Phase 2 of participant selection for the Halo 3 beta has come and gone and someone somewhere should be ashamed. For the record, as far as I can tell I succeeded in getting in and even if I did not, I already pre-ordered the Xbox 360 game Crackdown (pre-ordered and specially marked copies include a beta invite). So, it is without personal anger that I criticize the whole affair.
Phase 1 of the beta was a free-for-all sign up with a chance to be selected based on whatever criteria Bungie saw fit. Phase 3 just requires that you purchase a special copy of Crackdown. Phase 2 is the one that required real, genuine work. Yes, hopefuls had to slave away for three hours playing Halo 2 on Xbox Live. I know, I know–the absolute horror of it all.
Bungie posted the exact rules for Phase 2 in a news update. In summary, two things had to be done:
The first 13,333 to sign up that had also played for three hours (and met other requirements such as having an Xbox 360!) would be accepted into the beta program.
The instructions failed to specify what time on February 5 registration would begin. How this could possibly be overlooked is unimaginable. An educated guess would be 12 a.m., but this still doesn’t take care of time zones.
It didn’t matter though: 12 a.m. in every time zone arrived and fervent page-refreshers were disappointed. No registration, no update, no nothing. Even semi-likely times like 3:33 a.m. passed without incident. Not only were those eager to get into the beta faced with numerous competitors, they had to spend hours playing another game and then theoretically make sure they had access to the internet for 24 hours because there was no indication when they could sign up. One forum member suggested, after waiting for hours to no avail, that you were supposed to come back Feb 5, 2008 because no date was specified either.