One week ago today Bungie revealed the first gameplay of Destiny 2, and it was a pretty awesome reveal. Sure, I’m biased. After all, Destiny quickly became my favorite game and by far the one I pumped the most hours into (2,000+). Destiny 2 was my most anticipated game by far before the reveal, and that anticipation has only increased somehow since the reveal.
Surprise, surprise Destiny 2 looks like Destiny and seemingly plays like Destiny. I’m not sure how that’s suppose to be a bad thing for people who like Destiny. I love Destiny, I want more Destiny. I don’t understand how some people who have put a thousand hours into Destiny have been disappointed by the reveal because it’s “more of the same.” What did this minority expect the game to do be?
Destiny 2 looks to be a bigger, better, and vastly improved version of Destiny. I couldn’t be more stoked for that. And I don’t care about the framerate; we’ve played Destiny for three years at 30fps and it’s played fantastically. Yeah 60fps is better, but a solid and smooth 30fps is just fine and completely playable. I’ll stick with the PS4 Pro version, don’t care about playing on PC at all.
There’s a lot of changes coming with Destiny 2. In this article, I’ll be focusing on some of those changes as it relates to the Crucible. I may do one for PVE later, but they really haven’t detailed too much about PVE content. So with that said, let’s dive into my thoughts on Crucible changes coming in Destiny 2.
Crucible Exclusively 4v4 Modes
Our first and so far only look at the PVP of Destiny 2 came with the unveiling of a brand new Crucible mode: Countdown. This is a new competitive mode where players spawn on either Offense or Defense, and when the round ends you swap sides and roles. The goal is to plant a bomb at the enemy base, and then defend it until it explodes. Each round is worth one point. First team to six wins. To revive a teammate, you must use a revive token. Power weapon ammo is only granted to the one player who pulls it. Working as a team is the key to victory.
The new mode looks great and will probably be the true competitive mode in Destiny. But alongside the new mode it was also revealed that EVERY Crucible mode in Destiny 2 would be 4v4. That means the 6v6 modes and the 3v3 modes we currently have in Destiny will change a bit of be eliminated altogether. For example, I doubt we’ll see Salvage because Countdown is essentially a better and more competitive version of it.
I’m a little concerned about this change. In Destiny I played a fair amount of Crucible but stuck almost exclusively to 6v6 modes. I like Clash, I liked Control, and I dig Rift too. I’ve always been a fan of the bigger modes. The first FPS multiplayer game I got into was Black Hawk Down on PC with 50 players, and the first console multiplayer I really got into was MAG (where the 64 player mode was my favorite, not so much the 256). I didn’t play Trials, or a lot of Skirmish, Salvage, or even Rumble.
Now that everything is 4v4, things will change. Trials will be 4v4. Ultimately, while I’m still a little iffy, I do think the change will be a good one. 4v4 is probably the sweet spot for competitive play and it does seem to me that Bungie really wants to make Destiny 2’s PVP competitive. Everything about it screams eSport (spare me the comments about console frame rates and no dedicated servers).
Bungie has said matchmaking is being reworked to prioritize connection, and 4v4 means it needs less people to search for. The maps are designed with specific modes in mind, but at least with all modes being 4v4 you won’t run into a problem where a map feels too small for 6v6 or too large for 3v3. It should be just right.
The more I watch of the gameplay from the Countdown mode, the more I favor the 4v4 and the general feel of the new PVP coming to Destiny 2. My main concern or problem is that it limits the amount of friends you can chill in the Crucible with. You could run with five or even a full team of six in Destiny and have a lot of fun. Now if you’re in a small clan and have five people on wanting to do crucible, someone is getting left behind. No more raid team crucible nights. That’s too bad.
Ultimately though, 4v4 should see a more competitive and balanced crucible when combined with the rest of the changes. I’m overall excited for the direction they’re taking the Crucible in.
Weapon Changes Merge Special and Heavy to New Power Slot
During the reveal of Destiny 2 last week one of the first things I noticed at the very beginning of the campaign mission was the change to the weapon system. Those were primary weapons in the special slot.
