While there are certainly problems with Destiny in its current form, it’s been clear from the beginning that the game would constantly evolve through both free updates and paid expansions. This will no doubt frustrate a segment of gamers who feel slighted — but there are also many players who are so taken with the title’s core gameplay that they’re willing to give developers Bungie the benefit of the doubt.
Over the two months since the game released, Bungie has been running a range of events to varying degrees of success. In a blog post last week, the studio outlined the direction they’re heading in for the future of these events, and it certainly seems like they’re taking player feedback on board.
For one, the much-maligned Queen’s Wrath event is ‘going back in the oven for a while’. Heavily criticized by players for its presentation of campaign missions presented as something fresh and new, few would disagree that the event needs an overhaul and new content to be made for it to hold any sort of appeal. On the other hand, the Iron Banner multiplayer event showed a little more promise — but it had undeniable issues preventing it from living up to what it could be. With good reason, it has been a priority for Bungie, and thankfully lead designer Tyson Green states that ‘with Iron Banner, we have been able to move forward quickly with a lot of your feedback.’
The biggest change relates to level advantages; the concept of Iron Banner is that your character level is more closely reflected in how potent your gear is, unlike the heavily balanced standard modes. Up until now, Iron Banner has only offered a small advantage for higher level players with rare and more powerful weapons and armor, but the difference will be ‘much more dramatic’ when the event returns.
To make sure this doesn’t lead to player frustration, you’ll now need a Fireteam Leader who is above level 20 to enter Iron Banner games. This seems like a sensible restriction, not least because most players will have already reached level 20 by now — and those who haven’t will still be allowed in as long as they have what Bungie refers to as a level 20 ‘chaperone.’ It’s simply a part of the end game content now.
Rewards are also being tweaked; there will new exclusive reward armor on offer, as well as an expanded choice of weapon types. Having a new weapon, particularly an exotic, only to find that it’s of no use to you is one of the most disheartening things that a Destiny player can experience — some have even been so frustrated with their weapon’s lack of killing power that they’ve elected to use the gun as a musical instrument.
However, equipment is being made better so as to be more useful to high-level players and the Iron Banner armor now matches the effectiveness of raid gear, helping players hit the hard cap of level 30 — but there are other methods of making drops satisfying being explored. For one, you’ll be able to ‘Reforge’ your new Iron Banner weapons with Lord Saladin, re-rolling all your upgrades at the cost of resetting your progression.
Other changes include a new reputation gain buff called ‘Tempered’ that lasts for 12 hours, available from Lord Saladin, as well as tweaks to bounties and a new method of rewarding the ‘perseverance and tenacity’ of players who remain in the Iron Banner playlist after a loss. Players now earn medals for completing matches on a loss, and when they eventually hit a win, those medallians are exchanged for an amount of points almost equal to wins. Now players have the incentive to keep playing instead of dropping out of matches that are going south.
Bungie is serious about changing Destiny for the better and they need to in order to win the brand respect and disappointed fans back; we’ll just have to see whether it’s enough to hold the interest of their audience. Two months after its launch, the game seems like an even riskier proposition than it did during development — that said, there’s still the potential for a huge reward to come from it. And millions of players still play daily.
Destiny is available now for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.