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A Whole New Level

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Welcome back, faithful readers. Today, we talk Infection, future content releases, Forge, HCS Pro League, and more. Let us begin. 

Over the past week, we’ve been monitoring your feedback on Memories of Reach, keeping a close eye on data from Infection, matchmaking search preferences, and more. Teams across the studio are diligently gathering feedback on their respective updates, and preparing for ones that are yet to come, which we’ll talk just a bit about today. To start, we’ll talk about Forging ahead. Specifically, to Windows 10.

Forging Ahead

In case you missed it, this week we dropped the surprise announcement of Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition for Windows 10, delivering the complete array of tools and features from Halo 5: Guardians Forge experience to an entirely new audience, and the ability to play full custom games to test Forge creations on PC.

Here are some of the key attributes we pulled the curtain back a bit on:

  • Keyboard & Mouse Support – For the first time ever, Forgers will have the option of using a keyboard & mouse allowing for more precision and control than ever before. Oh yeah.
  • Increased Resolution – Support for multiple resolutions, including 4k.
  • Test and Play with Friends – Enlist the help of Friends to help build, test, and play your Forge creations on Windows 10.
  • Build on Windows 10 and Publish to Xbox One – Experiences built on Windows 10 can be published to and played on Xbox One.

While we’ll certainly be talking more about details and specifics down the road, we have noticed a few specific points of interest that have risen up around some particularly excited and eager community haunts that we thought we’d elaborate a tiny bit more on today. You asked some questions, and I caught up with the guys who have the answers. Q&A commence!

Recently Asked Questions  

Q: Will I be able to play the maps built in Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition?

A: Yes. Players can build, test, and play their Forge creations with other friends on Windows 10.

Q: Will Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition use matchmaking?

A: Matchmaking on Windows 10 is not supported, but players can play with friends on Windows 10 in Custom Games by inviting them into their session.

Q: Will I have access to all of the multiplayer maps from Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox One?

A: All Halo 5: Guardians Arena Multiplayer maps as well as bookmarked maps created within Forge on Xbox One will be available. Keep in mind that Warzone maps are not supported in Forge on either platform.

Q: Is cross-play between Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition and Halo 5: Guardians supported?

A: Cross-play between Windows 10 and Xbox One is not supported, but you can share Forge content across both platforms.

Q: Does Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition use DirectX 12?

A: Yes! In fact, Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition is built exclusively on DirectX 12.

Q: Is this a sign that you’ll be releasing a full version Halo 5: Guardians on PC?

A: Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition on Windows 10 is a free publishing tool designed for map makers and creators to build and play their creations on Windows 10 and also publish these experiences to Xbox One. As we’ve stated previously, we have no plans to release Halo 5: Guardians on Windows 10. We are focused on building Halo Wars 2 for Windows 10 and Xbox One. Releasing Forge for Windows 10 for free will open up endless opportunities to the PC community to build and play Halo 5 multiplayer content, while also allowing them to share their creations with gamers on Xbox One as well. Windows 10 remains an important focus for the Halo franchise moving forward.

Q: Can I use mouse and keyboard when I play Custom Games and test my Forge creations on Windows 10, or only when I build?

A: Yes! Mouse and keyboard support will be offered for both gameplay as well as within the creative experience in Forge on Windows 10.

In the near future, we’ll have a lot more to share about Forge for Windows 10, but that’s not all. Be on the lookout for even more exciting updates coming to the Forge experience in Halo 5 on the Xbox One in the coming months – including new environments, advanced file sharing capabilities, new pieces, palettes, props, and much more. We can’t wait to be blown away once again by the community’s curiosity and creativity. 

Infection by the Numbers

Over the past week, quite a few of you have tried your luck against the zombie hoard in Infection. I myself have had many embarrassing attempts, while Unyshek sits beside me and racks up Last Stand Killionaires like they’re Scout Warthogs. But the Infection story is thankfully not about my accomplishments (or lack thereof) and I certainly won’t let it be about Unyshek. Instead, today we are celebrating you, and what you’ve accomplished in the first week of Infection, during which over 30,000 days-worth of gameplay has been logged. That’s a lot.

Total Infected Medals awarded: 10,499,307

Infect a survivor

Top Infected medal earners:

1. Ephrya: 1,195
2. DiscoToaster111: 1,098
3. Fluttershy Myst: 1,016

Total Lord of the Flies medals awarded: 7,658

Infect 6 Survivors without dying

Top Lord of the Flies medal earners:

1. FFA IPinK: 8
2. Warlock of H0pe: 6
3. darksoldier2308: 6

Total The Cure medals awarded: 1,578

Kill 30 Zombies without dying

Top The Cure medal earners:

1. EV Wasp: 11
2. iTz OWNS: 8
3. Bonfiery: 8

Total Resourceful medals awarded: 57,456

Kill a Zombie when all of your weapons are empty

Top Resourceful medal earners:

1. DiscoToaster111: 29
2. HellishMalcolm: 25
3. Gaskar: 24

Highest Kills in a Single Match

The following players have gone all-out badass survivor in some epic matches of Infection.

