Chronique:Halo Bulletin 08/08/2012

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Cet Halo Bulletin nous fera découvrir plus en détaille les armes de l'UNSC ainsi que la mise à jour du matchmaking de Halo 4.

8 août 2012[modifier]


I was on a boat[modifier]

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We love meetings around these parts. We have meetings to discuss what to serve at meetings (brown foamy liquids are popular), we have meetings to discuss the top 20 best things about meetings (because 10 wasn’t enough), and we have meetings to discuss how to know when you’ve attended too many meetings (our conclusion: there’s no such thing).

One of my recurring meetings is about Matchmaking. Typically, Frankie suggests bringing back Golden Showers, I yell obscenity-laced tirades in his general direction and then we play SWAT. Lately though, our focus has switched from Halo: Reach to Halo 4. No longer are we discussing cutting back playlists, but instead we’re discussing what playlists we’re going to launch with, along with what we’re going to bring in post-launch.

You’ll hear more about both later in this Bulletin but first, we need to talk about a subset of the Halo 4 sandbox. Why, you ask? Because last week we skipped the Bulletin, so this week I owe you twice the amount of content. And, in case you were wondering, that content will be delivered in the form of one video (well, two, kind of) and a boatload of (related) words.

I hope you’re ready.

Halo 4’s UNSC Weapons[modifier]

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Much like past Halo games, the UNSC weapons in Halo 4 are meant to be grounded in modern day tech. They tend to be purpose built with function superseding aesthetics. There are a couple reasons for this – one reason is to make the player feel like an underdog in comparison to the highly futuristic and sophisticated weaponry used by the Covenant and Forerunner enemies. The other purpose is that it provides a good starting point for new players because they already have some familiarity and understanding of the core weapon roles, making them easily relatable.

Despite the majority of them being similar to modern day military weapons, they do have several specialized power weapons that help convey mankind’s progress when it comes to future tech. These include weapons like the Railgun, Spartan Laser, and Sticky Detonator.

Before you learn more about the UNSC weapons available in Halo 4, we thought you’d like to see them in action. So, check out the following video, and then continue reading to find out the specifics about what you’ll soon have at your disposal. (By the way, the music in this video is not from the original soundtrack. We’ll tell you more about where it is from on a later date.)

If you’d like to hear the UNSC weapon sound effects in all of their not wub-wub-wub glory, here is the same video without the music. And yes, we will be doing the same thing with Covenant and Promethean weapons soon-ish, and we may even show them off on a different level.

Frank O'Connor, David Ellis, and Chris King, along with Vic DeLeon, Joel Gifford, Chris Howard, Scott Warner, Bill Clark, Kynan Pearson, Pierre Rivest, and Christopher Hands joined me to share their thoughts about UNSC weapons. The UNSC utilizes the following base weapons:

AssaultRifleH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

DESIGNATION: MA5D Individual Combat Weapon System
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Standard fully automatic firearm of all UNSC branches, effective at both close-range and mid-range combat.

How it feels:

Frank - AR is still pretty much what it always was, a decent mid-range weapon which currently might feel underpowered compared to some prior incarnations, especially in the context of newer guns – but is remarkably useful for certain kinds of panicky encounters, such as close quarters retreating in MP or dealing with swarms of Crawlers in Campaign and Spartan Ops.

David - I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I definitely feel like I have more control over my bullet spread when pulsing my AR starts than in past games. No doubt about it, the Assault Rifle is definitely still at its best in close quarters.

Chris - Relative to other Halos, this feels to me like a slightly more powerful Halo 3 AR. Some people might have some prejudice against the weapon because it’s not the newest, flashiest weapon on the block and there are a lot of other things that will catch your eye first. That being said, this is one of the best looking weapons in the game IMO. Gameplay-wise, we’ve tried to extend the range on the AR a bit from what it’s traditionally been and made it a tad more accurate. This is one of my favorite weapons in Halo 4 and I’m particularly fond of pairing it with a long range rifle in MP using the Firepower armor mod.

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DESIGNATION: BR85 Heavy-Barrel Service Rifle
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Utilizes precise, three-round burst functionality, making it a formidable mid-range, semi-automatic weapon.

How it feels:

Frank - Designed to be precise at mid-range and reasonably predictable at long range, the BR is currently my favorite loadout rifle. It’s not as precise or surgical as the DMR and feels more predictable to me than the LightRifle, its closest Promethean counterpart. For headshots and quick takedowns for an intermediate player like me, it’s just a great balance.

David - Like a well-oiled baseball glove, pick up the Battle Rifle in Halo 4 and you’ll feel right at home. With the BR being hitscan (projectiles register hits immediately upon trigger pull), it is definitely a force to be reckoned with at mid to long range. Roll into battle with a teammate or two at your side, and enemies will turn and run at the mere threat of your groupshots. There’s just something inherently satisfying about that triple thud unleashed with each trigger pull.

Chris - The firing cadence and rhythm of the BR are music to my ears. This one features a 2x zoom vs. the DMR’s 3x so I tend to utilize it more on smaller maps like Haven and Adrift, although it’s still effective on larger maps as well. It features a tad bit of recoil. This means you will need to realign your target (especially in a prolonged duel) but also has the added upside of being slightly easier to get a finishing headshot as you can focus more on the upper torso and land the headshot via recoil on the second or third bullet.

Vic - I love playing with the new BR in Halo 4. It feels and sounds oh-so-solid, and I didn’t have to re-learn how to use it, which made me happy. Much to my surprise, the custom skins for it are a nice addition. I didn’t think I’d like them since I lean towards a more purist approach when it comes to the UNSC weapons but after playing around with them, I think they are actually pretty sweet.

DMRH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

DESIGNATION: M395 Designated Marksman Rifle
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Premiere marksman rifle of the UNSC, offering impressive single-fire accuracy at reasonably long distances.

How it feels:

Frank - Laser precise, predictable, but with the associated slower rate of fire, I definitely prefer it in long-range encounters or purpose-specific “mini-snipe” conditions, like taking someone off a turret, for example. In my experience over mid-long range combat, I am invariably defeated when bringing BR to bear, but the closer those encounters are, the less likely it is to happen.

David - This might surprise some people, but based solely on pure lethality, I’d have to give the ever-so-slight edge to the DMR right now. As Frank mentioned, it’s incredibly precise and simplified with lower rate of fire than in Reach. Now the only info you need to juggle in your head when going toe-to-toe is the middle of the reticle as you line it up to dome your unfortunate foe. For my money, BR with groupshot is greater than DMR, but if you're lone wolfing, DMR is the way to go.

Chris - This thing is absolutely ridiculous long-range. While it does feature a slight amount of bloom to balance it at extreme distances, for the majority of mid to long range encounters it doesn’t really come into play. The combination of the accuracy, headshot functionality and the improvements we have made to the aim assist system make this one of the best feeling guns in any Halo game IMO. One other thing worth mentioning on this one… I can’t get over how awesome this weapon sounds – it has an insanely meaty punch to each shot and gives me an adrenaline rush just firing it!

Joel - When compared to the BR, the DMR is better at long ranges and taking down shields, but is a little tougher to pull off that last headshot with. Also, it sounds like I’m firing a cannon with each shot from a DMR. SO MUCH POWER!

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DESIGNATION: M6H Personal Defense Weapon System
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

UNSC's personal sidearm of choice due to its excellence at close-range to mid-range engagements.

How it feels:

Frank - I only ever used this weapon historically in Halo: CE because it was a beast (or dual wielded it in Halo 2), and in SWAT because it let me spam in panicky corners. In Halo 4, I am still trying to figure out what to use it for. I seldom pack it as a loadout, but I am getting beaned by it consistently so I may experiment more.

