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Infinity

CSR is Still Flawed: A Comprehensive Review of Halo 5's Ranking System

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I understand the argument against having too many playlists, but I...

 

1) enjoy collecting top tier ranks across playlists, whether they be 50s, onyxs, etc.

2) also don't want to go through another Halo w/ unranked 2v2 or FFA, so don't give anyone any ideas (even if you backed away from that extreme)

 

Give a solo queue and offer some rank incentive bling and I'd be perfectly happy despite what other warts remain.

 

That's an interesting point you bring up about collecting ranks, but let me tell you why it isn't necessarily a good thing. Ranking systems aren't meant to be a system that you can beat. In Halo 3, the high-end competition wasn't if you could get to Rank 50, it was how many 50s you had and how fast you could get there. A ranking system isn't about collecting a trophy case or winning a speed trial, its about contextualizing your current place within the game's audience of players.

 

Offering incentives to win such as skill-based rewards, leaderboards, and other systems are more effective at rewarding players than allowing them to rack up seven different Onyx ranks.

 

And yeah, as I said, I'm not actually pushing for only one ranked list.

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Let’s take a look at Slayer, which I lovingly refer to as the "coward’s way out of Team Arena", and the baby 4v4 playlist. Slayer provides a cop out for players who have a bad experience in what should be the core ranked mode (Team Arena). It’s very existence as a ranked mode provides reason for players to cower and feel discouraged rather than push through their issues and continue assessing their true Halo skill level. The "difficulty" of objective modes without team coordination is quite frankly an illusion. This isn't to say that a Slayer-only playlist is a bad thing, but having it as a Ranked option is just silly.

 

The concept of reducing the amount of ranked playlist is a really tough discussion to comprehend, and quite a tough pill to swallow for fans of Halo’s outdated style of ranking. Why would we take away the ability for players to assess their skills in Breakout, SWAT, etc.? The answer is what I explained in the previous segment. If you can strike a chord in your player—recognize that they want to compete, that they want to visualize their skill level—then you need to send them to as large of a pool of competitive players as possible, and that means minimizing the amount of paths they can take to achieve that visualization.

Okay, I can get the point behind the post and all and agree with most of it, but starting out a paragraph by referring to their (Slayer pop's) experience as a "coward's way out", or  "cop out" to Team Arena is just dumb. Keep that type of bias/personal edge the hell out of what should be an objectively driven discussion. It has no point to being there other than to, be it inadvertent or not, jab at others.

 

Furthermore... The difficulty of objective modes without team coordination is quite frankly an illusion? What? How is it an illusion at all? Getting floored by a TO4 Onyxes that communicate flag runs/strongholds, with you as the solo man/woman and other (seemingly) non-communicating teammates isn't an illusion, unless this was either written poorly, or I misunderstood. 

 

Obj modes are very difficult when you face a coordinated team versus your team that lacks it entirely.

 

Past that, pretty big agree. Wouldn't mind playlist cutdowns/narrowing ranked playlists. Personally think FFA/Doubles/Arena could share that ranked playlist spotlight (provided the latter two are changed to be more competitively viable, but I doubt that'll occur), so, yeah.

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Okay, I can get the point behind the post and all and agree with most of it, but starting out a paragraph by referring to their (Slayer pop's) experience as a "coward's way out", or "cop out" to Team Arena is just dumb. Keep that type of bias/personal edge the hell out of what should be an objectively driven discussion. It has no point to being there other than to, be it inadvertent or not, jab at others.

 

Furthermore... The difficulty of objective modes without team coordination is quite frankly an illusion? What? How is it an illusion at all? Getting floored by a TO4 Onyxes that communicate flag runs/strongholds, with you as the solo man/woman and other (seemingly) non-communicating teammates isn't an illusion, unless this was either written poorly, or I misunderstood.

 

Obj modes are very difficult when you face a coordinated team versus your team that lacks it entirely.

 

Past that, pretty big agree. Wouldn't mind playlist cutdowns/narrowing ranked playlists. Personally think FFA/Doubles/Arena could share that ranked playlist spotlight (provided the latter two are changed to be more competitively viable, but I doubt that'll occur), so, yeah.

Wording may have been bad in that segment. Changing it now, but glad you agree with the rest.

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Wording may have been bad in that segment. Changing it now, but glad you agree with the rest.

