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

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Things outside of the game may aswell don't exist. The amount of people that go to the websites in a console game are really low.

This is so true. Everything you need to know should be in game. Not to bring this up again but.... see overwatch.

 

I can only imagine how many more HCS team req packs they could sell if it was available in game....

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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.

Well you weren't right so much as just ignorant of what was going on since it seemed like you were attributing the problem to the ranking system when in reality it made total sense. The problem was that nobody provided the information in game which doesn't really have anything to do with 1-50 and everything to do with ui design choices which I think is a fairly important distinction when talking about which systems do or do not work and why.

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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.

 

Okay, so I think you are misunderstanding a few things. Firstly, skill-based matchmaking can exist without a ranking system. Majority of games do this, as a matter of fact. Fair and balanced matches are not exclusive to a ranking system, and ranks are not the only item/system that can incentive people to want to win and not want to lose.

 

Secondly, you claim that Bungie would disagree with this, but as I said in my disclaimer in the first segment, the 2004/2007 gaming ecosystem was completely different than it is now. Look at Bungie in 2010 with Reach—one Ranked playlist. They didn't get the gameplay or ranking formula exactly right, but they agreed with my ideology.

 

A big problem with Halo has is exactly what you just said, that its trying to provide a million experiences for players to enjoy what they like to play. We're living in a time where games are very specialized and tailored around singular experiences.

 

At launch, Halo 5 had the clearest vision for Halo that a developer has ever created: Arena for intimate, skill-based gameplay, Warzone for an expansive Halo sandbox experience. They didn't follow this ranking ideology at launch, but they easily could have. However, as they began to cater to entitled Halo fans by adding more and more niche modes (BTB, Snipers, Infection, Grifball, Action Sack), it becomes more and more difficult to apply this philosophy. I'm not saying that niche experiences and preferential options shouldn't exist, but there should be a "core" Halo experience that 343 should push (Standard Arena) and that is what the ranking system should be tied to.

 

And once again, having a playlist become Social doesn't make background SBMM vanish, I don't know where you are getting that from. In fact, many have argued that Halo 5's Social playlists have too much SBMM. The people playing Slayer now are playing it because they want to play Slayer and nothing else. They want to play Arena, but they don't want to be bothered with Objective gameplay, and thats fine. But I can say with confidence that very few of those players are entering that playlist with the primary goal of earning a rank. They might be incentivized by their Diamond logo increasing as they play, but it is FAR from the core reason they are playing the playlist.

 

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. 

 

Correct. I don't think one ranked list should happen, because there is always going to be some sort of variety in Halo's gameplay choices, especially when it comes to player counts (Doubles/FFA), but this is the logic I was going with.

 

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.

 

 

A ranking system should never be a grind, that just doesn't make sense. Progression systems are meant to be a grind (SR Rank).

 

You should have to grind to improve yourself and rank up, obviously, but starting from the lowest skill point just for satisfaction purposes strips away a ton of competitive merit. The system should be trying to find your exact skill point as soon as possible. Not only does 1-50 require a long time to accurately find your skill location, but their was no end-game system. The skill gap between two players with 50s could be enormous.

 

Because of that large skill disparity between players with 50s, it turns the system into a trophy case (How many 50s can I collect?) rather than an accurate skill assessment.

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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.

That's true, I'll give you that

 

@@Infinity I'm computerless or I would be more involved with your topic . Regarding some of the comments you edited out, they were far from mean or anything like that. I just think the time and effort you put into this is amazing and I would hate to have this discredited for the most minor of reasons.

 

I know many other posters have in the past who have written great constructive posts, but this is in my opinion the literal best way to provide constructive feedback. This should be the standard, even though that bar is set really high.

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yo @@_eb that reply on r/Halo saved my ass from a lot of typing. YOU are the real MVP.

 

That's true, I'll give you that

@@Infinity I'm computerless or I would be more involved with your topic . Regarding some of the comments you edited out, they were far from mean or anything like that. I just think the time and effort you put into this is amazing and I would hate to have this discredited for the most minor of reasons.

I know many other posters have in the past who have written great constructive posts, but this is in my opinion the literal best way to provide constructive feedback. This should be the standard, even though that bar is set really high.

 

 

It's weird. 343 is sometimes very open to aggressive feedback and sassy posts (looking at you Quinn), and then other times they will blacklist the #1 community site from media copies because of an honest article about gametypes.

 

The company flip flops frequently as to whether they have thick or thin skin, and I hope that this is a time with the former, because this is one of the Halo topics I am most passionate about.

