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20 March 2013
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The Halo Bulletin: 3.20.13

03.20.2013 12:08

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In Seattle, there are espresso stands on every corner. In Boston, however, that's not the case, at least not in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. While my first PAX East involved spending the majority of my time unsuccessfully looking for frothy bean-based beverages, I'm expecting this year's festivities to go a bit more smoothly. That's right, I'm already mentally prepared for the lack of caffeine-supplied energy jolts. I'm also physically prepared as my suitcase is currently cram-packed full of its canned, portable counterparts.

My PAX East preparations may have involved raiding the local coffee shop multiple times, but the rest of the team has been insanely busy planning our panel, securing mass amounts of swag and putting the finishing touches on new Halo 4 maps and game modes. While I'm certainly not going to reveal every last detail of our PAX East presence, I'll happily fill you in on the basics. Read on to devour just that.

PAX East
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PAX East - a show exclusively for gaming - opens bright and early Friday morning at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. For a small group of people, however, the party is getting started on Thursday night. Below are the details regarding our pre-funk festivities, playable booth experiences and multiplayer panel, the latter of which just may include a fun little surprise or two...

BigHungry2x TwitterMad Catz Unveiled: Thursday, 6PM-12AM
A private party thrown by our friends over at Mad Catz, Unveiled is an exclusive pre-PAX East event. We'll be on deck, providing participants with a world-exclusive hands-on preview of upcoming Halo 4 Multiplayer content. We gave away tickets to this event on Monday and said we would announce the winners in today's Bulletin so without further ado, the winners are @imthedorkkk, @MasterSundown, @Bighungry2x, @njbrodeur87, @Capitalism_Rox, @squirrelburrito, @AH_Booshy and @therealjlalor. See you Thursday night!

Halo 4 Multiplayer: Past, Present, and Future Panel: Friday, 5-6PM
You've played the Majestic Map Pack and may even have a chance to play the Castle Map Pack on the floor at PAX. Come prepared to hear our very own Kevin Franklin, Andy Dudynsky and Jessica Shea (hey, that's me!), as well as Certain Affinity's Tom Potter and special guest Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth discuss where we've been, where we are, and what is on the horizon for Halo 4 Multiplayer.

PAX East Floor Experience: Friday - Sunday, 10AM-6PM
PAX East is all about getting down and dirty with your favorite games and we'll be allowing you to do just that in the Xbox booth, where numerous stations will have the not-yet-released Halo 4 Castle Map Pack loaded up and ready to go. We'll be giving away swag to the first several hundred people in line, and we'll also be hosting a Majestic-themed FFA competition where the last (wo)man standing will walk away with a GAEMS Halo UNSC Vanguard Personal Gaming Environment. We have three GAEMS cases in desperate need of good homes, so come back every day of the show for your chance to win one!

If you find yourself in the eastern part of Massachusetts this weekend, we hope you stop by and say hello. Should that not be in your future, however, we'll be posting updates on both Twitter and Facebook, giving away a GAEMS case as part of our traditional Twitter Free Stuff Friday festivities, and maybe even posting a video or two so all of you, regardless of where you're located, can stay up-to-date on all things PAX East and Halo. So, one way or another, we'll see you this weekend.

While many of us will be at PAX East for the next few days, several core components of our sustain and services teams are staying behind, working hard to get everything detailed below officially ready for your perusal. Join Bravo as he takes you through the tweaks, changes and additions that are coming to Halo 4 Matchmaking on Monday.

Next Week's Matchmaking Playlist Update
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Legends in the Dark

Bravo here with another jam-packed Matchmaking update (if there any typos in the paragraphs that follow, it's because my hands are shaking due to excitement for PAX East). Spartan Ops will continue on Monday with episode 9, and we've got some War Games updates coming in the form of new additions as well as updates to existing playlists.

On Monday, Majestic FFA will be replaced by the limited-time-only Community Forge FFA playlist. The maps featured in this playlist are the finalists in the recently concluded Halo 4 Forge Contest, brought to you by Certain Affinity and the Community Cartographers. Many amazing forgers submitted their creations, and here are the best of the best, ready for your FFA enjoyment!!

Pondering Black Site by The Fated Fire
Bloodthirst by iiHopp
Edifice by Redemption1272
Malice by AgentPaperCraft
Opus by SHIFTY time
Plaza by Smexi Bilzo
Assault by NLTROOO
Serenity by DG Intensity

Be sure to head to the War Games Feedback section next week and let us know what you think of these maps. As I started to say above, this playlist will only be around for a short while, after which it will be replaced by an FFA playlist that will include on-disc maps, Majestic DLC, and possibly one or more of the above Forge maps!

