Three takeaways from the HCS Summer League thus far

The third week of the HCS Summer League has ended, and the top three picture is starting to become clearer. These are three observations of the Summer Season before we enter the final week of competition.

 

Semantics Really Matter, Apparently

Fans who had tuned into the second day of Pro League week three play were met with an extended delay early-on. The match countdown timer had ended and instead replaced by a “We’ll be back” graphic. The series was set to feature teams Luminosity Gaming and OpTic Gaming, and likely would have drawn in a larger crowd. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins of Luminosity is a popular streamer on Twitch, and OpTic is the undisputed best team in Halo 5. Fans were eager to see how the new addition to Luminosity, Ryan “RyaNoob” Gettes, would perform in his second Pro League outing.

When the casters finally returned, some-30 minutes later, they explained to the audience that Luminosity would be forfeiting the match. The reason for the forfeit being that Luminosity had only requested a substitute player for one match, not two. The team is using the term “substitute” for RyaNoob, as he has yet to officially sign with Luminosity.

Ninja clarified his intentions on Twitter, which seem perfectly logical.

It’s disappointing, but surprising to see a match with the potential to bring in viewers be dealt with in such a way. OpTic probably would have won the series anyways, but that is beside the point. ESL have seen their fair share of criticism from the Halo community. Situations like this certainly do not help.

 

EnVyUs Should Avoid Game 5 Like the Plague

Team EnVyUs could be having a drastically different season right now. Currently at 2-3, EnVy is in a tough spot. They find themselves among two other capable teams in the throes of uncertain Pro League placement. It’s no question that EnVy is a better team than Evil Geniuses or Luminosity. But to an outsider, they may just seem like another average team taking up a middling spot in the top eight.

So just what happened, exactly?

In week one of Pro League play, EnVy squared off against OpTic gaming. EnVy had just embarrassed OG at HCS Atlanta, and was riding high. After jumping out to a 2-0 series lead, the series looked all but over for OpTic. Except it wasn’t.

OpTic caught fire, and stunned EnVy with three back-to-back wins, taking the series. EnVy had every opportunity to close the series, but couldn’t. The loss put EnVy in a hole early, and set the tone for OpTic to win four more consecutive Pro League series.

EnVy’s face-off against Splyce in week three painted a similar picture, just without the demoralizing reverse-sweep. The series went back-and-forth, with neither team claiming too much momentum. The two squads eventually arrived at game five, where Splyce would narrowly emerge victorious.

If EnVy were able to take each series, they’d be at a comfortable 4-1, and likely tied for the top spot. A placement that provides a much clearer demonstration of their true ability. Although this isn’t the case, there’s no reason why it can’t be. EnVy plays both Ronin Esports and Str8 Rippin next week, who are the 7th and 8th seeded teams. Two wins against these vulnerable squads may elevate EnVy into the top three.

 

The OpTic vs. Splyce Showdown is Going to Be Epic

OpTic Gaming is a team that needs no introduction. They’re the back-to-back World Champs and the most dominant force in Halo 5. The roster monopolizes the “Top 5 Players” discussion, and they belong to one of the biggest orgs in esports.

Bubu dubu of Splyce. Image by FantasyHCS.

 

Splyce, on the other hand, is a different story. After having their Pro League spot essentially stolen, Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller and crew made a grueling trek through the amateur Halo scene, wiping the floor with nearly every AM team as they went. Splyce went on to place top six at the Halo World Championship and secured their place in the big leagues.

Splyce only got better with the acquisition of power slayer Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, who helped them secure a top four finish at HCS Daytona. Since qualifying for the Summer Pro League, they have all but demolished the competition. Both a hyper-aggressive playstyle and slaying prowess have carried Splyce to five straight victories in the Pro League.

When these two teams meet up next week, it will surely be the most exciting Pro League series thus far. While it’s nearly impossible to predict an outcome for the series, Halo fans can be assured that it will be far from boring.

 

Featured Image by TeamBeyond.net

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Week 3 Day 2 HCS Pro League Predictions

Week Three of the HCS Pro League Summer Season is shaping up to be the most interesting one yet. Earlier this week, it was announced that Team Liquid and Str8 Rippin would be exchanging players. The transaction was finalized, with Tim “Rayne” Tinkler now a member of Str8 Rippin, while Aaron “ACE” Elam found his new home on Team Liquid.

Both teams suffered a rocky start to this season of the Pro League, and a roster swap may just be the solution to their Summer Season woes. This article breaks down each matchup for the second day of Pro League Week Three and predicts each victor.

Splyce vs. Team EnVyUs

SPY: Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi

nV: Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Justin “Pistola” Deese, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Cuyler “Huke” Garland

Snip3down of Team EnVyUs. Image by EsportsWikis

If there is a matchup for Splyce to lose, this may be it. Although Splyce has the raw slaying power to compete with most teams, EnVy has the experience to counter. This shows when the assists of each team are compared. EnVy’s 430 assists in the Pro League outclass Splyce’s 394. This means that while Splyce may have greater success in one-on-one battles, EnVy reduces the chance of players being caught alone. EnVy will allow Splyce to be only as aggressive as EnVy wants them to be, setting up team shots, and playing the numbers game.

