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15 January 2014
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The Halo Bulletin: 1.15.14

01.15.2014 16:20

Playing Halo can take many shapes and forms. Often times this is dependent on factors such as which game types or playlists you are playing, and in many cases also dependent on who you are playing with. Earlier this week, we were playing with you in our most recent community playdate, and as expected, it was awesome. We played many matches of 8 vs. 8 SWAT custom games, and I do believe that I spent more time laughing than actually playing, despite going on an unprecedented nine-game win streak. I'd like to thank my community comrades for carrying me to victory each game, and also let you know that I often remind all of my co-workers just how dominant we were. Every day. (bs angel edit: confirmed. Sigh.)

As I started to say earlier, who you're playing Halo with often makes all the difference between a great time and an unforgettable time, and playing community matches this week was nothing short of fantastic. Between the man from Wales who stayed up until 4 am to participate in the playdate to those of you who would not stop asking questions about future projects (we are not discussing future projects), to those who topped the leaderboard each match, thanks for playing, and we hope to see you online again soon! Speaking of, let's talk about what is coming to matchmaking on Monday.

Matchmaking Playlist Update

This coming Monday, we've got a bunch of new experiences coming to Halo 4 Matchmaking across several different playlists. Let's get into the details!

Team DLC

Starting Monday we'll have two weeks of Team DLC, which will feature a healthy mix of game types: Slayer, King of the Hill, Extraction, SWAT, Snipers, Ricochet, Regicide, and Oddball variants will be available on the following maps:

  • Skyline
  • Monolith
  • Landfall
  • Daybreak
  • Harvest
  • Vertigo
  • Pitfall

We hope that you enjoy the Team DLC featured playlist, which will be available until February 3rd. As always, head on over to the War Games Feedback section and let us know what you think once you've had a chance to play some games.

Action Sack

There is an ancient saying that goes something like "There's always room for more crazy in Action Sack." We couldn't agree more, and the Matchmaking Systems team has been working with the Community Cartographers on some brand new Halo 4 game types.


The classic Plasma-Pistol-One-Hit-Kill game type is back! We've worked with Forger petetheduck to bring this game type to play Halo 4 Matchmaking, and he's created an incredibly bright and colorful speedball-inspired map to chase down your Plasma Pistol commendations. Jump height is reduced, and each player has one life per round.

Husky Raid

Husky Raid is a unique linear Capture the Flag experience that provides the perfect amount of chaos for those who like to press into combat over, and over, and over again. Each team spawns with random weapons at their flag platform, opposite the other team. Only a single-lane valley separates them, so there is only one way in, and one way out. If you've ever imagined all eight players in the same lane, playing tug-of-war in between bases, then you might have a good idea of how Husky Raid plays. This game type has appeared as a popular custom game type in past titles, and The Fated Fire has made it possible in Halo 4 as well as helped us bring it into Matchmaking.

Clang of the Hill

Aptly named for the loud, rich sound of Energy Swords clashing against one another, Clang of the Hill is a 4 vs. 4 King of the Hill game type with Thruster Packs and swords designed by SNIPE 316. Dodge, slice and dice your way to victory.

Team Doubles

Last week's Community Choice Poll revealed that King of the Hill was the most voted for by a narrow margin. As a result, the game type will be available in Matchmaking next week! Below is the map pool for KotH Doubles.

  • Haven
  • Abandon
  • Simplex
  • The Ark
  • Fallout
  • Pitfall
  • Skyline

Whether it be in Team DLC, Action Sack, or Doubles, we'll see you in Matchmaking next week!

Halo: Mortal Dictata

Mortal Dictata

The third and final novel that concludes the New York Times bestselling "Kilo-Five Trilogy" will be available this Tuesday! This novel ties into Halo 4, and will continue to influence the content in all future Halo games. For a peek into the story, see below.

Halo: Mortal Dictata, the Covenant War is over but hatred, guilt, and devotion endure beyond the grave. The Office of Naval Intelligence faces old grievances rising again to threaten Earth. The angry, bitter colonies, still with scores to settle from the insurrection put on hold for thirty years, now want justice -- and so does a man whose life was torn apart by ONI when his daughter was abducted for the SPARTAN-II program. Black ops squad Kilo-Five find their loyalties tested beyond breaking point when the father of their Spartan comrade, still searching for the truth about her disappearance, prepares to glass Earth's cities to get an answer. How far will Kilo-Five go to stop him? And will he be able to live with the truth when he finds it? The painful answer lies with a man long dead, and a conscience that still survives in the most unlikely, undiscovered place.

Halo Mega Bloks Update

We've got an update for those of you following the Halo MEGA Bloks ONI REAP-X line! Coming soon is the UNSC Quad Walker, which is a highly advanced prototype walker based loosely on a number of Covenant models, including the Locust. Deployed from space much like a drop pod, the Walker's primary weapons are two plasma cannons, similar to the Covenant's Shade turret. The set will include a copper Covenant anti-vehicle Shade turret and a pair of figures: a Recon Spartan and a gold Storm Elite.

For more info on ONI REAP-X here, head here, and stay tuned to Halo Waypoint for more info.

Community Interview: Stephanie, The Female Master Chief

Last week, we stumbled upon a blog that showcased an epic Master Chief photo shoot. Naturally, we were rather intrigued, so I reached out to the author to find out more. I caught up with Stephanie a few days later, and we talked about the Master Chief, cosplay, and (wedding) cake.

Hey, Stephanie! Thanks for joining me today. We recently checked out your Master Chief photo session and thought it was pretty rad. Tell us, when did you first get into Halo?

