Destiny is in the midst of another limited time event called the Iron Banner, and this seems like another way that Bungie has dropped the Tower ball off the side of the hub. This comes off the tail end of the fairly disappointing event, Queen’s Wrath, and leaves a lot of fans wondering what will be coming next as this touted mode is simply not what was expected. This also sets the game down a winding path that could have millions turning away instead of staying around for the planned 10-year duration.
The Iron Banner event was a lauded mode around the release of the Destiny beta test, as many felt their skill and weaponry would be able to shine through. Then, with the lower level caps, it seemed as though the stats from other missions offered a supreme advantage over lower leveled combatants. In fact, the Banner is advertised as a higher-level mode on Bungie’s own website still. In the link below, “Level Advantages Enable” is clearly printed above the claim that your attack and defense points will make the difference in battle. In reality, this Destiny limited time, and potentially recurring, mode is as capped and balanced as any other Crucible match.
In this event, Guardians are supposed to go into special matches against other teams to find out how specific gear and weapons stack against other sets and players. A senior designer from Bungie, Derek Carroll, admitted that there was a limit to the relative level distance one Guardian could be from another. “Our solution…is to scale it down to a reasonable level,” Carroll says in regards to Iron Banner play. He then reveals that the “time-to-kill” ratio is the exact same for a level 20 Guardian shooting a level 10 as another level 20, allowing lower leveled players to have a chance against higher levels. The current cap on a player’s advantage sits at seven levels, meaning attacking someone 15 levels above will feel the same as attacking someone seven levels above.
Destiny, then, seems to have completely rounded off its sharpest edge while glaring problems that have been with the Crucible multiplayer matches since launch go overlooked. While softening what was advertised as their most elite multiplayer mode, one-hit kills are rampant throughout modes that are billed to be for everyone. Rocket launchers have not been dealt with and continue to take out teams en masse with one pull of a trigger while shotguns are still almost automatic kills in what seems like an unreasonable radius. That is not to mention the various powers that many feel are unbalanced, and the notorious Vault of Glass pulse rifle that has a bunch of ammo and requires almost no charge time, killing instantly over large distances.
The Iron Banner was advertised as a place for high level players to face one another with their gear, weapons and skill determining the outcome, free from any of the Destiny auto-balancing system or low level interference. Some may say that there is still the Vault of Glass and Weekly Heroics for high level players, but there is no matchmaking in either, meaning a team of fellow Guardians better be online and willing to tackle either challenge. The Strike playlist can only go so far, and the Iron Banner was supposed to give something that the rest of the game did not, but Destiny has been made to seem like something for everyone, even at the cost of those that love it most.
Opinion by Myles Gann