Destiny 2 fans have been eating well these past few years. Well, if you’re a PvE fan at the very least. PvP, on the other hand, has been left to die a slow death in the eyes of the community, with the Destiny 2 State of the Game being the final nail in the coffin – or so we thought. Destiny 2’s game director, Joe Blackburn, has posted a more casual development update video that not only eases the concerns of the competitive multiplayer community, but also promises overhauls to Bungie’s approach to Destiny 2 PvP content.
Ahead of The Final Shape release date and the upcoming reveal of the new expansion, Blackburn has posted a video discussing the community sentiment and various planned changes to the game on his personal Twitter account. Not only is this 15 minute video a very different style of communication than Bungie has typically done – taking a much more laid back approach – but it highlights how the team is overhauling its attitude towards PvP.
From the August 2023 State of the Game blog, avid PvP fans felt left in the dust, with Gambit being pushed to the sidelines due to poor “player engagement” and the potential of new maps being set against new PvE content. One of the most picked apart sections was the explanation that, “When we do focus our resources on building new Crucible maps, it comes with the tradeoff of multiple teams’ bandwidth”, which in effect would hinder the development “of experiences that players also hold dear, such as new story or Exotic mission content, core activities that make up the foundation of each Season, or new destinations.” With only one PvP map being added each year, and the blog post reaffirming this, hardcore PvP fans were expectedly upset.
Thankfully, Blackburn’s video provides several promising u-turns and changes in direction.
Firstly, according to Blackburn, the team agrees that one new PvP map per year and a handful of reprised maps simply isn’t working, stating that “this approach is not producing the Crucible that our players expect [from Bungie]”. He goes on to say that, despite it providing a slow but steady trickle of new arenas, it’s also resulting in the new map having to cater to all modes and playstyles. Blackburn claims that having to design a map that “has to do everything”, causes it to “not be good at anything”.
So, Bungie is instead changing its philosophy to map design and PvP content updates, opting to release multiple Crucible maps each year in a single map pack that is free for all players. Having several maps in one drop will, as Blackburn claims, let Bungie focus efforts on “a bunch of new experiences that can all be good at specific things, and adds a big variety in a single drop.”
It’s not all about the maps though, as Blackburn also promised two new modes on the horizon – Checkmate and Relic – that will improve the foundation of Destiny 2 PvP. Checkmate is focused more on gunplay, with Special Weapon ammo having to be earned and abilities being tuned down. This will make the best Destiny 2 PvP weapons even more important and provide more of the old-school Bungie multiplayer experience that could make Destiny 2 one of the best competitive FPS games. Relic, on the other hand, is all about the chaos of Destiny’s sandbox, with the iconic Relic weapons like the Aegis Shield, Scythe, and more.
Most importantly though, Blackburn revealed that these new modes – coming during Destiny 2 Season 22 – will be added to the core playlists. In the past, Bungie has added new modes to the Crucible Labs playlist to test them out significantly beforehand, resulting in long waits for the full launch of new modes. Blackburn believes that “this has been blocking [Bungie] from doing the right thing.” So, these modes will now be added directly into the core PvP experience that most of the player base experience. While he expects there to be more bugs, Bungie is willing to “take on that bug weight, take on some of the jank” for the betterment of the PvP experience.
To wrap up the PvP segment of Blackburn’s video, he notes that Bungie is building a “strike team” for PvP. These have been put together in the past to tackle big issues with the experience more effectively, such as a “strike team for investment” between Curse of Osiris and Warmind which built systems to make Destiny more rewarding, including the development of the Masterwork system.
The goal of this PvP strike team – lead by PvP developers – is to rapidly develop changes and content with less roadblocks than there would usually be. Additionally, these changes will be communicated with the community much earlier, so the players are more in the loop on the updates.
So, with all these behind the scenes changes and new Destiny 2 PvP content in the pipeline, the Crucible experience should be experiencing a facelift in the coming seasons before and after The Final Shape. Gambit, however, is unfortunately still left in the lurch – sorry Gambit fans. While we wait for these updates though, why not dig into the best Destiny 2 weapons? After all, it won’t be long until we’re taking the fight to the Witness.