Playlist Schedule | Winter Update
Variety is the spice of life—and of Halo matchmaking.
Since launch, the Halo Infinite team has been slowly adding rotational playlists based on community feedback. As playlists come in though, it’s clear that some were popular and should stick around while others didn’t quite resonate with players in the same way. To help make sure we keep a quality experience in each playlist, we’ll be updating our approach to a more rotational strategy.
This new permanent and rotational approach will help keep the offerings fresh week-to-week and should feel similar to the playlist schedule established in Halo: The Master Chief Collection & Halo 5: Guardians.
As we touched on in our August & September Playlist Update blogs, there are some playlists that have performed well and others that didn’t. The ones that have continued to perform well will be sticking around as more established fixtures in our matchmaking offering. The goal is to keep these healthy playlists (ones with good search times, lower latency, and balanced matches) in as permanent offerings, while others rotate through to provide fresh experiences.
Halo Infinite’s playlist offerings will continue to evolve and shift in response to player behavior in-game (where players spend their time) and community feedback. With that in mind, here’s a look at the playlist plan that’ll be landing with the Winter Update on November 8:
- Quick Play
- Big Team Battle
- Ranked Arena
- Tactical Slayer
- Team Slayer
- Rotational Core Slot: A playlist that is typically close to the core Halo gameplay experience, similar to Quick Play (e.g., Team Snipers, Team Doubles, etc.)
- Winter Update’s first core rotational will be Covert One Flag, our new mode, on various maps
- Rotational Social Slot: A playlist that is usually closer to the fun, social, and whacky side of Halo (e.g., Social Slayer, Big Team Social, Rumble Pit, etc.)
- Winter Update’s first social rotational playlist will be Social Slayer, which includes fun-filled modes like Kong Slayer, Purple Reign, and Rock ‘n’ Repulsors
Our goal is to have the rotational core and rotational social slots update every two weeks on alternating weeks, meaning a new experience will roll into matchmaking every week. This is very similar to the setup that Halo 5 used post-launch to rotate through multiple playlists as well. The plan is to hit this increased cadence, but playlist management will need to adapt and remain fluid based on community input and production realities.
Additionally, once a playlist rotates out, we’d like to refresh its contents with different map and mode combinations before it returns. Whether that means new maps or modes (or simply changing the map/mode combos), we want each playlist to have something different about it when it comes back.
- Rotational Ranked Slot: A playlist that fosters a competitive experience (e.g., Ranked Doubles, Ranked FFA, etc.)
- Winter Update’s first Ranked rotational playlist will be Ranked Survivors, consisting of Ranked variants of the Attrition and Elimination modes.
Right now, our plan is for Ranked rotationals to be live for two weeks before the slot shifts to another Ranked offering. The two-week cadence was chosen based on data from Ranked FFA and Ranked Doubles’ performance, which both saw their engagement decline after their first two weeks. Ranks will not reset when a playlist rotates out, so you’ll be able to continue your progress the next time it comes back. Since we’ll keep a predictable cadence, there will be multiple opportunities to jump into your favorite Ranked experiences.
- Event Playlist Slot: A slot that will be used when Events roll into the game (e.g., Cyber Showdown, The Yappening, etc.)
Now, let’s ask (and answer) the most important question about—how does this come together and what does it look like to me as a player?
Below is an example of what it could look like as a calendar view. The playlists that rotate in and out are always subject to change based on the live nature of the game, but this should provide a good idea of how the rotational schedule will function.
Here’s what it could look like when the Winter Update kicks off!
Please note: These dates and playlists are subject to change.
Thanks for your continued input on Halo Infinite’s playlists and offerings. We’re doing our best to make sure we ensure a quality matchmaking experience while the team continues to work on an improved method that provides players with even more autonomy over what they want to play. Additionally, when the Custom Game Browser lands in Season 3, it should be even easier to find or create the exact experience you want to play.
Thank you again, and we’ll see you on the battlefield!