometimes become less effective. I think they might have started to catch on after I kept yelling things like "Get in the hill!" and "Grab the ball!" as I slowly backed away and set up on those who were then going to bombard my objective-minded teammate with thousands upon thousands upon thousands of grenades. Real quickly, a friendly piece of advice to SamPand: GET OFF THE MONGOOSE, JERK! We had a great night of games, we got plenty of Slayer, some Multi-Team Regicide (NEW HOTNESS), a couple really fun KotH games and even a Multi-Team Ricochet game. Good games to all we played with and against, we'll see you again soon.

266 Kills in 12 games #NotSoHumbleBrag"


Multi-Team Ricochet on Monolith: Lots of people, shooting in all directions.

Gamertag: B is for Bravo
All I have to say is: Multi-Team Ricochet on Monolith is a blast. It was the first game I played in, and myself, HaloWaypoint, and our celebrity community member, LittlBasher were a deadly force. On a slightly less boastful note, the game type is very unique to Halo 4, and creates brand new map flow on Monolith. Rarely are any goals scored from the bottom, and it's generally a battle to get the ball to the closed side lift and score a touchdown by way of the almighty Man Cannon. Beware of players who camp by the lift and wait for you to bring the ball to them - we're pretty sure these are the same players who stole your eggs in Diddy Kong Racing's Fire Mountain.

We hope those of you who played with us weren't too upset with our performance, constant yelling, or SamPand's Mongoose antics. We also hope that you're enjoying the Multi-Team playlist, and encourage you to swing by the Multi-Team Feedback thread and share your experiences with us. Based on community feedback, Monday's Matchmaking update also included the removal of Spartan Ops Skulls from episodes 1-8 (in the Spartan Ops Timeline), as episodes 9 and 10 are currently available in Matchmaking with Skulls enabled. Thanks for the feedback, and if you've been waiting to play without the current Skulls enabled, get to it! Lastly, the latest Halo 4 Title Update was also released on Monday, which addressed some in-game issues. To read the details of this update, head to the change list here.

Halo 4 Ricochet Forge Contest Winners

Now that the Community Forge Ricochet Playlist has come to a close, it is time to announce the winners of the Halo 4 Ricochet Forge Contest! After dozens of submissions only six maps made it into the aforementioned playlist, and we now have three winners selected by Certain Affinity. The below note (from Certain Affinity themselves) announces the three winners and reminds them of the awesome prize packs they've won. We'd like to thank the Community Cartographers and everyone who participated as well as congratulate the winners. Lastly, the below maps will also be added to the Ricochet playlist in the 11/25 Matchmaking Update, and we can't wait to see them in the rotation!

Here at Certain Affinity, we were chomping at the bit to get these maps in our hands. We love to see the community's creativity, and the maps provided a great battlefield for a little interoffice competition. We'd like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated! Your passion for Forge and Ricochet inspire us to create maps, modes, and features that will keep you coming back for more.

It was not easy choosing a winner but alas, it was our duty to pick the top three. Without further ado, here are your winners!

Third place:

Inheritor by Squally DaBeanz
Download here

Inheritor's enclosed environment rewards short-range playstyles, while the paths to run the ball are long and open enough to encourage long-range defense. The multiple paths through the center are clear and well prioritized. While the size of the map made engagement times slower, it also rewards teams that play together and mobilize quickly. The placement of power weapons and the addition of a teleporter add great tactical depth to the environment. Lastly, the numerous skill jumps through the center make running the ball a tremendous amount of fun for those that can pull off some controller acrobatics.

Third place will receive the following prizes:


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


Second place:
Butter by Purely Fat
Download here

Butter's combination of tight corridors surrounding a wide open arena rewards teams that play with a combination of long and short-range tactics. The pathways across the map allow players to dodge, weave, and skill jump in and out of cover to perform some epic runs. With all paths leading through it, the open arena in the center allows for decent passing opportunities, keeps engagement times short, and rewards teams that can maintain control of the area. This environmental dichotomy also creates a near-perfect balance between throwing the balll for quick points and running it in for a big score.

