LAN Assault!

Assault and Glory Await!

Assault and Glory Await!

On one of the last Friday nights in 2014, a group of men met beneath the stars – and a roof – to rekindle the flame of the LAN.

Undimmed by time or online gaming, the LAN stubbornly refuses to go away completely as having everyone in the same place is something special, something that reminds us of the realness of the experience.

It’s to this experience that we raised our controllers and, bathed in the glow of big screens and comforted by the smell of finely crafted pizza, proceeded to play some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

We played a few warm-up games but the real meat of the evening was Assault on Boneyard via Halo: Reach.

The teams were pretty even and we traded the bomb back and forth, strategies planned (or yelled out on the fly) and verbal barbs traded – but our team emerged victorious for the most part and it was a blast.

I’m really glad the event game together and a big thank you to those who made it happen, and who made it enjoyable!

Out of the Blue – Nameplates of Awesome

One of the hardest things to communicate to someone who doesn’t game (board, video or otherwise) is the friendships that seem to spring out of nowhere.

You can just meet someone on-line or in person, and if you have similar interests in gaming it’s easy to feel like you’ve known each other for years – such is the case with RM Bluethunder.

CurrerBell and I met him through Sal of HaloFanForLife back in the days of Reach and he’s been a regular presence in our games ever since – especially Snipers!

But he’s done more than just bring his ridiculously positive K/D ratio to our teams – he’s also given us what can only be described as the greatest use of Mega Bloks this side of the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn:

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(Photography provided by CurrerBell)

Blue went to the New York Comic-Con back in 2012 and attended a Mega Bloks party where he scored some sweet sets, not to mention a few extra pieces.

It’s these pieces that he put to the good use of recreating our gamertags in tiny right-angled form.

These fantastic builds arrived (along with a few extra figures) and Currer and I were blown away – the time he put in building these, and the fact that he would ship them to us on his own dime … awesome, just awesome.

This post is woefully overdue, but CurrerBell and I are glad to finally give a big fat public

THANK YOU

to

Blue!

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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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A Question of Weight – Halo 4 and Community

Discussing the community’s reaction to Halo 4 is tired. Old. 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 … 😉
  • 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)  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 😀

***

Last thing – be sure to check out CruelLEGACEY’s posts (part 1,part 2 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.

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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Modcast Bulletin (Ep. 5)

This Modcast was originally broadcast on 12.1.11

The “Modcast #5” achievement*** has been unlocked, and it was totally worth it!

As with the last Modcast, there were too many good things said to record quotes in here so that will be a separate post … enjoy!

Appreciated points:

Updated visuals take you there – CruelLEGACEY brought out the point that the updated Continue reading →

Modcast Bulletin (Ep. 1)

I originally posted this in the Halo Waypoint forums (see it here), but put it below for my own record as well.

If you haven’t heard the Modcast yet – what’s wrong with you? Don’t worry – all will be well when you head over here.

This was the first Halo Waypoint Community Modcast, broadcast on 10.8.11.

First things first – thank you to CruelLEGACEY, GrimBrother One and SirPwn4g3 for putting the Modcast together. Appreciate the time put into it. Continue reading →

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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