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Prince Houdini

An extensive proposal for how Matchmaking could work in H5

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TL;DR: Augment Social and Ranked playlists with a hypercompetitive, access-restricted HCS playlist type. Details on how it could all work.

 

I've been thinking for some time about how matchmaking playlists would ideally work in Halo 5. Here's an extensive proposal for that. Let me say at the outset that I'm not optimistic enough to think this system would ever be implemented. But then again, with enough community support, at least some of the ideas from this proposal might be able to make themselves into H5. I’ve had no peer discussion regarding this proposal, so perhaps I have made some huge oversights. Even so, it seems worthwhile for us as a community to draft ideas for what we think would be the ideal system for matchmaking.

 

Here were my goals in forming this proposal. First, I wanted to make sure there was enough for all the different kinds of Halo players out there. I see the community as divided into three main groups – casual, serious, and hardcore. Oversimplifying to the extreme, casual players love the lore and are just looking to have fun – so they don’t mind randomness, craziness, and unpredictability. Serious players like having definite goals, like ranks, to play toward and are invested in playing the game well, but at the same time they’re not immediately interested in tournaments and what not. Hardcore players are interested in eSports and have little tolerance for non-competitive elements in the game – surely we’re all most familiar with this!

 

Ultimately, my hope is to further the eSports/HCS scene for Halo. We’ve always loved this part of Halo and we hate to see it suffer as it has since Halo 3. Reviving it in a new way may be essential for many of us to stay committed to Halo, and my proposal hopes to do just that. At the same time, we must recognize the value of non-hardcore players for the game. Having casual support gets people interested in the game in the first place. Serious support keeps people playing until they finally see the hardcore light. So supporting all three of these types of people is beneficial for the eSports community as a whole.

 

-------------------------------

As might be unsurprising given the above comments, I think matchmaking playlists should be divided into three types: social, ranked, and HCS. Here’s an initial proposal for what playlists should fall under each type:

Social: (3 Playlists)

Social Slayer

Warzone

Rotational (Grifball, Race, Forge Community Highlight, etc.)

--------

Ranked: (7 Playlists)

Team Slayer

Team Breakout

Team Doubles

Lone Wolves

BTB

Team Objective

Swatty Snipers

--------

Hardcore Competitive (HCS): (3 Playlists)

HCS FFA

HCS Team Solo/Duo

HCS Composed Team

 

-------------------------------

Social gametypes are intended to be "just for fun" and lighthearted. They can include non-competitive settings.

 

Max Party Size: The maximum number of players that the playlist supports - so a party of 24 for Warzone, a party of 8 for Social Slayer, a party of 8 for Rotational Grifball, a party of 4 for Rotational Doubles, and so on.

Teamshooting: Betrayals and teamshooting are turned off to discourage bad team behavior, which can prevent victims from having fun.

Progression: There is an EXP progression system in which wins earn you one EXP, like in Halo 3.

Gametype Selection: Gametypes are selected by voting for gametypes, so that whichever gametype is most popular will be played.

Guests: Guests are allowed.

Join in Progress: Join in progress is enabled for when players quit out.

Penalties: Intentionally leaving a game results in an EXP penalty. Being disconnected has no penalty.

Crossteam Chat: Crossteam pre-game and post-game chat is enabled, alongside a party-up system after a game.

Matchmaking: Behind the scenes MMR loosely enforced; connection quality privileged. Little concern for teams/solo matchups.

 

Why Social Slayer? Slayer is the quintessential Halo gametype and has always been a popular casual choice. This playlist can include swat, snipers, rockets, random weapons, default settings, BRs, etc.

 

Why Warzone? Warzone provides a BTB-like experience for casual players. This is the "gateway" playlist for people who have not played Halo competitively before. The advantages gained from REQ cards mandates that this playlist not be ranked to prevent a competitive P2W experience. Since Warzone won't be supported in Custom Games, making it social allows parties of 24 to play Warzone where

otherwise they wouldn't be able to

 

Why Rotational? This allows 343 to put in community loved, fun gametypes for a short time. Since rotational ranks don't really make sense, social is the only place to put this. Having a rotational playlist allows the game to stay fresh and can encourage casuals to come back to the game every once in awhile.

