Ranked competitive play is not present in Halo Wars 2 at launch, but will be added "shortly", 343 has revealed via Halo Waypoint.
The reason for the mode not featuring at launch is to enable players to get to grips with the game and for any balance tweaks to be made.
"Shortly after launch the team will be instituting a formal ranked competitive system into the game that’s similar to what’s offered in Halo 5," notes Waypoint.
The decision is said to be intentional, for the following reasons:
- First, a social/unranked environment is going to be more inviting and less stressful and allow players a chance to get familiar with the game, the units and the multitude of strategies and tactics at their disposal.
- Second, 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. 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" and the introduction of new leaders is a natural opportunity to reset and roll-over a new season.
Waypoint adds: "Overall this is definitely something the team is passionate about and takes seriously so for now, at launch, think of it as a "pre-season" and help us refine the game with your feedback and then we'll kick off a proper ranked playlist season cadence shortly after."
Source: Halo Waypoint