This Week in Destiny – 02/22/2024

Feb 22, 2024 - Destiny 2 Community Team

This week in Destiny, we’ve got PvP on our minds.

You all seemed to enjoy our extensive sandbox update last week, so we thought we’d offer another in-depth update. Hopefully you have your reading glasses ready because we have a lot to share. Let's get to it!

Topics for this week:

  • PvP Strike Team update.
  • Accessibility and console UI updates.
  • Prophecy dungeon weapons update.
  • #NormandyCrew winners.

PvP Strike Team Update


Hey, folks. It’s the PvP Strike Team here. Today, we’d like to share our thoughts on the current state of PvP, our philosophy, and the changes we have planned.

We believe Destiny's PvP gameplay provides players with a unique experience that can stand on its own, but it needs a clear vision alongside ongoing iteration. For some time, the Crucible hasn't felt like it’s had that. This has made it difficult for us to attract players to the Crucible, leading to a slow bleed of our PvP population over the last couple of years as veterans move on and are not replaced by fresh players. Returning to our core mission, we want to refocus on rewarding the players who love the Crucible, as well as push to provide a baseline variety of experiences to ensure there is always something appealing for PvP enjoyers.

Since the PvP Strike Team was formed, the bulk of our work has been focused on finding solutions for five major issues:

  • Crucible maps
  • Rewards
  • Game modes
  • Sandbox issues
  • Matchmaking

Crucible Maps


Due to its dynamic nature, PvP can create content on its own, and every match can tell a story. But our players have spent millions of Guardian hours on our current selection of maps, playing the same game modes in the same arenas. It feels as though most of these stories have already been told, and there is only so much you can do in the same play spaces.

Additionally, different modes require different kinds of maps to succeed, and our limited map selection means we have often pushed modes onto maps where they are not necessarily optimal, resulting in a sub-par player experience. Our current crop of maps has not been updated in some time (in terms of spawns, ammo crate locations, zones, etc.), and this is exacerbating the issue as we continue to add newer modes to old maps. An example would be maps made for Rift being used for Clash and Control, like Disjunction, The Citadel, Convergence, and Cathedral of Dusk.

To help with this, we’ve made some substantial quality of life passes on our existing maps.

  • Already live:
    • Initial map spawning quality of life pass.
      • Addressed spawn traps for Altar of Flame, Cauldron, Endless Vale, Midtown, and Meltdown.
  • Update 7.3.5 on March 5:
    • Additional map spawning quality of life pass.
      • Addressing spawn traps for Eternity and Fortress.
      • Removing all backfield spawns for non-Rift modes: The Citadel, Cathedral of Dusk, Disjunction, and Convergence.
        • This will effectively make these maps play 30-50% smaller than they do currently and reduce the amount of time spent running back to combat after spawning.
    • Major tuning of the initial spawning, Heavy ammo crate, and tiebreaker zone locations for all maps.
    • We are also making changes to our workflows that will allow us to update the above variables more easily. In the future, we’ll be able to more quickly address issues with map imbalance and spawning.
      • For example, the next time Dead Cliffs returns for Trials, it will have changes made to the spawns, zones, and Heavy ammo placement to make it more balanced.

Crucible-focused players may also feel left behind in terms of locations, as they get less exposure to the awesome new destinations that come with our releases. For example, Europa and Neomuna have exciting palettes that our PvP-focused players rarely get to experience. In May, we’re releasing new maps that explore these locations. While these maps will be available in Control, they have been specifically built with a focus on 3v3 game modes in mind, including Dominion, Clash, Survival, and our newest mode, Collision. 

  • May update:
    • Adding three new maps to the Crucible:
      • Eventide Labs (Europa)
      • Cirrus Plaza (Neomuna)
      • Dissonance (Terraformed Pyramid Ship)

Rewards, Rewards, Rewards


We want Crucible to feel at least as rewarding as PvE, with post-game drops on par with strike activities in terms of rewarding materials and activity-specific loot. We also want PvP players to have more consistent methods of being rewarded with buildcrafting materials. This has led us to make the following changes, which are currently available in-game.

  • General
    • Already live:
      • Increased end-of-match rewards, including more Glimmer and higher chances for Enhancement Cores and Crucible Engrams.
      • Created double rewards boosters for PvP.
  • Competitive
    • Already live:
      • Added weapon focusing.
      • Added a second tier to the Competitive weekly challenge that awards Ascendant Alloys.

