Here I am, one win away from filling up my Trials passage for that precious Pinnacle gear that Saint-14 is so keen on keeping from me, and I can’t seem to clench a victory. Every match is the same: I transmat in, and the rest of my fireteam would much rather make sure their heads are as close as possible to the other team’s bullets than attempt to stay alive and coordinate as a unit. I understand that Destiny 2 is a multiplayer game but as a solo player with hardly any friends who play the game as regularly as I do, I’m finding it perpetually difficult to enjoy the PvP (Player Versus Player) aspect of the game. Why do I play PvP then, you ask? Because it awards me with gear upgrades in the form of Powerful and Pinnacle gear. And therein lies the problem.
Almost every MMO now includes some elements of both PvE (Player Versus Environment) and PvP. While most MMOs are more focused on PvE content than PvP, Destiny 2 seems to be torn between the two, attempting to create a hybrid MMO of sorts where all players have some incentive to engage in all its activities. Unfortunately, many players who simply do not care for one activity or another wind up viewing them as chores, nearly mandatory tasks requiring completion from those who want to keep up with Destiny 2’s endless power grind.
This has been a huge problem since the release of Destiny 2 back in 2017, and although Bungie has attempted to overhaul the system many times, nothing has really changed. There are plenty of PvE activities (strikes, dungeons, raids, etc.) that award players with gear upgrades, but the main issue is that the game’s PvP activities offer the exact same thing. In other words, if you aren’t skilled at PvP gameplay or you don’t have any friends to play alongside, either you will trudge and grumble your way through those activities to get your hands on the gear it offers, or you will end up not getting the gear at all, either because you can’t win or you just don’t want to put yourself through PvP torture.
I know you may be thinking, “If you don’t want to play PvP, you don’t have to play PvP.” Wrong. Destiny 2 all but requires that I engage in PvP activities if I want to keep up with its power grind. Every week that I choose not to, I fall behind. And in a game that is constantly on the move, if you fall behind, you get left behind.
The “git gud” argument doesn’t apply here either. Anyone can easily practice and master PvE content because it is consistent. If you fight the same boss, you know it’s going to act the same way every single time. PvP content is different as you are constantly matched against players of varying skill levels, thus increasing the amount of time you will have to spend “mastering” it, and even then, you will inevitably encounter someone who is better than you.
So, why do changes need to be made to PvP and not PvE? Well, you don’t even need to take a poll to know that Destiny 2 is more of a PvE game than a PvP game. Just look at the seasonal challenges each week. Generally, about 95% of the challenges revolve around players participating in some kind of PvE activity with some offering progression bonuses for PvP gameplay. For example, “Defeat targets with Pulse Rifles or Trace Rifles. Bonus progress for defeating Guardians.” If Destiny 2 is going to continue proving itself to be more of a PvE game, then why “force” players to play PvP?
A potential solution (and most likely the simplest to implement) would be to entirely remove gear upgrades from PvP activities and replace them with something less critical to progression like cosmetics, titles, shaders, etc. This would allow the players that participate in those activities to “show off” their hard work to others. After all, PvP is really all about showing off anyway.
Another potential solution would be to have a completely separate loot pool for PvP that offers PvP-specific gear – not just gear that looks different, but gear that is really only effective when used against other players in PvP gameplay. This would mean a rework to perk pools and quite possibly the removal of the power level system entirely, but it would work. Popular MMOs like World of Warcraft have done this for years, and you very rarely see someone benefiting from PvP gear while doing PvE content.
I’m not a game developer, so I can’t claim that either of these solutions is easy, but I will say that I firmly believe that implementing either of them would make a lot of people happy. Of course, you can’t make everyone happy, but changes like these would most likely increase satisfaction for the majority.
As it stands, Destiny 2 is a great game. I have personally given close to 2,000 hours of my time to the game, and I plan to continue playing it. That being said, there are things about the PvP side of the game that have consistently frustrated me since its release. The problem is, I know I’m not alone in this. A large portion of the Destiny 2 community has voiced their frustrations with the current system, and no one should expect them to quiet down anytime soon unless some big changes are made. Here’s hoping.
Destiny 2 is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.