“We’re not leaving him here” – upcoming posts/thank you!

Sergeant Johnson: “Radio for VTOL, heavy lift gear. We’re not leaving him here.”

He looks down and realize the chip is empty. The Chief reaches up and grabs Johnson’s wrist

Master Chief: “Yeah. You’re not.”

He pushes himself slowly to his feet

“Arrival”, Halo 3 (pulled from Halopedia)

It’s to my shame that I haven’t posted on Reactive Bias in a while, and a thank you to everyone who has been checking out the site since then – even with the lack of content.

And a thank you to all the randoms who continue to come to the site by mistake – your poor search skills are my gain!

Like many things that I enjoying doing (but require work), I’m always thinking about writing but when it comes making it happen I’m easily distracted.

(Specific distraction: I’ve been playing through the Assassin’s Creed series, currently on Brotherhood. I could say a lot about it, but I’ll keep it short – it’s been fantastic.)

But enough of my excuses – I wanted to give you guys a head’s up as to what I’ve been working on and plan to roll out in a more steady fashion.

It’s what you do that defines you (thank you Ms. Dawes), so here’s what I hope to do!

  • HBOhio – the rest of the pics! You’ve seen a few, but I plan to draw out the nostalgia with even more photo goodness.
  • New deck conversationsmore additions to the often sarcastic world of Halo ecards.
  • Hey, weren’t you reading the novels? – yep. Last entry was here, and I’ve finished a few since then. Reactions incoming!
  • Hyperion knowledge bombs – I laid out the ground work here, and I’ve been loving the Halo 4 Visual Guide. I’m excited to be able to use these resources to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the universe, and to add a few of my thoughts along the way as well.
  • Articles, smarticles – I have some thoughts on new articles (Why Spartan Ops needs to be more like Tie Fighter, commentary breakdown of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, etc.) as well, so those will come as I can get to them.

Again, a big thank you to everyone who’s read (and especially followed!) Reactive Bias.

I’ve been MIA, but you’re not leaving me here …

Did he just compare himself to Master Chief? And he's talking in 3rd person?

Did he just compare himself to Master Chief? And now he’s talking in 3rd person? Yikes.

The fact that people are still with me means a lot.

Thank you!

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Random Slipspace Trajectory

The Halo Universe is a big place, and it’s easy to get lost in all the fiction. Getting lost can be a good thing though; there have been many times I’ve traveled to Halopedia to look up just one thing and end up following rabbit trails for the next half an hour, amazed at the story threads that bind the universe together.

But the downside to an ocean-sized universe are all the details you can miss. When there’s so much to take in, I feel like it’s a victory just to remember most of the key events let alone what the shards of glass represent in the Inner Sanctum of the Hierarchs (glassed worlds by the way and yes, I had to look it up).

In an effort to bring out some of these easily overlooked specifics I’m starting a new category on Reactive Bias entitled “Random Slipspace Trajectory.” In it I’ll go through the strategy and visual guides that I own and randomly select a page to dive into, pulling out (what I find to be) some interesting details that help to enrich the universe.

I’ll go through the guides in this order:

  • Halo: The Essential Visual Guide
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Signature Series Guide
  • Halo 3: The Official Strategy Guide
  • Halo 3 ODST: Prima Official Game Guide
  • Halo Wars: Prima Official Game Guide
  • Halo: Reach Signature Series Guide 
  • Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide
  • Halo 4: Prima Official Game Guide 

The randomness with which the pages are chosen is provided by random.org.

I’ve had this idea in my mind for a while so I’m excited to get it going. Looking forward to it, and I hope you guys enjoy!

First up will be page 64 from Halo: The Essential Visual Guide

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Bringing the Wonder – Halo 5 E3 2013 Teaser

As if having E3 2013 in full swing wasn’t enough, we were treated to a glimpse of the (possible) next installment of the Reclaimer Trilogy yesterday with the release of a teaser trailer at the Halo Xbox One E3 Media Brief.