We are also looking to improve our endgame rewards. While some players may choose to play only a few Competitive games per week, we’d like to reward players who continue to remain active. In Competitive, we'll be offering two major incentives for continued success throughout the week.

Artifice Armor in Competitive Crucible

The first reward—for the first time in Destiny PvP—is the addition of Artifice Armor in Competitive Crucible. This high-stat armor will be obtainable as a reward from a new third tier on the Competitive Division weekly challenge. After completion of the weekly challenge, Artifice Armor will continue to have a chance to drop on further victories. These Artifice Armor pieces are giving the Year-1 Crucible gear a new lease on life.

The following will have a chance to drop as Artifice Armor from Competitive Crucible.

HunterArmsSwordflight 4.1
HunterChestSwordflight 4.1
HunterClassBinary Phoenix Cloak
HunterHeadSwordflight 4.1
HunterLegsSwordflight 4.1
TitanArmsPhoenix Strife Type 0
TitanChestPhoenix Strife Type 0
TitanClassBinary Phoenix Mark
TitanHeadPhoenix Strife Type 0
TitanLegsPhoenix Strife Type 0
WarlockArmsAnkaa Seeker IV
WarlockChestAnkaa Seeker IV
WarlockClassBinary Phoenix Bond
WarlockHeadAnkaa Seeker IV
WarlockLegsAnkaa Seeker IV

As this armor will drop from Competitive Crucible, we will keep dungeon Artifice Armor drops to the dungeons they are associated with. The inclusion of Artifice Armor as a reward aligns with our goal of allowing PvP-focused players to have an endgame track that rivals PvE rewards.

Another key change we're adding in Update 7.3.5 is the increased drop chance for Exotic weapon catalysts on victories. Like Artifice Armor, this offers a meaningful way to upgrade a Guardian's Power while rewarding continued Competitive success.  

  • Competitive
    • Update 7.3.5:
      • Adding a third tier to the Competitive weekly challenge with a new reward of Artifice Armor.
        • This tier will be unlocked for all players who reach rank Gold III or above each Season.
        • This tier will require match victories instead of completions.
        • Upon completion of the challenge, each victory thereafter will have a chance to drop Artifice Armor, and the drop rates will increase alongside your rank.
      • Competitive matches will also have an increased chance to drop Exotic weapon catalysts on victories.

In Trials, we want to strike a better balance between the effort vs. reward equation for going Flawless, while also increasing reward options for players who cannot go Flawless. To that end, we recently added Flawed card rewards. With Update 7.3.5 on March 5, we’ll update the Passage of Ferocity and add a new Passage of Persistence.

  • Trials
    • Already live:
      • Added 50% chance to get a Trials weapon on wins.
        • With Update 7.3.5, this will be updated to exclusively drop the weekly weapon reward to better allow for targeted farming of the specific weapon you want.
      • Added Flawed card rewards.
    • Update 7.3.5:
      • We’re making the following changes to Trials passages:
        • For Passage of Ferocity, if you have not been Flawless for the week, losses after 3 wins will reset you back to 3 wins instead of Flawing your card.
        • With the new Passage of Persistence, losses following a win will remove the win from your card. Consecutive losses do not remove additional wins. Getting to 7 wins grants you a drop of the weekly Adept weapon, regardless of how many losses you have taken.
          • This passage works like a trailing backstop. Once you have at least one win recorded on the passage, a loss will remove the most recent win instead of Flawing it. Since consecutive losses will not remove additional wins, winning two games in a row adds a permanent win to the card, and win streaks longer than two add additional permanent wins.
          • You can only go Flawless on this passage if you do not have a win removed. Once a win has been removed, you can no longer get Flawless using this passage, but you can still earn a roll of the weekly Adept weapon.
      • We’re also adding rewards for match completions by three-person fireteams in Trials. Although you do not need to win to earn these rewards, they are participation-gated, so simply jumping off the map or sitting AFK in spawn will disqualify you from getting them.
        • Additional 50% chance to drop the non-Adept Trials weekly weapon reward.
        • A 50% chance to get a Trials Engram drop.
        • Additional Trials reputation.
      • The goal of these changes is to encourage players to team up with friends. With losses being less of a punishment, players can have more fun and be well rewarded while doing so.

