Happy 15th Anniversary HALO!!

Today marks 15 years since Halo debuted on the original XBOX. WOW!

We sure have seen a lot of  stories, characters, planets and other places, armors, aliens and changes along the way.

What started out as an idea by the Bungie forefathers and what would have been an RTS game for the MAC, became an FPS shooter and a franchise that was bought by Microsoft for its fledgling console, the XBOX.

2001

At the time, Master Chief was little more than a husk. One that the player would be enveloped by to take on the epic campaign. That campaign culminated in the destruction of one of the vaulted Halo rings. In between however, we tackled wave upon wave of Covenant and Flood.

2004

It didn’t stop there. While Halo CE had a local multi-player built into it, Halo 2 is arguably where Halo REALLY took off.

Not only did we, again as Master Chief, kick some alien butt, we got to do it on our home planet. Oh, you know, in a little town called, New Mombasa. The LAN parties of Halo CE didn’t go away though. Instead, they were transformed into an international setting  Instead of being called LAN parties, we had a fully functional multiplayer through servers. And Halo 2 THRIVED at it! In fact, some might say this is where multiplayer overtook campaign as the favored game mode. There is no doubt that professional eSports on consoles hit a new benchmark when Halo 2 hit the scene. Gamers from all over the U.S. Formed or joined teams to compete. Not just for noteriety, but for fame and a little bit of fortune…just a little bit. LOL

2007

The battle for earth didn’t stop there. Master Chief slammed into the ground and with just the slightest help from Sgt. Johnson, began yet another epic journey. This through lush jungles, savannahs, and another Halo ring.

Forge debuted to the delight of many gamers and for the first time enabled US to create maps for Halo. And boy, did we ever create! Foundry was one of the go to maps. In large part, that was due to the spacious interior of the preformed warehouse. Many an Infection map was made. With Haunted Mansion probably being the most played one of them all.

Multiplayer was still thriving and had in some ways increased in popularity. We had both Social and Ranked playlist. Each had several playlists to choose from and all were heavily populated.

At the end of the campaign, we were left to wonder…would we ever see Master achief again? Would he indeed be woken because we needed him??

2009

That year saw not one but TWO Halo games. First came Halo Wars. Not an FPS, but rather an RTS game. Much in the same vein as what Bungie had originally planned. Though this title was NOt made by Bungie.

Halo Wars took place several years before the events of the original trilogy of Halo games. We were introduced to Captain Cuuter, Sgt. Forge, Ellen Anders, Serina and more. Epic mostly top down gameplay allowed us to take control not just of one character, but MANY! Running UNSC troops through the Covenant like we had never done before. Once again we had Multiplayer. This time with a whole new set of strategy to learn and implement.

The crew of the Spirit of Fire had one, but at a cost, their ship’s slipspace drive. Cutter ordered everyone to Cryo chambers. Here the story ended and we though we’d never see the ship again…

Later in 2009, Halo 3: ODST hit the ground running. Literally, well within the campaign at least. Taking place right around the time of Halo 2, this time we deployed as a squad of bad ass ODSTs. We now became “the Rookie”. Though we also became other members of the squad in an intertwined set of missions.

Not as strong or armored as Spartans, as ODSTs, we had to play things slightly differently. We couldn’t just charge enemies, guns blazing. Now we had to learn tactics. It was even better if you were doing so with friends.

Halo 3: ODST also brought about a NEW game mode; Firefight! We took on hordes of Covenant at several locations. Rounds getting progressively harder and even an achievement that would take you and three of your friends on a struggle and play a game of around 2 hours or more to complete.

We saved a little critter dubbed Virgil and in doing so, helped to turn the tide of battle for what was to come.

2010

REACH

We returned to Spartan gameplay. This time as a Spartan III, with Noble team. We became Noble Six. In what was one of the arguably best features of Reach, we got to create our OWN Spartan that would play I. The campaign. We were no longer limited to playing as Master Chief. Now we could play and BE our own Spartan!

