Rift Could Be So Much More

Rift was a new objective-based Crucible game mode introduced with patch 2.0 (Taken King) in Destiny. It is an interesting experiment that I enjoy playing, very much, but only with friends. Any other way and you will possibly walk away from the experience very… what is the word I am looking for? Confused? Bruised? Angry? Yeah, all of those fit quiet well. Go in with friends and good times will be had by all, no matter what the outcome of the match is. Guaranteed! But why do I feel that it could be even better? This was clearly designed with teamwork in mind, so why would I expect anything less than “Butt Hurt” going into a match solo? That is what I would like to discussed today.

Hunter, checking if coast is clear to grab the Spark

Premise of Rift

So we can all be on the same page here, let me very quickly explain Rift. You have six Guardians on your team and the same number on the other. Each team spawns on opposite locations of the map. This spawn location contains what is called a Rift. At a somewhat central location of the map, a Spark begins to form after about 10 seconds into the match. Each team must battle to gain control of this area. After the spark forms, another 10 secs, one of your teammates grabs the Spark and tries to run it to the enemy teams Rift. Once there, he literally dunks the Spark into the enemies Rift, causing it to explode. Doing so causes the enemies Rift to explode and kill any players associated with that Rift within a given range (you have to be pretty close). After this, or if the Spark Runner is killed while carrying the Spark, a new Spark will form after 20 secs. Rinse and repeat.

The way all this theoretically should go down in a match is like so — if your team manages to gain control of the Spark location, this means that you have killed a decent portion of the enemy team. This, in turn, means that they have re-spawned at their Rift, which is where your team has to go. Remember that this was their initial spawn location. A teammate will pick up the Spark and begin to move forward, into enemy territory. Some members of his team hopefully will lead him through, to the enemies Rift, while members pulling up the rear can flank and provide cover fire or create a diversion. Either way, the whole team should move forward so that you can protect your Runner.

Defending the Spark Runner

Winning at all Cost

Everything sounds just simple enough that someone would figure out a way to screw the whole thing up. And for some people, winning is everything and they don’t care how they do it. Granted, this is a very tactical and competitive game mode. There are numerous legitimate techniques and strategies for each map. But some strategies are not that… well, let’s just say that they are not very sportsman like. Yeah, we will leave it at that.

These techniques bother the hell out of me and I know I shouldn’t let it, but I just can’t get past it. Not without learning out to combat it. To do so, I planned on playing nothing but Rift for a given hour or so. That is about all I can handle, alone. Not going for wins, but to try different things and get a better understanding of the spawn mechanics and learn just how different they are from other game modes, such as Clash or Control. It did not take very long for one very important and unforgiving lesson to smack me dead in the face. Spawn Camping is a thing! And in Rift, it is most deadly. I would have to say more so than it is in Control. I do not want this article to turn into a Spawn 101 — In Destiny. That will be a topic for another day. Actually, it could be a small series of articles, but I digress. Let’s just discuss this very childish technique and how you can combat it.

What is Spawn Camping

For anyone new to multiplayer shooters, like myself (year and half in), I will quickly explain.

Your team is given a very small section of the map, at the beginning of every match. This is called your Spawn. It represents a given “Safe Zone” that you should always control throughout the match. Having this area gives you and your team a safe place to reenter the match after you die.

Rift spawn locations for Pantheon. Map credit: /u/knightsmarian

Spawn Camping is a technique used to simply shut a team down. If you have a fairly strong team, you can easily lock an opposing team in a death loop while you just rake in the points. It does not take very many to do this effectively. All you need is two members on each side of the opposing teams spawn and be good with your aim. In other game modes, such as Control, this is harder to do. The spawn mechanic will always find a safer place to re-spawn you. Even if it is on the other side of the map. In the end, they will not get very many kills out of this en-devour.

