This is the Bungie Weekly Update of January 2, 2009.
Snowpacalypse '08 Update
The sun has set on 2008 and the dawn of a new year is upon us. While our break has officially come to an end, we're still a bit groggy from all of the holiday festivities. Plenty of Bungie peeps used up one last vacation day in order to end the week, and year, on a restful note. Things were a bit hectic in Sea-Town these last two weeks, a State of Emergency was declared in Washington, and far too much eggnog was consumed as plenty of us found ourselves snowed and iced in for a good portion of the winter break. Please bear with us.
In case you missed the Mythic Map and Halo 3: ODST stocking stuffers we prepared and dropped for you this holiday season, you can still take a peek at them in their temporary containers here and here. No need to slip into a time machine in order to check out our 2008 offerings. In the future, we'll trash all of the torn away wrapping paper and beat up boxes strewn about the living room and get all these sweet screenshots and art set into their proper project page galleries. And of course, as 2009 plods along, there will be more to come.
'Don't Make the Internet a Promise
A few updates back, we promised you info on the January Matchmaking Update. Things have been delayed a bit due to the fight Mother Nature and Father Christmas had here in Seattle, but us kids are resilient and we're still going to fill you in with what's to come, it's just a little bit later than you (and we) would have liked. Better late than never.
Here's the summary of the changes you can expect straight from Shishka himself:
The January update has been pushed from the normal beginning-of-the-month cycle to being more of a middle-of-the-month update due to limited resources (specifically, time to test some of the changes we've cooked up). We'll let you know before the changes go live, but expect to wait at least a couple weeks. I'm sure you'll find that it'll be worth the wait. On the bright side, double EXP weekends and 7 on the 7th will appear as expected.
Playlist Clean Up, Mythic Prep
In preparation for the new maps coming later this year, some of the less popular map variants are going to be removed over time. Some of these removals are not listed below, but will be reflected in the Matchmaking Playlist page here on Bungie.net. This will be an ongoing process with maps and their variants being systematically removed as warranted.
Push to Talk Restriction Increased
Since Halo 3's release, if a player were to join a Matchmaking playlist with a team size larger than four, he or she would have to push a button on the DPad to communicate directly to their team. After the January update, the PTT restriction is being increased to 6 players per team, meaning that players will not need to use the D-pad to communicate on any Matchmaking playlist but Social Big Team.
What does this mean for players? Well, for starters, it means communicating to teammates in 5v5 or 6v6 playlists will be trivial. However, this could mean an increase in bandwidth necessary for these larger format playlists, which means the potential for "laggy" games is increased. The best way to avoid lag in these games is to ensure that you are not constantly broadcasting to your teammates, and that your teammates are not constantly broadcasting to you. If you often play with strangers, be prepared to mute and report players that abuse their microphone. To mute a player quickly during a game, hold the back button to bring up the scoreboard and select their name with the left stick. Then press X. Muted! To report players, select their name in the post game carnage report and view their gamercard, then use the Report Player options listed therein.
In an effort to make the Matchmaking playlists easier to navigate and bring the populations together, the DLC category is being retired, and the playlists it contained are either being moved into Social or integrated into existing playlists.
Ranked Hopper Updates
- Lone Wolves - No Changes
- Team Slayer - No Changes
- Team Objective
- KOTH, Oddball, 1 and 2 Bomb assault set to skip after veto, and weighting on these gametypes will be reduced to refocus the hopper primarily on 1 Flag, 2 Flag, and Neutral Assault.
- A couple community map variants for Foundry are being added to the CTF rotation.
- Team Doubles - No Changes
- Squad Battle - No Changes
Social Hopper Updates
- DLC FFA and Rumble Pit will be merged. Rumble Pit will now require All DLC, and include gametypes such as Infection.
- Population increased back to 5v5
- Isolation, Foundry removed.
- Slightly reduce weighting on Land Grab, and increase weighting on multi flag to even distribution of these two gametypes out.
- Reduce weighting of VIP. Set to skip after veto.
- Territories variants set to skip after veto.
- ADDED Social Team DLC
- 5v5 Slayer and Objective strictly on DLC maps. Heroic and Legendary map packs required.
- The most popular slayer and objective variants, strictly on DLC maps.
- Reduce weighting of VIP, KOTH, and Oddball.
- Some maps being removed from rotation.
ADDED Social Big Team
- DLC Big Team will be moved and renamed. Weighting between DLC and non-DLC maps will be equalized. The hopper will continue to require DLC 1 and 2.
DLC Hopper Updates
REMOVED DLC FFA
- DLC FFA and Rumble Pit will be merged. DLC FFA as a separate hopper is retired.
MIGRATED DLC Big Team
- Being moved to Social and being renamed "Social Big Team." Non-DLC maps are getting a weighting increase such that they are equal to DLC maps. Still requires DLC 1 and 2.
Hardcore Hopper Updates
Team SWAT - No Changes
- Reduced weighting on Standoff.
MLG - No Changes
Double EXP Weekends (listed in order of appearance)
Grifball - Winter League (1/8-1/12)
3 Ball (1/15 -1/19)
Legendary Brawl (1/22 - 1/26)
Living Dead (Unranked) (1/29 - 2/2)
Seven on the Seventh
Next week things should return to normal here at the studio as everyone slips back into their daily routines. And while we're still a long way out from Fall 2009, and the eventual release of Halo 3: ODST, we'll make sure you stay briefed while it prepares to drop. As always, some details will remain classified until the final moments, but as we obtain hard and fast information we can relay, we will provide the sitrep over standard comm channels. Stay tuned.