 

Feel free to hop in to the discussion whenever you can, I always love chatting/debating with you in specific.

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Okay, so I think you are misunderstanding a few things. Firstly, skill-based matchmaking can exist without a ranking system. Majority of games do this, as a matter of fact. Fair and balanced matches are not exclusive to a ranking system, and ranks are not the only item/system that can incentive people to want to win and not want to lose.

 

Secondly, you claim that Bungie would disagree with this, but as I said in my disclaimer in the first segment, the 2004/2007 gaming ecosystem was completely different than it is now. Look at Bungie in 2010 with Reach—one Ranked playlist. They didn't get the gameplay or ranking formula exactly right, but they agreed with my ideology.

 

A big problem with Halo has is exactly what you just said, that its trying to provide a million experiences for players to enjoy what they like to play. We're living in a time where games are very specialized and tailored around singular experiences.

 

At launch, Halo 5 had the clearest vision for Halo that a developer has ever created: Arena for intimate, skill-based gameplay, Warzone for an expansive Halo sandbox experience. They didn't follow this ranking ideology at launch, but they easily could have. However, as they began to cater to entitled Halo fans by adding more and more niche modes (BTB, Snipers, Infection, Grifball, Action Sack), it becomes more and more difficult to apply this philosophy. I'm not saying that niche experiences and preferential options shouldn't exist, but there should be a "core" Halo experience that 343 should push (Standard Arena) and that is what the ranking system should be tied to.

 

And once again, having a playlist become Social doesn't make background SBMM vanish, I don't know where you are getting that from. In fact, many have argued that Halo 5's Social playlists have too much SBMM. The people playing Slayer now are playing it because they want to play Slayer and nothing else. They want to play Arena, but they don't want to be bothered with Objective gameplay, and thats fine. But I can say with confidence that very few of those players are entering that playlist with the primary goal of earning a rank. They might be incentivized by their Diamond logo increasing as they play, but it is FAR from the core reason they are playing the playlist.

 

I don't misunderstand. I just disagree. And I think a lot of Halo players disagree, and that's why Bungie or 343 wouldn't take your suggestions seriously the way you have it presented.

 

The point of a 'matchmaking system' is to place players into high quality matches, by using the players' history to figure his skill relative to the rest of the player base. Then it will seek to place that player into matches with player of similar skill.

 

A ranking system is a graphical interpretation of the skill data gathered by the matchmaking a system. It exists to provide the user with information regarding their position in the skill hierarchy. It also has buffers and filters built in to create an enjoyable experience around recieving this information.

 

Competitive players use this information to enhance their competitive experience. It allows them to see at a glance, how far they are from the top. And they actually have a desire to reach the top.

 

Less competitive players also value a ranking system, because it IS their source of feedback on how successful the matchmaking system is at providing them with appropriate opponents and teammates. Its a vital component of the feedback loop.

 

Social playlists are inherently less likely to provide "Appropriate" opponents to the degree of a ranked playlist, because parameters other than player skill take priority in the matchmaking system and because the absence of a rank (the visible ramifications of ones action) increases the likelihood of dramatic variance in individual's performance.

 

You HAVE to seperate the fact that someone is playing in a ranked playlist from the notion that this player is driven by or SHOULD BE a desire to see their rank increase. For the most part They want just want good matches... something social almost never provides... by design.

 

There is NOTHING wrong with providing players with the experience they want. It's financial suicide to ignore demand. Distilling the offering into fewer ranked playlists wont make Team Arena more attractive. It won't bring new players to Halo. At best it would result it fewer people playing in Ranked arena. At worst it'll give halo fans less reasons to play Halo. It's a negative sum play.

 

Just because a specialized approach works in other games. Doesn't mean it will work here.

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The point of a 'matchmaking system' is to place players into high quality matches, by using the players' history to figure his skill relative to the rest of the player base. Then it will seek to place that player into matches with player of similar skill.

A ranking system is a graphical interpretation of the skill data gathered by the matchmaking a system. It exists to provide the user with information regarding their position in the skill hierarchy. It also has buffers and filters built in to create an enjoyable experience around recieving this information.

 

Correct.

 

Competitive players use this information to enhance their competitive experience. It allows them to see at a glance, how far they are from the top. And they actually have a desire to reach the top.

 

Exactly, and what I'm saying is that 343 should be doing everything in their power to streamline their competitive audience. Providing numerous experiences with varying degrees of competitive merit splinters the audience that you are trying to attract, and that directly affects the quality of ranked matchmaking.

