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Microsoft’s free month of Xbox Live for The Master Chief Collection owners being rolled out | 343i improves game stability

It’s been over two months since its release, and though things have improved for The Master Chief Collection technical issues still plague the Xbox One exclusive.

It seemed like it would be a sure “slam-dunk” for Microsoft when the game was first announced at E3 in 2014, but as the forgiveness from fans began to die out, the game publisher and developer gave some form of retribution with a free month of Xbox Live that is just now being sent to owners of the FPS.

Keep in mind that this is just the beginning of 343i and Microsoft’s apology to fans as the Halo 3: ODST campaign and a Halo 2: Anniversary iteration of the map Relic will also be given out as well.

While the extras are good to have, 343i is still at work trying to wholly correct their faults with the game’s multiplayer.

The most recent patch by the developer again addresses stability issues throughout the game and continues to improve matchmaking troubles.

Full list of changes and improvements from the patchnotes:

MATCHMAKING:
  • Improved matchmaking search success rates.
  • Made an update to reduce instances of “Awaiting Privileges” matchmaking errors.
  • Made an update to ensure player counts more reliably match the expected numbers for each playlist.
  • Fixed an issue where player would sometimes appear to be searching in an incorrect “FIND GAME” screen.
  • Added countdown sound effect to the voting timer.
GENERAL MULTIPLAYER:
  • Made several improvements to party joining through the in-game Roster.
  • Made an update to ensure that the mute icon is visible while in Matchmaking.
  • Fixed an issue in Halo 4 where players could equip the same weapon as their primary and secondary weapons.
GENERAL CAMPAIGNS:
  • Made several improvements to stat tracking for Halo: CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4.
  • Made changes to Halo 3 and Halo 4 scoring to ensure that players are not penalized for destroying empty vehicles.
GENERAL MENU:
  • Lowered the music volume level in multiplayer menus.
  • Fixed an issue where friend emblems in roster would show up as default when exiting a game session.
  • Made updates to UI and menus to improve multiplayer status messaging, such as when a player joins your lobby.
CONTROL LAYOUTS:
  • Made an update to the Halo 2: Anniversary “Legacy” Stick Layout.
STABILITY:
  • Made stability improvements across multiple titles for campaign and multiplayer.
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Halo Master Chief Collection owners receiving ODST campaign for FREE

Halo ODST campaign is coming to Xbox One via the Halo Master Chief Collection as a thank-you to Halo fans from 343 Industries. (Photo/halo.bungie.net)

Console-tion gift!

343 Industries announced Friday that it will be updating and releasing the Halo ODST campaign to Halo Master Chief Collection owners, along with a handful of other gifts as a thank-you to fans for sticking by the game, despite all of the issues that have plagued it since its release in early November.

The free campaign will only be accessible to those who purchased the game from its launch until Friday, December 19.

Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, announced the news in a blog post, “A Thank You to Our Fans from Bonnie Ross” on Xbox’s official website:

“Last month, I promised the Halo and Xbox community that addressing the matchmaking issues and other bugs impacting players’ experience with Halo: The Master Chief Collection was our #1 priority…This has been a humbling experience and highlighted how we as a studio can – and need – to do better for Xbox fans around the world.  We are so grateful to our fans who have stood by our side and we appreciate all of your patience as we worked through these issues. As a token of our appreciation and to thank fans for the continued support and understanding, we will be offering the following items.”

In addition to the Halo ODST campaign, which will be upgraded to 1080p and 60 FPS, MCC owners will receive a remastered Halo 2 “Relic” map, one month of Xbox Live Gold and an unique nameplate and avatar, which will be available in the next content update.

All of the additions–except for the exclusive in-game nameplate and avatar–for early adopters will not be available until next year. The campaign and the “Relic” map are expected to hit consoles in Spring 2015, while the free month of Live will either be credited directly to your account or sent as a redeemable token through the Xbox One early next year.

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343i studio head issues apology to Halo fans for The Master Chief Collection’s turbulent launch

The issues with the Master Chief Collection's server issues hold fans back from fully enjoying the classic multiplayer.
The issues with the Master Chief Collection’s server issues hold fans back from fully enjoying the classic multiplayer.

Halo is objectively the greatest exclusive franchise on the Xbox platform, and with how dedicated the fans are seeing such a troublesome launch of the Master Chief Collection has resulted in a barrage of complaints and grievances with the developer.

Today, the studio head responded with a personal apology for the multiplayer issues of the first-person shooter.

