Destiny's Iron Banner Event Doesn't Seem All That 'Iron'

Destiny's Iron Banner Event Doesn't Seem All That 'Iron'

Destiny's Iron Banner multiplayer event was expected to be a hardcore, no-holds-barred fracas. It's called "The Iron Banner," after all! But as it turns out, it's not as extreme as some players were hoping it'd be.

Destiny is a first-person shooter that works like a role-playing game, in that the gear and abilities you acquire over the course of the game get gradually more and more powerful as you progress. That means that your level 28 character will be significantly more powerful than my level 4 character.

The game's basic player-vs.-player Crucible multiplayer accounts for that imbalance by removing damage and armour bonuses and "evening out" the stats, which theoretically provides a level playing field. The Iron Banner was supposed to change that.

The Iron Banner is an optional, limited-time event that launched this week and will run until next Tuesday, October 14. The idea has been that players would finally be able to engage in competitive combat with their stat-restrictions removed. Elite players would have a significant advantage, and would have a chance to really enjoy their powerful gear. The weapons and armour we've all earned on the battlefield would finally make a real difference when fighting other players.

Thing is, now that the Iron Banner is underway, it doesn't actually look like the training wheels have been completely removed. Low-level players are reporting that they are able to compete with high-level players without too much trouble, most players agree that by and large, Iron Banner matches don't feel all that different from ordinary Crucible matches.

In these videos from OohaPiecaCandy, he takes a level 4 warlock into the Iron Banner and proceeds to kill level 26 and 27 players without too much trouble.

Granted, Candy is playing pretty cautiously, his team is strong, and the players he's up against aren't putting up much of a fight. Furthermore, it does appear to take him a bit longer to take down a high-level character than it would in regular Crucible play.

All the same, it seems evident that the gap between a level 4 character with a crusty gun and a level 27 character with an exotic world-beater isn't nearly as wide as it ought to be. In the non-Crucible parts of Destiny, if a level 4 player tried to take on a level 27 enemy, it would be a hilarious mismatch — the player's bullets would barely make a dent, and he or she would be killed by a single hit from the enemy's weakest weapon. Many players were expecting something similar from the Iron Banner.

Bungie's language around the Iron Banner has vague, though they have consistently implied that gear would make a big difference. "Equip your most powerful gear," reads the official Iron Banner site. "The Attack and Defence ratings for your weapons and your armour will be crucial to victory."

"The Ratings on your Gear Will make all the Difference!" claimed Bungie's David "DeeJ" Dague in a recent news post. "UNLIKE the Other competitive playlists in Destiny, Iron Banner IS not a level Playing field."

Since the launch of the event, Dague has begun soliciting player feedback on the Bungie forums. "Were you detecting an advantage attributed to your more powerful gear and weapons?" he asked. "Did the experience feel different than standard Crucible combat?"

"If by 'advantage' you mean 'getting killed even MORE easily by players 15 levels lower,'" wrote one player, "then yes, the advantage was enormous! You did a splendid job."

"You can imagine my disappointment to see lower levels kill me with 'grey' guns, and not feeling like I could over power the lower levels," wrote another. "It just feels like Crucible."

Many other players agree. "It's like you guys were afraid of people complaining," wrote one, "and so you leveled the playing field for a game mode that isn't supposed to be fair."

It's worth bearing in mind that Bungie will likely be repeating events like this, and that even in the midst of the current event, they could tweak the balance to adjust for player complaints. I asked Bungie PR for clarification on how the Iron Banner works, but they said Bungie had no current statement on the matter. They did mention that it's likely Dague will address Iron Banner feedback in tomorrow's regular Bungie Weekly Update, so we'll probably hear more then.

For now, though, it's too bad that the Iron Banner hasn't been the interesting, unbalanced game-mode that Bungie implied it would be. As the Vault of Glass raid demonstrated, Destiny is at its best when at its most uncompromising. It would have been nice to see Crucible players get something similar.

Gif credit: DestinyOverwatch


    I have been wondering how the odd lvl 6 characters I've been seeing are being reasonalby effective. I chalked it up to me being awful

    If you're getting killed even more easily by lower levels players in the Iron Banner than in the Crucible, I'm sorry but you're not that good at the game. Same old excuses of 'I got pwned, the game is broken' flying around because someone can't take it on the chin.

    What does annoy me though considerably is that a few days before the Iron Banner started Bungie announced which weapons they were looking at nerfing and for what reason. Brilliant news...if only they'd've done something about these weapons before an event like the Iron Banner. Now almost everyone's running around sniping people with auto-rifles from half way across the map and then running in with shotguns from a distance.

    Last edited 10/10/14 3:11 pm

      I'll agree for the most part but a low level player probably shouldn't be effective at all. I mean their gear is one thing, but under level 20's should at most have half their subclass abilities unlocked.

      Personally I noticed some difference but not much. It's mostly just weapon reliability changes. A Fusion Rifle smokes anything with standard shields in Crucible but in Iron Banner there's a good chance the other player will survive. I'm not quite sure where I stand on that. I like using Fusion Rifles but I'll admit once you nail the timing they can be pretty over powered (especially when the game compensates for lag enough that enemies can't weave properly). On the other hand they're pointless if they don't kill in one hit.

        The lowest player I've run into in the Iron Banner so far was about a 16 or so and they finished bottom of the table with about 3 kills. I would be annoyed though if I came across a level 4/5 person and they weren't getting killed like a Dreg/Vandal in the Cosmodrome.

    I love this game but some of the decisions being made by Bungivision are just baffling.

      My love for the game has been diminishing quicker and quicker the last couple of weeks. It's a pity because the shooter mechanics, movement and grenade physics feel the best of any game on the console at the moment.

        Yeah same but that's mostly due to me being 29 and having nothing to do or work for aside from the raid.

    Even with the Iron Banner crap one thing Bungie have kind of dropped the ball on is the complete lack of any end-game PvP. The only way to realistically progress in this game is to PvE.

    Also is anyone else from Australia watching those videos and thinking "holy crap the numbers pop up as soon as a bullet hits something??!"

    when he died he kept his launcher ammo? I always loose mine. that is suss.

    Last edited 10/10/14 4:51 pm

    I dunno I'm pretty sure my titan's stats are wayyy better. I can take more hits (I have survived a blade dancer attack and a fusion rifle hit), recover faster, be able to make it close enough to shoulder charge/fly kick, and my comedian shotgun and my rare lightning machine gun felt super effective.

    On one game all my team members left (which is the real problem lately) so I had to play against an entire team, I lost (of course) but I was able to take 2 or 3 players down for every life. That suros auto rifle (that I want so bad) is tough to beat.

    In normal crucible I sit pretty average to low on the end round stats. This iron banner I have been able to be up the top end so I dunno it feels like there is something different.

      I did see that there were some lower level players that were doing ok, so there might be something going on where people under level 20 might be getting some stat boosts which seams counter-intuitive to the iron banner

    I am Level 27 atm. I have been going well at co-op, but crucible has been hard for me and I hadnt played much because I was getting slammed. I think its because I am less experienced with stick than mouse. Then I played iron banner last night and killed it. 1.5 K/D and I think that was my first positive K/D.

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