It’s the end of an era. On Thursday, Microsoft and 343 Industries turned off all matchmaking servers for classic games Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo Reach, and Halo 4. And while you can still play versions of these games online via the fantastic Master Chief Collection, many players took time in the last days before January 13 to log in and mourn the end of the original games online multiplayer. Some helped other players get performances at the last minute, while others orchestrated a ceasefire, and some played only one last match before it all ended.
The closure of the Xbox 360 era Halo servers, although boring for many, were not a surprise. 343 and Microsoft first announced the news back in December 2020, but the date moved to January 13, 2022. Now that the date is here, in the last week or so, many gamers have dusted off their Xbox 360 and jumped back to Halo 3 and Halo Reach, to say goodbye to some of the best multiplayer games ever made.
A popular activity in the last days involved players who helped others unlock achievements only for multiplayer. Many players helped others win the “Two for One” achievement Halo 3, is considered one of the most difficult in the game. To get it, you have to kill two players in one shot with Spartan Laser. Other players helped people unlock “Maybe next time, buddy”Award that unlocks after you steal a vehicle back from someone in less than 10 seconds, which can be difficult to obtain normally. But in the last days of Halo 3, people were open to helping each other take these last minute prizes and communicated their plans via the game’s voice chat.
Another common occurrence during the last hours of the old school Halo games were players stop matches to hang out and chat. Some fired their weapons into the air, simulates 21-cannon salutes. Others only sat and talked about Halo 3, their favorite memories and what made the game so special to them. It reminded me of Ceasefire on Christmas Day which happened at the beginning of the First World War, there Soldiers from both sides left their trenches to stop fighting in the name of the holidays.
I also saw another player who during a CTF match, took a moment to pay tribute Halo 3 just before hitting the flag for the last time.
“Everyone, these have been some of the greatest moments of my life,” said Halo 3 player Xxminiman15xX. “I’m very, very sad to see this end. But it’s not an end, because we will always have our memories. We will always have our moments. And … we can still play on Master Chief Collection. ”
After that they topped the flag, the match ended and shortly after that the servers started to shut down. Players on Reddit and YouTube shared videos moment just when the servers gave up the ghost. Other players took screenshots of the matchmaking screen from Halo 3. Normally, the globe seen in the lower left corner of the map would light up representing the various players around the world. But with the servers officially dead, for the first time since Halo 3 released in 2007, all the lights were gone. The world was covered with darkness. It was over.
Seeing players gather to celebrate the end of Halo 3 ‘s servers have been strangely touching. It might just be a multiplayer shooter, but it was also a game that brought people together. People shared stories of meeting friends and even husbands and wives Halo 3 and Reach.
For me, Halo 3 was probably the last Halo games that I really loved. I spent so much time in Halo Reach and older games, but none of them (not also the latest and very good Infinite) ever captured the same feeling of Halo 3. Part of it was because I was younger, of course, but also because it was one of the first online video games I really sank into for several weeks of my life.
Starting up Halo 3 was special, as if I was connected to a wild and beautiful community. The servers were full of community-created locations and maps – like the wild and crazy ones. ”Speed Halo“i Reach or custom parkour and race map in Halo 3. Taking part in that creativity made the games feel like something that was actually alive and evolving. I celebrated birthdays in this game. Fled to his online action when high school got too shitty. It was a haven and a place where I met cool people. (And some racists and idiots.) It helped, too Halo 3 was a damn good shooter too.
And even if it’s true you can still play Halo 3 online via the excellent Master Chief Collection, it’s not the same thing. That era is now gone. The fight is over. And like a good spartan, Halo 3 did not go quietly.