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Hello. This time I want to talk about the ranked section of matchmaking, which has been forgotten since the last update that introduced the Match Composer.

Currently, the new feature provides a way to get the games you enjoy, however you don't get any kind of reward for spending time on it, such as an individual/global rank indicator or experience. But the issue is worse: when there is no ranking system, players are matched randomly, so they end up in completely unbalanced games.

This leads a common player to leave the Composer section and to search matches in one of the ranked playlists, because he's not rewarded by any means and can't even play fair matches. Then, he has lost the ability to choose his favourite gamemodes and needs to spent a lot of time searching there due to the low population that uses the ranked playlists.

Although the situation is even harder: he won't be able to get a balanced match because the matching rules had to be changed to adjust the population between the Composer and Ranked. So he might end up in two different ways: he leaves games until he gets banned or he gets tired of Halo MCC. Both cases leads to leaving the game. Then the process is repeated until casual players forget about Halo, and suddenly the competitive ones will experience a similar situation: the population in ranked dissapears and they get unbalanced and long matches too, so they will end up playing Social without filling the competitive purpouse.

So, in my opinion, there are 4 possible ways to keep the game alive for casual and professional/competitive players:

  1. - Make a rank based in combinations: if you usually success in Halo 2 Classic Flag matches, you get a better rank in that choice, and your highest combination rank could be seen in your profile (player 1: very good at Halo 3 King of the Hill). This applies to the Composer and doesn't affect the ranked playlists.
  2. - Make a ranking system like Halo Reach where you get a social rank based in all gamemodes. This option may even be mixed with the other ones as many people have asked for it before.
  3. - Make a rank based in size and/or Halo game chosen. Maybe hide it, as many users proposed. This includes BTB (8v8) and 1v1, but not Infection (12v12), unless they add FFA (Rumble Pit) to it. If more than one Halo is selected, then it will search within the best one. This system wouldn't keep the ranked section, but they're alike. It would also focus the population just in the Composer, so it'd make it easier to find games.
  4. - Divide the Match Composer searching into 3 groups: "Winners" > 70 % win-rate, "commons" 70 - 30 % win-rate and "starters" <30 % win-rate. In case of not finding any game, there could be added a maximal time to wide the parameters to all three groups. This system would keep the ranked section, which I don't recomment because search times will be even longer (doesn't fix the Ranked issues), and is only useful to get balance in the Composer matches.
I think the best option is the 3rd one, mixed with 2. By that way, you'll get balanced, enjoyable (you get the games you like), and varied matches. Not only that, population is no longer an issue, as it mixed the two sides of the community in a consistent way.

What's your opinion? Do you think Ranked playlists are still able to survive without getting completely unbalanced and empty? But don't act as if this situation were a problem of the future, it is happening yet; for example, the Halo 2 Anniversary playlist is very lowly populated and the Lone Wolves one is really unbalanced. Just look at it: limited games (Halo 3 Lone Wolves only), random modes (no vote/veto system, although that's a benefit for variety) and unacceptable search times, combined with unbalance. Could it be worse?
I do see the problem, it was better before the composer tbh. My favorite playlist was 4v4 CE, and since only people who like CE played that, you would often get fairly balanced matches. With the old population of social slayer now also being matched with me when I played 4v4 CE, the games are incredibly one sided.

However, I don't really see an easy solution. What you are proposing would essentially lead to like 40 different ranks given all the possible composer combination. I do agree that an overall "rank" like Reach is needed, but that doesn't help with skill matchmaking, I see it more as a help for the rampant quiting. An incentive to actually finish the game if you will. I guess a possible solution would be to give everyone one rank per game to match with. That would allow them to keep the 1-50 ranking as well. That'd only be 5 ranks total. Of course matching someone in BTB by their 1v1 skill is far from optimal, but it'd still be better than what we have now. I guess you could also do 1 per game per size. So with 5 sizes (1v1, 2v2, 4v4, 8v8, FFA) that'd still be 25 ranks per player, which is probably still too much. Maybe make BTB, 1v1 and FFA unranked and have one 2v2 and one 4v4 rank per game? That'd be 10 ranks per player, which is probably the absolute maximum.
oGh L0RCH wrote:
I do see the problem, it was better before the composer tbh. My favorite playlist was 4v4 CE, and since only people who like CE played that, you would often get fairly balanced matches. With the old population of social slayer now also being matched with me when I played 4v4 CE, the games are incredibly one sided.

