Halo 5 Adds Rock 'n' Rail Game Mode, New Season Updates

by Tanner Dedmon


The newest game mode to join the rotational playlist of Xbox One's Halo 5 is the explosive Rock 'n' Rail, as announced by Halo Waypoint on Thursday.

Following closely in the footsteps of the fast-paced Halo 4 game mode of the same name that quickly became popular with players, Halo 5 attempts to recreate that excitement by putting rockets and railguns in players' hands upon spawning to ensure the kills rack up quickly. While it was certainly inspired by the version found in the previous Halo installment, developers assure that the game has been tweaked and upgraded to keep up with the features of Halo 5.

"While this new iteration of Rock ‘n’ Rail is inspired by Halo 4’s beloved Rock ‘n’ Rail mode, it’s been specifically tailored to better fit the Halo 5 sandbox," said multiplayer designer Sara Stern. "Instead of basing gameplay around the use of jetpacks, we’ve altered the gravity, stabilizer time, and jump height settings to bring combat off the ground and into the air."

Stern also added that the Spartan Abilities in Halo 5 are also changing the way the mode is played by making it a bit easier to zip around while engaging in mid-air scuffles, a change that the designers also took into consideration when gearing the game mode towards Halo 5.

Halo 5’s Spartan Abilities allow for increased mobility when airborne, which made hitting shots with standard rockets and railguns a bit more difficult than desired," Stern added. "The SPNKr Prime and Whiplash can both snipe mid-air targets, and the Whiplash grants you a second round in case you miss your first shot. Equipping the SPNKr Prime grants you damage resistance, speed boost, and a further increase to your jump height."

The rotational playlist in Halo 5 came into play after Shotty Snipers and Triple Team were removed from matchmaking in February due in part to low participation from players. Rock 'n' Rail finds itself following up on the previous playlist, the community-created Extermination, which put players on the clock by requiring them to kill all four of their enemies within 15 seconds of the first kill to snag a win for that round.

Alongside the playlist update, the announcement from Halo Waypoint also brought news of updates for the May-June ranked season:

  • Soft Forfeit
    • It will be "safe" to leave if someone has already left the match (from either team)
    • No need to stay on to prevent a ban or extra point loss
    • No ban if someone has already left
    • No extra CSR loss penalty if someone has already left
    • You still lose the same amount of CSR as a normal loss
    • Leavers always lose CSR, regardless of how their team does after, so it’s better to stay if you’re on the winning / advantaged team until the other team leaves.
  • Reduced early-season wait times for higher-skilled players
    • High-skilled players sometimes get MMRs that are higher than is needed
    • These will now be truncated to a reasonable value at the beginning of the season
    • They are still high enough to prevent very uneven matches, but low enough to allow more timely matchmaking
  • Even Stricter CSR boundaries: Onyx population reduced again
    • The previously fixed inflation bug had inflated this despite the changes
    • We should see even stricter boundaries in the new season

The entire list of announcements for Halo 5 can be found on Halo Waypoint along with weekly matchmaking updates.