As we would come to find out, the special weapons (with the exception of sidearms which are now primaries) have been merged with the heavy weapons and are now located in the “power slot.” This means sniper rifles, shotguns, and fusion rifles now share a slot with rocket launchers, swords and the new grenade launchers. Swords weren’t shown in direct gameplay and neither were heavy machine guns. We know swords are in the game, after all the digital deluxe/collector’s edition comes with a legendary sword. HMG’s are gone, retooled into the new sub-machine guns. This is because all of the weapons in the power slot have the capability to kill a guardian in one shot.
Now you have two primaries; kinetic and elemental. We’ll have to see exactly how the weapons perform, but I’m already planning on rocking a Scout/Hand cannon loadout or a Scout/AR one and both paired with a sniper rifle. With that, you should be good for any range.
The cool thing about the elemental weapons is that they actually matter in PVP. If you see a Dawnblade warlock in their Daybreak super, a solar elemental weapon will do bonus damage to that guardian. You might not have the power ammo to take them down in one shot, but since it seems all supers are now roaming supers, taking them down with elemental primaries will be easier than in current Destiny. Running will probably still be the better option, but at least you might have a chance.
In the Countdown mode at least, power ammo spawns at the first 30 seconds of a round and then again on a timer after that. Unlike the Destiny we’ve been playing for three years, now only the person who pulls the power ammo will get any. No more being close enough and everyone getting it. There are only two boxes, so now if you’re playing with randoms you’ll be fighting not only the other team in trying to get the ammo but also your own teammates. No idea if it’ll work the same in other modes, but I hope it does.
I’m a fan of primary gunplay. I prefer playing Crucible when most of my engagements are primary battles. I rarely pick up heavy, and while I’m fairly good at both sniping and using a fusion, I spend most of my time with a primary out. So this is a change that I am super excited about.
The vast majority of battles in Destiny 2 will be between guardians wielding a primary. And while there will probably be less lone-wolf going on, and thus a lot more team shotting, I am eagerly awaiting a Destiny PVP where a larger emphasis will be placed on primary gun skill and less so on spamming abilities and shotgunning.
Subclass Abilities & Set Subclass Builds
A constant source of frustration in PVP in Destiny right now is sticky grenades and how they’re one hit kills. Stick someone with a fusion or flux grenade and run away knowing they’re dead and with nothing they can do about it.
It is especially frustrating considering the amount of people who rock Tier 11 or 12 builds with max discipline allowing for their grenade to recharge in 25 seconds. Then of course you have class perks that might allow for two grenades (like Sunsingers), or exotic armor that allows for two grenades or spawn with full grenade.
Anyone who plays Destiny knows that most engagements begin with grenades being thrown. Sunbreaker Titan’s skating around the map with two fusion grenades, Sunsingers running around with two, there’s just one hit kill grenades constantly being thrown. With Destiny 2 that nonsense is thankfully over.
Bungie has wisely removed Strength/Discipline/Intellect from the game. Instead, those stats have been replaced with Armor/Recovery/Agility that is no longer bound by your subclass perk choices. There’s universal cooldowns now, although you can get armor that will allow for a class ability, grenade, or melee to recharge a little faster. It’s not going to be grenades thrown every 25 seconds though, and from what we’ve seen, there’s no “carry two grenades” perk in the subclasses either. Hopefully they learned their lesson and don’t allow that on any exotics either.
To go along with that, no grenades or abilities will kill in one hit. Sticky grenades will still do a lot of damage, but a sticky itself will not kill you. That’s a great change. My thought has always been if every class doesn’t get one hit kill grenades, no class should. That none will be one hit kills is a great thing. It’s also going to take three melees to kill a guardian as opposed to two (when you don’t have a melee charged).
Each class also gets a unique ability now. Hunters get a type of shadestep that will reload their weapon, warlocks get a energy rift that will either heal or give a 20% damage buff, and Titans can drop a shield that’s either a big one or a smaller one that they can duck behind and shoot over that will automatically reload their weapon each time they pop up. I don’t really have an opinion on these right now because I haven’t played it. I like them in theory.
There’s been a lot of chatter about supposed lack of customization in the new subclasses though. Each subclass gets two branches made up of four perks each. These perks are designed to work together and you won’t be able to mix and match the way you currently can. I like this change a lot. I think it helps with balancing, and for all the customization talks, most players run the exact same builds because only a few perks are actually useful.