David - The Magnum in Halo 4 is designated as a secondary weapon and as such it should be a just a little weaker than your primary options. With a faster rate of fire, it’s more deadly than the DMR close-range, but a twitchy trigger finger will limit its effectiveness at longer ranges.

Chris - The Halo 4 Magnum isn’t meant to compete with the big boys (DMR, BR, Carbine, LightRifle) so its role is a bit different than in the past. It definitely won’t compete with the Halo 1 Magnum (although, what weapon will?). It’s still lethal but best used as a backup (switch to a Magnum to finish someone vs. waiting for a long reload on your primary weapon) or to pair with a fully auto primary weapon like the AR or Storm Rifle (drop an enemy’s shields and then finish them with a single headshot). In the hands of a skilled player though, this thing can still be a beast as it’s one of the fastest firing guns in the game. The other big change I think players will notice is that we have drastically sped up animation times when using a pistol. So you will be able to switch to it quicker, pull off melees and grenade throws faster, etc. than you will with primary weapons.

Specialty UNSC Weapons:

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DESIGNATION: M45D Tactical Shotgun
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Dominant close-quarters weapon specializing in boarding actions, breach maneuvers, and urban operations.

How it feels:

Frank - Definitely not as overpowered as it has been in the past, it’s a one-shot kill at point-blank range (usually) but I find it’s not quite as deadly as Reach’s in close quarter strafing encounters. I use a LOT of ammo trying to take folks down without risking swapping weapons, if that makes sense.

David - I’ve always been the kind of guy who loves to jump in the middle of a squad of enemies to see how many I can take out in my blaze of glory. As such, the Shotgun, if I might borrow a phrase, scratches that particular itch for me. With the aesthetic redesign, the Shotgun feels like a future bangstick designed with one purpose: to blow heads clean off their shoulders. Unlike Frank, I actually find this shotgun to be easier to use than the one in Reach, but when getting the jump on enemies, you better make that first shot count. Otherwise, you’ll be left wondering what could have been while waiting to respawn.

Chris - The new Shotgun model is SICK and definitely reads as a bit more futuristic than the previous versions. It actually has a lot longer range now, less damage falloff, and is quite a bit more powerful than say the Reach version overall, but some of that dialed up power is countered by the other changes in the game like Sprint by default, mobility-based Armor Abilities, and generally faster movement speeds. This is definitely one of my favorite ordnance weapons. I especially love finding one when I have the Speed Boost in MP.

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DESIGNATION: M739 Light Machine Gun
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Squad automatic weapon used in protracted engagements where sustained or suppressive fire is required.

How it feels:

Frank - I LOVE the way it sounds and feels, but my mistake was approaching it as some kind of mega-powerful AR. It’s not. I still haven’t mastered when to use it, but have had good experience using it to finish players as I close on them, but the speed at which it goes through a clip means you have to make every shot count.

David - The SAW is, without a doubt, the most psychologically intimidating GUN in the game. It looks unlike any gun you’ve seen before in a Halo game, and packs a world champion-class punch when spraying molten projectiles at everything in your way. The SAW is also incredibly useful as a force modifier when encountering a vehicle on foot. A skilled SAW user will use every tool at his disposal to clear space while shredding surrounding vehicles. The comparison to the AR is apt, but whereas a skilled AR user (yes, they do exist) will use finesse to drop a foe, the SAW almost demands of you to unleash its fury by burning down enemies with overwhelming force. As Frank said, though, you do want to keep an eye out on the ammo count as before you know it you’ll be hearing that familiar “click, click, click” or impending death.

Chris - We are still dialing in the final range on this one so I think some of Frank’s opinions will change here. I absolutely love the “fireworks” show it puts on though when it fires a barrage of tracers at an unsuspecting opponent. This is one of the fastest firing fully auto guns in the game and fires faster than some of the mounted/vehicle machine guns even to put it into perspective. It features a slight bit of recoil and a lot of spread but makes up for it with sheer brute force and an enormous drum barrel magazine. This is definitely one of my favorite new weapons in the game.

Chris H. – This is my favorite weapon. It’s like the AR’s mean older brother, or a more mobile turret emplacement.

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DESIGNATION: M363 Remote Projectile Detonator
MANUFACTURER: Acheron Security

Single-hand, short-range explosives launcher which can detonate remotely and at the operator's discretion.

How it feels:

Frank - I love this thing. I love the fact that I can use it strategically or tactically, but it’s definitely a weapon that requires a lot of skill and planning. In reality that’s what it has in common with the Grenade Launcher, but it’s not a replacement. I think the same kind of players will use it though – that is to say folks who like to spend time mastering its nuance. The audio indicator means it’s not a foolproof trap you can set people up with, but when it works, it’s incredibly satisfying. VERY tough to stick people with directly, but fun when it happens.

David - Risk and reward. Such simple words, and the Sticky Detonator is that concept forged into an instrument of destruction. Against foot soldiers, it requires strategic thinking and lightning reflexes. Against vehicles, it’s more forgiving, thanks to the bigger target to place your shot. My personal favorite is initiating a game of on-foot chicken against a Ghost followed by a stick and side thrust, then calmly detonating as the Covenant vehicle moves a safe distance away. I don’t find myself getting surprised by players who attempt to use it as an area of denial weapon. But against the right enemy you can quickly find yourself carrying imminent death back to your teammates as you jog back for reinforcement.

Chris - I totally agree with everything Frank and David have mentioned here. This is a really satisfying gun to use! The other thing I love about it is that it really lends itself to creativity on the part of players. I have seen members of the team employ some hilariously awesome tactics with this thing like hiding the sticky detonator projectile inside of empty vehicles, in clever locations on a map like behind grenade pickups, sticking it to a vehicle and then driving said vehicle at enemies and hopping out and detonating it, etc.

Scott - I find there are three great uses for the Sticky Detonator: Blowing up whole squads of Covenant all at once, sticking a grenade to a Warthog (or, better yet, someone’s face – KABOOM!), and setting up secret Claymore-like placements of grenades in key areas of the map where you know there will be enemies coming by soon.

Bill - I love the Sticky Detonator because it’s fun to stick a few grenades on a Warthog and drive it around like a parade float with festive streamers trailing behind.

RailgunH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

DESIGNATION: Asymmetric Recoilless Carbine-920
MANUFACTURER: Acheron Security

Powerful linear accelerator that fires explosive rounds at tremendous speed to efficiently eliminate targets.

How it feels:

Frank - The charge time is interesting. It charges quicker than a Spartan Laser (and is weaker, obviously) but is so quick that it’s hard to use on “planned” targets in the way the Splaser was – so you often feel like it goes off before you intended it to and before the target you intended to lead, falls into view. Satisfying for sure and a good backup when trying to take down a troublesome vehicle, but hardly a giant-killer.

David - First described to me as a junior Spartan Laser, the Railgun is anything but. The quicker charge times allow me to be a little more fast and free in engaging in 1v1 showdowns. I also find it more useful against vehicles in situations where, say, a Banshee gets a drop on me in the open. The lack of a zoom means you have to be careful at what range you’re attempting to engage others, but when you do, the feeling of satisfaction is fantastic.

Chris - This one has a bit of a learning curve on it because you have to master the quick charge time to be successful but man, once you get it down this is one of the most satisfying weapons to use in the game. It’s really good against vehicles and in tight corridor spaces. It also utilizes some splash damage so it’s great against bunches of enemies as well. Mechanically, it’s somewhat similar to a Spartan Laser – you charge it up and it fires, but unlike a Splaser, you have some control over it. What I mean is that it has an overcharge so you can’t hold it down forever but there is also a small window where you can release the trigger early to fire as well so you don’t have to time your charge absolutely perfectly as is the case with the Splaser. One other pro-tip: Try using this in conjunction with Promethean Vision!

Kynan - I like the Rail Gun since it’s basically a Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, and Spartan Laser all wrapped into one. You charge it up to shoot a direct damage shot that explodes on impact. WIN!

