Should games like Destiny be allowed to omit matchmaking?

A lot of games nowadays require teamplay and don't offer matchmaking. Not everyone has 5 friends to play with 24/7. This is unacceptable.

Video games were originally produced as not only an entertainment source, but a way to make friends. A recent trend in games is forgetting the latter and forcing gamers to bring their own friends to the party.

Games such as Destiny are omitting matchmaking for their hardest, most prominent missions and single players can barely experience the entirety of the story unless they have five friends to do everything with. From Raids, to Trials of Osiris, let's take a look at how one of the world's best games fails to please.

The Backstory

I've been out of the Destiny droves for quite some time, focusing my efforts on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for my YouTube channel.

I was an avid Destiny gamer before, however, and I certainly knew my way around the game. Upon my return, post-Taken King, I've realized a few differences, though most of them were easy to wrap my head around. Then, Iron Banner returned to the Tower.

Along with the announcement of Iron Banner came the tale of the Trials of Osiris, a game mode I've heard of, but never experienced. With the promise of challenging enemies and devastating rewards, my interest was officially piqued.

Today I maxed out my Iron Banner reputation and went in search of the Trials of Osiris game mode. I learned that Trials had been pushed back due to an exploit some gamers have been using in Crucible. No big deal. Then I saw it. Trials of Osiris disables teammate matchmaking, so players will have to form their own fireteams.

The Breakdown

I happen to be one of those stereotypical gamers that plays alone. Between YouTube, GameSkinny, and any other outside interests, I can't find the time to band together five of my friends to play as a team. Brilliantly, I previously came to the conclusion that because Raids offer exceptionally good gear if players complete them in a fireteam, Trials would offer single players gear of the same quality.

Essentially, if Destiny players want to rank in the top percent of leaderboards, stand a chance against opposing players in the Crucible, or experience the entirety of the game, they must do so with five friends. 

Gone are the days where players can relax and blow the heads off of enemies in peace. Instead, one must listen to the incessant rambling of fireteam members and work in unison to fight the real boss battles in games.

Game Modes

Think about it. In Destiny, players are forced to play with other people, just to get by. Standard strike modes offer matchmaking, generally finding some high-level player who runs through the entire match and kills everything without letting you get a word, or bullet, in edgewise. Crucible offers team player versus player games.

Story mode, the only mode possible without partners, is the most neglected mode in Destiny, taking mere hours to complete. That only scratches the surface.

Raids, the critically acclaimed, all-star game modes in Destiny are why many players buy the game, and debatably the largest reason for the game's success. Raids are only available to fireteams of six players. You can enter a Raid solo, but good luck entering even the first area! The entire puzzle aspect of any Raid requires all six members to be doing the right action at the right time. In short, solo gamers need not apply. Raids are where the real Destiny action comes out with epic boss battles, brain melting puzzles and blockbuster level design. Not to mention Raid gear. The only way to earn the best gear in the game is through these incredibly hard levels.

Trials of Osiris, Raids' player versus player brother-in-law, requires a fireteam of six members because, let's face it, if you show up alone, against six maximum level, best buddy enemies that are fully equipped with Raid gear, you're dead already. 

Finally, Weekly Nightfall Strikes. Bested only by Raids, Nightfall Strikes offer incredibly challenging enemies, level modifiers that drastically change everything you know about the game and great rewards. Nightfalls are a bit better, requiring only two fireteam members to play, but the game still won't find those players for you, you'll have to bring your friends to the party.

The Verdict

Games like Destiny seriously need to have a warning on the front of the case that says, "Warning, if you don't have 5 friends, you won't be able to play this game," because without those fireteam members, players are missing out on the meat and potatoes: Raids, Trials, and Nightfalls. Story, Vanguard, and Crucible constitute the salad, and nobody only eats the salad. Even vegetarians have tofu.

The solution to this major problem is so simple: matchmaking! I'm single and ready to mingle, so let me. Find five other players that are roughly my level and let us complete the Raid together. I know what you're going to say. "But BlackTide, what happens if I join five people that don't know what they're doing?" Another simple solution, have a grading system and match players based on their Raid experience. Join four Raid experts with one Raid apprentice, and one newbie.

When matchmaking was first introduced to video games, it was all about making friends. "Matchmaking is going to be great. Players will meet strangers that enjoy the same game, become friends and play together." Is the matchmaking era over? No! Has every gamer in the world found at least five other players that they do everything with? No! What about the new players, people that only joined the ranks of gamers with the fresh consoles? What about the stereotypical gamer with zero friends? 

Long story short, video games should never, ever, neglect matchmaking. There are always people out there who prefer to be a lone wolf. It's one hundred percent biased to allow people with friends to experience an entire game while solo players only get the basics. If video games can't find a way to bridge this gap, perhaps they shouldn't be released in the first place.


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Published Oct. 19th 2015
  • shox_reboot
    I agree with you for the most part. I consider myself a loner in the gaming world. Between experience playing online with teammates screaming in my headphones and my general preference to avoid mingling, Destiny is a game that basically told me to shape up and reach out to other people or sit idly by and not get the money's worth of the game.


