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This Week At Bungie – 10/28/2021

This week at Bungie, we’re replacing the Flawless pool.  
 
We are about to hit the fever pitch of spookiness. Ghosts are around every corner, and we don’t mean the friendly type that revives you after taking too much damage. Sadly, that means that it’s almost time to start packing up the Tower decorations and saying goodbye to Eva Levante. It’s the final week of Festival of the Lost, you have until the reset on Tuesday November 2 to finish your books, eat your candy, and wrap up any unfinished business you have with the event. 

We’ve recently fixed up some issues with Candy and Spectral Page drops from Public Events and Trials of Osiris, so if you’re still jamming out some pages to finish your book, don’t sleep on these activities! Throw on a mask, eat some candy, and earn some rewards. 

While you are extracting whatever loot you can from the Headless Ones, Trials of Osiris will also start up tomorrow and run until the FOTL ends at reset as usual. We got a fix in so you will still earn pages even if you lose the match. And that is not all we are changing...  


Trials Matchmaking Changes 


The last few weekends of Trials of Osiris have been a bit quieter in terms of changes — this was by design! We wanted to give players a few weekends of steady play before making any more significant changes or testing out another Labs weekend. This gave our teams some great data for how the Trials changes are doing, how players are engaging with the activity, and what we could prioritize changing in the future. 

A quick recap of stats from the last few weeks shows everything to be steady too: 
  • Matchmaking times are consistent with past weeks. 
  • Blowout rates dropped slightly week-over-week. This is consistent with lower skilled players  not playing as much. 
  • Average hours played per player remains consistent across skill levels. 
  • Overall player counts went down each week. But that is expected during this portion of the Season, and is consistent with past Trials and Iron Banner performance.  
  • We still don't see any evidence of widespread Flawless card resets to avoid the Flawless pool — less than 0.5% of cards played were reset while still Flawless and above three wins. Even still, the impetus to do this should be removed starting this week — more on that below. 
Now, we look to Freelance. Last weekend, we gave players a strictly “solo-queue” option for Trials. We entered the weekend with some assumptions on how the population could split, what might happen to matchmaking times, and a few questions on how to offer Freelance options in the future. Here’s a quick recap from the team on how things went, what we learned, and what we’re thinking about for the future. 

Freelance 

So, this past week we opened the Freelance queue so that solo players could consistently play against other groups of solos. How'd that feel? 

We had over a million games played in each playlist this weekend, with slightly more games played in the base Trials of Osiris playlist. Average hours played for the lower skilled players is up quite a bit over the past weeks, while the average to top-end has almost the same hours played. Interestingly, players who played in a fireteam some of the time and solo some of the time played almost three times as long this weekend as players who either played exclusively solo or in a fireteam. 



Player numbers: 
  • 244,000 Freelance exclusive players 
  • 120,000 fireteam exclusive players 
  • 220,000 played both solo and in a fireteam 
  • 25.5% of players went Flawless — lower than any revamp week — likely fallout of matches being fairer. If it doesn’t drop below 20% for a weekend, the Lighthouse should still feel attainable. 
Average matchmaking times were consistently around 50 seconds for full fireteams and solos, and regularly were about 100 seconds for duos. The Sunday Flawless pool adds about 10 seconds to Flawless player matchmaking, and we are seeing some worrying spikes in matchmaking times for some of the smaller subpools post-Flawless pool split. 

The overall blowout rate (games that ended with a score of 5-0) was almost as low as our best post-revamp week, when the Flawless pool went active Friday afternoon, at 27.8%. This was powered by the significant number of fireteam vs fireteam matches and solos vs solos matches, both of which had 25% blowout rates. 


Blue - 10/5/2021
Orange - 10/12/20201

Match outcomes this week: Freelance / Base 
  • 5-0 Games: 25.1% / 30.2% 
  • 5-1 Games: 26.1% / 25.7% 
  • 5-2 Games: 20.4% / 18.5% 
  • 5-3 Games: 15.6% / 13.9% 
  • 5-4 Games: 12.4% / 11.4% 

One thing we aren't happy with is the team balance, and we’ve noticed that how the solo playlist isn't doing a great job balancing two teams when there aren't any fireteam mismatches. For Trials, it’s currently just picking teams randomly. We are going to be looking very carefully at how teams are selected over the next few weeks, and hopefully have a better balance the next time Freelance rolls around. This is one of the downsides of not using skill-based matchmaking in Trials: in situations where skill would be helpful – to balance two teams of solo players – it isn’t even a data point the system can look at. Speaking of which... 

