Let it be known that I am a relatively lousy PvP player, who grew to love the thrill of the game mode because of how Destiny 1’s PvP worked.
If your only experience with Destiny is the sequel, allow me to explain everything that Destiny 1’s PvP encompassed. There were, at the end of Destiny’s life in Year 3, several different types of bounties on offer. Daily PvP bounties from the bounty dude, weekly PvP bounties from Lord Shaxx he-of-one-horned-glory-and-majesty, and weapon bounties from the robot dude who stood waffling opposite Shaxx, Arcite 99-40.
And rewards went like this – daily bounties got you xp, Crucible rep, faction rep, and a blue drop on occasion; Shaxx’s weekly bounties got you a substantial chunk of xp, Crucible rep, and faction rep, along with legendary drops; and Arcite 99-40’s weapon-specific bounties got you a weapon related to the bounty you completed.
The last of those three is especially important because – for me personally – it contributed to a significant amount of learning in the Crucible. In Year 3 of Destiny 1, Bungie tweaked Arcite’s bounties so that Trials of Osiris and Iron Banner weapons could drop as rewards. And this was goddamn amazing. I was, nor will I ever be, good enough to complete Trials or go flawless, so the weapons were always out of reach. While I was okay with that, the opportunity to get them was too tantalising to pass up. So I played Crucible.
I actively sought out the weapon bounties and by the time Destiny 2 rolled around, I had the Year 3 Trials auto rifle, the Year 3 Trials scout rifle, and the Year 2 Trials handcannon. It was a lot of work and lot of RNG, but I got them. And here’s where the learnings come in.
To get the auto rifle, I had to get auto rifle kills in the Crucible. Which meant trying out autos until I found one I liked and then learning to get good enough with it to get the kills I needed for the bounty. This is true of all the weapon bounties – pulses, scouts, handcannons, rocket launchers, everything. I tried out different weapon types because the game offered me a weapon worth having if I was good enough and lucky enough to earn it. Simply put, I got good at Crucible because Destiny gave me a reason to do so.
Destiny 2 is entirely devoid of that encouragement.
First, the drops themselves are unimpressive. Not only is Crucible loot largely uninspiring, but the fact that loot comes from token turn-ins as opposed to the post-game rewards screen diminishes much of the excitement at the end of a Crucible match. Win or lose in Destiny 1, there was always a chance that someone would get a cool drop, which I could see and lust after and thus have something to work towards. Now you cram tokens down Shaxx’s throat and hope he craps out something that you haven’t gotten seventy nine times already.
Second, the incentives are pathetic. In Destiny 1, during the course of playing Crucible, I was always making progress towards something. Another Crucible rank up package. Another faction package. (And packages allowed me to choose between weapon and armour on rank up but that’s a rant for another time.) A regular bounty turn in. A weapon bounty completion. I was always moving forward towards moar loot in a way that always made me feel like I made progress by the time I logged off. In Destiny 2, my target is 20 tokens. One package and that’s it. If I’m getting decent matches, sometimes I’ll continue. If I’m not, then I don’t. I get my one level and then go play Monster Hunter World which is infinitely goddamn better at understanding the need to reward time and skill than Destiny has ever been.
Third, Crucible just isn’t fun. The style of gameplay has changed, the lack of character power is awful, the overabundance of
heavy power ammo is a blight upon the land comparable only to the Undead Scourge cursed be the name of the Lich King, and the fact that everyone seems to clump up into a rolling deathball makes turning corners alone into a rather traumatic experience. The only time I’ve actually enjoyed Crucible was when 6v6 Iron Banner showed up – because people started to solo-roam more, giving me more 1v1s in that week that I’ve had since Destiny 2 launched.
If Bungie solved any two of those three problems, I’d probably be playing Crucible a hell of a lot more. As it stands now, with the current state of the Crucible, the only thing I want to play is Monster Hunter World. And given how much I loved Destiny 1 and its PvP, that is an enormous goddamn tragedy.