Destiny players received good news from Bungie on Thursday as the developer detailed substantial changes coming in the February update to the shooter. PlayStation and Xbox players can look forward to the 2.1.1 update hitting alongside the Crimson Days event next week with Crucible changes to Special Weapon ammo, matchmaking, and playlist, plus fixes to a couple of major King’s Fall Raid annoyances.
Small-sized 3v3 Crucible matches will receive perhaps the biggest change with the Destiny update that will be delivered on Tuesday, February 9. Players in Skirmish, Salvage, Elimination, and Trials matches will no longer start with Special Weapon ammo.
Destiny 6v6 gametypes such as Control and Rift plus the free-for-all Rumble will not be affected by the Special Weapon ammo change.
Senior Designer Derek Carroll explained the Special Weapon ammo crates will not change in terms of behavior, but appeared to hint they will not be moved from the current spots. He stated that players “may be looking for them a bit more.”
Carroll also explained the reason for the change is to promote more use out of Primary Weapons during the early part of matches.
“The PvP team wanted to increase the use of Primary weapons, especially at match-start. Sniper rifles and shotguns, in particular, inspire great happiness or sadness depending on which end of the weapon you find yourself. We wanted to somewhat delay that gratification (and sadification),” he noted.
This only affects Sniper Rifles and Shotguns though. The developer confirmed from his Twitter account that Sidearms will not be affected by the change.
Another significant change is in direct response to feedback from the Destiny community. Players who ran solo in Crucible have long lamented how unfair it is to run a team full of randomly match-made players against a full cohesive fireteam. Bungie is introducing the Freelance 6v6 and Freelance 3v3 playlists to the game, which will only be accessible to those not in a Fireteam.
It will be interesting to see the player response to these playlists as there are two catches to them. First, they feature a mix of modes. Freelance 6v6 will rotate players through Clash, Control, and Rift while Freelance 3v3 mixes Elimination, Salvage, and Skirmish. Additionally, neither playlist will be available on a regular basis. Instead, they will be included in the weekly playlists that are rotated with every Weekly Reset.
“The design goal of Freelance playlists was to facilitate an even playing field. Both teams will be on equal ground, though an advantage can be gained by opening a voice channel to Team Chat,” Designer Jermiah Peischl explained. “A secondary goal was to provide playlists with a wider variety of engagements. Featuring mixed-modes with all of their associated maps means players will have a much more diverse experience and see less repetition in the combinations selected by matchmaking.”
Meanwhile, the matchmaking tweaks that were experimented with during Iron Banner last week are slowly making their way to other playlists. Skirmish, Rumble, and Control are currently using the new and improved matchmaking algorithms, while Trials of Osiris will debut with it on Friday. Crimson Double and Clash are also expected to receive the new matchmaking in the near future.
In addition to the matchmaking improvements, Bungie is also implementing what it calls the “Damage Referee” to prevent players from bad connections from gaining the upper hand in a fight. Destiny players have frequently complained how laggy players gain an advantage. The new “Damage Referee” will attempt to ensure players with bad connection will “lose fights a lot more often, even if you think you shot first or escaped behind cover in time,” according to Networking Engineer Paul Lewellen. Expect this to be tweaked frequently going forward.
Finally, two annoyances at the end of the King’s Fall Raid are finally being addressed by Bungie. The Relic Runner during the Daughters of Oryx fight will no longer have their camera snap around in a disorienting fashion. The encounter with Oryx will also be improved by preventing the Ogres from teleporting around the arena.
Lead Designer Gavin Irby confirmed many a player’s suspicion that the Blights were causing problems with the Ogre’s pathfinding and causing them to warp around. This glitch can be particularly painful during the Oryx Challenge when Destiny players are attempting to stack Blights in the same spot.
While there was no news about new PVE content for Destiny, these are all solid fixes and new features to being added to Destiny by Bungie. The studio has been making a more concerted effort to communicate and respond to player requests. They’ve even sent out a survey asking players why are they leaving.
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[Image via Activision]