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‘Destiny’ Beta Shows Social Limitations Of Anti-Troll Decisions


As the Destiny beta test takes a two day break for maintenance, the overall impressions from the Playstation 4 and Playstation 3 experience have been positive so far. While the game is technically sound for a beta and sports some solid and exciting gameplay, Bungie’s “shared world shooter” lacks two components that make it feel like it is an experience being shared with others – the ability to communicate and play the game locally on the same TV.

The communication problem in Destiny is a conscious design decision by Bungie to limit voice chat only with people that share the same fireteam. The approach was taken to limit the likelihood of obnoxious players ruining the experience of others as multiplayer lead Lars Bakken explained in a Game Informer interview.

One of the things that we’re doing for the first time ever in Destiny, we’re taking a different approach to voice chat. We know that, not just in multiplayer, that in general, when you get into a game with someone that you don’t know or someone that you’ve never seen before and may never see again, they have this power to completely destroy your entire experience and maybe ruin the game for you forever. And so what we’re doing instead of having that…one in ten chance possibility of someone ruining your game, we’re effectively saying you only have voice chat to your fireteam. And we’re doing other things to let you communicate with other players, but it’ll be interesting to see how people react to it, for sure.

This may limit trolling, but the result in my experience has been a rather lifeless series of missions during the Destiny alpha and beta test when I do not play with people I already know. The communication options outside of voice chat are currently limited to four gestures – waving, sitting, pointing and dancing. None are particularly useful when trying to communicate with teammates. This makes coordinating during Strikes, Missions and competitive multiplayer needlessly more difficult.

Compare that the various social offerings in other games that may or may not include voice chat as an option. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn for the PS4 offers both text chat and a long list of emotes that are mostly silly but include useful ones as well. Battlefield 3 introduced the concept of spotting enemies / targets on the PS3 and Xbox 360 and improved with Battlefield 4 despite those games other problems. Meanwhile, the PC MOBA Smite from Hi-Rez Studios borrowed the Tribes Voice Guided System to provide quick and important communication with teammates in as little three button presses.

If a Bungie decides not to expand voice chat to proximity outside of fireteams or some other measure, a better non-verbal communication system will be needed to point out targets, destinations or objectives.

Destiny Gameplay

Can Destiny do better at social interactions and coordinating with other players?

This brings me to the lack of a local co-op option with Destiny. Bungie excelled at local co-op with Halo: Combat Evolved through Halo: Reach and created some memorable moments with my son, myself and his friends. So, its absence here has been especially disheartening during the alpha and beta as we take turns playing instead of doing what should happen in a “shared world shooter,” playing together.

The lack of local splitscreen was confirmed in a Bungie interview with GameSpot in June. The realization of that during the alpha and beta has been especially bittersweet, however. I would take Destiny running at something less than 1080p with splitscreen co-op if it meant the opportunity to enjoy the game with my kid or my kid to enjoy the game with his neighborhood friends.

Is Bungie setting up Destiny to fail at socializing by limiting voice chat to fireteams and no local co-op play? Or do you think the social options currently available are all that’s needed? Sound off in the comments below?

The Destiny beta will return Wednesday, July 23 for the PS4 and PS3 and launch for the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Bungie confirmed today that the Xbox One version will run at 1080p when it is released in September even if the beta is only 900p.

[Images via Bungie]

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32 Responses to “‘Destiny’ Beta Shows Social Limitations Of Anti-Troll Decisions”

  1. Matthew James Wiesmore

    I think the beta is perfect the way it is with one exception 3 ppl on a fireteam for story is a little chincy if you want your kid to play with you or friends get 2 ps3s as he gets older he wnt share with you anyway he'll just take it as for his friends they aren't your problem and if you want them to be same case except you just let them use yours temporarily and keep it all in a locked down game room to prevent theft

  2. Jill Aberger

    The reason why same system multiplayer was so huge on Halo was because there was no xbox live. 'Multi player in the days of Goldeneye and Halo were limited to local connection. Some people would have enjoyed it I'm sure but honestly the amount of people that would actually use split screen would be extremely small. I too play with my son but I say just buy him his own system man like I did :) I doubt this will affect sales at all.

  3. Steve Carrigan

    Is this person really trying to say that an mmo type of game needs splitscreen?Do you see that in many online games these days?Also, I guess I could agree with the communication, but I'm not really going to be communicating outside of the social areas because i'm too busy actually fighting in the game to wave and dance at people.

  4. Anonymous

    He's not saying its bad hes saying that a certain aspect of the game for social interaction is sorta flawed. An example I can give is from my time in the crucible playing with randoms where I would always get games where I would call out to an ally that an enemy was behind him or something only to have him end up dying from something he could of avoided with the information I was trying to give to him.

    Just think that for every time you die from some super or something there's going to be an ally or someone who possibly has the ability to change said outcome of if that super hit you or not. The problem with this is that in Destiny I have to go through menus and everything for every match just to get the chance of communicating with teammates that I'v literally just met in game causing me and everyone that takes the time to accept it to lose out on valuable time to get good footing in the match and all of this just to be social in a game that's trying to push the social experience.

    Games amazing just has a few problems here and there like literally every game.

  5. Thomas James Juretus

    While I enjoyed my time so far with the Destiny Beta, I would have liked to been able to better communicate with the other players. The couple of gestures available didn't seem to cut it. Having a chat box or a couple more gestures to choose from could help. Not worried about hearing the other players so much. I agree that can sometimes mar an experience with a game. It soured GTA V's multiplayer for me real quick, just for an example. But silent communication can work. Just look at the Souls games. Players seem to be able to communicate quite well there. Guess we'll see if they address this in the full game.

