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Rambling Raven

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Can you believe it’s already mid-April? It still feels like we’re just getting started with this year so I guess that goes to show that time stops for no Spartan! We’re one month closer to that tantalizing Fall 2021 designation and everyone across the studio is working hard to get us across the finish line.

From the latest Inside Infinite to MCC’s Season 6 to some HCS esports action and more, there’s a lot to recap so we won’t beat around the bush any longer. Let’s look back and see what has been going on in the world of Halo over the last month or so!

HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION

Last week, MCC (on both Xbox and PC) received a large update kicking off Season 6: Raven! Not lacking in new content, you'll find things like new map (Waterfall, for Halo 3) and mode (Escalation Slayer), features brought over to Xbox from PC, more customization than you can shake a stick at, and many additional features. This update has something for pretty much everyone and, if you missed it before, you can watch the launch trailer now!

For a quick breakdown of what makes Raven, check out this season’s Seasonal Sitrep. If you want an even more granular breakdown, the Season 6 blog HERE will have you covered. If listening to some live Q&A and fun gameplay is more your speed, catch the VOD of the last Community Playdate with Andy and Tyler HERE. What we're saying is you have options.

For those of you who have been stockpiling Seasonal points, there is an awesome new place in MCC for you to make use of them! Players can keep a close eye on The Exchange for new customization content that will be rotating in new items every few weeks. So now, more than ever, players will want to ensure they’re stocking up on Season Points by completing Seasonal and Weekly Challenges. For those who haven’t seen it yet, the Rhine Bundle is currently available for 20 season points. Unsure what that is? Check out this nifty promo showing it off and then grab yours from The Exchange while it’s available!

If you're one that's been itching to check out the all-new Escalation Slayer game mode in matchmaking, you don’t have to wait anymore. Hop into Social Matchmaking and search FFA or 4v4 to check it out! Available to play in Halo: Reach, Halo 2: Anniversary, and Halo 4, this fun new twist will test your capabilities with nearly all of the weapons in each game's sandbox. Be sure to get in on it while it’s available! It will rotate back out soon.

If modding MCC is more your speed, there is a new article that you will want to check out. MCC now has an End User Licence Agreement (EULA), available in several different languages. Additionally, for players who have questions relating to it, we went ahead and put together a EULA FAQ that we suggest you read. If there are any questions that aren’t answered in the FAQ, you can leave more in our pinned forum post. We will do our best to review and update the EULA FAQ to answer as many as we can.

Speaking of pinned forum posts – we would be remiss if we didn’t bring up the awesome press kit that has some beautiful shots of Season 6 content for you to dress up your desktop with. Well, that will do it for MCC. Now onwards to HCS news. Thanks all for stopping in, and we will see you online!

HALO ESPORTS

Whether you’re looking to learn about Halo Infinite Esports, you’re hungry to get some info about an upcoming tournament, or you just want to find out where you can find some of the best Halo Grassroots Creators – the HCS Team has got you covered.

Between their robust blog posts, upcoming MCC and Halo 5 tournaments, and the freshest wave of creators to join the Grassroots program, they’ve been hard at work making sure that your hunger for the best Halo content will be satiated.

THE HALO INFINITE ESPORTS ECOSYSTEM

The future of Halo Infinite’s Esports is something that the HCS Team has been spending a tremendous amount of time working on. To that end, they recently released their third blog in the "Designing The Halo Esports Ecosystem" series. Their latest edition explores viewership and the overall role it plays in their plans. From bringing in new fans to building community, their focus is on ensuring that there’s a healthy ecosystem in place that allows them room to grow in the future.

To read the whole blog post, be sure to check right here.

AT&T ANNHILIATOR CUP

The folks over at AT&T are hosting their very first gaming competition! This five week, five game program features top-tier streamers like @shroud, @LIRIK, @GoldGloveTV, @bnans, and more!

During week 3 of the event, which kicks off on April 23, Halo 3 is the avenue of choice for these competitors to go head-to-head, and you can see all the action on twitch.tv/ATT.

If you’re interested in catching earlier weeks, be sure to follow AT&T on Twitter and follow their Twitch channel so you can be ready to go once they go live. If you're hunting for more details, be sure to check out AT&T’s post about it right here.

Grassroots creators: WAVE 5 

As March wrapped up, the HCS Grassroots program formally inducted their latests wave of Content Creators! After a lot of deliberation by the HCS Team, they finally sorted through the 200+ applications to land on 5 fantastic additions.

The HCS Grassroots Program is incredibly delighted to welcome the following:

To learn all about these latest additions, be sure to check out their full blog post here!

Cliptrocity

If you’re on the lookout for the best plays the Halo community has to offer, Halo Cliptrocity is the place for you. Every month they bring the very best clips to the forefront – and you can check out the very best from April 2021 right over here on the HCS Twitter account.

Got a clip you think can go toe-to-toe with the best of the best? Tag @HCS in a tweet with the Twitch clip using #HaloCliptrocity hashtag to enter. Just remember, no hashtag means no entry so be sure you have it all. 

Tagged @HCS? ✅
Twitch Clip link? ✅
#HaloCliptrocity hashtag? ✅

For a full rundown on Cliptrocity, be sure to check out the homepage right over here.

Halo 5 Tournaments

If competitive Halo 5 is your jam, then you'll want to take a peek at what EGL and EuropaHalo are cooking up! They've combined forces and are running a 4-week Halo 5 2v2 Tournament, and it’s free to enter. Week One has already concluded but there’s still plenty more action to dive into.

