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Bungie Weekly Update - 10/24/2014

This week at Bungie, we gathered around a story-tall projection screen to bask in its warm glow.

Team Meetings in our studio are equal parts happy hour and pep rally. It’s a time for pretty speeches and mission statements. We haven’t lost the momentum that spirited us toward the launch of Destiny. Now that we’ve crossed that milestone, we’re steaming toward the next. This afternoon, the message was about the future.

Destiny is a thing that we wanted to be meaningful to people. Given how much it’s been played, we think we just might be on to something. We just need to bring on the next meal for you to devour with startling urgency.

There will be new ways for you to build upon your legend. Some of them will be revealed very soon. Others will appear when you least expect them. When you see what I’ve seen, I hope you’ll be as excited as I am.



Return of the Iron Lords

Your immediate future as a Guardian includes a return of special events. We’ve discovered wonderful truths about the Destiny player experience from the best possible source: the players. We’ve taken those learnings and added them to the new recipe we’re mixing in the kitchen. We’re eager to show you what we’re about to put back on the menu.

To whet your appetite, feast your eyes on some words from Head Chef Tyson Green (he’s actually a Lead Designer):

Over the last few weeks, the Tower played host to two events, and we learned a lot from both of them. Queen’s Wrath will be going back into the oven for a while. With Iron Banner, we have been able to move forward quickly with a lot of your feedback. We’d like to give you a look ahead at the next Iron Banner event.


Power Matters (More!)
The goal for Level Advantages in PVP had been to create relatively small advantages that would suffice only to tilt the balance between players of equal skill towards the player of greater achievement, expressed in terms of his gear. But we now believe we have been too conservative, and that small tilts failed to meet anyone’s expectations.

In the next Iron Banner, we will debut a much more dramatic difference between players of wide variation in Level. We will detail the changes in an article of its own to come as soon as we settle on some of the numbers. 

Because of this, the next Iron Banner will also require a Fireteam leader to be Level 20 to enter. While lower Level players may join in with their Level 20+ chaperone, they will find it very challenging.
                                                                                                                                                                              
Quitting
The goal of Iron Banner was to create a PVP playlist where players would push their game and their equipment harder than ever. To do so, the emphasis is on winning. But that meant players who found themselves losing would be inclined to leave.

The Iron Lords respect perseverance and tenacity. In the next Iron Banner, players will receive a Medallion of Iron on a loss. Upon their next win, each Medallion they carry will convert into a reputation gain almost equal to a win.


Armor and Weapons
The goal for Iron Banner gear was to provide Armor powerful enough to interest most players after a few weeks of gearing up, and aesthetically appealing to all players. But for very advanced characters, wearing Exotics and Raid gear, the equipment was not powerful enough to consider.

In the next Iron Banner, new exclusive reward Armor will be bumped to Level 30, but will still only be available in two slots. For advanced players, this will make them viable functional or visual sidegrades.

Iron Banner Weapons were already viable sidegrades for all but the most advanced players, but we would like to expand the options available. In the next Iron Banner, the weapon types available will go from two to four, divided between drops on match victory, and purchase from Lord Saladin in the Tower.

Bounties
The goal of Bounties in the Iron Banner is to push players to prove themselves in new ways, while also ensuring that straight-up combat was always valuable to move you towards a higher rank. But some of the Bounties required too much, and were mutually exclusive in a way that made this worse.

In the next Iron Banner, several of these Bounties have been tuned down quite a bit, and overall the value of Bounties has been bumped up. Also, they have been moved onto Lord Saladin, who was getting a little lonely back there with only his gong and dinosaur drawings.

New Feature: Reforging
Timur's Lash (the Hand Cannon available on match victory) was exciting to us because it was able to re-roll its upgrades on each drop, resulting in some unique and excellent configurations. But due to other issues, this was inaccessible to most players.

In the next Iron Banner, Lord Saladin will offer players the option of Reforging any Iron Banner weapon (including those from the last event.) This will re-roll all of the upgrades, but will also reset any progression. The cost for each Reforge will be a small number of Motes of Light, so set some aside next time Xur arrives in the Tower.

New Feature: Tempered
With Iron Banner lasting one week, some players with working schedules found themselves unable to even consider reaching a higher rank. 

In the next Iron Banner, Lord Saladin will offer a 12-hour buff called Tempered, which will boost Iron Banner reputation gains. As the week goes forward, this boost will be increasingly potent, to help players starting later in the week to catch up. In Iron Banners after the next, we expect that we will further tune these bonuses by increasing their potency, but limiting their effect to lower Ranks. 

Iron Banner Reputation Reset
If your eyes just snapped open, relax: Iron Banner reputation isn't resetting. The goal of Iron Banner events is to bring everyone together to play PVP for a week, and our plan had been to reset reputation each event. But this was poorly communicated, and (for reasons listed above) reaching higher ranks took longer than intended.

In the next Iron Banner, you will still have the Rank achieved in the last. But we still want players to come together for at least a few nights of team PVP, including veterans of the last event, so the Iron Banner ranks have been increased to 5. Some of the adjustments above will help players ascend more quickly through these and existing ranks.

In future Iron Banners, we will change over from Reputation to an Event Standing model where ranks are reset, but only after we better tune the effort required to reach the higher ranks.

Disclaimer of Ultimate Dodge
Some of the above changes are still undergoing internal testing, and we may encounter critical issues that force us to postpone a change. We’ll keep you posted.

What Tyson is saying is that we wanted to welcome you into our process for making Iron Banner more badass – especially since you were a huge part of it to begin with. We’re working on reigniting the flaming shield before the end of the year. Once we’re 100% sure we can meet that deadline, we’ll let know. No matter when it’s realized, this is our new and improved vision for the true meaning of war.



Do you want to know more?

Does all this talk about the future have you feeling left behind? If you’re one of the very few who still encounter issues connecting to Destiny, please know that there is still a team fighting for you. Destiny Player Support is still conducting their search and rescue operation to deliver every last one of you to the Tower.


The team cobbled together these sweet tidings of hope and support to whisper into your ear.

Over the weekend, we encountered an issue where European players were unable to connect to Destiny. This European traffic issue should now be resolved and we are continuing to monitor any new connection hitches as they may occur. Players were met with an increase in ZEBRA and CATERPILLAR error codes this week. We are investigating the cause of this increase and will continue to post updates via @BungieHelp, as well as on help.bungie.net. Lastly, Xbox 360 users encountered STINGRAY errors that prevented players from signing into Destiny. We successfully identified and resolved the issue and Xbox 360 players were once again able to sign in and play. We’re still hard at work making sure players can connect and have a great experience, and we have no plans of ramping down that effort.

They’ll keep fighting! And they’ll win!



“Eyes up, Guardian!”

Destiny was built to be enjoyed by teams. There is perhaps no finer example of teamwork than when one Guardian brings another back from the dead. Reviving a friend is not just an act of kindness. It’s a smart tactic to make sure the enemy has someone other than you to shoot at.


BedtimePanda is the sort of gamer you want on your team. This Warlock has revived more teammates in PVE activities than anyone else from the City. Don’t let the name fool you. When it comes to gameplay, Panda is more about a wake up call - 2,164 of them, to be exact.


You may find yourself asking: “Who’s the trustiest medic in the Crucible?”

Tune in next week. We’re not about to run out of Legends to celebrate.

Until then, don’t stop telling us what you want to see in the world of Destiny when life affords you a moment (or many hours) to pick up a controller. The things we learn about how you play the game often become the game. There’s more proof on the way.
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