Friday, October 7, 2016

Iron Banner Supremacy - A Broken Blade?

In an article titled Iron Banner Highlights Big Issues With ‘Destiny’s’ Multiplayer

by By Collin MacGregor, the Destiny community’s PvP (Player vs. Player) Iron Banner Supremacy mode comes under strict scrutiny by the author.

In the Iron Banner's Supremacy mode, two teams of six are tasked with shooting each other for “Crests”, which are engrams that are dropped after each successful kill. If a player runs or walks over it, their character picks that crest up. After an immediate kill, it will add a point to their individual scoreboard and a point to the team total. If another player manages to gather your crests after you have bested your opponent, they get one point for the retrieval and you get a kill point. It is ideal to pick up your downed allies' crest engrams as it is vital to prevent the opposing team from collecting them.

The first team to 150 points, or the team with the most points by the end of the round will win the match. This game mode is vaguely reminiscent of the "Kill Confirmed" archetype from the Call of Duty franchise. However, the exception in Destiny: Rise of Iron is that no points are awarded for the actual take-downs. The points are awarded solely upon crest retrieval.

Where MacGregor and I differ is in our opinion of the balancing of the game mode for this month's Iron Banner. According him the game has shifted the

"...balance of Destiny’s multiplayer considerably in the favor of certain classes. Support or distance based powers such as Nightstalker, Sunsinger, and Gunslinger feels shoved aside for the close quarters powerhouses like Striker, Bladedancer, and Stormcaller. Bungie has been trying since the games inception to find some sort of balance between all of the different guns and sub-classes, but this is the first time it’s truly felt broken. Now, I’m not asking for the entire game to revolve around snipers or allowing players to just camp in the back the entire match. However, one shouldn’t feel like entire gun archetypes are not viable due to everyone running exceedingly aggressive builds."

This is where Collin MacGregor and I disagree. I typically play as a Nightstalker Hunter in most PvP game modes (I'm honestly never really in the mood to switch) and I personally never saw any problem with the Nightstalker bow being used. In fact, it was IDEAL in the close quarter maps as I would be able to tether multiple opponents at once, gaining the "Wild Hunt" accolade nearly every time I unleashed it. I have seen many additional hunters utilizing the same effective strategy to circumvent the Stormcaller Warlocks and the Sunbreaker Titans. To me, what really seems broken is the lag time between picking up a crest engram and it disappearing from view. (I can't count how many times I've dashed towards a crest I thought was there, only to find out that someone had already picked it up.)

If anything, the lag and lack of partial credit towards kills is what has cause the balance in Destiny's latest game mode to be a bit skewed. I would rather have a top score of 250 with a point awarded for a kill, two for getting a crest, and perhaps three to four for the kill and retrieval of a particular crest.

I do agree with MacGregor with regards to the individual maps being a bit of a clincher on the game balancing front. Last Exit, Icarus, and Skyline are indeed full of narrow hallways and passages. As such, close combat tactics are preferred and encouraged. If other maps were rotated more frequently, we might see a drastic change in how the players respond in certain combat scenarios. However, with Rise of Iron only being  seventeen days old from the time of this post (September 20, 2016 is when Rise of Iron launched), this latest game mode being front and center for the new and improved Iron Banner is to be expected.

When I say "new and improved" I'm referring to the welcome addition of the female Iron Lord Efrideet as the head of the Iron Banner (via a nice introductory cinematic I might add!). The bounties for the Iron Banner now apply for the entire week and do not refresh daily, but now that the Tempered buff is no longer in play, it's far easier to rank up reputation levels. (I managed to get to rank 3 in the span of about an hour or two.)

My issue is that during battle, with everyone clustering together in an attempt to ensure crest pickup, it makes allies far easier targets for chain effects like that of the Zhalo Supercell and Stormcaller Warlocks. I can't count the number of times I've sneaked behind enemy lines just to flank the entire team and throw them off guard. So, perhaps spreading out a little bit wouldn't hurt on the teamwork.

Works Cited:
 MacGregor, C. (2016, October 05). Iron Banner Highlights Big Issues With ‘Destiny’s’ Multiplayer. Retrieved October 7, 2016, from 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

When the Best Laid Plans Often Go Awry

Hey everyone! How've you been? So, I hit a bit of a snag. I had intended to do a full on space exploration video journal/blog series of my excapades in "No Man's Sky" but unfortunately, my expectations for that particular title were in a galaxy far, far, away so to speak. The game is unfortunately not as engaging as I had hoped and in many ways, uninspired. Despite my initial uneasiness about the procedurally generated planets, I has sort of hoped for a relative balance of interesting flora and fauna on every planet.

That hope was severely crushed, time, and time again. Playing the game involves a lot of resource gathering (which is fine), however, it would seem that all players do is destroy in order to craft upgrades. There seems to be little to no constructive elements that benefit the planets the player lands on. This was a dismal disappointment to say the least. As I discovered, there are Atlas interfaces that travelers of the stars can interact with and earn Atlas stones. Something is said to happen once ten of them have been stored in your inventory, but through a fumble of my own, I ended up rejecting the Atlas path and solemnly had to travel the path to the galactic core with the disdain of Nada and Polo ever looming each time I bumped into them during my journey. I completely botched the "secret option" as such, their kindness felt very empty, as if I had dishonored them with no means of ever redeeming myself.

Well, so I thought. Apparently, I've stumbled upon and re-established the path to the Atlas interfaces. Unfortunately, it would appear that the path is leading me further AWAY from the center of the universe, rather than towards it. In addition, I have the maximum hyperdrive upgrade available to me, and I've been zipping along the galaxy on this connected path, but have yet to regain any knowledge of how far away I am from my nearest meeting point.

I think my biggest concern is that I'm getting dreadfully bored of this game. I now have the full 48 slots in my jetpack backpack so I can hold a plethora of upgrades and equipment (although, conversely, I still have an incredibly small ship). So I no longer need to earn as much currency for upgrades to that interface. I still need a much larger ship, but I can take a far more leisurely approach to selling and trading than before as it would occur without my own persistence. (I'll need to buy and sell elements and items anyway for travel between planets.) As such, I can also be more meticulous in my endeavors to acquire a ship that is both appealing visually and provides enough storage space.

I've already spoiled the ending for myself (or perhaps only one possible version of it). As such, it's rather soured my continuance for playing. So much so, that I actually bought the DLC for Destiny. I said it. No Man's Sky is WORSE than Destiny.

So, I'll be doing a live stream (regrettably) for Rise of Iron when it comes out on September 20th. Way to go Hello've managed to take my dreams of space exploration and grind them into the dirt.