Guardian Games has just started, and everything is different. There are a bunch of luminaries floating around the tower, there are new playlist activities, and Eva wants us to collect laurels to buy cards to earn medallions to unlock torches to earn buffs to help us complete competitive Nightfalls on weekends…I think. There are a lot of intricacies to the new systems, and I’m not sure I fully understand how they all work (although our full Guardian Games guide is certainly helpful). Although some layers of abstraction seem unnecessary, the event introduced many clever ideas that seem wasted in a three-week event that only happens once a year. I’d love to see how Bungie can incorporate these aspects of Guardian Games into the usual Destiny 2 grind.
One of this year’s most confusing additions is also one of the most intriguing. The new Guardian Games playlists, found at the top of the tower map, are variations of the Vanguard playlist activities that have a few cool features. First, the Training and Competition playlists offer 1550 Legend Nightfalls with matchmaking, which will be a huge benefit for solo players who need to farm exotic and enhancement prisms. Second, all three playlists use a rating system to track performance and determine rewards. The more successful you are during the strike, the further you will progress towards your weekly Pinnacle. During the weekend, when the competitive playlist opens, your score will be recorded, probably in some sort of ranking system, so you can compete against other teams to improve.
This system should also find its way into regular Vanguard playlists. Instead of rewarding Pinnacle progress for achievements, players should earn progress based on performance. This way you’re incentivized to play well and improve, rather than performing activities on autopilot or, even worse, AFK while your teammates do them for you. Rather than relying on the difficulty setting to determine rewards, drops could be tied to your score so you earn better gear and upgrade items based on your level of play. puts more emphasis on skills and performance and provides intrinsic motivation to replay activities. Suddenly, I’m not just throwing a strike for loot – I’m throwing it to hopefully hit a new personal best.
A leaderboard for Nightfalls is a particularly fascinating idea. Introducing a competitive aspect to the toughest PVE activities is a great way to energize the community and encourage people to run Grand Master content over and over again, even if they no longer want or need the rewards. that they offer. Leaderboards are as old as Pac-Man, so it’s easy to take them for granted, but including them could give Destiny’s flagship activities some extra incentive.
The other reward for completing Guardian Games activities with a good score are Contender perks and shiny armor effects. Contender’s Boons is a weekly buff you earn in the Practice Playlist that buffs your weapon damage and ability recharges in Guardian Game Playlists for the entire week. Shiny armor effects, which are a staple of Guardian games, can be earned by handing in medallions and similarly last until the end of the week.
Non-loot rewards like these should be explored in other activities. It would be great to earn buffs in Strikes that you can carry into Nightfall, but Bungie could go a lot further. What if completing all Lost Sectors in a Patrol Zone gives you a buff that improves your abilities in Legend and Master Lost Sectors that day? Optional items like this can help extend the grind without feeling artificial. Glowing armor effects seem like they belong in Guardian games, but there are other temporary auras you can earn for Nightfalls, Raids, and Trials. Everyone loves these cosmetic effects, and it would be great if there were more opportunities to earn them each week.
Competition between classes is at the heart of the Guardian Games, but this year the event isn’t just about picking up laurels and dipping medallions. In fact, these additions appear to be experiments for possible new permanent features. Matchmaking in Power Cap Activities is the most exciting prospect, but there’s a lot going on in this event that could eventually lead to huge improvements for Destiny 2.
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