They're Random, Baby!

24 April 2013
Link to this bulletin
Original Waypoint link
Return to main page

The Halo Bulletin: 4.24.13

04.24.2013 18:00

I've been playing Halo since the days of Combat Evolved. Throughout my 11-year love affair with the franchise, I have learned three things: Master Chief is a pretty cool guy who doesn't afraid of anything, Sergeant Johnson really does know what the ladies like, and Cortana would strongly prefer that you not leave this planet. After spending the other day with her - or her IRL counterpart, to be exact - I also learned she would prefer it if her Wikipedia page was accurate. Let me explain.

Last December, for the Child's Play Charity Dinner Auction, we donated a Halo bundle that included a studio tour and personalized Cortana voice mail, with 100% of the proceeds going toward improving the lives of hospitalized children. The highest bidders for the bundle, "olanmills" and "Ragingterror" as they're known in the online world, recently redeemed their winnings for a day full of developers, designers and Jen Taylor (the voice of Cortana). During a narrative-fueled lunchtime discussion, the conversation started with pleasantries and slowly morphed into a game of Jen-themed "Did you know?"

"Did you know she's the voice of Princess Peach?" was followed by "Yes! Did you know she voiced Zoey from Left 4 Dead, too?" which then led to the opening of her Wikipedia page so we could test our knowledge of everybody's favorite pocket-sized AI. It was at that point that she learned that particular user-edited entry contained a few inaccuracies. As we were semi-distracted by the sound of Cortana's voice coming out of Jen's mouth, it took everybody a few moments to recognize she was calling out the roles she had never heard of, much less actually done. I told her someone would probably fix the falsehoods at some point, and then suddenly realized that statement could be interpreted as an assurance or even (GASP!) a promise. You know how she feels about that subject, so if you are familiar with Jen's background in regard to her VO work, and you're also an active member of the Wikipedia community, I'm sure she would appreciate a revised Filmography listing because the current one is, for the lack of a better phrase, not a natural - nor accurate - formation.

Before you head off into the depths of the constantly changing web-based encyclopedia, I do hope you'll read the Bulletin because today we're talking weapon tuning, Join-in-Progress-ing and Campaign easter egg-ing, the latter of which we'll tackle first.

Halo 4 Campaign Easter Egg Hints

The Halo 4 Campaign still contains many uncovered secrets. You discovered three of them after our mission designers shared some cryptic yet decipherable hints a few months ago, and that team is back again with a new batch of riddles. The first two easter eggs listed below are similar, size-wise, to the previous three you discovered, while the third one is more of a teeny-tiny source of amusement. So grab your decoding rings and get ready, because it's about to get all easter egg-y up in herre.

What is it?
Hidden weapons, lie in wait
Power untold, from a crate
Take them all, control life and death
Make them breathe, a dying breath

Where is it?
Before the Cryptum, hexes lie
Standing patiently, do not die
Upon the chime, aim at the square
Shoot them both, the fight won't be fair

What is it?
To all who are legends, kneel the believer's number to smash your enemies asunder.

Where is it?
In the Requiem of the beam lies a treasure at first unseen.

What is it?
In the heat of battle, the mighty arachnid proclaims its love of baked beans to the heavens.

Where is it?
The Legendary warrior should venture to the root after contacting his stalwart comrades but before they reveal themselves. Reach out to the root, and wait for the call of the Cobra hunter.

Good luck on your hunt! And for those of you that prefer the shenanigans multiplayer has to offer, continue reading for an update from Bravo about our weapon tuning efforts and recent Join-in-Progress update.

Current State of Weapon Tuning

Bravo here with more details in the world of weapon tune testing and developments. This week, I spoke with Quinn regarding more specifics with a few weapons, as well as some of the challenges associated with each.

Halo 4 Screenshot

Battle Rifle
We announced last week that we're investigating the feasibility of a 4-shot Battle Rifle and saw a lot of interest regarding how many bullets it takes to kill an enemy. There are indeed complications that exist around a BR that takes exactly 4 shots (or 12 bullets) to kill, and most relate specifically to latency and online play. While a 12-bullet kill feels good and rewards accurate players in a LAN setting, the vast majority of the game is played online, and the 11 -bullet kill provides a consistent online experience while still rewarding skill. Right now, we are testing a 4-shot BR that kills on the 11th bullet, which allows for a small margin of error in online play.