I've always loved videogames, and fell in love with them back in the days when Galaga and Pac-Man were a big deal. I was introduced to Halo in March 2005 by my brother when I went to visit family during my kid's spring break. I played multiplayer games with my brother, his best friend, and my kids for the entire week...staying up way later than we ever intended. I had a blast, and my Halo love affair began (both figuratively and literally). When I returned home, I immediately set up my first Xbox Live account with the help of my brother's best friend (who later became my husband) so that I could keep playing multiplayer games with them.

If there's one thing we understand, it's certainly the immediate need for more Halo. You mentioned in your blog that Halo 2 and Halo 3 had a lot to do with you getting to know your husband. Tell us more!

I met my husband Dave during that family visit for spring break March 2005. We played Halo 2 multiplayer all week. I just couldn't get enough Slayer game time in! When I returned home (9 hours away), I had to call Dave to help me set up Xbox Live so I could keep playing online. That started our "online" friendship. We played almost every night, often staying on the headset just talking for hours....long after the last game was over. By the time Halo 3 came out, the relationship was no longer a friendship, and we were officially dating long distance. We played Halo 3 multiplayer as often as we could since it gave us a chance to talk and have fun together even though we lived so far apart. I got to know a lot of Dave's friends via Halo 2 and Halo 3. It was a little lopsided, as I'm the only girl I know that plays video games (much less a first person shooter game) so Dave didn't get to meet any of my friends via Halo!

Do you happen to have any pictures of the Master Chief on your wedding cake? We need to see!

For sure! Our photographer thought it was pretty cool. :) The Christmas before we got married, my brother jokingly gave me a set of Master Chiefs daring me to put them on our wedding cake. Because Halo had played such a large part of us getting to know each other, the Master Chief (along with Assault Rifles and Battle Rifles) had a prominent place on our wedding cake. It was definitely "us."

What is your favorite thing about Halo, and what are some of the aspects of the universe that have pulled you in as a fan?

In Campaign mode, I love the idea of the "Good Guy" or the "Ultimate Soldier." You know, the one guy that is willing to always do the right thing. So yeah, I have a thing for the Master Chief...but not in the way you'd think. I'd just really like to BE him, to be THAT guy! The relationship between the Master Chief and Cortana has always been intriguing particularly due to the symbiotic relationship they have. They need each other, and it's hard to imagine one without the other. Bringing the Flood into the mix was brilliant! The continuation of the story throughout the Halo franchise really makes me want the story to never end.

Multiplayer, though, is my favorite. The ability to use Forge to create custom maps and game types created a whole new level of interest and fun. Having an eight-hour game day party with friends created a way to keep us connected all over the US...some that we know personally, and others that we've become friends with through playing online!

How often do you sport the Master Chief costume? Have you ever cosplayed at an event? With that fancy, upgraded reflective visor, I imagine it would turn many heads!

When my hubby surprised me with the costume this past October, I was so excited as I have been wanting one since I fell in love with Halo in 2005. We both decided that a better visor was necessary to keep the coolness factor, and went to a local motorcycle supply store to find a new replacement. With some ingenuity and elbow grease, Dave replaced the visor for me. I made a few other adjustments to the costume as I'm only 5'6" and the costume was made for someone much, much larger than me.

I wore the costume for Halloween. It was the BEST Halloween EVER!! I stood outside in my driveway perfectly still (I had a friend acting as my "interpreter" since I wasn't talking) and waited to see people's reactions...some people thought I was a statue or robot. There were a few near misses when cars would drive by because most of the drivers were shocked to see the Master Chief standing in the driveway with a Plasma Rifle! So many of the kids recognized the Master Chief (and a large number of the dads, as well). I'm still trying to figure out how some of the moms would think I was a Transformer. But the absolute BEST was when a little five-year-old girl saw me, squealed, and screamed, "It's Halo...it's the Master Chief! I love Halo! I love the Master Chief!!" And then she asked me for a hug. When I took off my helmet...she was even more excited to see it was a girl inside the costume. Turning around, she told her mom that she wanted to be a Master Chief, too. Best moment of the night! I love that a five-year-old girl is as excited about Halo and the Master Chief as I am! :)

I've not cosplayed at an event but now that I can be the Master Chief, I'm already looking at plans for 2014. I just have to fit it in between shooting weddings and sessions. Anyone have an extra Needler or Energy Sword on hand?

We hope to certainly catch you at an event in the costume this year! What inspired you to put together the Master Chief photo session? Was your family on-board with the idea from the get-go?

Not only because I'm a photographer, but also add in that I've always dreamed of being a "hero" somehow, the next step was turning that dream into a mini-reality through a photo shoot. I envisioned how I wanted the session to look, what lighting to use, told my crew my vision for the shoot (which is my talented husband, daughter, and step-daughter) and off we went for a photo session! They were all totally on board, and were actually just as excited about it as I was (it was hard to tell who was more excited about the session!). Since I'm almost always on the other side of the camera and am much more comfortable there, I was a little nervous about how the session would turn out. I was ecstatic when I saw the results. My daughter did all the post production editing. I got to live my little dream of being the Master Chief and it still makes me smile.

It makes us smile too, as does the story you've shared today. Lastly, if people want to keep up with you, your photography, and adventures, where can they head?

Thanks so much for having me! You can check out the Master Chief photo session and the rest of my blog here.


Next up, bs angel is back with another spotlight!

Screenshot Spotlight: Deadeye

Last week, we turned the spotlight on the best of 2013. This week, we decided to go with a rather stunning Spartan helmet. Take a gander at the following Deadeye screenshots, and maybe even find inspiration to make your own.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot that features an explosion (cool guy optional), and then tag it with "Explosion" and "Halo Waypoint", and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, this week's Bulletin comes to a close. Until next week,