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

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You guys realise that Overwatch isn't really doing all that well on consoles right?

 

It's sales are..meh

 

It's place on the XBL population list is...eh

 

Besides Halo REALLY needs to stop looking sideways at competitors for ideas and start to look back at what people used to like about Halo.

 

1(or very few) centralised playlists is most certainly not one of those things.

 

Okay but how much of that is caused by it's ranking system/competitiveness/whateverthefuck? You realise he was just using (and used many other games too) it as a general example of how better ranking systems exist right?

 

If I'm missing what you're pitching sorry.

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There is nothing wrong with applying quality of life changes from other games. Halo needs to learn from both it's past AND it's competition.

Disagree.

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Given the unscientfic data from halotracker. How'd you come to such wildly different conclusions between Slayer and Team Arena. Factoring a sizeable margin of error, the statistics between the two are essentially identical.

 

I think you have a case of confirmation bias. If you ignore the margin or error, Slayer is more popular, Has more players getting their ranks, and a larger percentage of Players getting their ranks when compared to Team Arena. How can you use THIS data to come to your conclusion?

 

You have the same reasoning inconsitencies when comparing SWAT and DOUBLES, neither of which appear to have much retention or players in search of ranks. But you attribute the issues with doubles to the lack of polish... why not the same with SWAT?

 

Also, your Universal Settings argument is flawed. 343 could have turned ANY popular playlist into the HCS playlist and it would have had a similar effect.

 

If Team Slayer was crowned the HCS playlist, guess what, the 'Competitive' playlist would be the #1 playlist. Universal Settings work?

The most useful data i see there is the low population numbers and low number of people that stick around in the playlist.  Without context from those number SWAT, Snipers, FFA, Doubles, and Breakout have clear issues since more than 50% of the people in each of those don't even play 10 games.  

 

The only playlists that can really be "worked on" are FFA and Doubles, so those should stay and get fixed.

 

SWAT, Snipers and Breakout need to go.  SWAT and Snipers by their very one-note nature can't really be edited in any meaningful way.  Breakout has been edited significantly 3 times now and its still unpopular.  343 needs to let it just die already.

 

 

To the inconsistencies between swat and doubles...  The issues with doubles is certainly that they have not curated that playlist properly.  It hasn't been touched in any meaningful way so its a pretty logical conclusion to say "if the playlist was better, it would have more people".

 

Now, you could say the same thing about SWAT but the problem there is... what is there to touch?  The gametype is No Shields, No Pickups, Precision weapon start.  The only decision you have to make is which precision weapon to start with.  That's literally it.  No other weapon pickups, power weapons or power ups are used so  you don't need to make any decisions about what to place, where to place it, how fast it respawns and how much ammo to give it.  There is no developing meta in swat.  Its pretty much the definition of "set it and forget it".  Another reason why it shouldn't be ranked. 

 

I agree with your universal settings thoughts.  This is something that Infinity and I diverge on a lot.  The whole "universal settings" argument is a farce imo.  Halo has been allowing a great diversity of players to play exactly what they want when they want with whatever settings they want for the last 15 years.  Its one of the main draws of the game. If you look at the entirety of the playlists, most of them have divergent settings from one another.  Additionally, the mere fact that forge exists and is necessary to make players feel like the game is "complete" attests to this.

 

The universal settings issue does work for other games, but most of those games started that way and have a limited library of gametypes even available.  We should try to take the non-gameplay elements like rank and progression structure and UI elements from those games, but trying to push gameplay (or in this case, universality of gameplay) in that direction would be a mistake.

 

The most important thing to halo is to have good, solid default settings that can then be used as a foundation from which to modify further.  That is incredibly important and something that I actually think Halo 5 has a good grasp on.  A proper rebalancing is what is needed more than anything right now, but thats a story for a different thread.

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The most useful data i see there is the low population numbers and low number of people that stick around in the playlist. Without context from those number SWAT, Snipers, FFA, Doubles, and Breakout have clear issues since more than 50% of the people in each of those don't even play 10 games.

 

The only playlists that can really be "worked on" are FFA and Doubles, so those should stay and get fixed.

 

SWAT, Snipers and Breakout need to go. SWAT and Snipers by their very one-note nature can't really be edited in any meaningful way. Breakout has been edited significantly 3 times now and its still unpopular. 343 needs to let it just die already.

