One of the biggest stories to come out after the gameplay reveal of Destiny 2 was the fact that, despite it being one of fans' most requested features, the game will not have dedicated servers.
The lack of dedicated servers—something many other first person shooters such as Call of Duty and Overwatch employ to create a stable online experience—has been a concern for many fans. But Bungie explained today that, while Destiny 2 does lack traditional dedicated servers, the game uses a hybrid system that the developer promises will lead to smoother online experiences than the original game.
Bungie's Engineering Lead, Matt Segur, addressed the concerns and criticisms about dedicated servers in the developer's weekly blog, and explained that one big change from Destiny to the sequel is that all the activities in Destiny 2 will be hosted by one of Bungie's servers:
"Every activity in Destiny 2 is hosted by one of our servers. That means you will never again suffer a host migration during your Raid attempt or Trials match. This differs from Destiny 1, where these hosting duties were performed by player consoles and only script and mission logic ran in the data center."
While that sounds a lot like dedicated servers, Segur goes onto explain that Destiny 2 is not using dedicated servers as the gaming community understands it, but is using a hybrid system that combines dedicated servers and peer-to-peer hosting:
"The server is authoritative over how the game progresses, and each player is authoritative over their own movement and abilities. This allows us to give players the feeling of immediacy in all their moving and shooting – no matter where they live and no matter whom they choose to play with."
Destiny 1 is using a similar hybrid system; however the hosting of all activities in the sequel as mentioned above is slightly different. Some believe that the choice to not use fully dedicated servers has to do with saving cost, but Segur assured fans that's not the case and that Bungie has "invested heavily" in online stability, which includes using cloud servers for the first time.
Does that mean the common lag, which any Destiny players has experienced before, will no longer be present? Segur says enemies who warp around the map and don't take damage should be reduced in Destiny 2, but Bungie "can't promise they'll be eliminated."
While latency is an experience common to Destiny, one problem that could pop up for the first time is cheating with the PC version of Destiny 2. Especially with the lack of dedicated servers, the PC version is more susceptible to exploits. Bungie says it hopes to have the answer with "a variety of top-secret strategies to ensure that the life of a cheater in Destiny 2 PC will be nasty, brutish, and short."
Of course, for now, all this is just talk. While it sounds like improvements to Destiny's networking has been improved for the sequel, players won't know if this system will work as intended until the player base descends on the game in September. But Bungie should get a chance to put its networking through the paces when the Destiny 2 Beta comes out this summer. And it will be a big test for Destiny 2, as the lack of traditional dedicated servers is sure to remain a common gripe unless fans can be proven otherwise.
Destiny 2 will launch September 8, 2017 on PS4 and Xbox One, The PC version releases at a later, unannounced date.