Pierre - The Railgun is awesome! The combination of the charge and the one-shot kill makes this weapon the ultimate risk/reward weapon for me. Killing a guy as soon as he pokes his visor around a corner or getting mid-air Railgun kills have to be some of the most satisfying kills the game offers.

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DESIGNATION: Weapon/Anti-Vehicle M6 Grindell/Galileian Nonlinear Rifle
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Formidable nonlinear coherent light rifle that is highly proficient at destroying vehicles over impressively long distances.

How it feels:

Frank - I haven’t used it enough to really say how I feel about it. Definitely just as challenging to use as before, but to me it feels less powerful, so you probably still have to control it to deal with big team vehicle maps where it shows up, but it won’t simply stop transit across those maps the way it used to. Also can’t “fan” it like I did in Halo 3.

David - Currently, I’d put the Laser just below Halo 3’s “red dot of death” and slightly above the Halo: Reach variant. It seems to have slightly less aim assist than Halo 3, but still packs a mean punch when you connect. In matchmaking, you will primarily see this as an occasional ordnance drop on maps and modes designed for BTB.

Chris - Those are pretty accurate assessments. Still tears apart vehicles and still can be lethal against guys on foot when in the hands of a skilled player.

Christopher - This is my favorite UNSC weapon. The sheer joy in blowing up that pesky Ghost who was harassing your team, or taking out that Wraith who keeps taking out your team’s vehicles is just great.

RocketLauncherH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

DESIGNATION: M41 SSR Medium Anti-Vehicle/Assault Weapon
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Devastating from close-range to mid-range, capable of tracking airborne vehicles after locking onto them.

How it feels:

Frank - It’s definitely got its own flavor in Halo 4 but to me, it’s still the trusty Rocket Launcher. Feels tuned to be a bit more predictable for your opponents, but still does what you intend it to do in terms of direct hits and splash damage.

David - If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I love any advantage I can use, and the Rocket Launcher is the ultimate advantage for me. It’s big, it fires rockets. What’s not to love?

Chris - Functionally, it’s similar to past versions. The big differences from past versions are that the projectile speed has been upped a hair to help compensate for the overall faster pace of our game and the splash damage is a bit larger.

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DESIGNATION: Sniper Rifle System 99-Series 5 Anti-Materiel
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Considered the UNSC's best long-range rifle, boasting formidable stopping power and unparalleled accuracy.

How it feels:

Frank - Sits for me, right between Reach and Halo 2 in terms of ease of use. I basically couldn’t snipe at all in Halo 3, other than swipe-sniping, so this is a great feeling weapon for my campy style, but I am frequently defeated by DMR players if I get spotted quickly enough.

David - I have to be honest, I still haven’t been able to get the hang of this version of the Sniper Rifle, but, if I’m being honest, I never really got the hang of any previous iteration either. The new sound of the gunblast as the bullet breaks the sound barrier is incredibly rewarding, but pinpoint aiming is necessary for dispatching folks at extreme distances.

Chris - The UNSC Sniper Rifle feels really, REALLY powerful this time around. I went back and tried the Halo 3 and Reach Sniper rifles a few weeks back and was surprised how much more visceral ours felt. I think the big changes causing this are the new sound FX and the firing recoil (resets back to center after each shot). The recoil makes it a bit harder to line up again between shots but we have adjusted the accuracy and aim assist to help compensate. Overall, I find that I can be more successful with our Sniper Rifle than I could with the Halo 3 or Reach ones so it’s probably a tad bit easier to use.

And that wraps up today’s feature about UNSC weapons. Don't think that's the end of the Bulletin, though. Oh no, there's more. A lot more, actually...

Office of Halo Intelligence: Part 10[modifier]

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When we officially hit 100 days out from the release of Halo 4, Frankie got quiet and contemplative, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Frankie in the two years I’ve worked with him, it’s that after quiet and contemplative periods, there are words. Lots and lots of words. Here are the thoughts he managed to get on virtual paper, in traditional OHI-form. By the way, you should probably get comfortable, because long OHI is long.


Where are we now?

Farther, higher and better than I would have ever thought. I've worked on the Halo franchise since 2004, 2003 if you count a brief and terrifying arrival in the middle of a tornado of development and the start of the road that would end in the launch of Halo 4.

In that time, I have been privileged to work with people smarter, cooler, more talented and erudite than I could ever hope to be. I have watched artists, engineers, designers, marketers, musicians, testers and a league of support staff, pour heart, soul, blood sweat and tears into a franchise that started with a kind of magic - a charisma and draw that was recognizable even when the game was debuted at Macworld a million years ago.

I've watched one team - Bungie, grow and flower and prosper and ultimately move onto something newer, different and almost guaranteed to be as incredible as the legacy we at 343 now have the honor to inhabit.

Bungie, every time they iterated on the franchise, they reinvented it, evolved it, built upon those foundations and occasionally revolutionized it. Their exit from the franchise left us with a gulf to fill. An unenviable task for any developer let alone a nascent collection of Halo enthusiasts with a mix of experience.

343 started as a tiny group, tasked with taking over the franchise, supporting Bungie through the creation and execution of ODST and then Reach, effectively as a publishing arm. But the ultimate goal was to develop a sequel and take the franchise forward.

We started with a few folks, experts all, and some incredible production, art and engineering talent - but so few as to be vanishingly small. Big hearts, enormous passion, and unbounded enthusiasm.

I've said this before and I'll say it again (especially since it's annual review time and a fantastic opportunity to suck up to management): The reason I left Bungie was twofold – an overwhelming, almost unhinged passion for every aspect of the franchise – but also the fact that in handoff meetings, where we were supposed to be handing over the keys to the franchise, it was incredibly apparent that the small group tasked with this transition was incredibly serious about it.

These weren't marketing wonks*, or bean counters, or cynical opportunists. They came to us and stated simply, “How can we honor this franchise and take it forward meaningfully, respectfully, and bravely?" What they wanted, more than anything, was to love Halo and make more Halo that players loved, too.

  • Sidenote: Our marketing team is amazing. "Marketing" I think is a dirty word in some community circles – probably an assumption that these are soulless salesmen and snake oil vendors concerned only with shipping units. I doubt that's an accurate picture anywhere, but especially on Halo – these women and men are intelligent, thoughtful, creative Halo fans who look first to their own skills and experience and to 343, rather than focus groups, for guidance, and yet still apply science and thoughtfulness to the passion and process. Some of them are artists and creatives and all of them are gamers and players – and all of them are more or less embedded in this team and a vital part of how we are getting this game from dev kits to stores.

So I jumped ship. It was a tough decision. Bungie's plans, Bungie's innate ability, Bungie's talent – and in no small part the friends I made there, the colleagues I almost literally idolized, made it wrenchingly hard, but I joined Bungie because Halo spoke to me at some primal level. And I left Bungie because I had this feeling that we weren't done with it. That there were stories to tell, worlds to explore, and characters to meet. There were parabolic arcs that characters needed to soar into, and there were faces that needed to be teabagged.

Ultimately, while my input and influence on the game is light and broad and sometimes deep, I'm really just a very small cog in an ever-growing machine. I am often considered the face of 343 and now Halo – and that's desperately unfair to the people who're crunching on Halo 4, the people who're more erudite, influential, and intrinsically important to its success. And you will get to meet them as we close out this process and put the finishing touches on this game. This isn't some note of false humility or obscured vanity, it's a fact. If I throw a rock, I am likely to hit someone far more important to the ultimate success of this game than I am or will ever be.

But I have been with the franchise for so long that I know it intimately. Like you, I tend to prefer corners of it – I like SWAT, I like Slayer, I like exploring in Campaign, I rush through the game every time I find a vehicle, I try to use obscure and weird combinations of weapons and tactics. I love exploring the sandbox in MP and Campaign. In short, I'm kind of an average player – but that's a red herring. There are no average Halo players. There are no monolithic groups that like some core aspect of the experience-entire.