Freelance Futures 

We liked the overall outcome and vibe of the Freelance queue, and both playlists seemed to have a viable amount of players. We are looking at running Freelance occasionally for the remainder of Season 15 but are still trying to determine what feels right. We will let you know! 

Long term, we are exploring some single-playlist solutions: preferential matching of full fireteams against other full fireteams, duo + solo against another duo + solo. We don't have a specific release target for this yet, but it will not be prior to Season 16. 

Flawless Pool Changes 

The Flawless pool (which we have been enabling Sunday at reset time) has some very positive benefits. It raises overall match quality (blowout rates, etc.) significantly, and it raises the overall win rates of solo players. However, it has some drastic downsides: for players who struggle and manage to just barely go Flawless, it is a steep cliff to then only play against players who have already gone Flawless that week. It also incentivizes behavior that is at odds with the mode and reward systems, like resetting a Flawless six-win ticket to keep getting easier matches (but worse rewards). It also creates social friction where players need to decide between playing with friends or playing for rewards. Lastly, the timing — 10 AM Pacific on Sundays— is awkward if you live anywhere but the Americas. 

Starting tomorrow, we are rolling out a new system and leaning into weekly performance metrics. Whenever you match in Trials, in addition to trying to match with people with the same number of card wins, you will also attempt to match with people who have roughly the same number of overall wins for the weekend. If you can't find anyone to match against, it will eventually expand out to find you a less similar match. 

For the PvP gods who go Flawless 10x a weekend, they will end up matching with other players who have (for example) 70+ wins on their cards, no matter how they got them. For the average team who gets a lucky Flawless in on Friday or Saturday on their first card, well, they will be matching against other players with around seven wins, no matter how they got them. We are hoping this will give us many of the benefits of the Flawless pool system (somewhat fairer matches) without the significant downsides. Specifically, there should be no major inflection point where everything is smooth prior to a win, and then everything is overly challenging after. 

While this allows us to remove the Flawless pool, it does have a potential downside: longer matchmaking times. We think there is a reasonable tradeoff here between match quality and matchmaking time. Average Trials matchmaking times currently sit at around 50 seconds. Over the next few weekends, we are going to be looking at how much matchmaking time goes up, and how it affects the match quality. 

The outcomes of the previous non-Labs week were: 

Game outcomes: Overall % / Fireteam vs Fireteam / All Solos 
  • 5-0 games: 28.4% / 22.8% / 27.6% 
  • 5-1 games: 25.6% / 25.6% / 25.4% 
  • 5-2 games: 18.6% / 20.2% / 19.0% 
  • 5-3 games: 14.7% / 16.8% / 15.4% 
  • 5-4 games: 12.3% / 14.5% / 12.6% 

In an ideal world, we want to get each of those numbers as close to 20% as possible, but we would rather see more 5-4/5-3 outcomes than 5-0/5-1. 

As always, we are going to be listening closely to your feedback, as well as looking at aggregated stats to continue tuning matchmaking for Trials to strive for the best experience possible. 


+1 

It’s been a minute since we have had the pleasure of introducing a new community manager. Alas that time has come. We are expanding our team and have a new CM joining our ranks. Please give a warm welcome to Liana, aka Hippy.  

Hippy: Greetings, Guardians! To say I’m excited to be here would be a massive understatement. My love for Bungie started long before we became Guardians, back in the Pathways Into Darkness days. It grew with Marathon, then Myth, Oni, and – of course – Halo and Destiny. The evolution of shooters, the humble Chicago beginnings, and the growth seen since then is inspiring. And to be a part of it? Life-changing. I’m so excited to be here and part of a studio that has accomplished so much in the past 30 years, especially with how Destiny 2 has grown since its release. I’m not alone in being just a little bit in love with my Guardian and I can’t wait to continue the adventure alongside you all!  
 
As a recently converted Titan main (Sorry!), I’m right there in the trenches with the best of them. From fighting off Cabal hordes to feeling conflicted about taking out Fallen after seeing how freaking cute they are as little balls of adorableness; every week is a new adventure in Destiny 2. As this experience continues to evolve into something truly special, I look forward to tackling the challenges, the triumphs, and those frustrating as all heck first raid runs with the rest of the community and the amazingly passionate team here. I also can’t wait to share some pretty impressive war stories with you all, even if jumping puzzles are still the bane of my existence.  

