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[Locked] Matchmaking Feedback Update – June 5

OP ZaedynFel

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Effects of Skill-Based Matchmaking

I sometimes get questions about how MMR affects matchmaking, and what it would be like to increase or decrease how aggressively we try for tight-skilled matches. Right now, Ranked enforces a certain amount of tightness, whereas Social and “tries” to be just as tight at first, but gives up after waiting too long. Warzone also tries to be tight at first, but gives up faster than Social.

I’ll try and explain the trade-offs.

If you are a good player, matchmaking tightly on skill turns a dial between two options:
  • No skill matchmaking:
    • Faster matchmaking
    • You get lots of kills
    • You get terrible teammates
    • If you want to kill, you don’t need to sweat
    • If you want to win, you DO need to sweat
  • Tight MMR matchmaking
    • Slower matchmaking
    • Better teammates
    • Not as many kills
    • If you want to kill, you really need to sweat
    • If you want to win, you need to try, but you don’t have to carry your team

The looser the matchmaking, the more likely you will have a bunch of noobs in your match that you can own for fun.

BUT, when it’s looser, it’s also more and more likely that you are by far the best player in the match.

If you are the best player in the match, then the team balancer must stack all the worst players on your team to prevent a blowout between teams.

When the matchmaking is tighter, everyone is about the same skill in the match. This means the burden won’t be as hard on you as a player to carry your team. But, it also means you aren’t going to rack up the kills, and should expect closer to 1.0 K/D.

If you are an average player, the overall experience is about the same with and without skill-based matchmaking. One difference is without skill matching, you will have some players who own you in a match, and some who you own. Matchmaking times don’t change much:
  • No skill matchmaking: Each match has a variety of players better and worse than you. Some you do well against, some destroy you.
  • High-skill matchmaking: Less variety. You do about the same each match. You don’t get owned much, but you also don’t get to destroy noobs.
  • If you want to win, it’s about the same either way.


If you are a bad player, the game gets painful if there’s no skill matching, though wait times get longer if there is:
  • No skill matching: every game is painful, you will die a lot. You will still win about half your matches because of team balancing, but you won’t feel like you contributed much.
  • Skill matching: games are about the same. You also feel you can help your team win. You won’t get a ton of kills, but you’ll get some and do OK.

So, overall, the best compromise tends to be to just aim for tight matchmaking, but good players do like to have loose matchmaking sometimes (Social) so they can get in more kills.

But, at the end of the day, there’s no real way to completely remove the “sweat” without doing completely unfair things, like, always giving just YOU the best teams.


Why don’t we make an HCS FFA playlist, we did it for 4v4?

We will probably do something with the HCS FFA settings, but we probably won’t make a separate playlist to do it. It would probably be something within the current list. Maybe hybrid, maybe rotational. I’m part of the discussion, but not designing the changes.

One of the reasons we probably won’t make a separate list is that if it split the FFA playlist in half, the resulting populations would not be large enough to support matchmaking.


But if you made an HCS list, more people would play FFA than before, so it would be OK to split!

This same argument was made about 4v4 HCS --- that players would return and play 4v4 HCS if we made it. That hasn’t happened. Instead, Team Arena got split down the middle. This is fine for 4v4 because we have the population for it.

But we don’t have that same population for FFA. If we made a separate HCS playlist, and the same thing happened that happened to 4v4 HCS, FFA would probably die. I’m not sure if it would be responsible to assume that FFA HCS would do better than 4v4 HCS when it’s clearly not as popular already. So this outcome is if the same thing happened. It’s not even a worst case scenario, and it’s already unacceptably bad.

So, basically, we probably shouldn’t spit the list in two. We’re talking about how we refresh the playlist in a way that does justice to both the HCS settings and the rest of the population.
Thanks Josh. Appreciate the explanations. How would you define average or bad player? In the hcs list I feel like a bad player. Went from gold to bronze, but in slayer always pretty steady gold, so I feel average.
"completely unfair things, like, always giving just YOU the best teams."

