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27 February 2013
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The Halo Bulletin: 2.27.13

02.27.2013 20:00

Majestic Map Pack

To me, Sunday is about sleep and Halo (not necessarily in that order), and if you were one of the over 55,000 people that joined us for our Majestic Map Pack live stream last weekend, we have at least one of those things in common. While I had to forgo the former to participate in the latter, the sacrifice was worth it, as maps were previewed, matches were played and a love for one particular inanimate object was born. Oh yes, I'm talking about dat tarp.

Halo 4 Majestic Map Pack Live Stream

If you missed our Majestic Map Pack live stream, you can watch it in its entirety here. Included are tips and tricks for nabbing the 10 new Achievements, along with flythroughs, free-for-alls and team games on Landfall, Monolith and Skyline. There is also an abundance of David Ellis facial hair, if you happen to be into that sort of thing. And really, who isn't?

Should the watching of previously recorded events that were at one point live but are no longer happening in real time be excluded from your usual list of preferred activities, you should instead check out screenshots of the new maps in the Halo 4 File Browser. The hyperlinked search is for Skyline, but simply change the top filter available on the left sidebar to see the other two maps.

Oh, did I mention that the Halo 4 File Share is now available on web? You can get a quick run-through of its features in this article, or you can just dive right into the browser itself. I recommend both but not before you read the rest of this Bulletin, because we've got Matchmaking updates, Spartan Ops summaries and a collection of amazing screenshots captured by your Halo brethren to read, reflect upon and ogle. So let's get started, shall we?

Next Week's Matchmaking Playlist Update

Extraction is a word with many meanings. For the dentally unlucky, it's the removal of a tooth. For Isaac Clark, it's a prequel to his first game. For Halo 4 players, it's as follows:

Extraction is a 5 vs. 5 objective-based game type where opposing Spartan teams are tasked with extracting assets from various sites around the map. Once a team has found a site and is in position, they must plant their beacon and protect it from the opposing team while the extraction process occurs. If the defending team remains in control of the beacon, they receive one point, however if the opposing team overtakes the site before extraction is complete, the point is theirs. Once a site has been extracted, a new site becomes available. The first team to extract five points wins.

Why am I making you read a description of this particular game type? Read the latest Matchmaking update, penned by none other than Bravo himself, for the specifics.

Halo 4 Screenshot

Week of 3.4:

Bravo here with the Matchmaking update! On Monday, Spartan Ops continues with an encore of episode 6. In War Games, we're proud to premiere Extraction in its very own, brand new playlist. While the variant is currently available in both Team Throwdown and Majestic Team DLC, this new playlist will provide you with the opportunity to extract all day, every day.

Here are the settings that will be featured in the playlist:

Mode Extraction
Team Setup 5 vs. 5
Score to Win 5
Loadouts Custom
Instant Respawn Disabled
Death Cam Enabled
Motion Tracker Enabled
Personal Ordnance Disabled
Active Sites Map Dependent
Site Location Sequential
Site Movement On Extraction
Arming Time 3 Seconds
Extraction Time 45 Seconds
Conversion Time 3 Seconds
Timer Pause Enabled

We're very happy to offer this new game mode as a standalone playlist, and hope that you check it out this week. Afterwards, head to the War Games Feedback section and let us know what you think!

We'll also be updating the Capture the Flag playlist with two new maps: Simplex and Settler. Simplex, an arena-style map from community forger SaLoT, has seen the spotlight in both the Community Forge Test and Team Throwdown playlists. Settler is a fast paced, semi-symmetrical on-disc Ravine variant that rests atop a verdant cliff side - it will be appearing in Matchmaking for the first time, slightly tweaked for 5 vs. 5 CTF. Also, as you may have seen on the forums, motion tracker is currently disabled for Rumble Pro, and we'll be correcting this with Monday's update.

We are currently evaluating the join-in-progress window across all playlists, and we'll be updating this window for Majestic FFA DLC on Monday - be on the lookout for the specifics of this update in the Matchmaking section. Lastly, we'll be revisiting the respawn times in the Majestic Team DLC playlist to ensure that they provide an optimal gameplay experience.

