Randomizing The Crucible Experience

Perfectly average Guardian here, reporting in with some thoughts about my triumphant return to Destiny, after spending almost three weeks away.

I’ve been around since House of Wolves, and wanted to explore some other games. I played some Titanfall. I played some Dishonored. Overwatch too.

I didn’t miss that feeling of forgetting to use a Three of Coins before every match and wondering which sadist had that brilliant idea in the first place.

But I came back. I came back for 3 Days of Crucible, and decided that I would play every game using a random loadout, in order to get the full range of experiences.

For reference, here are my vital stats:

  • Hunter K/D: 1.15
  • Titan K/D: 1.27
  • Best Map: The Dungeons, apparently?
  • Swag Level: Frabjous

Day 1

I’ve been a Gunslinger since the beginning, and my beloved Huntress was the obvious first stop. I joined a fireteam with two friends who happened to be online, neither of whom were playing the True Random Experience. It was pretty fun, especially since DIM’s armor selections meant that I was the most unfashionable embarrassment to the Hunter cause that the Tower has ever seen.

There were some hilarious moments – an accidental jump-snipe with an un-upgraded Bitter Edge 010, a long-range knife or two, and a couple of nonsensical Vooping sprees when Vacancy dropped. But overall, I hung near the bottom of the leaderboard. But having fun nevertheless!

We mostly played Skirmish, which was easier for me, as it was less hectic and I could count on the team for help and cover. I also confirmed that the Anguish of Drystan is the worst gun ever.

Changing subclasses every game or two was also great. Trying to shadestep when playing bladedancer with a Graviton Forfeit had the expected results, and hitting a perfectly-placed smoke bomb headshot shortly before realizing I didn’t have throwing knives was a beautiful thing.

Day 1 Breakdown

  • K/D: ???, too abysmal
  • Opponent Friendliness: 9/10. Fun encounters.
  • Latency: 5/10. Regular removal from fireteam, rampant yellow bar connections.
  • Loadout Variation: 5/10. Saw the occasional Plan C or sidearm, which raised my spirits.

Verdict: 8/10. Low salt levels. Would Destiny again.

Day 2

I went back to my Huntress of Day 2, but gave myself a little more leeway with loadouts, rotating between Ahamkara’s Spine, Bones, and Shinobu. The results were less successful in some ways.

Example: Deidris’ Retort cannot out-duel any shotgun, even if it looks rather pretty. Another example: the Ill Will, of which I apparently have *three*, is 90% useless, unless you’re making a game out of stealing kills with body shots. It made it apparent how much weapons do dictate victory – many guns simply can’t duel with those that rule the roost. Good times!

I had no fireteam on Day 2, which meant I was dependent on my own meager skills. I am not good enough to take a terrible weapon and run the table with it.

Day 2 Breakdown

  • K/D: .71
  • Opponent Friendliness: 7/10. Occasional assholery, no hate mail. One teabagger.
  • Latency: 5.5/10. Not a single lobby without at least one red and yellow bar Guardian, but dropped connection issues from Day 1 were gone.
  • Loadout Variation: 4/10. Encountered maybe 2 No Land Beyonds, a single Queenbreaker’s Bow, and almost nothing of interest besides.

Verdict: 6.5/10. Still pretty fun! Felt like a good time, like I was back in it, and learning despite myself.

Day 3

Punchin’ time!

That’s right. Titan to the rescue. Frankly, it’s shocking that my rolling K/D is as high as it is, since my usual strategy when Titan-ing is to go as fast as possible in a random direction and hope to kill someone along the way.

Satisfaction: guaranteed.

I cheated on Day 3, and sometimes gave in and matched a piece of exotic armor with my randomized subclass – either the Garrison or No Backup Plans, since what else even is there? This was an interesting day. My opponents were noticeably less inclined to leave the meta, although I did have some unexpected success. The Waiting from FWC brought the occasional long-range meltastrophe, the Boolean Gemini wasn’t horrible, and the Invective was – gasp – kind of entertaining.

