UPDATE 2 6.27pm 04/11/2014: Bungie has confirmed today's Iron Banner event was launched in error, and that it was the old version.
In a tweet the developer indicated news on the new and improved version is due soon.
Iron Banner went live this morning for an hour. It was not planned. It was the old version. We'll talk more about the official return soon.— Bungie (@Bungie) November 4, 2014
UPDATE 1 11.36am 04/11/2014: Bungie has pulled Iron Banner from Destiny just a couple of hours after setting it live.
The Iron Banner bounties are gone, the back area of The Tower is closed and Iron Banner is no longer available to select from the map.
It looks like the event was started prematurely, then, which makes sense when you consider much of the changes Bungie had promised for the mode were not in place.
ORIGINAL STORY 10.19am 04/11/2014: Bungie has returned Iron Banner to Destiny.
Iron Banner is a special competitive multiplayer event in which player damage and armour ratings matter. Normally, the game's Crucible mode, in which PVP takes place, strips out player power advantage in an attempt to create a level playing field.
Many players complained about Iron Banner the last time it was live for not providing high level characters with enough of an advantage, so Bungie promised to make significant changes to the way it works.
We've had a play with the new Iron Banner. Let's start with the new bounties, which Bungie had said would be made easier:
- Anvil of Light Defeat 50 Guardians while competing in the Iron Banner, with the Iron Banner Class, Emblem and Shader items equipped. - IB Rep +75, Experience +3750
- Iron Embrace Defeat 20 Guardians with a close quarters melee attack while competing in the Iron Banner tournament. - IB Rep +100, Experience +5000
- Rise Above Complete an Iron Banner match with the highest score. - IB Rep +100, Experience +5000
- Exacting Measures Earn 15 Headshot Sprees while competing in the Iron Banner tournament. - IB Rep +100, Experience +5000
- The Chaos and the Calm Defeat 30 Guardians with machine gun headshots while competing in the Iron Banner tournament. - IB Rep +100, Experience +5000
- Heavy Metal Earn 15 Machine Gun Sprees while competing in the Iron Banner tournament." - IB Rep +100, Experience +5000
One thing to note is that the bounties are available from Xander 99-40, not Lord Saladin, which goes against what Bungie had said would happen.
Another problem with the old Iron Banner was players would quit the game early if it wasn't going their way. As reputation points were not awarded upon defeat, and with no penalty in place for quitting early, a lot of players jumped ship to save time.
Bungie's answer to this is to award a Medallion if Iron to players on a loss. Next time you win, each Medallion you're carrying converts into a reputation gain almost equal to a win.
Bungie had said this Medallion system would be in place for when Iron Banner returned, but it does not appear to be, based on our tests.
Speaking of reputation, it seems Bungie has reset everyone's Iron Banner rep, which we weren't expecting this time around.
Then there's the armour and weapons issue. There was a feeling that the rewards on offer for doing well in Iron Banner did not justify the time required to gain them, especially if you already had exotic items and raid gear.
Bungie promised that when Iron Banner returned, it would include exclusive new armour bumped to level 30 - but it doesn't look like the armour available now has been improved on what was available before.
We've had a gander at what Lord Saladin, Iron Banner vendor, is selling now he's back in The Tower social hub. Here's what's on offer, if you're a Hunter class:
- Million Million Legendary Armour Shader - 1000 Glimmer / Iron Banner Rank 1
- Goldspiral Legendary Armor Shader - 3000 Glimmer / IB Rank 3
- Sigil of the Iron Lords Legendary Emblem - 1000 Glimmer / IB Rank 1
- Scar of Radegast - Legendary Emblem - 3000 Glimmer / IB Rank 3
- Mantle of Gheleon Legendary Hunter Coak - 2000 Glimmer / IB Rank 2
- Iron Regalia Mask Legendary Hunter Helmet - 10 Crucible Marks / Level 20 / IB Rank 3
- Iron Regalia Boots Legendary Leg Armour - 10 Crucible Marks / Level 20 / IB Rank 3
- Felwinter's Lie Legendary Shotgun - 10 Crucible Marks / Level 20 / IB Rank 3
All in all, Iron Banner hasn't changed much, and the changes we have seen are contrary to what we had expected.
Of course, Bungie warned this might happen. In Bungie's Weekly Update explaining how Iron Banner would change, it did issue a disclaimer:
"Some of the above changes are still undergoing internal testing, and we may encounter critical issues that force us to postpone a change. We'll keep you posted," community chief David "Deej" Dague said.