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  • The Halo Bulletin: 4.16.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    This Monday, I came into the office a bit early. It was quiet, with only a dozen or so early birds at their desks working on all sorts of unannounced projects. Needing to catch up on work, I naturally spent the first 20 minutes reorganizing the various amount of Halo figures, plushies, and limited edition trinkets on my desk in to the perfect arrangement. Then I finally headed into the kitchen to get a morning cup of tea. That’s when it happened.

    I hear a pretty loud “THUD!” behind me, and turn to a co-worker to find out where the noise came from. Our eyes gravitate toward the refrigerators that house a variety of beverages that keep 343’ers quenched throughout the day. Frozen sodas were splatted across the glass. Initially, this gave me an extreme craving for a Slush Puppie, but I then realized that a soda had violently exploded and that we might have an issue on our hands. I walked over to the refrigerator and saw something I may never forget.

    Throughout the entire fridge, several dozen kamikaze sodas had already exploded, leaving tasty, frozen carbonated slush and jagged-edged soda-can-shrapnel all over the place. Seconds later, another exploded and sent the neatly stacked Coke Zeroes into a domino-like tumble. At this point, I realized the studio was in extreme danger, and took the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.

    What I’m trying to say is that I made a sign. Two signs, actually.

    About a minute or two after making these very serious signs, a team member from the Halo Waypoint web team approached the fridge, and I cautioned them to not open it. Seconds later, another “THUD!” was heard as another self-destructive soda came flying at the glass. We looked at each other for a moment. Did I save his life? Yes. Did I save many lives that morning? Probably. Am I a hero? No. The real hero is the refrigerator maintenance man who bravely, without any tactical gear, let alone facial or cranial protection, exposed himself to extreme danger as he emptied the fridge out one explosive can at a time.

    Lesson: If you want colder soda, don’t turn the temperature down. That turns the fridge into a vicious life-threatening machine. Use ice cubes.

    This week we’ve got a lighter Bulletin, but a few things to talk about. Let’s get into it. 

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  • The Halo Bulletin: 4.9.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    Last week, a strange package arrived at the studio. Actually, similar to last time, it was more like a normal box and not very suspicious, but the contents were far from ordinary. Shortly after its arrival, bs angel walked over to my desk with quite a surprise. In her hands she held a battle damaged Noble Six helmet, modeled after the Mortal Dictata cover. It was sent over by Jim from Stony Props, and it is absolutely incredible.

    Fan-made Noble Six helmet

    We decided to take a bunch of pictures while wearing the helmet, because that’s what we do when cool fan-made props arrive at the studio:

    bs angel is not standing on a chair

    Creations like this bring us big smiles (as you can clearly see above – under the helmet, Laskan has a huge smile on his face), and we’d like to thank Jim for sending over this masterpiece, as well as each and every one of you who have ever shared your community creations with us. Not only are they super awesome, but when designers, testers, artists and producers see these creations, whether on a forum or inside the studio, it reminds us how talented and special the fans of this franchise are, and why we get to do what we do every day. Also, it’s been really fun wearing this helmet around the studio every day, and I don’t anticipate that getting old any time soon.

    This week we have lots to talk about – a new Matchmaking playlist, an upcoming 1 vs. 1 tournament, a Halo: Spartan Assault update and more. Let’s get into it!

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  • The Halo Bulletin: 4.2.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    Sometimes, 343’ers play tricks on each other around the office, and the frequency increases significantly on the first of April. These tricks can take various forms, such as when team members walk away from their unlocked computers, you are somewhat encouraged to change their desktop wallpapers to a risqué picture of 1990s David Hasselhoff. Other times, certain members of the Franchise team will wrap your entire desk (and each individual item) in wrapping paper. This year, though, a pretty clever prank was pulled on me, and I am not afraid to admit it.

    The story begins with me sitting at my desk, which features an arsenal of monitors, a few Xbox 360s, an Xbox One, and way too much Halo memorabilia. As is generally the case, I was sitting here, working very hard (scrolling through posts on r/Halo), and minding my own business. After some time, I just happened to turn to my right, and noticed an Xbox One Kinect on the corner of my desk. I looked past it, but then realized that the Kinect light was on, and that it was neatly positioned at my head.

    Naturally, I picked up the Kinect and began tracking down the cords to determine where it was plugged in. It led me back over to the Franchise team, who began laughing and complaining that the show was over. I eventually unplugged the device, wrapped the cord around it, and stole it from them. It still sits on my desk.

    The best part, however, was walking over to their desks and seeing that there was an actual show dedicated to my every day work. I couldn’t make this up. I give you: The BRAVO-CAM:

    I am not sure how long the show lasted (I am told weeks, and that advertisers were lining up left and right), but it is now off the air.

    Now that I’ve cleared the air, let’s talk ‘bout some Halo.

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  • The Halo Bulletin: 3.26.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    It’s Friday, March 21. The time is 11:00 a.m. PDT. Our live stream is set to begin in three hours, and members of our 343 Pro Team are preparing to battle it out against some of our top community members - StrongSide, Ace, Flamesword, and Snakebite. Somewhere, bs angel is selecting which cat shirt she will wear. For the Pro Team, the last few days have been full of Halo 4 practice and arguments about whether or not Killer V was the best gamertag of all time or the worst gamertag of all time.

