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Halo 3 matchmaking, and why GOW's is broken


1UP continues its parade of Halo 3 coverage today with a new interview. The interview centers around the matchmaking system that Bungie is developing for Halo 3. Besides the obvious issue of cheating, Bungie talks about Halo 3's new ranking system. In addition to the traditional skill based ranking system, Bungie is implementing a new experience based ranking system (according to the latest issue of EGM, these will be actual military ranks). The idea is that whether you win or lose, you will gain some experience. This way, when a new playlist pops up and everyone is a level 1, you'll still have an idea of each player's relative skill level -- i.e. the guy with 300 hours of play time will probably beat the guy with 10.

Another new addition is the ability to make your party public. This was implemented primarily to make it easier to find players for custom games. To paraphrase Bungie, if you have 3 members in your party and your game type needs 8 players to be any fun, you'll be able to make the party public so other Live members can see it. In this way, you can advertise any game type that you'd like to play. Bungie is also considering adding a veto feature, so players won't be forced to play stale games by the host. Additionally, there are new stats tracked in the post game screen, including kill-to-death ratios.

Custom games will have loads of new features as well. For example, there is a new player traits system, in which players can customize certain traits. For example, you could create a game type where the team in the lead is reduced to half speed or gets a damage reduction. The number of new game types available is virtually limitless.

Finally, Bungie has revealed that TrueSkill does not prevent developers from allowing friends into ranked matches. This runs counter to Epic's defense of the Gears of War matchmaking system. In Bungie's words:

"The Xbox certification process and True Skill system do not prevent games from having a feature that allows parties of friends to enter into ranked matchmaking as a team -- but they also do not provide that feature as part of the core set of matchmaking services."


In other words, Microsoft doesn't force developers to keep friends out of ranked matches, they just don't give developers a ready-made solution. So, in order to make it happen, developers have to create it themselves -- which Epic might do in the future. At any rate, it sounds like Bungie is ready to spoil us all again when it comes to matchmaking. Now where's that public beta?

[Thanks, SuicideNinja]

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