‘Destiny 2’ Iron Banner Emblematic Of Game’s Larger Problems [Opinion]

Destiny 2 has been available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for a little more than a month now. In that time, the game’s community has voiced numerous complaints about different aspects of the shooter. The launch of Iron Banner earlier this week encapsulates almost all of them.

The campaign in Destiny 2 is miles ahead of what Bungie delivered in the first game with a clear story that leaves you wanting more at the end. A special shout out is also needed for composer Michael Salvatori and the rest of the team behind the amazing soundtrack and audio. The problem is with nearly everything that comes after completing the campaign.

Bungie has stripped so much of what made Destiny‘s gameplay special in the sequel. The powerful and unique Exotic weapons and armor suddenly don’t feel so powerful. The power fantasy and thrill in Crucible has been reduced to using a Super ability maybe once in a match, while forcing players to shoot at opponents together to earn kills.

Additionally, the end-game encourages players to only complete weekly milestone activities in order to make their Guardians more powerful. Meanwhile, players now farm Public Events instead of Strikes, as the former provides better rewards in a shorter period of time. There’s also a complete lack of anything equivalent to Heroic Strikes or Heroic Story Missions with appropriate rewards, and there is nothing like the Grimoire score to chase.

Astoundingly, the Destiny 2 development team appears to have largely ignored the improvements made to the original Destiny by the Live Team over the course of the last two years of its life, such as Strike-specific loot and private Crucible matches.

That’s far from a complete list of issues with Destiny 2. However, it was hoped that events like Iron Banner would bring a little of the old Destiny space magic back. Alas, that’s not the case.

The Problem with Iron Banner

The Distant Shores map in Destiny 2.

The launch of Iron Banner this week is emblematic of the problems with Destiny 2, as the usually anticipated monthly PvP event has been stripped of all uniqueness with the removal of Power/Light level differences. No more does the armor and weapons you’ve chased matter when facing off against other Guardians.

Additionally, rewards are granted by the same slot machine-like Token system that has infected every other vendor Destiny 2. Worse still, using the event as an end-game activity to improve your Guardian’s Power level outside of raids or Trials of the Nine has been erased. There is no Iron Banner-specific end of match rewards that will increase your Guardian’s Power level and the Iron Banner weapons and armor received from Tokens are at lower Power levels too.

Without the Power level differences and no way of improving your Guardian, Bungie has turned Iron Banner from a unique event that players look forward to into a standard Destiny 2 Crucible game mode that has no draw beyond a different set of armor and weapons.

Let’s Make Iron Banner Great Again

Iron Banner in Destiny 2.

What can be done? Well, returning Power level differences and higher-level rewards to Iron Banner would be the starting point. It would also be good to see the event further differentiated with modifiers that change the gameplay from standard Crucible like faster Super or abilities regeneration (not necessarily to Mayhem levels), faster movement speed, and higher jumping height, or some other boost.

These kinds of tweaks through modifiers can not only provide more uniqueness and inject some fun to Iron Banner, but also provide a testing ground for Bungie as it attempts to improve on Destiny 2 in future updates and DLC releases.

Getting rid of the use of Tokens in Iron Banner would be another start. The Token system is not horrible; it just doesn’t need to be used for every vendor and in every event, especially when the rewards are so-so and don’t help Guardians progress much.

Additionally, Destiny 2 players need something to chase other than handfuls of tokens. The use of leveling and ranks wasn’t perfect in the original Destiny, but it felt more exciting to pursue and more of an accomplishment to tell buddies, “I reached Iron Banner rank 5!” versus “I got some Tokens.”

How Would You Improve Destiny 2 and Iron Banner?

The good news is Bungie said it is listening to the Destiny 2 community in a weekly update posted late Thursday afternoon.

“We’re reading as much of your chatter as we possibly can. There are millions of you, after all. One thing we have noticed is a lot of discussions about the Endgame and how it can be improved. Right now, these discussions are also happening in our studio. We are listening, but need time to digest everything and draw up the best plans for the future. We will have more to say on this soon. Please stay tuned, and keep the conversation rolling.”

It’s not clear how much can be changed over the next couple of months and what will have to wait for DLC expansions. How would you make Destiny 2 and Iron Banner better? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Featured Image by Bungie/Activision]