 

 

To the inconsistencies between swat and doubles... The issues with doubles is certainly that they have not curated that playlist properly. It hasn't been touched in any meaningful way so its a pretty logical conclusion to say "if the playlist was better, it would have more people".

 

Now, you could say the same thing about SWAT but the problem there is... what is there to touch? The gametype is No Shields, No Pickups, Precision weapon start. The only decision you have to make is which precision weapon to start with. That's literally it. No other weapon pickups, power weapons or power ups are used so you don't need to make any decisions about what to place, where to place it, how fast it respawns and how much ammo to give it. There is no developing meta in swat. Its pretty much the definition of "set it and forget it". Another reason why it shouldn't be ranked.

 

I agree with your universal settings thoughts. This is something that Infinity and I diverge on a lot. The whole "universal settings" argument is a farce imo. Halo has been allowing a great diversity of players to play exactly what they want when they want with whatever settings they want for the last 15 years. Its one of the main draws of the game. If you look at the entirety of the playlists, most of them have divergent settings from one another. Additionally, the mere fact that forge exists and is necessary to make players feel like the game is "complete" attests to this.

 

The universal settings issue does work for other games, but most of those games started that way and have a limited library of gametypes even available. We should try to take the non-gameplay elements like rank and progression structure and UI elements from those games, but trying to push gameplay (or in this case, universality of gameplay) in that direction would be a mistake.

 

The most important thing to halo is to have good, solid default settings that can then be used as a foundation from which to modify further. That is incredibly important and something that I actually think Halo 5 has a good grasp on. A proper rebalancing is what is needed more than anything right now, but thats a story for a different thread.

Doubles is just bad I h5. I don't really think you can fix it. Short of radically altering the core gameplay. Ffa is in the same boat.

 

The awkward fast out of combat movement/slow in combat movement/long kill times mix that is h5 just flat out breaks in doubles/ffa.

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I actually agree on the SWAT/doubles issue, but it's a subjective stance, not an objective on.

 

Sure there is no evolving meta in swat. It's pure gun skill + spawn manipulation. Who's to say that there is no value for players knowing where they stand in those categories.

 

Also, There are improvements to be made in Swat. I used to use it as a warmup in previous halos. But the spawn system is so gloriously fucked in h5 i don't touch it.

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How can you say with any certainty that casual halo players don't ALSO enjoy getting ranks?

 

 

I'm not saying that? Whether you enjoy being ranked isn't the question at hand. It's about what the ranking system represents.

 

Literally every other successful competitive game uses their ranking system to iconify the strongest competition that the game is able to provide. Ranking systems now have a much different definition than they did in 2004, and adhering to that outdated style for the sake of diversity is extremely bad in my opinion.

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I'm not saying that? Whether you enjoy being ranked isn't the question at hand. It's about what the ranking system represents.

 

Literally every other successful competitive game uses their ranking system to iconify the strongest competition that the game is able to provide. Ranking systems now have a much different definition than they did in 2004, and adhering to that outdated style for the sake of diversity is extremely bad in my opinion.

They can have a ranking system that 'iconifies' the playlist that embodies the vision of competition, wilst still providing other playlists with a method of relaying skill progression feedback.

 

Its a matter of presentation, not a matter of taking popular features away to chase some ideal.

 

There's nothing wrong with telling someone "you are better than most players at Slayer".

 

The problem is that your slayer rank is presented as something equally important to your Team Arena rank.

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They can have a ranking system that 'iconifies' the playlist that embodies the vision of competition, wilst still providing other playlists with a method of relaying skill progression feedback.

 

Its a matter of presentation, not a matter of taking popular features away to chase some ideal.

 

There's nothing wrong with telling someone "you are better than most players at Slayer".

 

The problem is that your slayer rank is presented as something equally important to your Team Arena rank.

 

Presentation is very important for sure.

This is why some kind of skill rank-agnostic per-playlist progression system is key.  I'm frankly ecstatic that Menke seems to agree with this and im sure you do too.  Why Halo 4 and 5 got rid of that in favor of a singular (and boring af) SR rank is beyond me.  Whatever progression system they choose must also be something that allows them to do things like double XP weekends that wouldn't take away from their precious REQ money while also motivating people to get on and play X playlist to advance their emblem.  It could be what is shown on the loading screen next to each players name in MM since they don't want to show what the ranks are beforehand.

