'Halo The Master Chief Collection' Tips: Our Guide To Enjoying The New And Improved Online Matchmaking

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Mar 13, 2015 05:16 PM EDT
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Halo: The Master Chief Collection suffered through a difficult launch, but the matchmaking is finally working much better. Finding games online doesn't take more than a minute or two for most players, and party management is a smoother operation than before.

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Now that the online portion of the game is not an exercise in frustration, owners old and new will hopefully be pouring back into matchmaking. Combined with the recent success of the Halo Championship Series' first season (a very entertaining final was watched by more than 20,000 at once), now is a great time to help make the experience more enjoyable. Here are some tips for online play:

Experiment With Playlists

The current playlist selection in The Master Chief Collection doesn't have everything, but the options are better than they were at launch. If you want to play dedicated Halo 4, jump into that playlist for a few games. If you'd like to get multiple Halo titles to choose from, play Team Slayer. There are objective-centric playlist and super casual options like Big Team, and the experiences in each vary pretty wildly. Try them all out, mix it up, and find what you like.

Competitive Settings Are My Favorite Way To Play Halo, But It's Not For Everyone

The Halo Championship Series playlist uses the settings from ESL's 343-sponsored eSports league in matchmaking to provide the best competitive experience online with Halo 2 Anniversary. Team Hardcore similarly uses competitive settings (BR starts, no radar, less powerups) for games like Halo: CE and Halo 2, giving players options for more serious matches. If you don't follow the competitive scene, though, or are not very skilled at the game, I would genuinely recommend steering clear of these playlists.

You're likely to get destroyed by the enemy team, who sometimes search matchmaking as an organized group, and it's a turn off to get killed over and over. You're welcome to try for a few games, but not knowing and using the callouts with your mic or understanding competitive play and losing handily won't be very fun for you or your teammates. Competitive Halo is easily how I prefer to play, and watching the eSports league is a blast, but it's much harder to jump into than the more casual playlists.

Grab A Mic And Chat, Even With Strangers

Xbox Live, and arguably Halo in particular, have bad reputations in terms of online behavior. While you'll still run into the occasional jerk or immature player, the community has by and large grown up, and there are plenty of pleasant people to play with. Even if you don't stay with one group, fun can be had with casual chatter during the game. I've met a few cool people that I played with again in the future, and it makes matchmaking better if you're playing with a group. The same, of course, applies to playing with friends--you'll be more effective, and have more fun.

Don't Be That Guy

Nobody likes the team killer, or the player who is actively detrimental to the team. Debatably worse are people who join the game and quit or don't move the entire time, ruining the game for everyone else. This is especially frustrating in competitive settings, as unbalanced teams pretty much instantly ruin a match. 343 can't control people quitting out or not moving, so do what you can for the other players. If you don't have time for a game, don't join and quit or stand still the whole time. The game is a lot of fun with everyone playing, and we can help each other enjoy it more with common courtesies like those.

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