You meet the most interesting people in the Friends and Family phase of The Beta. For this gamer, the experience has been completely different from any other LIVE-enabled Halo engagement. Everyone you meet is glad to see you and thrilled to be fighting you. Even as I informed one gamer that he was my first car-jacking victim in Halo 3, he laughed and said “Glad to be of service!” as he was swiped from the cockpit of a Ghost [my Ghost] and dumped onto the snow.
Just the other day, the TTL Gunslingers exchanged buckshot with the creative forces behind the Penny Arcade. Fan-struck? Sure. Why not? This was not a Clan Challenge in the official tradition that we usually follow around here. This was more of a serendipitous meeting on the path that leads to Halo 3.
Having said that, can we interest you in a Jeep? C’mon, fellas. Stick around.
Many of us wish that things could be like this forever. An invitation-only clubhouse filled with gamers that love the game and respect the other people who play it? Sign me up. How much do I have to pay? Scratch that question… Just bill me.
Being among Friends and Family has been a distinct pleasure. Everyone that this gamer encountered during our short preview was the sort of opponent that we aggressively seek out at Tied the Leader. I even enjoyed serving as the mop for a couple of Cavegirls who used me to clean up Valhalla. And High Ground.
And now, it’s all over.
Here come the masses, people. Time to batten down the hatches. Wipe that smile off of your face and close that mouth, Gunslinger. You are likely to find a tea-bag in it if you are not careful. Can you lose your thick skin in a period of time so short as one week? Yes. I think you can. The terrors of Xbox Live are coming for you. They have something to prove, too; knowing that many of us have had a head start on them. Our chevrons will incite rage and fury. Gunnery Sergeants will become targets of opportunity for the Griefers.
Some of us are prepared for what is to come. Some of us welcome the chance to teach a total stranger a lesson in gamesmanship and manners – all at the same time. We realize that Xbox Live is a microcosm for the world in which we live. There are friends. There are allies. There are worthy opponents. And there are enemies.
Oh, Yes. It’s the gamers in that last category that are the most fun to defeat. After all, who wants to defeat a friend? Or family?
Now. This is for all you new people… Welcome to The Beta.
And I mean that. You will dig it. The table has been set well. You are only fashionably late for the party. Nothing wrong with that! Remember that you are still exercising a privilege through your participation in this test phase. Remember that you serve at the pleasure of Bungie Studios. We will expect the best from you, until you give us reason not to…
As gamers, we still have our accountability. If you listened to the TTL Live Report from the Halo 3 Press Event, you heard Michel Marriott from the New York Times talk about how gaming can teach us something about ourselves. Even when you are gaming from behind an assumed name, accountability is possible. It is even rewarded. Each of us has a chance to cultivate a reputation that will open doors. If the Friends and Family experience has taught us anything, it should be that.