I like Destiny 2. Is that a surprise? considering the stupid amount of hours I put into the original game, the fact that I am also playing far too much of the sequel should shock nobody. That I’ve already put 100 hours into the game in little under three weeks should prove that. Wow, when I say that out loud it sounds really bad.
It’s not to say I think the game is perfect though. While it’s better on the whole than the first game was upon release, there are a whole array of things I’d wish they had left the same. The customisation of subclasses for example. Also while set stats on weapons are a good thing, it takes come of the shine off getting a really good gun. All that aside, the one thing I have genuine to goodness mixed feelings on is the game’s new style of crucible. Which is its competitive multiplayer if you didn’t know that.
When I first started playing Destiny 2, I hated the new style of crucible. But then again, I didn’t like the competitive multiplayer in the first game to begin with either. Here is my issue. If I want to get a good portion of content out of the game, you’re forced to interact with the game’s crucible modes, whether you like it or not. The Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris were two modes in the first game which had unique rewards entirely based on competitive multiplayer performance.
Iron Banner wasn’t so bad because most everyone played it, and even if you weren’t too good, chances were if you banged your head against it for long enough, you’d get the gear you wanted out of it. The only thing skill really rewarded was the ability to stop playing the mode earlier. Trials was something else though. I’ll get to that later on.
My point being, I ended up playing enough Crucible in the first game that I eventually got pretty decent at it. I found the feel for my play style, the character’s capabilities and strategies based on the weapons I liked to use and the setup and perk selection I’d given my guardian. All of that muscle memory about how many hits it took to win a fight, or how my grenades and other abilities could be used to their full potential, it went out of the window when Destiny 2 came out. A game, for all intensive purposes, plays exactly the same as its predecessor.
So what’s different. Well first off, the overall feel of a crucible match is much different than the first game. Previously, competitive was a fast paced and action packed mode where you ran around the map taking people on in small individual firefights, making use of your overpowered abilities, overpowered secondary weapons and very overpowered heavy weapons.
To be blunt, it was a clusterfuck. People were throwing rockets and space magic around like nobodies business. And it was a blast. There was a lot that felt cheap in the first crucible, getting hit by a fusion grenade was annoying, being shot across the map by a golden gun was frustrating. But everyone had access to the same abilities. Matches turned on who could get a hold of the heavy ammo first when it spawned. It was a game where people fought all over, except when power weapons were available. Like Halo. Or Quake. (I think, I’ve never played Quake)
It was a power fantasy, everyone felt powerful and winning was based on who could make the best use of their overpowered arsenal. You could run around at a constant sprint, picking people off left and right and feel like a badass doing it. That feels like a thing of the past now.
The Crucible in Destiny 2 feels like a totally different beast. The most obvious change in the guardian’s proving ground is that games are now 4 vs. 4. And I mean all games. As a consequence, maps feel much more confined because of this smaller player count. This change makes it feel like it’s far less likely you’ll be running into other players and not find yourself in a third party’s scopes before your fight can be over.
As a result, the best strategy is to stick with your team. Which means your mobility is restricted, because you don’t want to venture too far and get team shot before you know what happened. So most crucible games involve one group digging into a defensible position and taking out the enemy team who try to break through with long range, accurate weapons. So scout rifles all around.
In the first game this would have been a much simpler task as players had access to a wider array of tools to prevent this sort of tactic from happening. Supers charged more quickly before, now you’re lucky to get a second super charge in a match. Abilities feel much less powerful than they did in the previous game. Hell, sticking someone with a fusion grenade was a guaranteed kill, now it barely takes half their life. So you can’t reliably take down three or four people at once anymore if you’re good enough.
Coupled with the changes to the weapon system in the game this is even truer than before. Moving shotguns, sniper rifles and fusion rifles to the power slot means that there is even less diversity to your load out than before. I understand that that Bungie struggled to balance the competitive mode in the first game. But it feels like they went way too far in the other direction here. It feels more like counterstrike than something from the people that made Halo.
Which brings me to what might be my biggest issue with the new Crucible. Your guardian’s abilities feel so weak. You can still squabble over power ammo, but you get so little of it that it feels hardly worth the effort of risking yourself for it. I love playing Destiny, but when it comes to the crucible, I often find myself absently thinking about competitive multiyear I’ve been having more fun with, like Titanfall 2.
Since my initial negative gut reaction to it, I have actually softened on Destiny 2’s Crucible. When playing with clan mates, it’s more fun that I was initially having with the mode. But playing alone is a whole different story. If I can’t communicate with my team, then I don’t really want to hang around them, I’d rather play the lone wolf. Which feels next to impossible to accomplish unless you’re really sneaky about it, a play style I don’t tend to gravitate towards.
But when being in a team seems to mean next to nothing when you try to step it up a notch and participate in the top level competitive mode in the game…
I’m not going to go into Trials of the Nine too deeply. Because I’m not afraid to admit that when it comes to that game mode, I become a pillar of pure human salt. It’s a mode that is there to tease me with really cool gear that I’m never going to own. I’m an above average player, In most of my crucible games I play with my clan, I end up with 20 somthing kills and an efficiency of 3 to 4. In Trials, I’m lucky if I come out of the other end with a single kill.
People in that game mode are savage. And it infuriates me. It’s a level of play that I feel is beyond my capabilities and as a result I’m simply not going to ever see any of those rewards, no matter how many attempts me and my friends make. I understand that it’s kind of the point, but it would be nice if you could get pity drops every few games, like the bounties in Trials of Osiris. Y’see, I was bad at that too, but at least we got to partake in the crumbs of loot that came from losing a dozen games in a row. Seeing entire teams running Mida Multitool endlessly just triggers me thinking about it. urgh.
Trials of the Nine, like trials of Osiris before it, feels like the one thing in Destiny 2 that is just totally beyond me and the part of the game I never feel like I can get anything out of, as much as I want to. On the whole, I’ve not really being enjoying Crucible. Bungie have overcorrected their broken mess of a competitive multiplayer. And like the Call of Duty game’s that did it before, I feel like the game suffered for it rather than benefits.
The mode it fine, it’s functional and does what it says on the tin. I just don’t think it’s fun anymore. And I’m already torturing myself enough with all the competitive Overwatch I play, another game like this is making me feel like a masochist.