How does it work? How am I matched with other players? Is there a difference between the cooperative modes (ie firefight) and the competitive modes (ie slayer)? How can I improve who I'm matched against/with?
Last time I seriously played Halo multiplayer was Halo 2. The system gave you a number that ranked your skill and it tried to match you with people of that number. One common jerky thing skilled players did was get themselves downranked back to a 1 and beat up on new players for a while.
Now in Reach I have some sort of military insignia by my name. Is this similar to the ranking number in Halo 2? Does it mean the same thing as the rank number in Halo 2?