Another benefit for EnVy is their ability to stay calm under pressure. Rarely do the ever allow blowouts or snowball victories, and this doesn’t look to change any  time soon. If Splyce wants to hold on for a series win, they cannot get complacent. No series lead is safe against EnVyUs, and Splyce must remember that.

Key Matchup:

Snip3down leads EnVyUs with 27 Sniper Rifle kills in the Pro League, the highest kill count between both teams. Splyce must keep the power weapon out of his hands if they want to take this series. If not, expect Snip3down to continue slaying and creating openings for himself and the rest of EnVy.

Prediction: Team EnVyUs 3 – 2 Splyce

OpTic Gaming vs. Luminosity Gaming

OG: T.j. “Lethul” Campbell, Matt “Royal2” Fiorante, Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom

LG: Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Joe “TriPPeY” Taylor, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson

OpTic Gaming has been, and will continue to be, a force of nature in Halo 5. The roster leads the league in crucial stats, and they have dominated each matchup thus far. Luminosity, on the other hand, hasn’t had the greatest Pro League showing. At 1-2, LG desperately needs wins to turn their record around and become contenders. As mentioned in the Day 1 predictions article, this is a make-or-break week for the squad. A winless Week Three likely means roster turmoil, which could signal further losses as new players adjust.

If Luminosity wants to have any chance at victory, they must outclass OpTic with firepower. All four members of OpTic currently lead the league in damage output per game. Their ability to constantly apply pressure and keep the enemy shields chipped away greatly contributes to their success. LG’s current damage output is dismal in comparison, and their ability to step up will determine how quick this series ends.

One player that needs to specifically improve is Ninja. He currently leads the Pro League in Deaths Per Game and has the lowest K/D, accuracy and damage output on the team. If Ninja cannot improve in Week Three, he might find himself in hot water for a roster change.

Key Matchup: It’s OpTic Gaming, there really is no key matchup here. OpTic is too good at everything, and it will require a herculean effort by LG to keep up.

Prediction: OpTic Gaming 3 – Luminosity Gaming 0

Evil Geniuses vs. Str8 Rippin

EG: Justin “Roy” Brown, Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez, Michael “Falcated” Garcia

Str8: Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Tim “Rayne” Tinkler, Bradley “aPG” Laws, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

In an interesting move, Str8 Rippin acquired Rayne from Team Liquid, in exchange for Ace. While Rayne has proven to be a top objective player in Pro League, it’s questionable whether he brings the slaying power that Str8 needs. He leads the league in Flag Defense and Flag Return stats, but also has the fourth-highest deaths per game, joining teammate aPG. With Rayne playing as a CTF anchor, his defense may open opportunities for players like Danoxide to get crucial kills.

Rayne of Str8 Rippin. Image by Twitter.com/Str8Rippin

The matchup with EG will, however, show off Str8’s objective prowess against another OBJ-minded team. Both Str8 and EG are winless in Slayer game types in the Pro League. Handing EG their first Strongholds loss of the season will allow Str8 some confidence in their objective game. Such a victory may give them a clearer focus when it comes to improving slayer strategy and create a path to improve their abysmal 0-3 record.

For all intents and purposes, this week is all about Rayne. His performance and synergy with his new teammates will dictate whether or not Str8 Rippin can be saved this season. If Str8 finishes Week Three at 0-5, it is almost guaranteed that they will finish the Pro League in last place.

Key Matchup: Slayer, slayer, slayer. Neither EG or Str8 have claimed a victory in the game type through three weeks. The team that can capitalize during slayer games will win this series.

Prediction: Evil Geniuses 3 – 2 Str8 Rippin


Do you agree with these predictions? What are your thoughts on Rayne joining Str8 Rippin? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image by GameRevolution 

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Week 3: Day 1 HCS Pro League Predictions

Next Wednesday, Week 3 of the HCS Pro League Summer Season kicks off. After a short Week 2, and additional break period, the best Halo teams in the world will continue to battle for first place. This week features several new matchups, and Visal “eL TowN” Mohanan’s debut on Ronin Esports.

The outcomes of Week 3 may have larger ramifications than just a number added to a Win/Loss record. With the roster transfer period now open, teams in the lower half of the top 8 may use this week to determine necessary roster changes. This article will provide insight into each Day 1 matchup of Pro League Week 3, and predict the outcomes of each match.

 

Ronin Esports vs. Luminosity Gaming

RE: Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, Cory “Str8 Sick” Sloss, Ayden “Suspector” Hill, Visal “eL TowN” Mohanan

LG: Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Joe “TriPPeY” Taylor, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson

After a slow start to the season, Luminosity Gaming showed some muscle in their week 2 matchup against Team Liquid. Luminosity were convincingly defeated in game 1, but rallied back with three straight wins, handing Liquid their second loss of the season. Leading the pack was Saiyan, who posted an impressive 1.39 K/D with 61% accuracy. LG were able to rally behind Saiyan’s slaying power to secure a much-needed victory.

eL TowN of Ronin Esports. Image by Halo Esports wikis.

