This is a reblog from Halo Waypoint: (Before you go any further, be forewarned that there may be minor spoilers below. If you don’t want to know anything of Halo 5, I suggest you skip this article until after the game comes out officially on the 27th.)
BY B IS FOR BRAVO –
Over the past week, you’ve gotten your eyes on the launch trailer for Halo 5: Guardians, learned about playlists and API support, received orders for launch night, and perhaps started to create a digital to-do list with the reveal of upcoming achievements. But, with just 11 days until launch, that’s not all.
Earlier today, Josh Holmes, with the help of the multiplayer team, detailed new info about Halo 5’s Competitive Skill Rating (CSR), Seasons, matchmaking, and the almighty banhammer. Below, we’ll showcase each of the ranking levels within CSR, which has been updated and overhauled since the beta. For the full breakdown and dev commentary, head here.
COMPETITIVE SKILL RATING
If you’re excited about jumping into Arena, you’re likely also looking forward to climbing the ranks and proving your skills against friends and opponents from around the globe. In prior ranking and progression systems, the iconography of the ranks, levels, and variants of each has become engrained into our memories as legendary titles to be earned; status to be achieved. You may remember getting your first (pre-patch!) level 16 in Halo 2, when the icons begin to look significantly different from that of ranks 4-15. Or perhaps you’re instead reminded of the rarity distinctiveness of levels 44-50. Or maybe the look and meaning of Halo 3’s 5-star general icon, which let you know that you were dealing with one serious Spartan. Or the comet and stars of Reach’s Inheritor icon. We remember these images so well – the amazing matches and friends we associate with them, the desire to acquire them when you stumbled upon them in a post-game lobby, and the effort required to earn them and proudly see them next to your gamertag in a pre-game lobby. Today, we’re presenting you with the ranks, tiers, and imagery for Halo 5: Guardians’ Competitive Skill Rating, and hope that the experiences that you associate with these images are added to your memory of amazing Halo moments and gameplay.
Earlier this week, we revealed the achievement list for Halo 5: Guardians, which gave you a new set of tasks to review while we wait for the game’s release. Knowing you, though, you’re looking for even more to do, more to explore, and more to master. You’ve come to the right place. This week, we’re also revealing intel on Halo 5 Commendations. To give you the scoop, here’s Investment Lead Chris Blohm.
CHRIS BLOHM, INVESTMENT LEAD
Commendations, our old friends introduced in Halo: Reach, are returning for Halo 5: Guardians. You’re likely familiar with them – a reward system where various tasks are presented that need to be incremented via gameplay. When building Halo 5’s commendations, we kept the basic structure intact, but we simplified to all commendations having five tiers. One of the reasons you’re probably reading this, besides getting a view at the full launch list, is to learn about what you’ll be rewarded with. We can’t really blame you. Every tier of a commendation rewards XP. Completing tier 3 of a commendation rewards a bonus REQ Pack with boosts and other single-use REQs. The 5th tier of every commendation unlocks a pack containing a specific emblem. This allows a player to flaunt their reward and let everyone know via that emblem and the corresponding back plate that they have put the time in and had the skill required to finish the commendation.Commendations overall are a valuable system for us at 343. First, it allows us a vector to get more rewards and more REQ packs into your hands. It also allows us to enable that player pride moment. We intend to add more commendations in the months ahead and we will watch the current ones close to make sure that they are fun and balanced.Below, you’ll find a look at the commendations list for day 1:
Master All Warzone Commendations
Kill enemy Spartans with a Scorpion
Earn any Assist medal in Warzone
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Carbine
UNSC Power Weapon Mastery
Master all UNSC power weapons
Destroy enemy occupied Mantises
Loadout Assault Rifle
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Assault Rifle
Kill enemy Spartans with a Mantis
Kill enemy Spartans with a Wraith
Phaeton Gunship Gunner
Kill enemy Spartans with a Phaeton Gunship
Kill enemy Spartans with a Ghost
Kill enemy Spartans with a Rockethog
Kill enemy Spartans with a Gausshog
Kill enemy Spartans with a Banshee
Kill enemy Spartans with a Warthog
Splinter Grenade *Hmm, a new grenade???