  6. Sean Gall

    dashawn.martin Ok? Hey, do you have a mirror? I want to see if it looks like I give a shit about what you have to say about anything.

  7. Anonymous

    Same system multiplayer is one of the reasons Call of Duty and Halo are so popular. They still offer split screen gameplay where so many other games have abandoned it.

  8. John Belton

    its called the mute player option. and no local co-op on a bungie game is sadd. basically companies fail at seeing this as important when its a basic thing that shouldnt be left out of any game .. and when you do make the co op – it should take up the entire screen and not have black borders that make the picture smaller.

  9. Dermot O'Deady

    I 100% agree with this article. I think the lack of split screen and communication ir awful. Ever since the invention of private/party chat the social experience has gone down hill. I play on both consoles and I find it incredibly hard to coordinate team work, party up with new people, and make new friends because everybody is either in private chat or aren't using their mic. I remember the days of Halo 2 and 3 when everybody used their mic and it was easy to make new friends. Now it seems like more of a hassle. When I played the beta on the PS3 this past week I found it ridiculous that you couldn't communicate with people walking around. This was especially frustrating during a public event. Why not have chat options where you could talk to just your party, just people on the same mission, or proximity? This is also very lame when going into crucible. Either make the fireteams 6 people or allow chat among the team members. Bungie-vision needs to address this issue. The game has so much potential to be an amazing social experience but it completely fails at actually bringing guardians together. Strike, public events, and crucible must have chat outside of your fireteam.

  10. Michael Washington

    I am okay with only talking to my fireteam but what they need is a fire team larger than 3 players and the ability to add players to your fireteam while on a mission or exploring. I personally hate listing to a bunch of echoing blabbering kids. As far as split screen goes. I see no need for it in this game.

  11. Adrian Hill

    Thank God there there's only voice chat with your Fire team. Now i don't have to listen to your 10 year old son talking about how he F*cks my mom and rapes my sister, much to their delight and pleasure of course.

  12. Adrian Hill

    Then you would have a squad. Then someone wouldn't want a squad sized team and they would cry for a Platoon… then a Company.. then a Battalion sized…. just keep it at three people. Fire teams are good enough.

  13. Anonymous

    This is absurd!!! Who has ever played an MMORPG that supports split screen? No one. Those features are reserved for games that are not ONLINE ONLY. I am completely flabbergasted at this article. I do agree a text chat function would be great for in the tower but other then that this is a horrible article.

  14. Anonymous

    Fred Mooshy Melendez…. Its rare to see trolls over the age of 16…. And your what 45? Grow up dude. Poor example for your kids..

  15. Steve Carrigan

    Dermot O'Deady Borderlands doesn't have MMO parts.You find teammates online. It's like guild wars or something (just for example), you see a person in a city or out in the field and you invite them.There is no split screen in an MMO.

  16. Bert Deaton

    The only people I really care to chat with are on my friends list and I can party chat them. Communication for the missions? LOL, there are arrows that tell you where to go, and you kill things on the way. I'd rather stick to that than being forced to listen to some dbag whistling, rapping, singing, or insulting. If there is voice chat enabled more openly they need to make sure you can mute everyone easily. I'm also happy without split screen.

  17. Michael Washington

    I disagree, few people only want to play and chat with 2 others. I would not want huge teams but at least 5 so you play with a group of people. OR at least be able to group your fire teams together and chat.

  18. Kory Baldwin

    I think it would be awesome if, with a button-press, a list of nearby players would pop up and you had the option to mute them or keep hearing them individually. COD has offered something similar for years and it worked quite well.

  19. Mr Plosh

    You do realize you can invite those you find in the world to your fireteam with a few button clicks. kind of a weak argument.

  20. Mr Plosh

    Every clown playing music in the background and singing, i wish i could blow up there PS4 remotely when they are doing that.

  21. Joshua Brown

    Hey Kory, Don't know if you saw the option, but you can hit options, go to roster and see a list of nearby players there. Of course no mute options but that list is there if you hadn't seen it :)

  22. Joshua Brown

    Hey Mr.Plosh. How do you feel about having to send a playstation message in that process? I've gotten stuck there before and had to restart the game.

  23. Andrew Shealy

    It's too big of a deal to not be an option. There's a few people that seem to be happy that you can't do this, but if they can't figure out the mute option, I'm not sure their opinions matter for much. Point in case from the beta alone, I've had some random fire teams struggle to take down the devil walker. It's not a hard fight. And it isn't something that people shouldn't be able to figure out. But if your two teammates are clueless, it definitely takes too long. Being able to tell them what to aim for would be really nice. And what happens when the fights more complicated? Oi. It's a very short sighted decision. Let's stop the 10% of the time someone is trolling over the mic by taking the social aspect out of our social game. Cause that makes sense.

  24. Donald Imboden

    I love the game but I don't have many friends that have upgraded to xbox 1 so the lack of communication is a real downer. I mean how hard is it to give a mute option? Or maybe a button to report harassment? This essentially turns this into a one player game that you have to play online with xbox live. Oh yes people may be playing along with you, but if there is no ability to attempt social interaction with them they may as well be npcs.

  25. Pratt Despain

    I agree on the split screen mode. My wife and I love to play games like this together. We played the Halo games together and when we could, we played with my out of state brother too. We are very disappointed that this game which is supposed to be very social will not allow us to play together. Just like the author and his child, it takes away from the experience and we would gladly give up graphics to just play together.

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