The Halo Bulletin: 11.14.12
by bs angel
The first five days of Halo 4
Over the past week, millions of you have been glued to screens full of sprinting super-soldiers and delicately dipping Mantises. While I've been glued to a screen as well, mine shows a slightly different picture. You see my monitor - or, to be more specific, room full of monitors - show me what you're doing. I've been watching what playlists you're frequenting (go Infinity Slayer!), what forum threads you're reading (decrypting the encrypted), and what parts of the website you're browsing (dem Halo 4 stats). I can see a lot more than that, but I'll stop there as I don't want to frighten you. #retreatsbackintothebushes
As someone that's fascinated with the aforementioned numbers, statistics, trends and figures, I thought I'd share a few fun facts about the first five days of Halo 4. I also thought I'd use as many words as possible that start with "f" (minus one) in a single sentence. You're welcome.
Over four million people played Halo 4 on Xbox LIVE in the first five days.
We couldn't have achieved any of the above numbers without you, so from all of us at 343, thanks for playing. <3
Next Week's Matchmaking Playlist Update
We may have just launched a game, but there isn't a single second to rest on our laurels as we have numerous things piled on top of our already overflowing plate. One of those things is the recurring weekly Matchmaking updates. Another one of those things is the Crimson Map Pack, which is slated to be released in December of this year. We'll be sharing more about the latter soon but for now, let's dip into the former.
On Monday, SWAT was added to Matchmaking, along with five brand new Spartan Ops missions. Also included in that update were the following:
Please note that the map fixes only affect playlists and not on-disc custom game map variants. We are aware that other glitches and exploits exist, and we will continue pushing out Matchmaking fixes for these issues on Mondays.
Thousands of you have been enjoying SWAT - this week's headshot-happy rotational hopper. So many, in fact, that we have decided to leave that playlist in for another week. Additionally, another rotational hopper will be added to the mix, this one featuring everybody's favorite long-range weapon. That's right, Team Snipers is a mere five days away!
Team Snipers is exactly as it sounds: You play on a team. And you have a sniper. One of the more notable differences in Halo 4 is the removal of the secondary weapon. This change was made to focus on a pure sniping experience. While secondary weapons may come back in a future version of Team Snipers, we see this first iteration as the base version and are looking forward to more sniper variants in the future.
Below are the maps that will appear in the Team Snipers playlist.
If you are unfamiliar with Team Snipers, here are some tips and tricks to get you off on the right foot.
Here is a preview of Team Snipers' planned settings.
We hope you continue to enjoy SWAT, and we also hope you enjoy Team Snipers when it launches on 11.19. Oh, and one more thing: don't forget to drop by the Matchmaking section of our forums and let us know what you think of both rotational playlists and the Matchmaking experience as a whole. Please know while we don't currently have the bandwidth to reply to every thread, we are reading your feedback and communication will improve after we get over the craziness of launch. Thanks for hanging in there with us until then.
Personal Ordnance Frequencies
Certain playlists in Halo 4 feature personal ordnance. What is personal ordnance, exactly? As you earn medals, you fill up your ordnance meter. When that meter is full, you earn a reward drop for yourself from the Infinity. The reward comes in the form of three randomized power weapons, grenades, or power-ups (two of the former, one of the latter).
For those of you that like knowing everything there is to know about the intricacies of the game, above are the numbers that determine the percentage chance of getting each reward in personal ordnance. For example, Damage Boost has a weight of 1 with a total of 7 in its column, so you will have a 1/7 chance of receiving Damage Boost in an ordnance package. Hopefully this information will give you a slight edge in Matchmaking. Only a slight edge, though, as I'd still like to win every now and again…
Halo 4 Career and Stats on Halo Waypoint
Halo 4 offers a variety of personal customizations, game modes, maps and progression options. To complement and support your journey through Halo 4, we have updated Halo Waypoint to provide you with all your personalized information, complete game history, and rich stats tracking across all game modes, maps, Campaign missions and even Spartan Ops chapters.
