Contributing author: Anson C
Published on: Apr 1, 2015 @ 22:41
Iron Banner has ended, Inferno is back, and one can’t help but notice some of the more aggravating downsides that are associated with participating in the Crucible.
We’re going to discuss some of the issues that you may have encountered, and ways that the Crucible can be improved.
The Crucible can still be a very enjoyable experience though, despite the various annoyances that are inherent to it. As always, we encourage you to share your thoughts about the issues we’ll talk about below![divider]
Despite the recent patch, where starting ammo for special weapons was reduced, and shotgun/fusion rifle range was reduced, it is still entirely possible for people to run around with a shotgun as if it were a primary weapon. Bungie perhaps underestimated the prevalence of Special ammo from kills and crates, and the result was a playing field that behaves more or less the same.
We will admit that relying solely on a secondary weapon is a dubious strategy at best, but many Guardians see an unusually high rate of success when combined with high mobility builds. If this is the vision Bungie has for its PvP experience, all that we can do is hope it results in a positive experience for the players.
However, Bungie’s own feedback and patches have indicated they would like to see the metagame shift away from rampant secondary abuse, and we have to assume that they were playing cautious with these initial changes. High-powered, rage-inducing secondaries like the Felwinter’s Lie make this issue all the more pressing as we near our second expansion.
So what are our options for remedying this? Well, there are two ways to disincentivize special use. Given how such weapons are intended to be ‘power’ weapons, perhaps removing all special ammo at spawn, and/or lowering the frequency at which special ammo crates spawn, would help Guardians learn to use their primary weapons as often as their namesake suggests.
Other than creating this scarcity to make shots count, Bungie could curtail the effectiveness of the more powerful Special weapons, so that even with effectively unlimited ammo, the damage that can be done is minimal – but this is likely not the best option.
The nerfs to fusion rifles and shotguns haven’t been unreasonable, and it’s clear Bungie would prefer to leave their weapons alone in lieu of changing the way special ammo is conserved or earned in the Crucible. We anticipate this route to be productive and ideal for the players – eventually.
The Crucible team wants to change the way ammo crates dictate the flow of a battle.
No one wants to see their favorite weapon nerf’d to obscurity, and most of us would be willing to forgo never needing to switch weapons if it means that they stay the weapons we know and love.
Map design is arguably the aspect of the Crucible (and Iron Banner) that requires the most improvement, especially for those that consistently play Control. To have a team spawn at the beginning of a match at an inherent disadvantage, simply because of the distance to an advantageous Control point, is easily one of the more unfair aspects of playing the mode.
Perhaps the biggest offender is Blind Watch, where spawning near A will mean that you have to fight through various bottlenecks to be able to seize any promising momentum. The same problem plagues the Shores of Time, where spawning at C will give your team easy access to the neutral point and easily defensible positions.
Indeed, it can be argued that every single map has an ideal “2-point-capture” strategy that one team has a better shot at grabbing first, simply because of the luck of the draw. Bungie has attempted to balance a couple of these maps, by altering spawn points and zone location, but the results have only maintained the status quo at best, and made things worse in some cases.
Granted, the spawn points for Guardians getting back into the fray aren’t directly tied to the control points themselves, but more often than not, the loss of a control point is enough to flip the spawn locations.
Veterans know these tricks, and thus understand how crucial certain zones are to ensuring victory. A savvy pre-made team will always have an edge over an uncoordinated pickup group. Thus, winning consistently is not just a matter of skill.
This element of strategy should be a welcome & dynamic factor to consider in most matches, but unfortunately Control will retain the ritual of crossing your fingers as Blind Watch loads until the zone locations and spawn system is carefully evaluated.
Thankfully, the maps included in the Dark Below are largely free of this problem, though they are not included in the standard rotation for the Crucible and are unavailable to those who couldn’t afford or haven’t otherwise bought the DLC.
Rewards and Bounties
Compared to the bounties for PvE, the bounties for PvP are significantly harder, or at least more time consuming. Since Destiny’s launch, a variety of incredibly difficult Crucible bounties saturate the daily selection for available challenges.
Some of the more onerous ones include Never See You Coming, Electrocutioner, Stopping Power, and No Riding Zone. They place an undue pressure on Guardians to pull off absurd feats of skill, especially compared to the easily available experience that can be had from completing Vanguard bounties. Anyone who routinely completes the Crucible bounties knows which ones that aren’t worth it – so why hasn’t Bungie acknowledged this?