What if we feel the EXACT opposite is happening? Either ranks are the same but my team is by far worse or I'm just simply getting lower ranked teammates. Still advocating for chatty and quiet team search options please and thank you
Anyone else in here not have a problem with the matchmaking system when going sweat or social?
ZaedynFel wrote:
If you are the best player in the match, then the team balancer must stack all the worst players on your team to prevent a blowout between teams.
I feel like this is one area that could be improved a little. In the games where I'm the best player, the game will give me terrible players, but at the same time I feel like it expects that I'll get 50 kills or something in order to win since it put me in the game to carry the team.

In reality, if I'm not underperforming I'll usually get around middle twenties or maybe in the thirties for kills and we'll still lose the game by a bunch. The game either expects too much from the best player or the worst player balancing could be improved upon. I realize it could also be the bad players underperforming which can cause that, but sometimes I just have to wonder.
Thanks Josh. Appreciate the explanations. How would you define average or bad player? In the hcs list I feel like a bad player. Went from gold to bronze, but in slayer always pretty steady gold, so I feel average.
Just my opinion, but I'd break the "Bad", "Average", and "Good" labels down like this...

  • Unquestionably (lower level) "Bad" players to somewhat distinctly "Bad" players = Bronze 1 - 4
  • More or Less (higher level) "Bad" players to basically just "Below Average" players = Bronze 5 to Silver 3
  • Borderline (lower level) "Average" players to pretty solidly "Average" players = Silver 4 to Gold 3
  • Solidly (higher level) "Average" players to approximately "Above Average" players = Gold 4 to Platinum 3
  • Marginally (lower level) "Good" players to fairly firm "Good" players = Platinum 4 to Diamond 3
  • Firmly (middle level) "Good" players to very "Good" players = Diamond 4 to Onyx 1700
  • Exceptionally (higher level) "Good or Great" players to "Pro" level players = Onyx 1700+ to Champions
Also, I think there may be an additional factor to consider which perhaps Josh can clarify and correct me on if I'm wrong, but the CSR labeling is also affected by the playlist's population make-up. If the majority of the population within a playlist is made up of "Good" players (in reality) that likely makes it more difficult to earn a CSR in the typical middle or "average" rankings where someone may be used to earning a particular rank in other playlists. In other words, someone who appears to be an "average" player within the HCS playlist is potentially a lower level or solidly "Good" player in other playlists since I'd bet that the HCS playlist leans to a higher skill level population disparity than most other playlists. Not to mention, when Halo 5 originally released there were much greater populations within each playlist and in turn a lot more newbie or lesser skilled players filling up the lower rankings, so an "average" player in today's CSR may have been inflated some within the rankings (back then) thanks to those types of players filling up the majority of the lower rankings including the lower half of the average ranks; therefore, they may have actually been categorized as a lower level "Good" player during at that period of time. Point is that these skill-based labels to a degree are relative toward the population's skill disparity per playlist and in whole.
Anyone else in here not have a problem with the matchmaking system when going sweat or social?
I don't really have much of a problem with it, but then again my skill level seems to be somewhere in the middle or maybe middle+ of the bell curve for skill-based matchmaking (SBMM), so that probably helps.
ZaedynFel wrote:
This same argument was made about 4v4 HCS --- that players would return and play 4v4 HCS if we made it. That hasn’t happened. Instead, Team Arena got split down the middle
Well, you guys also kept Team Arena instead of replacing it. Not necessarily saying that the population would boom if you had done things differently, but it's also not really a fair test.
From the viewpoint of a player that made the change from Team Arena to HCS playlist, I don't play other playlists including FFA for many reasons.

I don't enjoy playing other playlists that have default radar enabled.

I don't like getting AR'ed or splinter grenades and whenever I run the occasional team doubles or slayer, it is extremely noticeable the impact these two things have on basic gameplay.

Specific to FFA I don't enjoy 6 man FFA, the pace isn't fun it's too slow and a crouchy AR fest. I will say I would return and would be happy to play HCS FFA. Is HCS FFA 6 or 8 person?

I think blending the current FFA with some HCS versions is a pretty good idea. But, I think you'd find that a lot of the HCS players would quit the build every time the non-HCS game type was selected though.

