Destiny: Reset day of July 21

Tuesday means only one thing if you’re a Destiny fan: Reset day.

It’s that wonderful time when Bungie’s rotating selection of high-reward activities are rebooted (along with any raid progress made in the previous week), giving everyone a fresh chance at scoring some of the game’s sweetest and rarest loot.

Are you new to Destiny? Don’t know what any of this means? Good news. There’s a Destiny wiki that’s packed with information. Click for details on what Strikes are, and how Nightfall differs from Weekly Heroic challenges.

The House of Wolves add-on also adds a new weekly wrinkle, in the form of Prison of Elders. The multi-round gauntlets are built for endgame play, with the specific enemy types and modifiers changing from week to week.

Here’s a rundown of what’s happening this week:

Nightfall (The Will of Crota)

  • Epic – This is a standard Nightfall modifier. It just means there are more enemies to fight, and a greater number of Majors (the yellow health bar dudes) on the field.
  • Nightfall – Another standard Nightfall modifier. This one boots the entire Fireteam back to orbit if everyone is downed inside one of the revive-only respawn Darkness Zones.
  • Arc Burn – All Arc damage is increased.
  • Solar Burn – All Solar damage is increased.
  • Void Burn – All Void damage is increased.

Taste the rainbow, folks. After Destiny’s first Burn-less Nightfall in ages last week, elemental modifiers are back now with a vengeance. Arc, Solar and Void weapons all get a big boost, which means you’re downright deadly, but so are your foes. The Will of Crota Strike, only available to those that own The Dark Below add-on, requires a lot of care and patience when there’s a rainbow burn. Push too quickly and something’s bound to chew you apart. For each major engagement, hang back and let the bad stuff come to you.

Weekly Heroic (Winter’s Run)

  • Heroic – Standard Weekly Heroic modifier. More enemies show up than you would see on a standard Strike, and they’re more aggressive.
  • Void Burn – All Void damage is increased.

Easy Weekly Heroic. Winter’s Run is relatively quick under normal circumstances, and with the exception of the handful of Vex Minotaurs and Hydras you face, there’s very little that hits you with Void damage. Go forth and get some easy Strange Coins for this week. Bring along some kind of Arc secondary for dealing with Captain shields. And if everyone on your fireteam has The Truth rocket launcher, use it to melt the Archon Priest boss before the reinforcements even get serious.

Prison of Elders

If you’ve got House of Wolves then you can also participate in the weekly Prison of Elders activities. These endgame challenges send players through a multi-round gauntlet in which each round has its own enemy type and Nightfall/Weekly-style modifier(s).

The lineup of enemies, modifiers and, in some cases, bosses for the level 32, 34 and 35 activities changes every week. You can find some general tips for surviving Prison of Elders right here. Read on for a breakdown of enemies and modifiers for each round this week.

Level 32: Cult of the Worm

  • Round 1 (Vex): Airborne (Guardians deal more damage when in the air)
  • Round 2 (Hive): Grounded (Guardians take more damage when in the air)
  • Round 3 (Vex): Void Burn (All Void damage is increased)
  • Round 4 (Hive): Angry (Enemies can’t be staggered)
  • Round 5 (Gulrot, the Unclean boss): Exposure (Guardian shields are increased, but recharge very slowly)

Maybe we don’t need to kill Gulrot. Has anyone tried just handing him a bottle of Tums?

This Hive boss is a giant Ogre with a unique quirk: every so often he gets an upset tummy, causing him to vomit and coat the room with bile. It’s not as gross as it sounds visually, but it does have a functional impact on your play: for the handful of seconds the room is gunked up, all Guardians are effectively prevented from moving.

This is very manageable if you know how to handle it. Just watch for the flavor text in the bottom-left corner of the screen signaling that Gulrot is ready to hurl. At that point, you have a few seconds to scramble behind cover. As long as you’re outside the line of fire of the big guys — Wizards, Knights, Ogres and Gulrot himself — you can deal with any of the smaller stuff that rushes in. Rinse, repeat until the sickly big boss is dead.

