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Battle Book

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My walk to the studio has become quite crisp in just a matter of weeks as Seattle's grown far colder than expected for October. Fellow 343ers share stories of scraping ice from their windshields and having to start bundling up in layers to combat the frigid temperatures. However, regardless of what the thermometers says, our teams have stayed focused on our projects – equipped with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate – and are doing fantastic work.

At a studio this size sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the moving parts, but I'll do my best to take you through what's been happening in Halo over the past few weeks!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection


HALO INSIDER - XBOX MULTIPLAYER FLIGHT

The recent Halo: Reach flight for MCC on Xbox One has officially concluded! ske7ch made a post on our Halo Insider forum to talk about the feedback process and outline some of our next steps. To those of you who were able to participate in the flight, we truly appreciate you joining us for a week filled with Halo: Reach shenanigans!

Our Publishing Team is now taking some time to analyze the data we've collected from this flight, which contained Invasion, regular Arena settings for various team sizes, as well as Hardcore settings. Since our goal was to "validate Halo: Reach multiplayer networking through the matchmaking flow and during gameplay," we selected different game types and lobby sizes to get as much coverage and testing as possible. We should be able to share out some of the results in our next Community Update or in one of our Weekly Flighting Updates.

Now that begs the question, "What's next before we officially launch on PC and Xbox One?"

While the team evaluates the data from the Xbox flight they are also preparing to launch another multiplayer flight for PC to make sure we validate the matchmaking flow works for players there as well. Be sure to keep an eye out for weekly updates on the progress of this upcoming PC flight in our dedicated Flighting Update thread here on Waypoint!

MCC DEVELOPMENT UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2019

Last Monday we released September's MCC Development Update, which provided a closer look at the entire project and highlighted some of the challenges the team has been working on recently. We also clarified some confusion around the migration of Xbox 360 Forge Maps to MCC, dove a bit further into the in-menu Customization screen, discussed the implementation of Easy Anti-Cheat, and much more.

If you haven't read it or seen the character renders, be sure to give it a read by clicking anywhere that's blue!

Halo Insider

As a reminder for when you register on HaloInsider.com, please be sure to verify the email address you've provided for communication, opt-in to receive communications from us, and fill out your profile to the best of your ability. To qualify for future PC flights on Steam, be sure to link your Steam account to your Halo Insider profile. We'll only be able to select from people who have completed all of those steps for our upcoming PC multiplayer flight. If you haven't registered at all, now's your chance to do so on HaloInsider.com and toss your hat in the ring before the next flight!

Playlist Updates

Those of you who are putting the time in on MCC recently will have noticed that our weekly playlist updates have continued into October. Our past two updates have included a handful of tweaks to Social Games' Infection preset and the addition of community-made Forge maps to a few other offerings. To see the specific details, jump in on each of the weekly threads and check 'em out!

Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5 has been right there alongside MCC's playlist updates with Infection now set to Double XP for the month, Halo 3 Classic Throwback moving into Ranked, Doubles switching its settings to 2v2 Competitive, and Grifball bounding into the social rotation after a smashing victory in our Community Vote on Twitter. And, as you may expect, we've got a pretty packed next few weeks planned as we celebrate Halo 5's birthday month. Take a look and prepare to jump in for a full week of Double XP for all playlists!

October Calendar

  • October 10 (today!): Covenant Slayer rotates in for Shotty Snipers
  • October 10 (today!)Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • October 17: H2 BR Slayer rotates in for Grifball
  • October 24: Roaming King rotates in for Covenant Slayer
  • October 24: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend
  • October 24: GLOBAL DOUBLE XP for a week to celebrate Halo 5's birthday week
  • October 27: Halo 5's Birthday! Log on and earn a free Platinum Pack!
  • October 31: Castle Wars rotates in for H2 BR Slayer

Additionally, we did want to give you all a heads up that we may start to reduce the total amount of playlists in the new year. Since Halo 5's launch four years ago, we've slowly added more and more playlists and have now gotten to the point where we have eighteen unique playlist offerings up at all times (with even more on special Warzone weekends). While having more choices is definitely a good thing, we're starting to notice that people may be getting a little too scattered across these experiences.