For an example, let’s take a look at the revamped Gunslinger (which has been my favorite subclass for PVP in Destiny since the alpha).
Looking at the image above of the revamped Gunslinger, you can see that you can still choose between incendiary, swarm, and tripmine grenades and you still have high jump (formerly double jump), strafe jump (formerly better control), and of course triple jump. To the left of the large Golden Gun icon you’ll see the two hunter class abilities: marksman dodge (shadestep that reloads weapons) and gambler’s dodge (shadestep that restores melee when done near enemies). The class ability appears to be on a 17 second cooldown.
Where it gets interesting though is the two clusters of four perks. In the image above it’s the Way of the Outlaw branch (we don’t know what the other one is called yet). Way of the Outlaw has the following four perks:
- Bombs For Bullseyes – Precision hits generate grenade energy.
- Chains of Woe – Precision kills increase weapon reload speed for you and nearby allies.
- Explosive Knife – Throw a knife at enemies that explodes shortly after impact when melee energy is full.
- Six-Shooter – Golden Gun can be fired quickly up to 6 times but has a shorter duration.
The other branch has:
- Knife Juggler – Throw a knife at enemies when melee energy is full. A precision kill with this ability immediately recharges it.
- Gunslingers Trance – Enter a trance with each Precision kill, reducing the cooldown of your Golden Gun.
- Crowd Pleaser – Precision hits with Golden Gun generate orbs of light for your allies.
- Line ‘Em Up – Precision hits with Golden Gun increase its damage and extend its duration.
Looking at that, Way of the Outlaw synergizes much better with PVP whereas the unnamed one looks fantastic for PVE. We’ve all shot all three shots of Golden Gun at a boss and generated no orbs for our teammates. With that bottom tree, not only will be doing more damage to bosses thanks to Line ‘Em Up, but we’ll also be generating orbs while we do it. No kill required. Gunslingers Trance and Knife Juggler pair well and mean we’ll be getting our Golden Gun back much faster. A great PVE branch, not really anything you’d need for PVP except maybe Knife Juggler.
I like this change a lot. I don’t think it necessarily limits anything, because we already largely limited ourselves anyway. This just creates easy to tweak builds that have a specific purpose in mind, i.e. a PVP and PVE branch. I wouldn’t expect it, but this way (which kinda seems like little subclasses within subclasses) could also be expanded on by adding additional branches to freshen things up without needing to develop entirely new subclasses.
Finally, it looks like Bungie has learned their lesson with some cheesy stuff. Sunsingers, Defenders, and Bladedancers have all been replaced by new subclasses (Dawnblade, Sentinel, and Arcstider). No bubble, probably not any invisibility, and thankfully no self reviving. All things that have made cheesing aspects of Destiny extremely popular.
Radar & HUD Changes
In the Destiny we know and love today the radar makes it practically impossible to flank anyone. In Destiny 2 it should be a little bit easier. The radius the radar picks up on is shorter, meaning your enemies will need to be closer to be picked up by the radar. Also you’re not going to know whether or not you’re on the same elevation as your enemy because the radar no longer changes color. So you can get closer without being noticed and you can utilize your vertical space without the other guy automatically knowing you must be above them. I like these changes, and I say that as someone who watches the radar constantly.
There’s another change to the radar that I also like. Currently you can aim down sights and release the aim button for just a fraction of a second before aiming again to see the radar. This is a popular tactic for snipers to keep a check on their radar without really missing any ADS time. In Destiny 2, when you stop aiming your radar is going to disappear for about a second. It’s not a huge change, but it’s enough of one to make a little bit of a difference.
I think, and would hope ultimately, that the above radar/aiming change would mean the end of Third Eye as a perk in the game. Don’t get me wrong I love Third Eye, always have. I used Knucklehead Radar forever, loved the MIDA, and rocked the Memory of Gheleon artifact since it was first released. Having said that, with these changes, I think it would be best if the perk wasn’t in the game on either weapons or exotics in Destiny 2.
