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[Locked] Classic Halo Wars (Xbox 360) Services Retirement

OP ske7ch

NOTE: This pertains solely to the original Halo Wars on Xbox 360 and has no impact to Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. However, since there's a lot of overlap in the player community, this post has been cross-posted here for extra visibility as well as the "Classic Halo Games" forum.

Halo Wars (Xbox 360) Web Services Retirement

Back in 2009, Ensemble released “Halo Wars” on Xbox 360 and delivered a Halo experience that brought the UNSC-Covenant battle to life in a whole new scale and redefined the RTS genre on consoles. In late 2016, Halo Wars received a “Definitive Edition” makeover receiving enhanced visuals, new achievements and all of the original DLC in one new package as a special bonus within the Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition. Last Spring, Halo Wars: DE was released as a standalone title for Xbox One as well as PC (the Windows store and Steam). While many fans, both old and new alike, migrated to Halo Wars: DE, there are still players who continue to play the original Halo Wars on Xbox 360 nearly eight years since its release.

As the original Halo Wars’ (Xbox 360) services and hardware continues to age and as Microsoft moves forward with new mandatory security policies, a few changes are on the way that we want to make you aware of. Some of the game’s backend and online services are being retired and while there will be no material impact to the game itself – you’ll still be able to play it the same as always, including multiplayer – it will mean that web stats and some in-game information will be removed.

We’d like to thank the folks who worked at Ensemble back in the day for bringing Halo Wars to life and extend a huge thanks to the passionate player community that has kept the scene alive for nearly eight solid years. Halo Wars has really belonged to the community itself for years now and as we transition onwards, the lights remain on and the key is under the mat for those who’d like to continue playing this classic RTS on Xbox 360.

We’ve put together the FAQ below to further explain what will be happening.

What’s going on?
The web services that run behind the original Halo Wars are being deactivated in light of aging hardware issues and evolving customer privacy & security requirements across Microsoft. After spending time to assess and investigate, the decision was made to phase out these services as the game was built in a different era using outdated hardware, systems, and code that doesn’t scale to meet the requirements of the future. Again, there will be no impact to gameplay and your ability to play Halo Wars on Xbox 360 solo or with friends.

What exactly is being impacted?
Beginning March 30, 2018, players of the original Halo Wars on Xbox 360 will notice a few changes:

1. The halowars.com website is being decommissioned. This means that as of March 30, 2018, the site will no longer exist and the URL will redirect to halowaypoint.com. For context, halowars.com has had one post in the last 18 months, and it was to announce Halo Wars 2. Prior to that, the last update was way back in October of 2010 which was around the same time the forums were deactivated. The main impact here is for players who treasure their online stats and player history – these will be gone as of March 30th. If you value your Halo Wars history we highly encourage you to take steps to copy and archive this information before the shutdown.

2. As some backend services are disabled, there will be two areas impacted within the game itself:

  • The in-game player population data will no longer be displayed. However, during this process we’ve discovered that the value displayed in “Halo Wars Players Online” has been incorrect for several years (it continually says ~900 though the actual population is much lower).
  • A side effect of this is that each Playlist will display “Low Population”
When is this happening?
We’re planning to retire the halowars.com website and these backend services on March 30, 2018. As noted above, if your online stats and history are important to you, please be sure to save and archive that info before March 30th!

Will the original Halo Wars still be playable on Xbox 360?
Yes! Nothing is changing with the game itself and it will continue to work exactly as it does today, you just won’t have access to web stats or in-game player count information.

Is Halo Wars: Definitive Edition impacted in any way?
No. Halo Wars: DE is an updated, totally separate title and will not be affected by these changes