The Closing of One Door…

Hey everyone. I haven’t been playing Halo 4 as much, which also means that I haven’t been blogging about it as much either. I’ve come to realize that I have more to write about than Halo. There are other video games I enjoy as well as other activities and experiences that I want to share with everyone.

So it is with a bit of sadness that I bring this short-lived blog to a close.

The Good News is…

I’ve started up another blog whose name pays obvious homage to Halo. And I look forward to re-connecting with you all there. It’s called Fighting Rampancy. It will be the home of my life story and subsequent “success story”. It’s going to be about my thoughts on setting goals, health, fitness, relationships, finances, etc. and inspiration from anime, TV shows, movies, and, of course, video games.

I was hoping to have create some awesome Blog Grand Opening before dropping this news, but instead I wanted you all to know that I’m still alive and lurking about the interwebs. I thank each and everyone of you who have been supportive of Halo Observatory. All the awesome Matchmaking and Spartan Ops games we’ve played together have been fun and memorable. I can’t wait see you all on the Infinity again soon.

Oh, and just to be clear, I’ll still write Halo-related stuff in the new blog (which reminds me Silentium is out and I haven’t read it yet…curses!). It’ll just be intermingled with a whole bunch of other stuff.

Spartan Ops Ep 8 is awesome!

About time they added some extended fiction characters! In case you don’t know, the woman Lasky addressed on the comm as Admiral Osman is a character in Karen Traviss’ Kilo-Five trilogy. She takes over as the head of ONI from Margaret Parangosky (whose name is mentioned in one of the briefing docs that came with the LE). Interestingly enough, Osman is an ex-Spartan-II that “washed out” of the program by not completing the augmentation process. The first two of Traviss’ books (Glasslands and The Thursday War) talk about how Parangosky is grooming Osman to take over for her. I’m assuming the unnamed third title will actually have Osman assume the throne, so to speak.

Being Healthy Halo-style

I’ve been watching a lot of The Biggest Loser lately, courtesy of Hulu Plus. It has always been my personal goal to carry myself as a gamer and someone who knows when to put the controller down to stay in shape. That’s one reason why I have been playing Halo less lately. Another reason is that I haven’t had much of an urge to play Spartan Ops solo on Legendary. Matchmaking solo is also not as fun because of the lack of communication that often occurs amongst randoms (Mission 6 Episode 3 and not being able to call the airstrike sound familiar?).

Anyway, I’m trying to think of creative ways to incorporate some sort of physical activity while playing Halo and I’ve come up with a couple of things:

1.) Play an entire mission of Spartan Ops in a squat position (or assisted squat by pressing your back against a wall or other surface). Of course, finishing the full range of motion for a squat works as well.

2.) Do 10 jumping jacks/push-ups/crunches/whatever for every death you get in Spartan Ops Matchmaking. (Better than drinking shots, IMO)

This season of The Biggest Loser tackles childhood obesity, which is something many gamers can relate. While it is easy for parents and politics to blame video games and other media for this epidemic, what it really comes down to is adults educating children and motivating them to live an active lifestyle. I am tired of the social stigmas often associated with gaming and being a gamer. Hopefully you are too and will find your own ways to make a difference.

Hooray for Halo Updates!

Check out this week’s Halo Bulletin for reference.

How’s everyone enjoying this week’s episode of Spartan Ops and the new missions. Absolutely fantastic in my opinion! Although, please spread the word that in Mission 3 called “Need To Know” you can call in an air strike by assassinating the Elite that’s controlling a Covenant terminal in the cave wall next to the light barrier. Calling in that air strike will greatly reduce the number of Covenant you fight before you hit the switch at the door. HOWEVER, if you cause a ruckus and the Elite turns away from the terminal to attack, you lose access to that terminal and Sarah Palmer says something like “Guess we gotta do this the the ol’ fashioned way”.

Maybe, just maybe, letting other people know about this will encourage them to use their mics and ask “So hey, how should we do this?” Then again, some people may not care and just want to go in guns blazing. I can’t deny them their fun if that’s the case, but still…just wanted to share that little tidbit.

Also, the RvB easter egg for episode 6 is in the map called “Cyclone” (the nighttime variation of Vortex). For the exact location, I’m sure you can find it online somewhere.

In regards to this week’s Halo Bulletin, I personally don’t understand the need for the CSR. Remember, I did not play Halo 3 Multiplayer so I don’t see the point of having my skill rank advertised for all to see. I’d like to think my player skill has improved in Halo 4 over Halo: Reach, but that’s due to playing more and playing with a group that I like. My goals as a Halo player usually doesn’t include putting myself on the competitive ladder. As it is I struggle and compete in real life enough that I don’t feel the need to do so in-game. But I know I’m more the exception than the rule. And that’s fine by me.

Spartan Ops Continues!

I don’t know about you other there in InterwebLand, but I am looking forward to waking up to a new episode of Spartan Ops tomorrow morning! My man Sal over at HaloFanForLife made a really great post about what to expect in Spartan Ops going forward.
I wanted to supplement his post by adding a few other links of my own as well as some thoughts.