There are groups, subgroups, cliques, cults even, that love the sheer variety of experiences it offers. Take Forge folks – for example – for whom we've tried to make more and better tools, while retaining the playable, approachable tools that experience brings. We'll be working with community cartographers in the run up to launch to create maps for File Shares from day one – giving them somewhat early access to iterate and build game modes and maps that are familiar and original in equal measure.

We're working with players and testers who just want to do stupid tricks with physics and sandbox elements. We're working with players and testers to make sure we have Campaign and Spartan Ops environments that encourage exploration and imaginative approaches to combat and challenge.

We're working with pro and competitive players to make sure that the competitive aspects of the game meet or exceed that community's desires and expectations. And selfishly, to provide us with really good material for the multiplayer aspect of our Prima strategy guide, advice I will ignore as I yell “Leroy!!!” and run full speed into a flag base full of well-coordinated opponents.

We're working with our own designers and internal community resources to apply a new, more concise philosophy with regard to matchmaking playlists. We'll have plenty of variety, but we'll be doing our best to make sure that players are experiencing new stuff like Infinity Slayer, other modes we haven't explained yet, as well as classic Halo styles and more Spartan playlists. But let me be clear – the new stuff is awesome. We WANT you to experience it, to embrace it, to help us move the game forward, while still giving you access to the old school Halo you know and love.

And we're closing out bugs. Squillions of 'em. Some are polish items, some are experiential, subjective ones, and some are straight up regular old bugs. But we have a long polish phase for this game that started quite a while ago; a process of refinement, honing, balance and clarification that is essential for all the new stuff we're adding.

There's a thing that happens when we expose new players to the new modes. I'll use Infinity Slayer as an example. It feels like Slayer, of that there's no doubt. If you're awesome like me, you'll pick Recon, with Sprint on X, and inverted aiming and flight controls and rush out into a new level and immediately know what's happening. You'll know how to move, how to navigate, how to win even, but then something new, like an Ordnance Drop rewarding your killing spree will appear. And you'll make a snap decision on what to drop in – a new weapon? More ‘nades? A power up? This decision will be cued by the battle you've just been through. It will change according to your own momentum and your opponent's skill.

It sounds simple, but it changes everything. There's a newfound variety within those meta-experiences that retains predictability and encourages tactical adaptation, but still feels comfortable. You can drop in a weapon you don't even need, and use it as a honeypot to lure in greedier opponents. It's hard to describe how this simple change affects the pace and urgency of combat, but it does. And even simple stuff, like the warning music that plays towards the end of a game, makes everything just a bit more intense. Faster. Literally more exciting.

Some of these things are big deals, like loadouts. They don't radically alter the feel of the game, but they refine it, and oddly, maybe even counter intuitively, they create a sense of predictability in combat that's personal – tuned to your preference and play style.

The new, like any new stuff in Halo, will take some time to be fully utilized and embraced. But this isn't simply new for the sake of new. It's all carefully considered and crafted to speed the experience, to encourage combat, to drive engagement and reward both competition and cooperation. Teams and lone wolves will both appreciate this stuff.

I am not blowing smoke up your butts. You may end up disagreeing with me ultimately, either in toto, or on specific items, but the gameplay has reached a point where I genuinely find myself having more fun than I have in years, and Halo is and has always been my favorite FPS. This is an escalation of that experience, and I'm glad we took some of the risks we did.

When the game ships, and in some cases, before that, you'll be able to experience all of this for yourselves, but I am feeling pretty confident about the changes, the evolutions and the additions.

Technically, we're in that most exciting period of the development process – effectively the content is locked and complete, but the final layering of effects, technology, shaders, final performance tuning and as shallow as this sounds, the final graphic appearance.

It's a constant source of delight to me to grab a new build, or walk by an artist's monitor and see that a level or feature I already thought looked spectacular was just a foreshadowing of how impeccable or impressive that environment or object looks in the final pass.

David Ellis, Kevin Grace, Jeremy Patenaude and I often have MP matches with the conceit that we're just staying up to date on progress, but the truth is, we're playing because it is a ridiculous amount of fun. It's insanely addictive and the selection of levels we're going to ship with, I think, is a testament to building spaces that are flexible enough to be fun for just about anything, but find their sweet spot in the modes for which they were ostensibly created.

Graphically, you've seen some cool stuff, and the tech itself is a very nice hop above prior games in terms of boring fidelity and numbers – something that has happened with every successive Halo game and will continue to do so in the future. But it follows in the admirable (to me at least) tradition of feeling like the concept art. Bungie always nailed this. You need only look at fan-made screenshots of Halo 3 and Reach to see how close the in-game atmosphere matched that of the stunningly imaginative concept art. We at 343 have some near-legendary concept artists and their dizzying feats of imagination always seem like they'd be impossible to replicate in a real engine environment, and yet there they are. Vistas, ideas, worlds that you can explore, inhabit and affect.

I'd love to tell you that to achieve this fidelity without compromise, though I bet you a hundred dollars one of our engineers could tell me exactly what those compromises are (but I haven't seen them). It's smooth, the draw distances are massive, the effects are stunning and the atmosphere and scale are classic Halo scope. I'm finding MP perf to be buttery smooth, controls responsive and clarity of combat exceptional.

I am biased of course, to the point of shillery, but some of you have known me long enough to know that I tend to err on the side of terror and humility rather than hyperbolae. But I will hype this team, because it's hype-worthy.

In a crazy compressed timeframe, we've built a team from scratch (with the somewhat bizarre-but-cool advantage that they came from some of the best games in the industry, with new ideas and philosophies – because they loved Halo already), built a game we think is deserving of the Halo legacy, and created a culture built around a simple shared goal – to make an amazing Halo experience worthy of that game's history and achievement.

It won't be perfect, that's impossible. We have too many constituents and variables in our game, our audience and our community for that to ever happen. But I think the vast majority of people who've given us their trust and confidence, no matter how warily or askance, will find something in here that meets or exceeds their expectations.

And for the cynics, an understandable position and one we respect, I think the game may surprise even you guys. Of course time and player experience will tell, but there have been many moments that deepened my confidence in where we are. Some of those moments were big ticket brute force Rubicons, and some small, personal moments.

Let me tell you one from last week. A larger level, symmetrical, but definitely aimed at on-foot encounters, was the location for a dumb grudge match between me, Josh Holmes, Kevin and Jeremy. I was hiding, trying to use my Promethean Vision to find combatants, when suddenly I hear and feel the sweep of someone else's PV. That sense of panic, of maybe being discovered, sent me fleeing my hiding spot and grabbing the very powerful weapon I had dumped in an Ordnance Drop as a honeypot. I did it too late. Exposed myself for no good reason (his PV sweep had not, in fact, revealed my position) and got sniped for my troubles. It's telling that a moment of failure, of loss, was just as compelling as one of victory.

And loadouts or no loadouts, there's something about Halo 4 that pushes you to try sandbox elements. I can't quite put my finger on it, but a lot of us agree, the game, the UI, the circumstances often lead you to try new things, experiment, tinker.

That's not to say our more stripped down experiences don't have their charm. One particular game mode that has a cult following may end up with a mainstream breakout because of the features Kevin Franklin and the MP team have added to it to make it "legit." More on that later.

And music... well, we'll be updating our music story very soon. But the final recordings and mixes are now being integrated into the code, and it's definitely like the movie process in this regard – a scene that was emotional and intense with either silence or placeholder – is now genuinely moving. And as I've hinted before, we're going to do something with and beyond the OST for music fans that will really have an impact, at least on your commute. More on that soon.

