Ranked is great, but it needs some adjustment

Ranked is an absolute blast, let me just say that up front. BR spawns, good power weapons and equip placements, great gamemodes and better rule sets for the chance of incredible comebacks or staggering defeats. It’s really the best playlist for players who want the most out of the competitive Halo experience.

For all the great things about this playlist, there are a few that end up detracting from the experience. The biggest one that stands out is issues with the player queue and the weird crap that happens from time to time. In QP when someone leaves they’re replaced with bots until a player is backfilled into the match, while this is far better than previous Halo titles that came before it, it’s far from ideal. This doesn’t translate to Ranked however, and I want to make clear I’m not advocating for bots in ranked, but it does present a glaring issue to the core game mode in that missing a player dramatically impacts your ability to succeed in the most demanding playlist currently available.

I just finished a match in Solo/Duo, where were spawned in without a fourth, and it was demoralizing. I cannot confirm whether there was a player who queued but then disconnected before the match started, I’d hedge my bets that was the case and assuming that the match should have never started. I’ve already made a post talking about the lack of an option to reconnect to a Ranked match ( ttps://forums.halowaypoint.com/t/the-one-unforgivable-flaw-about-this-game/24415?u=trand0 ), so if the individual’s PC crashed before connection (giving them the benefit of the doubt) they should have been given the option to join back in. If not, the match should have shut down by default being so early in the match.


Rank also needs to be prominently displayed, attributing player skill to their avatar so as to understand and approach them with degrees of caution or aggression within a match. Within this idea for displayed rank, it might not be a bad idea to section some ranks off from other ranks or make the aggregate matchmaking a bit more transparent. If tier is representative of skill, a Gold playing with 3 Platinums should not be going up against 2 Diamonds (high and low), a Platinum and a Silver, the algorithm clearly disagrees with me on this but I’m gonna bring it up anyway. I don’t mind waiting a few extra minutes for a balanced match with players in my team’s skill level.

On that note, the game’s rank up reward is bizarre. In one match we steamrolled a team that lost a player (See point 1) with 2 Golds and Platinum and received huge gains (like a 25+% chunk), where on another we sloggingly bested a team with 2 Diamonds and 2 Plats and got a sliver of gains. I’m no mathematics savant or algorithm expert but I feel like the gains should have been inversed. On top of that, when we (1 or 2 or 3 down teammates) do lose or win against a full team, the losses/gains should reflect the handicap for both parties (the handicapped team sustaining large gains/small losses, winning team sustaining small gains/large losses).


The last thing is more of a nitpick and less of a confusing or glaring issue, but randomized weapon placements on maps seems a bit weird to me. Given the franchise’s history and legacy it seems strange that for the godsend concept of static permanent placements of power weapons, the secondary weapons (apart from the Pulse Carbine) get a randomized roll. I think maybe this has to do with the radar/ping feature, but I would much rather know where the Mangler is by heart than having its spawn replaced with an Plasma Pistol, or going for the BR only to find it’s now a Commando in this match. In casual QP this is entirely fine, but in Ranked this has the odor of a Battle Royale.

One more thing, and I’ll make this quick, but muting or reporting players in game needs to be included. It hasn’t happened much, but every now and again I’ll get placed in a team with a player that just lets his soundbar blare into his mic. The combination of feedback, heavy breathing, Dorito crunching, and 100% volume is too much to handle. Please let us mute players that are louder than the gameplay!


With 343’s emphasis on taking Halo to the eSports level it once held so reverently, I’m kinda shocked at the lack of polish on the Ranked mode when the rest of the multiplayer section seems so well made. I mean the maps are amazing, weapon and sandbox balance is pretty great, and the game is back to it’s strategic thinking “outplay rather than overpower” roots. If Halo is to have the thriving competitive scene it once had and hopes to achieve again, there needs to be some major changes to the Ranked playlist, mechanics and sandbox because right now it has a lot to catch up on. It’s fun, don’t misunderstand, I love the fact I’m playing Halo the way I did in 2007-2011 with people I haven’t caught up with in years, I’m having a blast, but as I play it the holes open up in the canvas and I can’t ignore them. If these things get fixed, adjusted, or addressed I have no doubt Halo Infinite will stand tall the next 10 years, and catapult the fan/playerbase into the next generation with bated breath.