Along the way, we got to know the other Spartans of Noble team, Carter, Kat, Emile, Jun and of course, Jorge.

Each with their own special skill sets. You teamed up with one during different missions that took place all over the planet Reach and at different times of day.

Multiplayer began to change a lot in the Halo franchise with Reach’s release. Now we had loadouts we could choose from. Each one with their own Spartan ability..

We also got yet another new game mode: Invasion! Not only did we get to team up with friends as Spartans, but we got to play as Elites!! While not new to Halo, the way in which we got to play Elites in Reach was. You towered over your Spartan Enemies. Through 3 phases of the mode you fought your way through bands of enemies, be they UNSC or Covenant, depending on which side you were on, at the time.

We got a revamped Firefight. One in which saw limited waves in the matchmaking part. You battled through 15 rounds and a bonus round if you were skilled or lucky enough. All sorts of enemies from Elites, to Brutes, Jackals, Grunts, Hunters and a new one…Skirmishers. Though directly related to Jackals, Skirmishers were the more athletic and quick version of Jackals, You may miss them now, but back then, they were lethal to play against. Especially if you were brave enough to play Skirmegeddon.

Forge saw a big upgrade here. Not only could we manipulate object like we hadn’t before, we had Forge World. A MASSIVE map from which spawned some of the greatest community made maps, even til this day. Race really got a foothold in Reach and allowed us to have endless hours of fun to see who could outrun each other.

Mutiplayer took a hit from the pro community. With MLG dropping Halo Reach, dark times for Halo lay ahead. But would that last?

At the end of the campaign, Reach had been glassed, and our Spartan face insurmountable odds, only to be slain. But we knew that from the beginning.

This was Bungie’s last Halo title. People were unsure where or even IF the series would go on from here.

Enter Halo Waypoint and 343…

Roughly around the halfway point of Reach’s solo run as the current Halo game, 343 took over for Bungie. Bloom had now been fixed. Gamers slowly started to come back to multiplayer

We then got word that this would indeed NOT be the last Halo game. 343 had already been in production of Halo 4!

2011

The ten year anniversary gave us an anniversary game in the form of Halo CE Anniversary. Here we got to relive the events of CE. This time though, we had the option to switch back and forth between the classic and NEW graphic for CE. We got to start the fight all over again.

As well, we got a special map pack that was playable in Halo Reach.

2012

Wake Up John… It wasn’t just Cortana who needed Master Chief. We all did. And so, John-117 was brought out of Cryo sleep and right into battle. The remnants of the Covenant were brought together by one Jul ‘Mdama. As Master Chief, we now got to battle a new yet OLD enemy. Prometheans and the Didact!

We finally were facing off against Forerunner. The Prometheans were Forerunner robots with the digital essence of humans. And there was an endless supply of them it seemed. Not to mention, there were various forms of them. While Knights posed our biggest problem, watchers protected the knights with light shields and pesky swathes of Crawlers would swarm you from all around and in some case above and below you.

In somewhat alternating missions, we squared off against both Covenant and Prometheans. Later on in the campaign, we would be reunited with the UNSC in the form of the mighty UNSC Infinity.

At the end of the campaign, we finally challenged the Didact but at a grave cost…

Set 6 months after the events of the campaign, we would set off on 50 Spartan Ops missions. Winding their way through various locations within the Forerunner sphere, Requiem. Spartan Ops took over for Firefight. Instead of waves of enemies on various maps, we essentially got a whole other campaign. This time playiing again as your own Spartan as a member of  Fireteam Crimson. You were pitted in a contest of sorts with FIreteam Majestic to see who could finish first.

Also. We got to see much more of the UNSC Infinity, this time from the inside.

Once again Forge got a revamp. Anchor points were added to objects and magnets got the objects to stick together.

In the end, we had to deal with the loss of Cortana, a Chief who was struggling with that loss and the uncertainty of the Didact’s demise. Where would we go from here?

