Back in the LAN again

Fact: The majority of social gaming is done online.

Cool Follow-Up Fact: Nothing can beat gaming with your friends in the same social space.

Concept art Exile

The map Exile (see above) was our most-used playground

A nice surprise this year was being invited to game with a group of guys who meet on a semi-regular basis to LAN, with Halo 4 as the game of choice.

My regular multiplayer is Halo 5Ā so getting back in the previous groove proved a little trying, however soon enough I was slaying with the rest of the pack.

(Not that I was any good, I just felt I reached my “normal” level of skill šŸ™‚ )

Many thanks for the invite and for the making of new memories while fondly remembering the old ones of LANs gone by.

 

 

 

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October Gaming Weekend ’14

The weekends come and go – we look forward to them all week, and they’re gone too soon.

Yet truly great weekends find a way to last longer, a way to stay with us more than the two and a half days they officially take up.

I point to Exhibit A – a recent weekendĀ (10/10-11/14) – as my latest example of Continue reading →

Ninja Assassins are Ninja

The Halo 4 playlist Ninja Assassins hit back on 4.14.14 and finished pretty strong for the time it was given (through 4.27).

(Please note I’m defining “pretty strong” as consistently around 2,000 through the run.)

I thought it looked fun – whenever the words “ninja” and “assassin” get together I’m interested – but it turned out Continue reading →

Much is afoot in the Halo universe

2014 is here and much is afoot in the Halo universe

– Josh Holmes, Executive Producer at 343 Industries

The post title and above quote are takenĀ from a recent post on Halo Waypoint by Josh Holmes, former Creative Director and now Executive Producer at 343 Industries.

It was the first sentence of his post and set the stage for the changes he went on to talk about that have taken place at the company as well as dropping vague mentionings about the next (major) Halo game.

While I had already mentioned about Tim Longo’s hiring last month, there are some other tidings to share:

  • Kenneth Scott is stepping down from his position of Senior Art Director, andĀ Nicolas “Sparth” Bouvier is taking his place; Mr. Scott will still be involved with the studio as a Visual Design Consultant
  • While you never like to lose people, the idea that Sparth is taking over is great news. I really enjoyed the art direction of Halo 4, so the fact that someone who had a large hand in that not only makes sense but means good things are in store.
  • Mr. Bouvier’s style has always been fantastic (the covers of the “Forerunner Trilogy” come to mind), but if you need proof please head to his personal tumblr accountĀ here.
  • Kiki Wolfkill is currently “…Ā developing exciting new stories, experiences and technologies that will transform the way that you experience Halo.”

Which means nothing at this point, since we have no clue what he’s referring to. However, new game hype is best served in small bites, and I think this qualifies. Delicious!

The last personnel change I’ll mention comes not from Waypoint but courtesy of (who else?) HBO and it has to do with Bungie alumni, “Destiny” creator and author of Contact Harvest – Joe Staten.

While he’s not a part of 343i, he is now Senior Creative Director for Microsoft Studios.

To put in another way, the guy who knows how to build fantastic worlds/tell great stories/conquer the planet in now in charge of making things cool over at Microsoft. YES!

While I didn’t doubt it before, I’m more confident than ever that good things are going on and will continue to do so in the Halo universe.

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War Games – upcoming playlists

You may (or may not) have missed the War Games calendar posted in last week’s bulletin, so for your benefit – and the fact that I don’t want to hunt for it again either – here’s what’s upcoming (click on the calendar for a larger size):

Click for a bigger shot

Click for a bigger shot

“Race” is the current featured playlist, with “Rocket Race” next week.

My magic day is January 20th of the new year – that’s when the lists start to go my way:

  • Team DLC – I always love playing the newer maps
  • Heavies – Loved it in Reach (in spurts, mind you), so I’m interested to see how it plays out in Halo 4
  • Big Rumble – I’m assuming this is a sixteen player free-for-all, and the sheer craziness sounds good to me
  • Extraction – I’m a big fan of this game type so seeing more of it is welcome
  • Squad DLC – Did I mention I love playing on the newer maps? I think I did

Since Big Team Battle has been the most popular playlist on Halo 4, it makes sense that BTB playlists would be – wait for it – a big deal.

Big Team Battle is still my favorite game type in Halo multiplayer, so it’s great to see them expanding what it means to play with a large group in the space.

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343 day – goodness abounds!

Being the 343rd day of the year, today is – you guessed it – 343 day.

