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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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, “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 Games and the addition of Spartan Ops, 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 from cryogenic sleep just as rested.

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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 😀

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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.

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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