Week 3 is make-or-break for Luminosity. A win against an adjusting Ronin Esports roster will boost them to 2-2 and put them in a contending spot for top 4. With a matchup against OpTic Gaming looming, the last thing LG wants is to go completely winless in week 3.

Ronin Esports have also experienced their fair share of troubles this season. A 1-2 start prompted the release of Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, who has now been replaced by eL TowN. Although the team has struggled with slaying, the reunification of HWC 2016 runners-up Suspector and eL TowN may bring more cohesion to the team. In week 3, Ronin Esports will look to rebound from their week 2 steamrolling by OpTic and Splyce, while working out some kinks.

Key Matchup: Despite the league-high 6.50 Stronghold Captures Per Game by Victory X, Luminosity Gaming is 1-3 in Strongholds games. Ronin, however, is still winless in Strongholds matchups. Look for Luminosity Gaming to capitalize on Victory’s objective prowess to secure a win on the gametype.

Prediction: Luminosity Gaming 3 – 1 Ronin Esports

 

Splyce vs. Str8 Rippin

SPY: Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi

Str8: Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “aPG” Laws, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

Splyce has been firing on all cylinders this season. They currently sit 3-0, and are tied for first place with OpTic Gaming. They are decimating the competition, and it is especially evident in their stats. Shotzzy, Renegade, and bubu dubu are all in the top 5 for Pro League K/D, and Shooter has the fourth-highest KDA in the league. The team also has players in the top 5 for Flag Captures, Flag Defends, and Stronghold Captures.

The slaying powerhouse is currently undefeated in both Slayer and Capture the Flag gametypes, but has a 2-2 record for Strongholds matches. This week, Splyce will look to tighten up their objective strategy, and come out unscathed against a winless Str8 Rippin squad.

On the opposite end of the spectrum sits Str8 Rippin. The team is desperately seeking their first Pro League victory, and will have to claim that victory from one of the hardest-slaying rosters in the league. This bodes poorly for Str8 and veteran aPG, who has the second-highest Deaths Per Game at 16. It is unlikely that Str8 will win this matchup, which may leave some scratching their heads at what Str8’s next move will be. If a roster change is on the horizon, Str8 will have to catch fire to have any hope of a top 4 finish.

Key Matchup: Splyce has yet to lose a Slayer game, and Str8 hasn’t won a single Slayer game. Str8 must go all-out in an attempt to catch Splyce off-guard in slayers, or this series is as good as over.

Prediction: Splyce 3 – 0 Str8 Rippin

 

EnVyUs vs. Team Liquid

nV: Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Justin “Pistola” Deese, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Cuyler “Huke” Garland

TL: Kevin “Eco” Smith, Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler, Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Zane “SubZero” Hearon

Pistola of Team EnVyUs. Image by FantasyHCS

Despite a close series loss to OpTic Gaming in week 1, EnVy has performed well in the Pro League. The HCS Daytona Champions currently hold a 2-1 record, and will look to fight their way toward the top 2 this week. In their way stands Team Liquid, looking to rebound from a loss to Luminosity in week 2. These teams are no strangers, as they’ve met several times in tournament play. This familiarity, however, plays to the advantage of Team EnVyUs.

In their most recent matchup, Liquid were handed a 4-0 sweep in the Losers Bracket finals at HCS Daytona. To have a chance at defeating EnVy, Liquid must learn to stay alive when it counts. Both Rayne and SubZero are near the top of Deaths Per Game, which may explain Liquid’s winless Capture the Flag streak.

To win this series, Liquid must out-manage EnVy for power weapon control. Any player on EnVy has the potential to go off when handed a power weapon. If left unchecked, EnVy will meticulously pick off opposing players, and snowball their way to a victory.

Key Matchup: Pistola currently leads the league in Flag Captures Per Game at 1.25. He will be facing-off against Rayne, who leads the league in both Flag Returns Per Game, and Flag Defense Per Game. If Liquid can shut down Pistola’s flag attempts, they greatly increase their chance of victory.

Prediction: EnVyUs 3 – 1 Team Liquid

 

OpTic Gaming vs. Evil Geniuses

OG: T.j. “Lethul” Campbell, Matt “Royal2” Fiorante, Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom

EG: Justin “Roy” Brown, Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez, Michael “Falcated” Garcia

Closing out Day 1 of Pro League Week 3 is a matchup between OpTic Gaming and Evil Geniuses. While OpTic hopes to remain undefeated going into their match with Splyce, EG will try to offset two straight Pro League losses. To achieve this feat the Roybox twins have their work cut out for them. Like Splyce, OpTic leads the league in key statistics. The top three spots for Kills Per Game, and Assists Per Game belong to OpTic, as do top stats for Damage Per Game, K/D, Stronghold Defense, and Flag Captures.

