By ske7ch -
This week it’s a full on multimedia assault as we dual wield fully loaded salvos of Halo Wars 2 and Halo 5 goodness in our latest community update! We've got trailers, used cars, Q&As, spotlights, and new helmets incoming. Lock and load, Spartans, we’re going in!
Halo Wars 2
We’re barely a week away from the early access release for Halo Wars 2 for Ultimate Edition pre-order customers and things are really starting to heat up! The Marketing machine has kicked into overdrive on the heels of Monday’s amazing launch trailer. In case you missed it (or even if you didn’t, it’s totally worth a re-watch!), here it is:
War of Wits
Today marks the release of two new advertisements for Halo Wars 2 that you’ll soon start to see propagating across social and various websites as launch nears. These two spots represent a new direction for Halo marketing with a focus on real-world grounding and plenty of humor. Check ‘em out!
As awesome I think those ads are, the thing I’m perhaps most excited about is the potential to get that amazing Atriox costume shipped to 343 and added to our Halo Museum! Stellar work by everyone involved, we hope you enjoy these ads as much as we do. And never forget, warranties are for suckers and never, ever go "full tongue."
Blitz Beta Follow-Up
In the wake of the Blitz Beta many of you have had a variety of questions about Halo Wars 2 and what to expect when the game launches. I rounded up a number of queries from r/HaloWars and sent them over to the Halo Wars 2 team (both Creative Assembly and 343) to help us get some answers:
Are you happy with team colours at present? Some of us found it challenging to remember which units are friend or foe in the betas.
Great feedback! The clarity and readability of the battle is really important to us so we’ll be monitoring and reviewing players’ experiences from release and look for ways to improve the player’s understanding of the team colors in future
Have you been able to reproduce PC UI bugs? (specifically, clicking on the minimap for unit orders or moving camera)
We want players to have the best possible experience so we’re very much focused on eliminating bugs and we think you’ll be pleased to see the tweaks we've made to the game to alleviate these issues in a Day 1 patch.
Has your team considered changes to Spartans? (Specifically how they take significant damage when their hijacked vehicle dies. Not saying this needs changing, but others have voiced it)
We want to keep an eye on all units (ALL UNITS!) as much as we can post-launch. Where there are specific balance and fairness issues, we certainly hope to tackle them as much as we can. Because the unit balance is mostly shared across all of our multiplayer modes, we hope to get lots of great gameplay data of the same units being used in a range of situations. Coupled with an ear to the community and an eye for design intentions, this gameplay data allows us to make informed decisions around the fairness of our gameplay. Specifically with the Spartans, it’s certainly something we’re keeping an eye on! Spartan’s should be awesome and true to the lore.
Will you introduce easy muting for PC players, and/or default a push-to-talk option?
Yes! We’ve added a push-to-talk option for PC voice Comms as the default option and you’re also able to mute yourself in the Roster or options screen.
I wanted to ask if you can tell us how the game release rank / experience system will look? On Halo Wars 2 what ranking system will we have is it like the first beta? I really enjoy competition thanks.
The Service Record rank is the player’s Gamertag’s progression rank. To level up, players earn XP by completing challenges, playing games and unlocking achievements. This is a good indicator of how long a player has been playing the game but it is not based on player skill. Halo Wars 2 matchmaking is based on skill but it's currently behind the scenes and there isn't a CSR value exposed to players at launch. New players start out with a provisional skill rating that will settle in after they play matches (just like Halo 5's ranked playlists) but initially can result in a "Rank 1" player matching against an opponent that's a higher rank. Again, this isn't an indication of skill, just XP / time played. Shortly after launch the team will be instituting a formal ranked competitive system into the game similar to what's offered in Halo 5.
This isn't going out at launch for a few different reasons: First, a social/unranked environment is going to be more inviting and less stressful and allow players a chance to get familiar with the game, the units and the multitude of strategies and tactics at their disposal. Second, delaying a ranked seasonal model also allows the development team to monitor and respond to any balancing issues that usually only arise after players have spent considerable time exploring units and developing strategies and synergies. It's easier for players to be exposed to these "hot-fixable" issues in a social, no-stakes environment than in the midst of heated ranked competition. Lastly, we're looking to time ranked playlists/seasons with DLC releases which allows the team to roll in any new fixes or tweaks that couldn't be addressed via a "hot fix" and the introduction of new leaders is a natural opportunity to reset and roll-over a new season. Overall this is definitely something the team is passionate about and takes seriously so for now, at launch, think of it as a "pre-season" and help us refine the game with your feedback and then we'll kick off a proper ranked playlist season cadence shortly after.
Is Proving Grounds the only map that will be available to play Blitz on? If so, are any more on the way? Thanks!
Halo Wars 2 launches with Proving Grounds which is a Blitz exclusive map but we’re keen to hear what types of additional maps fans would like to see in the future.
Please can I get any details about the possibly of map editing software? I often imagine making my own map to play in RTS games and want to know if I will be able to do this in HW2
We have no plans to release a map editor at this time.
