Halo Tournament Update

Halo players,

It’s with deep regret we must cancel this year’s Gamers for Giving Halo tournament.

For eight years, we’ve had the privilege to consistently host some of the most competitive and enjoyable Halo tournaments in the Midwest – including a portion of last year’s Halo Championship Series.

We’re proud to say our roots as an organization come from Halo. Through thick and thin, it’s a community and franchise that has remained near and dear to our hearts. We have always looked forward to including Halo as part of Gamers for Giving.

Due to encountering an unrecognizable error in the custom games matchmaking platform, we are unable to successfully host this year’s tournament. This was an entirely unanticipated and unexpected occurrence, and was not an error we encountered during any of our test sessions with the consoles. After spending multiple hours testing various network configurations, swapping switches, interacting directly with 343 Industries, and even considering a venue swap – it has simply not been possible to initiate custom game sessions in a reliable tournament environment.

This is not a decision we made lightly, and we deeply regret any inconvenience this has caused our attendees. Please know this decision was made after exhausting all possible scenarios that would’ve reasonably included any hope of the tournament happening within the means of our attendees, volunteers, and resources. We know some of you have traveled far distances to compete at Gamers for Giving this weekend, and we want to make things right as best we can.

If your team would like a full pass refund, we will be honoring requests until March 21st, 2016. Please open a support ticket through the LANFest website with the subject line “Halo Refund Request”, and provide the PayPal transaction ID from your original purchase. The refund will be issued through the same method of payment your team pass was purchased.

Alternatively, we are happy to offer complimentary Sky Loft passes to teams who would rather allocate the cost of their tickets to the fundraising goal of Gamers for Giving. If your team would like to join us for the remainder of the event as a Sky Loft guest, please visit the console check-in desk and present your team’s registration or photo ID. We’d love to spend the weekend with you in our hospitality lounge.

We apologize again to all of you who’ve made the effort to be a part of this year’s event. We appreciate you coming out and joining us, and hope to see some of you in the Sky Loft tomorrow.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out directly at

All other aspects of Gamers for Giving will continue as planned. We hope to welcome back Halo again in the future, and to see you at Gamers for Giving.

  • RRrider

    As bad as this is, and I am talking 3 weeks of time away from my family practicing all of those late nights, Saturday lost sitting around for 12 hours waiting and wondering, I am guessing it is still not as bad as my team is feeling right now, two of them flying in from Portland OR, and another driving up from NC. At least I can say I live an hour away from the event and get to relax at home today and watch Michigan State stomp Purdue. The way I see it, Microsoft said screw you to their customers when they did away with the LAN functions for the xbox one, because they want everyone to get a live membership. That is also the mentality that has lead to Playstation outselling the xbox one by millions and millions of units.

    • Mabans

      You do get this is a charity event right? Why are you taking 3 weeks off for a charity event tournament? Get off your soap box just to shit on MS.. it’s crude..

      • RRrider

        I’m well aware of the cause. I was there… I contributed. I just put most of the blame on MS

    • SpeakTruthAlways

      I wish Bungie was still making Halo.. 343 has ruined the campaign and everything.

  • Anon ymous

    Yes Microsoft should have designed the xbox one to better support LAN events but that is no excuse for the fiasco that transpired on Saturday.

    The lackadaisical attitude and complete lack of communication with both players and online viewers is appalling given the players’ investment in preparation and travel (flights, hotels).

    The GFG event purpose is commendable no doubt, but that is not a free pass for what transpired this weekend. Learn from it…

    • ligerzero459

      Wait, wait, wait. Are you insinuating that GFG is somehow responsable for 343 having shit servers that went down inexplicable the day of the event? Because that’s just silly

      • RRrider

        Part of the issue is that it took the staff a few hours to clear the section to start working on the problem. Warmup was supposed to be over at 11:45, but it was still 2pm and people were hanging out playing warzone. As soon as they knew this was a problem, they should have cleared the area and started working on a solution. Perhaps the three hours might have made a difference in securing a new venue. There wasn’t talk with the teams about a venue swap until after 10 pm Saturday night.

        • ZachWigal

          Hey RRider –

          We initially thought the problem was related to a simultaneous network issue affecting the entire event in the morning on Saturday. See this new blog post detailing the timeline here:

          The consoles weren’t pulled because we had no reason to believe the issue couldn’t be tracked down or fixed on site. The alternate venue idea was something that hit us late in the evening as a potential hail mary – but wouldn’t have been possible to pull off given the resources required + timing.

        • ligerzero459

          But the problem wasn’t the venue. The problem was the servers. Even if they’d swapped venues, the problem would’ve remained.

          Think of it like this: you call a number and the number is disconnected on the other end. It doesn’t matter if/when you decide to try it from a neighbor’s phone, the number on the other end is still disconnected.

      • Anon ymous

        I was insinuating that the root cause probably has nothing to do with the xbox servers. AFAIK the rest of North America was able to connect to the xbox servers just fine on Saturday leading me to believe the problem was at the event and/or the university internet connectivity.

        The GFG leadership team should have had the appropriate technical support staff either on site or on call. Regardless of it being a technical competence issue or not, the lack of communication throughout the day was unacceptable and is my main gripe. Problems happen all the time – it’s how they’re managed that is the real test, and there were many options available to them.

