What Destiny 2 Needs to Hold a Community Better Than Its Predecessor
For anyone game with online features, one of the most important parts is matching players up with other players. If you can't do that, then you might as well not even have a multiplayer component. Yet every year we see AAA titles release that fail to adequately master this part of the equation.
And let’s face it. Destiny fell into this latter category. You could really only get into a matchmaking queue for strikes and the Crucible. Everything else in the game required you to go onto one of the "looking-for-group" websites or apps and roll the dice. While fans banding together to support a title is commendable, it's not okay that much of the time this was the only way to actually play the game.
Often, if you wanted to do something different than a Raid or a Lighthouse run, you’d be out of luck. Wanted to do an activity like Court of Oryx, Prison of Elders, Archon’s Forge, patrol, or even a story mission? Well, that's too bad because there were practically no people looking to do the same thing.
Even if you wanted to do the more popular Raids or Lighthouse runs, the stipulations people put on joining their group became ridiculous. “Must have 2+ k/d” one would say for a Lighthouse team. “Must have Gjallarhorn” was the standard for Crota’s End when it was the game’s main Raid. Since obtaining Gjallarhorn is completely RNG based your inclusion on a team could easily be left up to pure luck.
It’s these types of disappointing stories I look back on when Bungie announced Destiny 2.
Destiny 2’s Matchmaking So Far...
Bungie made a big deal about Guided Games during their reveal stream on May 18th. Guided Games is a way to match clans with single, clanless players so:
- The clans wouldn’t have to field 6 players every time they wanted to raid, and
- Clanless players could have a matchmaking experience that wasn’t pure hell.
Guided Games works like this: a clan wanting to put a team together gathers players from within the clan, and then sets the group to Guided Games, listing the number of open slots. On the other end, a clanless player can see available clan teams, and can either elect to join a team if they like the clan, or refuse, based on how the clan presents itself.
Bungie has stated that Crucible and Strike matchmaking will return, and normal-mode Raids and Nightfalls will also receive matchmaking. This is good! By the end of year 1 of Destiny, Nightfalls didn’t need the coordination of a team communicating, so it made no sense that players couldn't matchmake, and Raids had so many players willing to instruct others that not including matchmaking became increasingly strange.
Bungie has also stated that Heroic Raids – the most difficult content in the game, PvP aside – will never have matchmaking. Guided Games will not include Heroic Raids. Not so good, in my opinion; while I'm sure Bungie has their reasons for that, players have proven time and time again that they can overcome even the most difficult challenges with sometimes ridiculous handicaps.
Whether or not a clan can start a Guided Game for a normal-mode Raid and then switch it to Heroic after clanless players have joined has yet to be seen.
What About Clans?
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Destiny had clans, but they were vestigial things, requiring the player to go to Bungie's website to join, post, or set up teams -- similar to how players were forced to access story content via the grimoire. For all that Bungie pushed clans in year 3 of Destiny, they weren’t much more than a three-letter tag below your name in-game.
This time around, Bungie is making clans a bigger deal. Your clan name and banner, as well as a short blurb on what your clan is about, appears in-game, and clanless players seeking Guided Games or a clan to join can see all of that. In addition, Bungie has stated that clans will receive rewards as their members play. They’ve been tight-lipped about what these rewards actually are, but if joining together with Blizzard is any indication, I expect clan rewards to follow a similar path to guild rewards in World of Warcraft. Expect clan rewards to be things like ships, sparrows, shaders, and emblems you can only get from joining a clan.
All these upgrades to the matchmaking and clan systems are a breath of fresh air, but I hope that there’s more to be introduced. Matchmaking shouldn’t be limited to just a few activities. Bungie has introduced a slew of new things to do in Destiny 2, including revamped Patrols and Public Events, Adventures, Lost Sectors, in addition to the explicitly matchmaking-enabled Crucible, Strikes, Nightfalls, and Raids. With the inclusion of an in-game map, I hope that each of these different modes has the option to enable matchmaking.
It would be spectacular to be able to open my map, select “Patrol” and join a fireteam, or select the Adventure I’m having difficulty with and have someone join to help me. Bungie has mentioned that players no longer need to go to orbit to change activities – something players complained about in the first game – so quickly joining a team through the map should be fairly easy.
While I understand that certain things like Public Events and Lost Sectors are supposed to be something of a discovery, I shouldn’t have to stumble upon other players wanting to do the same thing, like in Destiny. If I want to go hunting for Lost Sectors, why shouldn’t I have the option to find others that want to do the same thing, through in-game matchmaking?
For clans, I’ve already touched on what I expect as far as rewards, but I’d like to see more. Weekly rewards in the form of upgrade materials, a random loot box, consumables, or even engrams would be great for clans, rewarding players for reaching certain goals. Unless Bungie has reworked how shaders are developed, I don’t expect shaders using the clan’s colors, but emblems using the clan symbol would be amazing, and a way for clan members to show off their affiliation in game.
If Bungie does things right and learns from their mistakes in Destiny – as they hopefully appear to be doing – Destiny 2 will avoid many of the pitfalls the first game suffered from.
What ideas do you think Bungie needs to include in Destiny 2? Let us know in the comments.
[All media courtesy of Bungie, Inc.]