Reach: The Good, the Badass, and the Ugly

Most of the time this blog is dedicated to happenings in Riot Games’ League of Legends, but I do occasionally branch out and play other games. Halo is one such game, and I’m always excited by the announcement/experience in the latest the franchise can offer. I got to play a bit of the Reach beta, and there was a lot to like (finally, a needle rifle). There was a lot I didn’t like, too, but I can hold my judgements for a release version of the game.

For now, you can see some of Bungie’s thoughts on the beta in the video above. There are some great shots, and I love that they included an ugly section for all the things that just shouldn’t be happening. Hopefully those will all be fixed by September 14th, when Reach officially launches.


Doritos gives gamers a scouting combine

Picture 3Once upon a time I was considering going pro as a Halo player. No joke. I was in college, logging several hours of play a day and winning local tournaments as often as I could find them. Being in college, though, I was dead broke, unable to afford the plane ticket and lodging it would cost to to get from central Ohio to one of the early MLG tournaments with hopes of landing a team spot and competing at the national level. At the time, pro gaming, at least for consoles, was just getting its start, and there wasn’t another venue that would offer that kind of opportunity before I was set to graduate and find myself in need of gainful employment.

If you’re in that same situation, things have gotten a bit better. There are loads of pro leagues all over the country, and regional tourneys happen all the time. Breaking into the MLG scene can still be pretty tough, which is why Doritos has put together the Pro Gaming Combine in select cities around the country. You still have to get there, and there is an entry fee, but pro gaming has reached a point that, if you’re any good, you can easily get noticed at an event like this and start to make a name for yourself.

The combine runs for three days at a time with both team and solo categories. Players who demonstrate the highest level of “slaying power, teamwork/communication, leadership, objective play and support play” will be selected for further evaluation by the MLG Scout Team and given an opportunity to play at an MLG Pro Circuit event and an invite to the National Championship Competition, all expenses paid. Combine registration is $100 per team or $10 per player, which is much better than the actual circuit tickets last time I checked.

For the date and location schedule, check out the official page at MLG. There will be several online events leading up to each tourney, giving you the chance to see how you stack up before spending that Hamilton or Benjamin on your registration.


Halo content planned for the next six years

Halo 2 Master Chief.I forgot to mention this very large and intrusive piece of information from the USA Today article comparing Halo to Star Wars. According to Frank O’Connor, the former Bungie guy who now heads up 343 Industries, the Halo division at Microsoft, the adventures of Master Chief have been planned six years into the future.

“Eventually, it will become very apparent that there is a plan for the way the canon all ties together and the way the comic books and the novels all tie together,” O’Connor said. I’m kinda curious what that means. Is there some nefarious plan lurking behind a story line that could have been really epic if it weren’t so poorly handled? Have I overlooked some love connection between Master Chief and the Gravemind? Tell me your secrets, Frankie!

At the very least we can all rest assured that Microsoft can still spot the gigantic glowing cash cow sitting right in front of it. The very minute you get tired of the latest Halo there’s sure to be another, even if it is a glorified expansion, flying off shelves at $60 a pop.


Bethesda’s Ashley Cheng Gets Bitchy About ODST

Halo 3: ODST.Halo 3: ODST has been the topic of some hot conversation, mostly with regard to price. There are droves of people who think the game is merely an expansion and doesn’t warrant the $60 price tag it carries. Others, like Bethesda’s Ashley Cheng, think Microsoft simply mismanaged the ODST marketing campaign and you should just suck it up.

On his blog, Bethesda production director Ashley Cheng said confusion around the title’s name and place in the franchise is the only thing that makes people wonder if the game is worth $60.

From Cheng’s blog:

Give me a break. First off, most games – especially first person shooters – are anywhere from 5-10 hours. Tops. What makes Halo different from others? You can’t just ping Halo ODST for it. I bet if Microsoft hadn’t screwed up the marketing messaging, there would less talk about pricing.

I’m inclined to agree, though I’m also inclined to say not enough people care about this to make a difference. The game is going to sell and sell fast. Sure people will bitch, but that’s bound to happen any time you have millions of people rushing to purchase a product. You’ll never have one hundred percent of your consumer population believe the product is worth the price.


Microsoft Adds Another 250GB Bundle

Forza 3 logo.Microsoft has announced another 250GB bundle for the Xbox 360. This one includes Forza 3 though without a customized console like we found in the Modern Warfare 2 bundle. Unfortunately for you US types, the bundle will only be available in the UK and South Africa.

This is the third in a pretty sweet lineup of 360 bundles over the past few days, obviously designed to compete with the 250GB PS3 bundles Sony has been showing. The bundles have some strange differences, though, and not just with regard to region.

The Halo bundle, for instance, forgoes the 250GB hard drive, something that would be great for all those Bungie Pro users looking to save additional game content locally, for a copy of Halo 3. The Modern Warfare 2 bundle seems to be the only one with a customized console, but it doesn’t include customized controllers. And of course there is the region issue. Why some and not others? Why not standardize these things across the board? And for god’s sake, why won’t they sell the 250GB unit as a separate periph?

As the holidays loom closer I’ll be interested to see what else comes out of Redmond. More bundles, or just more tweaks to the existing SKUs?


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