NEWS - Thursday, March 6, 2008

Halo 3: March Playlist Update

The March playlist update to Halo 3 features a number of tweaks to the matchmaking experience (more on those later) and the introduction of DoubleXP Weekend playlists as well as some tweaks to the DLC playlists.

We’re introducing two Weekend Hoppers DoubleXP playlists this month, with the first hopper launching Thursday, March 6 at NOON.

    * Grifball, the game created by Burnie Burns of Red vs. Blue will be an unranked, weekend-long social playlist awarding DoubleXP to winning teams. We’ve slightly adjusted some of the rules for Grifball (unlimited round times make for unlimited griefing potential), but kept the game’s core intact. You’ll be able to go in with party configurations ranging from one to eight people. This playlist will be available from Thursday, March 6 at NOON until March 10 at NOON(all times Pacific Standard). I apparently forgot to mention that the Grifball hopper is being treated like a Tournament hopper -- a hopper where there will be prizes. Tournament prizes.

    * Beginning March 20 at NOON will be the return of Team SWAT in the Social, DoubleXP variety. Team SWAT is an old Halo 2 gametype where players have no shields, increased body health and do not have the luxury of radar. This eight-player maximum hopper will be completely Team Slayer focused with the SWAT ruleset. This weekend playlist will be available from March 20 at NOON until March 23 at NOON(all times Pacific).

The Heroic DLC hopper has underwent some revisions as well. The hopper has been split into DLC Slayer (4v4) and DLC Objective (6v6) featuring a mix of various gametypes on the DLC maps. Slayer variants include Team Snipers, Team Rockets, Team BRs, Team Duel and Team Duals. Objective variants include Multi Flag CTF, Multi Flag BR, One Flag, Assault, Neutral Bomb Assault and Team King.

A number of other changes to maps and Matchmaking were included in today’s rollout:

    * Fixed map exploit on The Pit
    * Fixed map exploit on Construct
    * Fixed map exploit on Epitaph
    * Reduced Ranked Big Team Battle "Large party" size to six players and increased Big Team threshold to two*
    * Fixed Spartan Laser occasionally falling through map on Sandtrap
    * Fixes to matchmaking to allow more even leveling for players
    * Disabled Mixed Skill restrictions for RBTB and Team Slayer**

These changes are all live, now.

As always if you see map issues, please report them in relevant and pertinent forums with a link to a video in your File Share. We may not be responding to everything, but we absolutely are reading the forums.

*The reduction in "Large Party" size for Ranked Big Team battle does not affect the total amount of players in a given game, but rather is a change to the system and what it "considers" a big party. A few weeks ago we changed that number to seven and found that it did not decrease matching times significantly, and so we’re adjusting that number. Ultimately, we want to have Ranked Big Team evolve into a playlist where you go as a large team to fight other large teams -- now we’ve changed the system so that Large Teams are considered parties of six or more instead of seven or more.

We’ve adjusted the threshold to allow teams of six to now match with teams of six, seven, and eight players, where before, an eight-player team would only match against a team of seven or eight, now an eight player will match against a six, seven or eight player team. We’re still keeping some restriction because we don’t want the Ranked Experience to be a bunch of "organized teams" steamrolling a collection of solo players. We hope that these two changes (along with the below change) will improve the Ranked Big Team matching experience. We’ll be monitoring this closely, going forward.

**Parties are considered "Mixed Skill" when there is a spread between the highest skill and lowest skill is greater than 10 levels. In matchmaking, when your party has mixed skill the system tries to match you up with similarly mixed skill parties. Now, in Ranked Big Team and Team Slayer when your party is "Mixed" you will be able to match against parties that do not have "mixed skills" associated with them.


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