The rewards are also much sparser and less useful when compared to other content such as Strike playlists. Engrams, both Legendary and Rare, are few and far between, and there is no reliable method for ensuring any reward at all. Yes, you’re guaranteed a certain amount of glimmer, but it’s certainly an unreliable way to earn it because it’s such a negligible amount.
To add insult to injury, the occasional Exotic that pops up on the rewards feed is assigned completely arbitrarily to any player, regardless of how they performed in the previous match. All of these archaic, RNG-dictated methods of ‘rewarding’ the time invested in Crucible make it difficult to rationalize participation in the Crucible outside of the pure enjoyment to be gleaned from the game itself.
It is counter-intuitive to invalidate individual effort by refusing to acknowledge it within the game. Iron Banner introduced a path to rewarding gear and – surprise – it has been very well received. We have to wonder when Crucible is going to follow suit.
As far as the bounties go, a simple remedy would be to simply increase the bounty rewards to match the difficulty and time spent on a bounty, or to make the bounties a little easier. For example, even one Fusion Rifle Spree is tricky to pull off, and the bounty requirements should reflect this difficulty. Furthermore, some of these more difficult feats could also reward Glimmer.
As far as rewards go, keeping the random nature of the rewards is perhaps the fairest method to distribute rewards, but increasing the chances of getting good rewards based on performance would at least give an incentive to perform well. It is understandable that Bungie would have some trepidation about rewarding the best players with the best gear, thus increasing the chance that they remain “the best,” but these fears are now unfounded in the light of Destiny’s evolution and the amount of players with several top-tier Exotics and level 36 Light Gear.
There’s no reason now to not provide some system wherein placing in the Top 3 rewards something at least marginally useful. Ascendant materials, extra Glimmer, a higher chance at an Exotic/Legendary, extra rep – all of these ideas have been floated around as simple to implement and conducive to a more enjoyable competitive Crucible experience.
This is to say nothing of implementing a ranking system, which is an idea for another article entirely.
While Supers are an integral part of PvE, their place in PvP is more questionable. The ability to instantly or consecutively kill several Guardians with minimal effort is undeniably a game-changer at any point in a match. Timely and judicious use of these powers can even turn the tide in a closely contested battle or snatch a last-second victory from the jaws of defeat.
But is this power against the spirit of competition? An average player possesses the same chance to score a multi-kill as a skilled player if the conditions are right, so is this truly fair?
In a sense, no. Although Supers extend killstreaks just as frequently as they end them, their use as a “panic” button serves as a deterrent to the most hardcore of players running rampant over the rest of the field.
Supers are the best way for less skilled players to stop more skilled players, and to absolutely clear a zone in Control, but more often than not it seems to be more of a get-out-of-jail-free card.
For this reason, the consternation that we feel when being “cheap-shotted” by a random, errant, or otherwise lucky Super is just as valid. It’s hard to strike a balance between rewarding players for doing well, and not punishing the experience for those who won’t ever soar to as high of heights.
The fact also remains that it is very hard to counter most of the Supers, so it is no surprise that being killed by a Super feels undeserved, especially if you are the only victim.
So what can be done about this? Well, if Supers were less prevalent – perhaps by reducing the Super energy gained by killing enemies in the Crucible, so that at best only one Super can be used during a match – at the very least it would be more flattering if someone on the other team decides to waste their Super on just you.
Heavy ammo exists as a similar threat – a potent piece of firepower that you can often score easy kills with, and Bungie has seen fit to reduce its role in the Crucible.
Could Supers use a similar adjustment? With the addition of Inferno modes, it seems as though it’s only a matter of time before the element that Supers can often bring is curtailed in some sort of match variant. Bungie could then use response to this as a litmus test for how people feel about Supers in the Crucible at large.
Crucible has perplexingly remained somewhat static since Destiny began. Small things have been added and adjusted here and there, but the core experience is largely unchanged. This has proved both a positive and negative factor in how we enjoy it today.
We know what to expect from the Crucible, but we’re not fully satisfied with it. Iron Banner has been a highlight, and Inferno is a promising step toward some variety, but the weaknesses of the Crucible are still all too real.
Thankfully, it is a very fun diversion from Destiny’s PvE and there’s lots of fun to be had there. Within the framework of Destiny’s PvP experience is the potential for a wildly successful Crucible design, and all that remains is to take the first step forward in making it a reality.
Do you agree with these suggestions? What would you like to see in the future? Let us know your ideas!