Level 34: Broken Legion

  • Round 1 (Cabal): Juggler (No ammo drops for your equipped weapon)
  • Round 2 (Hive): Lightswitch (Enemy melee damage increased)
  • Round 3 (Fallen): Catapult (Grenade recharge rate increased)
  • Round 4 (Hive): Brawler (Guardian melee damage increased)
  • Round 5 (Valus Trau’ug boss): Juggler (No ammo drops for your equipped weapon)

Valus Trau’ug is a menacing Cabal giant with a very special elemental shield. The shield is always a randomly selected element, so every time it recharges you’ve got to think about which weapons you’re going to use to bring it down the next time. The shield also operates under its own rules; once it’s down, you’ve got 10 to 15 seconds to pour the damage on before the shield automatically recalibrates and pops back on.

There are two methods for taking down Valus. The slower, more methodical approach involves ignoring the boss until you completely clear out all of his reinforcements to the point that they stop spawning. Then everyone brings the shield down and maximizes damage. Once the shield recalibrates, new reinforcements spawn and you repeat the process until Valus is dead.

The quicker (and more dangerous) approach involves keeping the pressure on Valus regardless of the reinforcement count. If you hang in the left corner of the room, it’s good to have at least one person with a shotgun to clear out any Cabal that venture into your safe zone. It’s not significantly tougher, but the strategy is also best when your whole fireteam is at level 34.

Level 35: Skolas’ Revenge (all modifier descriptions listed here)

  • Round 1 (Hive): Exposure and Brawler
  • Round 2 (Vex): Grounded and Airborne
  • Round 3 (Cabal): Catapult and Arc Burn
  • Round 4 (Fallen): Specialist and Juggler
  • Round 5 (Fallen): Trickle and Small Arms
  • Round 6 (Skolas boss): Small Arms and Lightswitch

Skolas is a Fallen boss and the constant big bad for all level 35 Prison of Elders runs. He’s a tricky one. You can’t even damage him until you take out one of his two special Servitor defenders (they keep respawning), and even then you have only a small window (20 seconds) in which to dish out damage. That’s the first half of the fight; once Skolas is at half health, the Servitor issue goes away.

They’re replaced by Skolas’ “Devouring Essence” attack, which puts one randomly chosen player on a 30-second countdown to death.The countdown can be reset by passing Devouring Essence to another player, but there’s a 35-second delay before the player that gives it up can grab it again. This means that all three fireteam members need to participate in a deadly game of hot potato.

The second half of the fight also features two rounds of mines that need to be dismantled. It’s tricky to juggle dismantling alongside the Devouring Essence hand-offs; frequent, clear communication is vital. Designate someone (preferably a Bladedancer Hunter with invisibility) to grab the more distant mines. You should pretty much ignore Skolas until you can get those taken care of.

Bungie, why do you hate us so much? The Small Arms and Lightswitch modifier combo means one thing: skip Skolas until next week. Small Arms powers up the strength of your primary weapons, but it simultaneously reduces the effectiveness of secondary/heavy weapons. Not a great situation when you’re dealing with a bullet sponge boss like Skolas. And Lightswitch is just mean, given how many Stealth Vandals and other melee-capable enemies spawn throughout this long and grueling fight.

If Weapons Are Immortal From Destiny

Last week, Bungie generated some inevitable controversy by finally spelling out their plans for Destiny weapon balancing. It included a few known quantities, Auto Rifles need buffs, PvP dominators like Thorn need nerfs, but the proposed patch goes out of its way to cripple other strong weapons like Ice Breaker, Black Hammer, and the game’s Ark of the Covenant, the Gjallarhorn.

The specifics of these individual decisions I’ve already discussed, but the long and short of it is that people are upset that weapons they liked won’t be as strong as they’ve been previously.

But how will they react if someday it happens to all their weapons?

In its first year, Destiny has always had systems in place that allow players to “ascend” their old weapons to new max damage levels. During the first level/damage-cap raise in the Dark Below DLC, it was a convoluted system that involved trading in old exotics for new ones, and spending eons re-leveling them to unlock their new top tier of power. It was one of the biggest missteps of the DLC, and the next time around for The House of Wolves, the system was streamlined. All exotics could be leveled using one or two easily-purchasable shards, and even all old legendaries could now reach new damage max levels using the more rare Etheric Light.

But now as we head into Destiny “year two,” where does it end? Can Bungie keep inventing new ways to continue to make sure old weapons stay relevant? Or will they finally have to draw the line at some point and say “alright guys, it’s a new era, find new weapons and learn to love them instead.”

It’s a more complicated problem than might be initially apparent.