 

Less competitive players also value a ranking system, because it IS their source of feedback on how successful the matchmaking system is at providing them with appropriate opponents and teammates. Its a vital component of the feedback loop.

 

I think you are hyperbolizing the amount of people who care about ranks in the less competitive environments.

 

Social playlists are inherently less likely to provide "Appropriate" opponents to the degree of a ranked playlist, because parameters other than player skill take priority in the matchmaking system and because the absence of a rank (the visible ramifications of ones action) increases the likelihood of dramatic variance in individual's performance.

 

​This is arbitrary, because we have no idea what those parameters are. And what I'm saying is that playlists like SWAT and Breakout don't really need ramifications because they aren't very competitive to begin with. Linear modes don't often breed competitive players.

 

We don't currently know how Social in Halo 5 operates, but in the early stages of Halo 5, Social playlists behaved identically to Ranked playlists with the only change being the lack of the rank image.

 

You HAVE to seperate the fact that someone is playing in a ranked playlist from the notion that this player is driven by or SHOULD BE a desire to see their rank increase. For the most part They want just want good matches... something social almost never provides... by design.

 

I think you are also underestimating the natural drive for people to want to win, regardless of the given incentives. Team Skirmish isn't that far off from the experience you'd find in Slayer (other than the ramifications of the rank image, which you are aware of).

 

There is NOTHING wrong with providing players with the experience they want. It's financial suicide to ignore demand. Distilling the offering into fewer ranked playlists wont make Team Arena more attractive. It won't bring new players to Halo. At best it would result it fewer people playing in Ranked arena. At worst it'll give halo fans less reasons to play Halo. It's a negative sum play.

 

It would make Team Arena more attractive, though. A ranking system isn't just a feedback loop for your preferred experience, its a core part of a games image and how developers illustrate players' skill within the population.

 

Just because a specialized approach works in other games. Doesn't mean it will work here.

 

I'm not saying Halo needs to strip all of its niches away and shaft all of its splinter audiences, but I think 343 needs to make some important decisions as to what they want their game's image to be. Halo can't survive by being 10 games at once, they simply don't have the resources or popularity to sustain that.

 

At launch, they had a vision. Now, it's a lot less prominent.

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Exactly, and what I'm saying is that 343 should be doing everything in their power to streamline their competitive audience. Providing numerous experiences with varying degrees of competitive merit splinters the audience that you are trying to attract, and that directly affects the quality of ranked matchmaking.

 

This line of thinking is the result of a bunch of false assumptions. Just because someone plays Ranked Halo, doesn't mean they have any interest in playing competitive halo. We have over a decade of Competitive playlists being the least popular of the Ranked playlists to prove it.

 

I do agree that there are some silly additions to Ranked this go around. But cutting them off isn't going to make Team Arena more attractive. It's going to make Ranked halo less attractive overall. The people who avoid Team Arena do so because they don't want to play it, so they find something else. Removing their alternatives will just cause them to look elsewhere

 

I think you are hyperbolizing the amount of people who care about ranks in the less competitive environments.

 

Huh? Im saying the opposite. Less competitive people play Ranked because it's the best way to ensure they aren't getting curb stomped by players who are much better than them. they don't neccisarily care about their rank, but they care about the quality of the matches they are in.

 

​This is arbitrary, because we have no idea what those parameters are. And what I'm saying is that playlists like SWAT and Breakout don't really need ramifications because they aren't very competitive to begin with. Linear modes don't often breed competitive players.

 

Again, you are arguing with a preconceived notion that Ranked modes need to be competitive modes. They don't. They just need to be modes that a sizable portion of the playerbase demands to play with and against players of similar skill. Slayer is one of those modes.

 

I don't think SWAT works because the gametype is so broken that the skill matchups are likely broken too.

 

I have no idea why Breakout is Ranked.

 

We don't currently know how Social in Halo 5 operates, but in the early stages of Halo 5, Social playlists behaved identically to Ranked playlists with the only change being the lack of the rank image.

 

It did and people didn't like it, because the value of social IS NOT the guaruntee of appropriate opponents. Thanks what Ranked is for. Social is supposed to be a place where players of a wide range of skill levels can come together and ignore the ramifications of their performance.

 

I think you are also underestimating the natural drive for people to want to win, regardless of the given incentives. Team Skirmish isn't that far off from the experience you'd find in Slayer (other than the ramifications of the rank image, which you are aware of).