As a result, in 2020 we may reel those eighteen in a bit and increase the cadence of our rotational schedule to ensure that you can continue to find quality matches without long wait times. It's one option we've been looking into, as we've noticed that when playlist are shifted to the rotational slots they've performed much better than they have in years – meaning your favorite playlist will always have a great experience when it rotates into matchmaking. The team is still exploring options here, but we just wanted to provide an ample awareness that this is something that is currently on our radar for next year. 

Halo Esports

5 Years of HCS

To celebrate the Halo Championship Series' upcoming 5th anniversary on November 5, we're taking some time to look at where we've been, highlight some of our favorite moments, and then take a moment to talk about where we're going next with the HCS.

In the video retrospective below, we take a look back at one of the greatest matches in competitive Halo history. At the HCS Season 1 Finals, the surging rag-tag group of underdogs in Noble Black would go face-to-face against one of the tournament favorites CLG in the Elimination Bracket Finals. The winners were decided in a grueling and historic two-hour match full of upsets and never-before-seen tiebreaker scenarios.

The HCS Team has also kicked off a fun little bracket for the community to decide which Pro stands above the rest. I know I'll be voting!

To celebrate '#5YearsOfHCS' with us, and stay up to date with the latest in Halo esports, be sure to follow @HCS on Twitter!

DreamHack Atlanta | November 15-17

The road to DreamHack Atlanta's Halo 3 tournament starts this weekend with the first online qualifier on Saturday, October 12! Once the ball gets rolling this weekend, it won't stop until just before the in-person event, as UGC hosts four consecutive weekends of competitve Halo action. And yes, there's still time to register your team for the first qualifier, so head to aka.ms/DHQualifier and sign up today!

  • October 12: Online Qualifier #1
  • October 19: Online Qualifier #2
  • October 26: Online Qualifier #3
  • November 2: Online Qualifier #4

Can't compete on one of these Saturdays? Be sure to check out MCC's streams on Mixer and Twitch to watch some of your favorite players improve their seeding and practice for the big event at the same time!

HALO 5 DOUBLES

Earlier today, DreamHack unveiled that they will also be hosting a Halo 5 2v2 tournament with a $5,000 prize pool at the event. At UGC's Atlantic City event we saw Shotzzy and Renegade take home the crown in an intense Grand Finals series against Saiyan and Neptune that went the full 14-game distance. Will Shotzzy & Renegade emerge victorious yet again or will we see a new duo come out on top?

If you skipped straight to the esports section of the Community Update, this is my chance to point out that 2v2 Competitive playlist is now live and ready for you to start practicing in ranked matchmaking. To learn more about this side tournament, including how to register and compete, be sure to visit DreamHack.com/Halo!

Event information

To be sure that you're catching all of the latest information about the event, be sure to keep an eye on (and maybe bookmark/follow) these links:

Microsoft Store Events

The upcoming Microsoft Store event will be running the same settings that are in Halo 5's 2v2 Competitive playlist and take place on Sunday, October 27. This friendly doubles tournament will provide a great opportinuty for you to find likeminded players to party up with online and play for prizes at the same time. There's never an entry fee at these MS Store events, so feel free to register online with your friend on smash.gg/mrshalo and start practicing to win!

Halo Gear

HALO: MERIDIAN DIVIDE (BATTLE BORN)

Now to talk about our latest and greatest novel Halo: Meridian Divide, is the man who somehow finds himself constantly returning to Community Updates – GrimBrotherOne!

Thanks Uny! It’s indeed been a pretty good couple of weeks for fans of Halo lore, with two new novels hot-dropping onto the battlefield in furious fashion. Last week, Halo: Meridian Divide hit store shelves and online retailers. Written by Cassandra Rose ClarkeHalo: Meridian Divide picks up where Halo: Battle Born left off, as young heroes Saskia, Dorian, Evie, and Victor continue to try and find their place in a rapidly-changing world. If you need a reminder on the premise, here you go:

It's been three months since the colony world of Meridian was invaded by the alien alliance known as the Covenant. Under the close watch of the military, Evie, Dorian, Saskia, and Victor have been put into an accelerated training program with ONI, the Office of Naval Intelligence. And to the teens' surprise, ONI has a mission for them: Return to their hometown on Meridian and monitor the Covenant's efforts to retrieve an ancient Forerunner artifact of untold power.

