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Halo Infinite fans discover a severe issue with ranked matchmaking

Halo Infinite Multiplayer
Halo Infinite Multiplayer (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Halo fans have discovered that your performance in Halo Infinite's Social playlists affects your Ranked experience.
  • This is due to how Halo Infinite uses your Match Making Rating (MMR) across both Social and Ranked.
  • Performing poorly in Social will make Ranked matches easier, while doing well will make them harder.
  • This can be abused by players to make it easier to do well in Ranked, and it's also punishing players that play Social modes to warm up before competitive play.

Halo players have discovered a severe issue with the Halo Infinite matchmaking system: your performance in Social playlists (such as Fiesta or Big Team Battle) has a direct impact on the players the game will match you with in competitive Ranked Arena matches. Playing poorly in Social will result in the Ranked matchmaking system matching you with low-skill players, while getting lots of kills and assists in Social will cause the Ranked matchmaker to pit you against high-skill players.

The issue is directly related to your hidden Match Making Rating (MMR), which is what Halo Infinite uses to attempt to match you with players of a similar skill level. In most games, your MMR in non-competitive modes and your MMR in ranked modes is kept separate. In Halo Infinite, though, your MMR is influenced by your performance in both Social and Ranked playlists.

Source: Xbox Game Studios (Image credit: Source: Xbox Game Studios)

Since Social performance affects Ranked matchmaking, players can abuse this by intentionally playing poorly in Social modes. This causes an artificial loss of MMR, which then causes the Ranked matchmaker to erroneously place them against players that are less skilled. They can then beat these players easily, gaining large amounts of Competitive Skill Rank (CSR) points. Once their MMR goes back up, they can simply go back into Social and "sandbag" more matches to lower it again.

Conversely, this issue also ruins the Ranked experience for players that like to warm up by playing Social modes. If an average player goes into Big Team Battle for a few matches and performs well before entering Ranked matchmaking, they'll be matched against very skilled players. This effect even occurs with matches against AI bots — in fact, someone was matched with Onyx players in Ranked after only playing against bots.

This is a massive issue, and hopefully 343 Industries addresses it soon. In the meantime, though, avoid playing Social matches if you want your Ranked matchmaking experience to be as balanced as possible.

Halo Infinite's multiplayer is free to play and is available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows PCs. It's a ton of fun, and paired with the Halo Infinite campaign, it's easily one of the best Xbox games available right now.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

2 Comments
  • I already suspected this when I was playing against Snip3down, Luciid and a few other pros consistently (3 or 4 games each) when I was diamond 1 and 2. I was convinced that my btb and social k/d had something to do with it, as my btb was 3.0 and my quick play was 2.0 over several hundred games, but then my ranked was barely scraping 1.0 even in some placements. Made the onyx grind hellish I can tell you that. I never lost csr for losing though so my hidden mmr was probably helping me on that side of things since it thought I should be better than I was doing. Overall, the system is fairly dumb.
  • Is not actually hidden (in halotracker dot com), but is sad that we sometimes try to fight without team (other guys) and u has one-hand guys in u team vs pro-team. The ranked is a **** even by the servers and lagg connections