I don't like calling out individuals in these pieces, because it's ridiculously unfair on the dozens, hundreds of other individuals who've contributed from every discipline to get us this far in the shipping/crunch process, but I am going to anyway. Our producers – unsung heroes and deliberate villains: Chris Lee, Sally Huang, Alex Cutting, Tyler Jeffers, Corrinne Robinson, Kiki (the head vampire of all producers) and many, many more are in the unenviable position of moving all these chess pieces around so we can move into the final shut down process. It's hard. Herding cats doesn't do the problem space justice. This is orchestrating Tribbles and feeding Mogwai after midnight.

Our bug-shutdown process isn't pyrrhic. It's careful. It's diligent and it's imaginative. It's an art as well as a science, designed to make sure we ship on time, but more importantly, that we ship the game we intended to and don't compromise experience for the sake of expediency. Watching this team collaborate and cooperate and just work like you wouldn't believe is both staggering and inspirational.

So that's all the positive stuff I can talk about right now. And there are hundreds of people and features and ideas and wonders that I haven't had time – or appropriate opportunities – to message here today.

But it's not all sweetness and light – we realize we've been short on stuff like BTS (Behind the Scenes) and even simple direct feed footage (easier said than done...) and even clarity on MP stuff. We PROMISE we're going to accelerate that kind of communication as we get further into our shutdown process, and have more people and bandwidth to throw at the community communication that is and will be a vital part of Halo's ouvre.

The reasons are simple, but not necessarily satisfactory – you guys want to know what it is you're going to spend $60 on this fall, and you shouldn't have to take it on faith, but this isn't just another numbered Halo sequel – the "machine" Bungie carefully evolved over the years had to be built from scratch in our case, and our dev schedule was necessarily compressed to build all that new tech and grow the studio from eight folks to 250 in record time.

So stuff like Reach matchmaking will suffer in that process as we shut down Halo 4 and continue building its Matchmaking content and infrastructure, and for that we apologize, but we think the benefits will eventually outweigh the downsides. And Reach and Halo 3 of course, will continue to be supported beyond the launch of Halo 4, but of course the focus will be on 4.

We have to earn your trust. We have to earn your loyalty. We have to do that by shipping a Halo 4 that you love. And that is all we're doing. Everything else is a secondary consideration and I promise you two things here without any dissemblance, exaggeration or dishonesty – I think Halo 4 has the potential to be the best Halo game yet, and if I didn't believe that, or we weren't trying at least, to achieve that, then we'd be doing everyone a disservice. Time will tell. Secondly, we can't do this without this community – without the enthusiasts, fans, critics, cynics, creatives and nutbags that comprise our community and we're nearly done.

Less than 100 days until you can decide for yourselves.


August Matchmaking Playlist Update[modifier]

Matchmaking Playlist Update aout2012 HB2012 31.jpg

As Frankie alluded to in his OHI, the vast majority of our resources right now are dedicated to Halo 4. While that’s great news for those of you that plan on picking up the game in November, it’s not great news to those of you that regularly duke it out on the battlefields of Halo: Reach. August will see a Matchmaking update (next Tuesday, as a matter of fact), but then the monthly updates will go on hiatus while we focus on shipping Halo 4.

August’s update is about consolidating playlists and streamlining the experience. When we make these decisions, it’s based primarily on population, statistics, and trends, although a few other factors do come into play (such as achievements). Retiring playlists is a painstakingly difficult process, especially as some of those that go away are amongst our personal favorites. However, it is a necessary step when the goal is maintaining the overall health of a matchmaking experience.

The playlists that are being retired in August’s Matchmaking playlist update are Anniversary BTB, Anniversary FFA, Firefight Doubles, Action Sack, and Squad DLC. We’re also using this opportunity to reorganize the playlists. The new categories will be Standard (i.e. Vanilla), Evolved (i.e. TU), Anniversary, Community, and Cooperative. The following are the screens you’ll see after the update has been implemented:

MPU 8 aout Standard HB2012 n31.jpg
MPU 8 aout Evolved HB2012 n31.jpg
MPU 8 aout Anniversary HB2012 n31.jpg
MPU 8 aout Community HB2012 n31.jpg
MPU 8 aout Cooperative HB2012 n31.jpg

Trimming and consolidating playlists allows those populations to shift to other, often compatible places, creating hoppers with higher populations and lower matching times. Over the last several months, we’ve watched in amazement as Reach’s numbers have sustained (and sometimes even increased). For that to happen at this point in the game’s lifespan is incredible, and we appreciate the millions of you that continue to play this game. So, thank you for continuing to call Halo home, and we’ll continue working hard on the next iteration in the franchise.

Custom Challenge of the Week[modifier]

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If you’re still playing Halo and you still love credits, you’ll want to start preparing that fist of yours because you’ll need it for this week’s Custom Challenge of the week. To participate, create a Custom Challenge with Melee as the type of kill, and you will be rewarded with twice the amount of credits usually earned, assuming you’re successful in your face-punching festivities. This challenge will be active starting now until next Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

Super Jackpot Weekend[modifier]

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Whether you pair this weekend’s Super Jackpot festivities with the aforementioned Custom Challenge or not, you’ll probably end up with more credits than you know what to do with if you score this weekend’s jackpot. If you’d like a shot at it, hop into Grifball because completing games in that particular hammer-happy playlist will present you with the chance of receiving a 32,000-credit bonus. The Super Jackpot will be active from Friday until Sunday, so mark your calendars accordingly.

And I believe that wraps up this installment of your weekly Halo Bulletin. I’ll see you next week, when we’ll be diving into the wonderful world of specializations. Until then…

<3, bs angel

P.S. If you're a Friday Caption Fun wallpaper rotator, here is this week's picture, just for you. Embiggen, snag, and then hit the latest installment to contribute your witty quip. Off you go!

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J'étais sur un bateau[modifier]

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Les armes de l’UNSC dans Halo 4[modifier]

HB2012 n31 UNSC weaponry.jpg

Comme dans les précédents jeux Halo, les armes de l'UNSC dans Halo 4 doivent être fondées sur la technologie moderne. C’est pourquoi elles ont tendance à être construites en privilégiant l’esthétique à la fonctionnalité. Il y a deux raisons principales à cela. La première est de s’assurer que le joueur se sente vraiment inférieur en comparaison aux armes hautement futuristes et sophistiquées utilisées par les ennemis Covenants et Forerunner. La seconde raison est que cela fournit un bon point de départ pour les nouveaux joueurs parce qu’ils sont déjà un peu familiers du rôle des armes de base, ce qui en fait des armes plus faciles à utiliser.

Bien que la majorité de ces armes soient similaires à des armes militaires de nos jours, il y a tout de même plusieurs armes puissantes spécialisées qui prouvent que l’humanité continue de progresser sur le plan technologique. On peut citer dans armes comme le Railgun, le Laser Spartan et le Sticky Detonator.

Avant de vous en dire plus sur chacune des armes de l'UNSC qui seront disponibles dans Halo 4, nous avons pensé que vous aimeriez les voir en action. Je vous laisse donc regarder la vidéo qui suit, puis continuer de lire ce Bulletin pour apprendre plus de détails au sujet de ce qui sera bientôt entre vos mains. (Au passage, la musique de cette vidéo n’est pas issue de la bande son originale du jeu. Nous vous donnerons son origine à une date future.)

Si vous souhaitez écouter les effets sonores des armes dans toute leur splendeur, vous trouverez ci-dessous la même vidéo mais sans la musique. Et oui, nous vous proposerons des présentations similaires pour les armes Covenant et Prométhéennes à plus ou moins court terme.

Frank O'Connor, David Ellis, et Chris King, avec Vic DeLeon, Joel Gifford, Chris Howard, Scott Warner, Bill Clark, Kynan Pearson, Pierre Rivest, et Christopher Hands se sont joints à moi pour partager leurs sentiments sur les armes de l'UNSC.