Everything about the HUD in Destiny 2’s Crucible is more player friendly and informative, and exactly what you want to see in a balanced competitive shooter. They’ve added map location call outs right under the radar, which is great because now you won’t have to hear someone’s goofy call-out and be expected to know what it is.
Unlike current Destiny, they’ve added player footsteps into the game. So now you’ll actually be able to hear when you’re enemies are near you, and not just when they jump (although jumps have new and louder sound effects too). This is going to give a little extra bit of advantage to those with decent headphones.
At the top of the screen there’s eight icons representing the eight players in the game. This shows the subclass they’re using, whether or not they have their super, and which one is dead. Super useful information that is hopefully present in all game modes and not just Countdown (and I assume they will be). In addition to knowing when the enemy gets a super regardless of where they are on the map, you’ll also know when they use it again by the icon, by even more noticeable audio cues (no more was that our teams super or theirs), and the kill feed will now say “Player has cast Golden Gun” or whatever the super is.
The kill feed will also display who picks up power ammo, where they were at when they picked it up, and what type of weapon they got ammo for. So now you’ll know exactly who has what type of ammo for what type of weapon and whereabouts they’re at on the map. That’s extremely useful information that will help players decide where to go on a map and when. Know someone has sniper ammo, you’ll know to avoid the sniping lanes around that area of the map.
These changes are Bungie and Activision’s attempt to push Destiny towards eSport, or at least better competitive play. I dig it. The only change we need now, and it’s one that would have to come weeks or a month or two after launch, is ranked playlists. Bungie hasn’t said anything about that, so while we shouldn’t expect it, I do believe it is something that will happen in Destiny 2. Too many of these changes are about creating a well balanced and competitive PVP.
I’m really excited for Destiny 2. I’m firmly on board with all of the changes, with the only one I’m still somewhat iffy on being the exclusively 4v4 modes. I see the upside to it, and don’t necessarily disagree with it, but I’ll still miss not being able to do fun crucible nights with a full team of six. For a game that’s placing even more emphasis on building clans, it’s a shame that there will be even less activities for a group of six to do this time around.
Of course it’s one thing to watch Countdown videos and form an opinion based on what you see and a completely different thing to actually get a feel for the game yourself. I was already eagerly anticipating the beta before the reveal, but that anticipation has only built in the week since the reveal. I can’t wait to jump in and see how the changes play out and compliment my playstyle, which has always been a primary first and mostly defensive one.
In theory, not having to worry about Titan skating shotgunners and sticky grenades should be a positive thing for my PVP performance. More than anything, I look forward to a primary based crucible with slower TTK and a little less fast movement (again like the Titan skating that is gone). The only change that isn’t there that I wish was is that supers in PVP still generate orbs; I wish they didn’t. But at least now it appears that killing a guardian in their super will result in an orb being dropped for your team. I suppose that’s pretty cool. But with every super being a roaming super (seemingly anyway) and power ammo being limited, I just don’t want to see games devolve into super trains the way they sometimes do in Destiny right now.
I enjoyed Crucible in Destiny but was always more of a PVE guy. I think House of Wolves was the best time for PVP in Destiny for the most part. Of course in the beginning of Destiny 2 I’ll still primarily be focused on the PVE content, but I suspect I’ll be spending A LOT more time in the Crucible in Destiny 2. I don’t think Countdown itself is going to end up being a favorite mode of mine, but if a lot of or hopefully all of the changes we’ve seen carry over to the other modes then Crucible in general will be a lot better.
I doubt it happens, but I’ve still got my fingers crossed for a surprise Destiny 2 alpha announcement. And sorry for the Xbox crowd, but I wouldn’t even care at this point if it was PS4 exclusive like the Destiny 1 alpha was. I put more hours into that limited alpha than I have games I’ve spent $60 on. So because I want to play it as soon as possible, I’ll keep hoping for that “Destiny 2 alpha” announcement at the Sony E3. I’d frankly be shocked if it did happen this time, but still doesn’t hurt to hope.
As is, we know the beta is coming and likely some point in July (and I tend to agree with the July 17th date, although that’s too far away Bungie). I’ve already pre-ordered digitally, so I’m good to go on the early beta access. I’m extremely excited for the beta, to say nothing of the full game.
Bring it on!