Destiny has been trying to wrestle PVP to the ground since the launch of the title. When the game first released there was outcry about overpowered shotguns, and the months that followed had regular complaints about OP weapons. The game mode has since been the primary cause of almost all weapon nerfs that have taken place. I have already argued in a post and video that the split identity of Destiny is bad for the future of the franchise, and have also written and done a video about how PVP lacks enough engagement to warrant lots of development attention. But it seems the mode is here to stay with the next DLC adding a new game mode, “The Trials of Osiris”. The mode is already being praised for something that shouldn’t be considered innovative: matchmaking based on connection. Sadly, in the current state of PVP shooters, connecting people based primarily on connection is considered divergent.
Some people don’t get a trophy
The sad reality is, you might not be good enough to do well in a game like Destiny when you play against players who either have more experience than you or just exude more raw talent in the genre. Shooters like Call of Duty, and even recently Battlefield, have been simplifying their games to make them more accessible to players with less skill. But as I already said in my post and video about Black Ops 3, Call of Duty has gone further than just dumbing the game down, they have flummoxed their entire matchmaking system and game performance with skill based matchmaking and game breaking lag compensation. So the fact that what Bungie is doing with “The Trials of Osiris” is considered new is incredibly sad. This is how matchmaking traditionally worked, and it’s why those with the most skill continued to play and reap the benefits of their hours and years of practice. Now, like some twisted form of betrayal, in most PVP shooters connection takes a back seat when matchmaking, and consequently so does skill.
When I first got my XBOX 360 to play World at War with my friends, I was pretty terrible. I was a very experienced gamer in the realm of shooters, but I had spent many years playing on a PC. So the acquisition and adaptation process was painful and pretty frustrating. At no time during my growing pains as a console player did I think to myself, “They really should make things easier for me and harder for the guy that keeps turning me into dust.” To a point this is a generational difference, as I missed the “everyone gets a trophy” nonsense that has infected the minds of parents and school systems all across the country. In the same way that good teachers get blamed for bad students, good games have been blamed for bad players. To be fair, I have my own gripes about difficulty in some games when they lack creativity and innovation and just makes bosses or missions hard for the sake of being hard. But I do think the younger generation is expecting to move the joystick, press a few buttons, and watch the whole map blow up in a blaze of their own glory. So not only are players incredibly self-focused, a theme I’ve talked about regularly, but they also expect everything to go their way. The result is a player base that doesn’t communicate or care about anyone but themselves, so team based games rarely exemplify teamwork.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Another innovative thing that Bungie is doing with this new PVP mode is only allowing full teams to play. So you can’t just throw yourself into matchmaking, get paired up with a bunch of randoms, and go to work. Just like a raid, you have to find people to play with, which will take some semblance of communication, and then go search for games. This is a brilliant “catch”, if you can call it that, since the whiny egotistical lone gunmen will be forced to find a team before entering the battlefield, keeping things a little more clean and focused. You won’t be able to play with a team for very long if you are just doing your own thing or ignoring objectives and team cooperation. This is exactly the kind of matchmaking most team based objective game modes need. Now I know other PVP shooters probably can’t be so rigid because it would be hard to find people to play with, but they could adapt it and create “find a team” lobbies so you can search for games knowing that others are also looking for teammates in the games you get thrown into. Then, once you find enough people for a full team and are satisfied with everyone’s level of communication and skill you could switch to “teams only” matchmaking. This would get you matched based on connection since the system would already have lots of other full groups looking for games, and then you could experience a more competitive level of gaming in a PVP shooter that is usually absent. If you create an environment that disallows the selfish lone gunmen access, those types of players would either have to find a group and fall in line, or go find out how amazing they truly are in free-for-all or team deathmatch. Objective based game modes need this type of “teams only” matchmaking as it could help prioritize both the connection but also cooperation and teamwork which would result in an elevated level of competition and intense gameplay.
Copy, paste, and deploy
Hopefully the PVP side of Destiny gets a shot of re-engagement from the “Trials of Osiris”, and as non-PVP Destiny player I may even try it out if I can find some people willing to tread back into the rocky waters of Destiny PVP. It does sound nice to have one map per weekend to really duke it out in, as the level of competition will continually scale up each day with players finding new strategies and positions as their knowledge of the map sharpens. And as someone who hates playing PVP without a good communicative team it sounds like the level of competition will push players to be better or abandon ship. At the end of the day I just hope it runs smoothly and sets a standard for a new type of matchmaking that is more focused on team play and good connection so other games can replicate it.
What do you think? Is the new matchmaking a good idea and should other shooters try it?
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