Bungie Weekly Update - 04/09/2015

Apr 9, 2015 - DeeJ

This week at Bungie, we completed work on the next Destiny Update.

Now we clear the runway and prepare for a safe landing. The team is still picking the perfect day with the right conditions. This is careful work. I promise to Tweet out a signal as soon as we have a flight plan. It will be very soon.

To keep you engaged in the process, we’ve been talking about this update for weeks now. Included in its contents are some things we haven’t detailed out yet, including:

  • PVP Ammunition – The Crucible team wants to change the way ammo crates dictate the flow of a battle.

There are also a few fun features that our team has created on their own time – a perk of being a fan of the game you’re responsible for making. Let’s take one last look at the work that’s been done before you experience it first-hand - and first-person.

Load Your Guns!

Are you a blood-thirsty competitor who craves the tears of living, breathing, thinking combatants? Is PVP the ultimate thrill that you derive from your Destiny experience? If the answer is “Yes,” you’re gonna want to read this. If you avoid PVP like a bad part of town, then scroll baby, scroll. The Crucible is no place for mercy, so there’s something fun for you below.

If you’re a stone-cold killer who counts your bullets, read on.

Crucible Designer Kevin Yanes is among the most dangerous players on the team here at Bungie. We don’t enter the Crucible with him unless our A-Game is polished up and ready to shine. He’s here to talk to us about what he and his peers have observed in the competitive arena over these past seven months of Destiny gameplay. They’re about to change the way ammunition finds its way into our magazines. Kevin has some thoughts to share about the next evolution for the warrior elite among us.

Ammunition is the carrot you chase in our digital warzone. In Destiny, you can bring your favorite weapons into battle. To use them, however, you’ll need to load them.

What’s changing in the Crucible? Can you provide us with some ammunition?

Kevin:  At the highest level, we had a few goals in mind:
  • Make Special ammo a more precious resource in Crucible
  • Further solidify Heavy ammo's role in the Crucible
  • Further improve the balance of encounters by limiting high-damage weapons

Interesting. So what motivated these new goals?

Kevin:  The Competitive Multiplayer Team is constantly listening to feedback - be it from people in our studio or players on forums and social media. A common thread has been the uptime, effectiveness, and usage of Special and Heavy weapons.

Or, as Mr. Fruit put it earlier this week: Shotgun violence runs rampant in the Crucible. Can you ease his mind with some details?

Kevin:  The recent update to sandbox balance was the first step. Creating a new system to manage ammo drops will enable us to adjust the Crucible experience without altering other activities in your Director. We believe that making ammo more scarce and important will provide players with more choices and more memorable encounters in Crucible.

How much more scarce will Special Ammo become once 1.1.2 lands?

Kevin:  Special Ammo will spawn less frequently, it will take longer to pick up, there will be less crates located on the map, and the bricks you find will provide you with less ammo. I’ll save the stats and gory details for the Patch Notes. [Editor’s Note: Coming very soon to a blog article near you!]

We wanted players to really think about how and when they should use their ammo. The hope is that you’ll ask yourself questions like:
"Is this snipe worth it right now?"
"Should I really shotgun rush these players?"
"Should I conserve ammo until the next crate?”

Players make kills, but teams win matches. How do you think this will change the team dynamic in the Crucible?

Kevin:  Like Heavy Ammo, a player who opens a green crate without waiting for their teammates will deny them of Special Ammo. To prevent this, we raised the drop radius for teammates by a considerable amount. Raising the drop radius helped players understand the importance of pulling a crate as soon as they could, while ensuring that nearby teammates would still benefit from the drop. We've already seen some great plays come from last second pulls to deny enemies and supply allies.

Let’s change the subject to the all-important Heavy Ammo. What’s changing there?

Kevin:  The main thing we wanted to prevent in terms of Heavy Ammo was players trying to buffer their supply by sitting within range of a brick without picking it up. This hurts your ability to anticipate when heavy ammo would be in play during a match. By introducing despawn conditions, we’re ensuring that players will have to acquire ammo when it becomes available, or risk losing it all together.

Get it while the getting is good. Use it or lose it. Got it. What’s been the impact of these changes in your playtests?

Kevin:  Internally, we've seen the arrival of Heavy Ammo create short bursts of intensity in a match that eventually reverts back to the "neutral game." We think the transition back to regular gameplay is super important because it gives the team on the losing end of Heavy Ammo distribution a chance to rally back.

Nice of you to think of the damned who spend the second-half of a match cowering in fear from an unending storm of rockets. Aside from being a perishable item, how else is Heavy Ammo changing?

Kevin:  Extending the inbound timer by five seconds allowed more players to get to the ammo. We’re also adding some new visual prompts, like timers and pre-spawn effects, to forecast the arrival of all ammo crates. More advance notice reduces how often players open the crate without their teammates having a chance to get to it.

Get rekt, Kevin! [Editor’s Note: That’s battle language for “Thank you.”]

This is just a taste of the work they’ve done to refine the flow of traffic and mayhem on the battlefield. Like Kevin said, the Patch Notes will provide you with all the stats you need to reset your internal timers. Once you’ve had a chance to experience the new Crucible for yourself, we’ll invite Kevin and his fellow warlords to invade the Competitive forum for a Developer Open House to answer some pointed questions.

Make those shots count.

