Halo Infinite ditches XP ranking system for skill ranks and battle pass

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

What you need to know

  • Halo Infinite won't ship with a traditional XP-based ranking system like past Halo games, 343 Industries has confirmed.
  • Halo Infinite progression centers around paid and free battle pass tracks, its new tier-based approach to cosmetic rewards.
  • The game will also have "Ranked" playlists with associated "skill ranks" at launch, coupled with exclusive rewards.
  • The studio hasn't ruled out an XP ranking system for its future post-launch updates, stating the team is "actively exploring" what's ahead for multiplayer.

Halo Infinite won't have a dedicated XP-based multiplayer ranking system at launch, developer 343 Industries has confirmed. The studio has stated that the title won't ship with "an entirely separate, incremental system" for progression akin to recent Halo games, focusing on its new battle pass.

With Halo Infinite slated to debut on Dec. 8, 2021, 343 Industries has provided a deeper insight into launch plans ahead of this weekend's Halo Infinite multiplayer beta. The studio has also addressed questions looming over its progression system, including its challenge-centric approach to battle pass levels. While previously implied, we now have confirmation that the battle pass will be the only form of launch-day XP progression.

Halo Infinite won't ship alongside a traditional XP-based ranking system, as seen in previous Halo titles. Past games dabbled with XP-based progression, with recent entries seeing players climb the ranks by acquiring XP, obtained by completing matches. This system isn't slated to return in Halo Infinite at launch, now focusing solely on its new battle pass and a skill-based tier in Ranked playlists.

"We have heard community feedback around wanting more progression options including things like "match XP" to feed into the Battle Pass and an entirely separate, incremental system along the lines of earning SR152 in Halo 5: Guardians," the studio stated via a Halo Waypoint blog post. "Expanding Multiplayer progression offerings is something the team is actively exploring, and we look forward to continuing to evolve the experience in future seasons post-launch."

Halo Infinite Battle Pass

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Halo Infinite isn't the only Halo title with a battle pass. Updates to Halo: The Master Chief Collection have introduced new content each season, all tied to the tier-based system. However, Infinite will be the first to retire the traditional XP-based global ranking system, still present in its six-piece Halo compilation.

The move signifies a heavy investment in Halo Infinite's battle pass systems, a topic at the forefront of its new multiplayer offerings and present in recent public technical tests. Halo Infinite brings a commendable spin on the model, with progression centered around Challenges rather than per-match XP, and no expiration date on purchased passes. However, even if permanent, unlike limited-time tracks seen in Fortnite or Call of Duty, the decision is likely to be polarizing among returning fans.

Cosmetics are also offered outside the battle pass, available as rewards for limited-time "Fracture" events, seasonal events, and those who maintain a high skill rank. Halo Infinite's campaign will also offer exclusive cosmetics for achieving various milestones.

343 Industries has stressed it's "actively exploring" changes to progression, implying a universal system could be on the cards for a later date. Microsoft has pitched Halo Infinite as a "platform for the future" of its sci-fi shooter series, promising updates for the next decade.

Halo Infinite is set to release Dec. 8, 2021, on Xbox consoles and PC, with preorders now live for its $60 single-player campaign. The title will also join Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription service for all members on launch day.

Update 1:55 p.m. ET Sept. 21, 2021: Updated with additional clarification around methods for cosmetic unlocks.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.