D0117 T1017 Y2008117 Winners

Here it is, the moment you all have been waiting for. Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest and donated money. All the money used to purchase guesses was donated to our Foundation, and thus directly to the troops. So in a way [cheesy line coming…] we are all winners. The following is a screen capture of Bungie.net at exactly 1:17 PM CST on January 17, 2008.

Using that count as a guide, the following people are the winners of a brand new copy of the Halo 3 Soundtrack. Congrats to everyone.

There were some amazing guesses that got a lot closer than I would have ever gotten. If you see your name above then stop by the TTL Forums and send a private message to “Dweezle” [same person you sent your guesses to] with you shipping address so we can send you your prize. Thanks to everyone for entering and stay tuned for more contests and tournaments in the future that will give more support to combat wounded war veterans.

Posted by Dweezle

Comment 3

D0116 T1219 Y2008Happy 117 Day

“I can’t believe he’s gone…” –Lord Hood

The world needs heroes. Everyone needs a role model who can lead them with the standards set by their example. These figures enrich our imaginations and inspire us to our own variety of greatness. 117 Day is about honoring the sacrifice made by those dive into the howling darkness.

The polls for Guess the Census are closed. To those of you who participated, Tied the Leader thanks you for the contributions you have made to our charitable foundation. Thank you for being a fascinating community that is capable of such meaningful interactions.

To those of you who abstained, we will concoct a tournament in the nearest future – another bid to inspire you into action. Support of the TTL Foundation is an elective activity. We will never hold out our hand for your hard-earned credits unless we are holding something in the other hand that you covet.

The winners of this contest are listed in the article preceeding this one. All told, Tied the Leader was able to raise $500 through this little experiment. Those proceeds came from 29 participants making a combined total of 136 guesses.

Posted by XerxdeeJ


D0106 T1834 Y2008Guess the Census!

In recognition of 117 Day, it is our pleasure at Tied the Leader to announce a contest. We call it ‘Guess the Census’. It will be a trial of cunning and wit that will culminate on January 17, 2008.

This contest accompanies a celebration to honor the memory of the SPARTAN lost in the liberation of Earth from the Covenant Threat. Paying homage to our fallen heroes is a crucial duty for us as citizens. It is because of their feats of bravery that we may game on.

This is a tournament of the mind. Leave your BR in the Hog. Hanging in the balance of this riddle are 21 copies of the Halo 3 Soundtrack. As a Grand Prize, one of them has been autographed by the Master Composer himself – Martin O’Donnell.

And how can you win one of these prizes? We are so very glad that you have asked. In order to claim a copy of the music that cheers on the Halo Nation, you need only guess its size.

The objective behind ‘Guess the Census’ is to predict, in advance, how many virtual combatants will engage each other in a game of Halo 3 via Xbox Live during a 24 hour period. This census will be taken on 1/17, at exactly 1:17 PM [central standard time]. The source for this measurement will be the Halo 3 gravemind at Bungie.net.

Ever taken a guess at how many gumballs are in the candy jar? ‘Guess the Census’ is a lot like that… only the gumballs are less sugary, roll more heavily-armed, and will open fire on your position if provoked.

Willing contestants will be required to make a modest donation to the Tied the Leader Foundation. All proceeds of this contest will be donated to organizations that aid in the rehabilitation of wounded combat veterans. Our most recent donation was made at the close of 2007, including proceeds raised at the ChicagoLAN’d from ticket sales and silent auctions.

$2.00 earns a participant in Guess the Census one unique opportunity to estimate how many gamers will pass through the halls of Halo 3 on 117 Day. You may scale your donation to allow for as many guesses as you desire.

This contest will be conducted on the MidWorld Forum.

Polls are open now. The prize awaits the gamer who comes closest to the mark – without going over. Place your bets.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Citizens 8

D0101 T2253 Y2008New Year. Resolution.

Happy New Year, Halo Nation.

Weclome back to the grid. Tied the Leader usually goes dark during the Holiday Season. Everyone else works so hard to wish you a Happy Holidays that we don’t have to! Hope yours was just fine.

Now that 2008 has returned our willing participants back to the controls, it’s Game On! We enter “ought-8” with a vengeance. In the coming weeks and months, watch this space for tournaments, contests, trials of wit and cunning, LAN Party Announcements, and Foundation Updates. For now, let’s take a moment to reflect on the persona that dominated our imaginations during our last spin around the sun.

The Chief had a rough year. Poor guy… He got tested, poked, prodded and re-engineered for a launch that made even Spiderman say “Gosh”. They fitted him for an uncountable number of armor permutations. He had to finish the fight billions of times over, and was blown to bits in every corner of two waves of multiplayer maps.