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Presentation is very important for sure.

This is why some kind of skill rank-agnostic per-playlist progression system is key. I'm frankly ecstatic that Menke seems to agree with this and im sure you do too. Why Halo 4 and 5 got rid of that in favor of a singular (and boring af) SR rank is beyond me. Whatever progression system they choose must also be something that allows them to do things like double XP weekends that wouldn't take away from their precious REQ money while also motivating people to get on and play X playlist to advance their emblem. It could be what is shown on the loading screen next to each players name in MM since they don't want to show what the ranks are beforehand.

Yeah i like alot of what Menke had to say. Much of it seemed plucked right from this very thread. 343 seems totally lost when it comes to figuring out what feedback is neccisary when, and how to present it in a way that helps them achieve their own goals.

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Yeah i like alot of what Menke had to say. Much of it seemed plucked right from this very thread. 343 seems totally lost when it comes to figuring out what feedback is neccisary when, and how to present it in a way that helps them achieve their own goals.

 

I really just hope they give him full control.  "Ranking and progression are your show now.  run with it." then give him the tools to get the job done.

From his post,  he already knows what ideas are the best and what aren't as well as what is practical and impractical.  Just get all the red tape out of the way and let him do his thing.

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I think the key point is that most players do not feel rewarded when they reach a new tier. It seems odd that ELO is way more important and doesn't matter if you're getting into competitive until you reach 1900 but most players wont be able to see those kind of gains. 

 

I cannot attest to Overwatch as I do not play competitive in that, however as someone who plays League, you can see that even the "worse players" feel accomplishment in reaching Gold or Platinum, whereas in Halo the elo-gains make Platinum and Diamdon ranks feel scrubby. You can tell when people doing their placements complaining about being placed in a high tier is scrubbish or noob. No one looks or respects being Diamond or Platinum. 

 

I feel like the the distrubition in Onyx and Champion is extremely large because most players right now be placed within Platinum whereas the grind from Silver to Platinum is quick, easy and unsatisfying to the point where you reach the wall easier if you're not as good in Halo and assuming you are a top player and reach Onyx, then you run into a problem where the rank Onyx itself is watered down because so many players

reach it and then start grinding ELO. There is no satisfaction in achievement until you reach Champion which should be reserved for our pro players or players who want to become pro. 

 

If achieving Diamond 6 was as hard as it is in League of Legends mid Diamond, people might see more satisfaction in the tiers.

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Firstly.

more players would be ranked in each playlist if they didn't reset every month. I only rank in team arena and slayer every month as they're my main lists but I will occasionally go play the odd game from other playlists but not enough to rank every season. Same as in H3, where you could gradually work on your rank in other lists when the mood took you. I think I am, but I'm not sure if I'm completely against reseting of ranks if I'm honest, it just is what it is at the moment.

 

Secondly.

I don't need a reward for climbing from one tier to the next, other than climbing.

 

I am a middle aged man who found fps (read halo) in 07 and I do get a sense of achievement getting from gold to diamond (think I even started at silver at release lol)

 

I run solo or as a two with my mate - who is better than me so that brings different challenges - but I have and will continue to put in a lot of effort to become this poor/average at halo. I don't care if that's others idea of being a scrub (I often get told to quit and sell my Xbox haha) because I haven't enjoyed halo this much since halo 3 (this is absolutely not meant to excuse 343 bastardising halo or to justify the diluting of competitive settings)

 

I can't comment on the too wide a player distribution across the onyx rank as I don't have that experience but I wouldn't mind them (plus it makes sense) narrowing the onyx criteria, and if that means my ranking is then in a lower tier then so be it. I rank where I rank.

 

 

When mcc matchmaking started becoming almost playable (it breaks my heart that mcc was so broken) around the time H5 beta came out I thought I'd buy it but probably just end up playing mcc forever if they ever fixed it properly but I haven't been back to check mcc for a long time.

 

Ps I'm still half convinced they broke mcc on purpose because they knew if it was as good as it could/should have been, no one would ever have needed to buy another halo game.

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Disagree.

Why the disagreement? It would be incredibly ignorant of us to not learn from as many sources as possible. Take what works,and improve/remove what doesn't. Use other games as examples and learning tools. Closing ourselves off would be fatal, and we'd end up being no better than Waypoint and r/halo with their self imposed ignorance.
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Another thought for you, @@Mhunterjr.

