Preview of March Update Rankings

Preview of March Update Rankings

Next week, the March Update for Halo Infinite will drop with a suite of weapon balance adjustments. These tuning updates should address community feedback about the core gameplay experience while also bringing noticeable improvements to the competitive settings used in Ranked.

We’ve also got an exciting new feature we’re testing out for the highest level of players in Ranked – don’t miss that at the bottom of the article.

To see everything releasing in this update be sure to check out the full breakdown here – for now, let’s jump right into the juicy details.

Bandit EVO and M392 Bandit

We have been very pleased with the response and performance of the Bandit EVO since launch with Season 5 but there were a few initial changes we wanted to make based on early feedback and things that we observed internally. We have been gathering more feedback and will continue to monitor feedback and performance after this weekend’s kickoff event on LAN to see where else the Bandit EVO needs some fine tuning. Note that we’ve made the same changes across the Bandit EVO and M392 Bandit as we believed these changes were core to the Bandit itself and not one particular variant, as well as wanting to maintain some level of consistency between the variants.

  • This change was to address feedback that the reload speed was feeling slow and clunky.

Spawn influencer weapon cone change.

  • Since the Bandit EVO launched there has been feedback that the spawn logic has changed in Ranked Arena. Players are reporting that at times they would more frequently spawn into advantageous or disadvantageous locations. The intent of this change is to align the spawn behavior more closely with that of when the Battle Rifle was the starting weapon for Ranked Arena, which follows more consistent logic in connection with how players influence spawn locations.

Lowered Bandit Player Fire Volume.

  • There has been feedback that the Bandit EVO’s First Person firing audio is over tuned and players are unable to hear surrounding environmental and player audio when firing the Bandit EVO. We’ve adjusted the fire volume to give players more opportunity to hear other game sounds.

Heatwave

As players have increased their proficiency with Halo Infinite since launch, the Heatwave was one of the weapons that we’ve seen players continue to maximize impact particularly in mid-long range scenarios where precise timing and aim is achievable in the highest level of play. We’ve heard feedback that it’s still a little too performant, so we’ve made a minor tweak that we believe will only impact play at the highest level while retaining same experience that every player loves about the weapon.

Decreased Auto Aim angle.

  • Aim assist angle decreased from 5 >> 4.

Decreased Auto Aim range & falloff range.

  • Aim assist range decreased from 12 >> 11.
  • Aim assist falloff range decreased from 7.5 >> 6.5.

Plasma Pistol

The Plasma Pistol plays a critical role in not only the Ranked but also the social experience. Our most recent change was designed to increase intentionality and even planning required to use the Plasma Pistol. That was indeed what we saw initially but as time went on players began using the gun mostly for its single shot use. With the upcoming changes, our intention is to bring more balance between the two functions and increase utility of the charged shot while still maintaining usage of the single shot.

Decreased Rate of Fire for single shot plasma pistol.

  • Rate of fire for single shot trigger decreased from 10 >> 6.75 rounds per second.
  • Overheated threshold decreased from 1 >> 0.8.
  • The amount of time for trigger to fully charge decreased from 1.6 >> 1.2 seconds.

Stalker Rifle

In the hands of the highest skilled players, the Stalker Rifle is a close range and long range powerhouse with no real counters on the map. Much like the Heatwave, feedback was consistent it was just a little too easy to find maximum effectiveness with the gun at the highest levels – and at the same time we wanted to have little to no impact to the rest of the players in the game.

Decrease the number of shots to overheat.

Slower venting rate per second.

  • This change will still allow players to achieve multiple kills in succession, but there will be less room for error and a bit more time spent venting.

VK78 Commando

With the Bandit EVO now as the starting weapon, we’ve seen and heard that the Commando has been struggling to find its place and reliable role on the map. To address this and make the Commando a more viable pick up on the map, we’ve made some small tweaks to reset the weapon’s bloom faster to simplify the weapon handling.

  • The goal of this change was to give the Commando Rifle better handling and more consistent damage output to hold its ground against the Bandit EVO and Battle Rifle.

As always we will continue to monitor feedback and performance for Ranked with a close eye on the first HCS event this weekend to determine what future balance updates are needed.

EXPERIMENT: DETERMINISTIC CSR PAYOUTS

For players at the very highest level of Ranked Arena (1800+), we’ve heard feedback and observed ourselves that the experience is becoming one where the grind has felt unrewarding. Players are reporting winning the majority of their games in a day but still going down in CSR overall – that’s making Ranked for them feel more like a chore than anything else. To address this feedback we’re experimenting with a feature called Deterministic CSR Payouts.

Today, for all players, how many CSR points you win or lose is based on a number of factors including of course whether you won or lost, how you performed, and where you stack up against the rest of the ranked population including your opponents in that match.

With Deterministic CSR Payouts, the only thing that matters will be whether your team won or lost. Starting on March 19 in any Ranked playlist, as an experiment, for all 1800 CSR and above, you will receive 7 CSR for a match win, and will lose 7 CSR for a match loss.

Why is this an experiment?  This is an experiment because we feel there might be some unintended consequences as part of this and we not only want to monitor CSR distribution at this level but also what player feedback will be.

What are the risks? The biggest risk is CSR inflation and what that does the overall perception of matchmaking at this level. What we anticipate seeing is players reaching new CSR level that haven’t been achieved in the game before – potentially well into the 3,000s. Now, if you’re those players achieving that – it’s going to be a pretty cool feeling. But what does that mean for matchmaking and how players perceive it? Today we effectively “clamp” players CSR down lower at the highest level so they can still find matches and sometimes particularly during off hours you might see 1700s matching at 2200s because of this. With this addition, you might see 1700s matching against those same 2200 but because of Deterministic CSR Payouts that 2200 player could be at 3000 CSR. We believe players will report much of the same feedback when we were matching on MMR instead of CSR before we made the change in Winter of 2023. Players might think that matchmaking is broken when in actuality a match like that is just the result of intertwining systems and certain circumstances like population at the time, where we’re at in the season, etc.

Once this feature releases we will be keeping a close eye on the CSR distribution and player experiences/feedback to determine if future tweaks are needed or if we need to remove the feature entirely.

We look forward to trying this out in Ranked next week. As you put the reps in during this experiment, please be sure to share your feedback with us!

Best of luck to all teams competing at the HCS Major Arlington hosted by OpTic Gaming. If you’re at the event, you’ll have the change to be the first to play with the upcoming balance updates and for those watching at home we’ll be showing you all what it looks like so you know what to expect – don’t miss out on that later tonight on Twitch.tv/Halo and YouTube.com/@HCS.

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