If Weapons Have a Shelf Life

If Bungie lays the hammer down either at the debut of The Taken King (unlikely), or a year later when Destiny 2 inevitably comes out (more likely), that will upset many people. After all, even though Bungie has indicated your specific Guardian can probably transcend multiple games, your character is really a composite of your gear and weapons at any given time. Everything else is just cosmetic.

By introducing a hard cut point where no, you will not be able to keep increasing the damage capacity of old weapons, that will effectively nuke the entire collection of gear players have spent years building. No matter how good your Gjallarhorn or Fatebringer, if they can’t hit the new damage max, they will never be able to compete with new weapons.

In most games, this isn’t an issue. Obviously in other shooters like Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, Far Cry etc, the games are self-contained experiences in which you personally are not amassing gear in any meaningful capacity that would need to carry over from one installment to the next. But even with loot-based games where Destiny draws influence, Borderlands and Diablo, there’s no expectation of carryover from one sequel to the next. Or in Diablo’s case, when the level cap was raised in the Reaper of Souls expansion, everyone simply understood that no matter how big and brawny their collection of level 60 legendaries was, now they were going to have to get out there and find a new set at level 70.

But Destiny, as ever, is a unique experience, and one where players seem to be a great deal more attached to specific weapons than pretty much every other game I’ve played. To nerf my beloved Ice Breaker hurts, but to be told I can never use it again? Unconscionable! So the argument here is that if gear is ever left behind, it essentially erases all the hard work Destiny players have put into building their characters, because characters in this game are effectively a compilation of gear, and it forces them to divorce themselves from weapons they have grown to love.

If Weapons Are Immortal

After all that, the obvious solution seems to be to allow Destiny players to hold onto their weapons and let them hit new high watermarks for damage with each new piece of content, potentially even with sequels. No one loses anything, right?

Kind of. But allowing the game to have an eternally widening pool of top-tier weapons is something that can bog it down in the long run. We’ve already seen this in practice with the most recent House of Wolves expansion. Despite two new full endgame modes, one for PvP in Trials of Osiris and PvE’s Prison of Elders, players have been remarkably slow to pick up new “top-tier” weapons in favor of old favorites, with only a few exceptions.

Obviously, I realize there are specific problems with many of Wolves’ weapons including inarguably useless perks (Shank burn!), but the answer here isn’t just “make better weapons and we’ll use them!” In that world, if you allow all guns to be max damage, you constantly have to make better and better weapons to outdo them if you want people to use new things. This is power creep, and can quickly zap all the fun out of a game.

This has been a problem with the recent weapon nerfs. People look at the Gjallarhorn getting its damage cut and say, “just make other stuff as good as Gjallarhorn!” but all that would do is create a wider gap between good items and the mediocre.

Do you see where all this leads? If Destiny continues to allow the ascension of all weapons indefinitely, it’s going to be harder and harder to balance the game with a stupidly wide pool of usable weapons, and will create a situation where players are less inclined to pursue the endgame when they already have their collection of favorite weapons that only need a piece of currency or two to stay relevant whenever new content is released.

So what’s the answer here?

There are a few options I can see working going forward.

First, Bungie could stop allowing the ascension of legendary weapons indefinitely, while continuing to let exotics reach new max damage levels. That would create a much smaller pool max damage weapons to work with, and though a few favorites would be left behind, fans would get to keep their exotic collection functional. Legendary armor is a different story and too much of its own issue to even go into here, as the game desperately needs better endgame armor options.

Alternatively, Bungie could draw a hard line as to when players will simply have to forage in the wild for an entirely new set of gear. It would be painful, but certainly not unprecedented, and might help the overall health of the game. And after all, is it really realistic that you’d be able to keep using an exotic you found in 2014 by the time Destiny 3 rolls around in 2018? I don’t think so, and other than adding nostalgia value, I’m not sure if such a thing would provide an overall benefit to the game.

Or, everything could just be ascended forever and Bungie would have a hell of a challenge on their hands designing weapons that are so mindblowingly awesome that everyone is content shoving their existing arsenal in the vault.

Perhaps there are middlegrounds even between these different ideas (you get to ascend three weapons of your choice per reset? I don’t know), but this is going to be a problem Bungie will run up against probably with a year, and there are no easy answers that will satisfy both fans who love their current loadouts and a game that has to keep feeling fresh by creating new, must-have loot.