There’s nothing like a Halo announcement video – it cuts to the core of every fan and brings the wonder factor every time.

But besides making my eyes twinkle with wonder, what else is going on in the trailer? Let’s ask some questions and let the speculation run wild!

Halo 5 teaser_2

Who? – There are three players in this mini-drama that we can identify – the Chief, Cortana (not actually present but a big part of the scene) and a (presumably) Forerunner machine which I will call “Stan.”

Stan makes quite the entrance, with the “wings” coming open being a particularly spectacular moment.

Since I saw the trailer on the link that labeled it as Halo, I figured that was the Master Chief trekking across a very mysterious (and very windy) desert. Did anyone see the trailer without knowing it was him? I think it would have made the entire sequence even better – the shock of finding out who the solitary wanderer was.

Halo 5 teaser_3

What? – So what the heck are we actually looking at? In the past Halo reveals have told a slightly different narrative than what actually happens in the game, so I’m expecting that to continue here – meaning while a similar scene may happen in-game it probably will have some variation throughout.

This could also be something that doesn’t take place in the next game at all, or at least we don’t see it take place.

What exactly does John-117 hold out in his hand? Is that the last chip that Cortana had been present on? (As a side note, wasn’t that chip vaporized by the Didact in the last level of Halo 4, “Midnight”?) Is there a trace of her still on that piece of equipment, or it is something to remind Chief of where he’s been/what he’s still fighting for?

Is Stan really a piece of Forerunner tech? Is there another power in in the galaxy that our hero now has to contend with? (I believe it is Forerunner, but I suppose there’s no way to be absolutely sure about anything at this point.)

What has the Master Chief been doing up until now? Is this the longest debrief is UNSC history?

What are the shadows that float across the ground during the logo shot at the end – possible a hint at a ship (or ships)?

Halo 5 teaser_4

Where? – Obviously it’s in a desert, but where at? The rock formations (the tall, thick spikes) that we see in the background right before Stan rises up reminded me of the Reach firefight map of Unearthed. I don’t believe this trailer takes place on Reach, but it was a neat connection.

The planet (or moon) in the background might give us a clue – is it a natural formation? It looked vaguely like it could be Forerunner made, but I don’t think so.

Where did the Forerunner machine come from? Was it (likely) placed in this location long ago, or is the desert its place of origin?

When? – Does this scene take place during the next game? Perhaps as a flashback? I would like to see the game just drop you somewhere without any explanation, and then have cut scenes like this one bring you up to speed as the game progresses; kind of a “reaction/action” thing.

When did Chief make the decision to come to this place? Was his hand forced?

Halo 5 teaser_5

Why? – It’s the obvious first question but I’ll ask it; why is the Master Chief here?

The way the Spartan just stands there as Stan rises from the ground makes it seem as if he’s expecting him, or at least was looking for him.

Could this have anything to do with the alteration the Librarian gave to John-117’s genetic code from Halo 4? Is Chief on a journey planned by her, like Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting so long before?

Why is the Chief’s visor cracked? Is that purely symbolic of his broken state? If so, that’s the good throwback to the opening cinematic of Halo 4 where the ONI operative refers to John-117 as “broken.”

Then again, maybe he just took a hammer to the face in the latest Grifball tournament on the Infinity. Who knows?

Halo 5 teaser

ADDENDUM: [approx. 1:00am EST] After I had already made this post I finished up some games with Sal from Halofanforlife (HFFL) and he had a theory about who the Forerunner construct (Stan) might actually be – Mendicant Bias! (He goes deeper into the theory in this post.)

This idea does make sense – with Mendicant being sealed below the Ark in the extra audio of Silentium (see Sal’s post for more on that), and the location in the trailer looking very much like the surface of the Ark in Halo 3, you have two good points as to who exactly spreads their wings in the trailer.

