Halo:Reach, Playlist Update

Let’s make no mistake here, matchmaking in Reach needs a lot of tweaking. It only takes one bad kid at a a birthday party to ruin it and the same stands for the likes of Rumble Pit and Big Team Battle.

Infection and Safe Haven – Asylum is unplayable due to a map exploit that allows players to tehnically get out of the playable area. This allows them to oversee the whole map and drop any infected before they even get close to climbing the rocks. Unfair.

Haemorrhage – Everyone was excited about Reach’s Blood Gulch remake but sadly it has not lived up to the hype. Games are unbalanced and boring thanks to some key problems. Any slayer game that features a Scorpion Tank spoiled as the tank is overpowered compared to it’s previous incarnations and there is a lack of weapons to compensate. The map is far too large for SWAT gametypes, taking the fun out of the fan favourite. But CTF should work, right? Wrong, with quick flag returns and only 15 seconds sudden death, the whole thing becomes slow and arduous on such a big map.

Oddball – The Drop Shield upgrade makes this so infuriating. Especially when all 4 players on the opposite team take it and you have to smash your way through all of them to get anywhere. King of The Hill suffers similar toubles as you can drop the shield on the edge or before it moves – not as big an issue but it still grates.

Big Team Battle – I love BTB, I really do. It was my home on Halo 3. Reach isn’t quite at that level yet, the weapon to vehicle ratio needs ironed out and SWAT/Snipers needs to be removed from most maps if not entirely.

I know this seems very negative for a game I’m on love with but you have to remember that Halo 3 was the same in it’s early stages. Only after years of updates, tweaks and refining did the matchmaking hit the highs it’s currently at. That’s something you can always have faith in with Bungie; they listen and implement the changes the community wants. And with that in mind, here’s the news of the first update:

Playlist Changes

  • SWAT Playlist added (SWAT removed from Big Team Battle and Team Slayer)
  • Campaign Matchmaking (live on 10/15 – You will be required to have earned the Grade “Corporal” to enter this Playlist)
  • Team Slayer rebalanced to highlight default Slayer game variants and include new offerings
  • Classic Slayer removed
  • Removed “Pro” game variants from the Arena Playlist
  • Removed Boardwalk from Arena Team Doubles Playlist
  • Added “Return to Battlefield” volume to Space on Zealot in the Arena Playlist

Game Variants Additions

  • King of the Hill (multiple Playlists, including Arena*)
  • Rocket Race
  • Juggernaut (Rumble Pit Playlist)
  • *King of the Hill not included in Arena

General Housekeeping

  • Sudden Death will be added to all Assault game variants, including Invasion
  • Team Objective will now feature the map Powerhouse
  • Replacing Drop Shield with Evade for King of the Hill, Territories, and Oddball
  • Replacing Hologram with Evade in Oddball, Capture the Flag, Assault, and Stockpile
  • Replacing the Scorpion on Hemorrhage with Wraiths (Hemorrhage Heavies variant, TBD)

This made me a very happy boy. Very happy, indeed. SWAT removed from BTB is good, a SWAT playlist will please many players. Campaign matchmaking could be a hidden gem if it matched the fun of Firefight matchmaking. Just tons of updates and tweaks that should open up the matchmaking and make me play other gametpyes rather than the safe haven of Team Slayer.

This is just a selection of updates with more being kept under the covers. New maps have been promised too, and I hope at least one is a new Invasion map.

Keep your eye out for Friday’s update as I think Bungie will how us at least one new map. Roll on October,It feels like release day all over again


Reach Excitement Train – Day 2

Big day today. Lots of competitions getting announced/ending. Lots of codes have been fired into my Xbox.com page but I’m always too late. I know that I’m not going to win but I have to keep trying. Why? Because I’m sad, that’s why.

It’s out on  Monday for Christ sake. It’s just the knowledge of early codes that is driving me crazy. If I was never on Twitter and was just living oblivious, playing Halo and having fun, then I would not care. Oh well. I just want to play Reach. Proper fanboy jealousy now.
In other BIG news today, Bungie have joined Activision, and I’ll admit that I winced when I first read it. But when I read the contract and saw that Bungie hold the rights to the new IP then I relaxed. I probably would not have cared if it was not for the whole Infinity Ward scandal that’s going on.
Regardless of where Bungie go and what they do, I know for a fact that I will be behind them, ready to queue at ridiculous hours and spend money I don’t have on legendary editions. I’m going to do this because I admire their work and trust in their decisions.
This has turned into a bit of a love-in, hasn’t it. Oh well, what else can you expect, Halo is on my mind. Might have to knock myself out to get through this LONG weekend.