Game Modes


Right now, Competitive modes are not at the bar of quality to best promote an exhibition of skill and mastery between teams. We recently updated the Countdown Rush ruleset in Competitive and are introducing a new king of the hill mode called Collision to Crucible Labs in Update 7.3.5. The goal is to replace Countdown Rush in the Competitive playlist after testing.

We also feel like our Quickplay modes are lagging in updates. Even though new modes are being made, they have been either a party mode like Relic or limited-time modes like Iron Banner Fortress, Eruption, and Tribute. Outside of those, players have had the same options for too long. We want to make new core modes available to the standardized playlists and private matches. We also want to experiment with interesting twists on Destiny's PvP that still retain the core feeling of our gameplay without being limited-time events.

  • Already live:
    • Created Sparrow Control.
    • Added 3v3 Clash to Crucible Labs.
    • Updated the Countdown Rush ruleset for Competitive.
  • Update 7.3.5:
    • 3v3 Clash will be moving to the 3v3 Quickplay rotator, and we’ll be making these updates to the rules:
      • Heavy ammo will no longer be shared.
      • Respawn timer increasing from 5 to 7 seconds.
      • Match timer increasing to 10 minutes, but the score to win remains 40.
    • A new 3v3 king of the hill mode, Collision, will enter Crucible Labs.
      • A single, larger zone will rotate between five points around the map on a timer. Capturing and controlling it will earn your team points.
      • This mode will also test an alternative Special ammo crate system.
        • The Special ammo crate system will feature four shareable Special ammo crates that spawn simultaneously at the beginning of the game or round and then on a timer afterwards.
        • Each control zone location (A, B, and C) will have an associated Special ammo crate, and the fourth crate will be in a neutral location.
        • Players who currently have Special ammo will drop Special ammo bricks on death.
      • It is our goal to polish and refine both new Special ammo acquisition systems, ammo meter and ammo crates. They then can be utilized along with the respawn ammo system, and we can pick the ammo acquisition system that works best for each mode.
    • Iron Banner Tribute has undergone multiple changes, including:
      • Simplifying objectives and scoring, including changing the trigger for the Hunt from depositing max crests to a team score threshold.
      • Removing the “wall hacks” on players carrying max crests.
      • Cleaning up the user experience by decreasing the distance at which crest icons can be seen. We’re also reworking how quickly the beacons de-spawn and rotate and significantly decreasing the time it takes to interact to dunk crests.
      • Reducing the number of turrets that spawn with the Hunt beacon from 4 to 3.
  • Update 7.3.6:
    • Checkmate will be back in Crucible Labs, returning in a form closer to its original iteration
      • 30% penalty on ability cooldowns.
      • No starting Special ammo.
      • Melee damage will not be increased, so it will take 3 base melees to kill.
      • Primary weapon optimal times-to-kill will be shifted to allow for a more tactical sandbox, in line with the original goal of Checkmate as a modifier.
    • A new modifier, Hardware, will be tested in Labs.
      • It’s no abilities, only weapons! Grab Special and Heavy ammo from crates located around the map and get to shooting.
  • The Final Shape:
    • Private matches will have more options for players to set per mode.
      • Modifiers such as Mayhem or Scorched will be options in any game mode. Play custom matches with your clanmates and friends or leverage Fireteam Finder.
      • We have also added more custom tuning for existing game modes, so you’ll have better control over things like Special ammo delivery, ability cooldowns, reviving, respawning, and more.

Sandbox Issues – Addressing Problems Across the Skill Curve

For a longer explanation of the sandbox changes we are making, please see last week's TWID. But here’s a short recap:

As the average skill of our players has crept up over the years, the weapons’ sandbox has not grown alongside it. This has led to a compression of the skill gap at high levels of play, along with making it very difficult for new players to find their footing in a game where many veteran players have nearly mastered the existing playstyles.

As we've increased the strength and prevalence of certain sandbox elements, too often the defeated player in PvP can't understand what killed them or why. We don’t want players in situations where it’s difficult to learn what to do better next time.

We also want to provide more encouragement for players to master their Primary gun skills. Things like high body shot damage, generous assist on precision weapons, substantial flinch dealt with Primary weapons, and low critical hit requirements for optimal or near-optimal times-to-kill all currently contribute to the feeling that putting in time and effort to improve your skill with primary weapons is oftentimes not worth it. At higher levels, hitting optimal time-to-kill is not an expression of mastery of the weapon and is instead merely an expectation. Meanwhile, at lower levels, players can still die quickly to a relatively inaccurate opponent.

