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Halo Infinite December 14 patch notes: Team Slayer & SWAT playlists, challenge overhaul, more

Halo Infinite got a new update on December 14, and here are the patch notes detailing the full list of new changes.

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Halo Infinite received a new update on December 14, and we have the update patch detailing all the changes, including new playlists for SWAT and Team Slayer along with a challenge overhaul.

The Halo Infinite multiplayer beta gave players a feel for how the game performs, and 343 Industries listened to their feedback. Now that the game is available, the devs have begun fixing some of its issues.

A new update arrived on December 14 that brought several changes to the game. We have the full patch notes detailing everything included, such as new playlists for SWAT and Team Slayer along with changes to challenges.

Halo Infinite December 14 playlist update

halo infinite spartan

Halo Infinite players have been calling for the developers to give them more variety in playlists. Now, 343 Industries have listened to this feedback and added four new matchmaking options for fans.

Here are all the new game types:

  • Team Slayer
  • Free-for-All
  • Tactical Slayer (“SWAT”)
  • Fiesta

Fans have been asking for these game types since the Multiplayer preview. 343 Industries have promised some more game modes and better matchmaking experiences in future updates.

Halo Infinite December 14 challenges overhaul

Master Chief in Halo Infinite

One of the biggest complaints among Halo Infinite players was with the game’s challenges. The December 14 update has changed the requirements for players in order to complete these challenges.

These changes are a direct response to a frustrating problem where players were unable to complete certain challenges because the random matchmaking put them in the wrong game modes.

Halo Infinite December 14 Ranked updates

Halo Infinite Spartans firing weapons

The December 14 update also changed how Ranked matchmaking system finds players for lobbies by prioritizing “close individual skill matches.” The developers will be looking into more Ranked Playlists as well.

Casual lobbies like Big Team Battle received a major change. Now, their matchmaking will look for players with low latency. There are also plenty of other changes in the full update patch notes.

Halo Infinite December 14 update patch notes

White Spartan running in Halo Infinite

Matchmaking playlist updates

At launch, we took a measured approach to include a baseline set of playlists in a simple and straightforward way. Thankfully, our beta period went very well, and we heard your feedback around wanting more variety and more control over the modes you play. And, following Halo Infinite’s first official event, Fracture: Tenrai, we heard your feedback around wanting Fiesta to persist as a regular offering rather than be limited to just the active event period.

We also heard a lot of feedback around a desire for a pure Slayer playlist – something that was always coming but was originally a bit further out as more time was needed to test and finalize new game mode variants. Slayer fans should expect this playlist to expand with new experiences in the months to come.

As a result of this feedback, we’re excited to bring four new social matchmaking playlists to Halo Infinite today:

  • Team Slayer
  • Free-for-All
  • Tactical Slayer (“SWAT”)
  • Fiesta

Today’s playlist update is just a first step – we know players want even more agency and more variety – and the team continues to work on longer term plans for rotational and core playlists, game modes, and improved matchmaking experiences.

Ranked and BTB Matchmaking updates

Since the beta launch, the team has been monitoring matchmaking data and keeping a close eye on the overall system to ensure it’s working as expected. Additionally, we’ve heard feedback from players who are concerned with how the rankings are working and/or express frustration with their ranked experience. Work will continue in this space but we’re making some targeted changes in the short term:

  • We adjusted the ranked matchmaking rules to increase the priority of close individual skill matches, particularly for players at the higher skill levels. We’re taking this in stages – the first priority increase took place on Dec 11th, and the second took place today.
  • We adjusted the BTB matchmaking rules to prioritize making matches with lower latency. This will mainly help players in lower population regions avoid high latency matches.
  • We’re doubling the overall matchmaking timeout from 5 minutes to 10 minutes, to better accommodate very high skilled players finding suitable matches, particularly when in full fire teams or searching from low population regions.

We will continue to monitor ranked and overall matchmaking closely and will share more details on the system and future plans as we can.

As of this news post, the team is aware of and actively working to address Big Team Battle intermittent matchmaking issues that have been reported over the past few days. We appreciate your patience and support as we continue investigating and working on solutions. Please be sure to follow @HaloSupport on Twitter for the latest updates.

Lastly, we understand some players are also eager for more Ranked Playlists beyond the game’s current offering. Please be note that we have more technical complexities to navigate with Ranked Playlists than Social, so any future ranked updates are going to take more time.

Rank Distribution

We received a ton of feedback, especially early in the beta, about CSR progression. We’re planning a separate post that will dig deeper into some of the issues people are seeing, but wanted to briefly address two areas of feedback here: rank inflation and overall rank distribution. 

