In today’s gameplay reveal of Destiny 2, Bungie offered the first details of what players can expect in the Crucible, the game’s player-versus-player multiplayer mode. Crucible has always been a core component of the Destiny experience, but Destiny 2 will feature a more refined version of it with a narrower focus on serious gamers — while hopefully remaining approachable to beginners. Although Bungie did not specify plans for professional play, it would seem that the redesigned Crucible could be suitable for it.

It starts with a focus on smaller engagements designed for four-on-four play across all game modes. This means smaller, tighter maps with a refined experience that rewards mastery. “We’re building it for PvP players,” Bungie said.

Destiny’s Crucible was built more for casual gamers, those looking to quickly jump in, earn some loot, and complete bounties. Destiny 2’s Crucible will, apparently, put competitive aspects of the game first.

Of course, there is a balancing act here, and a hardcore Crucible could easily alienate many players if the experience is too punishing. A new HUD will communicate more information about the game than ever before, including whether other players have a Super ready and if they’ve picked up any power weapons. It’s “easy to experience, hard to master,” Bungie said.

Some of the PvP changes may also be designed to help welcome PC players into the fold for the first time. In a surprise announcement from Blizzard, the PC version of Destiny 2 will be available exclusively through battle.net, bringing longtime rivals Bungie and Blizzard together at last. (This really isn’t that surprising; Activision, Destiny’s publisher, merged with Blizzard several years back.)

One immediate negative for console PvP gamers is that Destiny 2 will still be capped at 30 fps, according to Kotaku. The PC version will be uncapped. This is my biggest personal gripe with Destiny multiplayer, as the low framerate can literally make it difficult to see what’s going on in intense PvP scenarios.

Clans and guided games

Destiny 2 will also fully support clans, and players will be able to browse and join clans right from within the game. Clans will play a central role to the overall Destiny 2 adventure, as even players who choose not to join a clan will still be able to temporarily team up with one to take on the game’s more challenging content, including Nightfall strikes and, yes, even the raid.

Bungie is calling this feature “guided games” and it acts as a sort of middle ground between playing with your friends and joining a game via anonymous matchmaking. The goal is to avoid the caustic encounters all too common of matchmaking by letting solo players pick and choose a clan based on its stated personality. After completing the activity, the clan members and the solo player can simply part ways, or the player could choose to join the clan if she enjoyed the experience.

As with Halo 5’s Spartan companies, Destiny 2 clans will have group rewards that every player’s actions will contribute to. Bungie specifically stated that the rewards system is designed to make all players — the diehard daily gamers and weekend warriors alike — feel like they are making a positive contribution to their clan.

Bungie hopes clans and guided games will help foster an even greater sense of community in Destiny 2, forging new friendships even between players who would otherwise tackle the game solo and miss out on end-game content like the raids.

A cinematic campaign

It wouldn’t be a Destiny game without a campaign loaded with exploration, and Destiny 2 is taking things to a whole new level. It features more story missions, more cinematics, and more characters than ever before. But even when you’re not in a main quest, there will be plenty to do.

Bungie has doubled-down on free-roam play, replacing Destiny’s “patrol” zones with a wealth of varied content and side missions. Finally, players will have an actual map and will be able to set waypoints and see when and where things are happening, like public events. You will also encounter NPCs throughout the area who will offer you quests and reveal “lost sectors” of the map for you to explore. Much like the traditional RPG dungeon, these lost sectors will contain a treasure cache that you can unlock after defeating the boss who guards it.

Crucible players will be familiar with the European Dead Zone, which was featured in in a PvP map in the original Destiny. Well, that same EDZ is now a free-roam area in the game, and Bungie says it is the largest they’ve ever built. However, not only is it large, it is also more intricate, with new challenges around every corner and new loot behind “every locked door,” according to the company.

Destiny always looked like a game that was about exploration, but it fell short in actually driving that feeling home. The areas were large, but there was precious little to actually do. It sounds like Destiny 2 will fix this issue. Furthermore, players eager to step foot into this new world won’t have to wait long: a public beta is coming “later this summer,” although Bungie did not reveal an exact date.


Also published on Medium.