2013

Halo gone mobile! For the first time we got an official mobile game in Halo Spartan Assault. Playing alternately as Spartans Palmer and Davis we traversed different worlds and Forerunner locations. At first a one-person only game, we got an expansion that allowed us to play 5 missions with a friend against the vaulted flood.

2014

The Master Chief Collection. While the game suffered a horrible launch with many bugs, connection issues and the like, it would eventually settle off to be the collection of the Halo numbered games and an addition of ODST.

A whopping amount of achievements made even the most hardened achievement hunter’s mouth drop. 4,000 gamerscore.

Within HMCC as it came to be called, we got Halo 2 Anniversary. Switching between classic and updated graphics campaign was now instantaneous. We also got our introduction to Spartan Locke.

2015

Once again, we got another twofer. Halo Spartan Strike would come out early in the year and was the second official mobile game.  Here we played as an Orange and White armor colored Spartan. This top down shooter, like its predecessor, Spartan Assault, pitted us against Covenant. But we also face off against Prometheans as well.

The game gave us a new vehicle to play with. The Kestrel. The name was brought back from an old Bungie concept piece of art for a ship. In fact, much of the Kestral’s finished design was based off that concept piece.

No co-op play this time, but still a fun mobile game.

Later in 2015 came Halo 5. Master Chief had been reunited with the other members of Blue Team. They went rogue and it was decided that a new fire team led by Spartan Locke would be brought in to bring Chief back. This new team, Fireteam Osiris, included Spartans Vale and Tanaka. Vale having been introduced via a novel, while Tanaka was introduced in a comic book. And of course, the final member of Osiris, Buck. Yep, Buck got a promotion to Spartan. They used to say if he were any better, he’d be a Spartan. Guess he got better…

Much of the campaign had us playing as Locke or other members of Osiris if you were playing co-op campaign . Though we did get 3 missions to play as Chief and Blue Team. Jul ‘Mdama and his now failing remnant of the Covenant We being decimated by the Arbiter and Prometheans who had now turned on Jul.

WE faced a new enemy in the Warden Eternal as well as a friend turned enemy in Cortana. Is that really her or is it a fragment? Time will tell.

Multiplayer got a big remix. Gone were some of the past abilities like jet pack and new abilities out in place like Clamber.

343 made a distinct effort to get Halo back to the top of the eSports world. It’s first Halo 5 competition ending in a more than $2 million dollar prize pool!

Halo 5’s Forge was a massive overhaul from Forge in past titles. For six months we got more and more forge items and tools to work with and still are, as of this writing.

DLC for Halo 5 was free, much to the delight of gamers. This meant no one was left behind.

A new gamemode made its debut. Warzone. Think BIG big team. Now 12v12 instead of 8v8 and with a heavy mix of AI to fight along the way as well.

The REQ system was also introduced in Halo 5. This a new means to garner new armor, weapons, assassinations, emblems and more.

While Halo 5 continues to thrive, we look to the future.

Today marks 15 years of Halo. Will there be 15 more?

If Halo Wars 2 in 2017 and Halo 6 on the distant horizon have anything to say about it, we’ve still got a lot of Halo left to play!

Thanks for sticking with me in this long article, I had it much longer, but had to cut it down somewhat. The original article was another 3/4 as long again as this one….

Yes, I may have skilled over some things, but when talking about  15 year franchise, it’s hard to get everything I There and still try to have a short article.

I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

Sal.

HFFL’s 4 Annual LAN Recap!

Whew, apologies for the late recap on this.

As you may know, I hold a yearly LAN. This year’s was on the weekend of August 13, 14. However, for me, things started rolling on the 11th. So this is where I’ll start the recap.

Thursday, August 11, 2016
My first LAN attendee arrived this day. We call him by his nickname, ‘Dij’. I consider him one of my best friends, not just through XBOX/Halo, but in life. He decided to come up a couple days early and arrived in the early evening.  This was not only save on airfare but to get in some other activities. So the first thing we did after I picked him up from the airport was to stop at the Pittsburgh famous Primanti Bros.

