'Halo 5: Guardians' Multiplayer: What to Expect
As the Halo 5: Guardians Oct. 27 launch day approaches, there are a few things you should know before diving into the sci-fi shooter.
In a recent blog post, developer 343 Industries detailed how multiplayer rankings work, and what behaviour it will crack down on in the new Arena experience.
But before you jump in, be aware that you'll be taking up serious space on your Xbox One. The game will come with a Day One update that delivers certain patches and features necessary for gameplay. But that Day One update will be 9GB in size, and in total, the game will take up a whopping 55GB of hard drive space.
There is one saving grace, however: anyone who buys the digital version will be able to pre-load their copy and install the Day One update prior to its launch. Those who buy the disc-based version will need to sit through the 9GB install until they can get to shooting.
Once you're up and running, the Competitive Skill Ranking (CSR) system promises high-quality matches between players of equal skill. "Halo 5 is designed to have a high skill ceiling, and we know how frustrating it can be to play with or against players who aren't at your skill level," the blog said. "We prioritize match quality above all else when finding matches in Arena."
That means finding other users at the same, or very nearly the same, CSR. Just remember: You Must first complete 10 games to be placed into one of the seven ranks—Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Onyx, Champion. To increase your rank, you must win.
"Whether you drop 30 kills in a game of Slayer or single-handedly capture every flag in a CTF match, wins are the only way to improve your CSR," 343 Industries wrote.
On the other hand, losing games will decrease progress within a rank, but failure will not cause you to drop an entire rank. "Your skill, teamwork, and decision-making during the entirety of each match will decide whether you win or lose," the company said.
The two highest rankings are Onyx and Champion, and you won't actually see your raw CSR score until you reach Onyx. At that point, "winning no longer increases your tier—it instead increases your CSR score."
The new competitive Seasons feature, meanwhile, gives players a fresh start each month in select playlists. "When Seasons debut later this year, your CSR in certain playlists will be reset and you will play your placement matches again," 343 said. "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."
Perhaps most notable, though, are the consequences for deserters. Since joining a game in progress is disabled in Arena matchmaking, quitting mid-match ruins not only the other players' digital adventure, but your own Halo experience. "Leaving your teammates high and dry is not cool," 343 wrote.
So, ditch a game and you'll automatically suffer a loss and forfeit any REQ points or XP. You'll also receive a temporary cooldown penalty (a brief ban), preventing you from matchmaking in Arena.
Halo 5: Guardians is also engineered to detect and track other behaviours, like betrayals or team killing, idling, intentional suicides, and excessive disconnects—all of which will result in a matchmaking ban, the duration of which is dependent on the offense. More infractions means more time out.