I do find it shocking that the Team Arena/HCS Playlist was an even split. I wonder why that is. Maybe the players who stayed in Arena enjoy the more competitive settings and aren't finding the competition as hard as it once was since the better players now run HCS?

The write up on skill-based matchmaking was interesting. I think the restrictions given the different modes seem reasonable. The biggest issue I have with skill matching is the visual indicator (CSR) doesn't equal your hidden rank (MMR). For example, I searched two games as a solo onyx in game one and a diamond rank in Summer HCS and matched a team of 4 with two champs on it in back to back games. https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/games/halo-5-guardians/xbox-one/mode/arena/matches/43a998af-a5a9-4932-b8f9-ab690aca5010/players/jolly%20josh?gameHistoryMatchIndex=0&gameHistoryGameModeFilter=Arena

While in skill-matching based on my MMR this game may appear to be fair but to the layperson the visual indicator shows me a solo matching a team of 4 with two champions on it. I know a patch is being worked to have to4's match to4's but this is a separate issue.

Thanks for the discussion as always Josh.
Social is still far too sweaty IMO. The only time I can even slightly have casual fun on this game is WZA.
Otherwise it's just a sweaty chore, which is why I'm never really tempted to play, and none of my friends play anymore.

The "ranking system" lost it's charm after about 3 seasons, and then I realized how silly it is to work so hard for a rank that disappears and an emblem no one wants. Looking at some of the new "Leaderboards", it's quite sad how little anyone cares about the Champion grind. (Even more sad that Snipers got removed for some of these playlists that don't have hardly any population).

FFA has needed a refresh for a long time, top FFA players have been complaining about it for over a year. When nothing gets changed, it ends up as a ghost town which it is now. You couldn't pay me $20 to get rated in FFA this month. Maybe try BR starts and add some classic maps, clearly no one likes the current set-up. Switch it up for a season, worst case no one plays it - like right now.

At this point in the games life, nothing is going to make people jump back on by the masses, (other than BR starts on classic maps) which is why I hope this stuff is figured out at launch for Halo 6.
Jolly Josh wrote:
I do find it shocking that the Team Arena/HCS Playlist was an even split. I wonder why that is.

Doesn't surprise me at all, those HCS settings came way too late into the game's life. At that point there wasn't really new players jumping on by the boatload, and it was so far past launch there certainly weren't people re-buying or putting this game back in just to play that.

So essentially there was a set amount of "Competitive" players still playing, and when it came out half liked the new settings, half liked the old. I'm one of the ones who switched to HCS and don't think I've played Team Arena since.

There are far too many good games out these days for people to just hang around waiting for developers to give us what we want. Most players give games a shot at launch and if it doesn't "hook" them immediately, they're onto another game. This is why it is essential to have Ranked/Social/Gametypes/Addictive Progression System/Enticing Rewards working AT LAUNCH.

You cannot add this stuff a year after everyone's moved on and then complain about the population data.
Why hasn't Team Arena been officially removed from the ranked playlist? It originally served as the practice grounds for competitive players who wanted to play the official H5 settings. It's outdated now. The HCS playlist has replaced it because it is the new settings.

At least test the removal of the TA playlist. Any remotely competitive player is not going to take the iterations of H5 automatics and splinter nades happily for a ranked game mode. I just find it incredibly ironic why this wasn't accomplished in spite of the goals of preserving the number of game modes in the ranked and social playlists due to low population (because there were about 7 playlists at launch).
TryHardFan wrote:
Why hasn't Team Arena been officially removed from the ranked playlist? It originally served as the practice grounds for competitive players who wanted to play the official H5 settings. It's outdated now. The HCS playlist has replaced it because it is the new settings.

At least test the removal of the TA playlist. Any remotely competitive player is not going to take the iterations of H5 automatics and splinter nades happily for a ranked game mode. I just find it incredibly ironic why this wasn't accomplished in spite of the goals of preserving the number of game modes in the ranked and social playlists due to low population (because there were about 7 playlists at launch).
I don't personally mind either way, but TA is the only playlist that has objective gametypes on arena maps, with the classic H5 starting weapons that exist for every other playlist. So if you're removing it, you're basically saying nobody is allowed to play objective gametypes in matchmaking unless you want to play the sweaty HCS playlist.