Maybe, but yeah, the amount of ranked playlists is pretty obnoxious. Alongside the lack of something worthy for getting said ranks, which is sucky on its own. Would be cool if they designed a set of armor based on the season and for specific divisions, and for each division's set, there were cool designs for it. Hypothetically, you could have say, Mark IV with Diamond-level blue/gold designs on the shoulders, and purple/black/white for Onyx, etc. Granted I don't mind the emblems as of now, they're fine, but you could easily do more and give people proper incentive to play.

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Maybe, but yeah, the amount of ranked playlists is pretty obnoxious. Alongside the lack of something worthy for getting said ranks, which is sucky on its own. Would be cool if they designed a set of armor based on the season and for specific divisions, and for each division's set, there were cool designs for it. Hypothetically, you could have say, Mark IV with Diamond-level blue/gold designs on the shoulders, and purple/black/white for Onyx, etc. Granted I don't mind the emblems as of now, they're fine, but you could easily do more and give people proper incentive to play.

With Halo 5's cosmetic options, the reward possibilities are literally endless.

 

I'll fuck you up with my Winter Season Onyx Assassination.

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I like diversity man; it allows people to get high ranks if they're good at different things. Making only one ranked playlist would be extremely annoying to competitive FFA, for example. Also, if I'm trying to grind to get better and get higher ranks, I'm not going to be play one playlist the entire day. Personally, I feel like the biggest flaw in matchmaking is allowing solo queue players to match up with teams of 4.

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With Halo 5's cosmetic options, the reward possibilities are literally endless.

 

I'll fuck you up with my Winter Season Onyx Assassination.

Dude, exclusive assassinations/stances could be some of the coolest potential shit.

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I like diversity man; it allows people to get high ranks if they're good at different things. Making only one ranked playlist would be extremely annoying to competitive FFA, for example. Also, if I'm trying to grind to get better and get higher ranks, I'm not going to be play one playlist the entire day. Personally, I feel like the biggest flaw in matchmaking is allowing solo queue players to match up with teams of 4.

I want FFA to be competitive and have ranks too! It's a complicated discussion. Thanks for reading though :)

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I want FFA to be competitive and have ranks too! It's a complicated discussion. Thanks for reading though :)

Also, other people's view of Halo, or what they think of when somebody says Halo, may be different from what 343 or competitive players think, but they might still want to compete in what they love about Halo. Team Arena is just awful without a team of 4 by the way, and not everybody has people to play with all the time.

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Red for a quick note.

 

That April distribution actually looks pretty solid, but as I discussed, the current disparity of CSR within Onyx/Champion is seriously bad, and that is affected by matchmaking, CSR gains/losses, and the global distribution.

 

As of this post, Onyx is comprised of over 12% of the Team Arena population, and Silver/Bronze only hold 5.6%. I'm not saying a dramatic shift is in order, but multiple factors affecting the current curve need to be addressed.

 

 

I agree there are some serious issues with the ranking system, but the population distribution is actually the one of the few things they got right.

 

I'm not sure where you got updated distribution data, but if its right, it indicates a 3% shift to the right for the standard deviation... Which can be explained by the absolute worst players in the game making up a smaller portion of the population 1.5 years after launch. People are better now than they were in april. The boosting and the lack of party matching will also contribute, but 3% is really not that bad.

 

Implimenting some of your suggestions would help slide the curve back to the left. But a redistribution of the population isn't neccisary.

 

 

I whole heartedly disagree that the 'whole point' of a ranking system is to show people how good individuals are or to highlight the game modes with the most competive merit. (Bungie,343,and even Blizzard would disagree too) That's just 1 part of it- and the importance of THAT part will vary depending on who you ask.

 

The MAIN POINT of a ranking system is to provide a mechanism to ensure that players are getting into high quality matches (i.e. matches where the likelihood of winning is nearly equal to their likelihood of losing). That's it.

 

I think your 4000 page essay will go to waste because of your bias towards creating an ideal competitive environment, Rather than an environment where players of all skill levels can find high quality matches within the game types they like. You spent the majority of your article telling them how to better highlight the competitive angle of the ranking system when that's never been the goal, not even when bungie made Halo. You should have just focused on why the game sucks at matching people against who they SHOULD be matching against.

 

H5s match making isn't bad for its failure to accurately represent how good people are. It's bad because it constantly fails to get players into high quality matches, regardless of their skill levels.