1. Kobster2434: 81
2. xUND3ADS0LDI3Rx: 76
3. ERICF999: 74
4. Red Spoonee17: 73
5. VintageGecko469: 72

Highest Assists in a Single Match

Fear not, Samwises of the world. We’ve also kept an eye on highest assists in a single match. So while you may have become Infected and Spartan-thirsty before the end of the match, just know that your incredibly high assist counts will sit right here in this Infection mini hall of fame.

1. SamTheCarpenter: 24
2. Eunoiia: 24
3. ActedNewmann: 23
4. IVIasterMahan: 22
5. spartan vilss: 21

Extra medal Totals

Ancient One medals awarded: 29,564

Survive an entire round as a Zombie and convert at least one Survivor

Stalker medals awarded: 50,983

Assassinate a Zombie

Survived medals awarded: 1,854,430

Live through the Zombie Apocalypse

The Last Survivors

Below is the ultimate Infection stat – players who have played quite a few rounds where they’ve received both the Last Spartan Standing and Survived medals.

1. RippinHeads: 111
2. MikeyTho831: 74
3. Bobs Burgers992: 67
4. Bravo: 64
5. SlcktoloGyyy: 61

Note: I did not actually place 4th on this list, and it was actually Unyshek who ranks 4th in this category. However, I just couldn’t get myself to put him in the list. Well done, Uny.

If you haven’t yet hopped into Infection, be sure to jump in this weekend to see what all of the fuss is about.

Hog Wild and Beyond  

We’ve recently made some changes to the Halo 5 content release plan, which mainly focus on giving a few of the bigger items that were slated for the Hog Wild update a bit more time for finishing touches and polish. As a result, much of the contents of the Hog Wild release have moved to the Warzone Firefight release, which is currently scheduled to drop at the end of June. Warzone Firefight will include the PvE mode with a variety of maps to play on, new game updates and features, Warzone and Arena maps, a plethora of Forge updates (including a new canvas and more), new REQs, and plenty more. We’ll be talking about the Warzone Firefight release – which will be Halo 5’s largest release to date - much more in the coming weeks.

To hold you over, we’ll still be releasing the Hog Wild REQs as the Hog Wild REQ Drop at the end of this month. Let’s get into unveiling a few of those:

Here's a closer look at the upcoming Sword Needler Warthog:

And a look at some early work-in-progress concept art for the Stinger armor:
 

Boosts and Bronzes

Many of you likely caught the news last week, but we’ve made an update to Boosts to ensure that they’re only cashed in (spent or used) if you satisfy the conditions of the boost. For example, if you play a Mission Victory and lose, rather than lose the potential bonus and the card, the card will now be returned to your collection. You should still, however, go for the W, and be proud when you get it. This update is particularly helpful in the event of a disconnect or other weirdness, and we hope it makes your RP and XP gains all the sweeter. 

Recently, some of you Bronze grinders may have noticed that RP cards were no longer popping up in Bronze packs. This is a result of recent changes to the REQ system that increased the value of Gold and Silver packs. As a refresher, here are the details:

The first two slots in the packs will still guarantee permanent items, but will no longer grant emblems. This means that your chance of getting other permanent REQs such as Power Weapon Certifications, Weapon Skins, Armors, Helmets, and others has substantially improved as long you haven’t already unlocked them. While the third slot in these REQ packs previously only granted one-time-use REQs, it now offers a large chance at dropping Emblems as well. Finally, in general, players should see that these REQ packs will award rarer single use REQs more often.

Previously, in Bronze packs, you could get an RP card if there were no common unlocks available. Now, because of the changes to how emblems are handled, Bronze packs now have to offer a chance at a common (non-emblem) unlock as well as a chance for a common emblem. To avoid confusion, the RP card has been removed as it is possible to get an RP card when there are still REQs to be unlocked. To verify if you still have common unlocks available, you can check here on Waypoint by signing into your profile and selecting “Requisitions” on your Halo 5 Service Record.

Next up, I’ll pass the mic (or in this case, a classic Sholes & Glidden typewriter) over to my good friend Grim.

LITERARY LUMINARIES

Hey folks, your friendly neighborhood godfodder here! Over the past couple weeks in our Canon Fodder series, we’ve highlighted a couple of pretty awesome new items coming your way later this year – especially for fans of the Halo story and universe.

First up is Halo: Fractures, a short-story anthology novel that is in many ways the spiritual successor to 2009’s critically acclaimed Halo: Evolutions. Halo: Fractures brings Halo fans a new set of collected tales from scattered sources and events around the Halo universe, and features a pretty killer collection of authors – from Halo veterans to critically-acclaimed new blood. In addition to story stalwarts from 343’s own stable, fans can look forward to new material from Tobias Buckell, Troy Denning, Matt Forbeck, Kelly Gay, Christie Golden, John Jackson Miller, and James Swallow. And of course, not only are the selected authors on tap a truly eclectic bunch, but so are the stories themselves. We can’t reveal too much just yet, but here’s a little peek at what the upcoming anthology will have in store…

Launch once more into galaxy-spanning conflict and legendary heroism…shards of an ever-expanding journey where human and alien alike find their finest hours in facing their greatest challenges. These scattered stories span untold millennia, from the age of the ancient custodial race known as the Forerunners…to the aftermath of the Covenant’s bloody war against humanity…and even the shocking events surrounding the resurrection of the mysterious Guardians. Halo: Fractures explores mythic tales of bravery and sacrifice that blaze brightly at the very heart of the Halo universe.

