About every week brings something new Fate 2, whether it’s the story rhythms, new activities, or exciting new combinations of elements that allow players to wreak havoc on each other in Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what’s going on in the world of Destiny and a recap of what’s holding our attention across the solar system.
The launch of Witch Queen also saw Bungie make a series of tweaks to Gambit, a mode the studio released back with the Forsaken expansion. I’ve always found Gambit to be a really cool addition to Destiny 2 and one of the game’s most unique things. It’s a Destiny that takes on what might be a mob mode in other games where you face a bunch of enemies, but it’s structured to be more strategic. Gambit is a mode I’ve always really enjoyed – on paper at least.
I’ve leaned towards Gambit a bit more with the recent addition of the new Labs feature, making some minor tweaks to the formula, both seemingly to add some variety and collect player data to Bungie makes bigger changes. And I find I’m still torn by it. I like Gambit as an idea, but it’s still not quite as compelling as I would have liked.
First, let’s talk about what Gambit does right and how the new changes continue to improve it. Gambit succeeds with a single brilliant idea: player versus environment and player. Instead of content where you play alone or with friends against AI enemies or a straight-up arena shooter where you play against others, it combines the two formulas together. You are in a team of four players, fighting AI enemies, but competing with a bunch of other people. Most of the time, this mode is just a race to kill as many enemies as possible as quickly as possible, but sometimes a player can jump into the other team’s arena and mess with them, potentially ability to impede the opponent’s progress in the race, or at least divide the opponent’s attention.
All of this, to me, is really clever. Prior to Gambit, the PvE and PvP activities in the game were completely eliminated. They had their place in the world, but they were very similar playing two different games. You never face another Guardian when out in the Solar System, and Crucible matches never dig into the fun of high-level PvE content. They are two sides of the same coin that never interact with each other, and that essentially makes them like two separate games, in many ways.
Gambit changes that by combining both playstyles into a single experience, and it’s also really smart. Collecting and banking enemy drops is a good way to force you to think about how you prioritize fighting against regular enemies, and while most of those fights are swift and crazy, it also makes for an interesting risk-reward system when you are punished for trying too hard or getting greedy. The bonus, of course, is that you can shuffle the other team’s progress by using more engines at once, placing tough enemies in their arena. But the invasion mechanics are the smartest part, where you can actually jump into the opposing team’s arena and twirl around like a monster yourself. That same idea has shown a lot of popularity in the Dark Souls games, and it works in Destiny as well as there. It’s a bit of an itchy brief player-versus-player experience similar to Crucible, but also feels very different from how deathmatch is played.
We’ve seen Gambit go through a number of iterations, and the recent changes are dramatic, I think. They slowed down Gambit’s finish rate and made the match a bit more difficult to decide, but not quite as punishment for one team over another. With just a little experience with Lab changes, I also think the whole system is a good idea. Throwing new wrenches into the Gambit formula is enough to add a bit of freshness to the mode, like this week’s inversion of what triggers infiltration – rather than earning permissions through apps. bank, you now give the other team the ability to hack when you’ve banked enough money. I’m not sure it really has a big impact on the overall strategy (more on that in a minute), but it shakes up the mode dynamics in a way that makes it a bit more difficult for a team to run away from the match. .
The big win for Gambit, though, is that it’s a mode that really appeals to newer or more casual Destiny 2 players, at least in my anecdotal experience. I encouraged a group of friends to jump into Destiny 2 with the Beyond Light expansion, and they were pretty much into the game. What they like best is the Gambit, as far as I can tell. It’s a mode that allows them to use their PvE skills while still competing with other players, but it doesn’t put them out there against the more experienced Guardians in Crucible. We’re generally an older group of players, so they don’t have much free time to devote to developing the intense PvP skills needed to climb the Crucible ranks. Gambit, on the other hand, is a great speed that really attracts them.