Spartan Ops Ep 6 Mission 3 Commentary with Gamespot.com
Spartan Ops Ep 6 Mission 4 Commentary with Gamespot.com

I wish I had called this out publicly so that I would have witnesses, but I had a feeling that Vortex was going to be used as a playspace for Spartan Ops. It is a beautiful map despite how many times it doesn’t get picked in War Games (c’mon, people, give Ragnarok a break already…although, looks like Meltdown has had the least amount of love lately). Maybe people will be more encouraged to play it after this episode.
Having a Phantom on our side is a nice change of pace, as well as more options to play through a mission, bigger maps, and opportunities to use vehicles. While I agree with many of the concerns fans have had about Spartan Ops, it makes absolutely perfect sense to me that the first half of Season One was as “slow” as it was. Like any TV show, the first few episodes tend to drag because of narrative and character development establishments. As far as the repeated environments go, I didn’t have as big of a complaint about it as most. I was actually pleasantly surprised to go into the same map but at different angles (case in point being walking into into the Fortress map on “Hacksaw
and later getting dropped into it on “Random Transport”).

All in all, I’m glad 343i is taking fan feedback to heart and I can’t wait to see where this story goes!

You Know Nerds Have Hit Mainstream When…

…they have their own reality show (the good),

Which I’m actually looking forward to since I did enjoy watching WCG Ultimate Gamer. This one will, obviously, go beyond video games to the nerd universe in general. Check out the long trailer below.

I’m sharing this because at least two of the contestants reference Halo in some way. One of them, which I already plan to cheer for, is Celeste (aka BiiTTERSWEET on XBL and missceleste on Youtube). I followed her YouTube channel years back when I flirted with the idea of competitive gaming and wanted to learn more from various players in the pro circuit. I particularly enjoyed how prepubescent newbs troll and challenge her online only to get slaughtered in 1v1 Slayer.

And speaking of sexism in online gaming, this is actually the perfect segue into a blog topic I’ve been meaning to post for sometime now.

…their online behavior conforms to society rather than rebels against it (the bad),

We, as gamers, experience derogatory language and vulgarity all the time when we’re playing online. Just because we accept it as “normal” behavior doesn’t mean it’s the “right” form of behavior. There’s a huge difference between trash-talking amongst friends and/or competitive colleagues and being straight-up asinine. The old adage “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” doesn’t quite cut it these days. The version I prefer is, “If you can’t say it in front of your mom, don’t say it at all.” Feel free to substitute “your mom” with whoever you admire if that’s a better example for you, but you get my point.

And seriously, since when did it become OK for prepubescent brats to cuss at total strangers for no reason? A few weeks ago I got a nasty voice message on XBL that was mostly incoherent except for a few high-pitched squeals of expletives. Did I do anything to deserve it? Not that I can think of. It was a game of Spartan Ops Matchmaking, for crying out loud. The point of that mode is to work cooperatively, not to throw tantrums over little things.

While I’m not out to tell people how they should live their lives, it would behoove others to consider the following:

If you are a heterosexual male who is single: Casually using terms that refer to female body parts, female animals, or the forcing of one’s will onto someone does not score you brownie points in a female’s eyes. In fact, it just makes you look like a sexist a-hole. And guess what, gents, more and more ladies game online now but you don’t know that because you’re too busy bragging about your K/D ratio.

If you are a heterosexual male who is in a relationship: If you still talk like the previous example, your girlfriend/spouse should kick you to the curb. Some women still think of video games as a childish pastime, so don’t let your behavior further perpetuate the stereotype. Even cougars want men, not boys (again, generally speaking).

Before anyone starts thinking that I’m trying to kiss up to the ladies, I will also like to mention that women are just as prone to vulgarity as men.

…when picking on other other people becomes the “cool” thing to do (the ugly).

Homophobia sets me off just a bit more than sexism does because it is present in both sexes when it comes to multiplayer. I recently left a gaming group and refused an invitation from another gaming group because of the overuse of the words “fag”, “faggot”, and “gay”. I’m confused as to why being gay was ever and is still considered a bad thing. I’m so comfortable with my heterosexuality that being called gay would actually be considered a compliment. Why? Because gay guys know how to get to a girl’s heart without getting into their pants, a skill every straight guy should learn.

Again, I don’t claim to be an expert of any kind. I just hope these words encourage more gamers to think about how society and culture affects their behavior and vice versa. We don’t need to wait for a reality show to put nerd culture in the spotlight. We can represent it positively in the way we interact with others both offline and online.

Spartan Ops Grind Guides

Trying to round out your Spartan Ops commendations but have no clue as to the difference between a Grunt Infantry and a Grunt Ultra? I found a guide series on the rough enemy count/type for every mission in Spartan Ops. I say rough because of things that can happen in-game, such as allowing Knights to spawn more Watchers.

Here’s the link below. Enjoy!

http://gamersyndrome.com/2012/xbox-360/halo-4-grind-guides-spartan-ops-season-1-episode-1/