Bungie Details Crucible & Damage Overhaul Coming Alongside Shadowkeep

The Crucible experience in Destiny 2 has been shaky at best. Fans had come to appreciate the 3v3 and 6v6 nature of the PVP game modes in the original Destiny, but Bungie swapped things up for the sequel. Everything became focused on 4v4 which meant slightly larger fireteams or solo players frequently stuck against squads. Today, Game Director Luke Smith released the final part of his Director’s Cut blogs, detailing what Bungie has in store for Crucible fans.

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Similar to the way that deep down, we all know the damage-dealing capabilities of Guardians has gotten out of control, we know the Supers have too.

Damage and Super Changes

Most of what Luke Smith wrote today focused on PVP, but there was a small section that talked about changing damage in regards to PVE. For one, The Immunity Wall — the point at which the Power difference causes you to deal absolutely zero damage — is being raised from 50 to 100. This should help some underdeveloped characters with powerful enemies.

More importantly, however, buffs, debuffs, and stacking are being overhauled. Smith calls the current state of this trio of game mechanics “busted” saying the game “cannot continue this way.”

From now on, all weapon damage buffs that come from character abilities are now stack ranked. When multiples of these buffs are live at a time the game will just choose the most powerful one and apply that.

Debuff duration and effects have been altered as well. In short, Smith explains it like this: “Buffs that apply to a single weapon (Rampage, Kill Clip, Exotics) can still stack. But buffs that affect all your weapons no longer stack. The most powerful of those buffs will be applied to your damage.”

It’s incredibly complicated but Smith says someone will probably make a better explainer once the system is actually released.

Seeing someone pop a Super should not instinctively make us want to run away, give up, or float off the map.

Destiny 2’s Crucible is the land of the roaming Super. Smith admits that Bungie was overly restrictive with Supers when the game launched, but they’ve since overcorrected and plan on bringing it back in line with Shadowkeep.

For one, roaming Supers will have less damage resistance. You should once again be able to kill someone charging at you with their Super rather than doing your best Roadrunner impression. In addition, the effectiveness of both orbs, kills, and assists has been reduced. All three will take longer to fill up your Super bar.

Heavy Ammo Update

Do you remember the feeling of a heavy ammo drop in Destiny 1 Crucible? The entire team huddled around the spawn ready to charge at the enemy team fully loaded? Those were some good times.

In Destiny 2, it’s a mad dash, everyone-for-themselves affair with only one person getting to live the true power fantasy. And it’s undoubtedly helped roaming Supers reign supreme.

Once Shadowkeep releases, Bungie is making it so that all 6v6 playlists have communal Heavy ammo. There will be slightly less ammo per brick in certain game modes, but the changes should balance out. In addition, Smith says the team has improved the experience, giving players a window of time to interact with the Heavy ammo brick rather than being a be there or be square experience.

First, we want players to have some more agency with respect to “pick a playlist, play a mode.” And second, we want the playlists to drift back to the “everything is a factor of 3” that Destiny 1 used (and that the rest of the game mostly uses).

PVP Playlist Changes

Okay, with that out of the way let’s touch on the actual changes to PVP.

Smith admits that Destiny 2’s Trials of the Nine was a mistake. The team thought the game mode was in decline in the original game so they unsuccessfully overhauled it in the sequel. Trials of the Nine, emphasis Smith’s, will remain on hiatus indefinitely. This may perhaps mean that a new Trials experience is on the way, just not Trials of the Nine.

The biggest change by far is a complete return to 3v3 and 6v6 style of gameplay. 4v4 is being retired. As a result, the playlists are being overhauled.

Here are the changes from the post:

  • We’ve removed the Quickplay and Competitive nodes from the Director.
  • If you’re looking for an experience like Quickplay, we’ve added Classic Mix (a connection-based playlist [like Quickplay today]). Classic Mix includes Control, Clash, and Supremacy.
  • Competitive is replaced by 3v3 Survival (which now awards Glory).
  • We’ve also added a Survival Solo Queue playlist that also awards Glory.
  • We’ve added 6v6 Control as its own playlist.
      • With the potential influx of new players this Fall, we want to have a playlist that signals to new players that this is where to start.
      • We feel like 6v6 Control is the right starting place when introducing new friends to Destiny.
  • We’ve added a weekly 6v6 rotator and a weekly 4v4 rotator.
      • These rotator playlists are where modes like Clash, Supremacy, Mayhem, Lockdown, and Countdown will appear.
  • We’ve removed some underperforming maps from matchmaking, too.

Elimination is set to return as a 3v3 mode as well. However, it’s not yet finished and will need to be iterated through Crucible Labs this fall. Right now the team is working on four different variants of the game mode which will all be put through the gauntlet.

We don’t want PvP to feel like you’re being told it’s time to learn to swim as the helicopter door opens over the Pacific Ocean.

There are also some important matchmaking changes on the way. All playlists will swap to a skill based system aside from the aforementioned Classic Mix. Smith says this should bring about a larger variety of matches across the board. The addition of this MMR-like system also allows them to factor it into Glory gains. Wins against skilled players should result in higher Glory gains. And Glory, Valor, and Infamy should see losses be less punishing.

The game continuing to grow forever isn’t something we can support. Destiny’s simulation, fidelity, and architecture fundamentally make it a big game.

Philosophy Changes

Smith concludes the post by talking about the game as an evolving world. Things will fundamentally change in Year 3 of Destiny 2. Whereas Year 2 kept adding more and more content to the game, Year 3 will be more like a revolving door. Content will go in, be featured for three months, and some of it will cycle out. Destiny 2 can’t keep growing forever and as a result some things will need to be retired. The rewards that these seasons offer, however, will find their way back into the game somehow.

Luke Smith himself explains it best.

During Season 8, a new situation will unfold on the Moon (I’m being cagey here only because I am reluctant to spoil anything). Over the course of the season, parts of the game will change before the situation culminates in an event that will ultimate resolve it, and its content will be exhausted. But this resolution sets up the events of Season 9, which again adds something new to the game and resolves it, something that too will go away, but not before setting up Season 10, et cetera.

This differs from last year’s Annual Pass, which permanently added activities to the game. This year will see events that last for three months and offer new rewards to chase, although at the end of that period, some of the activities will go away. For a time, the rewards will too. But we also acknowledge that part of playing Destiny is collecting all of the stuff, so in future seasons the weapons and Legendary armor associated with these seasonal activities will be added to other reward sites.

I for one am excited for the release of Shadowkeep. Between everyone getting a giant power boost, making the game more accessible and a reason to chase down every single armor set again, and now this, it’s looking like a great time to return to the game. Whether you’re all about the power chase, PVP experience, or looking your best, you’ll finally have a reason to play.