7th Columnist


Halo 3 Assembly Gameplay Video
August 30, 2008, 4:19 am
Filed under: Bungie, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News, PAX

Loads to catch up on, and it’s the middle of the night here, so I’m gonna have to hit the sack. Not without delivering this little nugget of goodness first though. We’s gots prioritees ‘n stuff.

You should now be aware that PAX 2008 is in full mighty swing, and that Bungie is in attendence showing the latest addition to Halo 3’s multiplayer maps, Purple Reign – now officially known as Assembly. Well, the latest Bungie Weekly Update has delivered, offering up a tasty selection of shots of the new level for anyone unable to attend the show (go take a look now!). And we’ve got an off-screen video walkthrough, courtesy of CrunchGear.

Feast your eyes on all-new purple hotness below:

We’ve zoomed in a little bit for a fancier look, but you can see the whole unaltered video here.

Not a lot is known about the map as of yet – no setting, release date, price or anything. Bungie’s keeping that information close to the chest, letting the map itself do all the talking. Certainly looks good enough to us!

We’ll be back in the morning with more news. In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Auto Update 2.0
August 2, 2008, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Bungie, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

This week’s Bungie Update lets rip all the info on the forthcoming Autoupdate heading to Halo 3, with some big changes and new functionality to the current EXP system.

First up, what’s NOT changing, just to be clear. Bungie are not resetting your “Skill”. Your Trueskill value will not change. Nor are they resetting your current EXP. Your total EXP will still be displayed in your Service Record on B.net and that Rank will still be displayed in your Service Record. Got that?

Right, so nothing’s being lost. Except maybe us during the following explanation of what actually IS changing. With that in mind then, and in the interest of KEEPING IT CLEAN, we’re gonna let Luke tell it exactly like it is:

At the Playlist level, things are changing noticeably.

While your total experience will still continue to climb in your Service Record, when AU2 goes live, we are enabling individual Experience ratings in each playlist. Playlist Ratings are based on how much experience you’ve accrued in a given Playlist. We’ll be basing your rating in a given playlist off of this value. When AU2 is released, we’ll begin tracking your experience per playlist, in that respect, everyone begins fresh. These new Playlist emblems will be familiar to Halo 3 players, but they have received a light graphical pass in game to distinguish Playlist Ratings from your Overall Rating.

In the simplest terms this means that becoming a General in Team Slayer is no longer dependent on reaching Level 50 and acquiring a certain number of total experience points. Via Playlist Ratings, players can reach General in as many playlists as they want .The currency powering these new Playlist Ratings is Experience.

Under this system, however, players will have individual Ratings in each playlist and they’ll see a graphical treatment of that here on Bungie.net and they’ll see their current status for the playlist that they are in. In custom games, the Rating on a player’s Service Record will be the icon that other players see.

Still confuzzled? Then here’s a few choice answers to some of the internet’s (that’s you) more common questions regarding the update:

Will each playlist have a seperate rank?
Yes. Ranked and Social lists each have their own ranks.

When the update goes live, when I go into a playlist, willl my rank show as a recruit?
When you enter a playlist for the first time after AU2 you will be a Recruit in that playlist. In a Ranked playlist your SKILL number will still show.

Do you still have to be a 50 to be a general?
To be a General on your service record you must still be a 50 in a playlist, that is your Overall Rank. At the playlist level you can reach General from gaining Experience. Skill number is not required.

So there you have it. Some big changes to Halo 3’s online ranking are on their way. Be sure to head over to Bungie.net for the full update – including news on August’s playlist changes and in light of recent disturbing events, the extreme wrath of the banhammer.



Halo “Blue” Hitting this September?
July 14, 2008, 11:40 am
Filed under: Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

Now this is interesting. E3 starts tonight, kicking off with the Microsoft Press Conference where we can defintely expect some sort of Halo-based announcement, maybe even a few. In time honoured tradition of the expo, rumours are flying about all over the place, steadily gaining weight at every turn… and Halo is no exception.

The latest concerns a tip off from a source at Wal-Mart who has sent in an image apparently taken from the company’s intranet, showing a bizarre listing for Halo “Blue” and a release date of September 30th 2008.

Exactly what “Blue” is, is a mystery, though we here at 7th Columnist – judging from the Wal-Mart source – reckon it’s more likely to be a special edition version of the game (perhaps including previous and forthcoming map packs) or even a stand alone map pack expansion similar to what Microsoft released for Halo 2 rather than a new game itself.

With E3 starting in just a matter of hours, what would you like to see from the Halo series?

The list goes on. And all that’s without thinking even thinking about Bungie, who may not even be working on something Halo related, but have certainly teased us with the prospect of an announcement of some sort.

KEEP IT CLEAN!

It’s going to be a very exciting press conference ths year…



Cold Storage available NOW!
July 7, 2008, 9:28 am
Filed under: Downloads, Forge, Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News

It’s here, along with the updated matchmaking playlist especially for Bungie Day – Icy Treats – incorporating the new map and a variety of different gametypes (in particular look out for infection).

We’ll have more news a little bit later on all the celebrations and goodies coming out of Bungie HQ this fine day, but right now, forgive us – it’s time to go Chill Out on Cold Storage! We hope to see you there.

**UPDATE**

Don’t forget to grab the limited edition Bungie Day ’08 gamerpics and dashboard theme from Xbox Live Marketplace too!

These are available exclusively for today only, after which they shall be gone forever. Don’t miss out!