“With the initial release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, however, we have not delivered the experience you deserve.  I personally apologize for this on behalf of us all at 343 Industries.  Our team is committed to working around the clock until these issues are resolved.” — Bonnie Ross

343 Industries has done the best they can to try and resolve the situation with almost daily updates, and patches to try and fix their server issues. Up to this point, no significant improvements have been made. While some report slightly more efficient matchmaking, the multiplayer issues are far too major for most players to notice a difference at all.

Bonnie Ross went on to speak of their plans to keep fans informed on their progressions with addressing the server-side fixes and game-content updates.

“Know that we’re trying to be as nimble as possible to put fixes in place.  We are planning multiple server-side tweaks and game content updates over the coming weeks.  Looking forward, I want to give you a high-level cadence of the latest updates we’re currently working on.”

While it is a positive to see 343i showing such dedication to bring the “experience “fans” deserve,” these problems at release are so impactful, it may have been better for Microsoft if the game was delayed by a few weeks to give fans an immediately enjoyable game.

Check out the full apology here
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The Master Chief Collection out now; Halo 5 details revealed | (Twitch stream)

343i wants to ensure a balance to the arena-style multiplayer in Halo 5.
343i wants to ensure a balance to the arena-style multiplayer in Halo 5.

HaloFest 2014 and the launch of the Master Chief Collection is bringing tons of new announcements with Halo 5 multiplayer details and other tidbits to know about the release of 343i’s continuation of the series.

Every weapon zooms, but the devs ensure that it won’t alter the style of game too much. You won’t need to aim down the sights consistently to remain competitive.

Many fans have disagreed on whether sprinting fits into the Halo games as well, but 343i looks to balance that as well with sprinting now tied to your shields. In order for your shields to recharge you must move at the normal pace.

The devs clearly are trying to find that perfect balance to gameplay to keep such an acclaimed series on good terms with fans.

The first few episodes of nightfall will be revealed tonight and evidently Agent Locke and his story will be keyed on. Check it out on twitch.tv/halo and check out our own stream at twitch.tv/zombie_xsp

More details to come later.

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The Master Chief Collection — Gravemind gameplay

The work put forth Blur seems to always be incredible, and the opening to this level of Halo 2: Anniversary, and the rest of the game as a whole may be their best.

The visual effects and animation company have done a remarkable job in the re-imagining of gravemind and their ability to match the same spirit and style in which Halo 2’s original CGI scenes were built.

The CGI is one thing to admire, but the gameplay itself looks just as good.The upgrades in nearly everything is awesome, but it still has the same basis for design that Halo 2 originally had.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition, and its recreation of the slightly older Halo 1 game, were able to tinker a bit more with the exact looks of things to match the contemporary style that games have now.

Halo 2: Anniversary edition looks better relative to the rest of the games in the Master Chief Collection, but Halo: Combat Evolved shows a jump that is just as significant relative to the original game.

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Halo: CE’s online multiplayer in The Master Chief Collection

Gephyrophobia was one of the maps not included in the console version of Halo: CE, but it is available in the Master Chief Collection.
Gephyrophobia was one of the maps not included in the console version of Halo: CE, but it is available in the Master Chief Collection.

For many Halo fans, almost all of their knowledge and experience with their beloved franchise has come through one source — an Xbox. So it isn’t a surprise to see the vast majority of fans clamor for a look at the returning Halo 2 multiplayer and overlook the new Halo: CE online play.

When the first Halo released on the original Xbox in 2001, online multiplayer wasn’t included and because of that many Xbox gamers do not know just how incredible Halo: CE’s multiplayer was and will be. Two years later the PC/Mac port came out and so did the game’s wonderful online multiplayer that will be making its console debut with the Master Chief Collection.

With all the PC-only maps included, it can also be expected that all the weaponry and vehicles included in Halo: CE’s online multiplayer will return as well. These PC exclusive additions to consoles will open up an entirely new Halo multiplayer experience.

The new maps to console players, Timberland, Death Island, Gephyrophobia, Danger Canyon, Ice Fields and Infinity, will open much wider areas of play, and maps that are more comparable to contemporary Halo maps. Along with the Fuel Rod Gun and Flamethrower and vehicles such as the Banshee and Rocket Warthog the original Halo multiplayer experience could be one of the most exciting inclusions to the Master Chief Collection.

Don’t be surprised when you see players flocking to the original Halo multiplayer just as much as Halo 2’s.


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