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Friday, May 7

Fixed for Fall

No doubt Bungie's forums and inboxes are awash with the venom and spew of people grumpy that the Beta is not 100 percent A grade Halo game play. Bungie has heard the chorus and reacted. As if they wouldn't...


Here's what they have already determined to fix, after only 3 days of the Beta being in operation.
The Fix is In
Soon after launch, the always polite Netizens from around the globe made their way into our feedback forum to kindly remark on their initial experiences and realistic expectations. At first, it was quite difficult for us to fish out any criticisms amidst the Sea of Encouraging Compliments, but we rolled up our pant legs, waded deep into the heartwarming swell of kind words, and finally found some stuff that we we've already addressed or were already planning on addressing for the retail release.

We should start off by making it very clear that Halo: Reach is 
not Halo 3. There are some distinct and fundamental differences that you’ll definitely need to account for, both straight out of the gate and over the long haul. These are differences you shouldn’t expect to see changed. They are, as we say, by design.

That said, here’s of quick rundown of some, but not all, of the things that we will likely change from the beta to the finished product. Of course, I’ve gotta roll out the always necessary caveat here. 
Stuff can and will change from now until ship.

The list below presents the current plan of attack, but it may not represent what you’ll experience in the finished product. We reserve the right to make whatever changes we deem necessary. Because we are the boss of Reach. If anything dramatic goes down from now until then, we'll make sure to clue you in.

Death by Stereo
Here at Bungie, we love us some Steitzer. The man’s a living legend in his own right – a sonorous savant. But truth be told, even we’re well past annoyed by the overwhelming rapid fire regurgitation of, “Flag taken...flag dropped” that can plague certain games where going clutch on the skilled juggling front is the order of the day. Same goes for all the other objectified oral mutterings. Once is enough for most cases, thank you very much.

It’s already been fixed for fall.



Stole Ya Stockpile
Same goes for some pretty shady teamwork on display in Stockpile. Cool flags, bro! Derek had made some changes before the Beta went live to address the problem presented below, but the build was already being put through the certification grinder and it wasn’t possible to implement the tweaks in the short term.

It would be so sweet if everybody would just play nice, but for some players civility isn’t much of a concern. Almost as soon as those same player’s boots hit the mud they made it their obligation to snag flags that had already been snagged and either replace them so they’d get the sweet credit or to chuck them out of their own stockpile at the last minute in an effort to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and ruin the game for the other players involved.

Though I myself am saddened by the fact that those brand of "people" exist, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that they make the most of what should be a cool feature that allows defenders to pick up and wield their already planted flags as powerful weapons of destruction. Oh, well.

It’s been fixed for fall.

By Design, but Still Being Fixed
Whoa, what’s up with those reticles, Candland? Kinda hard to make out, aren’t they?

Yup, if you were wondering if you need to calibrate your television set you can stop fiddling with the levers and knobs, it’s not just you. But it’s not Candland, either. When I asked him about the thin and transparent optics on display Candland threw design straight under the bus.

Turns out our UI team didn’t have much to do with the current reticles in question. Instead, they’re what Candland calls, “Designer Art.” They're just placeholder.

Fixed for fall.

They’re Everywhere!
They’re on my six! Wait, they’re above me! Holy hell…they’re everywhere!



Battle Bros

Yeah, so a lot of players have been remarking that it’s been remarkably difficult to pinpoint exactly where they’re taking fire from. Totally accurate and understandable – some last minute fiddling with alpha channels actually resulted in some fairly light damage indicators. If you’ve been feeling pinned down by enemy fire in the beta and couldn’t eye dee where the incoming was actually coming from, now you know why.

Fixed for fall.

Ghost like Swayze
There’s a certain segment of players affected by some other graphical artifacts, too. Some frame blending bells and whistles that are being applied to help polish things up on the IQ side resulted in some undesirable artifacts in the Beta. Something the layman such as myself call “ghosting.”

If you’re in that population that can’t get it out of your head, wrap your arms around our waist and hold on tight. Our graphics gurus confirm that it was a bug we identified before the Beta launched and that it’s already been resolved in our main branch.

Fixed for fall.

Fists of Fury
Thoroughly frustrated by the frightening changes that have been foisted upon the third leg of your beloved golden tripod? Rest easy. While the melee system has undergone a significant overhaul and we won’t be going back to the Halo 3 model, we do have a few pertinent issues preventing the new stuff from working exactly as we intended.



Unnatural Abilities

For now, you’ll have to deal with two bugs that we’ve identified. The first is likely the most obvious.

Currently in the Beta, when you throw a melee you can almost immediately follow it up with second smack. The end result is that players who’ve gotten the drop on unsuspecting chumps are often penalized if they keep firing and take the fight up close. In the fall, the time delay between melee attacks will be slightly extended. Up close, melee will no longer be a trump card you can play no matter the situation. You will need to use it wisely.

The second issue stems from a larger than ideal melee contest window that allows two players to strike simultaneously – something our sandbox guys call “clang.” The end result? The double melee.

Without getting all technical, let’s just say the fix will result in fewer instances of both players landing killing blows at the “exact same time,” which will reduce both the amount of simultaneous melee deaths you experience and the amount of times players can appear to mistime a melee and still be rewarded with a clean kill.

Fixed for fall.

Go Boom
Also getting some love are Reach’s tactical nukes, aka the Frag Grenades. We’re hearing a lot of lip service about how the current iteration will kill a fully shielded Spartan in one toss and about the sheer amount of bang for your buck distributed throughout each map. While the former isn’t accurate (you can absorb a direct hit if you have full shields and health), we are seeing a healthy share of grenade kills in the Beta.



In the Blast Zone

I spoke to Hamrick this morning and he confirmed that the team is investigating a number of ways to make grenades a little less predominant – tweaks to everything from base damage and radius to the number of grenades at spawn, on the map, and discarded by dead players are all under consideration.

Fundamentally, Reach’s grenades will still operate differently than their Halo 3 counterparts – that much won’t change. You'll need to get acclimated. Beyond the core blast radius, damage now falls off gradually instead of abruptly as is the case in Halo 3, so you’ll still need to be wary of incoming nades. But the tweaks being considered will ultimately mean that you’ll have to rely on good placement above huckin’ and chuckin’ if you want to consistently snag skillful kills.

Fixed for fall.

Mad Cred
So you’ve won a game of Slayer, but some stinkin’ bunshole on the losing squad got way more Credits than you did even though you totally outskilled him. That’s totally a bug, right? Nope, it’s by design. Even though your latest chart-topping crossmap-laden performance netted you more street cred for skill than it did your opponent, they likely earned their huge steaming pile of payout via capping off one of their own personal Commendations.

It’s understandable that you’d have difficulty making the distinction, though. In the Beta, Commendations aren’t exactly explicitly detailed. For now, any time you see the rectangular tile appear on the lower half of your screen, it means you’ve met the requirements for a Commendation and you can expect to cash in at the end of the match. The finished product will be much more transparent about the underlying what’s and why’s. We promise.

Fixed for fall.

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