There we each got one of their huge sandwiches. Pictured below is one from the LAN weekend a couple years ago. It has your choice of meat, cheese, fries, tomato and coleslaw. Now, for those of you who have never had, believe me, this WORKS! I’m not a fan of most coleslaw, but Primanti’s has the best slaw I’ve ever had. I always encourage anyone who’s never had a Primanti’s to have a bite or two as it normally is, then decide to take off whatever they may not like. Most people find out that it’s really good as delievered.

Friday Primantis

After this we headed over to Toys R Us, where Dij bought the newly released Mega Bloks Kubros Master Chief figure. (I”ll have my toy review of that set soon.)

Then we headed to my place to relax for the rest of the night.

Friday, August 12, 2016
We proceeded to start with some of the set-up for the LAN. Dij was getting the extra XBOX One updated, while I brought up my TV and XBOX set-up from my ‘man-cave’ in the basement.
Much of the stuff I wanted to have out for display had already been set-up before Dij even got into town, so there wasn’t a ton left to do.

After what seemed like quite a bit of time updating the other XB1, we were set-up to start gaming, or so we thought. Turns out the other XBOX, the one I eventually got from MS after 4 months of trying to get back my original after it was lost in the mail, had a defective disc drive… Thankfully, I actually had yet another XB1. This one was the one Dij and friends had pulled together to get me when I was having those issues with MS/XB last year (unbeknownst to me). He got that one up and running and we gamed for several hours.

My wife made a great Chicken Pesto with Pasta dinner, then we gamed the rest of the night.

Saturday, August 13, 2016
Finally the first day of the 4th Annual LAN was here!

We had to cancel p[lans for the tatoo session as the tatoo shop made a switch in personnel and didn’t have staff for us. Meh, no worries…

12:30pm Folks start to arrive! Pens_Halo brought pizza from his dad’s restaurant, always a hit! We had folks form all over the U.S. Texas, Colorado, and New Jersey for example, not to mention of course several from right here in Pittsburgh, PA.

hffl4lan-jersey-boys-setup
1pm Set-up is finished and we’re ready to start gaming. We played both BTB and a little bit of customs until lunch time. Above shows only a portion of the set-up. There was MORE! Continue reading

Going through a bit of a rough spell folks.

Apologies for not posting as I said I would. Life is a bit rough for me at present. So that’s taking precedent over blogging.

I ask for your patience. I have PLENTY to post, I just need to take care of a couple things first.

With deep humility and respect to you my readers,
Sal

I’m back after a much needed break. What’s been happening!

Okay folks, I’m back to blogging full time again.

Quite a bit has happened in the month of August, both for Halo in general and me/HFFL in specific. So let me give a quick run down of topics that I’ll be catching up on from Halo as well as HFFL happenings.

Okay, let’s work backwards from present to the HFFL LAN (August 13/14).

Halo Happenings:

• Anvil’s Legacy Preview: The September Update!
• Loot Crate drops: A look at the Halo Loot Crate. Was it worth it??
• Halo 5 Forge System Requirements for PC: What you need to know, to run Forge on your PC
• Community Action Sack: The many fun (and maybe not so fun) community mini games in the now official Action Sack playlist
• The Halo App for Windows 10 PC: Hmm, what have we here?
• Team Arena Fall Preview: A look at potnetial changes and more for Team Arena.

I will be posting articles on each over the next couple of days to catch up on the official Halo news.

Now to HFFL Happenings. This time I’ll go from the LAN and work to present:

• HFFL 4th Annual LAN: All the events and pics and stories from the Fourth Annual LAN!
• I get a surprising phone call… Might I be moving to Seattle?
• Hopes are dashed. [Redacted]
• It’s a UNYque world. I get to play with a 343 employee. Guess who?
• Achievement Unlocked: Achilles Armor! One step closer to be an ‘actual’ Spartan
• A HALOva Happy Birthday! My Halo haul from my birthday.
• Missed it by THAT much! [Redacted]
• The future and beyond… What the future holds for HFFL as well as my hopes and dreams for it.