 

Call of Duty Black Ops 3 featured League Play, a division based ranking system, and was met with resounding praise. Every iteration or exclusion in successive titles afterwards has been met with heavy criticism. The game offered two ranked playlists: 4v4 (eSports player count) and 6v6 (traditional Call of Duty, which was a smart move)

 

Call of Duty's style of matchmaking can be very easily compared to Halo's, with a large focus around preferential experiences via playlists. Why should Halo's ranking system be treated differently than the most renowned CoD ranking system to date?

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Another thought for you, @@Mhunterjr.

 

Call of Duty Black Ops 3 featured League Play, a division based ranking system, and was met with resounding praise. Every iteration or exclusion in successive titles afterwards has been met with heavy criticism. The game offered two ranked playlists: 4v4 (eSports player count) and 6v6 (traditional Call of Duty, which was a smart move)

 

Call of Duty's style of matchmaking can be very easily compared to Halo's, with a large focus around preferential experiences via playlists. Why should Halo's ranking system be treated differently than the most renowned CoD ranking system to date?

Because COD is a different game with different audience expectations.

 

There IS value in learning from other franchises in order to improve, but that doesn't mean ignoring the expectations of your existing base.

 

It means taking what works from the past AND the present, being creative, and forging something that works for existing and new fans alike.

 

I mean you said it yourself, CODs faced criticised them when they moved to far away from something fans loved. We've seen the same thing happen with Halo gameplay. i think removing rank/skill progression feedback from key playlists would have a similar effect. That's simply information that halo players have come to expect.

 

I think you can employ lessons from Ranking in popular games to showcase Team Arena as true competive Halo, without to drastically altering the experience in other playlists.

 

Also, please Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't ranked 4v4 BO3 settings different from settings used in esports?

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As someone who has reached a high of diamond 4, being so close to reaching onyx makes me want to play more to reach that rank. But I could see myself have less drive to reach higher ranks because of how onyx is with so many basically put in one group. I feel like adding another rank group with stages like diamond and platinum and taking out onyx could give onyx players the drive to get a better rank that I experience. That or changing to a numbered system like before

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Why the disagreement? It would be incredibly ignorant of us to not learn from as many sources as possible. Take what works,and improve/remove what doesn't. Use other games as examples and learning tools. Closing ourselves off would be fatal, and we'd end up being no better than Waypoint and r/halo with their self imposed ignorance.

343 has shown and inability to be able to look at other games and adapt ideas over to Halo in a responsible and effective manner.

 

They'd be better off not doing it at all.

 

In fact I think the best course for Halo at the moment would be to purposefully attempt to buck as many trends as possible.

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Another thought for you, @@Mhunterjr.

 

Call of Duty Black Ops 3 featured League Play, a division based ranking system, and was met with resounding praise. Every iteration or exclusion in successive titles afterwards has been met with heavy criticism. The game offered two ranked playlists: 4v4 (eSports player count) and 6v6 (traditional Call of Duty, which was a smart move)

 

Call of Duty's style of matchmaking can be very easily compared to Halo's, with a large focus around preferential experiences via playlists. Why should Halo's ranking system be treated differently than the most renowned CoD ranking system to date?

And...almost nobody actually played those playlists. They probably had even worse player retention figures than H3/Reach MLG.

 

There's no point in segregating the ranked experience into such a small little corner of the game.

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343 has shown and inability to be able to look at other games and adapt ideas over to Halo in a responsible and effective manner.

 

They'd be better off not doing it at all.

 

In fact I think the best course for Halo at the moment would be to purposefully attempt to buck as many trends as possible.

 

No.  Just because you dont trust 343 to properly compare Halo to other games and decide what is useful and what isn't, doesn't mean that we are incapable of doing the same.  Everybody that has posted in this thread has compared Halo to other games in an appropriate way but picking non-gameplay related elements that could be used to improve the rest of the halo experience.  There is nothing wrong with this so please stop saying so.

 

When it comes to behavior manipulation (which is essentially what we are talking about here, getting people to play more) there is a concept of "nudges" that has proven to be a very powerful and worthy investment.  Any of the singular changes that we pull from other games in regards to MM, ranking and progressions systems may be small in a vacuum, but add up all the little details (plus original ideas of course) and improve the system we have now enough and those nudges will stack up to significant behavior change.  ie. more players more motivated to progress.