I think you'll lose a lot of players who will quit playing.
RzR J3ST3R wrote:
I don't personally mind either way, but TA is the only playlist that has objective gametypes on arena maps, with the classic H5 starting weapons that exist for every other playlist. So if you're removing it, you're basically saying nobody is allowed to play objective gametypes in matchmaking unless you want to play the sweaty HCS playlist.

I think you'll lose a lot of players who will quit playing.
The skirmish game mode in the social playlist exists for a reason. Is that not what players are looking for?
Thanks Josh. Appreciate the explanations. How would you define average or bad player? In the hcs list I feel like a bad player. Went from gold to bronze, but in slayer always pretty steady gold, so I feel average.
That sounds about right. Though we matchmake fairly tightly in HCS and Slayer so this shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Hi Josh,

It is not really related to this week's update - but what about letting matches where teammates quit out, not count for your ranking?
You have mentioned in previous posts that you don't really need 10 games to rank a player. When teammates quit out and you get destroyed it really harms your rank! (Solo queing a lot)
Keep up the great work with this communication!
Looking forward to your thoughts on the matter!
RzR J3ST3R wrote:
TryHardFan wrote:
Why hasn't Team Arena been officially removed from the ranked playlist? It originally served as the practice grounds for competitive players who wanted to play the official H5 settings. It's outdated now. The HCS playlist has replaced it because it is the new settings.

At least test the removal of the TA playlist. Any remotely competitive player is not going to take the iterations of H5 automatics and splinter nades happily for a ranked game mode. I just find it incredibly ironic why this wasn't accomplished in spite of the goals of preserving the number of game modes in the ranked and social playlists due to low population (because there were about 7 playlists at launch).
I don't personally mind either way, but TA is the only playlist that has objective gametypes on arena maps, with the classic H5 starting weapons that exist for every other playlist. So if you're removing it, you're basically saying nobody is allowed to play objective gametypes in matchmaking unless you want to play the sweaty HCS playlist.

I think you'll lose a lot of players who will quit playing.
This is why I'd like to see a playlist breakdown change by 343i such as this:

In particular for the Ranked options --

RANKED ARENA: 7 Active Playlists
  • HCS Arena (4v4; HCS modes, settings, and maps)
  1. Slayer
  2. CTF
  3. Strongholds
  • Doubles (2v2; mixed-bag) - I think the HCS Abilities Tracker or Radar could be an ideal fit for this playlist.
  1. Slayer
  2. *Extraction
  • Slayer (4v4)
  • SWAT (4v4; minor weapon variants)
  • FFA (6) [Seasonal Rotation] - offsets seasonally with HCS FFA
  • HCS FFA (6; HCS settings and maps) [Seasonal Rotation] - offsets seasonally with FFA
  • CTF (4v4) [Seasonal Rotation] - offsets seasonally with Strongholds
  • Strongholds (4v4) [Seasonal Rotation] - offsets seasonally with CTF
  • Grifball (4v4) [Seasonal Rotation] - offsets seasonally with Snipers
  • Snipers (4v4) [Seasonal Rotation] - offsets seasonally with Grifball
* Would require 343i to provide the mode's inclusion in Halo 5.
ZaedynFel wrote:
Effects of Skill-Based Matchmaking So, overall, the best compromise tends to be to just aim for tight matchmaking, but good players do like to have loose matchmaking sometimes (Social) so they can get in more kills.
Man I'm so sick of this argument.

People who's motivation is to stomp on noobs, they don't play social, they derank smurf accounts in ranked.

Exception might be montagers but that's like 10 people in the entire game.
And even then, they aren't going for most kills, they are going for kills within a particular time frame, which takes a completely different mindset & playstyle than simply going tryhard mode.

The people you are stereotyping are the extreme minority, not just "good players."