Now each of those as well will be articles. All of which will be NEW content that pertains specifically to HFFL!

Now, before I get to all of that, allow me to address my moderte absence from blogging for most of the month of August. Continue reading

HFFL’s Fourth Annual LAN: Schedule of Events

hffl for sal
This weekend on Saturday and Sunday from noon-8pm EST, I will be hosting the FoUrth Annual HFFL LANstravaganza.

Admission: $20 per day or $30 if you attend both days.
Food and soda is included with price of admission. As well as a small door prize, while supplies last.

There will be raffle tix for sale for a mix of Halo Swag. Value is no less than $50 for the prize. Tix are $5 each. Need not be present to win. Continue reading

HFFL Spartan Company Commendations to work on.

Below are the remaining level 3 commendations the HFFL Spartan Company needs to work on to get the Achilles armor.

HFFL Commendations Aug 16 to get

We are getting very close on the top 4 of those. It’s the bottom 3 we need to pay attention to.

I will accept new members until August 16. At that time, new membership will be suspended until such time as we get the Achilles armor. Then I will once again open it up for new members. This is to ensure that people aren’t just joining to get the armor, then leave.

If you want to join, you have 11 days in which to do so. Send a request to join here:

https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/spartan-companies/halofanforlife

There should be a link there for you to sign up. In doing so, you MUST be VERY active. Since we are very close to getting the armor, I will not allow for inactive people to sign up and get the armor for no work towards it. I will be monitoring member activity DAILY. From Aug 16 until we get the armor. New members that join between now and the 16 MUST play at least 20 games within three days (straight). If you cannot maintain this amount of gameplay, you will be removed from the company. Members who are currently in will be monitored for activity but on a different scale as most of those have been members for awhile.

Also, to all of my Lieutenants of the Company, from Aug 16 until we get the Armor, you will be temporarily demoted to member. This is to ensure that we do not get a flux of new members without my knowledge, and more importantly, ones who are not active.

So recruit now!

Fourth Annual HFFL LANstravaganza!

hffl for sal

Every August, I hold a LAN party. This year is no different. In fact, just TWO weeks from tomorrow, I’ll be hosting the FOURTH annual HFFL LAN event.

I had hoped to make this a big event, though that wasn’t in the cards this year. So hopefully next year.

As for the event itself, it will be from noon-8pm EST on August 13 AND 14. The first time the HFFL LAN will be a TWO-DAY event!

This is being held in Pittsburgh, PA. (As it always is, due to this being my home city.) Continue reading

Been busy with Firefight, how about you?

I’ve been playing so much Warzone Firefight and Forging that I’ve not posted on the blog for almost a week…apologies…

At any rate, Firefight has been such a grand time. If you haven’t played it, you NEED to. If you’ve only played a little, get back in there and shoot up some Covies and Prometheans!

I’ll get some articles out later today (Thursday).

I have planned a fan interview, some Halo Mega Bloks news, and of course Halo 5 news.

Thanks for sticking with me folks. It continues to be my honor to bring you news from around the Haloverse/Domain!

HFFL Spartan Company Commendations as of 6-7-16

We’re getting much closer to unlocking the Achilles Armor!

The graphic below shows our Spartan Company Commendation progress as of this writing (6-7-16). I took the liberty adding the bigger numbers to highlight where we’re at and which one we need to focus on.

The level 3 commendations are the most important to get to the next level as that means we will have unlocked the Achilles armor.

SparComp Commendations 6-7-16 v3 Continue reading

Still down for the count…

Well, I had planned to have an article today on the Phaeton Helios. I got some work done on the graphics, but my back couldn’t take sitting that way for too long.

Pas you may have read yesterday, I hurt my back. Looks like I’m going to need another day. grrrr…

Hang with me folks, normal blogging to resume shortly.

