Destiny 2 Beta Impressions — A Critique of The Crucible
After spending some time in the Destiny 2 beta, Noah offers his perspective on what works (and what doesn't) in the multiplayer offerings from The Crucible.
Destiny 2 isn’t re-inventing the wheel for the franchise. It truly is an expansion, that is attempting to improve upon a few key concepts and repackage it into a $60 AAA title. I don’t have a problem with this if; in fact, the game makes good on these improvements.
After playing through the recently-concluded beta for Destiny 2, I’d like to take the time to bring the game’s multiplayer mode, The Crucible, under the microscope and look at what we’ve seen from the beta so far and decipher whether or not those improvements are present.
To begin, the game’s introduction of “Class Abilities” looked like it was going to change the way that players fight, and it has. But while the Titan and Warlock classes have received a barricade and healing/damage boosting rift (respectively), the Hunter has received a roll ability that is underwhelming and certainly underpowered considering the game’s new multiplayer mode “Countdown.”
Having played the beta for hours on end, I came to realize that while Warlocks could have a gunfight while standing in a healing rift, and Titans could block off entire corridors, Hunters were left rolling about the map. Now sure, the dodge roll is a cool way to finesse your enemy, but when it comes to map control – arguably the most important part of any Crucible match – the Hunter class is left behind.
That isn’t to say that dodge roll doesn’t already have its own growing fanbase. In fact, some users on the DestinyTheGame Subreddit are already vehemently defending the ability. And then, of course, there is this kind of showmanship as a result:
But dollars to donuts, the dodge roll seems incomparable to the other class abilities, and I’m willing to bet that Bungie’s meta-statistics reflect that. I would ideally like to see some improvements to the Hunter’s Class Ability before launch or, at least, a nerf to the Titan and Warlock abilities when playing in The Crucible.
Guns, Guns, Guns:
The biggest criticism I have of the gun-play in Destiny 2 so far is that Pulse Rifles remain on top. While Hand Cannons like Thorn and Scout Rifles (such as the Vision of Confluence) once ruled PvP, Pulse Rifles were buffed several times until they were the go-to in terms of time to kill (TTK). I was expecting a similar shift back towards the other primary weapon types, or at least a re-balancing of all of them for the game’s “sequel.”
Sadly, if you’ve spent any time in the beta, you’ve probably been mowed down by the Nightshade and the NERGAL PR4 more times than you can count. They were easily the best PvP weapons in the beta and unless we see more new archetypes of Hand Cannons, Scout Rifles, and Auto Rifles, then we’re in for more of the same.
It’s also important to mention that the movement of Sniper Rifles, Fusion Rifles, and Shotguns into the Heavy Weapon category has resulted in more monotone gameplay. Sure, not everyone was a fan of Destiny‘s shotguns and the ease with which players could pick up special weapon ammo and single-handedly win a match. But having Pulse Rifles, for instance, be available in two out of a player’s three slots feels boring; the rhythmic beating of bullets into my torso grew all the more frustrating as I played.
While some may simply say this is a “Git Gud” complaint, I believe it is once again a great step for Destiny 2‘s PvE, but a step in the wrong direction for The Crucible. Similarly, the aforementioned energy weapons (i.e. the weapons similar to primaries but with elemental damage) seem to be out-of-place in PvP as enemies don’t have the elemental shields that these weapons were designed for.
Furthermore, with Heavy Weapon ammo only being available to the player who picks it up (i.e one person and not any-and-all teammates in the immediate area), gunplay is varied even less. I would rarely get kills with the redesigned Fusion Rifles because I never felt the need to pick up Heavy Weapon ammo when it spawned: I would just stick to my Pulse Rifle and ignore the purple box altogether.
In my opinion, they take way too long to recharge. Seriously, we get that no one wants to be mowed down by Arcstrider every other round, but as a Warlock main super-charging my grenades, I would often go entire matches without using my super. One of Destiny‘s strengths was the sense of excitement that came with activating your super to turn the tide of a battle, or being the one who sniped a Sunsinger the moment they revived themselves. I understand we’re living in a world without Light, but come on — don’t make me wait for Mayhem to make a triumphant return.
This concludes my three biggest qualms with Destiny 2‘s Crucible offerings so far. Much of what I discussed can be remedied with some weapon and ability balances, but in terms of weapon choice, it will be a challenge to encourage players to vary what they bring into The Crucible.
Destiny 2 will release on September 6th, 2017 for Xbox One and PS4, with a delayed release on PC scheduled for October 24th. You can read about the game’s new social hub “The Farm” here, as well as our article on the kill-tracking Ghost here.