Good players want high kill counts because they earned it, not because they were given loose restrictions and easy opponents. That's boring.
Good players are good because they are competitive, like to be challenged and want their accomplishments/score-lines to be based on merit rather than the matchmaking system.

And yes, I get that you specifically wrote "sometimes," but you are applying that "sometimes" qualifier to "loose matchmaking" rather than the reason for loose match-making.
In the latter case, the reality is that it's extremely rare that the reason good players want loose matchmaking is for the purpose of more kills.

Rather, when it comes to the reason/motivation of preferred settings, regardless of skill level, what people in social are looking for is a social experience (or just warm-up). It's not about the stats.

Having a Social experience doesn't mean facing noobs, it just means not facing a full team of Diamond & up.
It's about having a variety & range of skill levels rather than the "absolute" level of opponents.

Having a variety of skill ranges is far more "social" than confining all the players within a set range/cutoff of skills.
It lets the good players relax & take it easy on the noobs, while the noobs still have other people in the match that they can manage to kill.
Rarely do good players actually try in social unless they are facing at least 3-4 opponents of similar skill level, that's when it stops being social.

And I'm not basing this off of only seeing one side of the coin, as 80% of my lobbies have a huge range of skill levels, from legit Silver/Gold, mid platinum & high Diamond.

And you know what, the noobs I play with have never minded being matched against 1 or 2 highly skilled opponents, they just ideally would like at least a couple opponents that they can actually stand a chance against.

Most people aren't actually looking to "have their cake and eat it too."
Most people are reasonable.
Most people recognise that there's a large skill range, and facing more-skilled opponents is inevitable.

This view that people's motivations are just for stats is akin to those who would dismiss all doctors as "just being in it for the money."
It demonstrates the immaturity of someone who views themselves as the only sane person in a world of selfish crazy people, or who believes that the "vocal minority" is representative of the the general public.

To assume someone's motivations based on their rank or final conclusions drawn, that is pure intellectual dishonesty.
Judge & discuss their arguments behind the stance, rather than the motivations of the unreasonable minority who also happen to share those views.

eLantern wrote:
Thanks Josh. Appreciate the explanations. How would you define average or bad player?
Just my opinion, but I'd break the "Bad", "Average", and "Good" labels down like this...

Unquestionably "Bad" Players = Bronze 1
Fairly "Bad" Players = Bronze 2 - 4
Hovering between earning the label "Bad" and "Average" Player = Bronze 5 to Silver 3
Lower Level "Average" Players = Silver 4 to Gold 3
Higher Level "Average" Players = Gold 4 to Platinum 3
"Good" Players = Platinum 4 to Diamond 3
Very "Good" Players = Diamond 4 to Onyx 1700
Exceptionally "Good" Players including Pros Level Players = Onyx 1700+ to Champions
The only issue with that kind of curve is that a high Onyx player makes anyone below Onyx look like a Bronze.
The entirety of the lower 90% of ranks are essentially irrelevant as far as a very skilled player is concerned.
I've seen a single pro player, even when matched with noob teammates, make entire high-level lobbies quit out.

The reality (ie. graded-curve) would be more like:
Unquestionably "Bad" Players = Bronze or Silver
"Bad" Players = Gold
"Average" Players = Platinum
"Competent" players = Diamond or low Onyx
"Good" Players = High Onyx
Very "Good" Players = HCS Onyx
Exceptionally "Good" Players including Pros Level Players = High HCS Onyx

Note:
Yes, this implies that "average" is below the level of "competent" because that's how the real-world scenarios work out.
It's the comparison of "absolute skill" (your example, theoretical) versus "relative skill" (my example, practical).

It's an interesting distinction, I would also be interested in knowing the approximate categorisation utilised by 343.

Jolly Josh wrote:
From the viewpoint of a player that made the change from Team Arena to HCS playlist, I don't play other playlists including FFA for many reasons.

I don't enjoy playing other playlists that have default radar enabled.

I don't like getting AR'ed or splinter grenades and whenever I run the occasional team doubles or slayer, it is extremely noticeable the impact these two things have on basic gameplay.