New articles coming tomorrow!

I’d have had these up today, however, I sprained my back gardening…

Anyway, tomorrow, I plan to have an article on the Phaeton Helios, that was just released in the Momories of Reach update.

May also have something for Halo 5’s campaign.That one depends on how much better I feel tomorrow.

Sal

Im looking for a few great Halo fans to help here at HFFL!

Want to be a part of a Halo Community? Want to help make it grow? HaloFanForLife.com could use your help.

I’m looking for:

  • Talented video editors (Youtube) to help make videos for HFFL. These would include gameplay, news, reviews, and more.
  • Are you a writer? I’m looking for at least two people to write articles for HFFL. Specifically, I need someone who is heavily in tune with Halo eSports. If selected, you would be responsible covering all of the Halo Championship series tournaments. This doesn’t mean you need to go to them. Rather, you would need to post up to date brackets, commentaries on pro gameplay and such. As well, if there are any major roster changes for the popular pro teams you would be expected to report on that. Again, this will require someone who knows the pro scene well, not just someone who is casually interested.
  • Forge specialist. This position will require a person with extensive knowledge of Halo’s Forge.
  • Web Design. Specifically, I’m looking for someone who can design a great Forum. As I don’t want to have to pay for another site, you will need to be versed in how to build Forums using some form of free forum service. Continue reading

HFFL’s Official Halo 5 Spartan Company: Progress towards Achilles Armor!

Folks, if you still have not joined a Spartan Company or are unhappy with the one you’re in for whatever reason, consider joining HFFL’s Spartan Company.

We’ve just recently gone over 50 members of the 100 member limit cap.

HFFL SparCom member size

As well, we are progressing nicely towards the Achilles Armor that is exclusive to only those persons who have joined a Spartan Company AND have completed level 3 in ALL company Kill Commendations. The Helmet is achieved by completing level 5 of all kill commendations. Continue reading

HFFL is now streaming on Twitch!

I’ve finally decided to start streaming Halo. Been doing this for about a week now. From now on, my plans are to stream every time I’m playing Halo.

To check out the stream, go to twitch.tv/halofanforlife.

I mostly play ion the evenings Eastern Standard Time.

As for the chat during the stream, I likely won’t be able to respond to that so quickly as I”m using an iPad to view it while gaming. The text is tiny, so it’s a bit hard for me to read it. I’ll do my best until a better option is made available though. If you chat via XBOX’s Twitch app, I won’t be able to see that at all as I don’t like having apps snapped. It takes up too much of the screen for my tastes.

I’m back (with an explanation)

Wow, it’s been nearly a month since a post has been put up. There are reasons for that though.

It started off with me downloading an update for WordPress. Along with that, I had been looking into changing a little bit of the look to the blog. That required me changing some code…. That is where things went wrong….

The update for one really slowed things down for me on the backend of the site. It was taking forever to upload graphics for example.

The big issue came though when I went to change just a few lines of code. I thought I had the right code and in the right place. Nope…. This in effect not only halted me being able to post, but actually shut me out of my site for about 2 weeks. I tried desperately to get help from WordPress and was given so many different answers that I didn’t know which was right or not.

I called up my hosting service and after talking with 6 people finally found someone who was versed in WordPress. He was able to help me get back into my site. For those of you following me on Twitter, you may have seen my post that said blogging would be back to normal. Well, I thought it would have been then… That didn’t happen as planned. I still needed to fix coding. Yikes, this got very frustrating.

Thankfully, over the weekend, I finally got things straight. Had another update to do and was a bit apprehensive about doing that, but I did. So now things are working and I can post again.

My sincere apologies for those of you who look to HFFL for your Halo news. One lesson I’ve learned is to NOT change code.

Anyway, now that things are good, I’m going to be playing catch up for the last month’s worth of Halo news. So forgive me if you’ve already read those bits of news elsewhere.

Sincerely,
Sal