In his Honor, Tied the Leader would like to announce 117 Day. It is a celebration in his honor to occur exactly at 1:17 PM on 1/17/2008. Keep your browsers tuned to TTL for details.

To celebrate, we will be inviting clever souls to guess a riddle in the hopes of winning tantalizing prizes donated by people who wish to remain nameless so that you will not hound them for free schwag. The daring will ante up a modest donation to our Charitable Foundation to play. The answer will lie in the very community that shoots at us over the course of every 24 hour period. Anyone’s guess will be as good yours…

In the meantime, go check out somethingawful.com. The graphic that we so lovingly borrowed comes from Photoshop Phriday, and everyone over there is as amusing as The Sniper ZERO. Have I dropped enough names to allow me to pass around an image?

Peace on Earth.
Good Will Towards Men.
Good Game.
Go Play Halo.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comment 1

D0101 T2247 Y2008Team Community of the Year?

Tied the Leader would like to take a moment and humbly thank anyone who voted for us as their choice to represent the Xbox Live Community as their favorite [nominated] team.

Of course, the accolade was only made possible by the curious podcasters at Gamertag Radio. We thank you – and them – not for the victory, but for the vote of confidence.

The Gunslingers don’t play games in an effort win an award. We game because we enjoy doing it. We are glad that is apparent. If our love for the game rubs off on some other people we cross on the paths of the grid? Well, that’s an unexpected bonus.

Any award given to us has to be shared with the entire Halo Nation. Without so many passionalely interactive people with whom we can swap ordnance, there would be no Clan of Gunslingers. There would be no need to explore the politics of multiplayer.

This blog exists for not many other reasons than to lure people into our midst to play the game with us. We like the people who engage us through titles like Halo 2, Halo 3, and Call of Duty. If it weren’t for them, we would be fragging AI in endless combinations of isolation.

The Game is the thing. We just want to play it the way it was meant to be played. If that means we get an award, we will just keep doing that.

It’s business as usual at Tied the Leader. We deal in lead. All we need are some worhty volunteers to come and collect.

Again. Say Thankya!

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comment 4

D1126 T2329 Y2007Rock the Vote

Polls are open for the Gamertag Radio Awards. Tied the Leader wants your vote! And we are not afraid to ask for it. Sound off. Here is one instance in which you don’t have to push-to-talk in order to make your voice heard.

Vote for the TTL Gunslingers
Team/Community of the Year

As a last minute surprise, bs angel has received accolades as a nominee for Community Member of the Year as well as author of Blog of the Year. You know her as Hawty McBloggy. We know her as the dreaded Challenge Captain [emeritus] of the Gunslingers. She has our full endorsement.

Vote for bs angel
Community Member of the Year

Vote for Hawty McBloggy
Blog of the Year

I am TTL XerxdeeJ, and I approve of this message.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comment 3

D1125 T2300 Y2007Decision 2007

In preparation for the shinning jewel of their annual lineup of podcasts, the fine hosts over at Gamertag Radio have selected the nominees for the Xbox Community Awards. And wouldn’t you know it? Some cowboys [and girls] you may have heard made the cut!

The TTL Gunslingers, that is, have been nominated as a potential award recipient as Team Community of the Year. It’s an interesting category – an uncanny fit for what we have tried to build at TTL. Our little home in cyberspace is far more reaching than a blog, more inclusive than a clan, but more tightly knit than most of the sweeping communities that comprise the Halo Nation.

Team + Community. We can dig it.

For the Gunslingers, this accolade is received with immense thanks. We do what we do because we love to do it… We never expected awards for building a team to play our favorite games. It’s nice to be recognized – to receive a nod on the trail – but the game itself is reward enough.

To find out who else is on the nominees roster with whom you may have swapped gunfire, give ear to Episode 123. We are humbled to be keeping such excellent company. Here are the nominees in our category…

Xbox Community Awards
Team Community of the Year

DC Combat
Tied the Leader [you are here]
Legion of the Apocalypse

None of them are strangers. On the path to a good game, we have traded blows and/or web hits with each of them. All are deserving of the big win. Each of our fellow competing communities is a force that enriches the gaming experience of all who come into contact with them – as either friend or foe.

Of course, the Gunslingers wouldn’t be exercising the old competitive spirit if we didn’t politic for your vote. If elected, we promise to continue our campaign to wipe out corruption on the battlefields of Xbox Live. It is our pledge to bring a good game to our opponents and our allies alike. We vow to keep bringing the finest of people together to experience the game as it was meant to be played, both in-person and over an Internet connection.

Actually, we planned to keep doing all of that even if we don’t win. We always do.

To those nominated: Good Game.

