May 18th, 2007 by Ciarán Leave a reply »


Once I had set my preferences, I jumped into Rumble Pit on Matchmaking, which is the default playlist. For the Beta there are two sets of playlists – Ranked and Social. There are three Ranked playlists – Rumble Pit, Team Slayer, and Team Skirmish – and two Social playlists – Rumble Training and Team Training. While you’re waiting for matchmaking to work there’s a lovely animated background that shows a dark spinning globe with lit areas corresponding to populated parts of the world. It seems to be a static image, but wouldn’t it be cool if it dynamically showed where the possible Halo 3 players were located?

The Matchmaking process appears to go through three stages, starting with an ideal match, then a close match, then any game. The ideal match looks for players with the same level as you for this playlist. The close match search extends this range by a couple of levels, and then by a few more, in an attempt to get players with levels close to yours, but not too different. If this fails – and it often does so far in my experience – the search is widened to match players of any level. Since there were just Friends & Family invitees available for matchmaking that evening, there were some delays in finding suitable games since most of them would have increased in rank over the past week or so, so the process inevitably ended up picking any game available. I’m sure there are other factors such as network performance that are taken into account during Matchmaking, but it’s nice to see that Bungie give you the feedback on how the Matchmaking process is going, and to give you an idea of the likely spread of levels amongst your opponents and team mates.

Another refinement to the Matchmaking process is the information Bungie shows you about the matched players. There are two pieces of information – their level on the current playlist, and their overall rank. The first gives you an idea of how often and how well the player has played this playlist. The second gives you an idea of how good a player they are overall. Your rank builds up over time regardless of which playlist you play in, and apparently will include your experience with the single player Campaign in the shipping version. Your rank is not a number but rather an actual military rank such as Private or Sargeant, presumably rising to Master Chief :) So, these two pieces of information give you a good idea whether you are facing a total n00b or an experienced player who is just starting on this playlist. I think this is a great idea, and may help reduce the incidence of de-ranking so prevalent in Halo 2.


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