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RTX 2016 Recap

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Welcome back, friends. Since we last spoke, the Warzone Firefight release has reached your consoles, we’ve traveled to the heart of Texas, and we’re now back in the studio preparing for what’s next. Perhaps the “what’s next” list may be of great interest to you.

This week, the Warzone team pushed out an update to fix the “back button” scoreboard and PGCR (post game carnage report) sorting, and they’re also hard at work on further updates to Warzone Firefight. As we speak, teams are looking at all of the data and feedback you’ve generated so far, and evaluating as they work towards future updates for the mode. While we don’t have a final ETA just yet, you can rest assured that work is well underway, and that you’ll be hearing about more details soon. Oh, and fixes for Tidal lighting are being worked on, too.

We’ve been thrilled about the incredible amount of new players who jumped into Halo 5 during the free play period, and hope many of you stick around (one of us! one of us!). As we mentioned last night, we’ve also been ecstatic to see the number of monthly Halo 5 players increasing month over month over the past few months. This is pretty special to see, and I’m looking forward to plenty more gaming with you this summer. Speaking of, we’ve seen many inquiries about what’s to come for Halo 5. We're glad you're asking. While you won’t be seeing updates every month moving forward, nor updates the size of the Warzone Firefight release, we’re happy to let you know that there’s still more on the way. Things we have yet to talk about or discuss. Things that I have seen, and I think you will like. These and more are in the works, so in short, there is indeed more to come. Rest easy.

Next up, let’s catch up on a few different topics, starting with RTX and the cool things we brought there. Grim’s got the details.

RTX 2016

All photos: Enrique Espinoza

Texas Toasted

Thanks Brav! Last year, due to an unfortunate conflict with gamescom, we were unable to attend the gaming jewel in the south, RTX – Rooster Teeth Expo. This year however, there were no such hurdles, and Halo hit the Austin heat with renewed ferocity. Featuring a Bravo-coined “19-sided” booth presence, the RTX show floor had a Halo flavor for every fan (Bravo note: you could even say we had something for every “corner” of the Halo franchise!). For starters, it was the only place in the world where fans could scratch that Halo Wars 2 itch – and in a game mode that also wasn’t even available in the recent multiplayer beta. Thanks to deft tactics provided by our dev-team coaches, field commanders tested their mettle against each other in the Strongholds game type, earning themselves a sweet bit o’ swag in the process. On the other side of the Halo home base was Warzone Firefight, letting fans who had given up their at-home availability to be at the show partake in the freshly-released cooperative mode. “This was my first time to RTX” said our very own Dan Ayoub. “I was really thrilled to spend some time chatting with fans as they played Halo Wars 2, and it was great to get some one on one time with people after the panel. The feedback we got from both the show floor and the beta has been great, and we’ll be sharing soon how we plan to use that feedback to help make the game better.”

If you didn’t catch it, it is also worth noting here that we’ll have another beta coming closer to launch.

343’s James Monosmith coaches HW2 players during – wait wtf Bill Murray?

We also had a number of incredible partners helping round out the booth experience – from ASTRO Gaming showcasing all sorts of new wares, to Loot Crate showcasing for the first time in public our brand new Halo Legendary Crate – a must-have bundle of joy for devout Halo fans and collectors. To hold you over until the first crate, I bothered the guys and gals from Lootcrate until they sent me some more concept art and images from the first HALO ICONS set:

 

Note: reload this page here to make this picture move. We looped it, but 3/3 Halo Community Team members agree the nonstop loop is headache inducing.  

Topping it all off were our friends from the Microsoft Store, who were not only showcasing some pretty epic PC gaming experiences, but also partnered with us to hold the RTX Halo FFA Open, an incredible Free-For-All Halo 5 tournament that saw some intense competition from the best players in the region as they fought for their share of a $5,000 prize pool. The champion would not be determined until the very end, and when the final bell had tolled, it was the up-and-coming Rammy who took home the top prize. The drama wasn’t limited to the top spot alone, however, as the final heat ended in a ridiculous three-way tie for second place, meaning that someone was on the bubble. For the tie-breaking procedure, we tallied up the total kills amassed for each player over the three Finals heats, and after much mental math, calculator-ing, and carrying of the twos, second place would go to a surprise small-town unknown named Jared “Shirk” Shirkey, who topped the tie-breaker with 88 kills. Another well-known player, Munoz, would take the final spot on the podium.

Overall, RTX was – as always – an incredible experience, but it’s made especially so by the incredible community. We can’t say thanks enough to each and everyone one of you who stopped by the booth, hung out, shared stories, or tuned in online.

Firefight Evolved   

As Bravo discussed earlier, we’re aware of a few particularly punishing Warzone Firefight encounters, and rest assured, the team is actively looking at ways to make sure the experience stays as enjoyable as it is challenging. If there’s one thing no one can really debate however, it’s the community’s voracious passion for the mode itself. We’ve gathered up some pretty cool numbers, and we thought they would be fun to share.

  • Total Kills: 413,373,178
  • Total Deaths: 93,339,237
  • Average Lifetime: 104 seconds
  • Total Power Weapon Kills [excluding vehicles]: 21,470,685

Speaking of which, if you are finding yourself wanting to stock up on extra armaments on the quick, you can get some epic bang for your proverbial buck right now thanks to Xbox’s Ultimate Game Sale, which has seen monetary discounts applied to Gold REQ Pack bundles of all shapes and sizes. No matter how you choose to play, or what you choose to deploy, we’re extremely excited to see how popular Warzone Firefight has already become, and are stoked for what the future holds for the experience.