One of our goals in the design of the CSR system is that the median CSR should be around Platinum 1. You may notice that the Open Queue playlist is quite close to our goal, but the Solo/Duo playlists are skewed towards Diamond/Onyx. You may also notice two other things that are present in all three playlists:

  • A decent sized “spike” at Diamond 1. This exists because Diamond 1 is the highest rank we’ll grant to a player immediately after completing their 10 qualifying matches. So the “extra” players in Diamond 1 are players who would add to the high Diamond and Onyx columns if they continued to play more ranked and work their way up through the higher levels of the CSR system. (But for now they have taken a break to do more social matchmaking, or campaign.)
  • A smaller spike at Onyx 1500. This is a result of aspects of the CSR algorithm that make CSR progression slightly harder once a player reaches Onyx.

We are working on adjustments to the CSR algorithm to shift the distribution to be more in line with our goals and your expectations, especially for the Solo/Duo playlists. However, as we do that, we have to be careful not to make changes that will have a negative effect on players who have already achieved these higher-than-expected CSRs, so it may take some time.

Challenges update

Today marks the third overall update to Challenges and Progression since Halo Infinite’s beta launch on November 15. In each case, Challenges have been iterated and tuned, removing outliers and adjusting troublesome entries, while also helping to speed up overall Battle Pass progression. So far, we’re happy with the results of these changes, but we know there are plenty of opportunities to continue evolving and improving.

There’s a lot of work to do here to truly address player feedback around these systems – and broader changes are going to take time (i.e. performance based XP, per-match XP, additional progression vectors, etc..)– but in the interim, the team will continue targeting meaningful services-side updates to hone and improve the overall experience.

Today’s update aims to further alleviate frustrating challenges, adds brand new challenges to take advantage of the new playlists, and reduces the requirements for the weekly Ultimate Challenge. And, while it won’t come into play quite yet, changes have also been made for Event Challenges to help address some initial player feedback.

Challenge Pruning

Overall, a number of mode and activity-specific challenges have been removed entirely, had their requirements lowered, and/or had their weight reduced across the challenge pool. Additionally, the overall weighting of ‘General’ challenges has been increased.

We understand the inability to pick a specific mode to coincide with a specific challenge can be frustrating and today’s changes should help reduce some of that friction in the near term as longer-term work continues.

New Challenges

Today’s playlist additions will also usher in new playlist-specific challenges. You can expect to find specific playlist versions of each of the following new challenge types:

  • Personal Score – Accumulate personal score in the specified playlist to complete
  • Kills – Earn the required # of kills in a specific playlist
  • Double Kills – Earn double kills in a specific playlist
  • Complete Games – Play and complete games in a specific playlist
  • Win – Win games in a specific playlist

The specific requirements and corresponding XP will vary depending on the rarity type of the challenge (i.e. “Normal”, “Heroic”, “Legendary”).

Event Challenges

Player’s gave feedback that it was difficult to progress Event Challenges due to them getting ‘stuck’ behind Weekly Challenges and/or not having enough to tackle during the event week. Going forward, and when Fracture: Tenrai returns, Event Challenges will come in more frequently, removing gaps where a player would previously be stuck waiting. And, while Events will often still have a finite limit to the number of challenges available in a given week – meaning it will take playing across a few weeks to fully complete – the maximum will increase to provide more buffer and let highly engaged players progress a bit faster.

We’ll have more details about these changes, and a few other ways in which Event feedback was addressed, when Fracture: Tenrai returns on January 4.

HCS Spotlight

To commemorate and celebrate the first Halo Infinite major esports event – HCS Raleigh – players will be able to earn double XP for a new set of ranked-focused challenges for one week (Dec. 14 – Dec. 20). Channel your inner HCS Pro and jump into ranked matchmaking to speed up your Battle Pass progression and be sure to watch the amateur and pro teams battle it out when HCS Raleigh kicks off on Dec.17. Support your favorite HCS players with official in-game skins and a portion of each sale goes directly to the org. Viewers of this weekend’s event will also have a chance to score exclusive Halo Infinite Twitch Drop cosmetics so be sure to stay tuned to @HCS on Twitter for the latest info!


For more Halo, check out our guide on how to earn Valor in Halo Infinite, and every Halo Infinite map ranked from worst to best.

Image credits: 343 Industries

Destiny

Destiny 2 Xur location and items: January 21- 25

Here is where you can find Xur the Merchant and get different Exotic items for yourself when playing Destiny 2.

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Xur the Merchant in Destiny 2

You can get Exotic items for yourself in Destiny 2 by visiting Xur the merchant. This character moves around, so here is his location and all the items that you can get from him.

Destiny 2 has become a classic since its release in 2017, with a large player base in 2021. The Season of the Lost update has added various weapons like the Lorentz Drive exotic and Darkest Below.

