Although players have been requesting it since the early days of Destiny 1, Bungie confirms that Destiny 2 will not support matchmaking in the traditional sense. There will be a new feature called Guided Games that is meant to bring players together for challenging activities, but randomly pairing players is something that Bungie feels does not work for its game.
While speaking with Destiny 2 Project Lead Mark Noseworthy, Game Rant was able to talk a little bit about why Bungie feels matchmaking does not work. Noseworthy also shared some info about how Guided Games will support a variety of players with a variety of interests.
Matchmaking may have been something Bungie considered for Destiny 1, but at some point the development team decided it was “incompatible” with the core experience. As Noseworthy explains, matchmaking doesn’t compliment the type of welcoming environment that Bungie wants to create. Teaming random players together very rarely ends well.
"We’ve been pretty consistent that matchmaking is just incompatible for us. The type of community we want to have, the friendly, welcoming space we want Destiny to be. Because matchmaking takes anonymous people and puts them together and says, ‘Please behave.’ And then these really competitive activities we have say, ‘Please be good. Please communicate. Please coordinate. Please be fair to other players.’ And you can do that when you have social groups that exist, but it doesn’t work when we put you with a random player or someone else. So matchmaking is fine for pickup-and-play PvP or strikes where you can’t really suck at this strike if you run forward and shoot everything. You don’t need to talk. And that’s great for certain modes, but when you are playing Trials of Osiris, you need to talk. When you are playing the raid - people have roles, there is coordination.
No matter where players may come down on the issue of Destiny having matchmaking, it’s hard to argue with Noseworthy’s points. Destiny’s endgame is challenging and it requires a very specific mindset, so putting players together that are incompatible will likely lead to headaches.
Even so, Bungie has not left solo players completely in the dust for Destiny 2. A new feature called Guided Games will offer players and teams an in-game searching option whereby they can fill out their fireteam. But like an LFG, Guided Games doesn’t simply match two random players together; it lets a seeker or group match with someone that fits their style.
"That’s why we think something like guided games, which is going to take solo players and allow them to look at the clans that have opened themselves up to single players for a session of Trials, a Nightfall, or a raid and pick, ‘Hey y’know this group seems a lot like me. They said they are really into playing with Hunters and they all like shotguns, and they are open to noobs. Well, I’m a noob, I’ll play with these guys.’ Whereas someone else might say, 'I’m an elite player but I don’t have any friends, but these guys are about kicking ass and taking names in the Crucible. That feels like a group I could play PvP with for 20 minutes and see what’s up.” And the fact that there is this agency on the seeker’s part, and the fact that they join a group that has an identity - has a motto and a banner, and social norms and customs in how they operate with people. Putting them together is fundamentally different, socially, than matching up with random players.
Since the very beginning, the Destiny experience has been about bringing players together, anonymously. A solo player or a group of friends can jump into a strike or PvP match and compete for a similar goal without ever speaking or interacting, but somehow they share an experience.
However, there exists in Destiny a few gameplay experiences that are only for pre-made groups, namely Trials of Osiris, the Nightfall Strike, and the raid. For these ultra-challenging modes, Bungie doesn’t want to throw players into the deep end by matchmaking them with just anybody, but the devs do want Destiny 2 players to have in-game options.
It does sound as though Guided Games is a smart middle ground for Bungie and one that will likely help Destiny players find new friends or even clan mates to play with regularly. There is also apparently more nuance to Guided Games than was implied by the initial reveal, but Noseworthy says those conversations will be saved for a later date.
Destiny 2 releases September 8, 2017 for PS4 and Xbox One. The PC version currently has no release date.