Destiny 2 News Roundup – Trials Analysis, Iron Banner, and Grandmaster Nightfalls are coming back…

Bungie was back this week with their This Week At Bungie update giving us an in-depth look at the recent Trials stats and analysis into how things are going, plus we had some surprise Iron Banner tweaks, and we have Grandmaster Nightfalls coming back next week, so today I’m going to get into all the latest news surrounding Destiny 2, let’s get to it.

IRON BANNER UPDATES

This week the Iron Banner rages on. In case you missed it or haven’t played this week. We increased the score target from 125 to 150 to match the base Control mode. We also adjusted the Mercy threshold to try and reduce the number of games that end shortly before a team reaches the score target. Let us know how these new changes feel. With Iron Banner being live this weekend we are giving Trials the weekend off. But we wanted to give one more update on how week three went.

CLINICAL TRIALS DEBRIEF

Last weekend was the third weekend of our ongoing “test and learn.” The two big changes this week were running the Trials Labs: Capture Zone mode and tweaking the flawless pool to enable Sunday morning at 10 AM. Here are some updates on what the data looked like in week three.

Solo win rate remained high at 27%. Solo blowout rate was 37% prior to enabling the flawless pool and dropped below 30% after. These are all consistent with week two.

Non-competitive matches (5-0/5-1) were at 55% on Friday/Saturday and dropped to 51% Sunday/Monday — very consistent overall with week two.

We saw solid sub-50-second matchmaking times all weekend, aside from early-in-card matchmaking protection causing a slight rise (up to 75s) during the middle of the night in North America on Sunday and Monday.

Overall, we had 667k players participating in Labs (down 33k from week two), with 220k players going flawless. We had 100k fewer matches played overall, which roughly the same average matches per player.

One dataset that is particularly informative is average hours played by skill. This shows us that the mid-range of skill (AKA “the average Crucible player”) are playing 1.5 to 2 hours more on average! Meanwhile, the average hours played at the high end of the skill range has barely changed.

We did find one bug with the way the pool-based matchmaking interacts with disabled pools: it collapses them down into the previous pool. Unfortunately, the setup for aiding matchmaking for the first few wins of the week causes an unintentional ‘flawless mini-pool’ for the first two wins of the card. If you went flawless and are on win-0 or win-1 of your reset passage, you preferentially match against other flawless players in the same state. Once you get to win-2, this goes away.

And of course, starting at 10 AM on Sundays, the entire passage has preferential matchmaking against other flawless players. So, those of you who thought matchmaking got harder after going flawless on Friday/Saturday – even though the flawless pool wasn’t on – you were right!

We are planning a fix in for this in the next few weeks.

This weekend is off for Iron Banner but the next few weekends will be back to standard Elimination, with the flawless pool starting Sunday at 10 AM. We know shaking it up every weekend has been a bit jarring and are looking to keep some consistency in the weeks ahead.

TRIALS LABS TALK

The first weekend of Trials Labs went well. We played a lot, read a lot of feedback, talked to our friends and clanmates, and looked at the data. Analytically, the weeks looked very similar, and matches were slightly more competitive as players grappled with the new ruleset. Experientially, there are some changes we are looking at to make the mode better:

Find a different way to vary the capture zone location without giving positional advantage to either side.
Internally, we initially tested a single central zone but found that it created dull, repetitive games, as it always collapsed the usable map space to that central location.
The current method uses the central tiebreaker position as center, and A/C positions from Control during advantage rounds. We used those points to get the mode into testing quicker, but unfortunately that had the side effect of giving one side an advantage. We liked the dynamism that created when we playtested internally, and that might be a good mechanism in a less competitive mode, but we heard you loud and clear – THAT significant of an advantage is too much for Trials of Osiris.
We are looking at authoring additional neutral capture locations in a few maps to support further Labs this Season. We may still play around with a milder advantage position to use in extreme cases depending on the map, but we want to make sure we have at least three neutral locations.
Remove the ‘gain Super energy on capture’ from the capture zone.
This, specifically after an elimination, leads to more snowballing.
These changes are going to need more work and playtesting than the changes we have been making so far – we are looking to get something ready for another run at Trials Labs: Capture Zone as early as December.

GMs ARE BACK

Next week, Grandmaster difficulty unlocks for Nightfalls. First up this Season, you will be going into The Hollowed Lair to face off against The Fanatic and his horde of Scorn. Be careful, dead thing, as the Scorn have recently discovered ways to wield Stasis. Things might get a little icy out there.

If this is your first go in the realm of Grandmaster difficulty, the Power bar is set high for this aspirational activity. Make sure you have those numbers pumped up to 1345 to get started. Trying to catch up? Snag some bounties, complete your seasonal challenges, and earn as many Pinnacle-powered rewards as you can. Iron Banner is all the rage this week, so make sure to complete all four Pinnacle bounties before Lord Saladin packs up shop!

Later in the Season, we will be making some changes to Grandmasters and their accessibility. We mentioned these changes in a previous TWAB and upon re-reading them some of the bullets, we realize it may have looked like these changes were going live in tandem with Grandmasters becoming available this Season. Apologies if we caused any confusion but the following changes are coming in an update currently planned for December.

Here’s a quick recap of what’s coming:

The Grandmaster catch-up node will become available at the same time Grandmaster difficulty is available, so long as you have the Conqueror title but have not yet gilded it this Season.
Grandmasters will have already gone live by the time this change comes later in the Season, but the catch-up node will be available when Grandmasters first start in Seasons going forward.
Each Grandmaster Nightfall will be available if the fireteam leader has not completed the gilding Triumph for that strike during the Season.
In other words, you may play each featured strike for a Season to earn your gilded title.
Once you’ve gilded your title, the catch-up node will no longer be available.

In terms of loot, there aren’t any major changes happening. Completing Grandmaster Nightfalls gives you the chance to earn Adept variants of Nightfall specific weapons, such as the Palindrome Hand Cannon or the newly released Hothead Rocket Launcher. Players may also earn Enhancement Cores, Prisms, and Ascendant Shards for their efforts. We recently made a change where Adept weapon mods for Impact, Charge Time, Blast Radius, and Projectile Speed can now be acquired from Grandmaster Nightfalls in addition to Trials of Osiris and raids.

Good luck out there, Guardians. Fireteam up and take on the Darkness. Don’t feel shame if you need some guidance, mind you. There are plenty of creators throughout our community that are eager to provide tips, tricks, and in-depth guides to help you on your way to the Conqueror title.

That’s it for all the latest news from Bungie, let me know in the comments what you think of Trials, plus the return of GMs.