Because Bungie loves me. Or rather, because they love that I love playing their game. It is a very strange and cyclical conversation, convoluted and confusing even to me.
Bungie is directly responsible for me purchasing the original X-Box, because I wanted to be able to get online and play Halo 2 with my friends. I’ve played every Halo game released for the consoles, including Halo Wars. Which wasn’t Bungie, but was still interesting. I read one of the novels, because I appreciate a fleshed out back-story. And of course, I’m playing Reach.
I hadn’t planned on writing on the subject of Halo, but I suppose it was bound to come up. I love Bungie for this reason here. For those of you too lazy or disinterested to follow the link, Bungie released a playlist update. Bungie loves their community, they aim to please their most rabid, devoted fans. And for that, I love them. Because they want to make their multiplayer matchmaking accessible and enjoyable. You have choice over your abilities, your appearance, what game styles you play, what maps you play, what game types you play. You still have to want to play, and if you haven’t played Halo before, I doubt I could sell you on it now.
The days before Xbox Live were a frightening landscape for multiplayer. Your choices were hosted servers, clans and Everquest. Or somebody set up a LAN with Quake 2 in the high school computer lab. Now all of a sudden, anybody with high-speed internet connection and a Live account can play Halo with people across the country. I’m not going to go on the Call of Duty rant like I want to, because annoying gamers are a whole separate post. My friend Justin has a great one, in fact. You can read it here.
So now Bungie has made a game that can evolve based on community interest and support. We have the magnificent level editor of Forge World, a brilliant campaign that will soon get matchmaking, Firefight and your standard multiplayer fragfests. Add to that the Daily and Weekly Challenges, bribing you with credits to customize your character and gain rank so that you’ll keep playing.
And Bungie constantly dares the competition to keep up. Sure, make all the arguments you want for Call of Duty, the leveling mechanic with weapons and perks. Bungie’s leveling mechanic is empty, a placebo. You don’t get anything. I mean you do, but the things you get won’t make you a better gamer. They won’t get you the best assault rifle with the perfect scope, or a nuclear bomb to help you win. Everybody is equal in Halo, with the exception of skill. It’s a good day when I get 10 kills in a free-for-all.
But I come back for more, in the end. Sure, because my friends play. I can play video games with old friends like we used to. Or new friends that I don’t get to see very often. It’s the nerd social network, and it has been since you had to stop moving to type your trash talking into a special box on screen. I’m done lavishing attention on this game. If you play, read the update. My gamer tag is Jack Corbae. I’ll close you out with some videos of Bungie Bloopers.