These problems, at their core, are all related to a series of linked issues:

  • We have certain ability builds with either higher uptime or higher potency than we believe is healthy.
  • We’ve provided a near-constant availability of Special ammo, which means there is always a surplus of one-shot-kill weapons on the field.
  • We have made Primary weapons highly lethal, fast-killing, and in general also very forgiving.

This all leads to a high percentage of deaths in our sandbox where, from the target's perspective, it feels like there was nothing they could’ve done differently.

Many of the above are reflected through powerful sandbox elements that either have high rewards without appropriately punish suboptimal play to offset the risk (e.g., Bow and Sniper aim assist or Submachine Gun and Hand Cannon body shot damage) or they overstep rewarding the user and extend to punishing the target (e.g., Explosive Payload Hand Cannon flinch or Wish-Ender True Sight).

  • Update 7.3.5:
    • The Crucible sandbox is getting a significant shakeup to increase battlefield readability and understanding. We’re also adjusting the weapon sandbox to encourage Primary weapon mastery and reduce the prevalence of high-reward, low-risk weapon playstyles.
    • The following are Crucible-specific changes:
      • Player health:
        • Base HP increasing by 30, from 70 to 100.
      • Abilities:
        • Grenade, melee, and class ability cooldowns increasing 15%.
        • Melee damage increasing 16%.
        • Super cooldowns increasing 20%.
        • Super damage increasing 31%.
      • Primary weapon balance:
        • Bow damage decreasing 15%.
        • All other Primary weapon critical hit damage increasing by between 10-14%, depending on archetype, to maintain the same optimal times-to-kill as the current sandbox.
        • Decreasing Hand Cannon and Submachine Gun body shot damage by 5% and 3%, respectively.
      • Special ammo:
        • Special ammo after initial spawn will be earned through kills or the completion of objectives.
          • The goal is not to force players to utilize the double Primary playstyle, but to encourage smart and measured Special ammo usage.
        • Increasing the damage of short and mid-range Special ammo weapons like Shotguns, Trace Rifles, Fusion Rifles, and Glaive projectiles by 20%.
    • Specific balance change highlights:
      • Limiting the uptime of Wish-Ender's True Sight ability.
      • Reducing Sniper Rifle aim assist.
      • Reducing the flinch dealt to players by Hand Cannons.
      • Slowing down the activation speed of Target Lock on Submachine Guns only.
      • Reducing Threaded Specter uptime in PvP.
      • Reducing Threadling damage to players, and Threadlings will be easier to destroy.
      • Reducing Fighting Lion and Devil’s Ruin beam damage vs. players.
  • The Final Shape
    • We're working on changes to reduce the dominance of Ward of Dawn and Well of Radiance. We also want to improve the viability of Supers with longer recharge times in objective game modes. We'll have more to share on this as we get closer to the release of The Final Shape.
  • After The Final Shape
    • We are also exploring UI updates to the Obituary screen that would show the combination of players that killed you rather than just who dealt the final blow.

Matchmaking Details


We have a lot to cover for matchmaking, so let’s do a quick rundown of the changes we’ve made and what we have planned before getting into the full details.

  • Already live:
    • Replaced the loose skill-based matchmaking in Iron Banner and Control with the new outlier protection matchmaking system.
    • Updated Competitive matchmaking to be rank-based.
    • Currently testing several different configurations of a new Snake Draft lobby balancer.
  • Update 7.3.5:
    • We will be updating our playlist tooltips to correctly display which matchmaking style is used for each mode.
    • We have several changes planned for our ongoing experimentation with Snake Draft lobby balancing, aimed at improving how it handles fireteams.

Our matchmaking systems are opaque and not easily understood, and it is not clearly defined when and where they are in use. Matchmaking is extremely complex and always a big challenge due to different types of players desiring different gameplay experiences. Some high-level players want close, competitive games against worthy opponents, while some want to be able to show off their skills against the wider boundaries of the population's bell curve. New and casual players, if they aren't presented with a place where they can develop consistency, are prevented from building their skills and can be discouraged from continuing to explore the Crucible. The only real solution is to provide separate systems and experiences for each type of player within the Crucible.

Our previous implementations of skill-based and fireteam-based matchmaking made it more difficult to enjoy playing with friends, adding too much friction to the experience. This made it tough for us to uphold our pillar value that “Destiny is better to play with friends.” We want to ease this friction by making it easier for players to enjoy Crucible with friends. At the same time, we don’t want to just feed solo players to more organized fireteams, effectively as cannon fodder.

