A feature that Destiny players have been clamoring for since launch will be implemented by Bungie next week in an update that will expand the game's voice chat support.
Since Destiny's release, the only way to talk over voice chat was through "Fireteam" chat. This chat was only available to Guardians in a pre-formed party, and only allowed players to connect with others on their PSN or Xbox Live friends lists. Bungie had said in the run-up to the game that the developer wanted to avoid the toxic environment that can sometimes occur when random people talk to each other in-game.
But Destiny is, despite all of the FPS elements, an MMO at heart. The inability to talk with others met through the game's matchmaking system during group activities like Strikes frustrated a lot of players.
Bungie is addressing this concern as part of Destiny Update 1.0.3, which releases November 18. Fireteam Chat will be the same as usual, but players will now have another option: Strike Team Chat.
Strike Team Chat will first debut in a beta state, and is a separate channel that will include players met via Matchmaking. Players will also be able to use Team Chat with your current Fireteam, provided everyone uses the Team Chat channel. The option will be available for all matchmade activities, notably all Strikes and team-based Crucible matches.
Bungie is still taking steps however to protect its player base from in-game trolls. Players will not be automatically pushed into Team Chat, but will be given a notification upon starting a matchmade activity that team chat is available. Other players in the group will be notified when one member of the team joins the channel so that they can also opt in if they wish.
To enter Team Chat, simply go into Navigation Mode to bring up a new user interface with the chat options in the lower right of the screen. If at any time the player doesn't like what they're hearing, they can simply return to the Navigation Mode menu and toggle it back to Fireteam Chat.
There is also an option in the settings menu to allow solo players to automatically join the new Team Chat instead of having to manually opt in each time, but it won't be turned on by default. Being in a group with a Fireteam member will keep a player in Fireteam chat and not activate the automatic connection.
All things considered, this new addition should be widely welcomed by the player base. But could it also be the first bit of ground work Bungie is laying towards implementing another feature that Destiny gamers have long desired? Matchmaking is still not available for the game's one and only raid.
Bungie said before launch that it would not support matchmaking for raids because of the complex level of coordination required to complete them. But in the last couple of months, the Vault of Glass has gotten easier for gamers to complete as the community's knowledge of the required strategies increased.
Perhaps allowing random strangers to chat with each other in Strikes and PvP is an experiment to see if the community would be able to handle a similar system for raids. If Bungie still had concerns, they could implement a requirement where gamers need at least one Vault of Glass completion in their history before they would be allowed to use Raid Matchmaking and Team Voice Chat.
Destiny's first expansion The Dark Below will release on December 9th and it will bring with it a new raid, Crota's End. So that seems like that would be a good point to start opening up the Vault of Glass to a larger percentage of the player base.
The DLC update will also include some free content for players not interesting in paying for the expansion.
Regardless of how this all shakes out, it is refreshing to see Bungie continuing to listen to its players. Destiny may still be this year's "hottest 7 out of 10", but it's clear the developer is putting maximum effort into updating the game and hot fixing its flaws.
Follow Jason Gallagher on Twitter @MuckrakerJG