The Case for Custom Crucible Matches
Through the combination of minimal in game modification, and significant back end design, I believe Custom Crucible Matches are a reality worth pursuing. Using the BNet site and Destiny Companion App, custom matches could be created quickly, and a single UI element in the Crucible Playlist screen named “Custom Match” would allow players the flexibility to play together bypassing typical matchmaking rules.
The Crucible has reached a point where the current matchmaking system is limiting the scope for players to explore the possibilities of The Crucible. While Trials of Osiris remains the de-facto “competitive” game mode, expanding this to custom matches will permit targeted competition between individuals and clans, as well as allow teams to play on maps and practice teamwork and strategies without the interference of “random” players, allowing for focussed gameplay.
The ever present issue with custom matches, especially in a loot driven game, become the abuse of the system for player benefit. To this end, I would recommend that things like faction ranking, and loot drops be significantly restricted, for example any drops should be low light level (meaning they serve little purpose other than materials) and any faction experience be insignificant. Similarly the Crucuble Bounties should also be disabled in this game mode, so players can’t simply knock out all their bounties in half an hour with friends.
Custom Matches should be their own reward, and should not be enticing for any other reason than the ability to play with friends, or to coordinate clan/player match up for streaming and other personally competitive goals. For example, a well known twitch streamer could run a competition in stream to play against viewers, or viewer teams. Similarly with donation drives, high class players could play head to head with donations on the line. This could also allow Destiny to be elevated to a more viewer driven market including E-Sport categories.
So How Does It Work?
Firstly, the custom game framework would need to be evaluated, this includes the game types, map types, and specific rules would need to be determined for viability in custom games. For example, restricting games to specific weapons may not be viable without locking weapon switching in game, which if not explained correctly, could lead to player frustration, so should this be allowed or not? Once all the rules and other options on exactly what players will be allowed to set, or not, the BNet site becomes the primary focus of creating the matches. Implementing this “in game” would be insurmountable and significantly influence the UI in a negative way. Implementing it on BNet permits extension to the Destiny Companion App.
The User Experience:
Users would go to the BNet site, or use the Companion App, and go to the custom game section. From there, they would choose the rules for their custom game, which maps, restrictions, and finally who the permitted fireteam leaders will be. Once this has been finalised by the coordinator, an invite would be sent to the specified fireteam leaders which they then accept (again, via BNet, or Companion) which once completed would create a new icon in game, similar to the Refer-A-Friend signifying that those players are linked in the custom game mode.
From there, players can either 1v1, or other players join the appropriate fireteam leader, and those fireteam leaders would go to the Crucible Playlist where a new icon would be present “Custom Match”. The fireteam leaders would select this playlist item, this would kick in the Matchmaking system which would restrict the game, and players to the appropriate fireteam leaders, to this end, matchmaking would be near instantaneous as the matchmaking system would only need reference the chosen players and maps according to what has been coordinated by the players themselves. The only delay would come from waiting for both fireteam leaders to enter the playlist.
This could also be a method of re-introducing sparrow racing as well, just saying.
Clearly development is the most difficult hurdle, which is why I had intended this to be as simple as possible to implement, as far as I could determine. I’m certainly not trying to trivialise development by any stretch, however as I see it, this system could largely use existing frameworks with some re-engineering. Aside from the game UI which would be a single icon addition to the Crucible Playlist, and a “player linked” indicator in the fireteam screen for fireteam leaders, the most significant development would be in the BNet/Companion development, the underlying databases those interfaces would be driven against, and finally the new Matchmaking service which ties the in game playlist to the database. And I can completely respect the amount of work that simple statement implies.
I certainly hope Bungie considers this as a viable solution to custom games with the least effort development that doesn’t involve major infrastructure upgrades or coding new services.
While I’m sure players would love dedicated servers, and a slew of options including limiting ammo and n’th degree restrictions, I believe to get this off the ground we must first take baby steps and implement a solution with least effort, and this is what I consider to be the least effort of all.