You can also get different Exotic items each week by visiting the merchant, Xur. He hangs out in random locations around the map, and this guide will let you know where to find him along with his inventory.

Where to find Xur the Merchant in Destiny 2

Xur the Merchant in Destiny 2

Xur’s location in Destiny 2 changes each week. Currently, Xur can be found on Nessus, standing on a tree by the Watcher’s Grave.

Once you visit him, you can get yourself some neat new Exotic items to use in the game. Xur will provide you with items that are at the same power level as you.

Xur’s January 21 – 25 items in Destiny 2

You can find all of the items available for sale from Xur this week in Destiny 2 below:

Exotic Gear

  • Telesto – Void fusion rifle
  • St0mp-EE5 – Hunter legs
  • Wormgod Caress – Titan arms
  • Phoenix Protocol – Warlock chest
  • Exotic Engram
  • Exotic Cipher quest

Legendary Weapons & Armor

  • Enigma’s Draw – Kinetic sidearm
  • Seventh Seraph SI-2 – Void sidearm
  • Night Watch – Kinetic scout rifle
  • Wishbringer – Solar shotgun
  • Toil and Trouble – Kinetic shotgun
  • Interference VI – Arc grenade launcher
  • Stars in Shadow – Solar pulse rifle
  • Opulent armor set
destiny 2 xur

This week’s collection of wares consists of impressive weapons, helmets, quests, and cosmetic items.

You can equip these and reap their benefits when running into combat in Destiny 2 if you are looking for some new things to use against your enemies.


Stay tuned to Charlie INTEL for more Destiny 2, and check out the possible Destiny 2 and Halo crossover.

Image Credits: Bungie

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Destiny

Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris rewards: January 21

The Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris rewards are out for the week of January 21. Use our quick and easy guide to see what items can be redeemed.

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Players who love to battle it out in competitive PvP action to earn Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris rewards can now see what the week of January 21 has to offer.

Destiny 2‘s Trial of Osiris has become a staple of Bungie’s sci-fi shooter, thanks to its heated action, and the rewards for January 21 are now available to see.

One of the most popular game modes that the first-person shooter offers is, no doubt, Trials of Osiris, which is the game’s competitive multiplayer playlist that allows Guardians to test their skills against other players.

One of the exciting factors of this game mode, besides proving your skills, is the new set of rewards that players can earn with their success every week. Here is the newest set of Trials of Osiris rewards in Destiny 2.

What are the Trials of Osiris rewards for January 21 in Destiny 2?

destiny 2 trials of osiris rewards this week

The Trials of Osiris is an end-game Crucible event that resets its rewards and map every Friday at 9 AM PST / 1 PM EST / 6 PM GMT. The more reputation you can earn in Bungie’s Trials of Osiris, the better quality of rewards you will receive in Destiny 2.

The map that players fight on changes each week, with the current map being Twilight Gap.

Here is the complete list of Trials of Osiris rewards for the previous week:

  • Reputation Rank 4: Upgrade Module (2)
  • Reputation Rank 7: Enhancement Prism (3)
  • Reputation Rank 10: Trials Weapon (Changes on every rank reset)
  • Reputation Rank 13: Upgrade Module (2)
  • Reputation Rank 16: Trials Weapon (Changes on every rank reset)
  • Flawless Reward: Sola’s Scar (Legendary Sword) (Adept)

To earn the Flawless Reward, players will need to win seven Trials of Osiris matches without losing a single game.

It’s a tough feat, no doubt, but it’s doable with enough skill, patience, and understanding of the game’s mechanics.

destiny 2 trials of osiris saint 14

Passages

  • Passage of Ferocity – Your third match win grants a bonus win. (10000 Glimmer & 15 Legendary Shards)
  • Passage of Mercy – Forgives one loss per run. (10000 Glimmer & 15 Legendary Shards)
  • Passage of Wealth – Increased Trials Rank points from reaching 3, 5, and 7 match wins on a ticket. (15000 Glimmer & 25 Legendary Shards)
  • Passage of Confidence – Grants bonus rewards from Flawless Chest. (20000 Glimmer & 50 Legendary Shards)

Hopefully, this week’s Trials of Osiris rewards are worth you going after and can be used to make your overall Destiny 2 experience more fruitful and enjoyable!


Also, check out the best Destiny 2 PVE weapons and how to get them, and also how to claim Destiny 2 Prime Gaming rewards.

Image Credits: Bungie

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Apex Legends

Who is the most popular Apex Legends character? Season 11 pick rates

Apex Legends Season 11 is well underway, but who has dominated the pick rates for Season 11 of Respawn’s battle royale so far?

