Halo Wars 2 Xbox One beta switches from Domination to Deathmatch modes June 17

The current open beta for Microsoft's upcoming RTS game Halo Wars 2 on the Xbox One will end its Domination mode today and switch to the Deathmatch mode on Friday, June 17 until the end of the beta test on June 20.

While Domination mode is centered on the winning team gaining control of the map, Microsoft says Deathmatch mode is a simple "kill or be killed" scenario:

Deathmatch will task players with building their base and army, but instead of fighting for map control they'll fight until only one player remains standing. Outthink, outflank, and outlast your opponents.

Everyone who plays in the open beta for Halo Wars 2 will get a black Beta t-shirt for their Xbox Live Avatar, and some players will get some extra avatar props:

Now at the end of the Halo Wars 2 Multiplayer Beta's run, the grizzled gamer with the most wins in the world will receive a one-of-a-kind Beta Champion t-shirt for your Xbox Live Avatar. Made up of only the finest Egyptian cotton pixels, this item will be given out only once – and only to the king of the leaderboard hill. Yes, we know it's a digital item, stop asking so many questions!"But wait!" you ask. "What if I'm really good, but still can't quite crack the top of the charts?" You are in luck! At the end of the Beta, the top 10% of all UNSC-loyal players will receive an awesome UNSC Jackrabbit prop for your Xbox Live Avatar – the perfect joyride to pass your Avatar's time while waiting for the retail release of Halo Wars 2."But wait again!" you ask. "What if I'm also better than 90% of the world, but I hate humans and the vehicles they drive?" Well fortunately, we've thought of that too. For the top 10% of all players loyal to the iron fist of Atriox, they will receive a Banished Brute Chopper prop for your Xbox Live Avatar – guaranteed to make you king of the Avatar road.

In a separate post, Dan Ayoub, the studio head at Microsoft's 343 Industries, stated:

As you might expect with a true Beta, fans are experiencing some known technical hiccups and glitches, as well as work in progress performance optimization, UI functionality, game type accessibility, and unit balance. We'll continue to keep a close eye on your feedback and communicate with the community as often as possible in order to achieve the end result I know we all desire.As we approach the halfway mark in the Halo Wars 2 Multiplayer Beta, I hope that you all will take time to dive into the next mode we're flipping the switch on – Deathmatch – and provide us with the same informed and passionate feedback that you've already been delivering.

Microsoft plans to run another beta test for Halo Wars 2 at some point that will include Windows 10 gamers as well. The final version of the game is set for release on Feb. 21, 2017

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John Callaham