Lobby balancing in general has consistently been a pain point, with particular emphasis on the practice of placing high-skill and low-skill players on a team against a larger number of average to above-average players.

Since the PvP Strike Team was assembled, we have been making substantial changes to our matchmaking systems, but we haven’t really had an opportunity to clarify how the systems work or what specifically we have been changing. Before we talk about our solutions to the above problems, let’s first talk about a few things our matchmaking systems do not do to help clear up some misconceptions.

Our matchmaking systems do not:

  • Individually force players to a 1.0 kill-death ratio or 50%-win ratio.
  • Intentionally allow players to dominate for a few games, then place them into games where they get destroyed.
  • Sacrifice connection quality for skill or any other filter.
    • Our three most common matchmaking systems (outlier protection, rank-based, and open skill) all keep average connection quality generally within the same bounds.
    • In fact, outlier protection and rank-based have, on average, slightly better connection quality than open skill, due to the increased time they remain in the optimal connection bracket while searching for matches.

So, now that we’ve gone over what they don’t do, how exactly do the different matchmaking systems work? To understand that we must first talk about skill and skill deltas. In our game, the range of player skills is measured from -1000 to 1000, and the feel of a match can often be determined by the overall skill delta, which is the difference in skill between the highest and lowest players in the game.

  • Games with deltas of less than 500 will generally feel competitive, with few or no players outclassed, though there will be a difference in performance between the highest and lowest players. Colloquially, we can refer to this as the “sweat zone.”
  • With deltas greater than 500 and less than 1000, there will be a noticeable skill variance present, usually enough to avoid games from feeling too “sweaty.” Some players will be outclassed, but it is unlikely there will be people in the match who are completely in over their heads. For well-populated and unranked game modes (like Control and Iron Banner), we consider this to be the "Goldilocks zone,” where games can present varied experiences without becoming stomping grounds.
  • At deltas larger than 1000, there will likely be one or more players who get few or no kills the entire game, while contributing double-digit deaths. We can refer to this as the “stomp zone.”
    • These experiences result in some of the largest negative sentiment spikes we see in our game and are heavy drivers for player departures.

With that information in mind, let’s talk about our specific matchmaking strategies.

Rank-Based Matchmaking

Used in the Competitive playlist, rank-based matchmaking matches based on skill only in placement matches before you have been ranked. Once you have been ranked, your current rank is converted to a value we can use in place of skill (in a range between -1000 and 1000), and you are matched based on that. For example, if you are in Gold II, it tries to find you other Gold II players. If it cannot, it will expand to look within the neighboring minor ranks, in this case Gold III and Gold I.

If there are no available players after a given amount of time, the matchmaking will continue to expand through the minor ranks until it reaches a maximum of just beyond one major rank up and down. The only exception to this maximum bracket is if you are in Ascendant II or Ascendant I, where there are not always enough players to match in such narrow bands. These players can be considered Ascendant III for matchmaking purposes, helping to prevent extremely long queue times.

Following placements, you will never be matched based solely on skill. The only time skill will come into matchmaking at all is as part of our match quality standards to combat “smurfing.” This affects a small number of players whose skill is dramatically higher than their rank, and in these cases, it will blend the rank and skill of these players and match them between the two values. This prevents players from being able to throw placement matches or de-rank to match against much less skilled players, ensuring we do not have extreme skill outliers in lobbies.

  • In our most recent pull of rank-based matching stats, here were the numbers:
    • 67% of rank-based matches started with converted rank deltas of less than 300, with all players within 3 minor ranks (e.g., Gold III to Gold I).
    • 26% of rank-based matches started with converted rank deltas of more than 300 and less than 500, with all players within 5 minor ranks (e.g., Silver I to Plat III).
    • 4% of rank-based matches started with converted rank deltas of more than 500 and less than 600, with all players within about 2 major ranks (at the standard maximum allowed rank brackets).
      • Most of these matches occurred in low-population regions or during off-peak hours.
    • 3% of rank-based matches started with converted rank deltas of greater than 600.
      • These matches should only occur when a lower ranked player is in a fireteam with a higher ranked player or when a highly skilled player is playing at a much lower rank.