But what seems like a simple job quickly spirals out of their control. With the artifact at risk of falling into Covenant hands, the stakes are raised, and ONI tasks the teens and their team of militia fighters with extracting the artifact for study. After a series of missteps with command costs the militia more than half their fighting forces, the teens take matters into their own hands. Their journey will take them far behind enemy lines, into the heart of the war zones on Meridian. 

Like its predecessor, the novel gives fans a window into the Halo universe through an incredibly unique civilian lens, providing a perspective on the Covenant war not often found in traditional Halo fiction. And for fans and attendees of our recent Outpost Discovery experience, it's cool to note that the Outpost's own Owen-B096 once again graces the novel's cover – this time with his slick JFO helmet and upgraded Mjolnir duds. Halo: Meridian Divide is available now, and you can snag a copy for yourself right here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some manuscripts to review for things we haven’t talked much about just yet…

Back to you, Mr. Shek!

  • Community Spotlight: Last week snickerdoodle compiled spectacular submissions ranging from admirable artistry to clever cosplay, inspired inkings, and more in our most recent Community Spotlight. Give it a gander!
  • SWAT O'WEEN: The SWAT Nation community is hosting a unique Halo 5 3v3 tournament on October 27. They've opened up registration for teams and recommend you start practicing with both your H5 Magnum and your CE Pistol – since you'll be spawning with both during this competition. Also, be sure to check out the custom-made maps by @MephBear that you'll be playing on ahead of time by visiting their Maps on the Content Browser.
  • xCloud Preview Program: As a reminder, Halo 5: Guardians is one of the featured titles in the xCloud Preview Program. If you want to go hands-on with Halo 5 and help the team build a better xCloud experience, register today on xbox.com/gamestreaming!
  • Audio Team Field Recordings: Our most recent field recording video shows the Audio Team getting to detonate TNT that's submerged in water (at various depths and payloads) and recording the different sounds it generates. Give it a listen!
  • 343 Social Stream: Technical Art Director, Kenny Magnusson, joined us on the 343 Social Stream and brought in his best friend, Gyoza the Pug, for a visit and to play a bit of Halo 5. If you missed her debut on our Instagram, you can see it here or simply watch the rebroadcast of yesterday's stream on mixer.com/Halo!

Halo Infinite

This information from the final Halo: Outpost Discovery event in Anaheim has made its way through most of the Forge community, but we wanted to make sure to highlight it here for everyone in the broader community as well. Michael Schorr, our Forge Lead Designer (Forge Lord), was able to confirm two very exciting pieces of news at one of our community-hosted "Forging Worlds" panels. Those two bits are:

  1. Yes, Halo Infinite will have Forge
  2. Forge will have Undo/redo buttons

While this may not seem like huge news to some, it means the ability to create worlds to others. And yes, Undo/redo buttons deserve to be a bullet point here as well. These have probably been the most requested Feature since the launch of Forge in Halo 3, back in 2007, and we're excited to be finally be able to deliver this to fans in Halo Infinite.

If you want to find out more about each of the community-run "Forging Worlds" panels from Halo: Outpost Discovery, Connie from ForgeHub put together an extensive breakdown of them over on ForgeHub!

Art

One of my favorite concept artists, Craig Mullins, created this piece which would ultimately become the cover for an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine. I didn't realize he was one of my favorite artists until I started going through our concept folders, and just managed to keep on picking his artwork out of the lineup. It could be because I used to look at so much of his art as a fan back in the day (without realizing it was his) or maybe it's just because his style of Halo art just clicks with me. Regardless, you can save another high-resolution version of his work for yourself by clicking on the links below!

As always, thank you for joining me for another Community Update!

Until next time,

- UNY

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