Destiny 2 is planning a major PvP overhaul once New Light and Shadowkeep launches

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I still think that on paper, Destiny 2’s Crucible of activity is one of the best things that the game has going for it. You’ve got a trio of classes to choose from, plenty of powers to cycle through and like the cheapest of weddings its up to you to bring your own entertainment to the not so open bar. I’m talking about guns of course, but maybe this comment only makes sense if you’re in the US.

Point is, is that the Destiny 2 multiplayer suite of PvP activity should be a highlight of the product that will create a foundation for the sequel once it goes free to play…right? Not exactly, because ever since it first launched in 2017, Destiny 2’s PvP has not been in a healthy shape. It’s not that it isn’t fun from time to time (MAKE MAYHEM PERMANENT YOU COWARDS!), but it seldom reaches the highs of Destiny 1’s amazing multiplayer.

The focus on team-based action that hewed suspiciously close to other Activision games featuring soldiers answering the obligation for military fealty was pretty obvious, and while some solid fixes were introduced over the last two years, you kind of get the feeling that multiplayer hasn’t been that big a priority for Bungie.

“There has been a lot of conversation (internally and externally!) at different points during the year around the support Bungie provides PvP,” Destiny 2 game director Luke Smith said in his latest director’s cut wall of text.

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.

So why have we been so quiet about PvP? Well, we didn’t have a lot to say. 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. 

PvP is in need of some quality-of-life improvements and restructuring. This Fall, with New Light (hopefully) bringing a bunch of new folks into Destiny and with our existing players looking for some updates to PvP, we will start by making significant changes to the PvP portion of the Director.

Those changes are massive. Playlists are getting retuned, matchmaking will see players of similar skill matched up so that New Light acolytes aren’t mercilessly slaughtered by Iron Banner veterans and some maps are getting the chop. Here’s the full list of changes:

  • 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.

As for Trials of the Nine? Don’t expect to see that mode return for quite a while as Bungie is still looking for a way to return the highest tier of PvP back to its glory days akin to that of Destiny 1’s Trials of Osiris. “Trials of the Nine wasn’t the hero we wanted it to be. We made too many changes to a formula that—while it had begun to decline in Destiny 1—wasn’t as flawed as we thought,” Smith explained.

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. 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.

In summary, a lot of change is on the way, but it’s the kind of change that will evolve over time as Bungie is promising to keep an eye on the Crucible and make tweaks where necessary.

Last Updated: August 19, 2019

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