The (Lesser) Ark was destroyed at the end of Halo 3 – but could a part of it have survived?

Would Mendicant be a friend or foe? Is that who rises to greet Master Chief?

Whatever the case, exciting times are ahead – and I’m really looking forward to having these questions answered … and asking more.

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HBOhio – the write-up

I’ll start with thank yous, as is only right.

Rev and Jackie, for putting this on and making it incredible.

Everyone at HBOhio, Grim and Louis Wu for making it possible.

CurrerBell, for being okay with me being me … even encouraging it!

Our tale begins on a dark and stormy night, with a long kept secret that could tear a family apart …

HBOhio logo

Getting there

Actually our tale doesn’t begin there at all. It begins on a Friday afternoon (5/19/13) as myself, my better half, and our youngest all make the trip down to Columbus for HBOhio.

Considering I already live in the Buckeye State, my three-hour trip was relatively short compared to those who came from the far off lands of North Carolina and Michigan.

I had originally planned on this being a one-man trip, with Currer staying home while I was gallivanting off in our state’s capital. That changed when she expressed an interest in going, and when it was pointed out that the LAN was dangerously close to our wedding anniversary 🙂

So with both sets of parents watching the rest of our crew, the three of us headed down for good times.

They’re all going to laugh at you

After checking in at the hotel (and being told that several break-ins had occurred by guys using crowbars to steal TVs out of the rooms, followed with a “enjoy your stay!”) we drove over to HBOhio’s HQ, Rev’s place.

Driving over I was nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve met a completely new group of people, and a few of the old high school insecurities came back. For example – how do I act cool without desperately trying to act cool? do they know how cool I think they are? is saying “cool” even cool anymore? Questions like that.

Per usual, I was being an idiot – whatever they thought of me the group couldn’t have been nicer and I truly appreciated it. To be among a collection of colleagues who dropped more video game references than I get to hear in a year, love Halo across the board and actually knew who Trogdor is? Nice.

Hang on to you butts

We arrived around 5:00pm, about the middle of the pack with some of the group already there and more to come.

HBOhio - Jurrasic 1

After frightening away the other movie goers with deadly-accurate Raptor impressions, the entire theater was ours

Once assembled, we did what anyone in our position would do – go see a twenty-year-old movie in 3D! What film you ask? Super Mario Bros.Mrs. Doubtfire? Close but not quite – Jurassic Park, and it’s held up much better than many of the films that came out that year.

Pale Riders

Now comes the MAW run of the weekend – an entire Saturday (4/20/13) of Halo filled with prizes, food and gameplay that reached (dare I say, started at?) a level of epicness that only happens face-to-face.

Revenant brought something to the LAN that all great commanders must – a plan. There’s nothing worse than getting psyched out of your mind for an event and then it devolves into something like this:

“This is awesome!”

“I know!”

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.”

But this party faux pas was avoided by the man with the clipboard. Rev had it all worked out, from the order of gaming to the prizes to be won by stupendous deeds of daring do (or marks of shame, but more on that later).

Rev's clipboard

The clipboard of destiny!

Much honor to you my friend, for keeping the awesome on track!

I wanted to note that watching the Halo 2 menu loop over and over during setup would made HBOhio a success in my book, no matter what else we did – it’s been a while since I’ve played the game and it brought back great memories.

HBOhio - During the game 5

Blue Man Group

I was fortunate to have (what I thought) the best seat in the house, right next to Bluerunner in the garage with an entire half-sheet of game space all to myself. It could be argued that team “Danger Zone” in the rooms upstairs had the sweeter spot as everyone had their own screen, but the ability to stretch and the lack of heated man-smell gives our garage-group the advantage I think.

HBOhio - During the game 2

Most pose after, others during

(While the garage wins on comfort, Danger Zone emerged victorious on the win/lose ratio. Next time Gadget … )

HBOhio - During the game 4

The back …

So with projectors humming and heads held high we played through a plethora of Halo 2 and Halo 3 maps and modes. Containment, Bomb, Territories, Avalanche, Capture the Flag, Sand Trap, Lava Lake – the list goes on.

