Thursday, October 9, 2014

By Jamaal Ryan

Even in vanilla Crucible, Destiny’s competitive multiplayer has balancing issues. From one shot melee attacks, to tracking grenades, to overpowered weapon performances (with shotguns, fusion rifles, steady auto rifles, and exotic weapons), to acquired abilities, many deaths feel cheap in this off-kilter yet mechanically sound multiplayer.

While some of these issues exist in the standard, stat-flattening Crucible modes, Bungie has claimed to deliberately shift the tides in favor for heavily invested players in Destiny’s Iron Banner event where armor and weapons with higher attack and defense numbers actually matter.

However the problem is, they actually don’t.

Shortly after the Iron Banner went live, players started flooding complaints in claiming that they, as high level players, were getting stomped by lower level guardians; a strange turn of events in a game where facing up against enemies 20 levels above you would be instantly fatal.

YouTuber OohaPieceaCandy lent some validity to these claims, recording Xbox One footage of his level 4 Warlock mopping the floor with level 25+ players.

Pretty obvious right? However some disagreed with Candy’s footage, claiming that his team members heavily influenced his performance. So for my own piece of mind, I decided to test out the Iron Banner myself.

After rummaging through the obligatory first mission coming out at only level 2, I dived straight into Iron Banner. Now don’t expect me to weave a story about how I crushed the opposing team, I didn’t. However with no heavy weapon, no double jump ability, no special melee, and no Super, I came out with 9 kills averaging a .82 K/D ratio. Those 9 kills were earned by both double teaming enemy players and taking out opponents on my own from full shields to 0 with that crappy auto rifle you first pick up. Judging by my performance, I'm almost certain that if I leveled up just enough to unlock all the aforementioned weapons and abilities, I would be just as competitive as if I were playing with my level 26 Hunter.

This doesn’t upset me, as I’ve largely walked away from Destiny altogether. Even the idea of the Iron Banner itself did nothing to reinvigorate my interest in the game because wielding a level advantage defies the very meaning of “competitive multiplayer” to me. But nonetheless, I can still fully empathize with players’ frustrations about the Iron Banner that were looking for an opportunity to show off their gear against one another.

This isn’t the first time Destiny has disappointed with event based add-on content. The Queen’s Wrath was a half-step in the right direction. With three updates to the game thus far, and only the Vault of Glass offering a fully enjoyable experience, I fear for Destiny’s near future and its ability to give players like me a reason to return.   

Image courtesy of GameZone.

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