Destiny Share Introduces Elimination Playlist to Crucible

The development team at Bungie is announcing that a new Elimination Crucible playlist is now live for Destiny, allowing fans of the mode to get a new experience that’s more focused on the performance of an entire Fireteam rather than that of just one player.

The information comes from the official account of the social shooter.

The Crucible experience has been less engaging for players of Destiny since the launch of the House of Wolves expansion, which allows gamers to play both Trials of Osiris and Prison of Elders, designed to offer new takes on both PvE and PvP.

Bungie has said that all elements of the title will be tweaked in the coming The Taken King expansion, which will be offered to gamers on September 15.

New Crucible game modes will be introduced.

The development team has also been offering more information about the big update 2.0 update, which is designed to tweak all the included weapons in order to make sure that a wider variety is used during Player versus Player matches.

The Taken King also includes a new major raid, a wider range of strikes and a new dreadnought area for gamers to explore. The destiny power leveling cap for Guardians is also increased, and the game is getting more weapons and items.

Nerfs Gjallarhorn; Exotic Weapon Coming Next Week With Destiny

The anticipated “Destiny” 2.0 update turned out to be focused on turning and overhauling the damage and power of existing weapons in Bungie’s title. The weapon changes are a mix of feedback from the community as well as handpicked changes that the developer has decided the game needs.

Bungie detailed all of this in its most recent blog update. Each type of weapon has receive specific tunings. Auto Rifle has been optimized for close and medium-range battles.

A lot of the other rifles have been tweaked. In other tweaking cases for “Destiny” 2.0 update, Bungie aimed to put the guns in a specific place of their own, such as differentiating Scout Rifles and Hand Cannons from each other.

More than the weapons, the Exotic Weapon tuning has received attention from the “Destiny” community. One good thing with “Destiny” 2.0 update is that Necrochasm, which has long been targeted by the community as a weapon whose power is not in proportion to the amount of effort and time devoted to acquiring it, has been improved. Necrochasm now has an increase in stability and magazine size.

Basically, a lot of the exotic weapons will see a downgrade in terms of power and damage, one that fans all around are not taking as well as hoped. Yet among all the exotic weapons that received changes, the Gjallarhorn received the mixed to worst reception.

Destiny Will Nerf Its Hottest Weapons

Last week, Bungie generated some inevitable controversy by finally spelling out their plans for Destiny weapon balancing. It included a few known quantities, Auto Rifles need buffs, PvP dominators like Thorn need nerfs, but the proposed patch goes out of its way to cripple other strong weapons like Ice Breaker, Black Hammer, and the game’s Ark of the Covenant, the Gjallarhorn.

The specifics of these individual decisions I’ve already discussed, but the long and short of it is that people are upset that weapons they liked won’t be as strong as they’ve been previously.

But how will they react if someday it happens to all their weapons?

In its first year, Destiny has always had systems in place that allow players to “ascend” their old weapons to new max damage levels. During the first level/damage-cap raise in the Dark Below DLC, it was a convoluted system that involved trading in old exotics for new ones, and spending eons re-leveling them to unlock their new top tier of power. It was one of the biggest missteps of the DLC, and the next time around for The House of Wolves, the system was streamlined. All exotics could be leveled using one or two easily-purchasable shards, and even all old legendaries could now reach new damage max levels using the more rare Etheric Light.

But now as we head into Destiny “year two,” where does it end? Can Bungie keep inventing new ways to continue to make sure old weapons stay relevant? Or will they finally have to draw the line at some point and say “alright guys, it’s a new era, find new weapons and learn to love them instead.”

It’s a more complicated problem than might be initially apparent.

If Weapons Have a Shelf Life

If Bungie lays the hammer down either at the debut of The Taken King (unlikely), or a year later when Destiny 2 inevitably comes out (more likely), that will upset many people. After all, even though Bungie has indicated your specific Guardian can probably transcend multiple games, your character is really a composite of your gear and weapons at any given time. Everything else is just cosmetic.

By introducing a hard cut point where no, you will not be able to keep increasing the damage capacity of old weapons, that will effectively nuke the entire collection of gear players have spent years building. No matter how good your Gjallarhorn or Fatebringer, if they can’t hit the new damage max, they will never be able to compete with new weapons.

