PvP has long been considered the black sheep of the Destiny 2 family - but changes set to hit the game later this year could change that.
In a post on Bungie.net, the third in a Director's Cut series of articles on the future of Destiny 2, director Luke Smith discussed what happened with PvP, why Bungie has been so quiet about it, and what happens to it with the launch of expansion Shadowkeep in October.
"There has been a lot of conversation (internally and externally!) at different points during the year around the support Bungie provides PvP," Smith wrote.
"On one hand, we have continued to tune the game each quarter, added pinnacle PvP weapons (that somehow ended up as pinnacle PvE weapons), tried out a ranking system in the Crucible, and returned the game to its 6v6 roots. On the other hand: We haven't released a new permanent game mode, many game modes from Destiny 1 are nowhere to be seen, there isn't a public-facing PvP team, and the last real thing we said was Trials is staying on hiatus indefinitely.
"Let's get some of this sorted out."
Smith goes on to hold his hands up about how PvP mode Trials of the Nine ended up in Destiny 2.
"When we were making Destiny 2, we talked a lot about making sure it felt like a sequel, bringing in new players, and simplifying the game - and Trials of the Nine created another casualty there," he said. "It happened on my watch, and if I could turn back time, I'd challenge us to do many things differently. If nothing else, I hope it's clear we are committed to learning from the mistakes we make and making it right.
"There were some really cool parts to the Emissary. Some of the gear was pretty potent (Sup, Darkest Before), but the theme felt weaker, the Trials card was less important, and the stakes felt lower. Trials of the Nine didn't work the way we'd hoped, and Trials of the Nine is on hiatus indefinitely."
As for the radio silence on PvP: "Well, we didn't have a lot to say," Smith said.
"We weren't actively developing something to hype up. We knew PvP was going to be something everyone got for free in New Light, so it wasn't really a part of the Shadowkeep core offering. What are we doing about PvP became a question we were asked internally, too. A bunch of folks on our team are passionate about PvP and wanted to know where it was heading."
So, Bungie plans changes to the PvP portion of the game. Smith said Bungie wants the playlists to "drift back" to the "everything is a factor of 3" Destiny 1 used (Bungie, somewhat controversially, went with a 4v4 system for Destiny 2 PvP).
Here's a bullet-point list of changes, from Bungie:
- We've removed the Quickplay and Competitive nodes from the Director.
- If you're looking for an experience like Quickplay, we've added Classic Mix (a connection-based playlist [like Quickplay today]). Classic Mix includes Control, Clash, and Supremacy.
- Competitive is replaced by 3v3 Survival (which now awards Glory).
- We've also added a Survival Solo Queue playlist that also awards Glory.
- We've added 6v6 Control as its own playlist. With the potential influx of new players this Fall, we want to have a playlist that signals to new players that this is where to start. We feel like 6v6 Control is the right starting place when introducing new friends to Destiny.
- We've added a weekly 6v6 rotator and a weekly 4v4 rotator. These rotator playlists are where modes like Clash, Supremacy, Mayhem, Lockdown, and Countdown will appear.
- We've removed some underperforming maps from matchmaking, too.
It's worth noting the addition of a survival solo queue playlist that also awards Glory. This is something PvP fans have long-called for, and will hopefully eliminate the issue of solo players running up against teams of players who end up stomping their way to victory in competitive PvP. With a solo queue, at least everyone's in the same boat when it comes to gaining Glory.
Elsewhere, Bungie said it's working on four variants of 3v3 Elimination, although there's a lot of work to be done. Matchmaking is changing to accommodate new players entering Destiny via New Light, the free-to-download version of the game. And the skill-matching system has been overhauled.
"This Fall, skill match should ensure a wider variety of matches, regardless of player skill," Smith said.
"Some matches should be tense and thrilling, while other matches should be stomps. This philosophy should also apply to the top players, so they don't feel like every match is a sweatshow, either."
Also welcome are plans to factor in your skill value when it comes to Glory gains and losses "so that number can more effectively represent skill", and changes to Glory, Valor and Infamy "to make losses less punishing to your streaks".
I had a blast with PvP in Destiny 1, but PvP in Destiny 2 failed to grab me and I quickly moved on. I suppose Destiny 2 will always be a primarily PvE game, but these changes planned for October should give PvP the shot in the arm it so desperately needs.