Reach Excitement Train

Are you on it yet? I’ve had my seat booked since last year, right up front by the driver so I can watch out the window. And let me tell you people, the view is incredible.

I’m not going to post everything that’s been exciting me as there is just too much – new medals, heftier guns, improved sound – but the one thing I am going to post is this, the new Bnet Service Record:

Sleek, right? The best addition is the game-by-game view of your K/D and win ratio. It makes it easier to see streaks of good/bad and maybe even find a way to improve.  I’m sure if I looked back at a run of post-pub games at 2am I would see a definite drop. Although my sniping seems to improve when drunk, maybe because I just don’t care and try stupid shots, but that’s a post for another day.

The medals at the top must be the profile medals that Bungie talked about to G4TV awhile back. I like them, as long as I can still view our complete medal chest and brag about how many multikills I have. Both would make me very, very happy.

5 days to go. Cannot wait. I will post something Halo related here each day in the run up to the beta. Hopefully you’ll join me on my train. Choo-Choo etc.

46. Why So Negative?

I was going to put an article on my slight worries about Halo Reach and Skate 3, both sequels to my current favourite games on the 360, but on watching videos for research I got a little drawn in to some of the comment sections. Why are people so negative about something they have never, ever played? It’s ok to be critical, voicing your worries – like I was going to do – and the likes, but when you comment something like this:

What a steaming pile of shit. They should have taken more time with number 2 even and revamped the animation/physics system. They turned something so potentially good to an easy add more tricks/features money maker. Business is so cash hungry.

Why start a well worded point (although wrong) with something like that? A steaming pile of shit? Really? Have you played it? No, you watched a 1:50 video about it and decided right there that it was, as you so eloquently put it, a steaming pile of shit. And I’m not even going to start on your point as it is completely the opposite of what Black Box have done.

Lets look at another:

atleast its got better graphics then gaylo reach

Eh… yeah, not much to say to that one.


Sad face...

WHY BUNGIE?!? Possibly the most overused phrase in Halo, but this time I’m serious Bungie. Why have you screwed up Big Team Battle?

Big Team used to be the go-to playlist for me, filled with great maps and tons of vehicles, it was tactical and fun. But recently something has happened. For some reason, you, the great masters have ruined it by opening it up to players who don’t own DLC, forcing you to play either Sandtrap or Valhalla. Forever…

Now I have no problem with these maps. Hell, we even have a history together, these were the bad-boys I cut my teeth on – the home of my first running riot, my first sniper triple kill – but I’ve moved on. My heart now lies in the icy valleys of Avalanche, or the open lands of Sandtrap and its many variants. Even the newly introduced Longshore, where me and my sniper rifle have had many a fond day.

Even better were the days when all of these maps could co-exist, making it such a rich playlist. Why now, are the fans who spent our money on your maps, your beloved creations, being forced to play the same two levels over and over? Why Bungie? Answer me! Why?

Now I know you have recently opened up the new mythic maps to download on the marketplace, but that’s not going to fix things. These people, they’re not fans, they’re casual gamers, and they are spoiling my favourite game. I want them out, I want my playlist back.

Don’t make me go to Modern Warfare 2 Bungie… please…

23. Cop Out… (Halo3 Shit)

I’ve been drinknig drinking too much today, and been having far too much fun. The majority of the day has been filled with this:

This was uploaded about a year and half ago, and I have improved so much since then, but still, there is some good clips in here.

It was better than my first montage:

And this is my most recent clip, recorded last year:

Anyway, I’ll post something proper up tomorrow morning before the hilarity continues.

Be a Hero!

The ever wonderful Bungie are offering Halo fans a couple of ways to donate money to Haiti.

Buy these t-shirts for $19.99and Bungie will donate their share of the profits directly to the rescue and relief operations that are under way in Haiti.

If, like me, you are currently a little stripped for cash – although I will donate directly tomorrow – then all you have to do is play Halo 3 or ODST anytime between 00:01AM PST Wednesday, 1/20, through 23:59PM PST Thursday 1/21 (PST is 8 hours behind the UK so out times will be a little different) while wearing the heart emblem – details of how to do that here.

For every thousand players that participate, Bungie will donate $100 upto a total of $77,000. We have to spread the word and get online, even of you’re not a big fan just get your arese on that one night and help Bungie help the Haitans.

If you take screenshots and videos, tag them on Bnet with ‘HERO’, then you could win one of the T-shirts. What do you have to lose? Nothing!

I will be playing Halo all day and nagging anyone who does not have a heart emblem. Get on and spread the word.