Like in previous Halo games, you will find a wealth of statistics about your in-game accomplishments, including:
We have also added new stats features that were not previously available in Halo titles:
Please use this guide as a reference for all the Halo 4-specific Career and stats features we have added to Halo Waypoint. We hope you enjoy experiencing all that Halo 4 has to offer, using Halo Waypoint as your companion along the way.
How to access
To access your Halo 4 Career and stats from the Halo Waypoint website on any device, sign in and click or tap on the "Career" menu item. This will launch you into the dedicated "Halo 4 Stats" web experience, which will work across a variety of browsers, for desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones.
On the Xbox 360 Halo Waypoint app, you can access your Halo 4 Career and stats from the home screen by selecting your Player Card, which is labeled with your Gamertag.
Your journey through the Halo 4 Career and stats on Halo Waypoint begins with your Service Record. This section is the overall summary of your progress and accomplishments in Halo 4. It highlights your personal choices, top accomplishments, and gives a great overview of how far you have gotten in the Halo 4 experience.
Within your Service Record, you will find the following data:
Player customizations and favorites
High level statistics for War Games, Spartan Ops, and Campaign
Note: The amount of detail in the Halo 4 Career and stats sections will vary between the Halo Waypoint console app and the Halo 4 Stats web experience. In general, the web will offer more detail and further drill-down, while the Waypoint console experience has been designed with emphasis on highlighting the most important data.
Service Record on Halo Waypoint web and mobile web
On web and mobile, you will see a landing area that shows your Player Card and a summary of activity across the game modes (War Games, Spartan Ops and Campaign).
Player Card: Your Player Card on web and mobile shows off your current Spartan-IV configuration, in-game emblem, four-character Service Tag, Spartan Rank, Specialization and current XP progress bar towards the next level.
To the right on web and tablets (or below on phones), you will find more Service Record details:
Recent Games: A quick look at your recent game history.
Stats Summary: A high-level look at your stats across the all game modes.
Most Played Variant Stats (War Games): Stats summary from the game base variant that you play the most of in War Games.
Most Used Weapon: The weapon that you use the most throughout Halo 4 (includes Campaign and Spartan Ops).
Specializations: The progress you've made in your current Specialization.
Achievements: A list of all your completed and locked achievements for Halo 4.
Commendations: The progress you have made across all Commendations in Halo 4, grouped by category.
Service Record on the Halo Waypoint console app
On the console version of Halo Waypoint, the Service Record content and function is similar to web and mobile, although the layout is different:
Player Card: Your Player Card is visible from the home screen (see below), and it shows off your posed Spartan-IV, your in-game emblem, and your current Spartan Rank and Specialization.
Once you dive into your Service Record from your Player Card, you will see this screen:
The Service Record screen gives you a quick view into your overall progress and stats, just like on web, and it allows you to quickly navigate to each of the sub-sections.
From left to right, the panels available in your Service Record are:
Challenges: Leads to a list of current active Halo 4 Challenges.
Classified: Leads only qualified Section 3 personnel to a classified section of Halo Waypoint, which allows the entry of secret glyph sequences, which in turn unlock Spartan-IV armor, emblems, and intel.
Barracks: Takes you to see all your Xbox LIVE friends, as well as gamers that you recently played with.
Game History: Leads you to your complete Halo 4 Game History across all modes.
Summary: Leads to a stats summary screen that shows a more detailed rank progress bar and lists all earned Specializations, Commendation overall progress, and top Halo 4 earned medals.
The Summary dive-in panel looks like this:
From left to right, the first panel shows your Specialization progress.
The middle panel shows Rank, Commendation, Achievement progress, as well as your most used weapon, Challenges completed, Spartan Ops Chapters completed and Campaign overall progress.
The right panel shows a breakdown of games played by mode, and one more panel to the right (not visible above) will summarize your most played War Games variant.
Backing up to the rest of the Service Record section, we also have these panels:
War Games: Takes you to the dive-in section for the War Games game mode (Matchmaking and Custom).
Spartan Ops: Leads you to the dedicated Spartan Ops section, which has all released episode videos, as well as your stats and progress information.