 

-------------------------------

Ranked playlists are competitive but not cutthroat.

 

Max Party Size: The max party size for each playlist is the maximum number of players on a team - so a party of 4 for Team Slayer, 2 for Team Doubles, 1 for Lone Wolves, and so on.

Teamshooting: Betrayals are enabled, but betrayal booting is enabled as well.

Progression: The EXP progression system from social is present here, as well as H3-like ranks. You rank up by winning and rank down by losing, with the strength of your team and the strength of the opponent's team taken into account. The average player should max out at about a 45, while above average players will be able to achieve 50's after enough practice. Ranking up, then, is easier than H2 but harder than H3.

Gametype Selection: Veto system

Guests, Join in Progress: Disabled

Penalties: Leaving the game for any reason, including disconnects, will count as a loss for ranking purposes. Being booted or intentionally leaving will also result in an EXP penalty. Players who disconnect will be able to rejoin the game if they have not entered another game since the disconnect, and if they reconnect within a set amount of time they can still get a win credited to their account (so you can't disconnect at 0-0 and reconnect at 49-45 to get a win, but you could reconnect at 20-19).

Crossteam Chat: Pre-game chat is togglable; but post-game chat is enabled with party-up.

Matchmaking: Play only nearby ranks; connection quality and party size taken into account.

 

Why Team Slayer? Duh.

 

Why Team Breakout? This could be included in Team Slayer, but if 343 wants to really feature Breakout then a dedicated playlist for it makes sense. It's obviously a competitive, not casual, gametype, so it should be ranked.

 

Team Doubles? Again, a staple of Halo competitive gametypes.

 

Lone Wolves? I could see FFA being casual as well, but it seems like the FFA community likes ranks, judging from comments on MCC FFA. Since, as I will argue in the next section, HCS should include FFA, it makes sense to have Lone Wolves be somewhat competitive instead of casual.

 

Big Team Battle? Warzone takes care of BTB for casual players, but there is a dedicated community of competitive BTB players. Ranked BTB will take care of their needs and wants.

 

Team Objective? There always seems to be a dedicated community of objective players clamoring for ranks. I could see this being removed or demoted to social if playlist population is too low - without knowing the numbers, it's hard to say either way.

 

Team Swatty Snipers? These are beloved gametypes that simply cannot be relegated to rotational playlists. 343 likes to claim that everyone has their own favorite gametype, but it's clear that the community adores Swat and Snipers more than other niche gametypes. Personally, I'd like to see separate playlists for each, but if 343 wants to keep the playlist count down, I don't think many would be too opposed to merging them. The limited sandbox makes these gametypes quite competitive, and I think most Swat and Snipers players would enjoy ranks.

 

-------------------------------

The Hardcore Competitive playlists will be unlike anything Halo has ever seen before, and should be accompanied by serious support for HCS to encourage people playing them. Taking a note from the most popular eSports games today, these playlists will not be available to people until they have played a sufficient amount. I have no definite proposal for whom they should be available to, but some ideas are having a certain amount of combined EXP among all ranked gametypes or reaching a certain rank in at least one ranked gametype (perhaps 35 or 40). Since every player in these playlists will be quite experienced and proven, all games will be highly competitive. A leaderboard for each playlist's top 200 players, which will include only players in the Semi-Pro and Pro divisions, will be readily visible.

 

Max Party Size: FFA will support only parties of 1; Solo/Duo will be 4v4 HCS settings but will only support parties of 1 or 2; Composed Team will support only parties of 4 registered as a team through a clan-like interface.

Teamshooting: Betrayals are enabled, but betrayal booting is enabled as well.

Progression: Division-based progression with placement games when first entering a playlist.

Gametype Selection: Play what you are given (HCS gametypes only)

Guests, Join in Progress: Disabled

Penalties: Leaving a game for any reason will result in a 30 minute ban for all Hardcore Competitive modes and will count as a loss, with the same rejoin restrictions in place as in ranked.  