These stats paint a grim picture for the objective-oriented Evil Geniuses squad. Although they are 5-0 in Strongholds gametypes, EG has yet to win a slayer game. Tapping Buttons is the only EG player with a positive K/D, as the rest of the roster falls just short. EG must be able to exchange blows with OpTic in slayer matchups to have any chance at ending the night with a victory.

OpTic, meanwhile, just need to play their game to emerge on top of this series. Slayers SnakeBite and Royal2 are unmatched when it comes to controlling the pace of play. If OG can rely on the duo to relentlessly lead the attack and disorient EG, they will have no difficulty reaching 4-0.

Key Matchup: Falcated has been putting up impressive objective stats in the Pro League thus far. He is in the top 5 for Flag Returns, Flag Captures, Stronghold Captures, and Stronghold Defense. If EG can build their strategy around supporting Falcated, they have a chance at defeating OpTic.

Prediction: OpTic Gaming 3 – 1 Evil Geniuses

What is your most anticipated matchup of week 3? Do you agree with the predictions? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image by ESL 

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343 Industries releases Halo 5 patch to fix heavy aim. Has it helped?

Earlier this week, 343 Industries introduced the highly-anticipated Halo 5 heavy aim hotfix. To review, heavy aim is an instance in which the aiming mechanics suddenly become inconsistent. The inconsistencies manifest themselves as sluggish reticle movement, and an overall decrease in precision. Since the release of Halo 5, players both competitive and casual have repeatedly complained about the condition. The commotion caught the attention of 343 Industries, who then began work on a patch.

The patch isn’t perfect, however, as some players still report persisting problems with heavy aim. Others report more serious problems with in-game latency. This may feel like a slap in the face of the Halo community, as most players yearn for a consistent aiming system similar to the Halo titles of old. This article will recap the Halo 5 hot fix, and discuss its impact on the game.

A Definitive Fix?

In the bulletin, Brian “ske7ch” Jarrard of 343 Industries addressed the heavy aim problem, and answered questions about the new patch. Jarrard states that the programming team successfully identified the specific condition responsible for heavy aim, and have since reprogrammed it. He describes the cause of the problem as a “bad state” in Halo 5, that caused the input lag to increase to an undesirable level. Although he didn’t get more specific, Jarrard claims that the update will no longer place players in said state.

Brian “ske7ch” Garrard, Community Manager for 343 Industries. Image by twitter.com/ske7ch

Additionally, Jarrard references a hotfix from December, that several believed to be a failed attempt at solving the heavy aim problem. He clears the air around the December hotfix, declaring that the aforementioned patch was a separate issue affecting input latency. After receiving feedback from the patch, specifically related to the persistence of heavy aim, the team at 343i continued to investigate possible causes.

Jarrard concludes by confronting a misconception about the current hotfix. He reaffirms that while the hotfix will resolve heavy aim, it is not a comprehensive aiming overhaul. The hotfix is a solution to heavy aim specifically.  Players who previously experienced heavy aim will no longer observe the phenomenon, while others may not even notice a difference. It remains to be seen if 343 Industries will address the criticisms of Halo 5’s aim mechanics.

Other Problems Emerge

Although the hotfix has seen praise for eliminating heavy aim, some speculate that it consequently introduces new problems to Halo 5. In a poll administered by TeamBeyond, over half of the participants report a slight effectiveness in reducing instances of heavy aim, but with new problems like bullet latency and blank shots occurring.

Such problems with bullet registration can be largely detrimental to the outcome of a game. Players may experience these issues during critical gunfights in matchmaking, or even at a live event. Often in competitive Halo, battles are decided by a single shot. If the rightful winner of a gunfight ends up on the respawn screen because of bad hit registration, it further compromises the competitive integrity of Halo 5. The score of new issues has further irritated a community whose patience is already running thin. Some wonder how long it will take 343 Industries to address the potential bullet registration discrepancies, if at all.

These issues, however, are not widespread and may even be the product of a placebo effect. Because the update is still fresh, it will take some time to determine the full impact of the fix. In the meantime, Ske7ch and 343 Industries are actively seeking feedback for the hotfix, and will continue investigating the issue.

Are you still experiencing heavy aim? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image by 343 Industries 

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OpTic Gaming, Splyce remain undefeated in first week of HCS Pro League

The HCS Pro League kicked off the Summer Season this week. The Summer league hosts eight weekly matchups between the top eight professional Halo teams. Week one featured several highly-anticipated matches, and yielded some surprising results. Only two teams remain undefeated after the first week: OpTic Gaming, and Splyce. This article will examine both teams’ matchups, and discuss some of the more unexpected results.

 

OpTic Bounces Back

Following a second place finish at HCS Daytona, OpTic seems to have regained some of the momentum that was lost at the event. OpTic finished the week 2-0, claiming victories over both Ronin Esports and Team EnVyUs.

OG bounced back after their loss at HCS Daytona. Image by Astro Gaming.