In Rift though, this is not always the case. The spawn mechanic is locked to only spawning you on what is basically, your side of the map. If you look at the the image above, I placed a red line through the middle of the map. If you spawn in on “A” side, you will always spawn in on this side of the map. You will never spawn in middle of the map since this would give you too much of an advantage in obtaining the Spark. The problem here is that even if you are spawned in farther into the map than your primary spawn (your Rift), the two campers that are covering your Spawn will still have a fairly clear line of sight to you. This allows them to pretty much get a jump on you and take you out before you know who is shooting you and from where. And it sucks!!

How to Combat Spawn Campers

Basically, if you have to fall into the trap they set for you. Whatever you do though, do not go on tilt. Do not get bent out of shape. In the end, if you cannot out gun them, do not simply die over and die trying to do something you can’t.

If you are playing solo and have no communication with your teammates: After a camper kills you, for the first time, do not rapidly start pressing the respawn button on your controller. Wait and observe them. Are they really camping? What weapon did they use? How far away were you? You actually get quite a long time to watch them, if you let the system work. When you are ready, respawn. The first thing you should do is run to a piece of cover and crouch. Get your bearings. Where are you in relation to them? Can you safely get back to them? If so, make your way there and take them out. If you find that there is more than one, just turn and run away. There is no reason to enter into a 2v1 gun fight if you don’t have to. You will most likely loose! If you are successful, get back to the game but be vigilant from here on. Every time you make your way back to the Spark, from the enemy side, watch your radar. If you see a blip or any red, take cover and hang closer to the spark.

If you can communicate with your teammates: Get two or three guys and descend upon them like a pack of wolves. Make it quick, short and sweet. From here on, designate one teammate to stay at your Rift. Their job is to head off any of these childish behaviors, allowing the rest of your team to concentrate on the objectives. This also ensures that your teammates will spawn at your Rift and not further into the map. Do not be afraid to reinforce your Rift either. You kill someone enough and if they are even halfway mature, they will back off. If they are not mature… well, you will have the longest match of your life warding them off.

What Could Bungie do to Combat This

Here are my suggestions of changes that could be implemented in Rift that would deture players from practicing this technique.

  • Allow Spawn Flipping — Spawn flipping when the game determines that it is too dangerous to spawn you on your side of the map, so the system spawns you on the opposite side of the map. Basically, this means that there are more enemy forces on what was your side of the map. To give you a far shot, the spawn system will spawn you in enemy territory. After a few seconds, your whole team will begin to spawn in on that portion of the map and the enemy will spawn on what was your side of map. This mechanic is in place for the Control and Clash game modes and could easily be implemented in Rift, with some modifications. It would allow the game to just carry on. It could even become a viable tactic, as it is in Control or Clash given that one side of the map might be slightly more advantageous over another.
  • Debuff a Camping Team — 5 seconds after you ignite the enemy teams Rift, implement a debuff that would hinder players in some way if they are still in that enemies spawn. This debuff wouldn’t have to kill them, maybe automatically remove them and respawn them by their Rift, as if they had been killed. As soon as a Rift is dunked or a Runner is killed and you are on the enemies side of the map, a debuff shows up on your screen with a 5 sec timer. A new Spark starts forming after 10 secs and is ready to be picked up in 20 secs, so you have time to get out. If you are not out by the time a new Spark is ready, you get automatically respawned by your Rift. Yes, this would be a little confusing to some, at first. But, not too many. See, players should turn and run away from the enemy Rift as soon as their Runner is killed or the Spark has been dunked. Not doing so and killing enemies, at this point, actually puts you at a disadvantage. Why? Because the Guardians you kill, at their Rift, will spawn further out into the map, along the sides. The enemy team gets an automatic flank on you and you will probably be killed trying to make your way back to your side of the map. Your best option is to get the hell out of there!

Conclusion

Of course, the simplest solution would be for people that want to play Rift — Learn how to play Rift. There is room for players who want to play Clash, but tired of Clash, in Rift. Believe it or not, they are called support players. But playing within the objective is sorta called for and should be expected. If you don’t, you basically ruin a perfectly good game mode that could be great and very competitive in the future.