 

Not all. People want to win, period. Whether they are playing Ranked or Social. But Ranked, people care about the ramifications of their performance and the quality of their opponents. Social players do not. Forcing players who care about the quality of their opponent into a mode that makes intentionally increases the potential opponent pool is going to guaruntee that player a worse experience.

 

It would make Team Arena more attractive, though. A ranking system isn't just a feedback loop for your preferred experience, its a core part of a games image and how developers illustrate players' skill within the population.

 

It wouldn't though. If team arena were to grow in popularity it would be because more people started to like the gameplay experience it provides. Not because their are less Ranked options to choose from.

 

I'm not saying Halo needs to strip all of its niches away and shaft all of its splinter audiences, but I think 343 needs to make some important decisions as to what they want their game's image to be. Halo can't survive by being 10 games at once, they simply don't have the resources or popularity to sustain that.

 

Nixing Ranked game types wouldn't magically provide halo some singular identity to popularize. It would just force fans of those playlists to look elsewhere.

 

At launch, they had a vision. Now, it's a lot less prominent.

Yeah because feedback from the players suggested that vision wasn't well received.

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This line of thinking is the result of a bunch of false assumptions. Just because someone plays Ranked Halo, doesn't mean they have any interest in playing competitive halo. We have over a decade of Competitive playlists being the least popular of the Ranked playlists to prove it.

 

I do agree that there are some silly additions to Ranked this go around. But cutting them off isn't going to make Team Arena more attractive. It's going to make Ranked halo less attractive overall. The people who avoid Team Arena do so because they don't want to play it, so they find something else. Removing their alternatives will just cause them to look elsewhere

 

Again, you are arguing with a preconceived notion that Ranked modes need to be competitive modes. They don't. They just need to be modes that a sizable portion of the playerbase demands to play with and against players of similar skill. Slayer is one of those modes.

 

It did and people didn't like it, because the value of social IS NOT the guaruntee of appropriate opponents. Thanks what Ranked is for. Social is supposed to be a place where players of a wide range of skill levels can come together and ignore the ramifications of their performance.

 

Not all. People want to win, period. Whether they are playing Ranked or Social. But Ranked, people care about the ramifications of their performance and the quality of their opponents. Social players do not. Forcing players who care about the quality of their opponent into a mode that makes intentionally increases the potential opponent pool is going to guaruntee that player a worse experience.

 

It wouldn't though. If team arena were to grow in popularity it would be because more people started to like the gameplay experience it provides. Not because their are less Ranked options to choose from.

 

Nixing Ranked game types wouldn't magically provide halo some singular identity to popularize. It would just force fans of those playlists to look elsewhere.

 

Yeah because feedback from the players suggested that vision wasn't well received.

I had to switch to mobile so sorry if this response is a bit harder to track. Responding in order of paragraphs.

 

I'm happy you mentioned competitive playlists being the least popular in Halo's history, because that actually is helping my argument. For the first time in Halo history, the competitive playlist is not trailing. Team Arena is the third most popular ranked list (behind SWAT, which is just a casual audience, and Slayer, which as I said is an audience that is looking for deathmatch, not ranks)

 

As I'm going to talk about in a bit, I don't want to remove alternatives to Team Arena, I just don't want them to be ranked. (Slayer, SWAT, Snipers, etc.)

 

This paragraph is where we'll have to agree to disagree, I suppose. If the ranking system was added because of the competitive community's feedback, and it is a fundamentally skill-oriented and competitive feature/system, I don't see why you would want it applied to less competitive environments.

 

That may be your definition of Social, but not everyone's. Including 343's.

 

Once again, I don't think we can claim this unless we literally know how loose the current Social matchmaking system is.

 

I disagree. I claimed that most Slayer players aren't playing that playlist for a rank, but there are some who may be, and it would be amazing to have those players contributing to the skill pools in Team Arena more often.

 

I don't want to nix modes like Snipers and Breakout, they have loyal fan bases, I just don't believe those environments exemplify the competition that CSR is supposed to identify.

 

And vision is a much more complicated topic for another time. Gameplay, resource allocation, matchmaking orientation, sustain content, etc. all factor in to vision and I think we could talk about that for too long haha.

 

If you want to end the debate here I'm totally cool with that. I appreciate you remaining respectful and articulating your points really well. I absolutely understand your perspective, I just disagree with a decent amount of it.