HBOhio - During the game 3

… and the front

Without a montage there’s no way to convey the good times so I’m not even going to try, but it was fantastic to have that Halo: Combat Evolved LAN feeling where the guy that just took you out (or vice versa) was right next to you.

Stories with a side of BBQ

After the morning carnage it was time to fuel up at City Barbeque for lunch. There was a lot of local color on the walls, with the barbeque sauce labeled “Blazing Rectums” as the standout. (Kids, I wouldn’t Google that one if I were you.)

HBOhio - BBQ 1

Burning orifices aside, the food was fantastic. In addition to stuffing our faces Rev had us go around the table and give a brief history of how everyone got there, history with Halo, etc. It was great to hear everyone’s story and be reminded that while many of us enjoy the franchise for different reasons, at the end of the day that translates into getting together with friends and having a blast.

Schwag Bag

Something important was just left out of the preceding paragraph; yes, our love of Halo translates into having a blast with friends – but at HBOhio it also translates into getting awesome stuff!

Shortly after lunch Revenant handed out the goodie bags and talk about a freakin’ amazing bonus – not only do we get to hang out and play Halo all day, but we get schwag?!? I feel bad for the holidays left in the year – they just became the wannabe highlights of 2013.

HBOhio - Prizes 2

Schwag included:

  • 6 Halo decals – not for the face!
  • 3 Xbox 360 codes provided by BS Angel (a Halo 4 Campaign background, Watcher avatar prop and Halo 4 picture pack) – you can haz!
  • HBO button – pin sharpened to a diamond’s edge!
  • ONI Patch – they don’t officially exist!
  • Blamite –just like Mom used to make!
  • Mystery Megablok Halo figure – tiny and mysterious!
  • German candy – Danke!
  • Personalized Legendary Patch – read those words again, and weep you don’t have one!

Clearly a lot of thought and effort went into this treasure chest of goodness – a HUGE thank you to all who made it possible!

But these items weren’t the only thing we could take home – there were prizes to be won throughout the LAN. The pictures below don’t do the amount of stuff there was justice (or the feeling I had of wanting to grab everything and make a run for it), but I can tell you there was a great haul to be had with bits and pieces sent from all over.

HBOhio Prizes 1

Warning: staring at the magical table of schwag may cause temporary blindness

I was fortunate to “win” the first prize – a set of CQC Kontrol Freaks (the mark of shame I mentioned earlier). I came in last place in a Halo 2 game of Swords ‘n’ Shotguns.

But the joke’s on you my friends – I was already using a pair when I tanked the match! Your effort to improve my game is futile! (maniacal laughter)

Covies won’t know what hit’em

Right … where was I? Maniacal laughter. No, after that. Yes! We rounded out Saturday (4/20/13) with some more unusual Halo 3 game types (Rocket Race, Dragon Slayer, etc.) and what for me was the highlight of the trip gameplay wise – an ODST Firefight throw down!

Three teams of four competed for pride, glory, and a set of MegaBlok ODST drop pods. I go into a more detail in this post, but this mini-tournament sums up all the best parts of what a LAN can be – intense team-based action where having the players in the same room really makes a difference.

Our team (SIX min WHISTLE, Kermit7, BlueRunner and myself) came in second place and the Covenant will think twice before attacking Crater again. Hoo-rah!

Walking Away

And that’s the high note HBOhio ended on for me – after wolfing down some excellent pizza and taking one last grab from the M&Ms bowl (which they kept filling from a feedbag somewhere – seriously, how can you keep it full with over fifteen people grabbing from it all day? It was nothing short of a miracle) Currer and I headed out.

