If you played any of Halo Infinite’s recent not-a-betas, you probably saw a fairly high number in your postmortem kill-death-assist ratio (KDA). And if you, like me, are flummoxed by math like long division, you likely thought, Cool! ...So what’s it mean?
KDA is a metric that measures your performance in competitive games. In most, it’s a formulaic equation based on your kills, deaths, and assists over the course of a match. If you dabble in first-person shooters at all, you’ll know it’s the first stat you check during the post-match rundown—more important than the outcome of whether your team won or lost (he said, clearly showing his ass a bad team player).
So what does this mean for your Halo Infinite numbers? Short version: The KDA in Halo Infinite is calculated exactly the same as it was in Halo 5: Guardians, per developer 343 Industries. Which, lead multiplayer designer Andrew Witts told Kotaku, is (Kills + Assists/3) – Deaths).
Yeah, I’m right there with you: Huh? Here’s Witts: “An Assist is counted as .3333 of a kill.”
While the same as Halo 5, that’s a marked departure from how KDA was calculated during some previous entries, including at the height of Halo’s popularity, when it was more “KD” than “KDA.” During the heyday of Halo 3, the ratio was a simple spread. You took your kills, you subtracted your deaths, and voila, easy math. You ended every match with a nice round number that indicated, in no uncertain terms, how well or not well you’d performed.
But Halo Infinite (and, before it, Halo 5) tweaks the script. At the end of every match, you’ll see a number that might not immediately make sense: It’s quite often positive, which seems mathematically impossible, and it’s almost always followed by a string of decimals. That, according to 343, is largely designed to factor in the importance of assists.
“We see value in telling the story of how Assists contribute to the success of the overall match,” Witts told us. (As someone who constantly gets his kills stolen by jerks who understand how to use the goddamn Skewer, yes, I agree. Assists are important.)
Halo Infinite is slated to release December 8 for Xbox and PC, with its multiplayer launching as a separate free-to-play mode, a first for the series. Infinite obviously reinvents the wheel in countless ways, but it still thoroughly feels like older, classic Halo, thanks to fine-tuned balance and an unshakably level playing field that hasn’t been present in the game series for more than a decade. But despite Infinite’s similarities to Halos past, there are no plans to implement a Halo 3-styled “raw KD” metric, Witts said. You’ll have to do that math on your own.