However, I don't really see an easy solution. What you are proposing would essentially lead to like 40 different ranks given all the possible composer combination. I do agree that an overall "rank" like Reach is needed, but that doesn't help with skill matchmaking, I see it more as a help for the rampant quiting. An incentive to actually finish the game if you will. I guess a possible solution would be to give everyone one rank per game to match with. That would allow them to keep the 1-50 ranking as well. That'd only be 5 ranks total. Of course matching someone in BTB by their 1v1 skill is far from optimal, but it'd still be better than what we have now. I guess you could also do 1 per game per size. So with 5 sizes (1v1, 2v2, 4v4, 8v8, FFA) that'd still be 25 ranks per player, which is probably still too much. Maybe make BTB, 1v1 and FFA unranked and have one 2v2 and one 4v4 rank per game? That'd be 10 ranks per player, which is probably the absolute maximum.
I see the issue. I think that's the best solution: make BTB, FFA and 1v1 unranked and rank 2v2/4v4 per game (10 ranks as you said).

Although there is another way; what about just ranking per game (5 ranks)? For example, 1-50 in whatever size in Halo CE.
Well the problem is low population. For skill based match making to work you need a good population of all ranks to make games. When there isn't one there is only two things that can happen.... #1 make wide windows of skill level to make games or #2 don't make the games and have a prompt that says not enough players to make a game.

Now it's going to be individual preference which is better to do. To me #1 is better as at least you do get to play the game. The second option could hurt the population further as it may drive players away even more so.
They could do what Halo 3 did when bungie owned it and take your highest skill level in a playlist into account when matching you in a social playlist....although with the composer I don't know if that will just idle you out of searching due to low numbers.
LethalQ wrote:
Well the problem is low population. For skill based match making to work you need a good population of all ranks to make games. When there isn't one there is only two things that can happen.... #1 make wide windows of skill level to make games or #2 don't make the games and have a prompt that says not enough players to make a game.

Now it's going to be individual preference which is better to do. To me #1 is better as at least you do get to play the game. The second option could hurt the population further as it may drive players away even more so.
So in the 1st option you're basically suggesting to remove ranks and to just keep the Social Composer (with a wide window of ranks there's not actual purpouse).
They could do what Halo 3 did when bungie owned it and take your highest skill level in a playlist into account when matching you in a social playlist....although with the composer I don't know if that will just idle you out of searching due to low numbers.
That might work but we're essentially removing the ranked playlists to mix all in the Composer.
LethalQ wrote:
Well the problem is low population. For skill based match making to work you need a good population of all ranks to make games. When there isn't one there is only two things that can happen.... #1 make wide windows of skill level to make games or #2 don't make the games and have a prompt that says not enough players to make a game.

Now it's going to be individual preference which is better to do. To me #1 is better as at least you do get to play the game. The second option could hurt the population further as it may drive players away even more so.
So in the 1st option you're basically suggesting to remove ranks and to just keep the Social Composer (with a wide window of ranks there's not actual purpouse).
I would never want to see ranked play removed as it was once the pinnacle of Halo play. But players just need to understand not every game of ranked play will be a perfect balance of ranks due to low populations.
Well they put objective in every ranked playlist and heavily weighted it toward objective games. Objective doesn't appeal to a large proportion of the population, so by November the ranked population dropped enough that 343 adjusted weighting towards slayer, but by that point the damage was done.

Ultimately though the MCC population is unlikely to rebound. That means not enough people for ranked playlists to work. If I'm going to play unbalanced games, I might as well play unranked, where I can play the game type of my choice. The other challenge with the MCC is the age of the player base. Alot of us are in our 30s, and we don't have the time or interest to grind ranks like we did in high school or college.
Well they put objective in every ranked playlist and heavily weighted it toward objective games. Objective doesn't appeal to a large proportion of the population, so by November the ranked population dropped enough that 343 adjusted weighting towards slayer, but by that point the damage was done.