Are the factions for the flood/forerunners going to make it into the game?
Halo Wars 2 is focused on the battle between Cutter and Atriox; we’re really excited for players to finally get their hands on the game to fully explore the new strategies possible with the expanded UNSC roster and the new faction in The Banished.
I only have one question, will we be able to pre download the game if so when.
Yes! Pre-loading for Halo Wars 2 will be available prior to early access launch on Feb. 17. Exact timing is still a little fluid but it could potentially be ready for pre-load by the end of this week.
Will we ever get to know the changes that were made because of our feedback in the beta?
The team is working on a detailed overview of tweaks and balance changes coming out of the Blitz Beta. Stay tuned!
Can we get a visual multiple movement queue? I would like to know my units' routes so I know where exactly they are going
We have no current plans to implement this feature but are interested to see and hear how players interact with the game once it’s released.
What's the difference between a regular cyclops and a veteran cyclops? The card did not make it clear.
Whenever Blitz uses the word veteran, it’s for units that have a selection of unit-specific and global upgrades. They will almost always be more powerful than basic units of the same type that don’t have any additional keywords. For example: the Veteran Cyclops features the EMP upgrade and a Global Infantry upgrade.
It would be nice to be able to lock specified units into a group and have them labeled. Like if I manually put two hogs, two marines and a vulture next to each other, highlight them, and lock them into a group. Now, I can cycle through units types as well as groups and quickly dispatch them.
As with all modes, Blitz also features Control Groups. For Windows 10 Blitz uses keyboard control groups (5,6,7,8,9,0) as number keys 1-4 are used to play Blitz cards directly. For Xbox One (or Xbox controller on Windows 10), in Blitz, Control Groups function as standard (Hold Right Trigger and use the Dpad). Once you’ve selected your control group of units, cycle through selected units with the Right Trigger (Gamepad) or Mouse wheel (PC).
Will 21:9 cut off the top and bottom or will it add to the left and right? Essentially, will playing on 21:9 allow me to see more or less than on 16:9?
21:9 delivers a wider field of view allowing a bit more visibility.
Are there any plans to increase Pop. Cap on Xbox One?
Thanks to Beta feedback and performance optimizations we were able to increase the Pop. Cap between the Summer 2016 Beta and the final game’s upcoming release.
Have you considered increasing the score limit? Games felt like they ended too quickly.
Blitz has been designed as an intense and action-oriented experience which allows players to battle and quickly tweak their decks before heading back into the Proving Grounds. In Halo Wars 2, we have consciously designed a number of modes to deliver a variety of experiences – from the arcade action of Strongholds to the territory based Domination to the full test of RTS skill in Deathmatch. We believe this variety gives the player the option to find the experience which speaks to them at any given time.
Will any units from the Blitz Beta be re-balanced for the final game? (i.e. the Locusts)
Absolutely! The large amount of feedback from the community combined with the gameplay data gathered from the Beta really helps us make accurate assessments of balancing issues and causes. We’ve tweaked a range of elements in response to the Beta and have already made a number of balancing iterations.
Speaking of balance changes and general improvements coming out of the Blitz Beta, the team passed along this snapshot of some of the more noteworthy post-Beta adjustments you can expect when the final version of Halo Wars 2 lands:
- Reduced the Locust and Bloodfuel Locust DPS, health, and shields
- Scarab can now attack units at closer range
- Improved the responsiveness of Blitz card hand inputs
- Improved game performance
- Improved UI responsiveness
- Tightened skill matching to improve match quality of multiplayer games
- Improved initial loading times
- Bug fixes for card hand and units not responding
- Improved voice chat functionality on PC
- Improved PC performance, hardware detection, and compatibility
- Improved multiplayer and network reliability
- Lots and lots of additional fixes
Blitz Bonus Packs
By now I’m going to assume you have at least a basic familiarity with Blitz - the all-new card based game mode in Halo Wars 2. (if not, check this out) We’ve talked quite a bit about the various ways you’ll be able to earn Blitz card packs in Halo Wars 2 such as completing tutorials, finishing daily & weekly challenges, playing the campaign, leveling up and real-world money if that’s your preference. However, there are a few ways to earn up to TEN Blitz card packs before Halo Wars 2 is even released!
- Blitz Beta – If you participated in the Blitz Beta then you potentially have two card packs waiting for you when the game launches. You’ll earn one pack if you just launched the Beta and another pack if you completed one match.
- Halo Wars 1 – The team also hooked up Halo Wars 2 Blitz Packs to two existing Halo Wars 1 achievements. You can earn one Blitz pack for completing the “Playin’ the Field” achievement and three packs for the “Adjudicate the Arbiter” achievement.
- Halo Wars: DE – Get one Blitz Pack for completing the “Playin’ the Field” achievement and three packs for “Adjudicate the Arbiter.”
Speaking of achievements, would you like to see the full Halo Wars 2 achievement list? If so, Grim has you covered!