Halo: Reach matchmaking details emerge

It’s Halo: Reach news. I mean… that already is pretty exciting, right? The beta’s coming this May and now we have some idea of the newness in the lobby and matchmaking system! Hooray!

In short: a whole lot is new. There’s the whole thing where developers talk about how they listened to gripes and addressed them, and then there’s the whole thing where developers listen to gripes and address them. A whole mess of stuff is updated. Just to quote a few of the many…

Active Roster – This is a throwback to Halo 2. When you boot up Reach, right at the main menu or lobby, you’ll see a list of what your Xbox Live friends are doing within Reach. You’ll get detailed information about any friends playing Reach including who they are partied with, what game they are in (plus score and remaining time), and more. Basically, Bungie wants to make it so that you do not have to utilize the Xbox Live Guide to find out what your buddies are doing in Reach.

Queue-Joining – In Halo 3, it was difficult to join friends that were already playing in a match. You had to wait until they were finished. If you started a game while you waited, they would then have to wait for you. Instead of going back and forth, Reach will support queue-joining. Simply put, Reach will automatically join up as soon as your friends are joinable.

Matchmaking Connection Options – The options for finding games in matchmaking will be more open to the player, if they so choose. If you only ever want to play in games with a good connection, that can be set in the options. If you only ever want to play against players of a similar skill, that can be set. The same goes for finding players that speak to same language.

Arena Playlists – Possibly the largest change coming in Halo: Reach is the Arena. This is a Slayer and Team Slayer set of playlists entirely geared toward the hardcore. If that wasn’t enough, players will be rated and placed into skill divisions in month-long seasons.

The rating system is smart enough to realize that kills aren’t the only determining factor behind skill. This is especially true for team games where assists play a huge roll. Similarly, players that have a greater kill/death ratio (had more kills than deaths) will rank higher than players that die as much as they kill.

There’s quite a few more on the link, such as being able to set priority criteria for the kinds of games players want to get into, from connection quality to game type to a whole slew more.

It’s exciting to see the level of control, but there’s also the lazy bum part of me that is ok with a handful of options to pick from, and then to hop in and go. But it seems like that’s doable too, so I can’t complain too much. No… can’t complain at all, actually.

In case you didn’t know, the game’s coming later this year, the beta’s in May, and Microsoft’s hyping the hell out of it. Basically, if it doesn’t find you your soul mate, you can only be disappointed.