And now, back to Bravo with sports.

<3
Grim

Content Browser  

Thanks Grim. Last weekend, we showed off a first look at the Halo 5 Content Browser, which has been in the works for quite some time. Like Forge itself, it’s been built from scratch to ensure that it is the most powerful it has ever been. The Content Browser will be coming to both Xbox One and Windows 10, and now’s a good time to clarify that Forge - Halo 5: Guardians Edition for Windows 10 will not require Xbox Live Gold to build and play.

I recently grabbed Tom French and asked if he had anything new to show us, and he simply sent over this file, which appears to once again be the first in a series. Here we go again.

Easter Egg: LASO PGCR  

 We knew it would only be a matter of time. A few of us put bets on a few days, but those of us most confident in your abilities (Uny and I – we believe!) knew that you’d spot it within 24 hours. Sure enough, the first spotting of the LASO PGCR was just a few hours after launch. Here’s Gabe Deyerle with a congrats.

Gabe Deyerle, Engineer

Congrats to Nibre_ for being the first person (That we saw, at least!) to find the hidden PGCR background in Score Attack! To see “Sheriff” Mister Chief (A Frank O’ Connor original!) in all his lasso-wielding glory, just beat any mission on Legendary with all Skulls on. Or, y’know… LASO.

Alternatively, we expected to see a few players asking for a clean version of this image so that you may use it as a desktop background for your plethora of digital devices, so you can grab it for your personal enjoyment by clicking here.

Pro League Lowdown  

It is rare that we have StrongSide here at the studio. He is almost always flying somewhere to cast something. This week, though, Tsquared is joining Elamite at the ESL Studio, so I grabbed former teammate, current colleague, and BFFL StrongSide for a Pro League update. Take it away, Side.

StrongSide

Thanks Bravo! Good to be home. It has been an epic six weeks of intense competition in the NA HCS Pro League, and with only one week left, teams are still battling for a spot at Finals.

North America

Currently holding the number one seed after their victory last night is Counter Logic Gaming. They’ve dominated the competition each week, even leaning on rising Open Circuit star, Rammy, as a substitute for Royal 2 in Week 5. Despite not performing well in practice scrimmages, we witnessed a different Team EnVyUs show up to Pro League each week, and they are tied for the second seed with Enigma6. Both squads need only one more match win to secure their position at NA Finals.

Renegades kicked off the season with a 4-1 record, but then struggled mid-season going on a four game losing streak. Since then, RNG has now turned around their hopes of making NA Finals in their favor. Allegiance looks to be renewed and revitalized after making a roster change and picking up long-time veteran Heinz, who has made some clutch plays to keep his team in the running.

To everyone’s surprise, we’ve seen Evil Geniuses fall all the way down to 6th seed and their hopes of going to Finals look very grim. With NA Finals right around the corner, Renegades and Allegiance are neck and neck and both need to be playing at their best in the few remaining matches. OpTic Gaming and Team Liquid look as if they will be fighting to keep their Pro League spots through relegation, and will have to battle off the two Open circuit teams that make it out of Open Circuit Finals to stay in for the Fall Season.

Head on over to twitch.tv/halo at 5pm PST today (right now, if you’re reading this immediately) to catch all the action of Week 6, Day 2 of the NA HCS Pro League. The Summer Season Finals are slated to take place at LA Live on July 30th-31st, with tickets coming soon.

Europe

Over in the EU Pro League, the regular season has come to an end. The four teams competing at the EU Finals will be U4X, Infused, XMEN and Vibe. U4X went undefeated this season with an impressive 10-0 record, and U4X even made a team change during the transfer period by dropping Snakey and picking up TuFoxy.

It seems as if the U4X squad led by Mose have their eyes on building a squad for long-term success. Holding the second seed, Infused brought in some new faces to the EU scene with Batchford, Phlux, Warlord, and Doodle. Infused looks to have the most trouble competing against U4X, as they are currently 0-2 against them. They’ll need to figure out U4X’s weaknesses before going into the Finals.

Fans and players thought the formation of XMEN would be the ultimate "god squad," however, to kick off the season, we saw XMEN fall immediately to U4X in a quick 3-0 series. Going into the Finals with the third seed, XMEN still struggle as they look to get their players on the same page. Lastly, Vibe, led by veteran EU Halo player Riotz, slipped by Dinosaurs and claimed the fourth spot. This squad has the toughest matches ahead of them, and will be looking to make some big upsets.

The EU HCS Pro League Summer Season Finals will be on July 24th at ESL’s UK Studio and, you can of course catch all the action at twitch.tv/halo.

Community Spotlight

This week, we’re taking a look at Paintball Junkies by Noble Forger. If you’ve ever played some high quality woodsball, in, say, remote areas of Wales (shoutout to our main Welshman RECEPTOR17), then you should feel right at home on this fine community creation. Grab it, grab some friends, and sneak in some matches this weekend! I hear paint and air are always free.

Paintball Game Mode
Paintball Junkies Map

Play of the Week

This week, Uny spotted a clip even Tartarus would gavel at. It comes from a player who, to our knowledge, goes by the name of 84981725891758912576. I’m not kidding.

That, my friends, will do it for this week. We’ve got lots planned for the rest of the summer, and I do believe we’ll be talking about it quite soon. Thanks for reading.

Until then,

Bravo

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