In today’s post, I will be discussing CSR, or Competitive Skill Rank. For those who are unaware what CSR is, CSR is essentially the skill-based ranking system in Halo 4. It is very similar to the ranking system used in Halo 2 and 3 in that it goes from 1-50, with 50 being the highest rank. The above image illustrates what each rank looks like, with the 1-29 being transparent, 30-39 being silver, 40-49 being gold, and 50 being engulfed in flames.

The biggest difference between CSR and the ranks in Halo 2 and 3 is that CSR is not visible in-game. The only way you can view it is on Halo Waypoint (the Xbox app and the website), the Xbox SmartGlass app, and other third-party sites such as HaloTracker.com and QuickCSR.com. According to 343, the primary reason ranks are not in-game is due to the amount of cheating and boosting that occurred in Halo 2 and 3. While it is true that there were cheaters and boosters that earned 50s illegitimately, it shouldn’t mean that ranks can’t be in the game. Just give us the option to report players for cheating and boosting, this way the cheaters and boosters can be punished quickly. Call of Duty has this feature, and I’m pretty sure it works okay.

Now, ranking up your CSR isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. There are actually two types of CSR in Halo 4: Individual CSR and Team CSR. Individual CSR only takes your score into account. Wins and losses do not affect your Individual CSR. Team CSR is what you’d expect. Win and it goes up, lose and it goes down. Here is the breakdown of what CSR each playlist uses:

Individual CSR: Infinity Slayer, Big Team Infinity Slayer, Rumble Pit, Regicide, SWAT, Team Snipers, Action Sack, Flood

Team CSR: Team Throwdown, Team Doubles, Capture the Flag, Team Objective, Multi-Team, Grifball, Dominion, Castle DLC

As you can see, the more casual playlists like SWAT, Action Sack, and Flood have the Individual CSR, while the more competitive playlists like Throwdown and Doubles use the Team CSR.

While the Team CSR works fine for the most part, I think that the Individual CSR in its current state does not work well. As I previously stated, Individual CSR only takes your score into account, and to rank up, I’m pretty sure your score must be at least in the top half of the players in the game. For example, in an Infinity Slayer, if you have the 4th best score, you’ll rank up, but a 5th best score will either result in your CSR staying the same, or going down. The first issue that should be obvious is that joining a game in progress puts you at a serious disadvantage. Chances are, the game will have been going on for at least a minute or two, so making up that ground to get your score up is a tall order. As such, I think that games that you join in progress should not affect your CSR, regardless of when you join a game.

Another issue with Individual CSR is that K/D spread is not taken into account at all. Meaning, if someone in a Team Slayer match has the highest score but goes 18-18, they’ll rank up, while someone who goes 10-5 but gets the 6th best score will rank down. Player 2 had a much better K/D spread and was more of an asset to the team, while Player 1 gave the other team 18 points, and was much more of a liability than Player 2. Players should be rewarded for playing smartly, not for charging blindly into the battle in hopes of getting a lucky kill.

Finally, I simply believe that Individual CSR does not match players of equal skill very effectively. For example, this one player in a game I played a few weeks ago was far better than everyone else in the lobby, so I checked their CSR on Waypoint, and wouldn’t you know, their CSR was at 50, while mine was at 25ish. I also checked the CSR of everyone who was also playing in that game, and they were close to mine, within a CSR of 20-35, so it was just this person who was put in to a game against inferior opponents. I’m almost positive that they weren’t playing with any friends, since he/she did not have a mic plugged in, nor was he/she in party chat. When a CSR 50 randomly gets matched up with people who’s CSR range from 20-35, it’s a problem. Now, I realize that Halo 4 does not have the population to effectively match similarly skilled players every time, but still, a 50 should not be playing against a 25. Ever.

I should also mention that CSR is always a game behind. This means that when you go to view your CSR online, it won’t be completely up to date. Your CSR will reflect the second to last game you played in that playlist, instead of the most recent. So don’t be worried if you do really well and your CSR doesn’t go up or it instead goes down, just play another game for your CSR to take that really good game into account. I would like to see this get fixed so that it is always completely up to date, but I am unsure if this is even possible for 343 to fix.

So, to wrap things up, here is the TL;DR version of my thoughts on CSR:

-CSR should be in-game, regardless of potential cheaters and boosters

-Individual CSR needs work

-CSR is always a game behind, but I would like to see this be fixed, if possible

That’s all for now.

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