Crossteam Chat: Pre-game chat is togglable; but post-game chat is enabled with party-up for the solo/duo playlist.

Matchmaking: Play only within or close to division (with behind the scenes MMR); connection quality given heavy weight.

 

Why split up Solo/Duo and Team? This model has worked well for other games. The Team playlist will encourage players to form teams for the most competitive experience and will provide great practice for HCS events. Again, this could only be populated enough with significant HCS support such that players want to play in HCS events. Given the number of teams that entered MLG events in our heyday, there should be no doubt that Halo was and can again be popular enough to support a dedicated team playlist. As for Solo/Duo, TO2s are very common in Halo - this is why the Doubles playlist has always enjoyed so much support, and why in the heyday of competitive Halo we could frequently see TO2's looking for 2 other members for MLG events - and this only further encourages that. In a hardcore environment, entering a playlist as a TO2 doesn't provide a significant advantage over entering solo, but it can make things less frustrating. Entering as a TO3 or TO4 does provide a significant advantage, however.

 

Why FFA? FFA has consistently proven to be a great way for individual players to move up to the pro level. Often players will raw talent will need team guidance to move to the next level, and so without an outlet for individual play these players will be passed over and unnoticed by the professional hegemony. FFA is an exciting gametype for spectating as well, and so it can help draw attention to the Halo eSports scene. Indeed, I'd contend that FFA is essential for a healthy competitive Halo community, but perhaps this is not the place to make the entirety of this argument.

 

Here’s how I envision team-building working. Players can register a teamname and then choose 4 main players for the team. Any player can only be registered as a main player for a single team. Teams can also include a certain number of substitute or alternate players, who can be registered as the main player for another team. Players have a reasonable limit for how many teams they can be apart of. Teams have a reasonable limit for how many substitutes they can have. Teams can also register a coach who will be allowed to spectate the games in non-Oracle mode and can communicate with their team. Players can only enter the Team playlist if they have at least 2 main members of their team and 2 or fewer substitute members in a party. I have no opinion on whether divisions should be assigned to a team or to players individually (so that players who switch teams eventually will carry their division with them). Some limit on team movement must be in place in order to avoid abusing the system.

 

-------------------------------

Some objections.

Once people can get into Hardcore Competitive, they’ll stop playing ranked: I doubt this. Ranked will still be the go-to playlist type for anyone not willing to give 100% but still wanting to be competitive. Just like the MLG playlist in H3 didn’t kill the Team Slayer playlist, Hardcore Competitive won’t kill ranks.

 

Playlist population will be too low for Hardcore Competitive: No doubt that, as things stand, this is true. But with proper eSports support, this problem will be overcome. Giving a players a vision of “playing on the big stage” will encourage playing in the Hardcore Competitive playlist, even if not doing so exclusively. There’s obviously no guarantee that it will work, but as I have already stated, trying out something like this seems essential for Halo growing and thriving instead of dying the slow, painful death we began to see with H4.

 

The player population will be too divided by these changes: I suppose so, but the population is already heavily divided. This system gives a stepping stone for moving from a casual mindset to a more competitive one, but ultimately some will always want to stay casual. If we want Halo to be a genuinely competitive eSports game, we’ll have to accept that there’s already a large contingent of purely casual players that will never be (and perhaps shouldn’t be) convinced to be otherwise, but we can hope that the casual community eventually brings in non-Halo players who do move beyond casual play.

 

Well, obviously I’ve wasted tons of time writing this. Thoughts? Vehement objections?

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We only need 1 HCS playlist. To avoid party problems have it to where parties match parties and solos match solos. We don't need a dedicated HCS FFA. If we want to use the settings we could put them in Lone Wolves/Rumble Pit(HCS v1 settings will most likely be a slightly edited vanilla anyways).

 

A BTB playlist won't be there at launch as they are trying to make sure Warzone launches with little to no problems.

 

I'd personally separate SWAT and Snipers.

