Things weren’t looking too sanguine for Halo 4′s Crimson Map Pack when, after its release on December 10, players who were supposed to receive the multiplayer add-on for free via the War Games pass found themselves being charged, full price, upon downloading it over Xbox Live.
Microsoft’s solution, however — allowing temporary, “complimentary” access to players while the pass situation would be resolved — now appears to have ignited a new problem: bans. Reports abound on the official Halo 4 forums from players who, having downloaded the Crimson Map Pack for free, claim to have been hammered with the notorious perma-ban throughout certain sections of matchmaking.
Similar to the Crimson Pack payment imbroglio, the problem doesn’t appear to be universal; merely widespread. Beginning over the weekend, the questions and complaints on the 100+ page “Official Halo 4 Ban Thread” began following an identical narrative: pass owners downloaded the maps (“Wreckage,” “Harvest” and “Shatter”), took them for a spin through matchmaking (either online or off), and then discovered their perma-ban the next time they reconnected with the game. It’s worth noting that these aren’t blanket perma-bans — only partial online features are being restricted — but Microsoft and 343 may well have another fiasco on their hands nonetheless.
As of right now, the most official response to the matter stems from a forum moderator on the aforementioned thread:
We are not permanently banning players for previewing or purchasing the Crimson Map Pack. We are currently investigating the recent reports of permanent matchmaking bans.
We will provide further updates tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.
In other words, pass owners who downloaded the Crimson Pack for free, as per Microsoft’s offer, weren’t committing a crime after all. That’s a relief! Clarification and vindication, however? Well, those are still forthcoming.
We’ll have the updates for you as soon as they’re provided. Between War Games and Spartan Ops and a well-executed co-op campaign format, 343 Industries has fostered an enticing online atmosphere for Halo fans in their first endeavor with the series (read our Halo 4 review). It would be unfortunate to see the trivialities of DLC implementation get in the way.
The Halo 4 Crimson Map Pack released for 800 Microsoft Points on December 10, 2012.
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.