If you are anticipating an article about an 8v8 match on a new [old] map developed by Certain Affinity, you have been misled by the title. This is a Eulogy. We are living in the twilight days of Big Team Battle Skirmish, friends. Before it can shuffle off this virtual coil, the TTL Gunslingers wanted to pay homage to our favorite dish in the buffet of carnage that is catered by Halo 2 via Xbox Live.
This is not the rant of a fanboy who has had his favorite toy taken away. ‘Tied the Leader’ has rarely [if ever] taken a ride on the Bungie Waaaaaaaambulance. Rather, we look back on the finer moments that were enjoyed tackling opponents [eight at a time] in a ranked environment. It’s ironic. TTL has come out publicly on many occasions to declare that rank is not a factor in our enjoyment for playing Halo 2. Now that it is being taken away from the battlefields of a Big Team Battle, however, we find ourselves missing it already.
Rank is double edged sword that cuts deep on both sides of its issue. No one wants to play with a Rank Hound. Who has the patience to reorganize a pre-game lobby because some gamer is too terrified of losing their 30 to ante up into a ranked match? At the same time, that little number next to a gamers’ tag does have a way of fastening their courage to the sticking point. It becomes a question of who you would rather play against more [or less]… Rank Hounds? Or Quitters? If the unranked variety of BTB Slayer is a testament to anything, it is that there is no penalty for quitting out of an unranked match.
A shuffling of the deck for our playlists in on the way, Spartans [and Elites, if you MUST]. We will know when this happens only after it has happened. With the click of a Redmond mouse, all of the citizens of the Halo Nation will revert to the bottom of scale that measures the worth of a digital combatant. It cannot be doubted that a mad dash will ensue, immediately following this change. As has happened before, rank-sensitive gamers will take to the streets to puff those numbers back up to respectable levels. For those of us who have been around the block of the Nation once or twice, we can remember those rush hours. For the unschooled noob, the landscape becomes a nightmare, as the adult swimmers are spilled back into the shallow waters like unwilling pool sharks.
In accordance with prophecy, a casualty of this rearrangement will be the ranked Big Team Battle – the Skirmish, if you will. For some time now, it has been the door that many a Gunslinger opens to find their good game. We have used it to screen recruits. We have arranged our raiding parties in advance of a quality evening of BTB. Upon signing on to Xbox Live, each of us has anticipated several game messages with text like “need 2 for Skirm!”.
The Big Team Battle Skirmish has been home to a bomb to arm or a flag to capture. It has been one’s surest chance of cruising the green plains of Coagulation in a shiny new Warthog. It has been the more reliable path to a fierce match filled with the fog of war, packed to the gills with allies and opponents.
No longer. Before any of us are ready, our preferred gametype will go the way of the Dodo, the 6v6 match, and the Major Clanmatch. We hardly knew ye, Big Team Skirmish. We say thankya. There are, of course, challenges to plan that will fill this melancholy void. But we will miss those random total strangers with an axe to grind a boast to prove.
When the world moves on, of course, a Gunslinger adapts.