    Just because matchmaking isn't there doesn't cripple the game completely for us lone wolves. The Destiny lfg app is a pretty useful tool for searching for people to do the stuff you want with.

    And then there's the reason why Destiny left out matchmaking for the bigger pvp/pve content. Honestly? Doing them without voice comms is like signing yourself up for multiple headaches. You can compare it to WoW or other games but unlike those, typing instructions isn't an option either.

    That's not to say I don't want matchmaking on some stuff and more opportunities for us to advance in the game on our own. But the difficult endgame content should force us all to step outside our comfort zones. More often than not you'll find the best moments of this game comes with being in a fireteam and doing stupid shit.
  • Ainyan
    Please. I've done all of the content in Destiny (except ToO because I have no interest in end-game PvP) and only one of my RL friends even plays the game. He and I duo through Nightfalls and use /r/fireteams and for the raids, and it works out great. I've even met new people using these tools to make friends who'll occasionally pop into my party or invite me along for some fun. We don't have a regular group, and 9 times out of 10 we have to look outside of the game and our friends lists to find people to play with.

    Destiny has matchmaking for all but the most end-game content - hey, just like the world's most popular MMO, World of Warcraft. I mean, you can't just random matchmake for Mythic or for ranked Arenas, you know. And frankly, I really shudder to think of who I might be matched with going random into the raid or into the Nightfall. With external LFG sites, you can search for certain types of players, read their blurbs, even look them up online to see if their gear/experience matches what they say. Can't do that when the system plops them willy-nilly into your game.

    Actually, I'd love it if Destiny had more matchmake-less content. I'd love to be able to solo regular strikes, or duo them with my husband. Sometimes I want to get a little crazy or explore side areas and that's really hard to do with some impatient random running full-steam ahead.
  • BlackTideTV
    Different strokes for different folks. Like I mentioned in the article, matchmaking doesn't need to be 100% random, and it seldom is. Based on times completed, general light levels (taking into account raid gear, etc) and even by including a ranking system in the game, matchmaking wouldn't be as crazy as you might think.

    Join two Raid Professionals with 2 Raid Apprentices and 2 Newbies. Just because there are people that have never done Raids out there, does that mean they never get to do Raids? A lot of people refuse to play with fresh Raiders because Pros always want to exploit certain things, or refuse to explain slowly and just run ahead. So the pros will get better and the noobs will stay noobs. That's not fair.

    Then there's the idea that, sure I might have 4 friends to play with. What about the other spot? I've sat in many a lobby for 30-45 minutes with 4 other guys just inviting every single player on my friends, and recent players, lists, looking for a sixth. Instead of wasting so much time we could've jumped into a matchmaking game and found one more guy.

    I'm not saying that everyone has to do it. If you still wanted to play with your friends only, it's pretty simple, get a fireteam of six. When I don't have a fireteam of six, I'd just like to start a game without any hassle.
  • Durinn McFurren
    Having matchmaking for the hardest content in a game is generally futile. Very hard content usually requires a team of people who not only know what they are doing, but are communicating together as well. I seem to recall some famous MMO designer, probably Celestalon but I don't know for sure, stating that in his opinion Blizzard should never add matchmaking for any content above LFR-difficulty raids (aka 'tourist mode raids'), because anything above that required more than would be reasonable for a matchmaking system. And I agree.

    You don't need friends you know IRL; in all the MMOs I've played, I've gone out, researched guilds, and found one, so that I could do the hard content in it.
  • BlackTideTV
    I understand how online multiplayer works. The point of the article is not that you need friends in real life. I've got tons of online friends. The point of the article is that single players can't experience a game on their own.

    Even with online friends or a guild or a clan, you have to organize a meeting with 5 other players if you want to accomplish anything. I should be able to turn on my system at 3 in the morning when no one on my friends list is on and find a group of people to play with.

    Matchmaking, as "futile" as it might seem could always benefit someone. What if one of my fireteam members is sick and we need someone to fill the gap? A single player could get matched with us.

    The whole point I'm trying to make is: Although it may seem useless, matchmaking should be included for the less fortunate gamers.
  • Durinn McFurren
    I do understand your frustration. I think something like WoW's 'Custom group LFG' tool could be really beneficial in most MMO-style games (for those who aren't familiar with it, custom group LFG lets people advertise, browse, and apply, to groups for just about anything, from world questing to pretty high end raids - but it is NOT an automated matching tool, it requires people to apply and be accepted). My point is just that there's a reason why game designers are wary of including automated LFG matching in games like this, and that ultimately, players should not expect to clear all high-end content unless they are in a dedicated group of skilled players. And I can understand why developers would not want to make an LFG tool which will put players in random groups that are virtually guaranteed to fail.

    Perhaps a better solution would be to try to include multiple difficulties of all content, the way WoW has done. Unlike some, I see LFR difficulty as a nice way to let the whole community be included in even the newest raids.

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