Plugged In

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

Vol. 8

How’s it going, folks? I know, I know, I’m a bad blogger. More consistent entries will be attempted and I’ll try harder, I promise to do better next time, yak yak yak, all that bullcrap. C’mon, give me a break. I don’t get paid for this, and the holiday season is a busy time! And be fair to myself, I’ve had some health problems recently, and am preparing for a move, so I’ve been legit busy as of late.

So enough with the pleasantries; let’s talk Destiny. First of all, I must announce: I failed. I never attained Fabled rank in season 4 and got my Luna’s Howl. I reached around 1450 Glory — around 650 points from Fabled — and there my glorious quest petered out. I found the matches in the competitive playlist to be sweaty and challenging, however, and I believe playing comp did yield some improvement in my overall level of skill.

However, upon reflecting on my failure, I’ve concluded that while I have improved, my PvP skills still are somewhat lacking. While I can have excellent games, even against good teams, my issue is consistency, especially when it comes to playing consciously and intelligently. Too often I’ll be doing something and realize I’m just doing it in a lazy, unintelligent way, a way that usually ends up getting me killed. However, I know more improvement is possible, and I’m not giving up by any means.

And improve I have. I’ve been playing a lot of Rumble, which CammyCakes once referred to as the “git gud quick solution.” And I’ve been doing, well, better than I thought I might. Without looking at numbers, I’d say I manage a win once every one to two sessions.

Part of my problem is that I want to use everything in the game. I’m trying to adopt more of the mindset that my clanmate MaNemRob has: Pick 2-3 solid loadouts and stick with them. In short, use the best stuff you can, often, and don’t apologize. To that end, I’ve ended up with this:

  • Top-tree Nightstalker with Gambler’s Dodge, strafe jump and vortex grenade
  • Dragon’s Shadow exotic chest armor
  • 7 mobility, 3 resilience, 3 recovery
  • Class ability mods on all five armor pieces
  • Trust hand cannon w/ corkscrew rifling, accurized rounds, dragonfly, rapid hit, targeting adjuster mod, handling masterwork
  • Dust Rock Blues shotgun with full choke, accurized rounds, range masterwork, field prep, grave robber, icarus grip mod
  • Hammerhead machine gun (may go with a backup mag mod on this, still not sure)

Alternately, I’ll run the Ace of Spades exotic hand cannon with the Retold Tale shotgun (accurized rounds, smallbore, field prep, full auto, icarus grip mod). I also have a Bygones I’ll sometimes sub out for Ace (rangefinder, full auto, ricochet rounds, chambered compensator, counterbalance mod).

In the Izanami Forge, I got a Blast Furnace, the new aggressive frame pulse, with Meyrin RDL medium-zoom scope, steady rounds or accurized rounds, snapshot sights and rampage; this may also be subbed in for Ace or Bygones, still leaving Retold Tale in the energy slot.

I sometimes consider being that guy and running Telesto in the energy slot, but when I watch very high level players in comp, they’re almost all running a 180 hand cannon with a Dust Rock. Telesto, despite being insane and definitely a little OP, has charge time, so a shotgun is more reliable up close.

The above loadout allows me to have a dodge every 12 seconds, and every dodge gives me invisibility, plus, thanks to Dragon’s Shadow, reloading of all weapons, boosted movement speed and boosted weapon handling speed (which is especially useful given that my Dust Rock doesn’t have snapshot sights). Additionally, since Dragon’s Shadow grants reloading of all weapons on any dodge, I can run Gambler’s Dodge instead of Marksman’s Dodge and so get my smoke bomb back every time I dodge close to an enemy player.

Overall, I’m very happy with this loadout. Yeah, as a Super, Tether still sucks in PvP. Nothing new there. But I’m learning to do a little better with it, using it more proactively and offensively, which seems to catch people off guard, as they are likely expecting it to be used to shut down a Super.

***

So a big question: Will I go for Luna’s this season? I don’t know. I haven’t played much comp this season, but one particular experience left me a little wary of spending much time in the playlist.

I solo queued into a match in which I, at around 300 glory, was put on a team with three randoms, none of whom were over 400 glory. We were matched against a full team, none of whom were less than 2200 glory; their highest-ranked player was 4400 glory. This, frankly, is ridiculous and unacceptable for a playlist that purports to be competitive.

With a lack of skill-based matchmaking in competitive, one would then assume that one will match against players of a similar rank, with rank presumably being a measure of skill. Unfortunately, my experience shows that if the matchmaking algorithm gets desperate enough, it will toss together any eight players, no matter how far apart in rank they might be. This means that, despite Bungie’s assertion, there really isn’t rank-based matchmaking in competitive.

What to do about this? Increase queue times would be a great start. I’d gladly wait an additional five minutes (or more) for a match that’s actually fair. In other competitive games, high-level players expect to sometimes have long waits for matches. That’s just how it goes. Why would that be such a sin in Destiny?

But the deeper issue, I suspect, is that very few players are playing the comp playlist. And why would they? The pinnacle competitive reward this season, a legendary grenade launcher called The Mountaintop, is a weapon that nobody wanted or asked for. Why a single-shot grenade launcher? Seriously, is there a worse class and archetype of weapon they could have chosen? Maybe a pinnacle rapid-fire fusion rifle would eclipse the epic “meh” factor of The Mountaintop?

On top of that, balance in PvP is desperately in need of some TLC, which begs the question, why has sandbox balancing taken all of five months? I realize that Destiny isn’t purely a PvP game, and there’s an entire PvE side to consider (since they, uh, refuse to balance them separately), but other PvP shooters push out updates nearly every week. I am absolutely sure that Bungie can do better than this.

Further, we still don’t have cross play between Xbox and PlayStation. This would instantly double the console playerbase, making for better matchmaking.

Finally, the loot pool in comp could also be much improved upon. With Trials gone — and likely not coming back anytime soon — there is no longer a PvP playlist outside of quickplay that offers a complete set of unique weapons and armor. This isn’t Overwatch, where a rank badge and golden gun(s) are enough to incentivize players to jump into, and remain engaged in, competitive play. Destiny is, at its heart of hearts, all about the loot.