Get your Age of Empires Online questions at the ready as Robot Entertainment Community Co-ordinator, Duncan Stanley is poised to answer your questions! A thread has been set up on AgeCommunity.com where you can find existing Q&A’s people have already asked and if your question hasn’t been covered – ask it! If you’re thinking about something there is a good chance other people might like to know the answer too, so don’t be shy join in at:
Good news for Robot Entertainment fans as the studio increases the size of its community team. Justin Korthof who has previously worked as a Community Manager for Epic’s Gears of War is more commonly known under his alias “SixOkay“. Justin will be joining Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley in the mission to build and maintain excellent community websites which engage fans of the games and studio.
As Robot Entertainment continues to work hard on developing new games its very pleasing to hear investment is being made with community ventures. Keep an eye out for SixOkay on the forums and be sure to give him a warm welcome.
Since Halo Waypoint’s take over of the Halo Wars community from March 1st there has been a large dissatisfaction with the new moderation team.
The overall feel of the community can be summed up from this screenshot taken on the 9th March 2010.
Notice how after 2.5 days the post still has not been removed by Halo Waypoint. There are many other similar threads.
So far the migration to Waypoint has only demonstrated a lack of commitment from Microsoft about the Halo Wars Community. If Waypoint is not equipped to deal with the Halo Wars Community then arrangements should of been made for Robot Entertainment to continue the support under the community leadership of Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley who has been moderating the forum for over a year at Robot and longer in his role as “Lethe” at Ensemble Studios.
Hopefully Waypoint will react to the posts and start properly moderating soon.
Hot of the press from HaloWars.com. Today an announcement was made by Robot Entertainment Community Manager, Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley talking about the end of Robot’s primary involvement with the Halo Wars Community. The announcement reads as follows:
On February 28th, 2010, Halo Waypoint will be begin to officially support both Halo Wars and HaloWars.com. Waypoint staff will transition in over the next month to support operations of HaloWars.com and the Halo Wars matchmaking and stats servers. Over the past year, Robot was very proud to roll out 4 Title Updates for Halo Wars, provide technical support on the forums and provide a place for volumes of fan fiction. Robot was proud to be a part of this community for the past year, and we hope we served you well.
Along with supporting operations, Halo Waypoint has exciting plans for Halo Wars. Look for announcements in the near future.
So long and thanks for all the fish!
This was quite an unexpected announcement as in most cases the developer is responsible for the games communities. For example, Rare looks after Banjo and Lionhead looks after the Fable communities. However, it seems Microsoft is not so keen to continue having Robot watch over the Halo Wars community. Presumably, now a year on from Ensemble’s closure the agreement struck between Robot and Microsoft to look after the Halo Wars community has expired and possibly as a result of cost cutting Microsoft are bringing the management of the website in house.
Come February 28th a new moderation team will be drafted in from Microsoft’s, 343 Industries – the “Waypoint” team. Its been a bumpy road for Halo Wars fans having to go through another major change in the way the game is supported. First the closure of the original developer Ensemble, then the removal of the second developers community presence. Microsoft do not seem to be treating the strategy version of the Halo IP very well!
Although the announcement states “exciting plans for Halo Wars” are in the works, one must wonder how “exciting” these plans can be without a developer attached to the game anymore.
Hopefully there will be more details to follow about this announcement in due course.
What about Age Community?
Some good news is that the Age of Empires community will still be looked after by Robot Entertainment as before.
Robot Entertainment Community Manager Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley has today revealed some interesting statistics regarding Halo Wars achievements:
-More than 75% of all Halo Wars players completed the first mission of the campaign on any difficulty.
-Roughly 35% of players completed the single player game on any difficulty.
-About 7% of players collected all of the skulls in the single player campaign.
-2% of players completed the single player campaign on Legendary difficulty.
-Less than half a of percent of players have the General rank on Xbox Live.
The statistics come after Jason Pace, creative director of Halo Waypoint, the new hub for all Halo content on Xbox Live spoke to g4Tv about how only less than 1% of players has achieved all the achievements across Halo 3, Halo Wars and Halo 3 ODST. There has been some concern on various gaming websites that the general achievement may prove to be a sticking point as the achievement can take a very long time to achieve. This is echoed by the statistics provided by Robot Entertainment, where less than half a percent of players have obtained the general achievement which requires players to gain 2,400,000 worth of expierence points. G4tv made a follow up post based on the statistics provided by Robot Entertainment.
Will the achievement cause a stir amongst Halo players concerning its difficulty? Share your thoughts on the Halo Wars official forums.