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I can dig Infinity's vision for ranked Halo. I think that'd be great. However, something needs to be done with the social lists to make them feel like they matter, especially lists like Slayer, Snipers, Big Team and Breakout where there is a community within that takes them seriously, and their meta does evolve as players get better at them.

 

My solution would be to institute Halo 3's playlist XP system, and then match players (loosely) by their win total. That way good players in those lists can still have interesting matches, the meta can evolve as experience grows, and matches can have a sense of purpose.

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I like diversity man; it allows people to get high ranks if they're good at different things. 

I think this is one of the primary quirks - and very much a double edged sword - of Halo's offerings to players. I think this also contextualises Infinity's comments regarding Slayer; because there is such a large variety of playlists, it offers an 'escape' for players who simply want to have a higher rank but aren't as proficient in Team Arena as they are in, say, TS.

 

The problem with comparing to games like League, Overwatch and CS:GO is simply those games offer a premier mode for competitive play that is essentially synonymous with the game itself. 

 

Think League: First thing that pops up is 5v5 on Summoners Rift. 

Think Overwatch: First thing that pops up is it's 6v6 game mode.

Think CS:GO: First thing that pops up is it's 5v5 round based gameplay.

 

For those games, virtually every player plays and understands the 'main' game mode. The ranked game mode is the premier mode, and the unranked 'normal' modes are essentially identical, except MMR is not shown to players. Other game modes are treated as side playlists for niche audiences and players who simply want a break.

 

But think Halo, and you get a TON of different playlists popping up rather than a singular experience. Team Arena (Consisting of many different objective game modes), Team Slayer, FFA, Snipers, Doubles, BTB, so on and so forth, all of these playlists are considered by different players to be their 'goto'. Technically, this isn't an issue, but in essence leads to all the flaws of the ranked system you mentioned.

 

I think, not only do they need to modify the Ranking System, 343 also needs to find a way to convince players to have a similar mentality to that of players of other existing competitively ranked games - people need to believe that Halo has a singualr premier game mode.

 

And that is most definitely going to be very, very hard.

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I think this is one of the primary quirks - and very much a double edged sword - of Halo's offerings to players. I think this also contextualises Infinity's comments regarding Slayer; because there is such a large variety of playlists, it offers an 'escape' for players who simply want to have a higher rank but aren't as proficient in Team Arena as they are in, say, TS.

 

The problem with comparing to games like League, Overwatch and CS:GO is simply those games offer a premier mode for competitive play that is essentially synonymous with the game itself. 

 

Think League: First thing that pops up is 5v5 on Summoners Rift. 

Think Overwatch: First thing that pops up is it's 6v6 game mode.

Think CS:GO: First thing that pops up is it's 5v5 round based gameplay.

 

For those games, virtually every player plays and understands the 'main' game mode. The ranked game mode is the premier mode, and the unranked 'normal' modes are essentially identical, except MMR is not shown to players. Other game modes are treated as side playlists for niche audiences and players who simply want a break.

 

But think Halo, and you get a TON of different playlists popping up rather than a singular experience. Team Arena (Consisting of many different objective game modes), Team Slayer, FFA, Snipers, Doubles, BTB, so on and so forth, all of these playlists are considered by different players to be their 'goto'. Technically, this isn't an issue, but in essence leads to all the flaws of the ranked system you mentioned.

 

I think, not only do they need to modify the Ranking System, 343 also needs to find a way to convince players to have a similar mentality to that of players of other existing competitively ranked games - people need to believe that Halo has a singualr premier game mode.

 

And that is most definitely going to be very, very hard.

 

 

IywcVhR.gif

 

Literally Top 1 best post of all time.

 

Games, and especially competitive games, thrive on imagery and synonymity for players to get attached to. Halo does not have a centralized image. It would be possible to create one while maintaining room for popular niche experiences, but yes, it would be very difficult.

 

I like you.

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I think this is one of the primary quirks - and very much a double edged sword - of Halo's offerings to players. I think this also contextualises Infinity's comments regarding Slayer; because there is such a large variety of playlists, it offers an 'escape' for players who simply want to have a higher rank but aren't as proficient in Team Arena as they are in, say, TS.

 

The problem with comparing to games like League, Overwatch and CS:GO is simply those games offer a premier mode for competitive play that is essentially synonymous with the game itself. 

 

Think League: First thing that pops up is 5v5 on Summoners Rift. 

Think Overwatch: First thing that pops up is it's 6v6 game mode.

Think CS:GO: First thing that pops up is it's 5v5 round based gameplay.