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apex legends map

Season 11 of Apex Legends has tons of characters to choose from to enjoy its several maps. But who has the top Season 11 pick rates in Respawn Entertainment’s battle royale shooter?

Apex Legends hit the ground running when it launched with eight different characters to choose from in its battle royale offering. The game suffered a notable lull when Call of Duty: Warzone launched, but with many players jumping ship to Respawn’s game in Season 10, Apex Legends Season 11 has benefited from continued support from gamers and streamers alike.

There are now a whopping 19 different Legends to choose from, giving players a headache before each game. The newest one is Ash, she debuted alongside the new Storm Point map.

Between the Arenas mode and Ranked Leagues to compete in, thousands of matches have already been logged in Season 11, and we will break down and find the Legends with the highest pick rates in Season 11.

Apex Legends Season 11 pick rate ranked list

apex legends map and backdrop

This is our complete list of every character pick in Apex Legends, and we’ve ranked them in order to let you know which are favored.

Here is every Apex Legends pick rate in Season 11 ranked, as of January 21, 2022, according to Apex Legends Status:

  1. Wraith – 12.5%
  2. Octane – 12.3%
  3. Bloodhound – 10.3%
  4. Pathfinder – 8.8%
  5. Valkyrie – 7.4%
  6. Lifeline – 6%
  7. Bangalore – 5.1%
  8. Ash – 4.9%
  9. Loba – 4.4%
  10. Horizon – 4.2%
  11. Fuse – 3.7%
  12. Gibraltar – 3.7%
  13. Caustic – 3.7%
  14. Mirage – 3.2%
  15. Revenant – 2.6%
  16. Seer – 2.1%
  17. Wattson – 2%
  18. Rampart – 1.6%
  19. Crypto – 1.5%

Most picked Legends in Apex Legends Season 11

5. Valkyrie – 7.4%

valkyrie apex legends

With Ash being knocked out of the top 5 most picked Legends since her release at the start of Season 11, Valkyrie has officially taken her spot with a 7.4% pick rate.

Valkyrie is great in Season 11, with unbelievable mobility thanks to her passive Jet Pack. This allows her to reposition and get in and out of situations with ease, arguably having the best potential to survive out of all Legends due to great mobility.

Valkyrie’s Ultimate is great for maps like Storm Point, as there are no Jump Towers and so her Skyward Dive offers useful rotations. Her Ultimate is great for getting the team into a spot for final circles, as you’ll be able to fly above and past enemy teams rotating into the zone.

4. Pathfinder – 8.8%

pathfinder giving a thumbs up in apex legends

Pathfinder has consistently been one of Apex Legends’ top five picks at 8.8%, and counting, for quite some time now.

As a Recon class, Pathfinder simply excels in movements and traversing the game’s various maps. His Grappling Hook and Zipline Gun are simply invaluable assets that will help any team in a pinch – either because of the circle or a third-party situation. He consistently manages to stay in the top 5 as a result.

3. Bloodhound – 10.3%

apex legends bloodhound character

Again, with the influx of new Apex Legends players, Bloodhound is a great character to use for new players in Season 11.

Bloodhound nearly always stays in and around the 8-11% mark as a season goes on, and they currently stand at 10.3%. They are easily the top Recon class to use in Apex Legends, thanks to their tracking tools and incredible skills, plus, their Beast of the Hunt Ultimate is priceless.

2. Octane – 12.3%

apex legends octane character

With a 12.3% pick rate, the speed demon takes the number two spot, continuing his reign as one of the most popular Legends in Season 11, fluctuating between the top two places.

Aside from his amusing quips, he is the perfect balance of offense and defense. Despite being regarded as an offensive Legend, Octane can greatly increase his sprint speed which is useful for both attack and running away.

But most Octane users thrive on his Launch Pad Ultimate which can send him, and friendly players, high up into the air.

1. Wraith – 12.5% Most picked Legend in Apex Legends Season 11

apex legends wraith character

Another starting Legend, Wraith has been a consistent pick throughout Apex Legends’ lifetime, and she has taken the number one spot with a whopping 12.5% pick rate in Season 11.

Wraith’s stand-out features are her ability to get out of trouble very quickly – teammates included. Her abilities allow her to sense danger, become temporarily invulnerable, and create portals to escape predicaments. It’s easy to see why Wraith continues to be an absolute fan-favorite in Apex Legends Season 11.


That covers all the picks in Apex Legends Season 11. As always, buffs and nerfs will come and go throughout the season, altering the game’s meta, and subsequently, Legend pick rates.

We’ll be sure to keep this updated regularly so you can stay on top of the in picks and don’t forget to check out the best Apex Legends weapon skins to use.

Image Credits: Respawn Entertainment

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