Armes de base de l'UNSC[modifier]

AssaultRifleH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : MA5D Individual Combat Weapon System
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 32 balles

Frank : Le fusil d’assaut est plus ou moins ce qu’il a toujours été, une arme décente de moyenne portée qui actuellement parait moins puissante que ses modèles précédents, spécialement face à des armes plus récentes. Mais il reste remarquablement utile pour certains types de rencontre paniquées, telles qu’opérer une retraite en combat rapproché en Multijoueur, ou s’occuper d’un essaim de Crawlers en Campagne ou Spartan Ops.

David : Je ne sais pas vraiment pourquoi, mais j’ai définitivement le sentiment que je contrôle plus la propagation des balles lorsque l’utilise le fusil d’assaut, par rapport aux précédents jeux. Ce qui ne laisse aucun doute, c’est que le fusil d’assaut est toujours aussi puissant en combat rapproché.

Chris : Par rapport aux précédents Halo, celui-ci me semble être le fusil d’assaut d’Halo 3 en un peu plus puissant. Quelques personnes auront peut-être des préjugés contre cette arme parce que n’est pas l’arme la plus récente ou la plus flashy, et parce qu’il y a d’autres armes qui attireront l’attention avant. Cela dit, celle-ci est à mon avis l’une des plus belles armes du jeu. Au niveau du gameplay, nous avons essayé d’agrandir légèrement la portée du fusil d’assaut en plus de le rendre un peu plus précis. C’est une de mes armes favorite dans Halo 4, et j’apprécie particulièrement de pouvoir l’appairer avec une arme de longue portée en Multijoueur, grâce au pack tactique de puissance de feu.

BattleRifleH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : BR85 Heavy-Barrel Service Rifle
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 36 balles

Frank : Conçu pour être précis à moyenne portée et raisonnablement prévisible à longue portée, le BR est actuellement mon arme de départ préférée. Il n’est pas aussi précis ou chirurgical que le DMR, et me semble plus prévisible que le LightRifle, sa plus proche contrepartie Prométhéenne. Pour les tirs à la tête et les duels rapides pour un joueur intermédiaire comme moi, c’est une bonne solution.

David : Comme avec un gant de Baseball bien huilé, ramassez le BR d’Halo 4 et vous vous sentirez comme chez vous. Comme le BR est hitscan (l’impact des balles est calculé immédiatement après la pression sur la gâchette), c’est définitivement une force avec laquelle il faut compter à moyenne et longue portée. Engagez-vous dans un combat avec un coéquipier ou deux à vos côtés et les ennemis fuiront la menace que représentent vos tirs groupés.

Chris : La cadence et le rythme des tirs du BR sont comme une musique à mes oreilles. Le BR dispose d’un zoom 2x, contre le 3x du DMR, alors j’ai tendance à l’utiliser sur des maps plus petites comme Refuge et A la dérive, bien qu’il reste efficace sur des maps plus grandes. Il dispose d’un léger recul. Cela signifie que vous devrez réaligner votre cible (surtout lors de duels prolongés) mais a aussi le bon côté de faciliter un petit peu le tir à la tête final, car vous pouvez vous concentrer plus sur la partie haute du torse et ce sera alors la seconde ou la troisième balle qui attendra la tête.

Vic : J’aime jouer avec le nouveau BR, dans Halo 4. Il semble si robuste, et je n’ai pas eu besoin de réapprendre à l’utiliser, ce qui est appréciable. Ce qui m’a surpris, ce sont les skins personnalisables qui lui sont applicable, c’est un ajout sympathique. Etant un puriste en ce qui concerne les armes de l'UNSC, je pensais pas aimer ces skins, mais après avoir joué avec, je trouve qu’ils sont plutôt chouettes.

DMRH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : M395 Designated Marksman Rifle
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 14 balles

Frank : Précis comme un laser, prévisible, mais avec une fréquence de tir plus lente, je préfère l’utiliser lors de duels à longue portée ou en tant que « mini-sniper », comme pour harceler le tireur d’une tourelle, par exemple. Lors de mes expériences de combat à moyenne et longue portée, je suis constamment perdant lorsque j’affronte un DMR avec un BR, mais plus la portée des duels diminue, moins je perds.

David : Comme Frank l’a mentionné, le DMR est incroyablement précis et simplifié avec sa fréquence de tir diminuée par rapport à Halo: Reach. Maintenant, la seule information que vous devez garder en tête lorsque vous affrontez un ennemi est l’alignement de votre cible avec le centre du réticule. D'après ce que j’ai pu constater, le BR est meilleur que le DMR si vous disposez du soutien d’un ou deux coéquipiers, mais si vous êtes en solitaire, le DMR est la bonne alternative.

Chris : Même s’il dispose d’un léger bloom sur des distances extrêmement grandes, pour la majorité des duels à moyenne et longue portée il n’a pas vraiment de rival. La combinaison de la précision, des tirs à la tête et les améliorations que nous avons apportées au système d’assistance à la visée fait de cette arme l’une des meilleures armes de tous les Halo, à mon avis. Une autre chose qu’il est important de mentionner, aussi … Je trouve les sons de cette arme vraiment géniaux, à tel point que rien que le fait de tirer avec me procure une montée d’adrénaline !

Joel : Lorsqu'on le compare au BR, le DMR est meilleur à longue portée, mais aussi pour neutraliser le bouclier, par contre il est plus difficile d’aligner le tir à tête final avec le DMR. Aussi, les sons de cette arme me donnent l’impression de tirer au canon à chaque tir ! TANT DE PUISSANCE !

MagnumH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : M6H Personal Defense Weapon System
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 8 balles

Frank : Par le passé, je n’ai utilisé cette arme que dans Halo : CE parce qu’elle était surpuissante (ou alors combiné avec une autre arme de poing dans Halo 2), et en SWAT parce qu’elle permet de tirer rapidement dans les instants de panique. Dans Halo 4, je suis toujours en train de chercher comment l’utiliser au mieux. Je l’utilise très peu dans mes paquetages, mais je me fais constamment frapper avec, donc je devrais peut-être m’en servir un peu plus.

David : Le Magnum d’Halo 4 est conçu pour être une arme secondaire, donc en tant que telle, il doit être un peu plus faible que votre arme principale. Avec une fréquence de tir plus rapide, il est plus mortel que le DMR à courte portée, mais un nerveux de la gâchette baissera son efficacité à longue portée.

Chris : Le Magnum d’Halo 4 n’est pas fait pour rivaliser avec les stars (DMR, BR, Carabine, LightRifle), alors son rôle est un peu différent que par le passé. Il n’est définitivement pas aussi puissant que le Magnum d’Halo 1 (quelle arme pourrait l’être ?). Il est toujours mortel, mais sa meilleure utilisation est en tant qu’arme de soutien (utiliser le Magnum pour finir quelqu'un VS attendre la recharge de l’arme principale), ou alors en paire avec une arme automatique comme le Fusil d’Assaut ou le Storm Rifle (ils font tomber le bouclier ennemi, et le Magnum finit l’ennemi avec un simple tir à la tête). Entre les mains d’un joueur compétent, cependant, il peut être très puissant car il dispose de la plus rapide fréquence de tir parmi toutes les armes du jeu. L’autre grand changement que je pense les joueurs remarqueront est que nous avons énormément accéléré l’animation d’utilisation d’une arme de poing. De cette façon, vous pourrez passer de votre arme principale à votre arme de poing plus rapidement, asséner des coups de crosse plus rapidement et lancer des grenades plus vites avec votre arme de poing en main.