To those watching the election: Stay tuned. The polls will open soon.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comment 1

D1022 T0208 Y2007The Good Game Network

As the lights came on in Halo 3, the community surrounding Tied the Leader faced a quandary that confronted many established gaming communities: “What do we do with our Clan?” Rather than complaining about the lack of an extra friends list built into our new favorite game, we set our sights on solving the problem for ourselves.

The result is an Xbox Live Status Report that allows us to view the 100+ gamers that we recognize as Gunslingers. With the development of Halo 2 and all of its various networking tools, Bungie Studios taught us all how to form up into gaming clans. As we migrate our respective fighting forces to Halo 3, it falls to us to maintain that sense of teamwork and oneness that we learned in the halls of Colossus.

For over two years, the TTL Gunslingers used Halo 2 as a foundation to grow slowly and carefully into a unit that spilled over the confines of our Clan List. On Launch Day for Halo 3, there were 117 gamers who wore the gunbelts of the official clan of Tied the Leader. That’s right. 117. Weird coincidence. Rather than downsize to the 100 gamers that could more easily be tracked on one Friends List, we created a means of tracking them when they are online.

Using our XBL Status Report, we can employ an online resource to identify the gamers that should be on our friend lists at any given moment. We can send them Friend Requests and Private Messages from our desktops, to be received while they are at the controls of Xbox Live. In essence, we turned our Friends Lists into vehicles that could carry a never-ending assortment of gamers – rather than a permanent record of who would back us up in combat operations via Halo 3.

Why are we telling you this? To brag about something that we have, that you do not? Nay, friends and worthy adversaries. The doors to this functionality have swung wide to you as well!

A version of this application has been made available to the allies who comprise our community. In Halo 3, it is the goal of Tied the Leader to be more than a blog – more than a clan. We seek to be a network of gamers who share our social ideals for recreational gaming. We are creating a hub on our forum to enable any worthy gamer to find valuable allies that will lay down covering fire for them. Tied the Leader is a potential source for opponents who will respect you, and teammates who will stand by you. That is our offering – same as it ever was – only slightly more inclusive.

This is your call to action to join the Tied the Leader community on the MidWorld Forum. Petition us for status as a TTL Ally. Enter your gamertag into the information that we compile in your Profile.

Have a clan? Send us your emissary.

Need a clan? Get acquainted with affiliated communities.

Crave a challenge that is worth your time? We still answer those, as do many of the gamers who represent their own virtual army on our boards.

At Tied the Leader, we believe in the quality of a good game, and the strength of community. With our network, we are sharing that with as many gamers as we can bring along for the ride. The table is set, and the menu is packed with fresh souls that travel the path with like minds and willing guns.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Allies 8

D0912 T2356 Y2007This is how the game ends...

Greetings Halo Fans! Finally, the story can be told. News from the front lines of the gaming industry this week has pointed to copies of the anxiously awaited Halo 3 leaked onto ebay.

In the wake of this announcement, Tied the Leader was not to be outdone. This act of piracy and unauthorized e-Commerce represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in rogue Internet Journalism. Thus, we pooled our collective lunch monies and we scored ourselves a copy!

Since then, we have been frantically storming through the campaign on Easy! That’s just how we roll. Now that we have emerged triumphant from the story mission, it is our pleasure to share with you all the pearls of narrative for which you just cannot wait.



10. The Master Chief and Sergeant Johnson ride “Brokeback” on a Mongoose – not that there is anything wrong with that.

9. Cortona upgrades her behavioral profile to “Vegan 2.0” in order to defeat the Gravemind in a triumphant battle royale.

8. The light that is emitted by the Ark only kills Nazis.

7. For only 200 Microsoft Points, gamers can download a skin that enables them to play as Chuck Norris.

6. The Arbiter survives the war, and settles down in the MidWest to become the industry-leading owner of Dodge dealerships in the region.

5. The Warthog achieves a turbo boost when its exhaust manifold is injected with Mt. Dew Gamer Fuel.

4. The Brute Chieftain climbs atop the Empire State Building for a final boss fight against a swarm of angry UNSC Hornets.

3. The Chief’s helmet comes off at the end, and he looks just like Bill Gates.

2. There is an intermission in which a kickline of Flood Warrior Forms perform the dance number from the video for Michael Jackson’s ‘THRILLER’.

1. Last line of the credits? “To Be Continued!”

You heard it here first!

Try to contain your jealousy. You will get your turn…

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Spoiled 18

D0811 T1657 Y2007A Call For Patience

If you listened to the most recent podcast produced by Bungie Studios, you have heard the admission that Halo 3 will not feature tools to support the management of clans. Exactly 47 minutes into the dialogue, the news breaks like a skylight on Beaver Creek:

“No. There will not be clan functionality in Halo 3.”