        If it wasn’t for the event being for charity I would have went and spoke with Zach direct, and I would not have gone out of my way to “talk down” many of the players that were (and are) livid. I’m sure Zach had enough on his plate to deal with so I didn’t want to take away from the bigger goal of raising funds for a good cause. That said, these halo players made significant investments of time and money, and the event staff handled it as poorly as they possibly could. Honestly, they could not have handled the situation any worse than they did…

        The reason I’m bothering to waste more time on this topic is because I’m really hoping that Zach and his team take real ownership of the mistakes that were made, and make an effort to find solutions in the future vs outright canceling an event that teams have traveled to participate in. You will never see me at a future GFG event (ever) but it is for a good cause so I’m hoping that they continue to grow and be successful.

        • Jason Lo

          It was just a local LAN. Why would you fly out or drive long distances for small LAN like this. It is obsurd. I went because it was 20 mins from my house.

        • ZachWigal

          Sorry to hear you feel this way, but totally understand your frustration. I’ve just posted a blog article detailing the context of our decisions at the event, which can hopefully give you a bit more insight into what happened, and how our team prioritized tasks. It’s available here if you’re interested:

          Canceling an event is the absolute last scenario on any event organizer’s mind. Unfortunately, sometimes it has to happen. We have no reason to believe the problems encountered during the weekend were of our doing.

          As for communication, I agree that some of that could have been handled better. When you had questions, did you ask a tournament moderator or visit the console tournament info desk? Were you one of the players who signed up to receive text messages? Just curious to hear about your experience so we can make improvements for next time.

  • Someone else

    This is why I bought a PC. You can still play the original Halo PC or Halo 2 via Lan on PC.

    Not to mention that that PC gamers have a working version of Halo that is an effort to recreate the game via the Unity 5 engine. It’s legally being done as “fair use”. The servers are all community too. Nice.

    With Xbox 360 or One controllers.

  • KDmP_Raze

    So what was the reasoning behind no LAN play? Oh that’s right, to stop those pirates…
    Devs you are only hurting your paying customers with this kind of stuff. Wake up and change your mentality to something like CDPR has.

  • Confever

    this is why playing on the ps4 is the most superior gaming platform. ps4 is never ever down EVER !!!
    you make a huge mistake for getting an xbone or that silly pccraprace

    • FtDLulz

      Consoles and PCs are barely comparable. Tell me one reason why you think a console is better than a PC.

      • dave

        Because consoles are easier to acquire and cheaper as an initial purchase into the gaming industry. also consoles are a bit more user friendly in most applications if that is what you are used to playing with. coming from a generation which started gaming on a Nintendo system and moving up through the ranks of different consoles, it becomes second nature to have a controller in your hand as compared to using a pc.

        it boils down really to preference. yes the pc can get better graphics, but its much more expensive as an initial purchase to get into.

        so please get off your pc master race crap and pull your head out of the clouds. both PC AND CONSOLES have their benefits and fall backs.
        you can argue all you want but the first paragraph in this response is the meat of the sandwich you were asking about.

        • FtDLulz

          Thank you for actually responding with a legitimate argument. I’m not saying PC is better because omg graficz, but because for only $450 you can get something that is more powerful than a console, without having to pay the fees per month.
          That’s already cheaper after a year, plus most games are made for the PC as well as consoles.

          There are even PCs such as the Steam Machine which are meant to be user-friendly and allow you to play games just as you would on a console without the fees.

          Your note about controllers is fair but as you can also use controllers on a PC. Not for everything on a PC though, of course. Personally, I think consoles should just die out and people should concentrate on making a user-friendly, cheap PC instead. This would unify all of the communities and completely remove the monthly cost of something such as Xbox Live.

          I will admit my first comment was too harsh on consoles and they do have their good points, but they’re not really something we should have around for the long term.

          • dave

            very true, but I happen to have read something that Microsoft was in talks with sony about linking their networks with pc players as well. this would be interesting however I can see PC mods on ps4 and XBONE systems would be a little out of control with modding and such. it will be an interesting time in the next few years as we look at gaming.

  • John Lange

    Just curious but did you ever figure out what was causing this? I’ve run a bunch of stuff on xbox and the issue we’ve had is allowing UPnP (which is stupidly insecure) so the XBox One would actually behave. If we don’t do that, everything refuses to connect to each other, we can’t host games that are local, nothing. It’s beyond annoying because you have to set up a VLAN just for consoles that has its own external IP.

    • ZachWigal

      Hey John – the team is still in the dark, but we’re hoping to have further discussion with 343 after they wrap up the HCS event this week.

      I’ve just posted a blog detailing the timeline of the event:

      Our networking team ran every play under the sun to make the consoles suitable in the venue. The consoles were able to connect to Xbox Live and engage in normal matchmaking. Players could join each other’s custom games, and in some circumstances could even start the game – but were often booted offline shortly after. This caused us to believe the issue must’ve been related to a recent game patch (see blog post) – but that’s purely speculative as of now.

      At one point, we even assigned each Xbox its own public IP and placed them on an unfiltered line that didn’t pass through the University’s connection. Still no luck.

      Everything else in the venue was working great. There were other people in the LAN playing console titles without issue, which is what makes us believe there must’ve been something up with the game itself.

      • John Lange

        Oh, yeah, so you did everything. At that point, it’s no longer the network, it’s definitely something on their side. That terrible that it happened during your LAN and that there’s basically no recourse with Microsoft/343. Especially as it seems from an outside perspective that they are giving up on LANs entirely.

        Good luck working with 343 but it would be pretty understandable to not really put trust into Halo for future events.