    That morning, I get an email saying that someone had just checked the Pro Team Lounge and found GH057ayame and Killer V reviewing Halo 4 Theater film, and that Dersky and Neighbor were eating a donut. At this moment, we knew we were ready. As a side note, I was slightly concerned as to whether or not Dersky and Neighbor were eating the same donut, but unfortunately did not have time to investigate. It was getting close to show time.

    It’s now noon and time to head over to Xbox HQ. After a team huddle in the Pro Team Lounge, I grab Neighbor, hop in a car, and we’re off. In an hour the gameplay will begin, and we’re both thinking the same thing. But neither of us says a word. At least, I think he was thinking the same thing. Come to think of it, I am really not sure. Regardless, we arrive a few minutes late, and begin to set up his station. As expected, bs angel is nowhere in sight.

    We set up the live stream, quickly download some Champions Bundles (Ricochet on Pitfall is a must) and 45 minutes later, I get a text from bs angel asking if we need her for the stream. I panic and wonder if everything is okay. This was going to be a stream where her and I chatted about some of her bestest memories in the Community Manager role, and she is rarely late. Did something happen? Was there an emergency?

    I text her back with these questions, and (just as unsurprising as her tardiness) it turned out she was just outside the door and trolling me. Once everyone got situated, the stream would start, and this is where the video below begins. If you’d like to check out a rebroadcast of the stream, with all of the laughs, ridiculous stories, and *SPOILER* the 343 Pro Team victory, check it out here. The gameplay starts around 28:00.

    343’ers checking out Friday’s Pro Team matchup on the big screen.

    We’d like to thank our pro team, all of the community pros, and of course all of you for tuning in to Friday’s stream. We had a blast, and we hope you enjoyed bs angel’s ridiculous stories about Norman Reedus, appearing naked on the red carpet and more. We plan to be back with more live streams in the future, so stay tuned to Waypoint. Speaking of the future, we just announced some upcoming Matchmaking experiences.

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  • The Halo Bulletin: 3.12.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    The Halo Bulletin

    Just two nights ago, the 343 team bravely hopped onto Xbox Live to play with and against some of you in Medal Madness custom games. Naturally, the evening’s activities included lots of needles, explosions, Gravity Hammer smashes, and yelling in various languages. One of my favorite things about these online adventures is learning things (both Halo related and entirely non-Halo related) from community members. For example, I learned that “Snapshot” in Spanish is instantánea, and if you’re going to say the word, you darn well better pronounce it with the emotion it deserves. Also, my final team in the community playdate taught me a thing or two about Medal Madness strategy. Most notably, we decided that in order to succeed in the “Hail Mary” round, where the objective is to get long-distance grenade kills, it’s best to target one player. For consistency, we decided that player would be bs angel. Every time. Oh, and there may or not be a file in my File Share titled “EVERYONE GO FOR BS ANGEL!”

    Speaking of epic multiplayer strategy, let’s dig into what’s coming to Halo 4 Matchmaking next week!

    Matchmaking Update

    Last week, we announced that the Proving Ground playlist was on the way. The new playlist will feature BR-start gameplay, an increased variety of power weapons, the removal of Personal Ordnance and Armor Abilities, and the addition of the Motion Tracker. The settings are similar to Legendary Slayer BRs, and will allow for fast-paced, precision weapon gameplay. We’ll be keeping a close eye on player feedback regarding relevant settings, the map pool, and more... Which reminds me! We should talk about maps.

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  • The Halo Bulletin: 3.5.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    The Halo Bulletin

    I often spend time in the Bulletin talking about how the weather in Seattle really isn’t that bad. It truly is quite pleasant outside most days, and despite Seattleites telling visitors and tourists that it’s “never like this,” it’s pretty important to expose the meteorological truth whenever possible. The past few days however, have been filled with a bit too much cold, fog, and overall wetness that is generally associated with our corner of the country, and when I walk over to the other building to visit (bother) the multiplayer team, I often arrive drenched. Unfortunately for them, this doesn’t stop me from swinging by and peeking at their in-progress work. The lackluster weather does have me quite excited for warmer weather, and all that the next few months should (hopefully) bring. Some of these include various forms of madness (including both the March and Medal varieties), a new playlist (more on that later), and…did I mention warmer weather?

    Seeing as it is still cold out, we’re planning on staying inside and playing lots of games. This lines up perfectly with Monday’s community playdate, when we’ll be playing Halo 4’s newest game type. Let’s talk about it!

    Community Playdate

    Just a few days ago, Medal Madness made its way into Halo 4 Matchmaking. We’ve gotten some great feedback on the game type (thank you!) but if you haven’t tried the playlist, we suggest you do so immediately. To help you start slaying with style (and prep you for the upcoming community playdate – details below), here’s a crash course:


    At the start of the game (and each mini-round), one of Halo 4’s medals will be displayed on screen with a 1:00 timer. Your goal is to get more of the specified medal in the time period than the other team.