Before you ask, no... DMG and I aren’t going anywhere. We will be helping Hippy learn the ropes and get settled in in the months to come. So be nice and don’t overwhelm her with questions right out of the gate! 


Scary Costumes and Nice Pumpkins 


Last week, we put out a call for you to show off your spookiest fashion and carve up your most creative pumpkins and Festival of the Lost related artwork. We’ve been blown away by the number of amazing entries and wanted to showcase some of the ones that have caught our eye so far. 

Costumes  



 

Pumpkins 



Art 



We’re not done yet. We will be sharing more winners all the way up to the big day, October 31.  

 

MORE ROOT VEGETABLES 

 
We deployed an update earlier today. Let’s check in with DPS to see how it went and what known issues are still lingering. 

This is their report. 

RUTABEGA ERROR INCREASE 

Recently, an exploit was discovered that allowed players to generate more Orbs of Power than intended when triggering certain Supers. To prevent exploitation of this issue until a fix can be deployed later this year, players who experience extreme sustained framerate issues in PvP environments may now encounter more frequent RUTABEGA errors. Some of these errors can be mitigated by not alt-tabbing or changing your video settings during matchmaking.

Players who encounter RUTABEGA errors while participating in PvP for reasons other than reproducing the Orb generation issue should report the details of what they were doing to our dedicated Help Forum thread.

HOTFIX 3.3.1.2 

Earlier today, Hotfix 3.3.1.2 was released to the world. This hotfix resolved several issues including: 
  • Mini Screebs will no longer sink below the ground in the Grandmaster Hollowed Lair Nightfall. 
  • Exploits for Telesto and Raiju’s Harness have been fixed. These Exotics have now been re-enabled in all activities. 
  • Year-1 faction, raid, and Trials armor ornaments now correctly list class specific Synthweave as unlock options in the Appearance screen. 

FINAL WEEK OF FESTIVAL OF THE LOST  

Festival of the Lost concludes at the Weekly Reset on November 2, and players should ensure that they turn in their collected Candy for rewards, redeem all Manifested Pages, and collect all available Triumphs before it ends. 

Players should also keep in mind that the Power level of the Masquerader’s Helmet will return to 0 after the conclusion of the event, and should make sure to unequip it prior to attempting to participate in high-level content to ensure they meet the entry requirements. 

KNOWN ISSUES 

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 Submachinist Medal only appears after eliminating three players without dying instead of two as specified.  
  • The emblem of the MVP of a Trials match incorrectly displays as the observing player’s emblem. 
  • The Clan Up Triumph may not be unlocking as intended. 
  • The We Are Enough Triumph doesn’t unlock for players who complete Override: Last City. 
  • A small arrow is following Hunters around when wearing certain pieces of gear. 
  • Players on Steam are experiencing larger-than-usual FPS drops in the Tower, in Orbit, and when viewing the Roster. 
  • The Relic Orb may not spawn in The Corrupted strike when fighting Sedia. 
  • For a full list of emergent issues in Destiny 2, players can review our Known Issues article. Players who observe other issues should report them to our #Help forum. 
 

Sand 


 

Everyone seems to be talking about one movie right now. I haven’t seen it yet, so please no spoilers.  You know the one. With the people in the desert, lots of sand, huge worms who always seem to be hungry. But enough about Tremors, let’s see this week’s MOTW winners! 

Movie of the Week: Marvelous 

Movie of the Week: The Blair Witch Queen 


 

Creative 

 
 
I’m kind of bummed this will be the final spooky TWAB during Festival of the Lost. I love going through the community art this time of year. We have some great picks lined up for you in the Art of the Week. 

Art of the Week: I WILL TAKE YOU 

Art of the Week: Trick or Treat 

With Festival of the Lost coming to a close, we are nearing the end of scheduled Seasonal beats for a bit. And so, it’s time for free-play. Next week, Saladin will be hosting Iron Banner. So, mark that on your calendars if you need some quick pinnacle drops or want to hunt some rolls on Iron Banner weapons. 

After Iron Banner ends next week, we will still have Trials going throughout November with the new matchmaking changes mentioned in this TWAB. You can also use this time to catch up on some catalysts, knock out some Triumphs, or finish anything else taking up space in your quest log. We have some fun stuff planned for our 30th anniversary on December 7. It’s going to be a great time to play some Destiny. 

<3 Cozmo 
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