For the Tied the Leader communty, this seemed to be the last mystery that needed solving before Launch Day for Halo 3. Through vid-docs, weekly updates, bootlegged publications, and a generous swarm of E3 hype; all of the other fanboy hot-buttons had been properly mashed.

Online Co-op? Check!
Detachable Machinma Cameras? Check.
Map Editors? Check.
A Finish to the Fight? CHECK!!!

For “clans” like the ours, as well as those of our trusted allies, unanswered questions about the immediate future of roster management loomed over the best laid schemes intended to migrate our fighting forces to different environs in a new game. Now that the truth is out in the open, we can start making plans to lead the wagon train from Coagulation to our new home on Valhalla.

Let’s all put away our riot gear. Shall we? Since this news item hit the grid, this blogger has received more than a few calls to action to make some noise on this issue. This was most likely in response to my last statement on the subject. Several weeks ago, an article on this masthead shined a spotlight on the very question of what Halo 3 would have in store for communities that had sprung from the cradle of the Bungie fanbase.

Did I really think that one little blog post could impact a years-long development process in the 11th hour? No, way. The powers that be know full well that we like our clans. They didn’t need a reminder that people want to form up into lasting teams. I just wanted to know the scoop, so we could start packing our saddle bags in a way that made sense.

So, now we know. If anyone is expecting me to follow my plea with a hotly worded appeal, I will have to disappoint. This blogger is a gamer. I am not a software developer. I know nothing of the rigors that are faced by those professionals. I have the easy job. I run happily through the maze in search of my cheese.

From other notable soundbytes on the podcast, we can easily glean that not all is lost. It sounds as if that good old community feeling that we have all come to expect from the Halo Experience will be prolonged by other means. The online resources at Bungie.net are about to be augmented to take up some of the slack. In Frankie’s own words, there will be new tools to help with “organizing the social aspects” of playing Halo on Xbox Live. The Bungie’casters also alluded to the prospect that clans encompassing all of Xbox Live were “more than rumor”, having been discussed by none other than Xbox Live Pied Piper Major Nelson himself.

Check out speculative screen shots, courtesy of Heroic Odysseus at PG!

Will clans become extinct in Halo 3? No freaking way! There does not exist the slightest chance of that happening. Not even if the developers turned their back completely on the notion of a “clan” would the stalwart teams of the Halo Nation disband and scatter like refugees across a handful of matchmaking playlists.

What? You thought the Praetorians were going to hand Rome over to the Vandals just because they are losing the extra friends list that was cheated into our hands? You think the Gunslingers would surrender MidWorld to the forces of Discordia? This is Blasphemy!

Hundreds of communities have already built their own homebase, located off the Geek Reservation that both Microsoft and Bungie maintain [free of charge] in Cyberspace. For those gamers that find themselves feeling homeless in the new order, there will be many doors that lead to a better game. While some communities may approach the launch of Halo 3 from an isolationist standpoint, they will find their allies again in the long run.

As much as gamers clamor for everything to be “Next-Gen”, they can also be very resistant to change. Anyone who tackled the Beta knows that Halo 3 will be the next generation of online multiplayer warfare. Yet, with a slight change to some time-honored features, it is inevitable that our Halo Nation will suffer some attrition of crotchety gamers who cannot evolve to thrive in a new habitat. That’s as simple as Natural Selection on a microcosmic scale.

There will always be haters who need a reason to hate. Slight alterations to the ballistic properties of one beloved [and preposterous] weapon was all it took to spark one of the biggest powder kegs of dissention among the Halo playerbase. The Great Pistol Debate will forever rage on websites that play the role of a complaint department. They can take a number and sit down.

We will see more of the same naysayings in Halo 3. Tied the Leader will neither lead that charge nor participate. People come to this site to share in the appreciation of the games that fuel our pastimes. In just over a month, that pastime is getting an enormous shot in the arm.

Complaining about what we think Halo 3 might be – or should be – is a waste of time and energy. That time is better spent loading up our friends lists with the gamers we know will be at the ready to lay down cover-fire when we need it. People who occupy themselves with howling at the moon will find that they are surrounded by random betrayers come late September. This is the time to pick teams and make ready for war.

The rest will work itself out. Under the umbrella of the Bungie Team, it always has. Trust in that, my fellow gamers. It’s a safe bet.

No one is going anywhere. The Gunslingers will adapt and overcome. If the new tools at Bungie.net are better than the ones we have built for ourselves, we will gladly put them to use. I, for one, look forward to seeing how all of this might elevate the game.

We don’t second-guess around these parts.

We say thankya – like Gunslingers do…

Then, we deal in lead.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Gamers 11