 

I have no doubt that Breakout will have its own playlist at launch but I feel like the ranked experience should be in HCS. We all know it's going to be in there for at least the v1 settings. If people don't like the changes made and it ends up being removed then maybe we could see the playlist go ranked.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------

 

That right there knocks off 3 playlists.

 

Social:

Social Slayer

Squad Grab Bag(5v5 Slayer and Objective)

Warzone

Team Breakout

Rotational (Grifball, Race, Forge Community Highlight, etc.)

 

 

 

Ranked: 

Team Slayer

Team Doubles

Lone Wolves

Team Objective

SWAT

Snipers

HCS 

 

 

 

 

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We only need 1 HCS playlist. To avoid party problems have it to where parties match parties and solos match solos. We don't need a dedicated HCS FFA. If we want to use the settings we could put them in Lone Wolves/Rumble Pit(HCS v1 settings will most likely be a slightly edited vanilla anyways).

 

A BTB playlist won't be there at launch as they are trying to make sure Warzone launches with little to no problems.

 

I'd personally separate SWAT and Snipers.

 

I have no doubt that Breakout will have its own playlist at launch but I feel like the ranked experience should be in HCS. We all know it's going to be in there for at least the v1 settings. If people don't like the changes made and it ends up being removed then maybe we could see the playlist go ranked.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------

 

That right there knocks off 3 playlists.

 

Social:

Social Slayer

Squad Grab Bag(5v5 Slayer and Objective)

Warzone

Team Breakout

Rotational (Grifball, Race, Forge Community Highlight, etc.)

 

 

 

Ranked: 

Team Slayer

Team Doubles

Lone Wolves

Team Objective

SWAT

Snipers

HCS 

Thanks for your reply. Your proposal is much more conservative than mine and I have no doubt yours is much closer to what things will actually be. I included BTB since it'll come out just "weeks" after launch, so it is effectively a launch playlist. I also would separate SWAT and Snipers but 343 seems intent on not giving them both dedicated playlists. Breakout seems a little heavy of a gametype to be social, IMO, but it is certainly possible. I'd be surprised if it could maintain decent population counts as a social playlist, though.

 

If parties are going to match only parties, why not just separate the two playlists out? That leaves you with the same population count either way but makes one's rank in each playlist more informative. I provided some reasons for why I thought a dedicated HCS FFA playlist was essential; I'd like to hear your thoughts on those, instead of just a denial that we need them.

 

Thanks again for taking the time to read & respond!

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Team Breakout

 

 

Ranked: 

 

Team Slayer

Team Doubles

Lone Wolves

Team Objective

SWAT

Snipers

HCS 

Breakout should be ranked.

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Just go back to the H3 playlist way of doing things, simple... Or another idea is have every playlist have a ranked and social playlist... Social so you can practice, or just have fun but still play gametypes you like... Swat, Snipers, etc. I'd expand upon the idea more, but it's late and I'm tired. But that would probably just devide the community up more, but idk I like the sound of the idea. For example... Ranked BTB playlist, than social bigteam battle playlist. SIMPLE, and fun for everyone.

 

Edit: Also stop full parties from matching solo searchers... Not sure if you included that into your post, but hopefully they implement this because it's not fair. (This is probably the 8th time I've said this on these forums.)

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Ranked:

Team Slayer

Team Objective

SWAT
Snipers

Big Team Battle

Lone Wolves

 

Social:

Warzone

Social Slayer

Grifball

Forge Community Highlight

Social FFA

Social Objective (5v5)

Rotational

 

HCS:

 

HCS 1v1

HCS 2v2

HCS 4v4

 

My Idea is that HCS would have a ranking system completely different from Ranked (Similar to CoDs League Play) and that their would be timed tournaments that a group of 4 could enter

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Ranked:

 

Team Slayer

Team Objective

SWAT

Snipers

Big Team Battle

Lone Wolves

 

Social:

 

Warzone

Social Slayer

Grifball

Forge Community Highlight

Social FFA

Social Objective (5v5)

Rotational

 

HCS:

 

HCS 1v1

HCS 2v2

HCS 4v4

 

My Idea is that HCS would have a ranking system completely different from Ranked (Similar to CoDs League Play) and that their would be timed tournaments that a group of 4 could enter

good idea but why is BTB in ranked? lol

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good idea but why is BTB in ranked? lol

Because BTB with the right settings can be pretty competitive. BTB.net was a great example of this.