 

Also, There isn't anything wrong with having a variety of ranked playlists. Ranked slayer ,for example, exists because there is a large demand from the player base for frequent, high quality slayer matches. This demand is much larger than the demand for the same in the competitive playlist (and always has been). Slayer shouldn't be exclusively social because social has no mechanism in place to help facilitate high quality matches. They wouldn't be killing two birds with one stone. They'd create a less enjoyable slayer experience for people who prefer to play slayer against similarly skilled players.

 

You falsely assume that fewer ranked playlists would funnel players into the remaining ranked playlists. It MIGHT funnel some, but it also might push people into social or into another game altogether.

 

So yes, the current MM system is flawed. And most of your suggestions would help. But i think you've got some philosophies that run counter to what a large portion of this game's base finds enjoyable and what the aim of a ranking system should be. Your bias takes away from what should be your core message: fix match making.

 

This is not true. The distribution curve has always had a higher peak around Gold/Platinum/Diamond, even since launch.

 

Of course it's peak was centered. I'm not suggesting otherwise. But prior to the January update (iirc), there CSR ranges were such that the standard deviation was too large, resulting in a flatter, more evenly distributed curve.

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I agree with pretty much all these points. I haven't ranked in any other playlist besides Arena in months, there is no reason when arena only matters and the other playlists you just get matched up in are against high champions. Also I agree the reward system for the ranks is absurd. Haven't seen a single player with a Arena emblem, even if they did I didn't notice. Imagine if players got a gold pack for every tier they went up in or something, or a special HCS armor for getting into onyx. No reason for newbies to play ranked if they can just go over to social and get the same rewards in terms of armor, experience, and req points.   

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Great post Infinity. As I said on Twitter this will be remain in my head for at least 2 days.

 

 

 

 

I am shocked at how many misinterpret your intent with the cowardly statement.

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It's too much to respond to in pieces so I'll just try to sum it up. I feel so much of it is directly compared to other competitive games, most of which offer nowhere near the variety of game play that Halo can offer, so forcing ranked into just one or two modes might fit your preference but alienate a larger portion of players. I think we disagreed on MCC's playlist management before, although that's a different beast. I 100% felt that combining the games in playlists absolutely killed the population for those who bought the game specifically to play their favorite version, where I believe you felt that it would spread the playerbase to thin.

 

I just can't get behind the idea of only one ranked playlist. Imagine if bungie released Halo 2 and only Team Hardcore was ranked. While that sounds completely awesome to me that everyone would now be forced to play the competitive mode for a competitive rank, it just alienates so many others. I had tried my ass off to get high up in the head to head playlist, minor and major clan match, I ended up with like a 37 in BTB. 

 

I think the divisions and stuff were a good idea in Halo but implemented poorly. Part of my lack of motivation stems beyond the ranking system and comes from just a core gameplay standpoint, but the divisons/CSR/SR do nothing to keep me interested or engaged. So I agree with I guess the overall majority of your post.

 

I feel like you put too much work into this to include a few small snarky comments that might prevent them from responding.

 

If we accept that Halo's strategy in this iteration was to unify the casual and competitive experience - a strategy which is far more in line with how the vast majority of other games operate (which is not to say that it's the best idea for Halo) - then having a single ranked playlist is at least internally consistent. 

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Here's hoping Josh Menke back at 343 tries to rectify matchmaking, it's currently the worst solo grind I've ever had. Religiously playing Teams of 4, Onyx & champ mean nothing and play/match each other, legit silver/golds/diamonds often get put on my team playing in onyx rank and they get stomped on. It just does not work.

When you look at the Overwatch rank system and actually play that game its insanely balanced (i also imagine the PC master race population helps with this). Honestly, i don't even really think Halo needs it tho, 1 - 50 worked fine for me and it suits Halo perfectly fine. I think some kind of challenger system above 1-50 would be a perfect medium personally but something has to change drastically.

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Here's hoping Josh Menke back at 343 tries to rectify matchmaking, its currently the worst solo grind ive ever had. Religiously playing Teams of 4, Onyx & champ mean nothing and play/match each other, legit silver/golds/diamonds often get put on my team playing in onyx rank and they get stomped on. It just does not work.

 

When you look at the Overwatch rank system and actually play that game its insanly balanced (i also imagine the pcmaster race population helps with this). Honestly i dont even really think Halo needs it tho, 1 - 50 worked fine for me and it suits Halo perfectly fine. I think some kind of challenger system above 1-50 would be a perfect medium personally but something has to change drastically.

