Make it all Social (An idea for Ranked)

Here is my idea to increase game quality and consistency and therefore the online experience. I plan to do this by merging what in past games have been two fractions of players seamlessly into one. In Halo 2 and Halo 3, we split the population by having “Ranked” and “Social” playlists. This created a divide that unnecessarily polarized the community. Additionally, this created other problems that took away from the online experience such as longer than normal wait times by separating the populations and even true skills for players looking to play the same or similar gametypes.

Anyone familiar with Halo’s matchmaking knows that the initial reason for splitting the two populations was the ability of guests to play online with an Xbox Live subscriber. The main issue was those guests do not have their own account and therefore their own TrueSkill. This means that the TrueSkill of guests are essentially question marks and so when you beat or loose to guests, the system must make an estimate because it does not know exactly how to allocate TrueSkill points. The result is a significantly different and more variable experience in Social Playlists.

Therefore, it only makes sense that step one in improving the online experience would be to more accurately account for guest TrueSkill. Because guest do not have their own account to which there TrueSkill can be attached to, I propose that the TrueSkill of guests be attached to account they are play under. This is does not mean that the guest gets the players true skill, but simply the guest’s TrueSkill will be saved to the main account.

Step two to improving matchmaking would be to make every playlist social but ranked. Okay, I know what you are thinking. Do you mean make every playlist Ranked? Well yes and no. The base matchmaking is not social or ranked…it is Team Slayer, BTB, etc. just the way it should be. In addition, regardless of your preferences, every game counts toward your TrueSkill and affects your Rank. However, you now get the option to display or hide your Rank and ranks. Still looking for a more competitive experience? Well you can also mute the other team via preferences. However, at the end of the day it is all only for bragging rights because ranks do not end at 50 or any number for that matter which also means that there is no reason to try to cheat to get to the end because it does not end.

Again, the idea is that your online experience is in your control, which as we all know is the old Halo mantra. It’s not ranked and it’s not social, it is everyone (even guests). To put it simply it is Halo.

Thoughts? I also believe that by providing better quality games in combination with the desire to end games faster to level up, can help reduce griefing/ spawn killing by better players.

The problem is ranked and social have always been played by players with very different, contrasting, and often conflicting mindsets. Typically, social players have always preferred a more laid back experience where winning isn’t such a focus and things like guests aren’t too bad, but ranked has always been full of players wanting to win, communicating, playing at their best, etc.

A perfect example of this issue is CoD, which up until Blops2 has essentially only had what Halo players would consider to be social matchmaking. Since it’s all essentially social matchmaking, the majority of players don’t care that much about winning like they would if the playlist were ‘ranked’ resulting in players messing around more, only caring about their own stats, stat padding, using stupid gun set ups, wasting the game going for no scope killcams, trash talking and not working as a team. Competitive matches in CoD matchmaking, where all players are trying to win and so on, are an absolute rarity.

If we were to combine both social and ranked I think the enjoyment for both ‘ranked’ and ‘social’ players would be hindered due to the very conflicting mindsets behind the players mixing together; laid back social players will have their experience hindered by not so laid back players that would rather be playing ranked and ranked players that want to play at the best and win will have their experience hindered by social players that don’t care as much as they do.

Separation, however much it may polarize of divide the community, is seemingly the only way to ensure as many players as possible get the kind of matchmaking experiences they enjoy the most.

Good post though, and interesting read.

Generally when you get people matchmaking with guests on your team while at the same time the enemy team has no guests, you’ll have a disadvantage. This would be frustrating in playlists such as Team Swat or Snipers. That’s why social and ranked should exist.

While in Team Snipers, if it’s you, fluuffybunny324, fluuffybunny324(1), fluuffybunny324(2) and fluuffybunny324(3) up against five people that all have “snipe” in their names, which team do you think is going to win?

Halo 4 isn’t going to last without a halfway decent ranking system. If you don’t want ranked, then play some social. That’s honestly fair enough. I don’t think it’s fair for the people that enjoy playing Halo at a more competitive level.

You’ll see. Halo 4 will turn into another Reach in six months at most without a halfway decent type of ranking system.

343i, please learn from Bungie’s mistakes.

Aren’t they making a hidden trueskill rank throughout the whole of matchmaking?

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Good Post. Not too long ago I would have actually, agreed with you and actually in the past I have proposed systems that were based on this fundamental idea. However recently I got to thinking, about how much are Social/Ranked personalities naturally inborn into us and how much is the due to bias resulting from past systems that had the effect of polarizing the community.

It is an interesting question but I would say that ranked and social players are not as “Black and White” as you make them seem, most of them are a greyish color somewhere in the middle. You can find evidence of this in Halo 3 because most people did not dedicate all their time to Ranked or Social, they played both. Yes, players played in varying proportions, but that is only to say different shades of grey.

So I would think that because most players are somewhere in the middle, the idea of combining the two populations is not hinder both populations as much as you say they do except for at the most extreme ends of both sides and those individuals are few and far in-between. Even then, that may be a stretch, because improved matching-making on both sides people will be match people with similarly skilled players more often who are also likely to have a similar frame of mind.

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> Good Post. Not too long ago I would have actually, agreed with you and actually in the past I have proposed systems that were based on this fundamental idea. However recently I got to thinking, about how much are Social/Ranked personalities naturally inborn into us and how much is the due to bias resulting from past systems that had the effect of polarizing the community.
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> It is an interesting question but I would say that ranked and social players are not as “Black and White” as you make them seem, most of them are a greyish color somewhere in the middle. You can find evidence of this in Halo 3 because most people did not dedicate all their time to Ranked or Social, they played both. Yes, players played in varying proportions, but that is only to say different shades of grey.
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> So I would think that because most players are somewhere in the middle, the idea of combining the two populations is not hinder both populations as much as you say they do except for at the most extreme ends of both sides and those individuals are few and far in-between. Even then, that may be a stretch, because with the improved matching-making on both sides so people will be matched with similarly skilled players more often who are also likely also have a similar frame of mind.

Yes, in Halo 3 I felt the same way. I mostly played ranked playlists, but I would still play social when I just wanted to relax and play for fun.

What they need to do is make it like Halo 3 with Social and Ranked playlists. In either one, you get XP just for playing, but in Ranked you also get a trueskill rank that can go up OR down.