Before you shoot me down and vote before you read the post, please just take a look at what i have to say. First of all, gears is going to be the same game no matter which playlist you play in, ranked or public. With what i'm proposing, it's not like i'm taking anyone's playlist or game away. I know there's people who like quick match over ranked and visa versa but in the end the game is the same and i believe condensing ranked and public into a single playlist can benefit matchmaking very much.
To start off let's look at the differences and similarities between the playlists.
Longer matchmaking/less population
Able to vote for map
Teams are pre-determined and supposedly balanced
Quitters are penalized
Not able to vote for map
May join/leave a game in progress (Joining a game in progress may not be desirable but the ability to leave a game without penalty is a positive)
No wait time in between matches
Medals, ribbons, exp, achievements are able to be earned
Stats are tracked
All settings are the same
IMO there are just too many similarities between ranked and public to justify having two separate playlists for each gametype. All this does is split up population and truthfully speaking, give ranked the short end of the stick. If you look at the positives and negatives of both public and ranked you will see ranked clearly has more positives... Then why is everyone playing public? Because there just isn't enough incentive to play ranked. Not only that but if we assume that for the most part, better players are playing ranked, then most players are going to want to play against generally less-skilled opponents in public.
Now let's take a look at the benefits of condensing these playlists and having a larger player pool for matchmaking.
Faster matchmaking speeds
More balanced teams
More opponent variety
With the benefits of having a larger player pool i just don't see how this isn't a win-win situation. Public and ranked are just too similar to justify the division. Ranked population is well, pathetic. At some times of the day, you simply can't even find a match in ranked.
Given that having a larger player pool equals faster matchmaking we can assume one of the only benefits of public (quicker matchmaking, less time in between matches) will also carry over into a single main playlist. Splitting up gametypes would be fine if we had a game with more than enough population to handle such a split, but with gears 3 the truth is the population isn't large enough to have 14 different playlists and expect to have decent matchmaking in each.