Open Skill Matchmaking (Also Known as CBMM)

This type of matchmaking is used in our Quickplay playlists, Crucible Labs, Rumble, and the Trials Challenger Pool. It’s designed to find you a game as quickly as possible, with the only limitation being connection quality. The skill bracket starts fully expanded to the widest possible values. If there are not enough players to fill a match, it will wait a while and then slowly expand the connection quality filters.

  • Here are the numbers from our most recent pull of open skill matchmaking stats:
    • 2% of open skill matches started with skill deltas of less than 500.
    • 52% of open skill matches started with skill deltas of more than 500 and less than 1000.
    • 46% of open skill matches started with skill deltas of more than 1000.

We see the question a lot: Why can’t all the non-Competitive playlists just use open skill? Having all of them previously run matchmaking with no skill restrictions made the PvP experience worse for our newer and more casual players, to the extent that when we added some form of skill-based matchmaking to our Control and Iron Banner playlists, we saw a significant increase in playtime and retention from those groups of players. Keeping new and casual players engaged with our Crucible ecosystem is critical for the population to avoid stagnation or deflation and for it to stay healthy for players of all skill levels in the long term.

Even Guardian Games Supremacy, which is often referred to as an example of a successful open skill playlist, was by the end of its second week consistently hitting a lower percentage of daily active players than the Control playlist averaged in the following months (which at the time had an initial iteration of loose skill-based matchmaking).

Loose Skill-Based Matchmaking

This was our first attempt at a loose skill-based matchmaking system for more casual play. It's been deprecated, but we will still discuss how it works for comparison purposes. It worked much the same way as our rank-based matchmaking from Competitive, but with raw skill values in place of the converted rank and wider initial brackets that could expand to the maximum limits, instead of being kept within boundaries. The initial bracket was 4x as wide as the rank-based one. So, if we use ranks as an example, it would be like a Gold I player looking for other players from Gold III to Platinum II. If there were not enough people to make a game, the bracket would gradually expand all the way out to the maximum edges of the skill curve.

  • Here are some sample stats from loose skill-based matchmaking in Season 22:
    • 51% of matches started with skill deltas of less than 500.
    • 45% of matches started with skill deltas of more than 500 and less than 1000.
    • 4% of matches started with skill deltas of more than 1000.

Although this matchmaking did a good job of matching players together based on skill, it had an outsized negative effect on our highest skilled players and the players they teamed up with. They experienced increased queue times and matches that felt more akin to a Ranked playlist than Control or Iron Banner.

Outlier Protection

Used in our Unranked playlists, Iron Banner and Control, since the beginning of Season 23, outlier protection takes a different approach to matchmaking. Instead of trying to match you with people who are at or very near your skill level, we simply consider anyone who is more than 1000 skill from someone else in a match to be an outlier. Our core goal is to try to reasonably prevent these outliers by keeping the skill deltas in our matches below 1000 when possible, or as close to 1000 as we can.

Using ranks, for example, players in Platinum III could initially match everyone from Silver through Adept, and they’re only kept away from players who are at the far ends of the skill spectrum in Bronze/Copper and Ascendant. If it’s unable to find a match within that window, the matchmaking will wait for a period and then gradually reduce the outlier protection to allow more players into the bracket until it has expanded to the maximum edges of the skill curve.

  • Here are some typical recent examples of outlier protection stats:
    • 25% of matches started with skill deltas of less than 500.
    • 65% of matches started with skill deltas of more than 500 and less than 1000.
    • 10% of matches started with skill deltas of more than 1000.

This system has allowed us to retain many of the benefits that loose skill-based matchmaking offered for newer and lower-skilled players, without the drawbacks of making above-average skilled players feel like they are playing in something closer to a Ranked mode. In fact, we have even seen an increase in matches taking place within the Goldilocks zone, without too many matches falling into either the sweat zone (like with loose skill-based matchmaking) or the stomp zone (like with open skill matchmaking).

This system also improves the experience when playing with friends of varied skills. It utilizes a weighted average of the fireteam’s skills to find the center point from which to matchmake, and the number of players excluded from the initial bracket is much smaller than it was with loose skill-based matchmaking. This makes the shift between playing solo and playing with higher-skilled friends or clanmates much less dramatic, so it’s more enjoyable to party up.

Fireteam-Based Matchmaking


Let’s talk about this in Trials, specifically. We understand that the experience for full fireteams has suffered as the difficulty has increased with fireteam-based matchmaking, but the solution is not as simple as it may initially appear.

The two common suggestions for how to solve the issue with Trials and this kind of matchmaking are:

  • Make it so only trios can queue.
  • Make it so duos cannot queue, or they can queue, but they’re not protected from trios.

