How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love PvP


If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve never been a huge fan of multiplayer games in general. Even when I play games that are designed to be primarily multiplayer, I usually find a way to stick with solo play- the main example being Diablo III, where I studiously avoided public games until I reached somewhere around Paragon level 300, and only played a handful of games with friends and acquaintances from the Wizard community. I also liked the Souls series’s invasion mechanics, and the ability to summon other players if you had a hard time with a boss… but again, I avoided doing so whenever possible, and preferred to take on as many challenges as possible by myself. I’ve always favored story-driven, narrative experiences, and the toxic culture surrounding so much PvP multiplayer made multiplayer even less appealing to me.

But when Destiny 2 was released, I decided I’d give the Crucible a try, since several weekly milestones were tied to it and the milestones are the most reliable way of getting the best loot in the game. At first I hated it. As someone whose last serious PvP experience was Quake II deathmatch, I didn’t like how every game mode was 4v4, and I didn’t like not being able to select which mode to play (this is something that still bugs me, since Destiny 2 divides the Crucible into two playlists and you end up in whatever mode is next in the queue for that playlist). I felt like I was getting killed way too easily, and couldn’t figure out why my opponents could finish me off so much faster than I could destroy them. And in the first week, the grind to the Call to Arms milestone- 8% progress per match!- was so horrifically slow it nearly made me quit the Crucible entirely.

But things improved. Bungie tweaked that milestone progress- victories now give you 30% towards the milestone and losses still grant 15%, a huge improvement over that initial slog- and I started getting matched with players who knew how to work as a team, even without using voice chat. And I haven’t entered voice chat once, because it’s not necessary- if you know the maps and the objectives, you can coordinate your efforts without any words. A lot of the complaints I’ve seen about the Crucible are related to “team shooting”, but that’s kind of the point- a well-organized team working together can utterly wreck their opponents, and if you’re on the side dishing out the damage it’s a beautiful thing to behold.

This is especially true in Control, which has become my favorite game type as much through repeated exposure- it was the only game type in the week-long Iron Banner event- as for any other reason. It might be tempting to split up and try and capture two of the three control points at once, but that’s a recipe for failure. At least three people need to stick together to capture and defend a point, and the fourth team member can go to whichever location no one’s paying attention to (which is usually point C on any given map) and capture it solo before regrouping with everyone else. Each map contains one highly desirable central point (B) with multiple entrances and potential defense spots (The Fortress and Vostok are the best examples), and control of this location is a test of how well your team is working as a unit. And again, this can easily be accomplished without ever entering voice chat. In fact, the only times I’ve seen people enter the chat, they were assholes who quit the game shortly afterwards. So there’s something to be said for non-verbal communication.

I’m not sure why Bungie decided to divide the Crucible into “Quickplay” and “Competitive”, since all the best modes are in Quickplay and there aren’t any leaderboards for either. And I’d still like to see a free-for-all classic deathmatch mode, like what Overwatch has in its Arcade section. But even with its flaws, I’ve enjoyed the Crucible enough to play matches even when there isn’t a milestone active, and that tells me Bungie’s doing something right. It’s even made me want to play PvP modes in other games, and that’s something I never imagined would happen.