Specific to FFA I don't enjoy 6 man FFA, the pace isn't fun it's too slow and a crouchy AR fest. I will say I would return and would be happy to play HCS FFA. Is HCS FFA 6 or 8 person?
Agreed on all accounts.

It's 8 person, though that really only works on the maps that HCS play (Truth & Mercy. They also have Regret but most people hate it).
It wouldn't work for the playlist.

For Halo 5, 6-man FFA with a 6-second respawn is actually amazing for all the maps (except maybe Mercy, not sure), however it still has the issue of sucking when someone quits out.
8-man is far, far too crowded for all the other maps.

7-man with a 7-second respawn seems to work best overall for the playlist.

Jolly Josh wrote:
But, I think you'd find that a lot of the HCS players would quit the build every time the non-HCS game type was selected though.
That's exactly what will happen.

FFA has needed a refresh for a long time, top FFA players have been complaining about it for over a year. When nothing gets changed, it ends up as a ghost town which it is now. You couldn't pay me $20 to get rated in FFA this month. Maybe try BR starts and add some classic maps, clearly no one likes the current set-up. Switch it up for a season, worst case no one plays it - like right now.

At this point in the games life, nothing is going to make people jump back on by the masses, (other than BR starts on classic maps) which is why I hope this stuff is figured out at launch for Halo 6.
Honestly, although I'm sure that most people would complain (noobs would say BR is OP, and skilled players say it's too inconsistent), BR starts would be the easiest possible change which could immediately bring at least somewhat of a balance to FFA.

Of course, a more balanced AR, reduction of total power-ups/power-weaopns on map, the HCS radar and an increase to 7-man would be better, I'm not sure how far their playlist designers are actually willing to go, so alternatives still need to at least be in the discussion.

That being said, Vetoed has also proposed some very good changes which take into account the needs of all skill levels.
eLantern wrote:
Thanks Josh. Appreciate the explanations. How would you define average or bad player?
Just my opinion, but I'd break the "Bad", "Average", and "Good" labels down like this...

Unquestionably "Bad" Players = Bronze 1
Fairly "Bad" Players = Bronze 2 - 4
Hovering between earning the label "Bad" and "Average" Player = Bronze 5 to Silver 3
Lower Level "Average" Players = Silver 4 to Gold 3
Higher Level "Average" Players = Gold 4 to Platinum 3
"Good" Players = Platinum 4 to Diamond 3
Very "Good" Players = Diamond 4 to Onyx 1700
Exceptionally "Good" Players including Pros Level Players = Onyx 1700+ to Champions
The only issue with that kind of curve is that a high Onyx player makes anyone below Onyx look like a Bronze.
The entirety of the lower 90% of ranks are essentially irrelevant as far as a very skilled player is concerned.
I've seen a single pro player, even when matched with noob teammates, make entire high-level lobbies quit out.

The reality (ie. graded-curve) would be more like:
Unquestionably "Bad" Players = Bronze or Silver
"Bad" Players = Gold
"Average" Players = Platinum
"Competent" players = Diamond or low Onyx
"Good" Players = High Onyx
Very "Good" Players = HCS Onyx
Exceptionally "Good" Players including Pros Level Players = High HCS Onyx

Note:
Yes, this implies that "average" is below the level of "competent" because that's how the real-world scenarios work out.
It's the comparison of "absolute skill" (your example, theoretical) versus "relative skill" (my example, practical).

It's an interesting distinction, I would also be interested in knowing the approximate categorisation utilised by 343.
I don't necessarily have a problem with what you wrote except for the fact that the vast majority of the populations existing in any playlist still resides within the ranks of Gold and Platinum, so there is your honest to God reality of "average" skill level. I simply built outwards from that particular fact, but you're right that an HCS Champ or High Onyx level player can potentially make a good majority of people below Onyx or High Diamond look like a Bronze player. I did tweak my post to make it perhaps more clear on how I view the skill levels per the "Bad", "Average", and "Good" labels; plus, I added a bit on how the playlist and it's population likely plays a role. I may be an average player, but I'd certainly appear to be a terribly bad player when faced against a truly high level player -- someone who has amazing aim with full control of their character's movements including a strong strafe game, a keen understanding of the game's spawn system, and team positioning with excellent communication -- all things I'm greatly lacking in.
eLantern wrote:
eLantern wrote:
Thanks Josh. Appreciate the explanations. How would you define average or bad player?
Just my opinion, but I'd break the "Bad", "Average", and "Good" labels down like this...