But this day has more in store that just fun for people who like to count – here’s the full list of goodness straight from Waypoint:

  • Halo: Spartan Assault for Xbox One Interview
  • Race Live Gameplay
  • Halo 4 Matchmaking Chat
  • Grifball Live Gameplay
  • Josh Holmes Interview
  • Speed Slayer Live Gameplay
  • Halo: Escalation Comic Book Interview
  • Ricochet Live Gameplay
  • Neutral Flag Live Gameplay
  • Xbox One Launch Discussion
  • Snapshot Live Gameplay
  • Giveaways throughout the day

343 Industries will also be online via their Twitch.TV channel here from 1:00 – 4:00pm PST, so feel free to check them out there as well.

As for myself, I’m only in it to dress up my man-doll in a new helmet šŸ™‚

Just for playing a game today (12/9/2013), you get the Commando helmet. For those of us (like myself) who will never get Dominion mastery, this is sweet

Just for playing a game today (12/9/2013), you get the Commando helmet. For those of us (like myself) who will never get Dominion mastery the normal way, this is sweet

 

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Days after event: 365

Dawn (H4 level)

Seems like old times.
Ready to get back to work?
Cortana crosses her arms.
I thought you’d never ask.

– John-117 and Cortana,Ā “Dawn” level, Halo 4

To realize that’s it’s been a year since the buildup and release of Halo 4 is pretty crazy.

Three-hundred and sixty-five days since I busted out of work, drove home and was able to experience the thrill of a new Halo game – a new world to explore, new multiplayer spaces, and a new piece to the fiction-puzzle that makes up the Halo canon.

I’ve had great times since then, from the first night where I played the campaign straight through with friends, to hours of War GamesĀ and the addition of Spartan Ops,Ā Halo 4 gave me what I wanted – more Halo.

For the established Halo Community the game has had its up and downs to be sure, but I’m excited about the future. The game certainly gave the franchise a new vibe, and I really have no idea where things are going to go – which intrigues me.

A toast: here’s to what’s come before and what’s yet to come – and may we all wake up fromĀ cryogenic sleepĀ just as rested.

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“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 youĀ 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

TheĀ Halo UniverseĀ is a big place, and itā€™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 thereā€™s so much to take in, I feel like itā€™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 Iā€™m starting a new category on Reactive Bias entitled ā€œRandom Slipspace Trajectory.ā€ In it Iā€™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.

Iā€™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 GuideĀ 
  • Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide
  • Halo 4: Prima Official Game GuideĀ 

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 Iā€™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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A Question of Weight – Halo 4 and Community

Discussing the community’s reaction to Halo 4 is tired.Ā Old.Ā It’s all been said.

But I’ve never had a problem with beating dead horses*, so it’s time for me to throw a few words in the pile. I’ll keep it brief, and as a bonus you’re also going to get my “review” of Halo 4 in bullet point form sprinkled throughout … nine months after release. Nice!

  • I was surprised to find that being more aware of the Halo Community made the game harder to enjoy. Everyone should (and does) have an opinion, but I didn’t expect that it would be many in the visible community telling the world that you shouldn’t like Halo 4
  • ReviewHalo 4’s visuals and music were, and still are, awesome
  • This could just be a little bit of history repeating itself. When I started Reactive Bias almost two years ago, I was introduced to all the players who strongly disliked (hated) Reach. And all this time I loved a game that I should have complained about … šŸ˜‰
  • Review Halo 4’s story was a disappointment, not in content but in execution. I feel 343 Industries pushed the bar so high it ended up out of reach. Everything mattered, but everything didn’t come together into an understandable whole at the time of the game’s release – and because of that the story suffered. Both those who read the books and those who did not finished “Midnight” feeling something was just a little off, and I think the enigma of the Didact was to blame
  • I’ve realized that Halo to me is what’s put out there as Halo, no matter who’s making it. That doesn’t mean I think it’s all good, but it does mean that I recognize the obvious – I’m not in charge.
  • Review – Spartan Ops was a great first step (minus the dudebro of the first half) Ā in a new direction, and Multiplayer still keeps me coming back for more. Halo multiplayer has been fun for me in the past, and Halo 4’s War Games hasn’t changed that

To bring these reflections to a close, the good that Halo 4 does – and aspires to do – outweighs the bad for me. It’s that question of weight, and my answer to it, that lands me squarely in the “likes Halo 4” camp šŸ˜€

***

Last thing – be sure to check out CruelLEGACEY’s posts (part 1,part 2Ā and part 3) on how he would make Halo 5 if given the chance. We differ on our excitement for the franchise going forward, but I agree with a lot of his takeaways on how the experience for the next game in the “Reclaimer Trilogy” can be bettered.

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*=The author of this post does not actually enjoy the beating of any of the equine population, dead of otherwise.