If there's no Matchmaking Update next week, it's because I'm at home playing Extraction and following up by posting my constructive feedback on the Waypoint forums. Man, I'm awesome. [bs angel note: And humble as well. ;) ]

Spartan Ops Update

Episode 10 of Spartan Ops premiered on 2.18, and with it came the dramatic end of Season 1. Just as he did for episodes 1-8, Brian Reed, franchise writer and author of Spartan Ops Season 1, is back with two more fiction summaries, this time for episodes 9 and 10. As previous abridgements are scattered throughout four different Bulletins, we'll be publishing the fiction summaries for all 10 episodes next week in one handy-dandy article. Until then, here are the final two pieces of Season 1's puzzle, sprinkled with in-depth insight only the author of Spartan Ops can offer.

Halo 4 Spartan Ops Screenshot

Episode 9: Key

This was, in a lot of ways, one of the hardest episodes to write, because we had so many moving pieces. Palmer's in one place, Majestic in another, Halsey in another - but we have to get them all in the same place at the same time and do it convincingly. For days and days it drove us nuts as we tried to make it make sense that Thorne and Palmer would get to that room at the same time. And then it clicked - Lasky was just standing there telling Palmer he disagreed with the order from Osman. But he wasn't doing anything about it. A quick re-write, a last second pick up shot on the mocap stage in Los Angeles, and suddenly Lasky was sending Majestic on another mission - a mission that he's going to have to answer eventually.

I'm really happy we finally got to put Palmer in the field in these two episodes. I wanted her down there much earlier than this, but the duties of command mean you don't always get to go run around on the planet shooting bad guys with your friends.

Halo 4 Spartan Ops Screenshot

Episode 10: Exodus and Episode 11: Exodus Conclusion

We couldn't figure out how the story ended. Room full of smart people, all with storytelling skills and the resumes to prove it, and we could not tie a bow on this story in the outline stage. Then Frank O'Connor says, "Maybe Jul just drives Requiem into the sun." And we all laughed, because that was so wonderfully absurd. A half hour later we still didn't have an idea of how the Requiem adventure ended. Eventually we let Jul drive Requiem into the sun because, come on. That's pretty awesome, throwing planets into suns.

Poor Catherine Halsey. Don't get me wrong, she's a monster. A war criminal. A woman who kidnapped and killed children because she thought the ends justified the means. But then we come along and chop off her arm simply because we wanted a spot of ambiguity in her final line. In the original draft, she was shot, but in one piece. Jul asked her what she wanted, she said, "Revenge" and everyone knew she meant on Palmer and the crew of Infinity. But we didn't want that. Halsey is a woman who is always saying two things at once. To end on a note from her that was so clearly defined just felt wrong.

So I chopped off her arm. Now she glances at her shoulder before answering Jul's question and you have to ask: Who does she want revenge on? Palmer? Jul? Everyone?

I wrote the words late one night around 2am. The next day in the office I pitched the idea to Halo 4 Narrative Director Armando Troisi.

"Get out of here," Arm said. "She's gonna be so mad."

Yes, Armando... yes she is.

While I can neither confirm nor deny that Halsey is mad, I can tell you that if you missed the second half of Spartan Ops Season 1 or if you want to replay it now that you have several morsels of tantalizing insight at your disposal, we'll be rerunning episodes 6-10 starting March 4. So tune in on Monday, Tuesday or any day next week to have another shot at episode 6. Halsey, Thorne and Glassman thank you in advance.

Halo 4 Screenshot Spotlight - Wallpapers

The Halo 4 File Browser hit Waypoint web yesterday! To celebrate, we will be featuring Halo 4 screenshots and the artists that capture these amazing images today and also in future installments of the Bulletin. This week we're shining the spotlight on screenshots that work perfectly as wallpapers. So ogle the following collection of images and perhaps even set one (or all!) as your background.

For your chance at being in next week's spotlight, take a screenshot of an Armor Ability. Then tag it with "Armor Ability" 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. I'll see you next week, same time, same place, assuming I don't see you through the scope of my Battle Rifle first...

bs angel

P.S. Discuss.