HBOhio - Leaving group shots 1

Defiant to the end

I feel like this write-up didn’t capture half of the awesome that went on (not to mention Sunday and Monday), but I hope it conveys what an incredible time I had and how grateful I am to Rev and Jackie for hosting.

Until the next one!

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It was the funnest

It was the funnest I’ve had playing with you in a long time, probably since Halo 3

– Woaf fondly recalls some recent Multi-Team play with Tom

A link to Dust and Echoes

Click on the banner (provided courtesy of Hemlax) above to hear Episode 34!

Some sad news – Woaf will be moving on for the time being, this is his last “official” appearance on Dust & Echoes for the near future.

But good follow up news – Tom will carry the torch to bring the peoples as much Halo talk with crumpets as they can handle. Huzzah!

The Fight is Finished – 2 year anniversary

Originally posted at GameSpot on August 27, 2010

Recently, the world celebrated the two-year anniversary of one of history’s turning points.

Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch. But what is accurate is the fact that this past April 12th was two years to the day that my brother-in-law and I beat Halo 3.

There have been several Halo games since and Halo: Reach is just around the corner, but in looking back Halo 3 was a worthy sequel.

Explaining (mostly) hanging story threads, great environments and enemies, and the last cut scene that actually gave me chills are points that stick out in my mind two years later.

Master Chief, Arbiter – I salute you. Thanks for the good times, and may we have many more.

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Bachelor party done right

Originally posted at GameSpot on March 14, 2008

Last night I was privileged to go to a bachelor party, first to a restaurant and then back to the bachelor pad. I could go on and on about how times like that with my friends and family serve as a reminder of what’s really important in life, but that’s not what this blog is about – it’s about the games!

So, I’ll get right to it – here’s a breakdown of the gaming that went on:

Rock Band  What is the first thing you do after going out to eat? You come home and you ROCK! That’s exactly what we all did when we got back to his place, with Rock Band humming in the Xbox 360.

I had never played the game before, but now I can see what all the fuss is about. As a party game, this has to be my favorite hands down. With everyone jumping in on vocals, drums, or guitar, we all had a blast jamming to the songs.

That’s what makes the game great – all ages were able to sit down, do the same thing, and have a great time.

The game shines when you have a big group like that, but I don’t see how it could be just as fun by yourself. Granted I’ve never tried – but it just seems like something would be missing. It is called a rock band, after all.

Favorite tunes were “Enter Sandman,” “Ballroom Blitz,” and “Say It Ain’t So,” for various reasons.

Halo 3  I finally got to play this thing! There’s not too much to say – it was Halo, pure and simple. I only played multiplayer, and the action was familiar and fun – I got chills when the theme song came on. Hopefully when I can afford a next generation system (in ten years), people will still be playing this game.

Assassin’s Creed  Amazing game to look at, and a very Splinter Cell-ish kind of feel to it – sneaking around, clever kills, etc. The mission I saw was a little too free-roaming for my taste, but to be fair I didn’t understand the mission objectives. I’m really into the historical subject material, so it stands to reason that once I know what the heck I’m doing I’ll love the game. Again, hopefully this game will still be available for purchase when I can get a next generation system. (Please see comment in parentheses in above paragraph about how long I think that will be.)

-Super Smash Bros. Brawl  Good times with the Brothers of Smash. I like the series (another game I think can best be enjoyed with a friend or two), but I wasn’t exactly counting down the days to play it. It was a lot of fun, although I didn’t see a big difference from Super Smash Bros. Melee – I’m assuming that’s because I just button-mash when I play the game.

That said, the backgrounds were just as crazy as ever and I like having more characters to choose from – although I still love the Kirbster!

Closing to’s:

– To get all that action in, you can imagine it ended up being a very late night – I left his place at 2:30 a.m. Well worth it to get that quality line-up in, however.

– To play those four great games all in a row and in one night is something every gamer can appreciate.

– To the bachelor – congrats, all the best, and thank you!

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