Armes spécialisées de l’UNSC[modifier]

ShotgunH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : M45D Tactical Shotgun
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 6 balles

Frank : Définitivement pas aussi surpuissant qu’il l’a été, c’est une arme qui tue en un tir à bout portant (généralement), mais je le trouve moins mortel que celui d’Halo: Reach dans les combats rapprochés. J’utilise beaucoup de cartouches en essayant de tuer mes ennemis sans risquer de changer d’arme, si ça peut vous aider à imaginer.

David : J’ai toujours été du genre à sauter au milieu d’une escouade ennemie pour voir combien je peux en anéantir à mon apothéose. Pour cela, le Fusil à Pompe fait le travail pour moi. Avec son nouvel aspect esthétique, le Fusil à Pompe ressemble à une crosse explosive conçue dans un seul but : détacher nettement les têtes de leurs corps. Au contraire de Frank, je trouve en fait que ce Fusil à Pompe est plus facile à utiliser que celui d’Halo: Reach, mais lorsque vous vous jetez au milieu des ennemis, vous avez intérêt à ne pas rater votre premier tir. Sinon, vous aurez le temps d’imaginer ce que vous auriez pu réussir en attendant votre réapparition.

Chris : Le nouveau Fusil à Pompe est définitivement plus futuriste que ses prédécesseurs. Il a en fait une portée plus longue, et est légèrement globalement plus puissant que celui d’Halo: Reach, mais cette puissance est en partie contrée par d’autres changements apportés au jeu tels que le Sprint pour tout le monde, les Capacité d’Armure basées sur la mobilité et des vitesses de mouvement globalement plus rapides. C’est définitivement l’une de mes armes largables préférées. Plus spécialement lorsque j’ai le Speed Boost en Multijoueur.

SawH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : M739 Light Machine Gun
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 72 balles

Frank : J’AIME les sons de cette arme et les sentiments qu’elle procure, mais mon erreur a été de la prendre pour un Fusil d’Assaut méga-puissant. Le Saw ne l’est pas. Je ne maîtrise pas encore les situations dans lesquelles il faut l’utiliser, mais j’aime bien l’utiliser pour finir des joueurs alors que je me rapproche d’eux, mais la vitesse à laquelle le chargeur se vide vous force à placer correctement vos tirs.

David : Le Saw est sans aucun doute le flingue le plus intimidant psychologiquement du jeu. Il ne ressemble à aucune autre arme d’un Halo, et renferme un pouvoir de perforation champion du monde lorsqu'il s’agit de répandre des projectiles en fusion sur tout ce qui se trouve sur votre passage. Le Saw est aussi très utile lorsque vous êtes à pied et rencontrez un véhicule. Un utilisateur aguerri du SAW utilisera tous les outils qui sont à sa disposition pour anéantir les véhicules alentours. La comparaison avec le Fusil d’Assaut est convenable, mais alors qu’un utilisateur de Fusil d’Assaut compétent (oui, ça existe) utilisera son arme finement pour éliminer quelqu'un, le SAW ne demande presque seulement de relâcher toute sa furie en noyant les ennemis sous les balles avec une force surprenante. Cependant, comme Frank l’a souligné, vous devrez faire attention au contenu de votre chargeur, car avant que vous ne le réalisiez, vous entendrez ce « clic, clic, clic » familier souvent synonyme de mort proche.

Chris : Nous sommes toujours en train de nous décider sur la portée finale de cette arme, alors je pense qu’une partie de l’opinion de Frank changera. J’adore énormément les « feux d’artifice » produits lorsque l’on tire. C’est l’arme automatique ayant la cadence de tir la plus rapide et elle tire même plus vite que certaines tourelles de véhicules. Elle dispose d’un léger recul et beaucoup de propagation des balles mais ils sont compensés par une force brute et un chargeur énorme. C’est définitivement l’une des nouvelles armes que je préfère.

Chris H. : C’est mon arme préférée. Elle est un peu le méchant grand frère du Fusil d’Assaut, ou une tourelle plus mobile.

StickyDetonatorH4 HB2012 31.jpg

Désignation : M363 Remote Projectile Detonator
Fabricant : Acheron Security
Capacité du chargeur : 1 charge

Frank : J’aime ce truc. J’aime le fait de pouvoir l’utiliser stratégiquement ou tactiquement, mais c’est définitivement une arme qui nécessite beaucoup de planification et de compétence. En réalité, c’est le point commun qu’on peut lui trouver avec le lance grenade, mais ce n’est pas son remplaçant. Cependant, je pense que le même genre de joueurs l’utilisera, ce qui veut dire le genre de personne qui aime passer du temps à comprendre ses nuances. L’indicateur sonore signifie que ce n’est pas un piège dans lequel tout le monde tombera, mais quand ça fonctionne, c’est très satisfaisant. Il est très difficile de coller directement un joueur avec, mais c’est toujours marrant quand ça arrive.

David : Risque et récompense. Des mots simples, et le Sticky Detonator représente ces concepts réunis dans un instrument de destruction. Contre des soldats à pied, il demande de la stratégie et de bons réflexes. Contre des véhicules, c’est moins difficile vu que la cible est plus grande. Mais face à un bon ennemi, vous pouvez rapidement avoir entre vos mains un outils de destruction de vos coéquipiers.

Chris : Je suis parfaitement d’accord avec tout ce qu’en ont dit Frank et David. C’est une arme très plaisante à utiliser ! L’autre chose que j’apprécie est qu’elle ouvre la porte à toute la créativité des joueurs. J’ai vu des membres de l’équipe utiliser quelques tactiques géniales hilarantes, comme cacher le projectile dans un véhicule arrêté, dans des endroits stratégiques d’une map, le coller à un véhicule, poser le véhicule chez l’ennemi, quitter le véhicule et l’exploser au bout moment, etc …

Scott : Je trouve qu’il y a trois bonnes utilisations pour le Sticky Detonator : exploser toute une escouade de Covenants en un coup, coller le projectile à un Warthog (ou, encore mieux, sur quelqu'un), et l’utiliser comme une Claymore dans les endroits clé d’une map.

Bill : J’aime le Sticky Detonator parce qu’il est très amusant de coller quelques grenades sur un Warthog, et le conduire comme un char de parade avec des traînées festives derrière.

RailgunH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : Asymmetric Recoilless Carbine-920
Fabricant : Acheron Security
Capacité du chargeur : 1 charge

Frank : Le temps de charge est intéressant. Il charge plus rapidement qu’un Laser Spartan (et est plus faible) mais est si rapide qu’il est difficile de l’utiliser sur des cibles « planifiées » comme avec le Laser, dans le sens où vous avez souvent l’impression qu’il tire avant que vous le vouliez et avant que la cible n’atteigne le point visé. Tout de même plaisant à utiliser, et c’est un bon moyen de renverser un véhicule ennemi qui vous ennuie, mais ce n’est pas une arme de destruction massive.

David : La première fois qu’on m’en a parlé, on me l’a présenté comme un petit Spartan Laser, mais il n’est rien de ça. Le temps de charge plus rapide me permet d’être plus rapide et plus libre lorsqu'il faut affronter un ennemi en 1v1. Je le trouve aussi plus utile contre des véhicules quand par exemple un Banshee me prend pour cible à découvert. L’absence de zoom signifie que vous devez faire attention à la portée de votre tir, mais lorsque vous touchez votre cible, c’est toujours fantastique.

Chris : Cette arme nécessite un peu de pratique, car vous devez apprendre à maîtriser le temps de charge rapide pour réussir, mais une fois que vous la maîtrisez c’est une arme très plaisante à utiliser. Elle est très bonne contre les véhicules et dans des espaces confinés. Elle répand aussi des dégâts alentours, alors elle est aussi très bien contre plusieurs ennemis proches. Mécaniquement, elle est un peu similaire au Laser Spartan : vous la chargez et elle tire, mais au contraire du Laser, vous avez un peu de contrôle sur le tir. Ce que je veux dire, c’est qu’elle a une surcharge donc vous ne pouvez pas tenir la gâchette enfoncée indéfiniment, mais elle a aussi une fenêtre de tir qui vous permet de relâcher la gâchette plus tôt, de façon à ne pas être obligé de chronométrer parfaitement les tirs comme avec le Laser. Une autre astuce de pro : essayez de l’utiliser avec la Vision Prométhéenne !

