343 Industries goes into detail about how multiplayer will play out in Halo 5: Guardians, detailing player rankings, Arena mode, and the banning system.
With less than two weeks to go until the launch of Halo 5: Guardians, fans are getting absolutely hyped about what looks to be a very polished multiplayer experience. The studio has now revealed plenty of information about Arena mode for Halo 5, which is set to introduce some fairly autonomous systems to help make online gameplay a smoother experience. Things like Big Team Battle may not be available at launch, but everything else seems to be on-board for launch day.
Halo 5: Guardians is already available to pre-load, and fans who have pre-purchased digitally will be ready to launch into the foray as soon as the spacious title is downloaded and the clock hits midnight in their respective time zones. Today, 343 Industries has revealed plenty of information about how player rankings and automatic bans will play out in the fifth core Halo franchise title, as well as some new adjustments to the Seasons feature.
343 Industries has revealed that Arena will rank players via a system the studio calls ‘Competitive Skill Ranking’, thereafter referred to as CSR. Like most online competitive games, the idea behind CSR is that it will place players of equal skillsets together, allowing for a balanced playing field when using matchmaking. It’s not a novel concept, but it helps keep veteran gamers challenged and keeps new players from getting slaughtered repeatedly.
Arena players joining a new playlist will have 10 matches to prove their mettle before being assigned a CSR, of which there are seven tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Onyx, and Champion. Players can then increase their own rank by participating in team-oriented playlists, and can rest easy knowing that their rank can never diminish be losing those aforementioned Arena matches – though enough losses will put them at the bottom of their current tier. If the CSR doesn’t find a full roster of same-tier players, it will begin “very slowly” expanding its skill level limitations to fill the spots ahead of each match. It’s also worth noting that these player rosters won’t be able to vote for the next map, as maps will now rotate automatically.
Players won’t be able to join a match which is already in progress within the Arena system, as this would impact their win/loss ratio at unfair levels. That said, players in custom games (Forge Mode, anyone?) and warzone will still be able to join matches that are already in progress, as those don’t use the CSR system to rank and pair players.
343 Industries also revealed they’ve developed an autonomous system to catch players with “bad behavior”, so they they can be banned at a faster rate. This includes quitting matches, betrayals, being absent from the controller, intentional suicides, and excessive disconnects. Any players caught repeatedly engaging in this behavior will receive a ban from 343 Industries, the length of which depends on the nature and level of their bad behavior. Those who rage quit in an Arena match will also receive a temporary cooldown period before they can play another Arena match, as well as forfeiting any points they’d earned in the match itself – suffice to say, gamers will only be hurting themselves if succumb to the urge of rage quitting.
The popular Seasons feature within Arena, which allows players to participate in time-based events and challenges, has also received an overhaul:
When Seasons debuts later this year, your CSR in certain playlists will be reset and you will play your placement matches again. You get a fresh start each month to try to prove yourself in select Seasonal Arena playlists. This gives you a chance to top your performance from last season, and see how high of a rank you can achieve. Seasons will last for a month, and anybody who earns a CSR in a Seasonal Playlist will earn cosmetic rewards to commemorate the Season.
It looks like Arena mode will do a fine job in keeping gameplay balanced, and we can only hope the overall multiplayer portion of Halo 5 delivers a smoother launch experience than the Halo Collection ever did. 343 Industries will have hopefully taken the rough launch as a learning experience, as fans won’t be offering many do-overs if massive launch problems happen for a second time.
Halo 5: Guardians will launch exclusively for Xbox One on October 27th, 2015.