Players who have recently purchased copies of Age of Empires 3 have found themselves unable to play Age of Empires 3 on ESO after Microsoft failed to inform Robot Entertainment, now managing the support for Age 3 the CD Keys leaving players unable to create or upgrade accounts. Needless to say the inability to play online bemused many players and some commenting on the official community website.
However today Robot Entertainment has received the keys and Duncan Stanley, Community Manager for Robot Entertainment has updated the community as follows:
We just uploaded 10s of thousands of keys that we received from Microsoft late in the day.
If you were getting the 100 bad cd-key error while trying to create an account, or upgrade an account, please try again.
If you receive the same error as before, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Bad CD-key Error 100 with your cd-key.
Paul Jaquays completes his Halo Wars skirmish map blogs with Terminal Moraine, Repository, and Crevice
Paul Jaquays now working at CCP North America as a Senior Level Designer has been blogging with Robot Entertainment Community Manager, Duncan Stanley to reveal some early developer screenshots and ideas which make up some of the Halo Wars portfolio of skirmish maps. Having already blogged about Pirth Outskirts attention has turned to his other map designs – Terminal Moraine, Repository and Crevice.
I started map development by literally copying and pasting a large chunk the Alpha Base ruins into one corner of the map. This established a particularly unique landmark in that corner. These large landmarks in skirmish maps help players immediately know where they are and and let them navigate from point to point by in-game visual references. Ideally, each “corner” of any skirmish map is visually unique, and this was my design goal with Terminal Moraine
Early 2007 saw the first completed version of Repository (then called “the Halo map”). Primarily developed by Ensemble artist Patrick Thomas, this was a land of subtle terrain blending, muted colors, narrow paths, rough terrain, and the unrestricted placement of bases and other buildings. Players captured Forerunner power stations to earn resources. Very little of what can be seen in this map survived into the final game. The effects guys put a lot of effort into river that runs through the map, including the appearance of moving water, waterfalls, and spray. But the game was about to undergo an extensive refit, resulting in play much closer to the final version and the need to totally rework this map from the ground up. The river, sadly, became an early victim to those changes.
During development, Crevice shifted from the inside of the Shield World to the outside. To achieve this, I painted over a screen capture of the current version of the map, sketching out ideas for details on notebook paper. The design rework of the map had turned the central platform into a big hole. I suggested changing this into a playable area, a partially buried circular Forerunner platform. One feature I wanted to play up was the “bouncy-ness” of the warthogs, so where possible, I sculpted in small steps and shelves into the terrain.
Check out more map blogs from other Ensemble artists on the HaloWars.com map page!
A major Xbox Live bug has affected millions of Halo Wars players as yesterday the leader boards for single player, all multiplayer playlists and player TrueSkill was somehow mistakenly reset. News of the “whoopsie” are now being reported on gaming websites. Needless to say I am sure Robot Entertainment are working diligently with Microsoft to rectify the problem and hopefully restore the lost data. Community Manager Aloysius has posted the following on the Halo Wars homepage:
An Xbox LIVE technical issue wiped all Halo Wars Xbox LIVE Leaderboards earlier today. This includes all singleplayer, multiplayer and Trueskill™ leaderboards, as well as all matchmaking data. At this time it’s unknown if the data can be restored, resulting in the Halo Wars Leaderboards being reset to original Launch Day status. The Xbox LIVE team is investigating the cause, and they will provide an update to the situation as soon as possible.
We at Robot Entertainment apologize for the LIVE technical issue and any frustration players have experienced in having their statistics disappear from the Leaderboards.
I am sure that there are necessary backups in place and that these will be utilised to restore data. Community opinion is split however on the forums with many of the high ranking players being happy about the change allowing them to rank up higher than before and over take some of the non-active players in the leaderboards. Of course it is unknown how all the other players who dont visit the forums are feeling having their TrueSkill reset to 0. Dave Pottinger, Lead Designer had this to say:
Well, to be fair, we were talking about the best ways to nuke stale folks who were sitting on top of the boards but not active. But, the plan was never to wipe active folks. This mistake has complicated things a bit.
Correction: The failure was due to a problem with the XBOX Live servers not directly under Robot Entertainment’s control, but be assured its being looked at. Stand by for updates as the issue develops.
Great news! Halo Wars fans with the Historic Battles DLC will now have the new map available in matchmaking as of… now! Well.. at least thats what Robot Entertainment Community Manager Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley has to say. At the moment the number of players in 3v3 Glacial still stands at zero so there may still be a delay with the stats.
You may be one of the first to play Glacial online if you log on to Xbox Live right now!
The discussion can be found here: