Halo Infinite’s troubled big team battle mode will remain troubled for the foreseeable future. Developer 343 Industries rolled out a hotfix today, but it didn’t quite work as intended, Halo community director Brian Jarrard confirmed on Twitter.
“Well, damn...today’s BTB hotfix does not appear to be the outcome we expected,” Jarrard wrote this afternoon. “There are minor improvements, but overall matchmaking issues are still occurring. Thanks to the folks who have been working hard and we’re sorry this didn’t quite get the job done. Work continues.”
The hotfix, which rolled out earlier this afternoon and clocks in at approximately 1GB, addresses two small issues. One slightly tweaks the physics of the oddball in Oddball to “mitigate exploits” (but not that exploit). The other addresses “service adjustments” in the big team battle playlist to “improve … matchmaking.”
For the past month and some change, big team battle—a mode that pits two teams of 12 against each other for a variety of objective-based showdowns on large-scale maps—has been busted. Finding a match was a total pain, with timed-out connections in the lobby a common occurrence. In some cases, players would drop or be dropped from the roster en masse and not be replaced, so you’d find yourself in seriously unbalanced matches, sometimes smaller than the standard four-vs.-four team compositions for all of Halo Infinite’s other playlists. (Once, I ended up in a two-vs.-three total control match. It was hilarious! It was also something I’d only want to sit through once.)
I’ll say this much: Today’s hotfix sure seems to have made the mode a tiny bit more functional than it has been. Earlier today, I played a handful of rounds. Though it took notably longer to load into BTB matches than, say, quick play, I didn’t experience any timed-out connections. And every match both A) didn’t fall apart in a pile of pixels and lag, and B) made it to the end without any players dropping off the roster. But I’m also lucky enough to have gigabit internet, and my Xbox Series X is hooked up to the web with a wired connection. Reports persist about BTB simply not working for some players, something 343 itself has acknowledged, writing, in the in-game announcement for the hotfix, “We’re aware that there is still inconsistent matchmaking in big team battle and the team continue investigating [sic] the root cause.”
It’s unclear when a full fix might come. When reached for comment, Microsoft, Halo Infinite’s publisher, did not have anything to add beyond the official public statements.
As an apology for the persisting issues of big team battle, today’s update adds five XP boosts (single-use items that double your earned XP for an hour) and five challenge swaps (single-use items that allow you to swap out one of your existing weekly challenges) to your Halo Infinite account. But there’s still the notion that 343 Industries should remove BTB-focused challenges from the weekly rotation; if you can’t reliably play the mode, after all, how can you possibly complete the challenges? Challenge swaps? That cost real-world money? Hmm…
If there’s any silver lining to the debacle, it seems that particular quibble may actually be addressed. Here’s Jarrard: “Given this issue now looks to be persisting longer than expected, this is being investigated as well.”