 

For those games, virtually every player plays and understands the 'main' game mode. The ranked game mode is the premier mode, and the unranked 'normal' modes are essentially identical, except MMR is not shown to players. Other game modes are treated as side playlists for niche audiences and players who simply want a break.

 

But think Halo, and you get a TON of different playlists popping up rather than a singular experience. Team Arena (Consisting of many different objective game modes), Team Slayer, FFA, Snipers, Doubles, BTB, so on and so forth, all of these playlists are considered by different players to be their 'goto'. Technically, this isn't an issue, but in essence leads to all the flaws of the ranked system you mentioned.

 

I think, not only do they need to modify the Ranking System, 343 also needs to find a way to convince players to have a similar mentality to that of players of other existing competitively ranked games - people need to believe that Halo has a singualr premier game mode.

 

And that is most definitely going to be very, very hard.

What if they made the main competitive playlist have more ranks accessible than the others? For example, you could only get champion in The Arena and not in anything else. It was just a continuous onyx for everything else. Would you agree that this would give the "ok so champions are limited to the real playlist" vibe? idk just brainstorming a way to make ppl see The Arena as the most important playlist in ranked.

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IywcVhR.gif

 

Literally Top 1 best post of all time.

 

Games, and especially competitive games, thrive on imagery and synonymity for players to get attached to. Halo does not have a centralized image. It would be possible to create one while maintaining room for popular niche experiences, but yes, it would be very difficult.

 

I like you.

First and foremost, Halo's identity IS the diversity of experience offered by the flexibility of its sandbox.

 

When comparing Halo to other, more popular competitive games, you have to consider that those game grew a around a centralized identity, where as Halo grew around the lack of one.

 

You're right, in order for competive Halo to grow, Team Arena does need to become the focal point of 343s skill progression experience. But that shouldn't come at the expense of a high quality MM and feedback system for fans of other skillful playlists.

 

The popularity of Team Arena needs to grow because people prefer playing there. Not because changes other existing playlists made them less enjoyable (like moving slayer exclusively to social)

 

When a player decides to jump into matchmaking they should have 3 menu option:

 

Team Arena

Core

Social

 

Team Arena should be presented as the premier experience. It would be a singular playlist that houses only the hcs maps and modes.It would incorporate many of the matchmaking and ranking suggestions you've brought up. It would be, by far, the most bountiful in terms of progression feedback and rewards (xp,rp or whatever). 343 needs to dangle the carrot in front of this playlist above all the others. I'm talking daily, weekly, monthly,seasonal rewards for playing and progressing through the ranking system.

 

Core would be home to the other playlists that players expect to provide high quality matches, based primarily on skill. (Slayer, Doubles, FFA, etc). It would be ranked-lite, perhaps simply a seasonal leaderboard with a display of player skill percentile instead of ranks.

 

Social would exist for everything else- the playlists with wider matchmaking tolerances and/or less focus on "halo skill"

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I feel like Team Arena's importance could be largely achieved just through the UI. Put it at the top of the list, give it a bigger, shinier font, tell players that it gives higher XP and RP payouts, etc.

 

I think Mhunter and I are thinking along the same lines for the other ranked playlists. Establish that they are not the premier mode, but still show and allow decent skill matching. Personally I think this could be achieved by simply matching by win totals in that playlist. I think that'd be an excellent use for bringing back playlist XP.

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I feel like Team Arena's importance could be largely achieved just through the UI. Put it at the top of the list, give it a bigger, shinier font, tell players that it gives higher XP and RP payouts, etc.

 

I think Mhunter and I are thinking along the same lines for the other ranked playlists. Establish that they are not the premier mode, but still show and allow decent skill matching. Personally I think this could be achieved by simply matching by win totals in that playlist. I think that'd be an excellent use for bringing back playlist XP.

Yes, i think many of the goals can be achieved by simply improving the presentation and the Team Arena UX, rather than fundamentally changing how people engage with other playlists.

 

Currently, when you open ranked arena you see a list of playlists all of seemingly equal importance. The average player has no reason to value one playlist over any of the others. Some will hit them all, others will hit whichever suits their playstyle and sensibilities.

 

No one ever has much incentive to align their sensibilities with the playlist 343 actually wants to define as the premier experience.

 

In fact, the current setup devalues Team Arena. The skimpy payouts, the lack of desirable seasonal rewards, and the fact that any ranking in any playlist yeilds the same reward makes it less desirable than it should be.

 

If it wasn't at the top of the list, and the only playlist that has objective, i doubt it be as popular as it is now.