Both styles of matchmaking have been used before and contributed to previous deteriorations of the Trials ecosystem. Before we allowed non-trio fireteams into Trials, participation was at an all-time low. If we were to revert to only allowing trios to queue, the available population would decrease substantially. Most players would not manually find other players to group up with, and the overall population would likely decrease by 30% or more overnight. As the population would continue to decrease, skill creep would eat away at the number of three-person fireteams that can compete, and eventually the trios experience would feel much the same as it does now, except players would not have the solo or duo experiences to fall back on.

Similarly, after we allowed non-trio fireteams into Trials (but before fireteam-based matchmaking) solo and duo participation peaked and then steadily decreased to minimal values outside of Freelance weekends. These dedicated weekends spiked the population back up, but it always fell off following the reversion back to the standard unprotected matchmaking.

Ironically, if we were to prohibit duos from queueing, or if we did not protect them from trios, we would end up with an experience much like what occurred during previous Freelance weekends. This, again, does not actually benefit trios at all. The trio population would increase slightly, as a small percentage of duos moved upwards. but those are generally going to be players of above-average skill. The rest of the duos would now choose to play solo instead. This would make playing solo by far the best way to play Trials, and the trio population would eventually dry up again.

With the current iteration, trios still have the highest Flawless percentages of any fireteam configuration, and duos exist for people who want to play with a single friend but who cannot or do not wish to play as a trio. If we make duos no longer an option, the best experience for most players would become playing alone, which is the worse solution.

Instead of altering matchmaking, we need to focus on making the trio experience more enjoyable and encourage players to participate by rewarding them, as mentioned previously in the rewards section. To recap how we’re starting things off:

  • We’ve modified the Passage of Ferocity and added the new Passage of Persistence to make getting a first Flawless more attainable and allow players who cannot get Flawless to still earn Adept weapons.
  • Players who play as part of a three-person fireteam will be given additional rewards on match completions, including:
    • Additional 50% chance to drop the non-Adept Trials weekly weapon reward.
    • A 50% chance at a Trials Engram drop.
    • Additional Trials reputation.

Lobby Balancing

We understand that lobby balancing is currently a pain point. Some complaints about matchmaking can be more accurately attributed to lobby balancing, as it can make games feel unfair for one or both teams when players are improperly sorted. Because lobby balancing can have such an outsized effect on how games feel, it is very important to us that we make sure we get it right before we fully move to a new system.

The original lobby balancer simply tried to make the average overall skill of both teams as close as possible, and while it might not seem like it, there are several things that could cause lobby balance to deteriorate to an even lower quality. As such, we are still testing and gathering data, but we will share details with you as soon as possible.


  • Already live:
    • Replaced the loose skill-based matchmaking in Iron Banner and Control with the new outlier protection matchmaking system.
    • Updated Competitive matchmaking to be rank-based.
      • In Update 7.3.5, we will also cap the win and loss min/max values to make them less variable, which should make point rewards more predictable.
    • Currently testing several different configurations of a new Snake Draft lobby balancer.
  • Update 7.3.5 on March 5:
    • We will be updating our playlist tooltips to correctly display which matchmaking style is used for each mode.
    • We have several changes planned for our ongoing experimentation with Snake Draft lobby balancing, aimed at improving how it handles fireteams.

As you can see, we have a lot of changes coming to PvP over the next few months, including a few changes planned for The Final Shape and beyond. We'll have more details about those updates as we get closer to their release. As always, we appreciate all the feedback we receive, and we'll continue to monitor discussion around these changes as we iterate and update to reach our goals.

Accessibility and Console UI Updates

To continue to prioritize accessibility and improve the console experience, we have a few long-overdue quality-of-life UI changes that we'll be introducing in Update 7.3.5.

  • Added the Reticle Location setting to console (Center or Below Center).

Players can change the location of the reticle regardless of their platform in the Gameplay Settings menu. When a PC player changes their Reticle Location setting, it does not change their Reticle Location setting on console and vice versa.

  • Added controller Dead Zone settings.

With the ability to adjust the Dead Zone value, players can dial in a movement setting that feels just right for their play style for a more enjoyable play session. Players can change their Radial and Axial Controller Dead Zone values from the Controller Settings menu.

  • Added the ability to adjust the opacity of the radar background.

