There’s a lot to be said for the boundless cooperative campaign that exists at Destiny’s core, but for many, a competitive multiplayer component devised by the same team that bought us the original Halo trilogy is another huge draw in an already sizable game.
We already know that Destiny will include a fully-fledged campaign that will be playable in both single-player and cooperative play, whilst the game will also play host to all manner of additional pursuits such as the relatively shrouded trio of Strike, Raid and Bounty. But it’s Faction Wars, the mode that has been loosely associated as being the hub for Destiny’s competitive multiplayer that will be put under the spotlight here.
In my previous look at the Destiny faction mechanic, I insinuated that your allegiances with a particular faction will follow you throughout both campaign and competitive multiplayer, seeing as how the character you don in multiplayer will be the same one that you’ve traversed the galaxy with when exploring the Destiny story. This then raises the question as to how unyielding your choice of faction will be, and how much it will govern your approach to multiplayer.
A War Of Multiplicity
With each player having free-reign over their choice of faction, one of them likely will be able to laud its greater number of members over the other four. This means that any potential multiplayer matches between opposing factions will rely on how many of its members are able to fight at any one time, leading to an obvious problem. My summation is that, although your choice of faction is absolute, you can ally with members of the others for the sake of an unobtrusive multiplayer experience. Are Bungie really going to deny me and my friends the chance to play together simply because we each chose a different faction? Of course not, for such an approach would be in direct conflict with Bungie’s already established multiplayer creed. Instead, factions will likely take a back seat to a multiplayer mechanic that exists as a compliment to your adventures in the story, whilst the ‘Faction Wars’ label is nothing more than a header for your standard multiplayer matchmaking fare.
Based on past experiences though, the competitive multiplayer of Destiny will likely evoke all of the aspects of the classic Bungie multiplayer experience, however it shouldn’t be understated as to how much work is required to make everything run smoothly.
The Balancing Act
Firstly, balance is incredibly important. Weapon placements (if indeed there are any) cannot favour one team over another, and weapon damage, which may need to be altered on a per-weapon basis between single-player and multiplayer, needs to be consistent. The maps of Destiny multiplayer also need to be in-keeping with its overall style. For example, you can’t restrict a game that revolves around movement across multiple vertical levels to maps that consist entirely of close-knit corridors. Next, weapon power-ups, which have been confirmed, cannot be so overpowered to a point of hindering the experience of others. Every weapon trait, be it the ability to cloak its user or the ability to summon an automated turret needs to have a counter.
To The Victors
And of course, the entire experience of Destiny multiplayer needs to be ultimately rewarding. I don’t want to spend a relatively small amount of time in multiplayer only to be showered various arms, whilst at the same time I don’t want to find myself spending a huge amount of effort grinding away at the prerequisites of a specific weapon that I have my eye on. There’s a sweet spot waiting to be hit, and if Bungie can do just that and strike a perfect balance between rewarding the player, investment of time and unwavering enjoyment, then Destiny’s multiplayer could very well establish itself as one of this generations most unassumingly brilliant experiences.