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If Halo had longer seasons eventually top champions would get to 10 000 Onyx . We need to change the CSR distribution of all tiers.

 

This actually happened a few months back. Respectful's CSR was over 10'000 in Team Arena during that really long season around September/October time last year.

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I feel like Team Arena's importance could be largely achieved just through the UI. Put it at the top of the list, give it a bigger, shinier font, tell players that it gives higher XP and RP payouts, etc.

 

I think Mhunter and I are thinking along the same lines for the other ranked playlists. Establish that they are not the premier mode, but still show and allow decent skill matching. Personally I think this could be achieved by simply matching by win totals in that playlist. I think that'd be an excellent use for bringing back playlist XP.

Good god, this this this. 

 

Remember those super jackpot weekends in Halo: Reach? Players hopped onto that in a heartbeat and would play for three days straight at a small chance of getting the RNG slot machine to roll. Guaranteed higher XP/RP payouts would make people jump at it immediately. 

 

As someone who plays mostly Warzone these days, I would hop into Arena with @@Infinity so much more often if the XP/RP payouts were worth it.

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Remember the customisable nameplates of Halo: Reach and MCC? I feel like having those as a reward for Team Arena would be decent - your highest 'placed' rank last season giving you a nameplate/border corresponding to it (Much like LoL's system). It isn't hard to implement but in essence shows off each player's rank without even having to dive into someone else's service record; This quite easily satisfies as well as incentivises the players who play partly for the 'status' of having a high rank (And let's be honest... everyone likes to have such a status.)

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Remember the customisable nameplates of Halo: Reach and MCC? I feel like having those as a reward for Team Arena would be decent - your highest 'placed' rank last season giving you a nameplate/border corresponding to it (Much like LoL's system). It isn't hard to implement but in essence shows off each player's rank without even having to dive into someone else's service record; This quite easily satisfies as well as incentivises the players who play partly for the 'status' of having a high rank (And let's be honest... everyone likes to have such a status.)

 

As I said to Raven, the possibilities are quite literally endless. People dog on Halo 5's customization due to the armor restrictions, but I'm a big fan of the amount of cosmetic options they have.

 

Ranked rewards could give custom emblems, helmets, weapon skins, armor skins, assassinations, stances, etc. It's so depressing knowing that I can get 0 kills in 10 games of SWAT and earn 343's version of a "reward" for Ranked play.

 

First and foremost, Halo's identity IS the diversity of experience offered by the flexibility of its sandbox.

 

When comparing Halo to other, more popular competitive games, you have to consider that those game grew a around a centralized identity, where as Halo grew around the lack of one.

 

----

 

Team Arena

Core

Social

 

I disagree about the identity a bit. Halo does have a charm in being a game that can pull off multiple fun experiences, but I don't think that itself is its core identity or what made it popular.

 

I think Halo was a game that provided a bunch of experiences, and they all happened to be very fun. It's a game with split personalities. The gaming industry wasn't oversaturated or specialized as it is now, and so all those niches and styles could coexist because Halo was just the top dog and no one really challenged that.

 

Now, Halo is still trying to be 10 games at once when not one of those experiences is bringing in enough players to compete with other popular games, and Halo can't grow because there is no synonymity between players.

 

And as for that lineup you detailed, its an interesting concept, and a lot of that comes down to presentation (as Hard Way discussed) and resource management during development.

 

I feel like Team Arena's importance could be largely achieved just through the UI. Put it at the top of the list, give it a bigger, shinier font, tell players that it gives higher XP and RP payouts, etc.

 

I think Mhunter and I are thinking along the same lines for the other ranked playlists. Establish that they are not the premier mode, but still show and allow decent skill matching. Personally I think this could be achieved by simply matching by win totals in that playlist. I think that'd be an excellent use for bringing back playlist XP.

 

Oh 200%. UI and other contextualizations are so fucking vital for every system in games, not even just ranks. Currently, CSR is just a thing that is "attached" to certain playlists, rather than being its own core component of the game that is showcased in a different light.

 

This actually happened a few months back. Respectful's CSR was over 10'000 in Team Arena during that really long season around September/October time last year.

 

Damn, I didn't know we went over 7,000. What a mess.

 

I would hop into Arena with @@Infinity so much more often if the XP/RP payouts were worth it.

 

 

I've seen your v7 DMR. Don't tease me like that.