In most games, this isn’t an issue. Obviously in other shooters like Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, Far Cry etc, the games are self-contained experiences in which you personally are not amassing gear in any meaningful capacity that would need to carry over from one installment to the next. But even with loot-based games where Destiny draws influence, Borderlands and Diablo, there’s no expectation of carryover from one sequel to the next. Or in Diablo’s case, when the level cap was raised in the Reaper of Souls expansion, everyone simply understood that no matter how big and brawny their collection of level 60 legendaries was, now they were going to have to get out there and find a new set at level 70.

But Destiny, as ever, is a unique experience, and one where players seem to be a great deal more attached to specific weapons than pretty much every other game I’ve played. To nerf my beloved Ice Breaker hurts, but to be told I can never use it again? Unconscionable! So the argument here is that if gear is ever left behind, it essentially erases all the hard work Destiny players have put into building their characters, because characters in this game are effectively a compilation of gear, and it forces them to divorce themselves from weapons they have grown to love.

If Weapons Are Immortal

After all that, the obvious solution seems to be to allow Destiny players to hold onto their weapons and let them hit new high watermarks for damage with each new piece of content, potentially even with sequels. No one loses anything, right?

Kind of. But allowing the game to have an eternally widening pool of top-tier weapons is something that can bog it down in the long run. We’ve already seen this in practice with the most recent House of Wolves expansion. Despite two new full endgame modes, one for PvP in Trials of Osiris and PvE’s Prison of Elders, players have been remarkably slow to pick up new “top-tier” weapons in favor of old favorites, with only a few exceptions.

Obviously, I realize there are specific problems with many of Wolves’ weapons including inarguably useless perks (Shank burn!), but the answer here isn’t just “make better weapons and we’ll use them!” In that world, if you allow all guns to be max damage, you constantly have to make better and better weapons to outdo them if you want people to use new things. This is power creep, and can quickly zap all the fun out of a game.

This has been a problem with the recent weapon nerfs. People look at the Gjallarhorn getting its damage cut and say, “just make other stuff as good as Gjallarhorn!” but all that would do is create a wider gap between good items and the mediocre.

Do you see where all this leads? If Destiny continues to allow the ascension of all weapons indefinitely, it’s going to be harder and harder to balance the game with a stupidly wide pool of usable weapons, and will create a situation where players are less inclined to pursue the endgame when they already have their collection of favorite weapons that only need a piece of currency or two to stay relevant whenever new content is released.

So what’s the answer here?

There are a few options I can see working going forward.

First, Bengie could stop allowing the ascension of legendary weapons indefinitely, while continuing to let exotics reach new max damage levels. That would create a much smaller pool max damage weapons to work with, and though a few favorites would be left behind, fans would get to keep their exotic collection functional. Legendary armor is a different story and too much of its own issue to even go into here, as the game desperately needs better endgame armor options.

Alternatively, Bungie could draw a hard line as to when players will simply have to forage in the wild for an entirely new set of gear. It would be painful, but certainly not unprecedented, and might help the overall health of the game. And after all, is it really realistic that you’d be able to keep using an exotic you found in 2014 by the time Destiny 3 rolls around in 2018? I don’t think so, and other than adding nostalgia value, I’m not sure if such a thing would provide an overall benefit to the game.

Or, everything could just be ascended forever and Bungie would have a hell of a challenge on their hands designing weapons that are so mindblowingly awesome that everyone is content shoving their existing arsenal in the vault.

Perhaps there are middlegrounds even between these different ideas (you get to ascend three weapons of your choice per reset? I don’t know), but this is going to be a problem Bungie will run up against probably with a year, and there are no easy answers that will satisfy both fans who love their current loadouts and a game that has to keep feeling fresh by creating new, must-have loot.

The Taken King Expansion From Destiny

First and foremost there are new story missions included in The Taken King as well as multiple side missions which reveal the story of the Guardian’s battle to defend the solar system against Oryx and his Taken army.

Bungie formally confirmed Destiny’s first major expansion back at the E3 2015 gaming convention but it didn’t really detail everything that the expansion brings. Now though the developer of this popular title is finally revealing “what’s in the box,” what players will get if they dish out the extra money for the first major Destiny expansion.

Also included in the expansion are new Exotic weapons, Exotic armor and Exotic Questlines, as well as a new narrative driven by cinematic cutscenes with a new cast of characters.