**UPDATE TWO**

A quick Q&A for Cold Storage has been posted over at Bungie.net, with answers coming direct from some of the guys who worked on the map.

**UPDATE THREE!**

The Bungie Podcast has returned! With an extra special Bungie Day edition of the show, Luke and Brian sit down with numerous guests, featuring the likes of: Lars Bakken (Designer), Shishka (Designer), Allen Murray (Producer), Joe Tung (Producer), Jerome Simpson (Security), Chris Carney (Mission Architect) and Steve Lopez (IT Manager) That’s a lot of Bungie, this is a lot of chatter.



Cold Storage – Free!
July 3, 2008, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Downloads, Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News

Confirmed. Cold Storage, the latest multiplayer map to be added to Halo 3 and remake of the classic Chill Out – will arrive as DLC on Bungie Day, Monday, 7/7…for free. FREE.

We called it. From the secret playtesting taking place on Xbox Live, to the hidden coded message in last weeks update, we always knew this was gonna happen. Bungie Day just wouldn’t be Bungie Day without some love dealt out by the studio, and this year is no different. In fact, this Monday, we’re being spoilt.

The latest Bungie Weekly Update has hit early over at B.net and is literally rammed with tantalising info on all the goodies heading our way next week in celebration of the studio:

Cold Storage will be available for free beginning on July 7, Bungie Day, on Xbox Live Marketplace.

Don’t forget to grab the one-day-only free gamerpics and theme on 7/7.

Beginning on July 7, there will be a 48-hour long seven-player FFA playlist in Halo 3’s Matchmaking where you can turn the calendar back to 2001 and control l Rockets, Invis and Snipe.

For now, Cold Storage will be implemented in regular rotation in playlists that require the Legendary Maps. To avoid confusion, playlists that previously required the Legendary Maps will now remind players that they need “all Maps” to participate, and since Cold Storage is free, it shouldn’t be a big deal for you to grab the map on July 7 and then return to your regularly scheduled business in SWAT.

Additionally, on 7/7, Microsoft is dropping the price of the Legendary Map Pack from 800 spacebucks to 600 spacebucks. That price drop does mean that purchases after 7/7 will no longer include the Bungie Pro bonus.

Other stuff mentioned in the update is the return of the Bungie Podcast; also hitting on BDay, a stern warning to those with modified content and/or hacked saves in fileshare, words of encouragement to all attempting to up theoverall campaign kill count to 7 million; and the tease of something else coming today (our money’s on a Cold Storage video).

Get over to Bungie.net and start punching the air. Christmas has come early.

**UPDATE**

Bungie have delivered on their final promise for the day, posting a brand new ViDOC focusing on Cold Storage entitled ‘On the Seven7h Day’. Luke and Shiska have a stab at some homegrown machinima and talk design, differences, pricing and playlists whilst showing off a few of the maps more interesting features.

Hi-res copies for you to download and keep can be found here.



Cold Storage Screenshot Blowout
July 3, 2008, 2:57 am
Filed under: Downloads, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News

It’s late, I’m away on business and my laptop has been sent home to bed with a dodgy tummy – so I’ll have to keep this sweet.

It would appear Bungie are once again back in the Humpday game. Over at B.net there’s a writeup of an extra special Halo 3 Humpday Challenge held internally at the studio. Why so special? It was on Cold Storage.

As a result, the update is literally rammed with new shots of the map in action.

Head over to Bungie.net now for the full article – don’t worry, you don’t really have to read it – just drool over even more shots of the soon to be released map. It looks stunning.



Cold Storage to be released 7/7?
June 28, 2008, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Downloads, Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News

Those thinking this week’s Bungie Update was a little light on Cold Storage information may want to look again, as it would seem that along with bringing us a lovely overhead look at the map, this week’s update also contained something of a tease regarding a possible release date, and an extra special bonus to go along with it.

When discussing July’s matchmaking updates, in particular forthcoming changes to the Double EXP weekends, a supposed ‘error’ alludes to something very interesting indeed:

Double EXP (Listed in order of appearance)

• Fourth of July – A collection of Flag, Rockets, and VIP. 5v5.
[SPURIOUS INTERRUPT: PACKET LOST – ERROR CODE 5929]
• Fiesta – FFA featuring random weapon spawns. 8 Players.
• Grifball – Updated to use the Summer League map. 4v4.
• Team Snipers – No changes from June. 4v4.
• Team Melee – Sword and hammer-centric slayer and

*/PACKET INTERRUPTION – ERROR CODE 5929 */
…Attempting Recovery…
…Attempting Recovery…
*/ 93% PACKET CORRUPTION – RECOVERY UNSUCCESSFUL – DISPLAYING */
C!#4x—^&-$x%^^p3@
• Head2@!#SWa#++-DL*SLAj3r
• 48hr0x0ABFFFFF [ERR 5929]
*/ END DISPLAY */

As you can see, the weekend playlist for the week following the fourth of July (just a few days after Bungie Day) isn’t listed. Instead we’re treated to garbled system message only 93% complete. From what we can tell, hidden inside are the words:

Cold Storage, Head 2 Head, Swat, DLC Slayer, 48hr

Whilst nothing is confirmed, we reckon it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll be seeing Cold Storage released free of charge this Bungie Day – July 7th; along with a new set of exclusive gamerpics and dashboard theme, and a classic Halo celebration Double EXP weekend following later in the week.

Bungie, now you’re just spoiling us.