Halo Wars 2 has launched without a competitive multiplayer ranking system.
The developers at 343 Industries and Creative Assembly said they made the decision to hold competitive multiplayer ranking from launch in order to continue to work on game balance.
Halo Wars 2 does have skill-based matchmaking working under the hood, but it does not display a player rank based upon it. This comes as some surprise for a Halo game, as most display some kind of competitive multiplayer ranking.
Currently, Halo Wars 2 displays your Spartan Rank, which is tied to XP progression, not skill. It's just an indication of how much time you've pumped into the real-time strategy game.
David Nicholson, executive producer at Creative Assembly, told Eurogamer the developers want to make sure Halo Wars 2 is as balanced as possible before rolling out competitive multiplayer ranking - this despite a raft of beta periods that were held ahead of release.
"We decided not to do it at launch because we want to make sure the balance is there," Nicholson said.
"We think we've got the game well-balanced, with the two betas we had. But we continually make those balance changes.
"Our plan is to bring it out, but just not at launch."
Microsoft reckons a social and unranked environment will be more inviting and less stressful for new players, so they can have a chance to get familiar with the game. Balance issues are less of a problem in an unranked "no-stakes" environment, Microsoft said.
But that hasn't stopped some Halo Wars 2 fans from bemoaning the lack proper ranking, which they say dampens any motivation to get stuck into competitive multiplayer right now.
It sounds like a timed ranked playlist or season could be tied to DLC releases. This would give the developers time to roll in any new fixes or tweaks that couldn't be addressed via a hotfix. The introduction of new leaders is a natural opportunity to reset and roll-over a new season, Microsoft said.
"Overall this is definitely something the team is passionate about and takes seriously so for now, at launch, think of it as pre-season and help us refine the game with your feedback and then we'll kick off a proper ranked playlist season cadence shortly after," Microsoft said in a post on Halo Waypoint.