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Because BTB with the right settings can be pretty competitive. BTB.net was a great example of this.

You are right but they should make one ranked and one social like what Halo 3 did with Squad Battle. 

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Breakout should be ranked.

I concur.

 

Just go back to the H3 playlist way of doing things, simple... Or another idea is have every playlist have a ranked and social playlist... Social so you can practice, or just have fun but still play gametypes you like... Swat, Snipers, etc. I'd expand upon the idea more, but it's late and I'm tired. But that would probably just devide the community up more, but idk I like the sound of the idea. For example... Ranked BTB playlist, than social bigteam battle playlist. SIMPLE, and fun for everyone.

 

Edit: Also stop full parties from matching solo searchers... Not sure if you included that into your post, but hopefully they implement this because it's not fair. (This is probably the 8th time I've said this on these forums.)

I do think the H3 playlists were pretty great. Having every playlist be both ranked and social probably isn't too productive - I doubt population would be high enough for social Snipers when it's available ranked, for instance, and social HCS is a no-go for sure. Parties shouldn't match solo players for sure, at least as long as the playlist population is decent.

 

Ranked:

 

Team Slayer

Team Objective

SWAT

Snipers

Big Team Battle

Lone Wolves

 

Social:

 

Warzone

Social Slayer

Grifball

Forge Community Highlight

Social FFA

Social Objective (5v5)

Rotational

 

HCS:

 

HCS 1v1

HCS 2v2

HCS 4v4

 

My Idea is that HCS would have a ranking system completely different from Ranked (Similar to CoDs League Play) and that their would be timed tournaments that a group of 4 could enter

That seems basically like what I was arguing (divisions for HCS, ranks for ranked). HCS doubles would be an interesting playlist if there were tournament support, for sure.

 

good idea but why is BTB in ranked? lol

 

Because BTB with the right settings can be pretty competitive. BTB.net was a great example of this.

 

You are right but they should make one ranked and one social like what Halo 3 did with Squad Battle. 

As I noted in my OP, I think Warzone takes care of the social BTB experience, leaving ranked BTB as the competitive big playlist.

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We don't need multiple HCS playlists especially if HCS is initially close to vanilla settings

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I don't like it. Keep it simple. One Ranked and one unranked. Or better yet a toggle for ranked and unranked keeping it all in one menu. As for sinpers, griffball, swat, zombies, and any other fluff let it go back to being a custom game. A custom game finder would go a long way. The only reason why we would need a hardcore list is because competitive settings and vanilla settings are to far apart. In that case we'll be in the same spot we are today.

 

*Edit: I'd actually prefer if we had to have two separate playlist they would use Halo 2's ranked social playlist style.

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We don't need multiple HCS playlists especially if HCS is initially close to vanilla settings

This. HCS should just be a selective mix of TS and Obj. gametypes in one playlist. 

 

Ranked:

HCS (Slayer & Obj.)

Team Slayer

Team Obj.

Team Doubles

FFA

BTB

Team Snipers or SWAT

 

Unranked:

Warzone

Action Sack

Infection

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We don't need multiple HCS playlists especially if HCS is initially close to vanilla settings

Do you disagree that having multiple HCS playlists helps promote the eSports aspect of the game more?

 

I don't like it. Keep it simple. One Ranked and one unranked. Or better yet a toggle for ranked and unranked keeping it all in one menu. As for sinpers, griffball, swat, zombies, and any other fluff let it go back to being a custom game. A custom game finder would go a long way. The only reason why we would need a hardcore list is because competitive settings and vanilla settings are to far apart. In that case we'll be in the same spot we are today.

 

*Edit: I'd actually prefer if we had to have two separate playlist they would use Halo 2's ranked social playlist style.