 

Forsaking the proven designs of these systems from other games just because they are from other games is foolish.

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343 has shown and inability to be able to look at other games and adapt ideas over to Halo in a responsible and effective manner.

 

They'd be better off not doing it at all.

 

In fact I think the best course for Halo at the moment would be to purposefully attempt to buck as many trends as possible.

343's incompetence is no excuse to avoid making wise decisions. They may not deserve our input, but we NEED to push them in the right direction as best as we can. Secluding ourselves would just put us in a much, much worse position than we are now.

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Speaking of nudges, I'll again point out that it bothers me that playing warzone is the easiest way to earn xp and rp payouts..

 

It removes much of the incentive for people to try and grind arena.

 

It would make much more sense to give team arena the higher payouts- to lure people into arena to quickly replenish their warzone arsenal, especially if ranking up increased your RP earning potential.

 

343 is terrible at dangling the carrot

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No.  Just because you dont trust 343 to properly compare Halo to other games and decide what is useful and what isn't, doesn't mean that we are incapable of doing the same.  Everybody that has posted in this thread has compared Halo to other games in an appropriate way but picking non-gameplay related elements that could be used to improve the rest of the halo experience.  There is nothing wrong with this so please stop saying so.

 

When it comes to behavior manipulation (which is essentially what we are talking about here, getting people to play more) there is a concept of "nudges" that has proven to be a very powerful and worthy investment.  Any of the singular changes that we pull from other games in regards to MM, ranking and progressions systems may be small in a vacuum, but add up all the little details (plus original ideas of course) and improve the system we have now enough and those nudges will stack up to significant behavior change.  ie. more players more motivated to progress.

 

Forsaking the proven designs of these systems from other games just because they are from other games is foolish.

Last time I checked "we" aren't making the game.

 

I don't personally trust 343 to look at other games and make good decisions about what to implement. That is why I do not think they should be looking around at other games.

 

They need to come up with their own ideas. Im sick of booting up 343 games and saying "oh, this is clearly from X game and that is clearly from Y game". I don't want to boot up H6 and say "oh this ranking system/player investment system is clearly from X game". Even IF it's done well, it still feels generic and old hat.

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Last time I checked "we" aren't making the game.

 

I don't personally trust 343 to look at other games and make good decisions about what to implement. That is why I do not think they should be looking around at other games.

 

They need to come up with their own ideas. Im sick of booting up 343 games and saying "oh, this is clearly from X game and that is clearly from Y game". I don't want to boot up H6 and say "oh this ranking system/player investment system is clearly from X game". Even IF it's done well, it still feels generic and old hat.

Everything in gaming is derived from some previous idea. If you're asking for originality, you're not going to get it. Practically every idea in gaming has been approached at some point.

 

You don't take away an artists inspiration and tools just cause you think their art is poorly made and uninspired. You give them more and improved tools and teach them how to properly use them. You point out its flaws, and build off their strengths. You give them plenty of source material from those that have perfected their craft, allowing them to perfect their own ideas. Ideas that are going to be derived from somewhere ANYWAY, so you might as well give them all the good stuff.

 

Leaving them to their own devices would leave them with absolutely no room to grow and improve. It would be a fatal blow to both the artist, and his/her creation.

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Doubles is just bad I h5. I don't really think you can fix it. Short of radically altering the core gameplay. Ffa is in the same boat.

 

The awkward fast out of combat movement/slow in combat movement/long kill times mix that is h5 just flat out breaks in doubles/ffa.

 

The simple fact is that pretty much every single 343 map/weapon layout fucking sucks for those modes. Doubles was fun when they used community forge maps actually made for it. What ruined it was ditching those for hot garbage in-house maps that literally only work for 4v4 at best. Why they thought that was a good idea, I will never know. The same could make for a bit improvement to FFA (though, I think FFA in H5 will pretty much always be bad).

 

​>Make Doubles and FFA ranked

>Refuse to meaningfully change settings to make them playable

>Bask in the knowledge that you are the best developer ever

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>Refuse to meaningfully change settings to make them playable

 

 

FFA changes are in the works, and we can only pray for Doubles.

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