After its limited release last week, Microsoft's RTS sequel Halo Wars 2 officially launches today for Xbox One and PC. One element that players will not find in the game is a ranked competitive system, as Microsoft has confirmed this feature has been delayed and is instead coming "shortly after launch." This system, described as a "formal ranked competitive system" not unlike Halo 5's, was intentionally held back from release at launch, developer 343 Industries explained in a blog post.
One of the reasons was because 343 believes a social/unranked environment will be "more inviting and less stressful" to players. The lack of a ranked competitive system affords players the time to practice and try out different strategies and tactics. Second, pushing back the ranked system gives 343 the time to respond to any balance issues that pop up.
"Delaying a ranked seasonal model also allows the development team to monitor and respond to any balancing issues that usually only arise after players have spent considerable time exploring units and developing strategies and synergies," the developer said. "It's easier for players to be exposed to these 'hot-fixable' issues in a social, no-stakes environment than in the midst of heated ranked competition."
"Lastly, we're looking to time ranked playlists/seasons with DLC releases which allows the team to roll in any new fixes or tweaks that couldn't be addressed via a 'hot fix,'" it said. "And the introduction of new leaders is a natural opportunity to reset and roll-over a new season."
Finally, 343 said you should consider the time between Halo Wars 2's launch today and the introduction of the ranked system as a "pre-season" of sorts. Halo Wars 2 is available for Xbox One and PC as an Xbox Play Anywhere title. This means that buying the game once (digitally) on either platform gets you a copy of the game on the other for no extra cost. Additionally, achievements and saves move between platforms.