They're Random, Baby!

23 January 2013
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The Halo Bulletin: 1.23.13

01.23.2013 17:00

Love at first site

I find Halo to be a stimulating activity. If evening rolls around and I'm expelling yawns at a rapid fire rate, all I have to do is pop in the game, insert myself into Matchmaking, and suddenly I'm wide-eyed, bushy tailed and ready to fight the world. In fact, the second I gallantly skip onto Halo's virtual battlefields, all of life's annoying little distractions (e.g., significant others) cease to exist. My world instantly boils down to me, my trusty Battle Rifle and the tried and true techniques I have been utilizing since the days of Combat Evolved.

If you're wondering what strategies bring me occasional online success, first let me tell you this: I am the most average Halo player you will ever have the (dis)pleasure of meeting. Sometimes I cap flags, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get kills, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I adhere sticky blue balls onto the backs of my teammates, sometimes I don't. And it's because of my mediocre Halo skills that I purposely put myself in advantageous positions that play to my particular set of strengths.

Yes, I'm a dirty camper. Don't judge.

Saturday night, as I sat in a particularly well-shielded corner of Adrift, awaiting unsuspecting potential flag snatchers, I was reminded of all the times I've played defense over the years. From Zanzibar to Rat's Nest to Terminal to Boardwalk, all my favorite spots require minimal movement while providing maximum surprise. Needless to say, I was in a singular spot for so long in that game that I had time to think about all the characteristics that define a player like me. So, before we dip into the meat of this week's Bulletin, here are the top 10 signs that you, too, just may be a camper.

Top 10 Signs You May Be a Camper

You may be a camper if...

The Incineration Cannon is your favorite weapon because of its above average marshmallow roasting capabilities.

Your preferred Ordnance Drop consists of a tent, sleeping bag and portable stove.

You think DMR stands for "Doesn't Matter, Really". Because with way you play the game, it doesn't, really.

The crouch button is always the first button to get worn out on your controller.

You have more Base and Flag Defense medals than all your friends combined.

You wish "stationary" was a selectable status on Facebook.

You think Active Camo should be buffed.

You're offended when people call it a legit strategy because it's more than that. It's an entire way of life.

When anybody asks how your last game went, you say, "It was 'in tents'" and then laugh hysterically.

You read this entire list while you were mid-game, and your position still hasn't been discovered.

Now that you have determined whether or not you're a camper, let's get down to business, as there are a few different Matchmaking topics I'd like to tackle before I bid you adieu. Off we go!

Next Week's Matchmaking Playlist Update

As many of you know, Bravo (who responds more to that than his real name of Andy) is the newest member of our Matchmaking Systems Team. While he's normally heads-down building the different Multiplayer experiences you play every week, occasionally he comes up for air long enough to randomly pound on his keyboard. Below is the result of one such hunt and peck session.

Week of 1/28:

Halo 4 Grifball Screenshot

On Monday, Spartan Ops continues with episode 7, which will once again contain five new Spartan Ops missions. Also premiering for the first time in Halo 4 is the Grifball playlist! We've worked closely with GrifballHub to create several different Grifball experiences in this new Matchmaking playlist . If you've never experienced Grifball, read on, because you're in for a treat. If you HAVE experienced Grifball, then you probably just peed your pants with excitement and aren't reading anymore.

What is Grifball?

Grifball is, without a doubt, the greatest online sport. The game type was first created by Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth back in the days of Halo 3, where it gained an online following and quickly became one of the most played custom games in the history of Halo Multiplayer. It features two teams of four, who are equipped with Gravity Hammers and Energy Swords. These teams spawn facing one another in a large arena known as "the court." In the center of the Grifball court lays the ball, or bomb. At the start of the match, both teams rush towards the bomb in an overall effort to plant it at their enemy's spawn. If you haven't yet played and the above sounds complicated, don't worry - you'll get the hang of it right away, and likely play for many hours and forget that you have any responsibilities at all.

