Destiny: New Trials of Osiris, Same Old ProblemsNovember 2, 2015
Wait, what’s going on? It’s raining salt at Tower, that’s odd. No, I am not interpreting whatever the glowing particles are at Tower for Festival of the Lost. I am referring to the fact that the Trials of Osiris returned last Friday – the endgame for the PvP side of the house of Destiny. It ushered in the next wave of players who proudly displayed their flawless emblems and ToO gear while roaming social spaces.
For those of you who are reading this, but haven’t played Destiny, ToO is one of two activities in which your performance actually dictates the level of reward earned at the end. The other one being raids. The difference is that the rewards in ToO are an extension of one’s ability to defeat other Guardians, so there is a “status” symbol associated with the rewards from ToO.
But I digress. My goal today isn’t to talk about the social status gained by performing well in ToO. In fact, I am going to talk about the opposite: barriers to entry (or the Lighthouse) that consistently frustrated Guardians this past weekend (Friday – Monday). The easiest way to cause disappointment and frustration is to make statements that don’t seem to be upheld. ToO was set to debut on October 23rd, however, a combination of the hard mode on the King’s Fall raid, coupled with an exploit in the Nightstalker subclass for hunters ultimately pushed the launch of ToO back another week. I don’t think any Guardian wanted to have to choose one over the other or be outright cheated, so the delay made sense from a multitude of angles. But the delay isn’t the upsetting part.
The last time ToO was in its normal rotation, countless “Guardians” made attempts to cheat their way to victory. Some went the traditional lag switch route, while others tried overloading their opponent’s connection, thus causing them to be removed from the match. It was disheartening because Bungie put out more than one update in regards to how they would be policing connection related issues. In fact, when ToO was first previewed, it was announced that the biggest determining factor in how teams were paired against each other was based on connection. Here we are in its second iteration, and similar problems exist.
Bungie is apparently on the lookout for Guardians that have consistently bad connections and are encouraging the use of the reporting tool for players that one encounters who may be cheating. This is a novel idea, but it’s not like those who are looking to take the easy path don’t read the updates as well. Their response was simply to stay at the “green” connection during matchmaking and then immediately drop to a “red” connection right before the match starts. Furthermore, the savviest cheaters would return to a green status once the round ended as to avoid detection by other Guardians and to not be booted from the game when it reinitialized for the next round.
Look, I know the counterargument to this is that there are a lot more factors in why someone’s connection is poor than simply labeling them as cheaters. I understand that. I also know from all the fancy data charts and graphs that Bungie likes to put in their updates that they have advanced abilities to monitor a lot of things. Sure, the people will consistently bad connections shouldn’t be allowed to participate, but I feel some of those individuals could certainly be simply in an area where the internet strength is poor. It’s really those that consistently have a fluctuating connection that are more likely to be using an exploit.
My solution is simple: Find these individuals and ban them from the game. If you’re going to cheat, you shouldn’t play. It really isn’t a harsh penalty when you think about it, and the $60 you spend on a game doesn’t entitle someone to cheat. It never ceases to baffle me when people use that line of logic, although maybe those are all the cheaters. That sounds extremely simple, but I am not one to start breaking down methodologies when I have no idea how that would be identified and tracked. Bungie has a lot of smart individuals who may be in fact working on this issue as we speak. One can only hope.
In the future, I’d like to explore a few tweaks here and there that might enrich the ToO experience in general. But for starters, ensuring that everyone plays on an equal playing field is paramount. I don’t have any knowledge about the inner workings of how Bungie approaches these situations, my observation and suggestion is solely based on a participant’s perspective. With that said, Bungie has shown their willingness to listen to their community in the past, so hopefully one small voice can make a difference to a larger percentage of their players.