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.

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.

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.

Happy 2013!

I hope everyone had a fun, safe New Year’s Eve and weren’t too exhausted (or hung over, for those of you of legal age to experience such a condition) on New Year’s Day. I saw the new weekly challenges in Halo 4 but haven’t started on any of them yet. I’m almost at SR-99 and I find myself not wanting to rush to SR-130. Actually, I’m less inclined to play solo now that I have a few buddies close to home that I game with.

I’m looking forward to the second half of Season One of Spartan Ops and hopefully news of Season Two! Looking forward to a full year or blogging and connecting more with the Halo community. To quote my man Cal over at Auspicious Eagle, see you all on Infinity.

Regards,
Cy

Spartan Alone

There was a time in my life where I was really invested in the card game Magic: the Gathering. Hell, there was a time where I managed to juggle being invested in a few games all at once. As the circumstances of my life have affected what I choose to do with my free time, sacrifices were made. So one by one I did less of one thing to do more with something else.
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I had many hopes during my Magic career. I thought about being a judge, card trader, and even write my own Magic-theme screenplay. The latter is still more likely to happen than the others, but the thing that broke me away from Magic is the cost to stay relevant in the game. New sets come out every 3 months or so, formats change, and the meta-game shifts even for casual players. Sure, you can stop buying new cards and work with the ones you have or figure out ways to trade or acquire cards for free from others, but there is always going to be the realization that money will need to be spent in order to keep up with this game.

Halo, on the other hand, requires less financial commitment. At the very least, you can buy the game and that’s all you’ll ever need. One game case takes up less space than most card binders, and limited space was also a huge concern of mine. Any additional effort into the game can be done at your own pace. I certainly wasn’t forced into buying all the stuff that I’ve got over the last month or so (pics are forthcoming), but I did because I love the Halo universe that much. And sure, multiplayer may force you to keep up with DLCs in order to play the latest maps/playlists, but you still have some choice in that matter. I guess you can say that I like Halo better because you can choose your level of immersion.

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Crimson Alone

I knew, however, that my love for Halo would be a love shared alone. Amongst the friends/acquaintances from my various social circles, I only know one other person besides myself who has read any of the Halo fiction. And I’m pretty sure he hasn’t read any of the new ones yet. Any time I mention to a fellow gamer that I’ve been playing Halo, the almost immediate response is, “I like/play [insert any other FPS game here].” It still startles me how multiplayer is what immediately jumps to people’s minds when they think of an FPS game. Guess you can say that I’ve been living under a rock in that sense, which is fine considering that I live on a rock.

Well, this past Wednesday night was a regular Magic hangout with several players. Even though I played a couple of games, I felt so very out of place. I enjoyed what I could of the card-slinging, but my heart longed for the same camaraderie and spirit to exist on Requiem or aboard the Infinity. I have had no luck thus far in finding local kindred Spartans.

[Campaign SPOILER ALERT!]

I didn’t want to this post to come off as, “Boo-hoo, woe is me” so I took a couple of days to center my thoughts. Ironically, my thoughts go to the loneliness that John-117 must be feeling now that Cortana is gone. How is he going to handle it in Halo 5? He’s had many lone wolf runs in the past, but this time he’s without the one thing that he cherished most. I know the feeling all too well and it makes me wonder what the future holds for us both.

Halo: A Co-Op Experience

Big mahalo (“thank you” in Hawaiian) to JustCal24 over at Auspicious Eagle and his friend, CIBCSlayer, for playing some Spartan Ops and Campaign with me. Currently I have completed half of the Campaign and the first 3 Spartan Ops episodes solo on Legendary, but really, Halo is meant to be played with buddies. This was the first time in a long while that I felt like a competent, contributing member of the group.

It’s unfortunate that I live in a timezone that’s different from most of the people I play with. C’mon, Hawaii, where dem Halo playas at? (well, the co-op variety anyway…)

In other personal Halo moments: I assassinated a Watcher for the first time yesterday! W00t! Episode 4 Mission 5 is the easiest place to do it without a jetpack. Best place to do it is in the middle room of Galileo base (aka Complex in War Games) when the Watchers hover near the ramp area. Watching this Assassination video inspired me to give it a try. Must invest in a capture card one of these days…