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  • The Halo Bulletin: 2.26.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    The Halo Bulletin

    Last week, I predicted that this month’s community playdate would result in numerous interoffice debates, references to match highlights, and food fights. While I have been unsuccessful at actually getting the third activity in that list to happen (one day, I tell you), the first few days of this week have absolutely been full of sly references to Monday’s mischief. Several of us hopped into the Big Rumble playlist on February 24, and before each game, bs angel not only encouraged everyone in the lobby to target me during the match, but also made sure that everyone voted for anything but my favorite voting option. Essentially, she was doing her best to make sure I was having an awful time. Despite her best efforts, though, we (myself included) had an awesome time playing with many of you, and also enjoying the chaos that is Big Rumble Oddball on Exile. We ran into a bunch of community members, including several of you who kicked our butts. As usual, if this applies to you, you are now banned from Halo 4. (Just kidding! Or am I?)

    If you missed us this week, don’t worry – we’ve got another community playdate right around the corner. On March 10th, we’ll be playing some Medal Madness. Speaking of – let’s get into this week’s Matchmaking update.

    Matchmaking Playlist Update

    343 Community Playdate

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  • The Halo Bulletin: 2.19.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    The Halo Bulletin

    Late last week, a mysterious unmarked package arrived at the doors of the studio. Actually, it was a friendly cupcake delivery man who rang the doorbell and was let inside, but only because it appeared that he really did have a boxful of bite-sized treats. Shortly thereafter, I discovered these were no regular cupcakes but rather the decadent, delightful, Deathcake Royale from a local (and amazing) cupcake bakery. A single box of mini heart topped, espresso cookie crusted chocolate perfection had made its way into the studio and before I knew it, was presented to me (in front of a crowd of interested bystanders, none the less) around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, which also happened to be Valentine’s Day.

    Assuming there must have been some mistake, I opened the box to find the aforementioned treats… and a note. The note turned out to be a beautifully and eloquently written poem, which read in part:

    "The community loves you,
    OH-SO-MUCH!
    The way you write the Bulletin,
    Just gives me a RUSH!"


    As you can imagine, reading that the Bulletin gives anyone a rush made me immediately skeptical and concerned for their well-being, and the lie about everyone loving me also threw me off. But the words were rather nice, and the cupcakes (which were shared amongst the team) were enjoyed by many. We have yet to find out who sent these cupcakes, but I know it was one of you.

    The investigation is ongoing and our team is seeking the community’s assistance in identifying the lovely individual who sent me these cupcakes. If you have any information regarding the identity or location of said individual, please drop us a note in the forums via the discuss link at the end of the Bulletin.

    Speaking of community members, we’ve got a community playdate coming up this Monday! Let’s talk about it.

    Community Playdate

    343 Community Playdate

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  • The Halo Bulletin: 2.12.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    The Halo Bulletin

    Valentine’s Day is this Friday, so I’m starting this Bulletin with a friendly reminder to all who are reading and may have entirely forgotten about the holiday (as I know from personal experience that playing copious amounts of Halo can sometimes cause one to forget about birthdays, anniversaries, and especially Valentine’s Day). As the author of the weekly update, I recognize the responsibility that is bestowed upon me to notify you of this sometimes-important holiday. To help get you in the mood (not like that, stop it), we've prepared a Valentine’s Day survival kit, complete with community-created Halo-themed valentines and a special edition Screenshot Spotlight. We have not, however, included chocolates, flowers, or dinner reservations – you'll need to get those on your own.

    Matchmaking Playlist Update

    Halo 4 Screenshot

    This coming Monday, something "big" is on the way: our next featured playlist, Big Rumble. The playlist offers action-packed 12-player Free-for-All for the first time in Halo 4 Matchmaking, and will be available until March 3rd. Gameplay will take place on larger maps, and all DLC from the Crimson and Castle map packs will be included in the voting options. The full list of game types are as follows.

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  • The Halo Bulletin: 2.5.14

    By B is for Bravo -

    The Halo Bulletin

    A typical morning at the studio involves a cup (or three) of coffee, a quick game (or three) of Matchmaking, and a meeting (or three) that cover one if not all of the numerous projects we’re working on. This morning though, on an incredibly oversized 220” screen, we watched a live broadcast of the Seattle Seahawks parading through the crowded streets of downtown Seattle (strangely enough and certainly unrelated, our studio was not crowded and instead as barren as can be). While the local news coverage of the event provided more ridiculous moments than actual coverage of the parade itself, such as the news anchors’ repeated failed attempts to get the attention of the Seahawks passing by, it was exciting to witness the city’s celebration of our first world championship, and see the (and I’m quoting the local news anchor here) “Big vehicles with big people in them” cruising through the city. After one last celebration for our team, Dr. Phil popped onto the screen, and that’s when we realized it was time to turn the TV off and try to get a little bit of work done.

    Speaking of football, we hope that you got a chance to partake in some Halo 4 Spartan Bowl over the weekend. We all know how the big game ended (woo-hoo!) but we thought you’d enjoy hearing about how the two teams faired in-game.

    The Spartan Bowl
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