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As I said to Raven, the possibilities are quite literally endless. People dog on Halo 5's customization due to the armor restrictions, but I'm a big fan of the amount of cosmetic options they have.

 

Ranked rewards could give custom emblems, helmets, weapon skins, armor skins, assassinations, stances, etc. It's so depressing knowing that I can get 0 kills in 10 games of SWAT and earn 343's version of a "reward" for Ranked play.

 

 

I disagree about the identity a bit. Halo does have a charm in being a game that can pull off multiple fun experiences, but I don't think that itself is its core identity or what made it popular.

 

I think Halo was a game that provided a bunch of experiences, and they all happened to be very fun. It's a game with split personalities. The gaming industry wasn't oversaturated or specialized as it is now, and so all those niches and styles could coexist because Halo was just the top dog and no one really challenged that.

 

Now, Halo is still trying to be 10 games at once when not one of those experiences is bringing in enough players to compete with other popular games, and Halo can't grow because there is no synonymity between players.

 

And as for that lineup you detailed, its an interesting concept, and a lot of that comes down to presentation (as Hard Way discussed) and resource management during development.

 

 

Of topic but, I'm Curious as to what you think made halo so popular if it wasn't the fact that if offered something for a diverse audience.

 

I think if you took a poll of past halo fans, and ask them the #1 reason why this game resonated, you'd get a wide variety of answers from the competitive scene to campaign, to standard 4v4, machinima, crazy customs, btb, forge, and social etc.

 

Then you'd step back and realize the game was a massive hit because a single game was able to fully satisfy a group of people who had a massive variety of interests.

 

IMO part of the reason halo is losing its luster is because its quality has regressed in all of those categories (except forge. Forge is the shit)

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I think, not only do they need to modify the Ranking System, 343 also needs to find a way to convince players to have a similar mentality to that of players of other existing competitively ranked games - people need to believe that Halo has a singualr premier game mode.

 

But that isn't nor was it ever the reason Halo was popular. This became a popular game precisely because it offered so much and put it all on the forefront for people to experience.

 

I'm going to say that this is the exact opposite of what 343 needs to do. Some amount of players enticed by a wide variety of casual offerings will drift into the competitive scene naturally. But if there's no reason for someone to pick up this game, then everyone loses.

 

All you need to do to realize that the majority of Halo fans aren't interested in competitive Halo is to browse Waypoint or /r/Halo and compare them to equivalent communities in LoL, CS, Dota, etc.

 

Is it any surprise to anyone that competitive players feel their preferred mode has become to casualized and casual players believe theirs has become too competitive?

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But that isn't nor was it ever the reason Halo was popular. This became a popular game precisely because it offered so much and put it all on the forefront for people to experience.

 

I'm going to say that this is the exact opposite of what 343 needs to do. Some amount of players enticed by a wide variety of casual offerings will drift into the competitive scene naturally. But if there's no reason for someone to pick up this game, then everyone loses.

 

All you need to do to realize that the majority of Halo fans aren't interested in competitive Halo is to browse Waypoint or /r/Halo and compare them to equivalent communities in LoL, CS, Dota, etc.

 

Is it any surprise to anyone that competitive players feel their preferred mode has become to casualized and casual players believe theirs has become too competitive?

The majority of LoL players dont play ranked. 

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Of topic but, I'm Curious as to what you think made halo so popular if it wasn't the fact that if offered something for a diverse audience.

I'm not Infinity but I'll throw in my thoughts.

 

In my opinion, Halo was at it's most popular during Halo 3 because it was a jack of all trades. If you want a large scale vehicle based experience you have it in BTB. If you want a quick kill time twitch based style of gameplay you can play Swat. If you want wacky custom games you have it through Forge. You could play Grifball as some sort of pseudo sport. But in 2017 all of these niche experiences are pulled off better by other games because the developers can direct 100% of their resources to that particular experience. If I'm someone who can only afford one game and wanted a Warzone like experience I'd buy Battlefield. If I wanted twitchy gameplay I'd buy COD. If I wanted wacky sandbox gameplay I'd buy Minecraft. Instead of Grifball I'd play Rocket League. (Of course a lot of these games existed during Halo 3's heyday but were either not great on console or not yet popular)

 

The only experience truly unique to halo is its intense, not too fast; not too slow  4v4 arena combat. So nowadays I think that 343 should embrace and refine the arena gameplay above all else to provide a unique experience in the crowded shooter market. I  of course don't think 343 should completely kill the other communities but they should let the community develop those experiences through a strong Forge and a much better Custom Game Browser. 

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