Ultimately though the MCC population is unlikely to rebound. That means not enough people for ranked playlists to work. If I'm going to play unbalanced games, I might as well play unranked, where I can play the game type of my choice. The other challenge with the MCC is the age of the player base. Alot of us are in our 30s, and we don't have the time or interest to grind ranks like we did in high school or college.
I can say I have no desire to play ranked in MCC. They are old games and I just want to play for fun. Match composer is awesome as I can play stictly slayer in the titles I want. Not to mention the only rank I ever cared about is FFA and we dont have it in MCC.
Yes, this update destroyed ranked even more... the only thing I actually enjoyed while playing this game has been ruined by this update..
I played a few Lone Wolves games but stopped because just not really competitive enough. Level 1s being matched with level 50s is never going to end well.
I remember the early days of Halo 2 matchmaking. It was so ahead of it's time. Back then, "online multiplayer" meant popping in and out of random servers on a big server list. With Halo 2, Bungie pioneered friends lists, parties, matchmaking, clan matches, ranking systems, and more. Amazing.

But there were valuable lessons. When you give people a goal, they will lie, cheat, and steal to attain it. Ideally, that scrappy competitive spirit would be within the confines of the actual Halo matches, and also ideally it would not be actual cheating, but unfortunately in Halo 2, it meant modders and hackers were getting to level 50, easy.

The ranking system in Halo 2 had two purposes:
1) Give players something to strive toward, a progression system and a goal.
2) Create an environment where matching players of similar skills would create fun Halo 2 matches.

I feel like in the MCC, the most important thing should be having fun playing the classic Halo games. I think the ranking system is much more useful as a skill matching tool than a progression system.

I think the ranks should be hidden, then somehow spread across all games, so that they can be used by the matchmaking systems to make the Halo matches more fun.
"I would never want to see ranked play removed as it was once the pinnacle of Halo play. But players just need to understand not every game of ranked play will be a perfect balance of ranks due to low populations."

Well that's logical, I didn't understand your suggestion correctly. However, I think rank means balance; when one of those things are not included, the other one can't exist. In my opinion, the main purpouse of a rank is matching similar people to beat them improving your skill or to be defeated by your enemies ranking down then. By that way ranks show your actual abilities. Currently, the issue isn't that they're not perfectly balanced; the problem is that a rank 1 can now match a rank 50, which is thoughtless because that rank 1 player we'll never be able to get, for example, rank 20, which should be his actual rank.

So, if the population is extremely low to separate Social, which is a pretty open playlist now, and Ranked without making it completely unbalanced, ranks must be mixed in the Composer in a way that's hard to find like we have discussed before.
The best options are probably a rank per Halo game, per size, per slayer/objective or per 2v2 and 4v4 in each game. Per size and slayer/objective is an interesting choice, it's a collection of games.
LarsBars wrote:
I remember the early days of Halo 2 matchmaking. It was so ahead of it's time. Back then, "online multiplayer" meant popping in and out of random servers on a big server list. With Halo 2, Bungie pioneered friends lists, parties, matchmaking, clan matches, ranking systems, and more. Amazing.

But there were valuable lessons. When you give people a goal, they will lie, cheat, and steal to attain it. Ideally, that scrappy competitive spirit would be within the confines of the actual Halo matches, and also ideally it would not be actual cheating, but unfortunately in Halo 2, it meant modders and hackers were getting to level 50, easy.

The ranking system in Halo 2 had two purposes:
1) Give players something to strive toward, a progression system and a goal.
2) Create an environment where matching players of similar skills would create fun Halo 2 matches.

I feel like in the MCC, the most important thing should be having fun playing the classic Halo games. I think the ranking system is much more useful as a skill matching tool than a progression system.

