Destiny 2 Shows Bungie Is Listening To Fans, In Its Own Way

Bungie is constantly changing and improving Destiny, though rarely in the precise ways players have requested. That seems like it will hold true for Destiny 2.

At last week's big Destiny 2 blowout event in Los Angeles, the differences between the new game and the old one were not always apparent.

I saw the same guns, the same enemies, the same classes, and the same celebrity voiced characters. I played a couple of hours of the game on PC, and even there it felt much the same. The same flow in combat, the same structure to missions, the same rhythm in the competitive Crucible.

On a more granular level, however, it became evident that Bungie has made some significant tweaks. Two of those tweaks may solve lingering Destiny 1 problems, though not in ways fans may have expected.

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After playing the game, I sat down for an interview with Bungie executive producer David Allen. Toward the end of our conversation, I asked about Bungie's relationship with Destiny's most ardent fans. I've always seen that relationship as adversarial, to the point where the early days of Destiny were all but defined by tensions between the people who played the game and those who made it.

I mentioned how Bungie has always seemed quick to patch out exploits that benefitted players -- things like the Loot Cave and various raid exploits -- while leaving things like the infamous year-one heavy ammo glitch unaddressed for months on end. What concrete steps was Bungie taking to improve fan relations with Destiny 2, and to respond to player feedback about bugs and other issues more quickly?

Allen started by saying that he didn't agree with my premise of an adversarial relationship, which, fair enough. He then brought up the new Guided Games system as an example of how they're incorporating fan feedback into the game. Destiny has never had matchmaking for its six person raids or weekly nightfall strikes. Bungie's stated philosophy has been that those sorts of ultimate challenges are designed to be played by teams who are using voice chat to communicate, and adding public matchmaking would dilute that and lead to more bad experiences.

Instead of adding raid matchmaking to Destiny 2, they're adding Guided Games. Allen told me they hope it will fulfil the same function but with a better overall experience.

Bungie demonstrated Guided Games' take on LFG during their stage presentation.

Guided Games allows players to seek out like-minded groups for challenging endgame content like the raid or the nightfall. In the past, players would have to turn to an outside LFG (Looking For Group) site, and Guided Games aims to let you find a group (or let your existing group fill out its ranks) without leaving the game. It remains to be seen how it will work in practice, but it's a good idea.

It's easy to wonder why Bungie wouldn't just go with the obvious solution and give players optional matchmaking for all events. Allen explained why they have taken a different approach. "We want to make it a situation where not only are you getting to play those activities, but you're getting to play those activities in a way that [is] closest to the way that we ideally want," he said.

"Raid matchmaking is something that the community really wanted, and we wanted to be able to deliver a way for people to play the activities they couldn't get into before. But it doesn't always necessarily take exactly the same form that people may have been asking for."

In other words, it's still Bungie's game. When players identify a problem or express a want, Bungie is going to come up with their own solution, even if it's not the one players think is best or most obvious. "I want to make sure we're listening to the community and acknowledging what the community wants by addressing those issues," Allen said. "But they're not always necessarily going to take the form that… the solution that people are asking for isn't always the solution that we're gonna end up on. And I think Guided Games is an example of that."

It's an approach I've noticed at several points during Destiny's tumultuous first three years, in particular in the flood of unasked-for quality of life improvements that came with 2015's The Taken King. "Given how much crap we've given Bungie over the last year for their various poor decisions," I wrote at the time, "it's reassuring to see them come up with solutions for things we didn't even realise were problems. Turns out these guys know what they're doing, after all. It's almost like they made this game."

Destiny 2's new weapon loadout system is another example of Bungie solving problems in ways players may not have asked for or anticipated. Under the old system, players had three weapons: primary (pistols, auto rifles), special (shotguns, snipers), and heavy (rocket launchers, LMGs). The PvP Crucible never quite achieved an ideal balance between those three weapon types, and things became particularly lopsided when balancing primary vs. special guns.

In particular, it was too easy to dominate in Crucible by running around with a shotgun. Straight-up primary vs. primary gunfights were fun, but rare. More often, you'd be halfway through a shootout with an adversary and someone would jog up and casually pop you with a Matador 64.

Between 2014 and now, Bungie tried to balance Destiny PvP in a number of different ways. They made shotguns shorter-range, and tried lowering their damage. They slowed the aiming on sniper rifles and increased the zoom on short-range scopes. When those tweaks didn't work, they went after ammunition, making it much harder to get sniper rounds and shotgun shells. Players cried bloody murder throughout the entire process.

Taking all of that into account, Destiny 2's weapon slot overhaul makes more sense. Under the new system, the first two weapon slots will be occupied mostly by guns previously thought of as "primary" weapons -- hand cannons, scout rifles, pulse rifles, auto rifles. The third slot will be a sort of wild card slot, and we'll have to pick one gun from among the special and heavy archetypes. Want a sniper rifle? Well, you can't have a rocket launcher. Want a shotgun? No grenade launcher for you.

