Halo Infinite Update Increases Bot Difficulty & Resets Ranked Matchmaking

Halo Infinite has received a new update with two overlooked changes: increases to Bot backfill difficulty and Competitive Skill Rank resets.

halo infinite update february 4
Halo Infinite's February 4 update yielded more changes than you might have thought. | © 343 Industries

Everyone knows about the historic changes that came to Halo Infinite's Big Team Battle mode in the February 4th update. We also know a little bit about the future of Halo Infinite, including the approximate Season 2 release date and whether we will see more story content in a potential campaign DLC. What we haven't really talked about, though, is what else came with the update.

Our big breakdown of Halo Infinite's campaign Co-Op, Forge, and future roadmap detailed a large amount of changes that will be coming to the game in the coming months. The thing is, though, that it isn't all that important what is coming in the future when there's plenty to talk about now. February 4 did not only bring those aforementioned BTB changes, but also an increase in Bot Backfill Difficult and the resetting of Ranked Matchmaking.

Thus, we are going to break this all down for you in two different sections: Bot backfill and Ranked Matchmaking. In each, we will bring you 343 Industries' explanation of the changes as well as a bit of analysis where we will explain why these changes are so important. Strap in, folks, because things are about to get wild...

Bot Backfill Difficulty Gets Increased

To increase the quality of player-replacement bots, otherwise known as Bot backfill, 343 Industries are upgrading their difficulty. In the words of the developers, via the Halo Waypoint's Patch Notes:

Next week, the Bot backfill difficulty will be increased from Marine to ODST. This means that when a player leaves and gets replaced by a Bot, that Bot will now be at the ODST skill level. We hope these ODST Bots can help your team out when they drop feet first into your matches.

This is a very significant improvement, and for obvious reason. As things have been, when a player drops out of a match, they were replaced by Bot backfill that was absolutely useless, severely disadvantaging the team from which the player left. This disadvantage would, expectedly, carry over into whether a particular team could achieve victory.

By increasing Bot backfill difficulty from Marine level to ODST level, players will actually be assisted by the replacement bots, rather than finding themselves in trouble. We really hope that this works to make things a little better when teammates drop out, especially when you're not playing with buddies. We're honestly not sure why this particular change didn't make more of a splash!

Ranked Matchmaking, or Competitive Skill Ranks, Get Reset

After carefully monitoring data, 343 Industries have decided to implement a number of mid-season improvements to ranked matchmaking and competitive skill ranks (CSR). To do this, they will need to reset CSR. Here are the details:

We’ve been keeping a close eye on Ranked since launch. The team has been monitoring data, pairing that up with community reports and feedback, and has some updates they’d like to go after during this season.

Since we’re going to be making some improvements mid-season, we plan on resetting Competitive Skill Ranks (CSR). After implementing these updates and giving everyone a fresh start, we expect to see players get redistributed more accurately.

As we get closer, we’ll be sure to give everyone a heads-up on when exactly they can expect all this to land. If you’re close to that next rank, now’s the time to go after it!

Now, we have mainly drawn your attention to this for the purpose of presenting you with that final paragraph. In that paragraph, 343 Industries suggest that "if you're close to that next rank, now's the time to go after it!" Do what they say, guys, as they are about to reset ranks. Seriously! You don't want to be handed the short straw.

Full Halo Infinite February 3/4 Update Patch Notes

To finish up today, we want to quickly shoot the full patch notes for the latest Halo Infinite update your way. This is important stuff, and simply taken directly from Halo Waypoint, so read them through carefully.

Multiplayer Patch Notes

  • Matchmaking service improvements for Big Team Battle (BTB). Players should find full matches quicker and more consistently.
  • Scorpion Tanks and Wraiths will appear more frequently on BTB maps.
  • Fireteam members in BTB matches will have the selected Fireteam Marker color, but may still start the match in different areas of the map.
  • Join in progress rules updated to avoid matchmaking into games which are nearly complete.
  • Changes to Oddball in both Ranked and Arena Multiplayer playlists:
    • If the score is tied when a round’s timer runs out, one minute is added back to the timer. If the score is tied at the end of the additional minute, then the round will be declared a tie.
    • The match will end if two separate rounds end in a tie and the victory will go to the team with more rounds won.
  • Halo Championship Series (HCS) variant of Free-For-All Slayer added to the Custom Game modes list.
  • In Custom Games, changes to Free-For-All Slayer, FFA Oddball, Neutral Flag and Tactical Slayer game options update correctly.

So there you have it: both the important, known changes to Halo Infinite that came on February 3/4, and the ones that were overlooked. Those overlooked changes will legitimately make a big difference to the game, so make sure to pay attention to those changes and be especially prepared for those Rank Resets. In the meantime, though, game on!