Kynan : J’aime le Railgun car c’est globalement un Fusil de Sniper, un Lance-Roquette et un Spartan Laser réunis dans une arme. Vous le chargez pour tirer un projectile direct qui explose à l’impact !

Pierre : Le Railgun est génial ! La combinaison de la charge et du tir unique pour tuer fait de cette arme l’arme ultime de risque/récompense, pour moi. Tuer un type qui vient de passer un angle, ou réussir un frag au Railgun alors que votre cible est dans les airs ont quelque chose de jouissif !

SpartanLaserH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : Weapon/Anti-Vehicle M6 Grindell/Galileian Nonlinear Rifle
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 4 tirs

Frank : Je ne l’ai pas encore assez utilisé pour dire réellement quels sentiments il procure. Définitivement autant difficile à utiliser qu’avant, même s’il me parait moins puissant, donc vous devrez probablement de nouveau le contrôler pour vous assurer le contrôle des maps de Big Team à véhicules sur lesquelles il sera présent. Cependant, je n’arrive pas à en être aussi fan que je l’étais sur Halo 3.

David : Actuellement, je placerai ce Laser juste en dessous du « point rouge mortel » d’Halo 3 et légèrement au-dessus de celui d’Halo: Reach. Il semble disposer d’une aide à la visée inférieure à celle d’Halo 3, mais il possède toujours une méchante force de perforation. En Matchmaking, vous le verrez prioritairement en largages occasionnels sur les maps et modes de BTB.

Chris : Il détruit toujours les véhicules et peut toujours être mortel face à un ennemi à pied, lorsqu’un joueur compétent l’utilise.

Christopher : C’est mon arme de l'UNSC préférée. La joie apportée par la destruction du Ghost qui harcelait votre équipe ou la destruction de l’Apparition qui n’arrêtait pas de détruire les véhicules de votre équipe est juste toujours aussi géniale.

RocketLauncherH4 HB2012 n31.jpg

Désignation : M41 SSR Medium Anti-Vehicle/Assault Weapon
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 2 roquettes

Frank : Il a définitivement sa propre saveur dans Halo 4, mais pour moi c’est toujours ce bon vieux Lance-Roquette en qui on peut avoir confiance. Il semble réglé pour être un peu plus prévisible pour vos adversaires, mais il remplit toujours son rôle pour les tirs directs et les dégâts d’explosion.

David : Si vous me connaissez un peu, vous savez que j’aime tous les avantages que je peux utiliser, et le Lance-Roquette est l’avantage ultime pour moi. Il est gros, il lance des roquettes. Comment ne pas l’aimer ?

Chris : Fonctionnellement, il est similaire à ses prédécesseurs. Les grosses différences par rapport aux précédentes versions sont que la vitesse des projectiles a été accélérée légèrement pour compenser l’augmentation du rythme du gameplay, et les dégâts d’explosion sont légèrement plus gros.

SniperRifleH4 HB2021 n31.jpg

Désignation : Sniper Rifle System 99-Series 5 Anti-Materiel
Fabricant : Misriah Armory
Capacité du chargeur : 4 balles

Frank : Pour moi, il se situe entre Halo: Reach et Halo 2 en termes de facilité d’utilisation. Je ne pouvais quasiment pas sniper sur Halo 3, mais c’est une arme très appropriée à mon style de campeur, mais je suis fréquemment tué par un DMR si je suis localisé assez rapidement.

David : Je dois être honnête, je n’ai pas encore pu utiliser ce Fusil de Sniper, mais, si je dois être honnête, je dois dire que je n’ai jamais vraiment utilisé cette arme dans ses précédentes versions non plus. Le nouveau son émis alors que la balle passe le mur du son est très satisfaisant, mais tuer un ennemi à des distances extrêmes demande une très grande précision.

Chris : Le Fusil de Sniper de l'UNSC semble VRAIMENT très puissant. J’ai essayé les Sniper de Halo 3 et Halo: Reach il y a quelques semaines, et j’ai été surpris de voir combien le nôtre est plus viscéral. Je pense que les gros changements qui provoque cet effet sont le recul et les effets sonores. Le recul rend l’alignement du tir suivant plus difficile, mais nous avons ajusté la précision et l’assistance à la visée pour compenser. Globalement, je pense que je serai plus victorieux avec notre Fusil de Sniper que je l’aurais été avec ceux d’Halo 3 et d’Halo: Reach.

Bureau de Reconnaissance de Halo[modifier]

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Où sommes nous maintenant ...


Mise à jour du Matchmaking d’Aout[modifier]

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La plus grande majorité de nos ressources sont maintenant dédiées à Halo 4. Bien que ce soit une grande nouvelle pour ceux d’entre vous qui prévoient d’obtenir le jeu en novembre, ce n’en est pas une pour ceux qui vont régulièrement écumer les champs de bataille d’Halo: Reach. Le mois d’aout verra venir une mise à jour du matchmaking (mardi prochain, en fait), mais après celle-ci, les mises à jour risquent de ne plus être mensuelles, car nous allons nous concentrer encore plus sur Halo 4.

La mise à jour d’août est dédiée à la consolidation et réorganisation des sélections. Quand nous prenons ces décisions, c’est basé d’abord sur leur fréquentation, leurs statistiques et les tendances, même si d’autres facteurs aussi pris en compte (comme les succès). Retirer des sélections est un processus laborieusement difficile, spécialement lorsque certaines d’entre elles font partie de nos favorites. Cependant, c’est une étape nécessaire lorsque le but est de maintenir la prospérité globale du matchmaking.

Les sélections supprimées lors de cette mise à jour sont les suivantes : Anniversary BTB, Anniversary FFA, Firefight Doubles, Action Sack, et Squad DLC. Nous profitons aussi de cette mise à jour pour réorganiser les sélections. Les nouvelles catégories seront Standard (réglages d’avant TU), Evolved (avec les réglages de la TU), Anniversary, Community et Cooperative. Les images suivantes vous présentent ce que vous trouverez après l’application de la mise à jour.

MPU 8 aout Standard HB2012 n31.jpg
MPU 8 aout Evolved HB2012 n31.jpg
MPU 8 aout Anniversary HB2012 n31.jpg
MPU 8 aout Community HB2012 n31.jpg
MPU 8 aout Cooperative HB2012 n31.jpg

Maintenir et consolider les sélections permet à leurs populations de passer à d’autres sélections, souvent compatibles, créant des sélections plus peuplées avec des temps de recherche de partie diminués. Durant les derniers mois, nous avons regardé avec stupéfaction les chiffres d’Halo: Reach qui n’ont pas diminué (et ont même augmenté certaines fois). Il est incroyable que cela arrive à ce point de la vie d’un jeu, et nous apprécions les millions d’entre vous qui continuent à jouer à ce jeu. Donc, merci de continuer de considérer Halo comme votre foyer, tandis que nous continuons de travailler durement sur le prochain numéro de la franchise.

Le challenge de la semaine[modifier]

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Super jackpot du Week-End[modifier]

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Je crois que cela conclut cette édition du Bulletin Halo. Je vous retrouve la semaine prochaine, pour nous pencher sur le monde merveilleux des Spécialisations. A la prochaine …

<3, bs angel

P.S. Si vous adorer les FCF (Friday Caption Fun L'image fun du vendredi) celle ci est pour vous.

FCF HB2012 n31.jpg

Traduction proposée par Elros pour Halo Création


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