Campaign: Leads you to the Campaign dive-in section, which also contains all your unlocked Domain Terminals (see that section further along in this guide).
War Games (Matchmaking and Custom)
War Games is one of the two primary game modes in the Infinity Multiplayer experience in Halo 4 and will appear familiar to players as an evolved version of the Competitive and Custom game modes in Halo: Reach. First a note about the distinction between "Matchmaking" and "Custom":
Within this guide, when we say "War Games", we generally mean the Competitive "Matchmaking" mode, and we will explicitly call out "Custom War Games" when we are talking about the Custom mode.
Accessing the War Games sections
Within the Halo 4 Stats web experience, War Games Matchmaking and War Games Custom have their own sub-section, which can be accessed from the main navigation bar.
On the console version of Halo Waypoint, War Games can be accessed from the Service Record via this panel (on console, both Matchmaking and Custom are in the same section).
Access from web:
Access from console:
War Games stats summaries
Within the Halo 4 stats web experience, the two War Games modes (Matchmaking and Custom) have a consistent layout, and similar content:
Web - War Games Custom view:
Console: On the console version of Halo Waypoint, the War Games section houses both the Matchmaking and Custom data, and you can flip between both using the "X" button. All the stats shown will change to reflect the data of the selected mode.
The War Games section on console contains these four panels:
A note regarding "Wins" and "Losses" in Waypoint:
When a War Games match concludes in Halo 4, you will see a clear message indicating your final overall result - either victory, tie or defeat.
In Halo Waypoint, these results are aggregated for all the games, and also shown for each game in the game details for that game. However, some clarification is needed regarding the labels, as there are some subtleties in how the results are aggregated and labeled:
For Team Games:
For Free For All Games (FFA):
Game Base Variants
War Games offers players different types of games they can play, not just the traditional Slayer game type. The term we use to refer to the various "base" types of games is "game base variants".
When you play in a specific playlist (e.g. Team Slayer or Regicide), the playlist in question has a defined game variant. This game variant is always derived from one of the game base variants.
For example, you may see the following playlists:
In this case, all three of these playlists share a common game base variant: Slayer.
Here is the list of the game base variants available in Halo 4:
Capture the Flag: Played with up to four teams, each of which has their own Flag. The goal of each team is to steal an enemy team's Flag, while protecting their own. Once a team has grabbed a Flag, they must return it to their own capture point to score. Flag carriers are only able to use a Magnum or the Flag itself as a weapon.
Slayer: The standard Slayer experience of past Halo titles now returns with a variety of new features that span across the entire War Games experience. These features include a new scoring system which separates individual and team performance, a substantial medal set, improvements to the Multiplayer HUD, the SITREC (Situational Record) Replay and a dynamic ordnance drop system. The newly introduced Infinity Slayer variant now allows Spartans to earn points during the course of a match which can eventually be leveraged to call in ordnance from overhead. Ordnance drops within Infinity Slayer consist of three selectable but randomly generated weapons or power-ups, the latter which can alter a Spartan's speed, shielding or ability to issue damage.
Oddball: With up to eight teams in combat, the goal of the War Games simulation called Oddball is to hold onto the ball the longest. While holding the ball, a player or team will gain points, but the player holding the ball is unable to defend themselves with their weapon. Players are also able throw the ball or use it as a weapon for close-range melee attacks.
King of the Hill: Reminiscent of schoolyard skirmishes, the War Games competition known as King of the Hill pits up to eight teams against each other in a struggle to hold a specific territory. While this is a classic game type, its most recent iteration offers a variety of new scoring methods, including a focus on individual performance in addition to the team's collective effort.
Flood: Within this War Games simulation, the deadly parasite has returned: A group of Spartans has been transformed into incredibly fast and deadly Flood combat forms. As the Flood, players are forced to destroy uninfected Spartans, converting them into Flood combat form allies. As an uninfected Spartan, the player's goal is to survive the seemingly never-ending Flood onslaught, staving off transformation into the parasite.
