The first day of PAX East 2013 started with a trip to the Expo floor, where hundreds of developers and gaming-related companies showed off their latest products to the tens of thousands of PAX attendees. The Castle map pack from Halo 4 was a big hit, as players enjoyed matches on Perdition, Outcast, and Daybreak, all new maps being released on April 8th.
The first panel hit up by the GrifballHub crew was the always-hilarious Rooster Teeth panel. Burnie, Jack, Barbara, Gus, and other RT employees shared the newest RWBY trailer, as well as a previously-unseen RT short and RT Animated Adventure. The RT crew also answered audience questions.
The biggest draw for the day, however, was the Halo 4 Multiplayer: Past, Present, and Future panel, hosted by 343 Industries. Jessica Shea (bs angel) hosted the panel with several employees, including 343’s Kevin Franklin.
When Kevin Franklin was introduced, Grifballers were ready to show their appreciation for the man who made sure Grifball was included in Halo 4.
The group first shared details on Halo 4’s successes since launch: 11.6 million players, 11.7 billion kills, and, most importantly:
Tom Potter from Certain Affinity then described the three maps included in the Castle map pack, which is being released on April 8th.
343 also discussed the new competitive ranking system, which will be released on April 8th, too. Every players will have a 1-50 ranking in every playlist (even Grifball!), and the ranking can be seen on your Halo Waypoint post-game reports, both on Halo.xbox.com and in the Waypoint app. Bravo warned the audience that some playlist ranks may be reset at a later time in the title’s life cycle.
343 industries discussed the new Title Update, which is being released in a matter of weeks. Aside from tweaks to the Gauss Hog and Active Camo, the TU will give 343 the power to tweak major weapon settings for individual playlists and gametypes in two important ways: The weapon power and the rate of fire.
The team showed off a crazily-overpowered Plasma Pistol and rapid-fire Storm Rifle to make the point. While hammer and sword damage are taken care of with standard gametype settings in Grifball, the rate of fire on the Gravity Hammer could feasibly be tweaked to give the gametype a more Halo 3-like feel and reduce the dominance of on-host tanking.
The final surprise announcement is sure to excite Grifball’s forge community: 343 Industries is releasing an additional map, free of charge, on April 11th. “Forge Island” is a group of three circular, entirely flat plateaus for forging. The largest island is big enough to re-create maps such as Hang ‘Em High and Blood Gulch, and the islands are certainly big enough to house Grifball courts with naturally flat floors! Forge Island comes complete with new forge pieces, too, for even more variety.
The evening concluded with a trip to Game Show Night, where Xbox Live’s Major Nelson participated as a “celebrity player” for a game of video game Jeopardy!
Sadly, Major Nelson came in dead last. It wasn’t even close.