On the other side of that, getting stuck with secondaries such as Weyloran’s March (unupgraded, with a long-range scope) and The Proud Spire (unupgraded) was a masterclass in how to get stomped, and the one time I played with Hawkmoon I might as well have been playing blindfolded, since I would have had as good a chance of randomly hitting someone as I did with RNG in charge.

Day 3 Breakdown

  • K/D: 1.08
  • Opponent Friendliness: 5/10. Regular teabagging/taunting, too many campers. No hate mail.
  • Latency: 4.5/10. The worst yet. Multiple red and yellow bar Guardians; and even the green bar indicators were obviously lying. Nearly impossible to tell if I’d landed a shot; repeatedly front-stabbed by bladedancers.
  • Loadout Variation: 2/10. Abysmal. A couple Guardians used the Hopscotch Pilgrim; I sent them kudos.

Verdict: 5/10. No salt, just resignation. Felt mostly like Destiny felt when I decided I needed a break.

What I Learned

First of all, using random gear was fun. I felt really, really out of practice, and wanted to try new things – different strategies in addition to new loadouts, more daring plays like cross-map Voops and jumping quicksnipes.

That felt good. Generally, it’s good to take things less seriously. But it also reaffirmed some of my opinions about the state of the Crucible.

Perhaps the most illuminating realization was how poorly balanced primary weapons are. In any online shooter, there are going to be a few “best” loadouts. But when you can get the drop on someone, watch your hand cannon spit rounds wide of their head as they charge you from all the way across the map, and still die when they close the gap and shotgun you in the face; well, it feels bad.

High-ROF pulse/shotgunners, and Last Word/snipers were abundant. Were there outliers? Certainly, in the statistical sense.

Bloom has made Hand Cannons much harder to use without a maxed-out range stat.

And auto rifles… several times DIM’s randomizer blessed me with a Red Spectre, which at this point is so bad that it would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.

Scout rifles felt, well, reasonable. I had some decent kills with a vendor Hung Jury. Others – especially the very low-ROF scouts – felt inconsequential, outgunned at scout distance by pulse rifles. Most maps are far too small for anything but the MIDA-archetype to make sense.

Like an idiot, I tried sniping whenever DIM gave me a sniper. My own sniping – which I have generally given up on, outside of the No Land Beyond – was very, very poor. If I wasn’t getting flinched by a Clever Dragon, I was emptying clips into Juggernaut-rushers in vain. With so little carried ammo relative to shotguns, I found myself playing without special very, very regularly.

Unless your sniper rifle has quickdraw or snapshot and an Ambush or Shortgaze scope, you’re at a severe disadvantage. I guess there’s that other scope that looks like a VHS player that some folks like or whatever.

I did stumble upon a couple of fun weapons – guns I hadn’t used before or had just neglected. Uzume RR4 and The Waiting were both enjoyable, and the Water Star, although horrendously out of its league, felt, if nothing else, snappy.

Assault rifles need a blanket buff. The Hand Cannon range/bloom issue still needs addressing. More weapon types need to feel good to use.

So, after 3 Days of Crucible after almost 3 weeks away, here’s my completely biased and unbalanced takeaway on the state of things:

  • Swag levels: Less frabjous than usual. On my part, at least.
  • Exotics Received: 1 Chestpiece (unopened)
  • Opponent Friendliness: 6.5/10
  • Latency: 5/10
  • Loadout Variation: 4/10

Verdict: 10/10. Would play again, will play tonight.

Jasper L

Jasper is obsessed with three things: throwing knives, flavor text, and the Ahamkara. Although game lore is his true love, he now spends most his time dying in the Crucible. Despite repeated attempts, he has not yet managed to git gud, and he will never forgive Bungie for nerfing tripmines. You can find all of his Destiny writing @ themothyards.tumblr.com