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The highly-anticipated Halo 4 flight – with crossplay – has made its way to Halo Insiders, our online esports events remain a staple of Halo entertainment in multiple regions, Halo 5's birthday celebrations continue, and we get a closer look at the coating system in Halo Infinite.

Now that you know what to expect at a high-level, let's kick off this Community Update! 

HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION

Xbox Series X|S Enhancements

In case you missed the announcement on Tuesday, we unveiled some of the benefits players will see on the Xbox Series X|S optimized version of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. New console owners will be able to enjoy next-generation features like faster load times, cross-generation play, adjustable FOV, an improved splitscreen experience, and up to 4K resolution at 120FPS on the Xbox Series X or 120FPS at 1080p on the Xbox Series S. It really is exciting to see our team pushing MCC, and the legendary titles inside of it, so far thanks to the power of this new console generation.

HALO 4 FLIGHTING

Yes, Halo 4's flight has indeed taken off, bringing tons of new features to the hands of Halo Insiders. The main goal of this flight is to validate Halo 4 on PC, the additional Halo 4 content coming to both platforms, and new features such as crossplay and Advanced Graphics Options. Collaborating with Halo Insiders give us a better understanding of where the game stands based on player feedback and help us determine how much more work we need to do before releasing to the public. To that end, if you're in the flight and spot something strange that isn't in the Known Issues list, please be sure to let us know on aka.ms/HaloSupportInsider.

If you're not a Halo Insider, you can catch Andy and myself do a walkthrough of the flight tomorrow at 2pm PT live on Twitch and YouTube. Or, if you'd just like to see an outline of the flight content here in writing, I've got you covered:

New Features

  • Input-based matchmaking & crossplay 
    • Crossplay is fully available in Firefight, Forge, and multiplayer modes  
    • Halo 4’s Campaign and Spartan Ops mode do not currently support crossplay between Xbox and PC 
  • Server Region Selection 
  • Per-Piece Customization for Halo 4 (Visors can now be selected for Halo 4 Customization)
  • Halo 4 Forge improvements including Trait Zones, New Movement Control, and Local/World Axis Toggle
  • Advanced Graphics Options for Halo 4 (PC only) 
  • Text Chat Availability and Moderation 
  • A Field of View (FOV) option will be available for Halo 4 on Xbox One consoles 

Gameplay Content

Campaign  

  • Missions: Requiem, Forerunner, Reclaimer, Shutdown, and Composer 
  • Playlists: Canyon Combat 

Spartan Ops

  • Departure: Land Grab, Sniper Alley, The Challenge, Sacred, and Core 
  • Artifact: Clean Up, For Science, Hacksaw, Pelican Down, and Gagarin 

Multiplayer

  • Social Games: 2v2, 4v4, 8 player Free-for-All (FFA), 12 player FFA (Infection), 8v8 
  • Competitive: H4 Squad Battle (6v6)
  • Maps: Adrift, Exile, Haven, Longbow, Meltdown, Ragnarok, Impact, Landfall, Skyline, Perdition, and Pitfall 

Halo Insider

If you think you missed out on this flight, please be sure to check you Halo Insider profile and look at the "My Flights" section towards the bottom. Since we invited every eligible Halo Insider, you may actually have an active invite for this flight.

If you did miss out on this one, don't wait to register for future flights on aka.ms/HaloInsider by signing up with your Xbox Live account. Just because Halo 4 is almost here doesn't mean we'll be done with MCC. As we continue our journey to make this the best experience possible, we'd love for you to join us and help shape its future.

PLAYLIST UPDATES

The love for Recon Slayer was heard and as a result, we've decided to give it it's own ranked playlist. To sprinkle a little sugar on top, players who reach rank 20 in this playlist will receive the exclusive Avalanche skin for the Halo 3 Sniper Rifle once Halo 4 releases on PC.

We will also be moving our less popular ranked playlists of H2A Team Hardcore, H2C Team Hardcore, and Halo: Reach Team Hardcore into one single rotational slot, where one will be featured each month. Right now, Halo: Reach Team Hardcore is in the featured slot and will be there for the next month or so.

Last, but certainly not least, there is also a Haloween event happening in-game right now. Offering two event-specific nameplates, you'll want to jump in and knock out these two challenges before November 4:

  • Shotgun Shell nameplate: Defeat 50 enemies with a Shotgun in any game mode
  • Spider Web nameplate: Complete 10 matchmade Infection of Flood games

If you'd ever like to see the specifics of each of our weekly playlist updates as they happen, be sure to check out the MCC Playlist Update thread here on Waypoint!