The first victory came as the headlining match of day one, against Carlos “Cratos” Ayala and the rest of Ronin Esports. OpTic started the series strong, taking a convincing game one on Plaza Strongholds 100-32. The two teams next battled on Eden Slayer, where OpTic prevailed yet again, by a score of 50-41. With their backs against the wall, Ronin attempted to hold off the Green Wall in Truth CTF, but couldn’t bring more than one flag back to their base. Despite holding OpTic to dual flag captures, Ronin were defeated 2-1, as OpTic completed the sweep.

The second match for OpTic pitted them against the HCS Atlanta Champions, Team EnVyUs. OpTic, seeking redemption for their performance at the event, started the series off poorly. The Green Wall fell into a two-game deficit after losses on Truth CTF and Plaza slayer. Facing a sweep, OpTic regained composure, and roared back with victories on Eden Strongholds and Fathom CTF. In game five Coliseum Slayer, OpTic’s momentum proved too strong for EnVy, as TJ “Lethul” Campbell and crew cruised to a dominant 50-38 victory. The reverse-sweep sends a clear message to OpTic doubters, and serves as a testament to the team’s resilience.

 

Splyce Proves They’re Here to Stay

After winning the Daytona Placement Cup, and a surprising top four finish at HCS Daytona, many began to wonder if Splyce would slow down as the Summer Season progressed. If the first week of the Pro League is any indication for the future, Splyce will be a force to be reckoned with. The young team, helmed by Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, finished the first week of Pro League at an impressive 2-0.

The first matchup placed Splyce up against a retooled Evil Geniuses roster. Following the retirement of Brett “Naded” Leonard, the community wondered how the team would stack up in the Pro League. The back and forth series began in Evil Geniuses’ favor, after a jarring win on Plaza Strongholds. Splyce bounced back with two wins, which included an incredibly dominant 50-18 victory on Eden Slayer.

Splyce looked dominant in Week 1 of the Pro League. Image by Halo eSportswikis

Evil Geniuses responded with a commanding win of their own, taking Rig Strongholds 100-22, and tying the series at two games apiece. Both teams battled their hearts out in game 5 Coliseum Slayer, but Splyce emerged victorious, as EG seemed to run out of steam.

The second matchup, much like OpTic, granted Splyce a chance at redemption against Team Liquid. Splyce were defeated in a seven-game series by Liquid in the Losers Bracket Semifinals at HCS Atlanta.

The matchup did not go the distance, however, as Splyce convincingly swept Liquid in their first meeting of the Summer League. The victory paints a new picture of Splyce as a possible top three contender, as they made short work of the usually-consistent Team Liquid roster.

 

Conclusion

With the first week of the Summer Pro League reaching its conclusion, several revelations can be made from the results. First, OpTic Gaming has the ability to shrug off a loss, and bounce back with force. Second, Splyce is only getting better with time. The acquisition of rising star Jonathan “Renegade” Willette will likely continue to benefit them, as they develop into a deadlier team over the course of the season.

Two teams surprisingly under-performed in the Pro League this week: Luminosity Gaming, and Str8 Rippin. Luminosity experienced two blowout losses at the hands of EnVyUs and Evil Geniuses, while Str8 lost a close series to Ronin Esports, and were edged out by Team Liquid. Both teams will need to come out swinging next week if they want to salvage their Pro League record, and avoid the risk of falling into an even deeper hole.

Are you surprised by the Week One Pro League results? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image by ESL 

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Halo Caster Mark “Onset” Hatcher makes a compelling case for LAN in Halo 6

In a video posted to YouTube Friday, European Halo caster Mark “Onset” Hatcher explains his thoughts about LAN and its importance to the Halo franchise. Simply put, LAN, or Local Area Network, is the process of connecting multiple devices together within a limited area. For competitive Halo, LAN has been the preferred method of tournament organizers for years. The low latency provided smoother gameplay and legitimized competitive results.

This all changed with the release of the Xbox One, which seemingly ditched LAN support for more of an “always-online” approach. As a result, competitions for Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo 5 must utilize online gameplay, even for live events. Problems with online services have provided a host of problems at these tournaments, most noticeably being the frequent game resets and long down times between matches.

With Halo 6 approaching, Onset presents a convincing argument for LAN support and its benefits. This article will break down his biggest points.

 

LAN as a Community Builder

In the video, Onset fondly recounts his experiences with friends at college. For example, he hilariously details how his friends would run ethernet cables through dorm room windows to play Halo together. This would result in other friends joining in on the fun, eventually purchasing their own consoles and copies of Halo. Onset describes how these types of sessions facilitate interest in the game, which can eventually grow into a local community.

Image by Kotaku

Onset notes that from there, the community becomes a tight-knit group with a shared interest in Halo. Some players may display an interest in competition, choosing to attend tournaments or compete online. Such interactions help both the casual and competitive side of the Halo community. Several old-school Halo players can affectionately point to similar experiences as a catalyst in growing their passion for the game.

These happenings are lost with Halo 5. The game offers no split-screen play, and the Xbox One lacks LAN support. Because online is the only avenue for interaction, the community has become a breeding ground for toxicity.

