Destiny 2 is a decent game, not perfect but it fixes many problems from its predecessor, while introducing some perplexing new ones. If you’re playing just for the story or the PvE content, you should be able to enjoy it solo or with a fireteam of friends.
That is, unless you’re a PvP player. Because Destiny 2’s PvP is absolutely unfun. I was randomly browsing GiantBomb, and came across this discussion thread where this user post managed to sum up my thoughts perfectly:
Just comparing old Destiny 1 Trials with new Trials there is a real problem for anyone wishing to express their individual skill. Now it’s almost impossible to make a good flanking maneuver work or to outgun people 1v1 because you’re almost never 1v1. Every round is decided by 2 blobs of 4 people shooting at each other from as far as possible. If your blob is slightly out of position or missing someone you lose. There is no individuality. No creative play making. Or at least not solo. Everything needs to be performed as a duo or as a team of 4. If you move by yourself you will die. It’s like the communism of PvP shooters and it is the worst.
I am not against the fundamental concept of teamwork in FPS shooters. Overwatch nailed this perfectly with their different heroes and class roles: To succeed offensively or defensively, everyone needs to work as a team, synergising their abilities and ultimates with one another in order to defeat and counter their opponents. But at the same time, Overwatch allows for individual levels of skills to shine: It’s possible for a Tracer, Reaper, or Genji to harass the enemy team all on their own without any support. It’s possible for a Torbjorn or Bastion to hang back in base, setting up a defensive position with their turrets and still be useful to the team.
In Destiny 2, you are punished for separating from your teammates, especially in the ultra-competitive Trials of the Nine PvP mode. The PvP game has basically degraded into Counter-Strike with supers. Not that I have anything against CS, I haven’t played it in ages but it was fun back in the day in its own way: A semi-realistic team shooter with maps set in real-world locations, where players purchase and wield weapons modeled after real-world firearms. CS matches are mostly about controlling chokepoints and concentrating your group’s combined firepower on the enemy team to deny them their objectives.
CS had it’s own identity that made it stand out in the online shooter market. Destiny 2’s PvP has changed totally, losing its identity in the process. I have read some users speculate on Reddit that Bungie made this change in order to reduce “insta-kill” tactics, such as shotgun rushing, sniper headshots, or fusion grenade kills. What Bungo doesn’t seem to understand is that these “insta-kills” still require a certain level of individual skill to pull off. And there are counters to these tactics: Shotgunner keeps sliding into you for the kill? Jump backwards or sideways and switch to a sidearm to pelt him down while he’s recovering. Enemy sniper just doesn’t seem to miss a shot? Don’t engage him in his killzone — find another route, or throw a grenade to force him to move, or rush together as a team to flank him out. Keep dying to fusion grenades? Well, you can return the favour yourself — every class has their own version of a fusion grenade.
I even read some comments from users claiming to like Destiny 2’s PvP, saying that it was better than the first game because it felt less chaotic. I wonder if they have played other online shooters before, because CHAOS is what makes things fun. Unpredictability, learning to adapt on the fly, playing dynamically and reacting tactically to the changing situation, is what makes online shooters, and videogames in general really, FUN.
Look, I grew up playing a lot of old-school “arena” shooters, mainly Quake II, all of the Unreal Tournaments, and Half-life deathmatch. To succeed in those games, individual skill and tactical awareness are paramount. And to pit those skills against other like-minded players. each with their own playstyles and tactics, is what makes games FUN. I was able to transfer those fundamentals to Destiny 1 PvP, and while I wasn’t the greatest Crucible player, I still had a good time. It was FUN.
In Destiny 2 PvP, all you see are two teams of four players exchanging long-range potshots with each other using scout rifles. Whichever team scores the first kill will most likely win that entire round because of the numerical advantage. This is not fun at all. It’s mediocrity, it saps the soul of what makes online games FUN.
It’s a shame that newcomer PC players to Destiny 2’s eventual PC release won’t be able to experience the chaos of Destiny 1 PvP. Because this is the current state of PvP in Destiny 2: Not fun.