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The Mercy Rule

"The Crucible is no place for mercy!" -Lord Shaxx

Ever had your ass kicked so hard in the Crucible that you just wanted the painful ordeal to come to an end? If you stuck it out to the post-game carnage report, we salute you. If you quit the match to spare yourself the agony of defeat, you became a data-point in our vast matrix of "player behavior."

In keeping with our promise to adapt and react to the way people spend time in our game, Senior Designer Andrew Weldon is here with some good news for those of us who have suffered at the hands of a superior foe.

Andrew:  Greetings, Guardians!

Hopefully all of you have experienced some thrilling matches in the Crucible over the last year. If you haven’t, we hope you’ll join us in 2.0/The Taken King for a bigger and better Destiny PVP experience. There is a massive pile of updates, both visible and under the hood, coming in 2.0 intended to improve your Crucible experience. I wanted to take some time today to explain one of new features: the Mercy Rule.

Thanks to our excellent User Research team, we have access to all sorts of data on Crucible matches. Here’s a sampling of score deltas in games of Control:

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 63% of Control games finish with a score delta of < 6k points. Somewhere around half of those end with deltas of < 3k points. These are healthy and generally competitive matches. And look at those 10% of games with a score difference of less than 1000 points! Those are thrilling, down-to-the-wire games. These are the kinds of games we want you to experience in the Crucible.

We can also see that around 12-13% of games end with score deltas of > 10k points. Some of these are legit blowouts earned by exceptional play. We don’t necessarily want to touch those. However, as you can see in this highly technical markup, a certain range of these games are exceptionally unpleasant results:

The Mercy Rule aims to identify these games in progress, and end them early. This serves three goals:
1. End bad matches as quickly as possible
2. Give players full end-of-match rewards to discourage quitting
3. Reduce the number of players who are joined into bad games via join in progress

When the Mercy Rule hits, Shaxx will call out the end of the match. We immediately disable join in progress to prevent any additional players from joining the game (if anyone has dropped already) and reset the game clock to :10 seconds. After those 10 seconds, the match will end normally. All players will receive their end of match rewards and return to matchmaking.

The version of the Mercy Rule you will play in 2.0. is enabled for all team playlists except Elimination and Trials of Osiris. The low-scoring, round-based nature of Elimination is not well suited for this rule; a 4-0 match will often end pretty quickly and still offers comeback opportunity. Rumble, by way of free for all gameplay, is also much less sensitive to blowout games as everyone has multiple targets and the score limit is in the ballpark of only around ~25 kills.

The 2.0 Mercy Rule check is a very simple query that is good at identifying games that get out of hand early, but not necessarily games that pull away late. You may in some cases still find yourself in games where you feel like it should have triggered. We will, as always, continue monitoring our UR data as well as player feedback to determine how we can continue to improve it and make it more accurate in the future.

Now, while these changes are all designed to improve the quality of life for players caught on the receiving end of a massive blowout, we don’t want to leave out the winners, who still have to accomplish an impressive feat to end a game early. For you, a new gold tier medal to chase: “No Mercy”

I’ll see you in the Crucible on September 8th!

Lord Shaxx would like to take this opportunity to retract his original statement. The Crucible is, as of the deployment of Update 2.0, a place for mercy. Get out there and fight.
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