LAN Benefits Live Tournaments

In addition to the communal effect of LAN availability, Onset also discusses the burden of Halo 5 on tournament organizers. For Halo titles on the previous Xbox consoles, hosting a tournament was as simple as connecting consoles together. The ease of access resulted in booming local Halo scenes and increased capacity at national events. LAN also provided the best gameplay experience, where players could decidedly prove their skill.

Local events are made much easier with LAN Support. Image by The LAN Network

The Halo Championship Series events don’t offer this kind of environment, though. To help the online gameplay be smooth as possible, servers are flown out to each event. Different play stations have different servers, which can each provide different gameplay experiences.

Although he doesn’t explicitly say it, Onset alludes to a problem with competitive legitimacy because of the online nature of the tournaments. He suggests that a LAN-equipped Halo 6 can quell many of these difficulties, and provide a more sustainable tournament atmosphere at both the local and national level. Such a format can help players who cannot attend every national event and may also develop the more potent storylines that competitive Halo desperately needs.

Conclusion

Onset makes several strong points in his video and provides some nostalgia about what set Halo apart from other titles. The emotional connection to both the game and the community are what built the Halo scene. A core facet of building the community is LAN availability. Whether it be for late nights split-screening at a friend’s house or a lag-free national tournament, LAN is crucial for the longevity of Halo.

Featured image by twitch.tv/OnsetHalo

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Team EnVyUs claims victory at HCS Daytona after a thrilling Grand Finals

A Rivalry for the Ages

It’s been explicitly stated time and time again: EnVyUs is made to take down OpTic Gaming. But after failing to replicate the success they had at the HCS Fall 2016 Finals, many wondered if OpTic had become unbeatable. Following an embarrassing performance in the Grand Finals at the Halo World Championship, Team EnVyUs sought to regroup for HCS Daytona. The focus for this event: Beat OpTic Gaming, and demolish anyone else who dared to step in their way.

Of the three times the two teams met last weekend, Envy conquered OpTic twice, both times when it mattered most.

Image by HaloWaypoint

The first clash between OpTic and Envy occurred in the Winner’s Bracket Finals. Despite a close series against Team Liquid, the Green Wall appeared dominant. EnVyUs had just closed out a reverse-sweep against Ryan “RyaNoob” Gettes’ white-hot Oxygen Supremacy squad.

As fate would have it, the World Champions and HWC Runners-up crossed paths once more. This time, with a spot in the Grand Finals on the line.

The series did not go as expected for EnVyUs, as OpTic rallied to a 4-2 series victory. Although guaranteed a top 3 finish, EnVy was not satisfied. While OpTic waited comfortably in the Grand Finals, Envy met Team Liquid in the Loser’s Bracket Finals. EnVy’s resiliency prevailed, as they dominated Liquid with a 4-0 sweep. The win catapulted Envy into the Grand Finals, granting a second chance at taking down OpTic Gaming.

 

A Grueling Grand Finals

The first series of the Grand Finals started off strongly in EnvVy’s favor, putting up dominant performances on Empire Strongholds and Truth CTF to take a 3-0 lead. The threat of a bracket reset must have created a sense of urgency with OpTic gaming, as they retaliated with three straight wins to tie the series.

In Game 7, Regret Slayer, the teams exchanged blows for most of the game. Through superior map control, EnVy was able to create some distance late in the game. After trapping OpTic in their base, Envy edged out a win 50-47, and forced a bracket reset.

Image by TeamBeyond.net

The second series of the Grand Finals began much like the first, with Team EnVyUs jumping out to a 3-1 lead. Facing their first tournament loss since the Fall 2016 Pro League finals, OpTic stormed back with consecutive wins on Plaza Slayer and Rig Strongholds. With the series tied 3-3, a deciding game 7 would determine which team takes home a majority of the $75,000 prize, and the title of best Halo team.

The early stage of Game 7 Truth Slayer favored OpTic, as they established map control to lead by a few kills. With the help of Justin “Pistola” Deese and Cuyler “Huke” Garland, EnVyUs reclaimed control of the game through the midway point.

OpTic gaming was not finished, however, and took the lead through 35 kills with the help of some sneaky support plays by Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom. As a response, EnVy slowed down the pace of the game, closing the kill gap into the final moments of play. Following an epic triple kill by Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, EnVyUs again took the lead. Mikwen’s triple allowed Eric “Snip3down” Wrona to grab the Active Camo, who then closed the game with a triple of his own, winning the tournament.

Conclusion

Both teams put on a thrilling show throughout the grueling 14-game Grand Finals. In the end, the will of Team EnVyUs to win proved strongest, as they defeated OpTic Gaming. While the victory may not be total redemption for the Halo World Championship, it serves as a reminder that OpTic Gaming is human after all. Although incredibly dominant, the Green Wall is not free from some cracks in their foundation. At HCS Daytona, Team EnVyUs exposed these faults and had the skill to capitalize.

Will EnVyUs hold on to the crown? Let us know in the comments!


Featured image by HaloWaypoint

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

HCS Daytona Pro Group Predictions and Analysis

The first event of the Halo Championship Series Summer Season takes place this weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida. With several major roster shake-ups occurring since the Halo World Championship, pro teams are eager to display their new forms, and take their shots at the $75,000 prize pool.