HALO ESPORTS

HALO 5 PRO SERIES & HALO 3 TOURNAMENTS

The Halo 5 Pro Series and our new Halo 3 PC tournaments have been going strong for about a month now and we've seen some great competition across the board. We're almost at the halfway point for both series but since they've been designed to be welcoming to new teams, you should never feel like you're out of the race. If you've assembled a team and want to join in our next Open events, you can find all the info you'll need in the links below!

Over the past month or so we've seen Sentinels and Cloud9 lock their professional rosters, and they are both filled to the brim with heavy-hitters. Last week, Envy joined in the fun and revealed their team consisting of Pistola, aPG, Saiyan, and Tripppey. Their announcement video, edited by CJNEW001, is top-notch and gets me excited to see them take the mainstage by storm:

HCS GRASSROOTS

GTHALO

GTHalo's PaintRo Raid tournament may be the first Halo competition to exclusively feature fan-favorite minigames, ever. Featuring Paintball, Ro Sham Bo, Husky Raid, and Dodgeball, I'm expecting this to be the ultimate test of talent, passion, and grit. To compete in this Sunday's Action Sack-esque event, register your team before this Saturday, October 24, at 5pm PT. If you can't make it but would like to tune in, all the minigame action will be going down live on twitch.tv/GTHalo when the tournament starts this Sunday, October 25, at 9am PT!

SWAT NATION

Registration has opened for SWAT Nation's SWAT O'WEEN tournament on October 31. By pairing up random duos into teams of four, they've taken the schoolyard format you know and love and brought it into SWAT competitions. To add the necessary layer of Haloween vibes, they'll also be playing this tournament on spooky renditions of each map. If you're interested, be sure to register ahead of the October 27 deadline at swatnation.net/events!

HALO 5: GUARDIANS

It's crazy to think about, but Halo 5 is turning 5 years old next Tuesday, October 27! On top of our on-going Global Double XP celebrations, we'll also be hosting a Community Playdate and gifting out a free Greatest Hits Customization Pack to anyone who logs in on the special day. In this Haloween Community Playdate, you can hunt down GrimBrotherOne and I in matchmaking while we wear Halloween costumes, fight to survive, and give out the elusive Ice Unicorn Skins (H5) & Nameplates (MCC). Tune in to the stream for tricks, Killionaires, and hopefully some treats live on Twitch and YouTube starting at 3pm PT!

Shifting gears a bit, after we announced the enhancements that MCC would be getting on the Xbox Series X|S, we did see questions rolling in about how Halo 5 would play on the new consoles. While Halo 5 is not getting the same optimizations for Xbox Series X and Series S as MCC, owners of the next-gen hardware are still going to see the benefits of faster load times and consistently higher resolution gameplay. We're excited for you all to jump on and give it a go with that extra power!

Now, let's take a look the upcoming schedule for Halo 5:

UPCOMING CALENDAR

OCTOBER

  • October 1: Global Double XP all month for Halo 5’s 5th Birthday
  • October 22: Action Sack rotates in for Rock 'n' Rail
  • October 27: Halo 5's 5th Birthday
  • October 27: Haloween Playdate
  • October 29: Roaming King rotates in for Action Sack
  • October 29: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

November

  • November 5: H2 BR Slayer rotates in for Roaming King
  • November 12: CE Anniversary Throwback rotates in for H2 BR Slayer
  • November 12: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • November 19: Grifball rotates in for CE Anniversary Throwback
  • November 25: Triple Team rotates in for Grifball
  • November 25: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

Halo Wars 2

Much like we did for MCC last week, we'll be releasing an update to Halo Wars 2 next week to help improve stability for cross-generational play ahead of the Xbox Series X|S launch. This update will not contain any balance updates and we don't expect there to be any downtime required, but please be sure to let us know on aka.ms/HaloSupport if you spot any issues!

HALO GEAR

HALO: SHADOWS OF REACH

The latest Master Chief story, Halo: Shadows of Reach by Troy Denning, has landed on bookshelves around the world. With the Master Chief and Blue Team heading back to Reach after the events of Halo 5: Guardians, it's setting the perfect stage for an exciting adventure. If you're interested in joining Blue Team on their next endeavor, you can purchase Halo: Shadows of Reach in-stores or order online using the links below:

Additionally, if you'd like to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes with the author, be sure to check out our latest Canon Fodder here on Waypoint!

MASTER CHIEF – HALLOWEEN COSTUME

Halloween is next weekend and if you haven't already secured a costume yet, I'd say you're starting to cut it dangerously close. However, if you'd like to dress like someone who cuts it dangerously close all the time, I've got good news for you. Disguise has crafted two different kid-sized Master Chief outfits, both of which rock his slick new armor from Halo Infinite:

Swarovski x Nerf MA40 Giveaway

The Xbox Team is giving away a Halo Infinite Nerf Assault Rifle on Twitter. It's super easy to enter for a chance to win, so be sure to give it a shot. If winning a pink MA40 is more your style, consider donating to the National Breast Cancer Foundation to do some good and improve your odds. Be sure to check out the Radar Blips below for more details.

