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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Bundle of Champions

With less than thirty days until the release of the fourth major expansion for Halo 4, it’s time for me to start getting hyped!

There’s plenty of info on the “Champions Bundle” around, but I wanted to highlight a couple of reasons why I’m really looking forward to it:

Map Love

The new maps – “Pitfall” and “Vertigo” – each have a stand-out trait; being a remake of a fantastic Halo 2 map (The Pit) for the former and the interactive electric environment of the latter.

My past strategy on “The Pit” consisted of running full go at the rocket launcher in the hallway, so with ordnance dropping all over the place I’ll have to find a way to go about it.

I never did particularly well with that strategy, so maybe it’s a good thing 🙂

I’m a sucker for new play spaces and the fiction that accompanies them in Halo, so you can count on my doing a lot of walking around and staring in between the headshots I give (and receive).

Nothing but Skin

I’ve never cared about the weapons skins before, but the Assault Rifle: Teeth TTH and the Steel Skin Pack have me excited to suit up.

Why the sudden interest in these weapon covers? Is it the history lover in me? Does my sub-conscience long to write the great American Steampunk novel?

I’m not sure – but I’m in. Expect my futuristic guns to have teeth and bolts all over them.

Halo 4 Champions Bundle poster

Covering Up

Something I have always cared about is dressing up my doll … ahem … arming my Spartan, and the three new armor mods of Mark V, ODST and Prefect will do just fine.

I like how 343 have gone both old and new school with the new armor, and it’s always cool to see more variety in Theater Mode.

There are also eight poses thrown in for good measure, as what’s the use of all the cool armor if you can’t strike a pose?

As I haven’t earned enough commendations to obtain some of the cooler poses in Halo 4, the opportunity to change it up in the War Games lobby is a welcome one.

Honorable Mentions

The Ricochet gametype and armor don’t have me as excited as the rest, but I’m looking forward to giving them a go. As with most objective games, if I can go in with a group of friends I know I’ll have a better time.

The Resistor Tactical Package – “which allows Spartans to maintain their full mobility and dexterity while taking incoming fire” – is for someone who actually takes enemy fire.

Since my skillz allow me to never take a hit, this TP is rendered worthless to me. I’m sure other people will find it useful 😉

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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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