'Destiny' Crucible Matchmaking Tweaks Continue, New Update Lessens Skill Factor

Bungie continues to tweak Destiny in the search of the perfect balance between skill and connection quality. The studio released a new update to the online shooter Wednesday to continue tweaking Crucible matchmaking with the goal of finding the happy place for PlayStation and Xbox players.

The latest tweak to Destiny's Crucible matchmaking is in response to an update in December that slipped out and emphasized skill over connection quality. Players began noticing the competition getting stiffer in matches, but the connection quality suffered and matches were inundated with lag-filled play.

Bungie initially brushed off comments and inquiries from players at the time, but finally copped to the impact of the changes in late January. The studio began making changes to matchmaking with the Iron Banner event released at the end of January and has since expanded those changes to more modes with further tweaking.

The latest round of Destiny matchmaking changes hits the Control gametype first and will reduce the importance of skill used to determine opponents. That means players can expect a wider variation in challenge from opponents, but the game's community will likely welcome that over some of the horrendous lag experienced in the past couple of months.

Community Manager David "Deej" Dague explained the new matchmaking changes in a post on the Bungie forums.

"The refinement of your competitive ecosystem continues. As you battle each other in the Crucible and discuss those experiences on the forum, we're taking stock of your reactions and sharing them with the team. Today, that same team is sharing back to you with some news on what's changing.

"Effective Immediately: New Matchmaking settings are live in Control.

"We've taken additional steps to increase the emphasis on connection quality. Skill ratings will be less a factor in finding you a match. Lag will be even further diminished. Enjoying a game with your friends who are more/less skilled than you are will be easier, but your opponents will be more random, so you will stand a better chance of getting your ass kicked - or vice versa. There is still some form of protection to insulate the casual players among us from the most hardcore, but those considerations will have much less impact on the technical quality of the matchup.

"We have also extended Damage Referee to govern the impact that poor connections have on matches in Clash, Rumble, and Freelance 3v3. It is still live in Control, where it was originally deployed."

The Damage Referee was introduced to Destiny earlier this month with the 2.1.1 update. It is made to prevent players with bad connections from gaining the upper hand in a fight. Destiny players have frequently complained how laggy players gain an advantage in Crucible and are often rendered invincible. The Damage Referee attempts to ensure players with a bad connection will lose fights that they previously would have won.

The reaction from the Destiny community has been positive so far, and players can expect Bungie to continue to tweak it as it is added to more modes. The real test will be when the Damage Referee is added to the ultra-competitive Trials of Osiris.

Destiny: The Taken King - Shotgun (PlayStation, Xbox)
[Image via Bungie]

Destiny players should look forward to more changes to the game in the coming months. Activision and Bungie recently laid out the roadmap for the shooter, which includes a large spring update to the game followed by an all new expansion in the fall. Meanwhile, the release of Destiny 2 has been pushed to 2017.

The large free update scheduled for the spring will bring a significant Light level increase, along with new weapons, armor, and gear. Bungie also promised new challenges for PvE players with opportunities for replayability. It's currently unclear if "new challenges" means new content for the game, bringing more content up from the Year One, adding challenge modes to the Vault of Glass and The Dark Below raids, or a mixture of the three. Expect Bungie to begin slow-rolling a reveal out over the coming weeks.

Details on the large expansion for Destiny planned later this year have not been revealed. Leaked contracts and release schedules for the game previously pegged fall 2016 as the release for a sequel to the online shooter. However, a number of challenges arose over the course of the first two years of Destiny's release that caused Bungie to abandon the DLC schedule that was used during Year One.

What do you think of Bungie's changes to Destiny Crucible matchmaking? Sound off in the comments below.

[Image via Bungie]