In less than two weeks Halo fans will be able to test their mettle once again in the online battlefields of Halos 1-4 as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Each title within the Collection will be represented as it was originally, meaning those who still got it will likely be able to dominate online opponents.
To that point, Microsoft and 343 Industries have further detailed the ranking system in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and as it turns out very little has changed. The system from Halo 2 will be copied whole cloth into MCC and will influence players' opponents from match to match.
For those who might remember, Halo 2 used a system that increased, or decreased, a player's XP based on whether they won or loss. Then, those players with higher XP were matched up with each other, while those with lower values populated their own matches. It was a relatively simple system, but one that, by my recollections, was surprisingly effective in keeping matches even.
"Each playlist within Halo: The Master Chief Collection uses an independent skill-based ranking system that is identical to the leveling system from the original Halo 2. The system uses the same exact XP requirements as the original Halo 2; players will earn XP when they win and lose XP when they lose, and total XP will determine their rank. You will have a skill-based ranking per each playlist; we ultimately decided not to have a 'master' ranking across all four games combined, given that player skill and approach varies radically between game chapters.
Most importantly, though, the skill-based ranking for The Master Chief Collection will be unique to each Halo title, meaning a player's ranking in Halo 2 will be different from their ranking in Halo 4. That's an important distinction because while most Halo games have similar DNA, many of them have significant changes. Halo 4, for example, is a completely different online experience with its Armor Abilities.
The Master Chief Collection also offers the Halo series' fastest matchmaking yet within ranked games. After each match, a player's XP will go up and down and that will influence their opponents and teammates in the next match almost instantaneously.
"Additionally, we’ve also modified matchmaking to use skill detection, which will put players into the fairest matches faster than any Halo game to date."
The good news for more casual Halo fans is that The Master Chief Collection will not be focused exclusively on ranked play; there will be casual matches for players to enjoy without concerns for going up or down in their skill. Halo has always been, at its core, an inclusive multiplayer experience, so giving players multiple options is key.
To that end, The Master Chief Collection is shaping up to be a real treat for Halo fans across the board. There's Halo 2 Anniversary for the single player fans, revamped Halo 2 multiplayer maps for the online fans, and tons more Halo in between.
What do you think of 343's approach to skill ranking in the Master Chief Collection? How do you think your skills will stack up against Halo fans?
Halo: The Master Chief Collection releases November 11, 2014 for Xbox One.