It's A Fact

Iron Banner Woes

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With just a day into the Iron Banner, THE EVENT that defined Destiny PVP, you can’t help but notice the slew of complaints on the Tweet box. Reports from both casual and hardcore gamers are rolling in 140 characters at a time, voicing the Iron Banner is nothing but Felwinters Shotguns, Blinking madness and unsure survival. I know, there have always been complaints about OP Weapons in the Crucible. One of the originals was Suros Regime, until it took a nice nerf-nap with the rest of the auto rifles. But the Iron Banner is supposed to be the place you bring your best gear and be rewarded for strength right?

I asked some readers and friends how they were feeling about the Iron Banner this week and the responses I received are pretty telling. Here are just a few:

I’ve won 3 out of 16 games.. So you know.. Pretty awesome *rolls eyes*”
– Glowhoo

“The place where K/D goes to shit.”

“I’m just going in there to do bounties now and feel I don’t have to do well to be rewarded.”
-Nava Bear

While I have always had mixed feelings about the Iron Banner and PVP in general, there is something different about the incoming wave of criticism. What happened?

It’s Trials of Osiris.

With the launch of House of Wolves, Destiny in many regards shed the skin of its infancy and has moved on to become a better experience. Don’t get me wrong, Destiny is still missing some things (this is where everyone here assumes I mean a story) and is far from a perfect game, but what it does do right, it does 100%. I have spoken in the past of the addictive qualities that Destiny does get right (you can watch that here) and in my opinion Bungie is seeing its strengths and building on them without worrying too much about their shortcomings.

Take for example Bungie’s decision to not include a Raid in the HoW expansion. I’ll admit that when I first read this news I was extremely disappointed and concerned. By far some of my best experiences in Destiny was in the Raid on the Vault of Glass. The mystery and the magic of cracking the Vault for the first time with six friends was an amazing feeling. Every part of that Raid was fun and challenging. Even after doing the jumping puzzle several times over, we still stopped to watch each other screw up and take a nose dive into the abyss. Then with The Dark Below DLC came Crota’s End, a less spectacular and disjointed Raid in my opinion.

It was fun, but it didn’t have the same mystery or suspense as the Vault Raid. My group of regular Raiders ran it a few times and then went our separate ways, the desire to keep returning just wasn’t there. It seems to me Bungie recognized the difference and listened to the feedback from the players. When it came time to launch the House of Wolves, instead of rushing something less than Vault Raid quality, they decided to develop a hybrid of two of the best things in Destiny, Public Events and the Boss Fight.

Enter the Prison of Elders, a giant multi-stage public event with a Boss fight at the end. It rewards success upon completion and you can run it as much as your little heart desires. The big PLUS for me is you don’t have to try to wrangle six friends for a single night, now you can just take two anytime. Have an hour to spare, let’s go to Prison and kill some Aliens. Surprisingly, I don’t miss needing to Raid every week, it’s a nice change. I think the same goes with the introduction of Trials of Osiris.

Now back to the issue of the Iron Banner. I think It is starting to feel to PVPers like a bland, poorly executed version of the Trials. Pretty much the same way I felt about Crota’s End. Less skill based, not as magical and just another way to get loot and shiny objects. The Trials of Osiris is based on teamwork and skill. No amount of LFG’s are going to be able to stack three randos against a team of Guardians that love to play PVP together. Trust me, I have experience with both and both were a little too painful to continue.

The Trials for the PVPers, is what The Vault of Glass was for me. While I suck at ToO (you can go look at my scores…it’s sad) I still enjoyed the matches I have played, which is saying a lot. What has surprised me the most is how I have started to gain respect and appreciation for the Crucible as a part of Destiny. It seems as though I am maturing as a player, just as Destiny is maturing as a game. I can’t think of too many gaming experiences in my life that have been able to pull that off, which is by far one of the shiniest objects I have had drop in a Destiny for quite a while.

Designer, Writer, Lover, Gamer, Erer