 Players can now increase the opacity of the radar background to allow for more contrast between the radar elements and the content behind it.

Prophecy Dungeon Weapon Update


In Update 7.3.5, we’ll be updating the weapon pool in the Prophecy dungeon. This will include swapping out three weapons and making some key updates to the other existing weapons.


  • A Swift Verdict Sidearm
  • The Long Walk Sniper Rifle
  • The Last Breath Auto Rifle

New Origin Trait:

All the new and updated weapons below will also be given this new Origin Trait:

  • Crossing Over: These weapons have increased range and handling for the top half of the magazine, while rounds from the bottom half of the magazine deal increased damage.


These weapons will be receiving all-new perk pools and, in some cases, new damage types.

  • Prosecutor Auto Rifle
    • Primary
    • Precision Frame
    • Arc
    • Origin Trait: Crossing Over
  • Adjudicator Submachine Gun
    • Primary
    • Precision Frame
    • Kinetic
    • Origin Trait: Crossing Over
  • Relentless Pulse Rifle
    • Primary
    • High-impact Frame
    • Damage changed from Kinetic to Strand
    • Origin Trait: Crossing Over


These weapons will be receiving new perk pools and new damage types.

  • Judgment Hand Cannon
    • Primary
    • Adaptive Frame
    • Damage changed from Kinetic to Stasis
    • Origin Trait: Crossing Over
  • Darkest Before Pulse Rifle
    • Primary
    • Rapid-Fire Frame
    • Damage changed from Arc to Solar
    • Origin Trait: Crossing Over
  • A Sudden Death Shotgun
    • Special
    • Aggressive Frame
    • Damage changed from Arc to Void
    • Origin Trait: Crossing Over

Updated Encounter Drops:

  • Phalanx Echo
    • Relentless Pulse Rifle
    • Prosecutor Auto Rifle
  • The Cube
    • A Sudden Death Shotgun
    • Adjudicator Submachine Gun
  • Kell Echo (Awards at Emissary Chest)
    • Judgement Hand Cannon
    • Darkest Before Pulse Rifle

#NormandyCrew Winners

Last week, we celebrated our new collaboration with EA and BioWare by asking you to show us your strongest builds inspired by the #NormandyCrew. In addition to some amazing fashion choices, we were impressed by the great builds sent our way. Here are our favorites! Each of the winners will receive the Felis Galaxias emblem. If you haven't already, add your BungieIDs to your entries so we can grant your emblem as soon as possible.









Player Support Report (PSR)

Shaxx can’t be mad at me for ignoring the Zones if I was Tokyo Driftin’ on the Micro Mini!


Known Issues List  |  Help Forums  |  Bungie Help Twitter


To help us help you more efficiently, we’ve created two new subforums within our Help Forum:

Fireteam Finder Beta Help

This subforum will help us find new issues that players are reporting during the beta.


As we continue supporting new accessibility initiatives, this subforum will help us find any problems with live issues.


Fundraisers who raised over $100+ should have received an email with a code for their earned rewards. For those still missing rewards, please review the troubleshooting steps listed in this article.

For those unable to locate an email from Game2Give, please submit a ticket here.


While we continue investigating various known issues, here is a list of the latest issues that were reported to us in our #Help Forum:

  • The Closer to the Heart Seasonal Triumph is visible earlier than intended. The mission to complete this Triumph will be available later this Season.
  • The Twitch Reaction Bounty may not be able to be claimed by all players.
  • The Apotheosis Veil Exotic does not always trigger when using Well of Radiance.
  • Overload Artifact Mods inadvertently affect Ignition damage.

For a full list of emergent issues in Destiny 2, check out our Known Issues article. If you find other issues, please report them to our #Help forum.

Wish You Were There


Though Valentines Day has passed, we can still appreciate the love between the starcrossed lovers, Taranis and Riven. Beautiful story, beautiful art.

AOTW by Guar on X/Twitter


Not today, Rhulk!


Movie of the Week: Quite the home run hit by Rhulk... or so it seemed. Instead, we get an epic hero moment that every Guardian dreams of as they ride the Grapple Express back to victory.



That's everything we have this week. There are a lot of exciting changes in the works! Take time to digest everything we went over and let us know what you think. We'll be checking out feedback and looking to answer any follow-up questions throughout the week.

We’ll be back next week sharing everything you can expect from the upcoming Guardian Games. Until then, be good to each other, and thanks for hanging out with us.


Destiny 2 Community Team


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