At 12AM, this morning, 343 Industries debuted their highly anticipated Halo: The Master Chief Collection to the public. Many Xbox One gamers were dedicated enough to stay up for its midnight release as Halo 2 was arguably the greatest multiplayer experience for any console title. Much of the demand for this Halo remake was riding on the ability to relive the matchmaking and ranking system that Halo 2 brought forth to the gaming community exactly ten years ago.
To much dismay, the launch was far from smooth. Poor opening day performance has become all too familiar in the online gaming world with GTA V and Destiny also experiencing severe bottlenecks for their multiplayer within the first 24 hours of release.
I logged on at exactly midnight hoping to get in a few hours of play before I went to sleep. Soon enough, I found myself stuck in the process of entering and exiting different playlists for 37 minutes before I was able to find my first game. In the hour and a half that I was logged on, I was only able to find a total of four games. Far from acceptable considering the games average only around 6-12 minutes each.
We're aware that some users are experiencing longer than normal Matchmaking search times. We are actively working on a fix for this issue.
— Halo (@Halo) November 11, 2014
If after a few minutes you're unable to find a match, exit Matchmaking and then begin searching again.
— Halo (@Halo) November 11, 2014
The problems did not stop at connection issues. I also experienced several bugs including a team slayer game that is traditionally 4v4 yet somehow let in 10 players and resulted in a 5v5. Notice the 10/8 players in the photo below:
Like many gamers, all I cared about in this release was the return of Halo 2's playlists and stellar ranking system. 343 made it seem like it would be exactly like the original with better graphics. While this feels like the case from the in-game experience, I am not impressed with the playlist variety.
Want to play team slayer on Halo 2 only? You can't. The team slayer playlist is grouped with Halo 1, 2, and 3 variants so one game you could be playing Halo 2 and the next Halo 3, all while remaining in the same playlist. Unfortunately, this is the same for team swat, team hardcore, and big team battle. Get the full scoop on the playlist details via 343's blog.
At launch, there is only a single ranked playlist. I am not sure how 343 let this slide as the ranking system is the sole reason 90% of gamers will buy this title. They are saying ranking will come to more playlists in the next few weeks, but that may not be soon enough for some especially with tough competition from Advanced Warfare.
Leaving a critical matchmaking element like this out of the launch seems like a poor decision on 343's end and I am interested to see how it will play out for the future of the title.
That is all for now, I'll be writing up a full review of the title in the near future so stay tuned!
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.