Additionally, you can always pick up the standard UNSC variant from the Nerf armory at aka.ms/HaloNerfAR!

HALO INFINITE

RED SHIFT

The Red Shift armor coating, which has clearly seen battle and looks absolutely phenomenal, can be secured by purchasing any Halo or Xbox merchandise at GameStop from November 9 - December 13. Similar to most of our other promotions, you'll want to save your receipts and redeem the code at halowaypoint.com/redeem. We'll be able to share more specifics on this partnership in our next Community Update!

Now, let's take some time to answer that popular question: "What is an armor coating?"

Coating System

Over the last few weeks, a number of different marketing promotions have started popping up around the world with partners offering a variety of in-game customization offers for Halo Infinite. While we shifted our release to 2021, many of these programs are still proceeding this Fall as planned which lets fans redeem and bank items now. These cosmetics will be available in-game when we launch. From Mega Construx toys to Monster Energy drinks to Mondelez cookies, candies, and more, fans around the world will have opportunities to score 2XP boosts, emblems, and ‘armor coatings.’ We know folks are eager to get a better sense of what’s happening out there and we’re working with our partners to pull together the specifics around these programs. Depending on locale, there may be slightly different terms, conditions and rewards, but these products will be staying on shelves and we are moving quickly to adapt to the shift in launch. Rest assured, we'll continue to communicate these programs and prizes as they come online.

Admittedly, product promotions weren’t how we originally envisioned sharing the first look at some of these customization elements. In our last Community Update, we offered a closer look at the “Monarch” armor coating – a special award being offered by Mondelez (US & CA), and before that, we shared a closer look at the Monster Energy weapon coatings in this Xbox Wire blog. Overall it’s been great to see excitement for this early look at some of Halo Infinite’s customization items but we know many of you also have questions. We’ve got a lot more to share and show about multiplayer and customization in Halo Infinite – and we will get to it in due time – but for now, we want to provide a bit more clarity around what you can expect from coatings.

From the beginning, ‘player expression’ has been a key pillar of Halo Infinite and to achieve these goals, the team has developed a new system which is a powerful and flexible way to create customization content quicker and more robustly than we’ve been able to in the past. According to Lead Player Investment Designer, Christopher Blohm, a “coating" is “a seven-layer shader that allows us to put any artist-authored color, material, or pattern into seven channels and apply it to in-game items like weapons, armor, and vehicles.” Yes, that’s right, including vehicles. Here’s an example:

Azure vehicle coating on a Warthog [Work-In-Progress Render]

Coloration, along with materials and patterns, will now be baked into the coating, taking the place of the primary/secondary armor color options found in prior games. While we understand that many players are fond of the previous color system, we’re very excited about the breadth and scope of armor, weapon, and vehicle customization options that will be available in Halo Infinite because of the coating system. Additionally, players should expect more robust per-piece armor customization choices akin to what was available in Halo: Reach vs. what was offered in Halo 5: Guardians. And, as we expand our customization capabilities with armor geometry, materials, colors, and textures, it’s important to the team that players are given even more opportunities to express themselves within the game itself (more on that later!).

When we shared the “Monarch” armor render in our last update, we also saw some feedback around it looking “like plastic” or being “too clean.” While we are very excited about the return to a more classic Halo art-style, we do want to acknowledge that the nature of these work-in-progress renders is such that they aren’t completely representing the base material as shown in-game with ‘real’ lighting. Additionally, as you can see with Red Shift above, the overall look will also depend on the design style of each specific armor coating.

We know this is a lot to wrap your head around, particularly without being able to see it in practice. Learning about some big new customization changes coming to Halo Infinite by seeing some marketing materials and reading a few paragraphs isn’t ideal, but with programs already in motion and our date shifting, here we are. We also want to stress that we know some folks are likely going to be disheartened by the limited nature of some of these current programs (tied to specific regions or products), but please rest assured the team has a lot of customization content planned including items that will be earned in-game and some that will be earned as special rewards (i.e. the Halo 5 152 legacy reward we’ve mentioned in the past). Stay tuned as we’ll have a lot more to say and show regarding customization and progression in Halo Infinite down the road.

ART

After the Halo 5 art last week, I realized it had been a while since we showed the community a piece that isn't frequently referenced or as easily recognized. To address this gap, I chose this week's concept art from Halo: Spartan Strike. The colors and action of these two attacking Promethean Knights in their final moments really stood out to me, so naturally, I thought it'd be great to share with all you. I hope you like it as much as I do!

As always, if you'd like to save this art for yourself, you can click on the links (or the art itself) below:

Thanks for joining me for another Community Update!

Until next time,

- UNY

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