In the Halo Bulletin released yesterday Wednesday, Jan. 23rd, 2013, the main focus was on multiplayer and to give players an update on the upcoming weeks matchmaking playlist as well as talk about their intentions for matchmaking after a lot of questions were asked by the community.
First Andy "Bravo" Dudynsky, part of 343i's Matchmaking Systems team, came along to re-iterate some upcoming updates and events that will be happening next week. Starting with re-announcing Griffball playlist coming this Monday in the playlist update, which is an exciting update because Griffball is probably one of the most fun causal playlists and has been for years. Dudynsky mentioned that they are working with GriffballHub to come up with new levels and game types to make it interesting this time around.
Then Kevin Franklin, 343i's Lead Designer, also has some topics he wanted to address in this weeks bulletin. The first item on the agenda was an update on the Competitive Skill Rank (CSR) and the time to expect it. CSR is a rank designed for the players with a more skill oriented mindset, allowing your rank to climb up or down based on your performance in each game type you play. Franklin mentioned that there will be a CSR for each playlist, and your highest overall CSR will display in your service record. The scale will be from 1 - 50 (similar to the "Halo 2"/"Halo 3" ranking system) and everyone will start out at rank 1 when the CSR is launched. There are no details at the moment as to what will attribute to your rank whether it's performance based similar to "Halo Reach", or win based which is similar to "Halo 2"/"Halo 3". The CSR is scheduled to be released in April of 2013 which Franklin said is for "re-configuring some of our most competitive playlists to accommodate the launch of the feature. "
On the topic of updating playlists, Franklin also wanted to address one of the biggest concerns that players had, including me, which is the rotating playlists. Franklin wanted to explain the reason why the rotation playlists exist.
We have been reading your feedback on rotational playlists, and we would like to clarify our approach going forward.
- Several of the modes currently on ‘hiatus’ are getting updates and fixes based on community feedback.
- We are planning to build several multi-mode playlists that include rotated modes, and new modes we have not launched yet. It is important that we build strong playlist compositions in time for the CSR launch.
- We hope to keep Grifball and Doubles in as regular playlists.
This sounds like 343i is testing some of the rotating playlists with the players and then removing them to further work on them. Which isn't a bad thing in the long term, but for now it's not something players want to hear. Keep in mind, even though they did handle some of the maintenance of Halo Reach, this is 343i's first released game and they are learning the best approach for them on how to handle matchmaking.
The communication between 343i and the fans has greatly increased since the new year, which in turn have given fans some insight and understanding as to what 343i is doing to make "Halo 4" better as time goes on. The updates like the Community Forge Test playlist brought a fresh look for the game with new maps created by users. In retrospect, 343i took a big break after the release of the game and seemingly left a skeleton crew to keep the game running since they worked so hard to release the game on time. Now that 2013 is here and 343i is back in full swing, progress is starting to happen, and maybe these types of updates and bulletins are what we should start expecting for the rest of "Halo 4". Ultimately, it will be time that will tell this story.