Halo: The Master Chief Collection: Your Journey Begins
At the time of this writing, there are approximately five days left until the 11th day of November. In past years, this date may not have held great significance, but if you’re like us, you may have had a figurative “X” on the calendar since June of this year.
In just five days’ time, experiences both familiar and new await. On its 10-year anniversary, Halo 2 will return to Xbox Live, and bring with it a broad package of games and content. A newly re-mastered Campaign as well as a suite of re-mastered multiplayer maps have been prepared in Halo 2: Anniversary. Halo: Combat Evolved will make its Xbox Live debut, and perhaps even provide an opportunity for some of you to play the game that started it all for the first time. Halo 3 and Halo 4 (along with all other titles) will make their Xbox One debut in full HD at 60fps. The Halo Channel will be your new home for entertainment and programming, including the first episode of Halo: Nightfall. In addition, new terminals, hundreds of achievements, and more await. Your journey is about to begin, and we hope you’re as excited as we are.
This week, we have a few new topics to cover, including skulls, LASO playlists, ranks, a new eSports league, and more. Let’s get to it.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Skulls & LASO Playlists
Over the past few months, we’ve discussed skulls and campaign playlists, but now seems like an appropriate time to dig into these, especially when you consider that this is the last chance to do so. To get the latest, I grabbed Max Szlagor, Senior Designer on The Master Chief Collection, who proceeded to give me so much information that I just had to write it down. These etchings have been transcribed below.
The Master Chief Collection includes 37 different skulls, including several unique additions to Halo 2: Anniversary. Skulls are modifiers that can change Campaign gameplay in a variety of ways, and are closely tied to the Campaign scoring and timing systems, as well as leaderboards. With the exception of the pre-order skulls (which will unlock globally on December 12, noted with an *) and Swarm, every skull is unlocked and available from the start. Skulls are broken down into two categories: Scoring and Non-Scoring. Scoring skulls amp up the challenge and reward players with higher score multipliers or bonuses to base enemy values when turned on. Non-Scoring skulls can either be neutral, such as Grunt Birthday Party, or in cases of cheat-like skulls, have a score multiplier of zero. Zero multiplier skulls like Scarab disqualify level times and scores from being recorded on the leaderboard and disable achievements.
Click here for a full run down of the entire skull list along with the games each skull appears in.
As many of you may have noticed, a number of achievements reward players for completing the LASO (Playing on Legendary with “all skulls on”) Campaign playlists in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. These achievements can be earned in either solo or co-op play.
Here is more info on which skulls are enabled for each LASO playlist:
Halo CE: Anniversary
- Black Eye, Boom, Fog, Eye Patch, Foreign, Famine, Malfunction, Recession
Halo 2: Anniversary
- Anger, Assassins, Black Eye, Blind, Boom, Catch, Fog, Eye Patch, Famine, Iron, Jacked, Malfunction, Masterblaster, Mythic, Recession, SO…ANGRY…, Streaking, That’s Just…Wrong, They Come Back, Thunderstorm
- Black Eye, Blind, Catch, Cowbell, Famine, Fog, Grunt Birthday Party, Iron, IWHBYD, Mythic, Thunderstorm, Tilt, Tough Luck
- Black Eye, Blind, Catch, Fog, Cowbell, Famine, Iron, Mythic, Thunderstorm, Tilt, Tough Luck
Each of these skulls should provide you with an opportunity to replay past missions (or play them for the first time!) with a variety new surprises, explosions, difficulty, and creativity. And with nearly all skulls unlocked, you have no excuses. Enjoy!
Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Ranking System
Since we detailed The Master Chief Collection’s ranking system with IGN,we have seen a few inquiries regarding further specifics, so we figured we’d talk a bit more about it.
As you’ve heard, the ranking system lives at the playlist level, meaning that you’ll have an independent skill-based rank for each ranked playlist. We also modified matchmaking to use new skill detection, which will put players into the fairest matches faster than any Halo game to date.
Additionally, we built Halo: The Master Chief Collections’ ranking system to emulate the exact Halo 2-style leveling, but it is a system that has been built from the ground up. This is the first time we’ve built a Matchmaking and ranking system that will work across multiple games, and as a result, we’ll be rolling out ranking for each playlist post-launch, and will launch with one ranked playlist, Team Halo 2: Anniversary. As time goes on, we’ll be rolling out the official ranked version for each ranked playlist. For example, the Halo 3 and Halo 4 playlists will not be ranked immediately at launch (however, they will still have skill matchmaking underneath to ensure balanced matches), but will each receive ranked play post-launch. As this is a new system custom built for this game, we do expect some players to make every effort to exploit the system, and will be agile in issuing fixes and updates. Additionally, if needed, we will reset ranks after launch to ensure that all player’s ranks are fair, consistent, and accurate. We’ll provide more details on ranking and the playlist ranking rollout in the near future.
Lastly, we have seen a few questions regarding where you rank will appear (specifically if it appears in the pre-game lobby) so this week, we grabbed a pre-game lobby Matchmaking screenshot from Halo: The Master Chief Collection. As you’ll see below, in Matchmaking, your rank will indeed be displayed in the pregame lobby, which means that you’ll be able to see the ranks of those you’re playing with and against before the match.