Destiny: Rise of Iron – What Needs to be Fixed First

Destiny Rise of IronI have been loving my time with Rise of Iron – I picked up an old friend for my heavy weapon slot, my first weapon got a nice new coat of Exotic paint, and I have been really enjoying zipping around the Plaguelands. That all said though, there’s one thing that I really hope Bungie looks at fixing quickly – The Crucible. We’ve been in this ultra-fast time to kill meta for a long time now – it really goes all the way back to House of Wolves and Felwinter’s Lie style shotguns. Over the last six months or so though, it’s just gotten worse to the point now where unless you use a pretty select group of weapon, you’re at a distinct disadvantage.

It was already super frustrating to play in a handful of playlists – mainly the 3V3 games and Iron Banner – but adding Supremacy has just exacerbated the issues. Having to pick up the crests after a kill is a great way to fight passive play – I’ve always been a fan of Kill Confirmed in Call of Duty. In Destiny now though, forcing players into close range just has continued to push them towards the max-impact shotguns and crazy TTK primaries to have a chance. I’ve played enough Supremacy to at least finish out the Crucible quest and weekly bounty, and in those games I’ve seen almost nothing but Party Crashers, Conspiracy Theory D’s, Eyaslunas and Palindromes. Even weapons that are usually 6v6 standouts – Doctrine of Passing, Hawksaw, and most snipers – start to fall away a bit in Supremacy because of the nature of the game. We already know that the first Iron Banner after launch is Supremacy – that has me the exact opposite of excited for Iron Banner. I usually look forward to it for the weapons and armor – consistently some of the coolest looking gear in the game. But even with the changes to the system with Rise of Iron, I think it’s going to be a super frustrating week. Part of that frustration will come from the fact that there is going to be a pretty wide variety in Light Level for the first time in ages with Iron Banner/Trials. The other part will come with this current meta.

Destiny Crucible

Now that Private Matches are live, and the competitive scene can start to grow, we’re starting to see top level players really speak out about the meta. Guys like TripleWreck and KJHovey have put out videos and posts explaining just how bad this current environment is. The more eyes that see this, the more likely that Bungie acts quicker. I personally don’t agree totally with TripleWreck’s idea on how to fix it – I think a blanket primary buff feels like way too much of a step toward power creep. Instead I think a better fix would be to adjust shotguns again – they’re fine in PvE now, so just focus on PvP behavior. To me, the best bet is to just kill the range and handling – make it so you have to be even closer for those one-shots. There has to be some kind of trade-off to using this weapon, and right now there really isn’t. Same goes for those primaries that are good – drop the stability on those Pulse Rifles, make Hand Cannons more consistent across the board and limit the chances for two-shot potential guns; while the one thing that I do think deserves a buff would be Auto Rifles outside of that DoP archetype. There’s a lot of work still to be done, and hell, I don’t have anywhere near the level of data that Bungie does so hopefully they’ll have a better idea of how to address it. The other thing with Supremacy that I might want a little attention put toward is the score limit – FFA Supremacy feels like it goes a little long, and on some maps it can feel under populated. Maybe pull more from the 3V3 maps – good example was a FFA match on the new map Skyline. The match ignored the outdoor sections for the vast majority of the match, and spawns were all over the place. Maybe it’s just the game mode needing to work out a couple kinks, but still, it’s a bit big of a map for FFA.

The Worst Part of the New Advanced Warfare DLC

Advanced Warfare CoverNext Tuesday marks the release of the third DLC pack for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – the Supremacy pack. As has become rather typical with the Call of Duty DLC packs, there’s a remake of a classic map from the series. In this pack, it’s a remake of Highrise – one of the better Modern Warfare 2 maps – called Skyrise. Normally, I would be all over a remake of Highrise – it was one of my favorite maps from Modern Warfare 2, mainly because it played super fast, in just about every game mode. However, I really am worried about this one more so than some of the other remakes.

Advanced Warfare Supremacy

When Advanced Warfare launched, it came with the Atlas Gorge map – a remake of Modern Warfare‘s Pipeline. While Atlas Gorge plays pretty well, it really is a completely different map from Pipeline now. The addition of the Exo-abilities has completely altered the flow of a map that, frankly, needed the change. Pipeline tended to be rather slow – with snipers locking down routes, and stealth classes holding down the buildings. The speed of Advanced Warfare changes that – sniping is a dangerous proposition, just because players can quickly get on your flanks; while heavy weapons become viable now. But I think that Sledgehammer Games took note of just how much a classic map changed by putting it into the new game.

Advanced Warfare Skyrise

I think that you can kind of see that with the DLC offerings so far. It’s become a pretty typical Call of Duty trademark with the DLC to offer one remake map per pack. Skyrise is the first (not including Atlas Gorge) remake to appear in Advanced Warfare. Supremacy is the third DLC pack for Advanced Warfare, with only one more pack to come before we start moving on to Black Ops III. I wonder if this is going to be the nature of the beast for a little while, as the new CoD titles mix up the formula more and more. What could end up being the big factor is how well Skyrise performs. If it plays well – which is far from a guarantee – we could see more remakes of classic maps. If not, we might have to wait for AW/BOIII maps to become “classic” for remakes; depending of course on the mechanics of the games moving forward.

I say that Skyrise might be the determining factor because it really could end up illustrating just how the new mechanics work with older maps. Highrise was a fast, intense experience, revolving around strategic points that allowed you to control the map. The helipad, keeping an eye on the crane (and subsequent sniping perches reached from there), the tunnels under the helipad, and the elevator path all saw a ton of action. My concern with Skyrise is that with the new Exo-abilities, all of those strategic points kinda go out the window. The helipad now will be reachable from any angle – not just the stairwells. The crane and routes from the crane could end up no longer being needed to get to the balcony sniping perches/rooftop. If the changes make it play well, but in a different way – that’s a success. If the community still tries to play it like Highrise and it doesn’t quite work – that’s not.

Will Skyrise be the ultimate decider for remake maps? Probably not. Activision knows all too well that the Call of Duty community is super dedicated – especially to the older games. What will probably matter more is what maps they decide to pick for remaking. But as the games get farther and farther away from the standard CoD formula, the maps will need more and more tweaking to keep them feeling familiar while still playing well. Skyrise is a big step, but it’s not the last one.