As a pretty awesome bonus, the anthology will also include Joseph Staten’s Halo: Shadow of Intent, and Frank O’Connor’s Halo: Saint’s Testimony, two stories from Halo creative royalty offered for the first time in print form. Halo: Fractures is available for pre-order now, and is slated to arrive in your story-happy hands on September 20, 2016.

Next up is another new story anthology, but this time in vibrant and delectable graphic novel form! Halo: Tales from Slipspace is a brand new Halo graphic novel anthology from 343 Industries and Dark Horse Comics. Halo: Tales from Slipspace will feature all-new stories from some pretty awesome names in the comic industry. These include Jonathan Wayshak, Eric Nguyen, Alex Irvine, Kody Chamberlain, Dave Crosland, John Jackson Miller, Jonathan Goff, Simon Roy, and Duffy Boudreau – as well as our very own Franchise Creative Director Frank O’Connor and Franchise Producer Tyler Jeffers. From subject matter to stylization, Halo: Tales from Slipspace will take fans on a diverse and delightful jaunt across the Halo universe, is penciled in to drop on October 12, 2016, and is available for pre-order now.

As always, stay tuned to Halo Waypoint and Canon Fodder for more details in the future on upcoming Halo fiction!

<3

Grim

Team Arena Summer Preview Update

Over the past week the multiplayer team has been reviewing feedback and meeting with top players and qualified HCS Pro League teams to update the Team Arena Summer Preview maps. Earlier this week, we released the updated “version 2” settings based on feedback, and following a discussion with Pro League teams last night, “version 3” of several maps was just released this afternoon. These included dropping the amount of ammo in the Railgun, updates to Stronghold location and power weapons on Eden Strongholds, adjusting the size of the bottom mid Stronghold on Plaza, and lots more. You can read about the updated settings here.

As a note, to ensure that we get things right, and to allow for one more round of feedback with top teams and players on some final tweaks after this weekend, we’ve moved the final, global map variant update to Wednesday, May 25. At this time, Team Arena settings will be locked, and the map variants will also be updated across additional playlists as well as Custom Games.

The Last Chance: HCS Pro League

This weekend, teams in both North America and Europe will be duking it out for the final Pro League spots in their respective regions. It is sure to be an intense weekend – here’s how you can tune in.

Europe

Saturday: Watch 16 teams duke it out for the final four spots, starting at 5PM BST / 9AM PT on Twitch.tv/Halo. Simms, Gaskin, and Wonderboy will be bringing you the action.

North America

Saturday: The top 16 teams will battle in group play, with player streams hosted on Twitch.tv/Halo.

Sunday: The top 8 teams will play for the final two spots, broadcasted by StrongSide and yours truly from the ESL studio. Tune in at Twitch.tv/Halo starting at 11AM PDT.

Next up, Unyshek has selected a few of his favorites for this week’s Community Spotlight.

Community Spotlight

The Undercity of Sunaion

Created by: Omarlotrc & Erickyboo - File Browser Link

Here’s Omarlotrc with a description:

The Undercity of Sunaion is a Castle Wars map that is set on the Elite homeworld of Sanghelios. Based off of the Covenant city you see in the Halo 5: Guardians campaign, this map has multiple pillars that offer players different routes that they can use to traverse around the map. Shade Turrets can be operated at the top of each base but can also be destroyed if the power core of the base is cut down. Players spawn in with an Energy Sword and a plasma grenade and they can pick up powerups such as Active Camo and Speed Boost, both of which are located at the center of the map on two different levels.

Reverence

Created by: xNFx MoNsTa & RBG PersianFile Browser Link

Here’s a description from MoNsTa:

Reverence is a map inspired by Halo 3's campaign. Specifically, the mission involving the Covenant cruiser crash landing onto earth and releasing all the Flood. Persian and I wanted to pull off a realistic flood infested covenant map Aesthetic Utilizing all nature blocks in a way never done before. While the map has no resemblance to any scene in Halo 3 the concepts remained the same. We hope the ambiance and general atmosphere of the map is up to par with the aesthetic side of things.

Gameplay wise this map was built from the ground up, fresh and original. It supports the Hive Mind game type and Original Infection with Shotguns and Magnums. The map is on the larger side of Infection maps. It allows humans to free roam and really get to explore their opportunities. However, that being said all areas on the map have equal opportunity for the Flood to overrun the humans.

Play of the Week

In this week’s play, NukedIceCream shows us how to properly play Infection in a clip that even Unyshek is jealous of. Roll tape.

That’ll do it for this week, friends. Be sure to tune into the LCQs this weekend on Twitch, and we’ll talk again quite soon.

Bravo