Second place will receive the following prizes:
  • Autographed Halo 4 concept art (signed by CA)
  • Certain Affinity T-shirt
  • Autographed Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition (signed by 343)
  • Halo 4 T-shirt
  • Rooster Teeth poster


First place:
Hekau by MrGreenWithAGun
Download here

Hekau is a fast-paced map that strongly supports a team-based playstyle. The wide-open design creates fast engagement times and empowers a strong passing game that can lead to incredible interceptions when things get heated. There is a robust mix of open and covered pathways that encourages the defense to spread out and monitor all sides. However, the map is still small enough to allow a quick team response when the ball is taken down one path or another. Hekau's variations in environment are perfect for creating team call-outs and providing tactical variety while maintaining a balanced symmetry. The centralized placement of power weapons, such as the Rocket Launcher and Sniper Rifle, add an extra layer of tactical depth and create focus points for engagements.

First place will receive the following prizes:
  • Autographed Champions Bundle poster (signed by CA)
  • Autographed Halo 4 concept art (signed by CA)
  • Certain Affinity T-shirt
  • Autographed Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition (signed by 343)
  • Rooster Teeth DVD
  • Rooster Teeth T-shirt
  • Rooster Teeth poster


Thank you again to all who participated. We have many ideas for contests floating around in our head so stay tuned or hook up with us on Facebook for the next great Forge adventure! A major thank you to the Community Cartographers and 343 Industries; without your help we wouldn't be able to host these competitions. Finally a shout out to our friends at Rooster Teeth; your PSA was hilarious and helped us set a record of maps submitted. Thanks, and let's do this again soon!

-Certain Affinity

Community Choice: Dominion Game Types

Dominion will be returning as our featured playlist on November 25th, and we'd like you to select a game type for inclusion into the voting options. We've got three new options for you to choose from in this week's Community Choice Poll:

Legendary Dominion
Legendary Dominion uses Halo 4's preset Legendary Loadouts (Battle Rifle, Assault Rifle and Frag Grenades) and features an enabled motion tracker.

Shotty Sniper Dominion
Shotty Sniper Dominion equips players with everyone's favorite long and short range combination - the UNSC Sniper Rifle and Shotgun. Players start with these weapons, and can choose between different armor abilities in the Loadout options.

Dominion Pro
Dominion Pro's gameplay is similar to that of Legendary Dominion, but the settings differ significantly. The game type uses Halo 4's Pro Loadouts, which include all four rifles (the Battle Rifle, DMR, Carbine, and Light Rifle) as options, and all armor abilities disabled. Additionally, the motion tracker is disabled, making teamwork that much more important, and camping that much more tempting.

To vote on the above options, head here, and check back next week to see which game type you selected as the winner!

Team Slayer Playlist Update

Over the past few weeks, we've been detailing our plans for updating the Team Slayer Playlist, and we're now able to announce that this update will be coming on November 25th. The following will be included in the update:

  • Team Slayer CSR will be reset on 11/25/13
  • Team Slayer will be moving to a team-based CSR
  • CSR will be tracked and updated weekly on Waypoint

Starting the next week (the week of December 2nd), we'll be posting an article which showcases the top 200 players in the playlist (by CSR), and updating this article weekly. While we expect many of the top players to be level 50, this update and program will rank players 1-200, so the "top" level 50 players will be identified. As CSR is determined by who you win and lose against, it is possible for a level 50 player to be ranked higher than another level 50 player, and we look forward to identifying these top players each week.

Next up, bs angel is back with another Screenshot Spotlight.

Screenshot Spotlight - Gravity Hammer

Last week, we turned the spotlight on ODST. This week, we decided to go with a Grifball favorite. Take a gander at the following Gravity Hammer screenshots, and then capture your own for your chance at being featured in a future Bulletin.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot taken on the map Harvest, and then tag it with "Harvest" and "Halo Waypoint", and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!



That'll do for this week's Bulletin. Tune in next week, where we'll have details on the upcoming Matchmaking update and more.

Bravo

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