For more info, you can check out their announce post on Twitter right here, the official homepage here, and of course, be sure to follow EuropaHalo on Twitch for all of the action as it happens.

MCC TOURNAMENTS

If you’re hungry for a little Halo 3 competitive action on your big or small screen, the team at Halo Australia have you covered! They’re going to be hosting a draft tournament in partnership with Tournamatch and Divine Mind. That's right. The teams will be decided by the luck of the draw. Roster reveals are just around the corner on Sunday, April 25 and we can't wait to see what the teams will be.

Make sure to get all the details right over here on Halo Australia’s site!

APRIL 2021 HALO PLAYDATES

Looking to throw down with some Halo Content Creators? Interested in landing some exclusive Nameplates for MCC so you can further intimidate your pre-game lobbies? Suit up and look for SWAT Nation in their next engagement!

On Thursday, April 22 they’re going to be running a Playdate featuring:

Matching with them in with them will net you the Frozen Ring Nameplate, and there’ll be five Subzero Sniper Nameplates up for grabs across each of the streamers’ channels you see above.

  • Date: Thursday, April 22
  • Time: 7-9PM ET
  • Game: Halo: Reach (MCC)
  • Mode: SWAT
  • Watch: Any Twitch channel listed above!

WRAPPING UP FACEIT 2021 TOURNAMENTS

After roughly a year of competitions, nearly $200,000 in prize money distributed to teams across the world, 3,260 unique players participating – the MCC Pro Series has officially concluded as of April 10.

The final broadcast, the North American Championship, was broadcast over on our Twitch channel, and you can see the whole VOD right here.

A massive thanks to all of the teams that participated, to all of the entrants that threw their hat into the proverbial ring, and to the team at FACEIT for all of their hard work and dedication!

HALO 5: GUARDIANS

On the Halo 5 front, it’s just about as “business as usual” as you can get with fan-favorite playlists rotating in on a constant basis. And, in case you didn’t already know, they’re loaded up with Double XP each time they come around!

Here’s a closer look at what we’ve got planned, and where you can snag some extra XP, for the next month and a half in Halo 5!

UPCOMING CALENDAR

April

  • April 15: Roaming King rotates in for ODST Slayer
  • April 15: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • April 22: Grifball rotates in for Roaming King
  • April 29: Community Slayer rotates in for Grifball
  • April 29: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

May

  • May 6: Action Sack rotates in for Community Slayer
  • May 13: CE Anniversary Throwback rotates in for Action Sack
  • May 13: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • May 20: Castle Wars rotates in for CE Anniversary Throwback
  • May 27: Triple Team rotates in for Castle Wars
  • May 27: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

HALO GEAR

Have S’moa Shirt: Celebrate your love of the Moa Burger with a symbol of your undying commitment. Whether you’re looking to hunt down another can of the Moa Burger Pringles or just trying to find a grassy spot on Reach for a picnic, there’s always time to have s’moa.

  • Community Spotlight: snickerdoodle (Hey, that's me!) is at it again with a bouquet of fantastic fan-made creations for the April edition of this monthly blog series. Hop on over to see some incredible trick plays, illustrations, tattoos, and everything in between. If you’re looking closely, you might even be able to spot an elite with active camo in his natural habitat...
  • Halo Xbox 360 Service Sunsetting: This is your monthly reminder that in December of this year services for legacy Halo Xbox 360 titles will be discontinued. Game owners will be able to play these titles indefinitely, but there may be some impacts of this change. Be sure to check out the blog for all the details.
  • March Employee Spotlight: If you've ever wondered how the Community Team manages, it's all thanks to Program Manager Extraordinaire Nina Marien. We quite literally couldn't do this without her so you should read up on how she's managed to herd us cats into line!
  • April Employee Spotlight: Software Engineer Bereket Kifle sat down to speak with us about his passion for gaming, the journey that brought him to 343, and his love of sci-fi that continues to this day.
  • Smash Enemies, Score Goals: The DJBluePDX Grifball Summer Series, powered by DreamHack, is in full swing! If you love running the ball or tanking your way to victory and you find yourself interested, be sure to follow @PlayGrifball and keep your eyes peeled for upcoming sign-ups.

HALO INFINITE

Every month, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring you another edition of Inside Infinite, our blog series which is meant to give you deeper insights into the development of Halo Infinite. In March, we had a chance to sit down with our Audio Team to learn more about their process than ever before.

This time around we had a chance to share some brand-new audio from Halo Infinite itself, along with a rarely seen look behind the scenes (where they ‘politely’ coax some very interesting audio out of a piano). Be sure to give the whole blog post a read, right here.

And of course, if you read through any of our Inside Infinite posts and have some follow-up questions, we want to hear them! If you head over to Twitter and ask a question with #Ask343 in the post, we’ll be sure to give it a look. Here’s our latest episode:

ART

Unyshek started delivering some incredible 4K art to you at the end of each Community Update and I don’t want to disappoint so I’m here with some too! This one’s been sitting in the “approved” folder for a bit but it caught my eye. Spartan Assault was a super fun game and I’ve always loved this piece with all the shadowy elements in the background lurking. As always, you can grab yourself a 4K copy from the image below or from this link right here

And with that, I stick a fork in my first Community Update and call it done. It was a lot of fun to step outside my usual work cycles and contribute in this way. As always, you can stay in the know with the latest news by following along on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook! Or, if you're on an Xbox console, you can also follow the Official Halo Club!

Ciao! xx

--Sam

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