I'm not completely sold on the new system, particularly for PvE. When I'm out in the world fighting aliens alongside my buddies, I like having a primary, special, and heavy gun. For Crucible balance, however, it makes more sense. With two primaries, players will be more versatile with their loadouts and able to engage in more varied shootouts in a given match.

You could switch to your scout rifle for a long-range encounter, then round the corner, whip out an auto rifle and hose down someone ten feet away. Allen also explained that your energy weapon will be more effective against anyone with an active super, which adds a tactical wrinkle to weapon selection.

Furthermore, by putting heavy weapons in the same slot (and therefore the same ammo tier) as special weapons, it stands to reason that shotgun and sniper ammo will become much harder to come by in the Crucible. Purple ammo drops will give you shotgun ammo, sure, but they could give other players rocket ammo. Special-archetype weapons could finally become the niche, special occasion weapons Bungie seems to want them to be in PvP.

Bungie could've continued to tweak the current weapon paradigm, buffing and nerfing primaries and specials according to the data they have collected. They also could've added raid matchmaking and fine-tuned it as they went. Instead they came up with their own, more unexpected solutions. Both fixes have yet to be tested, but the overall approach has grown common in the age of persistent, evolving "service" games like Destiny. Players and developers will often agree on the problem, but the solution may look different than what we were expecting.


Comments

    Hopefully they listen to the outcry and organise dedicated servers instead of P2P. Might be all well and good for most countries, but the majority of Aussie internet has disgustingly bad uploads, and lag is real.

      They have confirmed no dedicated servers...even for PC! It's all P2P...

      Bring on the PC hack-a-thon!

      Sadly (and stupidly), Bungie said no to dedicated servers for Destiny 2.

      Bungie can have a perfectly balanced game, but that's all moot when every game, lag is the deciding factor.

        RIP Australian players

          Oh no, they'll 'fix' it by tuning the CBMM or the SBMM, and continue to alter the meta based on their wims and ability to troll us. It appears their 'fix' is to limit to 4v4 so less connections to worry about.

          Really sad considering the power we have in current gen and improving networks...anyone remember MAG??? 256 online players on PS3's with crap internet...that was soooo much fun.

            The part about peer to peer for PC is confusing... cause Blizzard whole Battle.net model is has been around dedicated servers for over a decade.

            Everytime someine complains about PC connectivity, they will blame Blizzard and Blizzard will tell Acrivision its Bungies peer service and one thing leads to another... Destiny 3 developed solely by Blizzard.

              There has been some info around that with most saying bnet is only doing login/access and how the game runs (including cheat controls) will be all on Bungie...

              So yeah, we're fucked...

        I'm aware they said no. But as I said, I hope they listen to the outrage about it, and in the 4-5 months before it releases on PVP, change their mind, and organise dedicated servers. I mean, the whole article is about Bungie listening to their fans

          Fans have been screaming about this for the last 3 years so they had their chance with D2...so yeah...nah

      It is an issue for Australia more so than other places around the world... But you also have to understand the notion that PVP is one activity in Destiny (you can count PVP, Trials and Iron Banner as separate things I suppose) where as PVE has story, raids, strikes and whatever else.. It's a much bigger thing in Destiny than PVP and I think investing all that time, effort and money into dedicated servers might be wasted. PVE doesn't need dedicated servers is what I'm saying, so it wouldn't be a worthwhile investment for them.

      Also, dedicated servers won't stop laggy players from lagging. It will only stop host advantage and games that DC or are laggy all around for everyone.

      Last edited 23/05/17 2:14 pm

    the one thing I am really glad about is the fact that finally they have realised that in a PVP game you need to be able to bring people together. Crazy they didnt on the first one. Cant matchmake for nightfall, Trails, Raids, even important missions from within the game. Even things like a lot of the newer Exotic quests require the running of special instances etc. None of which is possible to group without going out of the game to organise. So for people like me who doesnt have any friends on same platform it really is a downer.

    I have been just going through my books trying to finish quests etec, so many of them I cant do and spent the weekend on LFG to try and get help with Sleeper Simulation final part etc with no luck. I think their quests got too complicated for average gamers and without the tools in game for them just made people like this day one player become disillusioned. So I am looking forward to in the game clan thing (hopeful with a decent size) and guided games.

      The final part of the Sleeper Simulant quest is really easy, provided you have Wrath of the Machine weapons. I personally really like Outbreak Prime for any of the Fallen strikes. If you don't have access to those, you can try and get a Devil's Dawn, a high-impact sniper rifle which can be obtained from the treasure chest in Sepiks Perfected, the Abomination Heist or the Wretched Eye strikes. At this point in time (where everyone is already at 400), there's no one running the strike anymore since it can be soloed with little effort.

      What's probably more difficult than this was soloing the strike for the Red Bull quest. I was able to finish that thing solo with 3 minutes to spare, despite dying three times.

    I cant believe they dont just do matchmaking for raids/nightfall. Is it because they're worried people will troll do it and make it hard for everyone else? Look at the heists on GTA online. They're hard and require multiple steps/roles etc but they have matchmaking for that. Players wouldn't blame bungie for some idiot deliberately wasting a spot in a raid, they blame the idiot. This looks more and more like a big DLC and it has the same amount of content as vanilla destiny did when it launched then I think alotta people are gonna be very disappointed.