Coming into the event, OpTic Gaming looks as strong as ever, not slowing down in performance since their dominant HWC performance. Rounding out the top 3 are EnVyUs and Team Liquid, maintaining their HWC Rosters. EnVy looks to build from their burgeoning late-season success last year, and finally topple OpTic. In their way stands Team Liquid, a squad of young-gun contenders, who have maintained consistency since forming.

The rest of the top 8 has undergone major changes since the Halo World Championship. HCS Daytona will serve as an opportunity for each team to establish their place in the rankings. In this article, I’ll analyze the Pro Groups, and make predictions for the Championship Bracket.

Top 8 Pro Rosters

Here are the teams and rosters making up the top 8. You can view the round-by-round gametypes here.

OpTic Gaming- Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, T.J. “Lethul” Campbell, Matt “Royal2” Fiorante, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom

Team EnVyUs- Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Cuyler “Huke” Garland

Team Liquid- Tim “Rayne” Tinkler, Zane “Penguin” Hearon, Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Kevin “Eco” Smith

Str8 Rippin- Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

Luminosity Gaming- Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor

Splyce- Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, Jon “Renegade” Willette

Ronin Esports- Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss, Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, Ayden “Suspector” Hill

Evil Geniuses- Justin “Roy” Brown, Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Brett “Naded” Leonard, Michael “Falcated” Garcia

Group A

Teams: OpTic Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Str8 Rippin, Luminosity Gaming

The first two matchups of Group A are between OpTic Gaming/EG, and Str8/Luminosity. Evil Geniuses has largely changed in the offseason, replacing Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski and Tom “Ogre2” Ryan with Naded and Falcated. The RoyBox twins adding a veteran in Naded will surely benefit the team, but they are too new to stand a chance against the behemoth that is OpTic Gaming. OpTic wins this series 3-0.

Danoxide has big shoes to fill on Str8 Rippin. Image by Halo EsportsWikis

Str8 Rippin lost Renegade to Splyce after worlds, and have added Danoxide in his place. They will face Luminosity Gaming, who has looked solid in scrimmages since the HWC. Although Danoxide is a powerful player, he can’t replace the pure firepower that Renegade brought to Str8. Luminosity Gaming takes the series 3-2.

The final Winners Bracket matchup of Group A will be between OpTic and Luminosity. While I think OG far outclass Luminosity in objective play, LG may scratch out a win in Game 2 Regret Slayer. OpTic Gaming wins this series 3-1, and secures first place in Group A.

Losers Bracket: Str8 Rippin 3-1 Evil Geniuses, Luminosity Gaming 3-1 Str8 Rippin

Final Group A Standings:

  1. OpTic Gaming
  2. Luminosity
  3. Str8 Rippin
  4. Evil Geniuses

 

Group B

Renegade and Splyce must perform at their best if they want to take Group B. Image by Splyce.gg

Teams: EnVyUs, Ronin Esports, Liquid, Splyce

Following their wins at HCS Las Vegas and the HCS Pro League Finals, EnVyUs struggled to reach the top. They came closest to reclaiming victory at HWC 2017, but were shut down by OpTic Gaming in the grand finals. Envy will want to come out of the gates hot at HCS Daytona, and their first victim will be Ronin Esports. Formerly known as Crowd Pleasers, Cratos and friends will have a very hard time handling the long-lasting expertise of a team like EnVyUs. This series will be a quick one, as EnVy takes it 3-0.

The second matchup in round one of Group B will be interesting, as Team Liquid faces Splyce. Following the acquisition of Renegade from Str8 Rippin, Splyce has performed incredibly online, winning the second online placement cup. This one may be too close to call, but I see Splyce catching Liquid off-guard, and taking the series 3-2.

In the final Winners Bracket matchup of Group B, Team EnVyUs will pit themselves against Splyce. Although Splyce has boosted their slaying ability with Renegade, Envy has the advantage of roster continuity and chemistry. As a result, they will operate like a well-oiled machine against the aggressive young-guns. Splyce may be able to pull out a win on Eden Strongholds in Game 3, but this matchup plays to Envy’s favor. Envy takes the series 3-1.

Losers Bracket: Team Liquid 3-2 Ronin Esports, Splyce 3-1 Team Liquid

Final Group B Standings:

  1. Team EnVyUs
  2. Splyce
  3. Team Liquid
  4. Ronin Esports

Conclusion

Featuring several new rosters, and brand new competitive settings, HCS Daytona will not be an event to skip over. Check out all the action this weekend live on twitch.tv/Halo.

Do you agree with the predictions? Do you think OpTic Gaming is poised for another win? Let me know in the comments!

Featured image by Twitter.com/HCS 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

The New Halo 5 Matchmaking Update Won’t Punish You for Bad Teammates

In a community update yesterday, 343 Industries’ Josh Menke shared details of new matchmaking updates coming to Halo 5. These recent updates make life a little easier for players in ranked playlists when teammates decide to quit. Additionally, ranked playlists will see some balance tweaks to competitive skill rating (CSR) and matching times. This article breaks down the latest changes, and explains their importance to ranked Halo 5.

