In what might be the worst kept secret in the history of video games - and that’s saying something! - Destiny 2 is now official. Game development studio Bungie has now confirmed its existence, and while there is nothing known about the game, there are some requests we’d like to put forward. Because while Destiny’s multiplayer was, at the very least, a solidly enjoyable affair for those who put the time in to master both the game’s gear acquisition and the foibles of utilising Guardian abilities to their very best. But for as much as players would play at a professional level, there was barely even a sniff of a “proper” esports league forming around the game. Now with the sequel on the horizon, perhaps that’s something Bungie will be considering. They did create Halo, after all. One of the most respected console based esports in the world. So here’s what we think needs to be considered for Destiny 2 - with the original’s multiplayer as a basis - to help turn the next game into a potential esport.
More strategic options
One of Destiny’s distinguishing features is its Guardians, a cross between Overwatch’s individually unique characters and Call Of Duty’s load-out-driven design. Destiny 2 should knuckle down on this, perhaps with a wider range of options open to each class, more classes or greater variety in how those abilities are utilised. Seeing these abilities used not only adds a bit of pizzazz to a match, but when timed well they can be real game changers. That’s not to suggest that each match should be awash with flashy particle effects - there should still be an emphasis on skillful gun play - but empowering players to use their abilities in more strategic ways means that when they are used they hold heightened significance. Strengthening the value of these abilities will give pro players the opportunities to turn matches around, and that always makes for thrilling games to watch competitively.
No more RNGesus
This was something WoW has suffered for years, trying to find that balance between PvE gear and PvP gear but there seems to be a nice balance now, giving players who only want to play PvP the opportunity to do so - and get rewarded for it. The problem with Destiny was it relied on players to gather up gear - which isn’t necessarily a negative point for an esport - with the rewards always tied to some hidden statistic. It wasn’t a huge issue, admittedly, since practically everyone playing at pro level had access to all the gear needed to compete. However, building a game around equipment acquisition diverts attention, with players seeking out the rarest items - even if they’re not the best - rather than practising with the ones they already have. A points-system not unlike WoW’s PvP that allows players to purchase progressively better equipment is a fine means of doing so, giving an objective reward to those who devote their time to PvP while still maintaining a sense of gear progression that Destiny wants to focus on.
Balance at the top
In addition to that, it’s important to keep the balance for all classes, their abilities and weapons as fine as possible. Destiny suffered at times because there were often mandatory weapons that players ought to be using, and while it’s nice to be using the best Exotic at the time, if everyone is having to use it then there’s very little balance to the game. Having strategic choices about which weapon to go into battle with will give players more tactical play as part of their teams, and it’d be nice to see some sort of mind-games going on as one player picks one weapon and others choose something that might counter it. And as expansions are released, make sure this remains true. Many esports use Seasons and changing patches to keep their games interesting, Destiny is unique in that its ‘seasons’ released in the form of expansion packs could add in new content and options in a way that some other esports titles just cannot provide.
Answer to ‘Ghost Bullets’
If you’ve played a lot of Destiny’s multiplayer then you may have heard the term ‘Ghost Bullets’, a facet of certain weapons - particularly Hand Cannons - that can make them frustrating since it often feels like the bullet has missed where the aim was true. Bungie has answered the criticism and it is a statistical part of the game that is functioning properly, the underlying RNG elements of each weapon deciding the potential accuracy of each shot. But if there’s no factoring in for this element then pro players cannot safely and securely use a weapon in the way they’d like to. The Hand Cannons were overlooked for their longer-range assault rifle at close range combat, after all - they are more reliable. We’re not saying Destiny 2 should occlude such mechanics, but if the majority of a class of weapons is overlooked because of such an unnecessary frustration then there needs to be a resolution, one that should - this time - be in the game at launch.
Custom games from the start
Speaking of things needed at launch, this is a simple one. It took far too long that it needed to get custom games into Destiny, but it’s almost a necessity for esports to make it possible for the likes of MLG and ESL to manage their competitive scene behind a game. A pseudo-scene did grow out of Destiny - even before the option for custom games was added in - but Bungie needs to come out of the gates swinging if esports is to be a target for Destiny 2. Of course we don’t actually know that it will be a target, especially since Activision has Call Of Duty and Overwatch already featured as fairly significant parts of the competitive scene. So maybe the focus won’t be on competitive play, but that would be a shame.
Will Bungie want it to be an esport?
This is a tough question to answer. On one hand, Bungie’s Halo and its preceding games were key players not only in multiplayer but in the early esports scene. The developer can’t want to overlook the importance of that. There’s no denying that Halo has lost a little of that heritage over the last few years, with games like CS:GO taking over the FPS esport market - but Bungie no longer controls Halo, and we’d like to think some of the ego of that famed developer wants to see its latest title give a little kick to make Destiny a more important competitive game. But whether Bungie wants it to or not is irrelevant, it really should focus on esports for its multiplayer outing. Sure, it’ll be tough to divide its focus between PvE and PvP, but if multiplayer is going to be important then it should tie it into a competitive scene too. For one thing, doing so ensures a greater emphasis on balance and that can only help the multiplayer side of things. And there’s no denying that the original Destiny, while it did maintain a healthy playerbase, didn’t storm up the charts like Bungie might’ve hoped. Building pro gaming into Destiny 2 will help the same way esports usually does, boosting visibility, increasing engagement and - ultimately - leads to sales. It’d be a smart move to bring esports into Destiny 2. Whether the esports community will accept it, well that we can’t predict.