Sounds like we fundamentally disagree on how the online H5 experience should work. A custom game finder would mean no ranks for those beloved gametypes. (That's not to say we shouldn't have a custom game finder, but just that it should be in addition to a good selection of playlists). Radar alone is enough reason to have at least one separate hardcore list.

 

This. HCS should just be a selective mix of TS and Obj. gametypes in one playlist. 

 

Ranked:

HCS (Slayer & Obj.)

Team Slayer

Team Obj.

Team Doubles

FFA

BTB

Team Snipers or SWAT

 

Unranked:

Warzone

Action Sack

Infection

Not making HCS special in any way is bound to be bad news for growing the competitive scene. People who don't like objective would just play Slayer and would never enter the Halo eSports community, IMO.

 

Thanks for the conversation so far, everyone!

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Do you disagree that having multiple HCS playlists helps promote the eSports aspect of the game more?

 

I just find it redundant in some cases. If we have a ranked Lone Wolves then we don't really need a ranked HCS as well. If anything we can add HCS settings to Lone Wolves and experiment with gametypes in HCS FFA. Same applies to doubles if that's what people want. 

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Do you disagree that having multiple HCS playlists helps promote the eSports aspect of the game more?

 

Sounds like we fundamentally disagree on how the online H5 experience should work. A custom game finder would mean no ranks for those beloved gametypes. (That's not to say we shouldn't have a custom game finder, but just that it should be in addition to a good selection of playlists). Radar alone is enough reason to have at least one separate hardcore list.

 

Not making HCS special in any way is bound to be bad news for growing the competitive scene. People who don't like objective would just play Slayer and would never enter the Halo eSports community, IMO.

 

Thanks for the conversation so far, everyone!

 

No, multiple HCS playlists would just dilute it too much. Plus there's no HCS FFA or Dubs, so those can stay as ranked. If you want to play true comp., you'll have to deal with both objective and slayer. 

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No, multiple HCS playlists would just dilute it too much. Plus there's no HCS FFA or Dubs, so those can stay as ranked. If you want to play true comp., you'll have to deal with both objective and slayer. 

What do you mean by dilute? Are you thinking population count will be too low? And as I argued above, I think HCS FFA is absolutely essential for the health of the competitive scene. What makes slayer + objective "true comp"? My prediction is that under your system slayer will be competitive enough for both players - elevating HCS to a level above ranked helps to deal with this issue.

 

 

I just find it redundant in some cases. If we have a ranked Lone Wolves then we don't really need a ranked HCS as well. If anything we can add HCS settings to Lone Wolves and experiment with gametypes in HCS FFA. Same applies to doubles if that's what people want. 

I agree that if they are both ranked in the same way, it is redundant. That's why I support division-based play for HCS FFA but ranks for Lone Wolves. I'd totally be behind putting an HCS FFA gametype into the Lone Wolves playlist, though.

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RANKED

 

Team Slayer

Team Objective

Breakout

Team SWAT/Snipers

Big Team Battle

HCS

 

CASUAL

 

Warzone

Grifball

Action Sack

Infection

 

Bam.

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Double Exp Weekend playlist needs to come back. Get a low tier REQ pack for every 2 wins or something.

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RANKED

 

Team Slayer

Team Objective

Breakout

Team SWAT/Snipers

Big Team Battle

HCS

 

CASUAL

 

Warzone

Grifball

Action Sack

Infection

 

Bam.

Shittiest line up I've ever seen.

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Ranked

- Lone-wolves

- Team Slayer

- Team Obj

- Team Doubles

 

Social

- Rumble Pit

- Social Slayer

- Social Skirmish

- Warzone

 

Hardcore(Ranks Enabled)

- HCS

- Snipers

- Breakout

- SWAT(Up for debate whether it should be ranked or not)

 

Weekly Rotational/2exp Weekend

- Grifball

- Infection

- Forge Highlights

- Fiesta

- Team DLC

- Multi-Team

 

Having both ranked and social for the same playlist allows for players who just want to have fun with their friends and new players to have a place where they can have fun and learn the game without being a hindrance to those who want to play ranked for the competition it brings.

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