As promised, Team Throwdown, our premiere competitive playlist, will also be receiving a significant update. We've continued to work with professional players on the settings, and we're happy to announce that come Monday, version 3 of Gh057ayame's BR-start settings will be making its way into playlist voting options, along with Halo 4's "Pro" settings that can currently be found in Doubles Pro. Both variants will feature game modes on the Majestic maps, and the playlist's voting slots will be randomized. Here are the game types that will now be available in Team Throwdown:

  • Team Slayer on Haven
  • Team Slayer on Monolith
  • Team Slayer on Skyline
  • Team Slayer on Abandon
  • Team Slayer on Shutout
  • Team Slayer on Simplex
  • CTF on Simplex
  • CTF on Adrift
  • CTF on Skyline
  • CTF on Monolith
  • King of the Hill on Monolith
  • King of the Hill on Haven
  • Extraction on Dispatch
  • Extraction on Adrift
  • Oddball on Skyline

The Doubles Pro settings will replace the "Deluxe" settings (and be converted to 4 vs. 4) in Team Throwdown. These settings offer the option to use the DMR, LightRifle, Battle Rifle or Carbine in pre-set game loadouts. Here's a recap of the settings and loadouts:

Mode Pro
Score to Win Dependent on game type
Loadouts Game Loadouts (see below)
Instant Respawn Disabled
Death Cam Disabled
Motion Tracker Disabled
Personal Ordnance Disabled
Ordnance Drops Enabled
Time Limit Dependent on game type

Loadout 1
Starting Weapon DMR
Secondary Weapon Magnum
Armor Abilities None
Tactical Mod Resupply
Support Mod Explosives

Loadout 2
Starting Weapon Battle Rifle
Secondary Weapon Magnum
Armor Abilities None
Tactical Mod Resupply
Support Mod Explosives

Loadout 3
Starting Weapon LightRifle
Secondary Weapon Magnum
Armor Abilities None
Tactical Mod Resupply
Support Mod Explosives

Loadout 4
Starting Weapon Carbine
Secondary Weapon Magnum
Armor Abilities None
Tactical Mod Resupply
Support Mod Explosives

Lastly, you'll be very happy to know that Lightning CTF will be making its way into the Action Sack playlist this week. If you missed the Action Sack announcement, Lightning CTF is a fast-paced game mode in which players start with LightRifles, the Flag is transported on the Flag carrier's back, and one shot anywhere on the body will kill. I suggest you start training with a ridiculously high sensitivity and LightRifle loadout immediately.

If there's no Matchmaking update next week, it's because I went to PAX East and never came back.

Halo 4 Title Update
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As we announced last week, various teams across the studio have been hard at work on an additional title update for Halo 4. Expected to release within the next few weeks, it's in a finalized enough state where we'd like to go ahead and share its change list with you. Before I divulge the specifics, I'd like to say one thing: While the list may appear small at first glance, one thing in particular presents a myriad of future opportunities. More on that momentarily. For now, here are the changes that will hit Halo 4 once you're prompted to download this update.

  • Enabled "X-Markers" on the HUD to designate when and where teammates are killed.
  • Updated Active Camo to fully reveal players when they fire all weapons.
  • Reduced the auto aim, magnetism and damage on the Gauss Warthog.
  • Fixed an issue in which some players at SR-130 did not see their Specialization on their in-game Player Card.
  • Fixed various issues with ordnance navigation markers.
  • Fixed various join-in-progress issues with Flood.
  • Added the ability to make weapon adjustments via backend tuning.

If your ears perked up with that last one, you probably understand what this means. Previously added weapon adjustments, such as the Bolt Shot Nerf that went live last month, needed a title update in order to be released. With this title update, we are adding the ability to make weapon adjustments outside of the standard title update process. This will allow us to fine tune and tweak the Halo 4 sandbox as often or not as often as needed. One thing to keep in mind is that even the tiniest of changes affects the sandbox as a whole, so these adjustments will be closely scrutinized and carefully tested before being released. We'll be sharing more about the different things we can do with our soon-to-be-acquired weapon-tuning "knobs" in our PAX East panel, so keep your ear close to the ground for the latest on that particular aspect of the title update.

Halo 4 Screenshot Spotlight – Forge Art
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Last week we shined the spotlight on Sniper-themed screenshots. This week we decided to go with Forge Art. Take a gander at the amazingly constructed shots below, then capture your own for your shot at being featured in next week's Bulletin.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot that is predominantly red. Then tag it with "Red" and "Halo Waypoint", and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, it's time to bring this Bulletin to a close. If you're in the Boston area, I will hopefully see you soon. If you aren't, well... you should be.

bs angel

P.S. Discuss.