Ranking System Proposal

LONG POST BELOW - Just read the stuff in bold for a basic version, or scroll down to summary.

Everyone who frequents these forums knows that the subject of Halo 4’s ranking system is a volatile one. I’ve considered both sides of the argument, as well as the ranking systems from the past, and I have an idea about how the rank problem could be solved.

First, let’s consider what we know we won’t get.

Visible 1-50 ranking system is out. Many competitive players won’t want to hear this, but that system was flawed. It encouraged de-ranking, boosting, and most importantly, the selling of accounts with 50s, something that violates Microsoft’s terms of use for Xbox Live. This last reason alone is why it will not return. Microsoft owns 343. There is no way that they will approve the return of a system that encourages people to violate their official policies. However, the 1-50 system did one thing very well: it gave people the drive to keep playing and winning. Even with all the online bull crap, Halo 3 maintained a massive population for years after its release largely due to the simple motivation to win.

Now, let’s consider Reach’s system.

EXP progression system alone is insufficient. Though Reach’s cR system removed a lot of the problems which plagued the 1-50 system (boosting, account selling, second accounts, quitting, etc…) it also removed the incentive to win. It didn’t really matter how well you did because even if you lost you got a fat pile of cR. You could also earn cR and rank up in other game modes. This removed all connection between rank and skill. The symbol next to your name became meaningless and people lost interest in the game.

Reach’s Arena system is also out. Arena was a colossal failure for two reasons: it required too much dedication within too small a time frame to get ranked, and it reset your ranks periodically. Casuals were turned off by the dedication, and competitive players were turned off by the rank reset. Why put in the effort to get Onyx if I’m just going to lose it in 2 weeks?

Where does this leave Halo 4?

Halo 4 can’t afford to make the same mistakes again. It needs a system that does all of the following:

1. Encourages people to play and not quit.
2. Encourages people to win.
3. Encourages people to stay with a single account.
4. Prevents boosting, or at least makes account selling unprofitable.
5. Matches players according to skill.

To do this, I propose a 3 fold ranking system.

Rank 1 - Spartan Rank

EXP Progression Based Rank

Similar to Reach, this rank allows you to earn EXP by playing in any game mode and is designed to show only how much you have played, not how good you are. This is the system that would be governed by all the little in-game bonuses you get like headshots, sprees, multikills, etc… This is also the system that would control what armor/weapons/perks you have unlocked.

Rank 2 - Invisible TrueSkill Rank

1-50 System

This rank would be responsible for Matchmaking only. Preferably, this system would work more like the Halo 3 version of TrueSkill as opposed to Reach’s lax version. This would ensure relatively evenly matched teams.

Rank 3 - Visible Skill Based Rank

Ranking System Governed by Comprehensive Player Stats

This is the new rank. This rank would be calculated based on various player statistics from each gametype. Each gametype in Halo 4, regardless of playlist, would contribute certain stats to the calculation of this rank.

For example, Slayer would contribute only K/D and not Win/Loss ratio. This ensures that random teammates do not impact your rank. This also gives players the incentive to win because in Slayer the objective is to out-kill the other team.

Objective gametypes would contribute primarily Win/Loss ratio and not K/D. This encourages players to play the objective, to win, and to not farm kills because K/D in objective would be irrelevant to rank.

In addition, all gametypes would include an MVP system that tracks each player’s performance relative to everyone else in the game, similar to Reach’s Arena rating system. In Slayer the guy with the highest K/D would of course be MVP, but in objective things could get more complicated. The MVP would be the best team player, the guy who cumulatively got the most carrier kills, flag touches, flag defenses, or escorts in CTF for example, not just the most captures. Your performance in each game, relative to all other players in that game, would also influence the calculation of your Skill Based Rank.

Your Skill Based Rank would then be a composite of your Slayer K/D, your objective Win/Loss, and your overall MVP performance. These three areas would counter and balance each other, making it impossible to reach max rank just by boosting one area. Also, if you did reach a high or max rank, you would not want to sell that account or start a new account due to the prestige of having that rank.


You will be matched via invisible Halo 3 style TrueSkill, your time spent playing will be tracked by a Reach style EXP progression system that awards EXP at the end of every game you play (consolation prize for losing) and also governs armor/weapon/perk unlocks, and your skill will be calculated by overall player statistics across all gametypes with each gametype contributing specific statistics to the formula. Naturally, quitting, betrayals, and especially being booted from a game would have a huge negative impact on your skill based rank. The penalty would have to be big enough that betraying your flag carrier just so you can cap it yourself leads to a net loss of skill, not gain.

Naturally certain gametypes like Griffball, Infection, or anything that ends up in Action Sack would not be included in the calculation of your Skill Based Rank.

Now, what are your thoughts on this? Good? Bad? Indifferent? It took me a long time to type all this so please share your ideas. I’d be most interested to hear some alternative ranking system ideas, or some ideas on how this system could be improved.