      *if it has the same amount of content

      Matchmaking is not the right solution. Bungie knows that. Players seem to be wilfully ignorant about the reality it will create. The biggest problem and the main source of negativity in the experience won't just be bad players you matchmake with, it's that any sort of adversity the team experiences, players will drop out. Why wouldn't you, with another raid team a matchmake away? It's going to turn the raids into a generic and frustrating activity when before they were an epic challenge to complete with your friends.

      You're right, players won't blame bungie, they'll blame each other, and Destiny has one of the most positive communities out there. They don't want to ruin that.

        It's really frustrating how many players are ignorant of this though.

    I'm not a uni student anymore.......I'm a grown man with a family. All my gaming mates are too.

    So.....it's friggin difficult to get games organised with people I know. This was one of the main reasons I stayed out of Destiny last time round.

    My second point is, given the capness of For Honor.......any game that is mostly online, I will wait to see how it holds up prior to committing.

      Yep - feeling that pain. I've only just done my first raid ... ever ... patched together with ransoms I found on Xbox LFG and even then, I'm fairly sure it was an unhealthy amount of time dedicated to the process.

      Anything that lets me play the game in smaller chunks works for me. I'm a bit more optimistic and I preordered (because I want my Cayde-6 figure) but can totally understand why people in the same boat just gave it a miss last time around.

      (Duplicate - deleted)

      Last edited 23/05/17 8:00 pm

    I still don't get this hatred they have for optional matchmaking. They go on about how it will be a bad experience but don't get that going to external LFG sites has its own warts and still no guarantee that you will get a functional group and waste a lot of time getting there. Pretty sure this guided games will be troll heaven as well because if you want to fuck someone around, you can, regardless of the system in place.

    Bungie simply doesn't want to give us real options and continue to control how we play the game and I fear there will be some big caveats behind all this new stuff to do. I dread to see what 'solution' they have for their broken-ass RNG system.

      *gasp*

      Did you ... did you just dare to criticise RNGesus?

        RNG said that I wasn't allowed to use Gally in year 1, so I have a special hatred for it. Any hint of rng on rng again from these clustertards and they ain't getting my money.

      huh? if people want to troll you they can already do that via the LFG sites. so basically you are complaining about a much needed, quality of life system that is much better than what we have already.

      why am I surprised, thats pretty much on par with the last four years worth of feedback for dev decisions already. then again you do go on to say "Bungie simply doesn't want to give us..." of course they dont, the devs hate the players, they hate making games, they only do it to troll us. Seriously? you expect themselves to listen to the part of the fan base who uses lines like that?

    Hmmm, getting back into D1 after a break. Got to say I think in PvE the two primary, one special may be off.
    Encounters change rapidly, open area for sniping, corridor for primary, big nasty for rockets (or whatever your load is with a scout primary for sniping, shotty for corridors and a fusion for bad asses). It may work, I am sure we will adapt... just feels more like a PvP balance that will once again hammer the PvE game (like all those weapon balances... RIP Auto rifles in Year 2)

      Yeah it does look like the more they explain the change in weapons, the more it has to do with PVP...very weird.

        They should separate the stats of the guns, create one version of the weapons for PVP and one for PVE. You'd be using the same weapons, they'd behave the same, it's just that the numbers would be different. I get they want to maintain continuity across game modes but making changes to PVE experiences to accomodate PVP ones seems just as damaging to the player experience as two weapon ecosystems would be.

          They have hinted at pvp and pve stats being different on weapons but I'm still a little confused as to a good reason why I have to carry 2 primaries around in pve?

            One does energy damage and the other does kinetic. One for taking down shields and the other for hitting enemies that you don't have a matching energy damage for. Maybe?

    Not Adversarial.

    "Player versus" is the epitome of adversarial. Its players versus the game mechanics... which is versus the developers. Players exploits and game development bugs are a constant war between the factiinsn I hope working with Blizzard will teach them to be better at avoiding the mistakes of Destiny... loot cave made me laugg and forced plug pulling cheese was ridiculous.

    Wake me up when there's a decent narrative-driven, SP campaign please.

      I think it is going to be a decent SP campaign this time.

    Very disappointed about sniper rifles. I am fairly shit at them but i enjoyed the support aspect they could offer and getting my 12ish kills a game.

    Yes it was hard to catch a fast moving shotgunner but out-maneuvering and killing a sniper wasn't too hard. I am sad it is about to be lumped into the special ammo category. So now when i get some purple ammo i will have rockets fired back - that is not a gunfight.

    "We want to make it a situation where not only are you getting to play those activities, but you're getting to play those activities in a way that [is] closest to the way that we ideally want," he said.

    LOL, way to dictate the way customers have to play. This is just one of many reasons I didn't want to get this game, was the same sh*t in Destiny, only reason I did was b'c my daughter thought it would be cool, I tried telling her how this game was a far cry different from HALO. Now she realizes it....

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