We still have a ways to wait on the continuing adventures of Mister Chief and his many blue girlfriends, but with the surprise launch of Halo Infinite's multiplayer on November 16, we can already party like it's 2007, Slayer-style.
Infinite's interminably sluggish (opens in new tab) battle pass is not its only concession to modern multiplayer shooter design, however. It's the third decade of the 21st century, baby, and as such we've got a ranked queue and its attendant numbers we need to make go up.
Ranked matches are a bit leaner and less forgiving than normal play: your radar is disabled, friendly fire is enabled, you no longer have a HUD indicator if there is a hot grenade nearby, and you always start each life equipped only with the battle rifle (Halo's equivalent of Fox-only, Final Destination.) Ranked gameplay consists of 4v4 teams in the capture the flag, oddball, slayer, and strongholds game types. Unlike unranked play, weapon spawn locations are locked in on each map from game-to-game.
Before you get into the fight, however, you'll also have to choose between two broader ranked categories. Open queue allows one to four members in a premade party, and includes both controller and mouse-and-keyboard players. For the hardest of the hard-core, solo/duo mode only allows up to two members in a premade, and will exclusively pair you with players whose input devices match your own.
The basic set-up of Infinite's ranked progression should be familiar to anyone who's even dabbled in getting yelled at by teenagers in their free time. Your first task is to complete ten placement matches to assess your worth as a human being, before being assigned to one of six ranks in the following order: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond, or onyx. Players begin a tier at its first level, and have to win their way through six levels to ascend to the next tier. For example, if my placements sent me to silver, I would have to win my way through silver ranks two through six before having a chance to get up to gold.
The whole set-up reminds me of League of Legends' ranking system (opens in new tab), and like League of Legends, if you find yourself placed into poop tier zero, you may want to get comfortable, because you'll probably be there awhile. My advice would be to queue up with a friend and try not to put too much psychic weight on the good boy gamer badge you get assigned.