The “Soft Forfeit”

In his update, Menke introduces the concept of a Soft Forfeit for ranked matchmaking games. The premise of the Soft Forfeit is to not punish players for leaving matches if someone has already quit out of the game. Previously, quitting a ranked match under any circumstance automatically decreased CSR, and put the player at risk for a matchmaking ban. These bans ranged in time due to the frequency at which players left ranked games.

Players will no longer be banned for quitting after teammates. Image by Youtube.com

The new system will still net players a standard CSR loss for losing the game, but will not ban players who leave ranked games after someone has already quit. Menke explains that while leavers will always lose CSR, players will not be unnecessarily punished for unsporting teammates. The first player to leave a ranked game, however, will be subject to extra CSR loss, and a potential ban.

This update will surely have ranked playlist-goers rejoicing, as many felt punished for having teammates that don’t stick around. Halo 5 as a team-oriented arena shooter needs balance to operate correctly. An advantage in numbers almost always throws games askew, and now players won’t be forced to finish those games.

 

CSR Economy and Wait Times

In addition to the soft forfeit feature, Menke details some troubles with high-skilled players in matchmaking. Previously in ranked playlists, high-CSR players sometimes received matchmaking ratios (MMR) that are a little too high for their actual skill. These inflated MMRs created a wider gap between players, resulting in greatly increased wait times when searching ranked matchmaking. Menke explains that while these adjustments improve search times, players won’t be placed in extremely uneven matches.

Image by Halowaypoint.com

To combat ranked playlist inflation, the update will tighten up CSR boundaries. The pool of Onyx-ranked players will now be more exclusive, and the elusive “Champion” rank even harder to achieve. These changes will place competitors into ranks that better represent their skill level, while also lowering incentives for smurf accounts.

To represent just how drastic the CSR adjustments are, a comparison between seasons for Champion-ranked players is necessary. Prior seasons required players to earn CSR scores of 3,000 or higher to reach Champion. Currently, the top-ranked champion player only has 1,874 CSR. This score, If applied to prior seasons, would place players in the low-middle tier of Onyx.

 

Conclusion

Although the wait for fair matchmaking treatment has been lengthy, players can now relax a little more when trying to rank up. The changes are another step in 343 Industries’ process to prove to players that feedback is certainly being heard. Rather than being punished for jerk teammates, players can now leave an uneven game without fear of excessive penalties. As a result, players can hop back into more even ranked games, and have a healthier, less rage-inducing matchmaking session.

Featured image by Halowaypoint.com

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Heavy Aim: What it is and why it’s a problem

Since release, players in Halo 5 have experienced several problems with the game’s mechanics. None are more frustrating, however, than the phenomenon of heavy aim. This article will attempt to explain what heavy aim is and why the negative implications extend to competitive Halo 5.

Heavy aim is the tendency for Halo 5’s aiming mechanics to suddenly experience inconsistency, causing slow or unresponsive movement.  These inconsistencies appear as variable input lag and aim acceleration. When combined, these issues cause the reticle to feel sluggish and heavy, compromising player accuracy.

 

“Like Aiming Underwater”

There seems to be a debate on whether this problem exists because of server connections, overexerted Xbox One hardware, or both. Some claim that the aiming mechanics of Halo 5 are tied to connection quality. Disparities with a player’s connection to different online servers can amplify the problem, especially when connected to a server hosting players from diverse locations. These claims have however largely been unsubstantiated, leaving some to wonder if overloaded Xbox One hardware is the culprit.

More recently, in a post to the TeamBeyond forums, user Mib2347 demonstrated that hardware may indeed produce heavy aim. To test for aiming inconsistencies, Mib2347 created a modded Xbox controller that moves the reticle at the exact moment a weapon is fired. He then fired from the same position in a Halo 5 custom game to determine if reticle movement varied.

When compared with a similar test on Halo: CE, Mib2347 discovered that even when offline, the Halo 5 aiming displayed inconsistent reticle movement. This led him to conclude that the input lag is the product of a bogged-down Xbox One CPU. The problem only increases when taken online, however, as a players profile contains armor and REQ items, which further consume CPU and RAM.

 

Why This Matters

Several pro players have spoken up about heavy aim, even claiming that it is present at live events. This is a huge problem for the integrity of competitive Halo 5, as players may experience heavy aim at different degrees during play. The phenomenon may impact a player’s performance during crucial moments, resulting in situations where players cannot play at their full potential.

In competitive Halo, quick reaction time is important, heavy aim can be the difference between victory and defeat when every millisecond matters. 343 Industries has recognized the problem but has yet to release a definitive fix, to the chagrin of many in the competitive community. Although Halo 5 pushes the technical boundaries of the FPS genre, many just want the core mechanics to feel as they did with older titles.

Have you experienced heavy aim? Do you have a fix for this phenomenon? Let us know in the comments!


 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

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