Plugged In

Crucible Chronicles — Getting competitive

Being a true account of the author’s trials and travails in Destiny 2 PvP

Vol. 5

What do I really want out of Destiny 2, or any game, for that matter? Well, there’s immersiveness; I want it to feel as real as possible. And I like a certain atmosphere. (Dark sci-fi with a touch of mysticism? Check.) But at the heart of it, I like playing real-time action games against other human players. In other words, I like to compete.

So, this season, I’ve decided to go for it. I’ve embarked on the quest to obtain Luna’s Howl, the legendary hand cannon that’s awarded for accomplishing a series of feats in the Destiny 2 competitive PvP playlist.

It just makes sense. It’s an amazing weapon (as one my sweatier clanmates will attest; he’s already gotten his Luna’s and is regularly two-tapping opponents with it). Additionally, radar is back in comp this season. Last season’s removal of radar was a deal-breaker for me, as I’m deaf in my left ear, and so having to rely on sound alone is even tougher for me than for the vast majority of players. And I feel like I’m ready to at least attempt such a challenge. Back when I first started D2, obtaining an exclusive reward from a competitive playlist would’ve been inconceivable.

Now, when I say I’ve decided to go for it, that means I actually decided about a week ago and am already well underway! How far have I gotten? First, let’s review. The Luna’s quest comprises seven steps:

  • Complete 10 competitive matches
  • Get 150 hand cannon kills in the comp playlist (must be a final blow; assists don’t count)
  • Get 200 solar kills (with solar weapons, supers or abilities) in the comp playlist (must be a final blow; assists don’t count)
  • Complete 3 Rumble matches
  • Get 100 hand cannon precision (i.e. headshot) kills in the comp playlist (again, must be a final blow; assists don’t count)
  • Reach “Fabled” rank, or 2100 points, in the comp playlist
  • Return to Shaxx at the Tower and claim the reward

My strategy is to get the first five steps done before trying to rank up. My rationale, which is backed up by the experiences of other players, is that hand cannon kills, in particular, will be much easier to get at a lower rank. So far, this has been true. I started at around 280 Glory points, and so far I’ve encountered only one full team of four; most players, both on my teams and on enemy teams, are solo.

Now, let me be clear: This doesn’t mean I’m not trying or am throwing games. I wouldn’t do that to my teammates. Short of running my preferred loadout (which would probably be either a 390 pulse or Vigilance Wing, with a sidearm and Grenade Launcher, on top-tree Nightstalker, using Stompies or Gemini Jester for exotic armor), I’m doing my best to win matches. But if I lose, it’s OK, too.

This of course begs the question, what loadout am I running? At the moment, I’m running the new Hunter Gunslinger skill tree, Way of 1,000 Cuts, which features the enormously powerful Blade Barrage super. I’m using the Ophidia Spathe exotic chest armor, which grants two melee ability charges (in this case, Fan of Blades) per charge. Likewise, I’m using Gambler’s Dodge class ability, to maximize the available burning knives I can throw (as Gambler’s Dodge grants a melee recharge every time it’s used near an enemy player). On my armor, I’m rocking four paragon mods, which gives me my class ability (Gambler’s Dodge, in this case) back very quickly (haven’t timed it, but I think the cooldown is around 15 seconds). Weapons wise, I’m running the Trust 180 rpm hand cannon in the energy slot, my demi-god-roll Dust Rock Blues shotgun in the kinetic slot, and the new Iron Banner rocket launcher, Roar of the Bear (a solar elemental weapon), for a power weapon. This loadout is designed to maximize my chances to get solar kills, for step three of the quest.

Additionally, I’ve thus far played the vast majority of my games solo. Since I’m focusing on getting my quest steps done before trying to hit 2100, there’s just not much reason to put a team together. Once I’m ready to rank up, however, my plan is to use LFG to try to get a like-minded group of folks together. Of course, if any clanmates want to team up, they’ll be my first choice(s).

So far, I’ve gotten my 150 hand cannon kills, and am 41 percent through my 200 solar kills. I must say, I’ve done better than I thought, in terms of individual K/D and performance. I was able to carry a 3v4 countdown on Midtown, for instance, topping the board with 19 eliminations, and have been marginally pleased with my decision-making. So far, my Glory rank has increased from 280 to about 620. (I was up past 700, but then RNGesus gave me a string of teams with blueberries that dropped 0.13s and were rather uninterested in capturing zones.)

In general, I think playing comp will help me improve at PvP, whether I get Luna’s Howl or not. So far, it’s been fun, but I think the real challenge for me will be once I go full tryhard and try to hit 2100 points. And of course, I’ll be chronicling my quest here!