Unquestionably "Bad" Players = Bronze 1
Fairly "Bad" Players = Bronze 2 - 4
Hovering between earning the label "Bad" and "Average" Player = Bronze 5 to Silver 3
Lower Level "Average" Players = Silver 4 to Gold 3
Higher Level "Average" Players = Gold 4 to Platinum 3
"Good" Players = Platinum 4 to Diamond 3
Very "Good" Players = Diamond 4 to Onyx 1700
Exceptionally "Good" Players including Pros Level Players = Onyx 1700+ to Champions
The only issue with that kind of curve is that a high Onyx player makes anyone below Onyx look like a Bronze.
The entirety of the lower 90% of ranks are essentially irrelevant as far as a very skilled player is concerned.
I've seen a single pro player, even when matched with noob teammates, make entire high-level lobbies quit out.

The reality (ie. graded-curve) would be more like:
Unquestionably "Bad" Players = Bronze or Silver
"Bad" Players = Gold
"Average" Players = Platinum
"Competent" players = Diamond or low Onyx
"Good" Players = High Onyx
Very "Good" Players = HCS Onyx
Exceptionally "Good" Players including Pros Level Players = High HCS Onyx

Note:
Yes, this implies that "average" is below the level of "competent" because that's how the real-world scenarios work out.
It's the comparison of "absolute skill" (your example, theoretical) versus "relative skill" (my example, practical).

It's an interesting distinction, I would also be interested in knowing the approximate categorisation utilised by 343.
I have no problem with what you wrote except for the fact that the vast majority of the populations existing in any playlist still resides within the ranks of Gold and Platinum, so there is your honest to God reality of "average" skill level. I simply built outwards from that particular fact, but you're right that a High Onyx HCS level player will make pretty much anyone below at least an Onyx level player look like a Bronze. I did tweak my listing to make it perhaps more clear on how I view the skill levels per the "Bad", "Average", and "Good" labels.
Oh, I certainly agree with you on what is "actually average," your rankings are pretty much spot on from a theoretical standpoint.
I'm just commenting on the distinction between that & the considerations that 343 would have to make when it comes to balancing matches.

Because, if there's 1 very good player, you can't just match give him bronze teammates and platinum opponents to call it balanced.
In fact, that would be terribly unbalanced.
Whether match a pro player against a team of platinums or a team of bronze's, he's still going to be dropping 30+ kills either way.

The only difference there is how his teammates fare.
If you give him all Bronze teammates, they are just going to get destroyed by the Platinums on the other team.

This is the problem, and it's why a "range" of skills is more appropriate.

Rather than matching the pro against all-platinums, he should be matched against a range of skills, such as 2 Onyx and 2 Bronze.
This will give the other team at least something to fight back with, while his Bronze teammates can still get kills against the Bronzes on the other team.

This example is exactly why 343's attempts at confining skill ranges just doesn't work for social playlists.
The good players only get extremely sweaty games, while the noobs still get stomped on by good players regardless.

For the noob, getting stomped on by a pro or getting stomped on by your average Diamond doesn't have much distinction.
The noob already knows that he's going to get stomped on at some point, they just need at least some opponents that they can stand up against.
Better to get stomped by 2 Onyx, while able to kill 2 Bronze, than to simply get stomped on by all 4 of the other team as platinums.

All you're accomplishing with any sort of skill cut-off is limiting the total number of possible matches, resulting in less enjoyable games for everyone.

Maybe the "final scores," or "win/loss ratio" can be made closer with 343's skill-range approach, but that's an extremely short-sighted metric to go by.
It doesn't matter if the end result is 50-40 or 50-35, what matters is how balanced the match feels.
It's a subjective thing that 343's stats cannot accomplish by themselves, you need listen to the people who actually play the game.
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