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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 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

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

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

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