We had also mentioned the reduced rate of fire on the BR. When we brought the BR to a 4-shot, the weapon was dominating at all ranges. To balance it out, the fire rate now matches the DMR exactly in current testing.

Halo 4 Screenshot
DMR and LightRifle

We've slightly reduced the range at which the reticle turns red for the DMR, and once again matched the LightRifle to this distance. This is based off some feedback we received last week that questioning whether or not it is currently too easy to engage people across the map. To maintain skillful long range battles, we've reduced this range slightly for this week's testing. We're also investigating slightly increasing the rate of fire on the LightRifle when zoomed, which increases its viability at range.

Assault Rifle

The current Assault Rifle kills in 16 rounds, making it technically possible to kill 2 players with one magazine if not a single shot is missed. Our current balance testing reduces the rounds to kill by 2 or 3 shots, making this feat a bit more achievable. However, a significant reduction in auto-aim makes this quite difficult and demands a bit more skill from players who wield the AR. Our current tests bring us to an optimal kill time range that lies between that of Halo: CE's and Halo 3's Assault Rifles.

As we tweak these values, we'll continue to address some of the challenges associated with each and let you know where each week brings us. We're currently in the process of building a release schedule for the new weapon tune, and we should have details about that next week.

Also, Quinn and I just played a 1 vs. 1 match with some fully automatic DMRs. They're kind of powerful. On a serious note, we look forward to messing around with various weapons in extreme ways for game types in playlists such as Action Sack, Multi-Team and wherever else appropriate. For now, though, let's chat about an update we made on Monday to Join-in-Progress parameters.

Join-in-Progress Update

Halo 4 Screenshot

As we announced in the previous Halo Bulletin, we've been paying close attention to feedback regarding Join-in-Progress. As of Monday, we've updated the parameters at which players can join games, based on game mode and playlist. As you likely know, Join-in-Progress is a brand new feature in Halo 4 and was implemented to fill in matches when players quit in order to provide a consistent experience and combat against lengthy, drawn out matches in which several players have quit. After monitoring your feedback and adding new playlists, modes, Competitive Skill Rank and more, the Matchmaking Systems Team felt it was necessary to update some of the join settings to create the most optimal experience across all playlists.

While the specific settings will vary greatly depending on the game mode, score of both teams and time remaining, the following are some highlights of the current Join-in-Progress parameters:

  • Once a match has passed just over half of the total game time, Join-in-Progress is disabled across all game modes and playlists.
  • Rumble Pit now has the smallest Join-in-Progress window, only allowing players to join during the first few kills of a match.
  • In Slayer matches outside of Team Throwdown and Team Doubles, players will no longer join after one team has reached just over half of the score limit.
  • In King of the Hill and Oddball, players will no longer join in the second half of the game in regards to score limit.
  • In Grifball, players will no longer join single-round matches if over 3 goals have been scored by one team. We will be updating Grifball Pro to similar settings in the next update.
  • In Team Throwdown and Team Doubles, players will no longer join after a small join window during and before the first moments of a match.

The goal of these updated parameters is to ensure that players who join late will still have a chance to win the match, and that players will not be joining War Games Matchmaking matches too late to have a shot at winning. Additionally, these updated parameters ensure that players who join late will not only be able, but will need to contribute to the match significantly. We look forward to hearing your feedback regarding these new Join-in-Progress settings.

Halo 4 Screenshot Spotlight - Assassin

Last week we shined the spotlight on Grifball. This week we decided to go with assassinations. Take a gander at the following images of elaborate enemy take-downs, and 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 on the map Daybreak. Then tag it with "Daybreak" and "Halo Waypoint", and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, another Bulletin comes to close. See you back here next week when either Bravo, I or a mix of us both will deliver your weekly dose of community news. Until then...

bs angel

P.S. Discuss.