Again, it’s anecdotal, but I’ve seen this same sentiment resonate among a lot of the newer and more casual Destiny players I’ve interacted with. Gambit allows them to experience fierce competition without suffering the pain that can be associated with playing in Crucible. One thing I always try to remember and reiterate to my gritty dear friends is that Bungie is trying to make the game appeal to as many players as possible, not just those of us who aren’t. weekly raid and burn everything. -Content level we can. And even if we’re not necessarily big fans of Gambit – I think most of my regular Destiny players don’t really get into the mode and a few actively don’t. it – that’s okay, because it serves other parts of the .
All that said, I think there are elements of Gambit that are currently lacking, and that’s disappointing for me as someone who wants to enjoy Gambit and considers it a good idea. I know I just finished saying it’s okay that Gambit isn’t for me, but I think this mode could be for more of us and it’s leaving a lot of players behind. In essence, my problem is that the Gambit is too ordinary, and as such, it never feels heavy or exciting enough to draw me in.
While I think Gambit’s competitive racing element is great, it falls short a lot of the time. Your only real interaction with another group, outside of the occasional intrusion from one group or another, is in quantity. As other teams play patterns in their bankroll, you’ll see those patterns reflected on the scoreboard. You interact with the fruits of the other team’s labor, whose interceptors send to your bank that you must kill before you can continue to score, but it’s still a really sporadic way to compete. And while Gambit’s recent tweaks make this less likely, you can still get hit by another team, with their scores suddenly skyrocketing and tons of blockers popping up in your arena. . You don’t know why this is happening (or why your team isn’t a good fit for it), most of the time. It was like being hit by a ghost.
Gambit only feels like a real competition on the surface, and so it doesn’t really matter whether you win or lose because it’s not entirely in your control. Rarely do you think about a game and think, if I had played better at the moment, I could have won, or we could have adopted this strategy and so we would have overtaken the other group. Every Gambit player is more or less the same, and often, the reason you win or lose is because you’re better at harnessing the weapon the meta has overpowered. In fact, this is just the case – ever since the Witch Queen, an Exotic primary weapon summoner spell has been misapplied in Gambit, making Eriana’s Oath cannon unbelievably powerful. strange. If you don’t use Eriana’s, you will be destroyed by the teams that did. Previously, the same thing happened with weapons like the Truth rocket launcher, or using the Titan Thundercrash Super with the Cuirass of Falling Stars Exotic armor. If you don’t use those in Gambit, you’ll be completely surrounded by people who know better than you.
These issues are why I really like Gambit Prime. While it has its own problems, Prime represents a tougher, more cohesive version of Gambit that is meant to be more like a real competition. It also comes with some great ideas – like role-specific armor that encourages you to complete a specific job as a member of the Gambit team. One is supposed to be a dedicated invader, another is used to tear enemies to pieces, the third is a defender to fend off roadblocks, and the last one can be a movable dust collector. fast, who can do a lot of damage to the other team. It increased team cohesion, inspired different approaches to play, and it encouraged trying and working together in Gambit.
Trouble is (apart from its integration with The Reckoning, my least favorite activity ever), no one plays Gambit Prime the way it’s meant to be played. Players enter matches with their own agenda, barely working together, and compete with each other for the chance to infiltrate or collect moes. Prime didn’t really work, and it’s good that most of its best tweaks have been moved back to the proper Gambit, but we missed out on some great potential when that happened, not least of all. it’s specialized armor and its many great perks.
Maybe that potential could be realized through Gambit Labs; maybe it means Gambit needs to redo the whole thing. We’ll probably never have a Gambit that sounds like a fun event for players like me, rather than a catchphrase for getting a Pinnacle weapon or a specific shader, which is often left out. via. After all, a part of Destiny 2 could appeal to a wide variety of players other than me. But I think there are ways that Gambit can be improved for everyone and that will make it more viable for more players. They are specifically concerned with making competition more visible and powerful, making matches more difficult to win, and making teamwork all the more important. Gambit Prime has sometimes been able to do just that – again, on paper. But the idea of it is steps in the right direction, and I’d love to see Bungie back in that direction again one day. Gambit is one of Destiny 2’s smartest ideas, but I wish I had more motivation to actually play it.