Your Favorite Things

Gear changes the way you look at fight. Gear defines the strength and combat specialty of your Guardian. Gear tells a tale of which beasts you’ve slain. Gear is why we fight. And, sometimes, in moments of confusion and great tragedy, gear gets unintentionally trashed for spare parts. 

The horrors!

UI Engineer Daniel Hanson is here with a fix.

Daniel:  One recurring story we keep seeing involves Legendary and Exotic gear getting accidentally dismantled by errant pets and over-enthusiastic children. We decided to empower players to protect their precious gear with Item Locking.

If you want to protect something in your inventory from being dismantled against your will, just lock it down. Highlight the item with your cursor and click down on the right thumb-stick. It’ll be safe until you unlock it. Seems like a simple enough change, right? Nope.

Daniel:  There were some unexpected complications to work through, such as preserving the locked state on our servers when transferring gear to and from the vault. (I hear some people like to put their exotics into the vault, after all.) Thankfully, fellow UI Engineer Ricky Senft was able to help smooth out the wrinkles and bring the feature to completion. Your Icebreakers will thank you.

Protecting your favorite items is one thing. Letting you strut your stuff wherever your adventure finds you is another. Sooner or later, your journeys lead you to the Tower. Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone could admire your Exotic helm while you were cashing in the Bounties that would move you closer to upgrading it?

Senior Technical Artist Andrew Davis certainly thinks so.

Andrew:  The Design Team came to us wondering if we could give players the option to show off their sweet helmets while running around the Tower. We all agreed that it’s important to give players every opportunity to show off the cool gear they’ve earned. It turned out to be a fairly quick UI task to turn helmets on in the Tower. Our engineers banged out the code for it in short order. All we had to do was figure out where to put the menu option. A number of locations in the UI were discussed. Character screen? Details screen? We decided that the Settings menu was the most obvious and easiest place to control this new feature.

Now you can stress out during your descent to the Tower about having nothing to wear. We’ll keep an eye out for the fashion show – not that you don’t already look marvelous!

Destiny Fans Give Back

When they’re not helping each clear a Raid, we’ve seen the Destiny Community do some pretty amazing things to have a positive impact on the real world. This month, we’re up to our own tricks. If you think they’re cool, you’re welcome to throw your charitable lot in with ours. 

Over the next month, Bungie will go head-to-head against other local businesses to raise money for two great organizations.

Bungie Foundation Manager Christine Edwards has your call to action.

Christine:  Our first fundraising drive is aimed at winning the annual Men in Kilts competition. Celebrating its fourth anniversary, this competition raises funds for families staying at the Seattle Ronald McDonald House. Bungie won first place in the first two years running, but lost the crown last year, ending up in second place. Help our brave men get back to the top! Cast your vote for Team Bungie by donating $10 or more. Every $30 donated will pay for a family to stay at the House for one night. Head to the RMHC Donation Page to cast your votes today!

Christine:  Our second drive will coincide with the Second Annual Gauntlet Tabletop Tournament.  On May 16th, Team Bungie will compete in a tournament against fifteen other local businesses in order to raise funds for Hopelink, a local organization that works to help individuals and families in the community move towards self-sufficiency. Your donations will put food on the tables of those who need it most!  Your donations will raise money to help feed our community and embolden our team with Power Ups that will help them win the tournament. Head to our team’s Donation Page to commit your support today!

Christine:  Need a sweeter incentive? Check out these backer rewards for donating to either of these two causes:
$10 – Your name will be mentioned in the Bungie Weekly Update
$50 – The prize above, plus the “Sign of Duality” player emblem
$100 – All prizes above, plus a signed poster from the Dev Team 
$250 – All prizes above, plus a photo with Team Bungie*
$500 – All prizes above, plus lunch with Team Bungie*

*Local contributors only. Time and location to be mutually agreed upon. Transportation not covered by Bungie.

This is your chance to be a hero in real life. And maybe even score some sweet loot. We promise that most of us have outstanding table manners.

Looking Out For You

Destiny Player Support is watching when you post to the Bungie.net forum. They see your every move – on our website, at least. Check out what they have to say about their work in service of the community.

In an effort to keep our forums clean and orderly, we now have pinned topics to help direct players to forum categories, broadcast FAQs, and notify when Bungie is undergoing patches or maintenance. Keep an eye out for them on our #Feedback forum.

There are many excellent third-party apps and websites out there to make item management, recruitment, and progression tracking easier in Destiny. We take pride in featuring some of these community-driven tools, but we also want to inform players on how to keep their accounts safe.  Please take a look at our helpful hints on reducing the risk of account compromise. 

While there may be some people out to get your account, there are also stellar members of the Bungie community who are helpful, knowledgeable and all around good team players. If you find yourself in a Fireteam with a person you would like to commend, please let us know by using the in-game report feature and report them for being helpful, friendly, or highly skilled. 

Keep talking to us on the forums, everyone. We’re listening, and cataloging the most frequent themes of your shared conversation. You're a part of the process we use to update Destiny.

Block Busters

As seen on Twitter – tagged with #DestinyMOTW.

WINNER: For epicness and preparedness.

Honorable Mention: Sometimes Cabal want to dance, too.

Honorable Mention: [SGA] Never go idle in Destiny!

There’s nothing left to say about the next Destiny update, aside from the fact that you’ll download it soon. Thanks for following along with the shipping manifest we’ve itemizing lately. It’s important to us that you understand that you’re a part of the process.

The final deployment of 1.1.2 will clear the way for some other exciting reveals. Ready for another adventure?

DeeJ, out.
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