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Splinter Grenade
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Plasma Caster
Take over 3 bases without dying in any Stronghold gametype in matchmaking
Survive a full match of Breakout
Kill an enemy Spartan with melee
Destroy enemy occupied Scorpions
Marine Replicant Slayer
Kill Enemy Marines
Master all weapon commendations
Master all grenade commendations
Forerunner Power Weapon Mastery
Master all Forerunner power weapons
Covenant Power Weapon Mastery
Master all Covenant power weapons
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Plasma Grenade
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Frag Grenade
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Binary Rifle
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Incineration Cannon
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Scattershot
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Boltshot
Fuel Rod Cannon
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Fuel Rod
Loadout Weapon Mastery
Complete all loadout weapon commendations
Bringing Down the House
Destroy the core of an Enemy Base
Big Game Hunter
Kill an ultra boss or assist on the kill of an ultra boss
Capture a base
Kill a boss or assist on the kill of a boss in Warzone
Complete an exploration quest
Master all Stronghold commendations
Head in the Game
Defend a team base in any Stronghold gametype in matchmaking
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Beam Rifle
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Needler
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Hydra Launcher
Kill an enemy Spartan with an Energy Sword
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Spartan Laser
Kill an enemy Spartan with the Rocket Launcher
Since Halo 2, medals have celebrated our moment-to-moment multiplayer merits. Medals on our screen bring smiles to our faces, and give montages a certain look and feel that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Well, as warm and fuzzy as they can while Spartans are being taken down with face-ripping headshots left, right, and center.
Halo 5 brings with it brand new multiplayer medals – some have brand-new art, while others are brand new to the franchise, and will celebrate epic moments and plays in new ways.
To get the lowdown on these medals, I sat down with MP designer Max Grossman who provided some insight into the different types of hardware you’ll be earning in multiplayer. Luckily, he also bothered the UI team to get a sneak peek at some of the final medal art. Dig in below!
MAX GROSSMAN, MULTIPLAYER DESIGNER
Every Medal in Halo 5 exists for one of three reasons: to reward objective play, to earn REQ points, or to highlight incredible feats. Boss Takedown and Flag capture are great examples of objective based Medals that help reinforce important actions critical to victory. When playing Warzone, every Medal you earn increases your level, allowing you to redeem increasingly powerful REQs. Medals allow us to clearly show players when their actions have a positive effect on their level. Kill type medals are the most common manifestation of this Medal. The final (and most exciting) reason we create a medal is to highlight awesome moments: Bulltrue, Alley-Oop, and Killing Spree, to name a few.
When we look at creating a new Medal, we have to make sure it satisfies a few rules. A Medal needs to be an explicit action that a player can perform; rather than something that can “just happen.” Players should have a clear idea of what it is that they did to earn the Medal. For example, we removed the Reload This Medal because it didn’t satisfy this criterion. Second, a Medal needs to promote good behavior and should never reinforce a negative action. You won’t see the Comeback Kill Medal in Halo 5 because it reminded players that they had died 3 times in a row without getting a kill. When a player is playing poorly, they already know; they don’t need the reminder. Lastly, a Medal has to have a killer name. “Bulltrue.” “Overkill.” “Reversal.” I always like to imagine Jeff Steitzer’s (the infamous multiplayer Announcer) voice in my head whenever trying to come up with Medal names. For as many new Medals that appear in Halo 5, there are just as many that we tinkered with during development that didn’t make the cut.
The visual design of our Medals is something we focused on in Halo 5. Chad Pfarr, our Lead UI Designer, has spent a lot of time refining the visual design of our Medals. We wanted to preserve the classic feel of the legacy medals while giving all of our Medals a fresh new look. Even since the Beta, Chad has redesigned almost all of our Medals. What we have now is a visual language that groups similar medals together, helping to reinforce what caused a player to earn a medal. For instance, each game mode has its own unique visual style to help players identify them. Here are some of the other families of Medals that show up in Halo 5:
- Multi-Kills (Double Kill)
- Killing Sprees (Killing Spree)
- Melee Kills (Assassination, Gunpunch)
- Perfect Kills (Killing an opponent with maximum efficiency)
- Game Mode (different for each mode)
- Vehicle (Hijack, Vehicle Destroyed)
- Long Distance (Rocket Mary)
- Assisted Kills (EMP Assist, Protector)
- Advanced Kills (Quickdraw)
- Enemy State Kills (Bulltrue)
Reversal is one of my personal favorite Medals. To earn a Reversal Medal, you have to single-handedly eliminate an enemy that has reduced you to 75% health before you first damage them. We spent a ton of time tuning this Medal to feel just right: how much damage does a player need to deal before this activates? Can the kill be assisted? Can you earn it while you have Overshield? One question we discussed at length was whether or not we should let power weapon kills count towards earning a Reversal. In the end, we decided that a Reversal is the ultimate out-play: power weapon and vehicle kills won’t trigger it. Whenever you earn a Reversal, you know that you completely wrecked your opponent.
Here’s a look at all multiplayer medals in Halo 5: Guardians:
CAPTURE THE FLAG MEDALS
WARZONE KILL MEDALS
Before we go, here’s a quick preview of some of the final medal art in Halo 5, courtesy of Lead UI Designer Chad Pfarr:
HFFL: I LIKE those medals! The Triple Double one is particularly cool!
HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION
Earlier this week, we released the latest CU for MCC, which included new penalties and temporary bans for quits, betrayals, and idling, and a look at data from this week suggests that wrongdoers have learned of these developments. The CU also included fixes for the “Who Needs Them?” achievement, betrayal booting in Halo: CE, selecting a random matchmaking voting slot upon voting ties (rather than defaulting to the left-most option) and penalizing players who back out once voting begins.
Earlier today, the latest playlist update went live as well, which features Halo: CE 4v4 as a featured playlist, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it fares compared to Infection and other past playlists. And Infection fans, don’t worry, your playlist will return, and potentially a permanent one as previously stated.
Today’s update also made a variety of updates to the Big Team Battle playlist. In case you missed it earlier this month, here’s the full list:
Halo: CE 4v4
- Added new featured playlist
- Adding Tombstone BRs
Big Team Battle:
- Adding Hang ‘em High CTF (Halo: CE)
- Increasing appearance of Halo: CE Blood Gulch CTF (Halo: CE)
- Adding Containment 1-Bomb Assault BR (Halo 2)
- Adding Containment 1-Flag CTF BR (Halo 2)
- Adding District Crazy King BR (Halo 2)
- Adding District 1-Flag CTF BR (Halo 2)
- Slightly increasing appearance of District Team Slayer BR (Halo 2)
- Slightly increasing appearance of Uplift Team Slayer BR (Halo 2)
- Adding Uplift 1-Flag CTF BR (Halo 2)
- Add Uplift 1-Bomb Assault BR (Halo 2)
- Slightly reducing appearance of Stonetown (H2A)
- Slightly reducing appearance of Remnant (H2A)
- Slightly reducing appearance of Bloodline (H2A)
- Removing Ghost Town (Halo 3)
- Adding Last Resort 1-Flag CTF BR (Halo 3)
- Adding Longshore 1-Bomb Assault BR (Halo 3)
- Adding Sandtrap Multi-Bomb Assault BR (Halo 3)
- Adding Standoff Territories BR (Halo 3)
- Add Valhalla Multi-Bomb Assault BR (Halo 3)
- Slightly reducing appearance of Valhalla Crazy King (Halo 3)
- Slightly reducing appearance of Dominion (Halo 4)
- Adding Harvest CTF (Halo 4)
- Add Exile CTF (Halo 4)
PLAY OF THE WEEK
This week’s play comes from a player by the name of Press X to Flip, and depending on their control scheme of choice is for Halo 3, that may be exactly what happened here!
In the below clip, a high-in-the-sky banshee flies down and tries to swoop in for a routine kill on Valhalla, but the end result is…spectacularly unexpected. Check it out below!
NYCC: A COMMUNITY REPORT
While the majority of our team couldn’t be at New York Comic-Con this year, DustStorm from the Podtacular community was able to make it out to the event and put together a community report to send back via telegram. Take it away, Dust.
Community Report from DustStorm:
New York Comic-Con continues to grow, now starting to rival the size of the west coast’s own San Diego Comic-Con. This was my third time attending, and it was the most crowded NYCC I’ve attended yet. There were several vendors showing off new Halo products, including the NYCC exclusive Dark Horse Silver UNSC Pelican, Musterbrand UNSC apparel, Square Enix Halo 5: Guardians Master Chief and Spartan Locke Play Arts Kai figures, and Metal Earth Halo models to name a notable few. For Halo fans, TriForce and Mega Bloks stole the show with the help of local 405th members. The TriForce Plasma Rifle replicas were a huge hit for Spartan cosplay photo opportunities, while the replica Spartan Locke and Kelly helmets along with the Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector’s Edition statues were simply beautiful to see in person. Mega Bloks created an awesome Master Chief helmet mural made completely out of Halo miniature figures and a life-sized Spartan Locke made completely out of bricks, which also provided for some some choice photo ops. While 343 was indeed missed at NYCC, the Halo presence was definitely there thanks to Mega Bloks, TriForce and the 405th Colonial Division.
To all NYCC attendees, we hope you had a great time, and also that we see you again next year. If you’re local to NY, rest assured that there should be some excellent launch festivities waiting for you in the city.
Depending on whether or not you’ve gone dark, well, you may or may not be reading this blog. If you are reading, hopefully you’re aware that this blog is a spoiler-free safe haven. The same, however, cannot be said about this week’s community spotlight, which highlights our friend Greenskull, who got his hands on a press review copy of Halo 5: Guardians, and streamed the first 3 missions of the campaign. If you’re staying away from spoilers, be sure not to check it out, but if you are curious, the link is below. As a fair warning, the top comment is currently “I WANT TO STOP WATCHING BUT I CAN’T.” To ensure that we don’t have any accidental viewings, we aren’t embedding this week’s spotlight, but we’ll instead post the link right here.
For those of you who have been watching early glimpses of the Halo 5: Guardians story, we hope you like what you’ve seen so far, and that you’re excited for the 27th.
We’ll be back next week with new ways to prepare for Day 1.