I think the ranks should be hidden, then somehow spread across all games, so that they can be used by the matchmaking systems to make the Halo matches more fun.
For example, make an average of all of your ranks and hide it when you search?
LarsBars wrote:
I remember the early days of Halo 2 matchmaking. It was so ahead of it's time. Back then, "online multiplayer" meant popping in and out of random servers on a big server list. With Halo 2, Bungie pioneered friends lists, parties, matchmaking, clan matches, ranking systems, and more. Amazing.

But there were valuable lessons. When you give people a goal, they will lie, cheat, and steal to attain it. Ideally, that scrappy competitive spirit would be within the confines of the actual Halo matches, and also ideally it would not be actual cheating, but unfortunately in Halo 2, it meant modders and hackers were getting to level 50, easy.

The ranking system in Halo 2 had two purposes:
1) Give players something to strive toward, a progression system and a goal.
2) Create an environment where matching players of similar skills would create fun Halo 2 matches.

I feel like in the MCC, the most important thing should be having fun playing the classic Halo games. I think the ranking system is much more useful as a skill matching tool than a progression system.

I think the ranks should be hidden, then somehow spread across all games, so that they can be used by the matchmaking systems to make the Halo matches more fun.
For example, make an average of all of your ranks and hide it when you search?
Yeah exactly. It doesn't address those who love playing for the visible ranks. I remember playing for the visible ranks, it was fun. But if the ranks being visible causes bad behavior, then it's not worth it, in my opinion.
LarsBars wrote:
LarsBars wrote:
I remember the early days of Halo 2 matchmaking. It was so ahead of it's time. Back then, "online multiplayer" meant popping in and out of random servers on a big server list. With Halo 2, Bungie pioneered friends lists, parties, matchmaking, clan matches, ranking systems, and more. Amazing.

But there were valuable lessons. When you give people a goal, they will lie, cheat, and steal to attain it. Ideally, that scrappy competitive spirit would be within the confines of the actual Halo matches, and also ideally it would not be actual cheating, but unfortunately in Halo 2, it meant modders and hackers were getting to level 50, easy.

The ranking system in Halo 2 had two purposes:
1) Give players something to strive toward, a progression system and a goal.
2) Create an environment where matching players of similar skills would create fun Halo 2 matches.

I feel like in the MCC, the most important thing should be having fun playing the classic Halo games. I think the ranking system is much more useful as a skill matching tool than a progression system.

I think the ranks should be hidden, then somehow spread across all games, so that they can be used by the matchmaking systems to make the Halo matches more fun.
For example, make an average of all of your ranks and hide it when you search?
Yeah exactly. It doesn't address those who love playing for the visible ranks. I remember playing for the visible ranks, it was fun. But if the ranks being visible causes bad behavior, then it's not worth it, in my opinion.
They should play as they played back in the day period. There should be no changes to the rank structure. MCC has a low population. Ranks still have meaning it's just going to be harder to rank up for players as teams will sometimes be unbalanced. I played a few Lonewolves games today and didn't even get my 2! Tough tough games... But that is what ranked Halo was back in the day.
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They could do what Halo 3 did when bungie owned it and take your highest skill level in a playlist into account when matching you in a social playlist....although with the composer I don't know if that will just idle you out of searching due to low numbers.
That might work but we're essentially removing the ranked playlists to mix all in the Composer.
It'd still help so teams aren't completely lopsided. I imagine it wouldn't be enjoyable for lower ranked players to match up against people with 50s in playlists. They'd want to quit then they get the timeout ban. This system/design is kinda broken.
They could do what Halo 3 did when bungie owned it and take your highest skill level in a playlist into account when matching you in a social playlist....although with the composer I don't know if that will just idle you out of searching due to low numbers.
That might work but we're essentially removing the ranked playlists to mix all in the Composer.
It'd still help so teams aren't completely lopsided. I imagine it wouldn't be enjoyable for lower ranked players to match up against people with 50s in playlists. They'd want to quit then they get the timeout ban. This system/design is kinda broken.
Yeah this actually sounds good. Maybe don't enforce the ranks so hard that it causes matching problems. But "soft-match" the players together then organize them into teams by ranked playlist ranks?
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