TLDR:

  1. Address matches starting with unbalanced player counts (ex: 3v4). Competitive nature of Ranked derails the the handicapped team’s ability to perform or enjoy the match.
  • Requeue matchmaking
  • Pause Matchmaking until player reconnects, give teams the option to vote to wait or requeue

1.5 Add in the ability to rejoin a Ranked match if game/PC/Internet/etc crashed.

  • Players cannot be locked out of a match they disconnected from in 2021, this is inexcusable
    ( ttps://forums.halowaypoint.com/t/the-one-unforgivable-flaw-about-this-game/24415?u=trand0 )
  1. Make Rank a key part of Ranked.
  • Display Player Rank and team rank aggregate
  • Make gains and losses easier to understand
  • Player count handicaps should be addressed accordingly (Losses to handicapped teams = steeper punishments, victories as a handicapped team = steeper gains)
  • Allow for matchmaking times to assemble teams that match up more evenly within the ranks, not aggregates of ranks that even out. (Plat/Plat/Plat/Gold vs Plat/Plat/Plat/Gold good, Plat/Plat/Plat/Gold vs Diamond/Diamond/Plat/Silver bad)
  1. Make the Ranked playlist feel more competitive
  • switch random weapon placements to static placements to allow for more standardized and fair play
  1. Include a mute/report function on the scoreboard
  • pretty self explanatory
2 Likes

Great post. I think unbalanced teams or disconnects will eventually be addressed when dropping rank is more common, not sure how much losses affect rank in the beta. Bots while good to keep a game moving I feel are too low a difficulty. I feel the bot Difficulty would need to be increased to maybe ODST or Spartan depending on rank.

I feel the thought process of the Ranked team aggregates would be to allow groups of players to not be gated from one another from going into a rank match in a party. On the other hand, Apex has a one / two rank disparity or they can not play together so both could be tweaked. Assuming they keep the aggregate rank of a team as a metric they for sure need to impose a handicap.

I agree with having more transparency on how much a rank goes up or down based on a win or loss along with handicaps based on rankings.

The ranked mode is fantastic, but the matchmaking is currently very poor.

Player balancing and CSR gains/losses need an overhaul.

The players not spawning in needs immediately addressing. The 3v4 games are over as soon as they start.

I think the simplest solution would be to make it to where the team that has the player drop/quit should not have their rank negatively affected by that match.

I hope it’ll be addressed, it’s one of the few things truly holding the mode back.

In response to bots, I think there are better solutions that could be substituted. I agree, bots (while making tremendous leaps with AI learning) are far too ‘dumb’ to act as an interim fix for dropped players in rank.

I could be misinterpreting aggregate rank as it stands. I may be digging myself into a hole here, but I think Overwatch had it pretty good with a score based ranking system. It also prevents ranks past certain cutoffs from being factored into matchmaking scenarios. It was easy to see and make inferences based on numeric averages, as well as knowing as a Gold playing with Platinums you’d never see a Diamond, but Plats playing with Plats could see Diamonds.

I’d comment on CSGO’s rank system, but I’m only familiar with the old distribution and not the newer redistribution.

  1. Agreed. The challenge and balance has been well crafted.

I do think the game modes could be a little more varied between maps though. With an exception of CTF on asymmetric maps, zone capture/Oddball/Slayer could be more prominent across the selection.

  1. Either an overhaul or better clarification. But I’m in agreement that the rank system is a bit rudimentary.

  2. This is by far the biggest issue. You can’t have balance and ‘equal’ matches when there’s disproportionate team sizes.

It’s an admirable stance, but it has been tried before and has been abused as such. All it takes is one throwaway player account to leave a losing match for the entire team to not be affected by a loss.

A more comprehensive solution would be to approach it from appropriate angles.

  1. If a player disconnects within the first few seconds of a match/prior to a match starting.
  • cancel the match
    Or
  • force a practice mode for 1 minute or so until a player reconnects

(CSGO offers a 5 minute warmup period prior to a match starting until all players connect, once all players connect the timer drops to a short starting timer)

  1. If a player disconnects within the game mode
  • allow the player to join back in within a short period of time or that player faces a penalty for not reconnecting within that time. Maybe even enforce a slight match penalty for the temporary handicap against the team you’re playing with.
  • if a player cannot or does not rejoin, a significant penalty is applied to the player.
  • the victim team’s losing penalties/winning gains are adjusted down/up (respectively) slightly based on the disconnected player’s aggregate stats.
  • the disconnected player’s penalties ramp up as the trend continues, but can be forgiven for improved trends. Forgiveness should absolutely be an option especially if the player has hardware/software/internet issues and improves their situation. (A visual representation should be applied so as to see trend improvement/atrophy.)