A new destination called the Dreadnaught is present as well with unique secrets, treasures and rituals for the player to uncover. Players will also go up against a new breed of enemy combatants armed with new weapons and abilities.

The Taken King expansion also brings Destiny’s biggest six-player Raid yet, new Crucible multiplayer maps with new Crucible modes, reimagined and redesigned Strikes as well as new cooperative Strikes with new unique and dynamic Boss battles.

Bungie is going to reveal more details about Destiny: The Taken King expansion between now and its release on September 15th.

‘Destiny’ – Hack allows the player to remove another player’s weapon and armour

A Reddit user going by the name DeafSpaceWizardry made a post late last night describing his experience. Following a Rumble match in the Crucible, he received a message from another Guardian suggesting that he shouldn’t use the much-vaunted Thorn hand cannon in the mode, and instead should simply dismantle it.

The message itself was innocuous enough — it seemed that the player was either venting their hurt feelings after underperforming in the Rumble match, or they were simply trying to offer some advice. DeafSpaceWizardry responded by saying ‘why would I dismantle it, I worked hard for it.’

This is where the story turns sour. The accused player fired back a message saying ‘that’s OK I’ll do it for you’, at which point DeafSpaceWizardry has his game boot back to the menu and display an error code. When he got back into the game, his Thorn had been reduced to one Shard and three Weapon Parts.

The idea of other players being able to remotely dismantle weapons sounds like your classic gaming rumour, but there’s some reason to believe that this story is legitimate. For one, there was another report on Reddit a month ago that described the series of events necessary to do this to another player.

It’s still unclear whether or not this is a real exploit, but for now it seems fair to give DeafSpaceWizardry the benefit of the doubt. If it is indeed possible for other player’s to dismantle your Guardian’s gear, this could potentially have a bigger impact on the Destiny community than any griefing that we’ve seen in the game to date. However, you can expect Bungie to make an expedient response to the problem, if it does turn out to be real.

The studio has been very clear about the zero-tolerance policy on bad apples in the game’s multiplayer, and few would argue against them enforcing harsh punishments for an exploit with such massive potential to spoil the experience for other players. The only question is, how soon can the developers isolate the issue?

Trials of Osiris Is The New Best Thing with Destiny

The agony! The jubilation! The drama and disappointment! I have reached the top of Destiny mountain, and the view is spectacular. It was a pain in the ass getting here, but I guess that was the point.

For the first eight months of its existence, the “best thing” in Destiny was the Vault of Glass raid. It was fun, it was challenging; it required teamwork and careful play.

That is no longer the case. Destiny has a new Best Thing, and it’s an unexpected one. The weekly, competitive Trials of Osiris multiplayer event has overtaken the Vault of Glass as the most challenging, intense, and rewarding activity in the game. It also signals a significant readjustment of Destiny’s focus, and it’s one that many longtime players aren’t happy about.

On Monday, Jason Schreier and I “beat” the Trials of Osiris. Along with our talented teammate Todd (more on him in a bit), we managed to complete an undefeated 9-0 scorecard against some of the best Destiny players in the world. I have never worked harder for a video game achievement, nor have I been prouder to finally accomplish one. I’m still riding an emotional high.

If you’d told me in the fall of 2014 that a 3v3 deathmatch tournament would wind up being the most exciting thing in Destiny, I would’ve had a hard time believing you. What a difference a year makes.

Since it came out last September, Destiny has been a game with two primary focuses. First, there’s PvE, which stands for “Player vs. Environment.” That’s the cooperative, story-based action game that has players teaming up to take on computer-controlled enemies. PvE encompasses activities like story missions, strikes, raids, and most recently, the Prison of Elders challenge mode.

Then there’s PvP, which stands for “Player vs. Player.” In PvP, players go into a virtual space called “The Crucible” to fight against other players competitively. In the game’s fiction, you’re not really fighting other guardians… this is just training for the real PvE fight out in the world. Destiny PvP is not unlike other competitive first-person shooters like Call of Duty or Destiny developer Bungie’s previous series, Halo. You run around, you stay in cover, you aim for the head. PvP Destiny includes a few different types of Crucible matches as well as a week-long, on-again-off-again event called the Iron Banner and most recently, the Trials of Osiris.

