Halo: Reach – Matchmaking

ArmaitusThe other day I wrote about the latest and last release from Microsoft and Bungie in the Halo franchise, Halo: Reach.

When I wrote that, I had played 50% of the single player Campaign and had spent a couple of hours matchmaking.

Since then I have reached something of an impasse with the Campaign – too many Brutes with Gravity Hammers and not enough Plasma Grenades for my play style.  So to improve my skills to deal with this, I’ve pretty much dedicated my time to matchmaking in the Rumble Pit.

The rumble pit is an open playlist allowing for all kinds of casual online fragging of random strangers.

There are a number of playlists in Reach, divided into Invasion (Team based Spartans vs Elite), Arena (Ranked matches) and Competitive (Non-ranked matches).

Rumble Pit is one of the competitive playlists, encompassing a whole range of lone wolf game types. I’ve already written about the replay value brought about by Halo: Reach’s Commendation and Credits system but neither compare to the variety of play styles that abound in matchmaking.

When entering the matchmaking lobby, you are matched with players who have similar preferences and a similar skill set to yourself. When sufficient players are found you are offered a choice of three game types to vote for, the majority vote wins. If the vote is tied, the first in the list wins.

Screen Shot

Not the face! Not the face!

The game types available in Rumble Pit are:

  • Slayer (Including: Slayer Pro, Slayer DMRs, Classic Slayer, Elite Slayer)
    The Slayer types represent the staple of online death-matching, log in and frag fellow fools until one of you scores 25 kills or the timer runs out.Reach’s basic Slayer comes complete with a selection of loadouts for players to get to grips with, each coming with a different mix of weapons and armour abilities. I tend to favour the stealth loadout with its Active Cammo – weapons are irrelevant as there are plenty to pick up.  Slayer Pro seems to lock down to 2 similar loadouts, my favourite having a Needle Rifle and Plasma Grenades – honestly there is nothing more satisfying than sticking a plasma grenade to somebody’s face as they try to gun you down.

    Slayer DMRs removes the HUD’s motion tracker and equips everybody with DMRs and the Sprint armour ability.

    Classic Slayer is the plain old-school Slayer, with no loadouts.

    My overall favourite from the Slayer category has to be Elite Slayer, everyone plays as Elites with Elite loadouts – and more importantly, Plasma Grenades from the start.

    My Profile Bar

  • Headhunter (Including: Headhunter Pro)
    I’ve only played Headhunter once, it was hectic and doesn’t seem to be voted for much in the lobby.  The idea is that every kill results in a skull being dropped; players collect these skulls (up to 10 at a time I think) and deliver them to a goal area that constantly relocates around the map.  The winner is the first to a set number of skulls – I scored 5.  I think Headhunter Pro is the same but skulls are only dropped from headshots.
  • Oddball
    By far my favourite game type, sadly unpopular in the lobbies of late. The aim of Oddball is to grab the one skull that exists on the map and keep hold of it for a set amount of time. Whilst holding the skull you can’t use your armour abilities or weapons but you can beat people down with melee attacks from the skull.  I can’t express enough how much I love Oddball
  • Infection (Including: Safe Havens)
    What a waste of bytes.  I despise Infection and it’s even lamer clone, Safe Havens. Infection pits three “Zombies” against the rest of the players.  Every player killed spawns as a zombie, thus increasing the number of zombies.   When zombies are killed they just respawn, so I fail to see how the spartans can ever “win”.  Infection is ridiculously popular in lobbies, I’ve seen players quit just because the majority vote has been for Infection; a shame, what’s the point in democracy if we don’t all agree to abide by it… but there you go.I’ve played games where I am the last man standing and I’ve just hidden in a hard to reach place… yawn-tastic.Safe Havens is exactly the same, except it has an area of the map within which non-zombies are safe from harm. This area relocates around the map; all it really does is delay the inevitable zombie victory.
  • Race (Including Rally)
    Another type I’ve not played yet. Nor am I encouraged to. Race does what it says on the tin. All players have a vehicle and race from checkpoint to checkpoint. I think the Rally variant randomly moves the checkpoints, whilst the basic Race is along a linear set of checkpoints.
  • The maps are also wonderfully laid out. I only wish Bungie would implement a means of specifying favourite game types, to weight the matchmaking process towards people with a taste for certain games types.

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    3 thoughts on “Halo: Reach – Matchmaking

    1. I’m really enjoying the matchmaking too, much more so than I expected. The variety is indeed fantastic, and the matching of players of similar skills seems much improved over previous incarnations – which tended to frustrate me.
      The challenge are a great addition and really help to keep me hooked to what’s already a very addictive package.
      My favourite multiplayer mode? Slayer Pro (headshots ftw), although haven’t even played them all yet. I have to admit that I did enjoy the games of Infection I played yesterday as well!

    2. I managed to try Race over the weekend.

      I wasn’t impressed, although I took the lead for half the game.

      I’m just not that handy when it comes to driving games; sticking things with plasma grenades is one thing but driving a mongoose around a map in competition with more competent drivers is quite another.

    3. Pingback: This Blog in 2010 « Armaitus on…

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