When it comes to making matches,the 1-50 system and this system work on similar principles. Instead of 50 ranks we have just over 30 (silver 1 - onyx 6 + champion). In each case, the game looks at who you've beat and who you lost to, calculates your relative skill level, then attempts to match you with people who have a similar relative skill. The symbols they use to portray your skill level (lvl 40 or onyx 5) are just a way too visualize your relative skill. They aren't a sign of matchmaking accuracy.

 

The only functional difference between the two systems is that placement matches allow you to skip directly to a rank that is closer to your true skill instead of grinding through noobs.

 

The Bungie's system was similarly exploitable, BUT they at least did a better job of factoring in party sizes when making matches. 343 could convert the existing ranks into 1-50, and the matchmaking system would still have the issues it has today.

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The only functional difference between the two systems is that placement matches allow you to skip directly to a rank that is closer to your true skill instead of grinding through noobs.

I still think it's heavily flawed, Ola went 10/10 and destroyed everyone on his secondary and got gold 2, this just screws everyone at lower levels. I also don't see how when I've never had a Champion I can play full teams of high champions during my placement games  :huh:

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I still think it's heavily flawed, Ola went 10/10 and destroyed everyone on his secondary and got gold 2, this just screws everyone at lower levels. I also don't see how when I've never had a Champion I can play full teams of high champions during my placement games :huh:

Yeah it IS flawed. But the flaw isn't in how your skill level is displayed (1-50 vs gold 1 - champ). The flaw is in how the CSR distribution can be thrown of by a lack of party considerations and how static post game CSR allocations are.

 

In a 1-50 if Ola made a new account and played Solo, he'd start at level 1 and would have to trash 49 levels worth of people to get where he's supposed to be. Of course his competition would accelerate at an increased rate the more he won, which would speed up the process.

 

With The placement system, placing ola at gold2 reduces the amount of levels he has to grind through to get to where he should be. It's BETTER for lower players than placing him at lvl 1.

 

That said, there is no real reason he should be placed so low after 10 placement matches. The placement matches should accelerate the competition at a faster rate than normal AND it should factor in individual performance more heavily. If his first match was against golds, and he went +30, shot 60% accuracy, and dealt more damage than the rest of his team combined, then his next match should be against no less than diamonds.

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he'd start at level 1 and would have to trash 49 levels worth of people to get where he's supposed to be

Good post! 1 side note, personal preference and an unpopular one at that, I really like doing this ^

 

I actually loved and miss the grind from 1- 50 and one of the reasons I still enjoy levelling characters on wow and enjoyed levelling smurfs during H2/3.

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Good post! 1 side note, personal preference and an unpopular one at that, I really like doing this ^

 

I actually loved and miss the grind from 1- 50 and one of the reasons I still enjoy levelling characters on wow and enjoyed levelling smurfs during H2/3.

Be honest tho, unlike ola you only get to trash like 12 levels to get where youre supposed to be :kappa:

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Good post! 1 side note, personal preference and an unpopular one at that, I really like doing this ^

 

I actually loved and miss the grind from 1- 50 and one of the reasons I still enjoy levelling characters on wow and enjoyed levelling smurfs during H2/3.

There is a certain joy in watching your skill level progress. But good players using new accounts and thrashing new players is a problem that plagued the 1-50 system AND this one. And there really isn't a reason for it to happen in this new system.

 

As Infinity mentions in his essay, there ARE proven ways to match people against appropriate opponents while still making progression feel like a rewarding experience. 343 is just tripping over themselves.

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Be honest tho, unlike ola you only get to trash like 12 levels to get where youre supposed to be :kappa:

12 is generous.

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The 1-50 had a lot of problems, you never knew when you were gonna rank up or how many levels, or how close you were to demotion.

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You actually could check to see your progress towards the next level in h2's 1 through 50. As well as there being a fully explained and fleshed out reason for why you gained and lost the points that you did and that you had to lose half of the previous levels rank xp to drop a rank so as to not have someone going up and down every single game as they traded wins and losses. The only issue was that it wasn't displayed in game and only on bungie.net

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You actually could check to see your progress towards the next level in h2's 1 through 50. As well as there being a fully explained and fleshed out reason for why you gained and lost the points that you did and that you had to lose half of the previous levels rank xp to drop a rank so as to not have someone going up and down every single game as they traded wins and losses. The only issue was that it wasn't displayed in game and only on bungie.net

So... for someone who bought the game and played the game was never explained, so i am right. Things outside of the game may aswell not exist. The amount of people that go to the websites in a console game are really low.

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