For the first months of its existence, Destiny’s PvP wasn’t all that much to write home about. It was fun, but there wasn’t much to it, especially when the game first came out. Furthermore, it had (and continues to have) some glaring balance issues along with regular, game-crippling lag. Both of those things made it hard for salty FPS veterans to take Crucible seriously.

It was—and still is—possible for a player to focus mainly on PvE play and have a perfectly good time. That’s how I played until May’s House of Wolves expansion—my experience of the game (and as a result, our coverage of it at Kotaku) was resolutely PvE-focused. I’d do raids, and patrol bounties, and the weekly Heroic and Nightfall strikes. Then Trials of Osiris happened. In the weeks that followed, my perception of Destiny underwent a fundamental shift.

Trials of Osiris combines the rush of competitive first-person shooting with the seductive whisper of carefully controlled gambling to create something that is both exceedingly rewarding and terrifyingly difficult to quit. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had playing competitive multiplayer—full stop—but it’s also Threat Level Alpha for anyone with a social life to maintain. It is the true test of player ability that many hardcore Destiny PvPers have been begging for, even while its purity has alienated a large number of less skilled players.

Like most things in Destiny, Trials is complicated, full of jargon, and difficult to parse for a newcomer. Here’s the gist:

Trials runs weekly, beginning early on Friday and running through to the weekly reset late Monday night. To participate, you need to form a three-person team (there’s no built-in matchmaking) and each character needs to go to a special vendor and spend a little bit of in-game money on a “Passage Card.” Your Passage Card is your entry ticket.

You then compete in matches against other teams of three. Each match consists of up to nine rounds; whoever wins five rounds first wins the full match. The game-type is elimination deathmatch—if you can kill all three members of the opposing team, your team wins the round. If you only kill one or two of them, the remaining players can revive their teammates and keep the fight going. This opens the door for all sorts of unlikely comebacks, moments of solo heroism, and scrambling, on-the-fly strategy shifts.

Once you win or lose a match, that outcome is recorded on your Passage Card, which eventually starts to look like this:

You can also buy a few “buffs” for your card using yet another form of currency called Passage Coins. Once per card, you can snag any of three modifiers—your first loss won’t count, or you’ll start with a win, or your next win will count double.

If you get three losses, your card is closed out and you have to trade it in back at the Trials vendor for a fresh one. However, if you can get more than four wins on a card, you start unlocking really good rewards—guaranteed rare items, excellent guns and armor, and—if you can get nine wins without a single loss—a trip to Mercury, where you’ll have a chance to get the most elite items currently available in Destiny.

(If you’re good at math, you’ve figured out that with all three buffs purchased, that “flawless” 9-0 run really only needs to be 7-1.)

The result has been a challenging and intense new game mode that stands apart—far apart—from everything else in Destiny. It puts the entirety of Destiny’s PvP under a magnifying glass, exaggerating all of the things that make it fun while bringing its many flaws and imbalances into sharp relief. It is both the best and, sometimes, the worst thing in the game.

Bungie’s new community manager helped start and run the Destiny subreddit

Bungie’s new community manager helped start and run the Destiny subreddit.

For one Reddit user, a hobby has turned into a full-time job at the developer of Destiny. Bungie has given the moderator of the Destiny subreddit a job as a community manager, meaning that he will now oversee an even bigger community of Destiny fans.

User Cozmo is the founder of the Destiny subreddit, creating the group when the game only had some leaked concept art. The subreddit now has close to 190,000 subscribers and thousands of people browsing it at any one time.

Bungie has brought Cozmo on to supplement the work done by the current community manager, Deej. In a post on Bungie’s site, Deej explained that the Destiny community has grown too large for one person to manage. “The fact of the matter is that there are too many of you for me to handle alone,” he wrote. “Sure, I have urk [community and marketing relations manager Eric Osborne] to lead the way, but we both get pulled behind the scenes more and more to make sure you’re informed about the next evolution that Bungie will be hurling at you. But what about the front lines?”

As a result, Cozmo will be engaging with the community, most likely through social media channels and in the forums on Bungie’s sites. Deej will still write the Bungie Weekly Updates.

Since he’s now an employee of Bungie, Cozmo is stepping down as moderator of the subreddit.

This is likely a move to prepare for the upcoming release of Destiny’s next expansion, The Taken King. The expansion launches on September 15 and will cost $40.