Active Roster – This is a throwback to Halo 2. When you boot up Reach, right at the main menu or lobby, you’ll see a list of what your Xbox Live friends are doing within Reach. You’ll get detailed information about any friends playing Reach including who they are partied with, what game they are in (plus score and remaining time), and more. Basically, Bungie wants to make it so that you do not have to utilize the Xbox Live Guide to find out what your buddies are doing in Reach.
Queue-Joining – In Halo 3, it was difficult to join friends that were already playing in a match. You had to wait until they were finished. If you started a game while you waited, they would then have to wait for you. Instead of going back and forth, Reach will support queue-joining. Simply put, Reach will automatically join up as soon as your friends are joinable.
Matchmaking Connection Options – The options for finding games in matchmaking will be more open to the player, if they so choose. If you only ever want to play in games with a good connection, that can be set in the options. If you only ever want to play against players of a similar skill, that can be set. The same goes for finding players that speak to same language.
Arena Playlists – Possibly the largest change coming in Halo: Reach is the Arena. This is a Slayer and Team Slayer set of playlists entirely geared toward the hardcore. If that wasn’t enough, players will be rated and placed into skill divisions in month-long seasons.
The rating system is smart enough to realize that kills aren’t the only determining factor behind skill. This is especially true for team games where assists play a huge roll. Similarly, players that have a greater kill/death ratio (had more kills than deaths) will rank higher than players that die as much as they kill.