Also happening this week is the unlocking of two new Specializations: Engineer and Stalker.

Engineer: Spartan optimization for the subversion, repair and reconstitution of a wide range of technology, including Covenant and Forerunner complex networks. The Drop Recon Armor Mod allows users to predict the location and time of an Ordnance Drop through an external suborbital monitoring system.

Stalker: Spartan optimization for target shadowing missions which require tactical invisibility despite operating at an extremely close range to the target itself. The Nemesis armor mod allows users to target and track down previous attacking enemies, highlighting them on the armor's passive sensors.

As you level up through these Specializations, you'll unlock armor sets, emblems, visor colors, weapon and armor skins, and lastly, armor mods. If you're a power weapon hog, I'd recommend choosing Engineer and unlocking the Drop Recon Armor Mod - this will give you a heads up when the goodies are falling from the sky. If you're more of a "don't get mad, get even" kind of player, go with Stalker - the Nemesis Armor Mod will give you a slight advantage against the enemy who just killed you. Good luck advancing through these new specializations!

As you likely already know, the Community Forge Test playlist also launched a few days ago, and I hope you're enjoying it as much as I am! We've seen some great feedback on the forums, and I've personally had some nail-biting CTF Simplex matches, ending yesterday's session with a 600-590 win against some dirty campers in Infinity Slayer on Scythe [bs angel note: I'm so offended.]. Victory has never tasted so sweet. If you'd like to leave feedback after trying out these maps, check out this thread:

Community Forge Test Feedback Information

The Community Forge Test playlist will also be around next week, so don't worry if you haven't had a chance to hop in just yet. The playlist will be available until the release of Team Doubles on February 4th.

The Infinity Challenge online finals officially ended this past Saturday, and we are currently checking the leaderboards to ensure that all prize winners played legitimately - stay tuned for the final winner's announcement within the next few weeks. And yes, I'm still expecting the winner to give me a ride in that fancy truck.

War Games Community Update

Every week we share information about upcoming Matchmaking playlist updates (see above), but Kevin Franklin also wanted to touch on some other things expected to arrive over the next few months. So those of you that have been asking about CSR, Extraction and other War Games-related topics should immediately begin digging into the information below. There are morsels to be unearthed, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Halo 4 Grifball Screenshot

Hey everyone, Kevin Franklin here.

The 343 War Games team has been hard at work on new playlist content, DLC maps, and other such goodies. We are incredibly excited for our upcoming DLC announcement, but until then we have some other updates to share with you.

CSR - Competitive Skill Rank

We have been working closely with several internal teams on optimizing the ranking system, and working to integrate it into your Waypoint player profile, accessible on web, phone and tablet.

More Details:

  • You will have a unique CSR visible per playlist.
  • Your highest CSR across all playlists will be promoted in the player profile on Halo Waypoint.
  • CSR uses familiar 1-50 scale.
  • When CSR launches, everyone will start with a fresh rating.

Our targeted launch date for CSR is April 2013, and we will be re-configuring some of our most competitive playlists to accommodate the launch of the feature.

Playlist Rotations Going Forward

We have been reading your feedback on rotational playlists, and we would like to clarify our approach going forward.

  • Several of the modes currently on 'hiatus' are getting updates and fixes based on community feedback.
  • We are planning to build several multi-mode playlists that include rotated modes, and new modes we have not launched yet. It is important that we build strong playlist compositions in time for the CSR launch.
  • We hope to keep Grifball and Doubles in as regular playlists.

Future Playlists and Modes

Alongside bug fixes, feature improvements, and new maps, here are some modes and playlists we are working on:

  • Grifball Playlist: Slated to include multiple versions of Grifball and new courts.
  • Extraction Playlist: Adding overtime, fixing a score bug, improving the capture experience, and tuning maps.
  • Infinity CTF: More details next week.

And that brings this week's Halo Bulletin to a close. I hope you found answers to a few of your most asked questions, and we'll be back next week to do it all again. Until then...

<3, bs angel

P.S. Discuss.