Extraction: In the game type Extraction, Spartan teams are tasked with the retrieval of assets from various sites using prototype translocation technology. Once a team has found a viable site, they must initiate the extraction process with a quantum marker and its spherical translocation beacon. As the extraction process occurs, teams must defend their beacon in order to prevent others from converting the existing extraction process into their own favor.
Dominion: Teams are pitted against each other to capture, fortify and resupply bases to win. After infiltrating a base, a player can capture it for their team, whether it is a neutral base or a base previously claimed by the enemy. When a team has held a base for long enough, it will automatically fortify, defending itself with turret emplacements and energy shields. Holding a base earns teams points for each resupply, and provides teams with heavy ordnance drops and vehicles each supply cycle.
Regicide: The Spartan in first place is the King. As the King racks up kills, their bounty increases, thereby increasing the points other Spartans gain from killing the King. All other Spartans' heads-up displays and motion sensors give away the King's location at all times during the match, aggressively focusing combat wherever the point leader happens to be.
Grifball: Prepare for Awesome!
In previous Halo stats experiences, it was not possible to see your aggregated stats across the underlying game base variants. However, we have now added this ability to the War Games stats sections of Halo Waypoint, allowing you to see your stats overall for each game base variant, no matter how many different variations of the type you have played.
Another advantage of splitting this data is that we may show you data which is most relevant to the type of gameplay, not the same info regardless of type.
At the end of every War Games match, you will see a featured stat for that game base variant show up in your Post Game Carnage Report (in-game). On Halo Waypoint, you can also see these featured stats, both for each individual game and also aggregated across the entire game base variant.
Here is the list of featured stats, as they correspond to the game base variants:
Game Base Variants on Web and Mobile
To access the game base variants within the Halo 4 Stats web experience, click or tap on the "Game Variants" button on the right hand side (or down below in the mobile version of the website):
The game variants section has these components:
A couple of notes about weapon stats:
Weapon stats are a bit of a misnomer, as they really list stats for all damage types. Weapons in the game are a large part of the damage types, but there are others, including the following:
Weapon stats in Halo Waypoint include "Kills" and "Deaths", but there is some clarification needed as to what is meant exactly by "Deaths".
Game base variants section on the Halo Waypoint console app
On the console version of Halo Waypoint, you can access the game base variants details by diving into the summary panel within the War Games section. Please keep in mind that the results will be filtered by whatever mode (Matchmaking or Custom) you were on in the War Games section. You can switch modes by pressing the "X" button.
This leads you to a screen with panels for each game base variant, each of which shows the relevant stats for that variant.
There is one panel per game base variant, and you can scroll left or right to examine. The icons which appear faintly in the middle of each panel represent that game base variant, and they are the same icons visible in-game and on web.
In each panel you will see these stats:
"Mode medals" is a bit of a misnomer, as it should actually be called "game base variant-specific medals". As you can see, however, that is a bit of a mouthful, so we shortened it. Medals have various categorizations applied to them. For example, "tier" determines how hard they are to get and how many points they are worth.
Many medals apply in general to all game base variants. For example, "spree", "kill", and "assist" medals. Some, however, have been specifically designed for each variant. As a result, most of the variants have a corresponding native medal type we can track. The notable exception is the Slayer variant. For Slayer, we end up tracking all other non-modal medals and showing them within the "Mode Medals" field whenever you see "Slayer".
For Capture the Flag, Regicide and a few others, mode medals are very specific. As an example, here are the Capture the Flag medals:
Flag Capture: Deliver the opponent's flag to your base.
All these medals apply only to Capture the Flag, so if you see "Mode Medals: 154" and you are within the Capture the Flag panel, that means you have earned 154 medals of the ones listed above. If the panel in question was Oddball instead, then it would mean you had earned 154 Oddball-specific medals. On the other hand, if you saw "Mode Medals: 154" within the Slayer panel, then it would mean that you have collected 154 medals of all other non-variant specific types.
And, after that very long stats write-up, it's time for me to bid you adieu. Have a lovely week, and I'll see you same time, same place next week. Until then...