This Week At Bungie – 4 / 30 / 2020
Guardian Games continues into its second week and, after a good showing by Hunters on Day 1, it’s been all Titans all day every day. The book readers haven’t scored a win yet, but are optimistic they can rally.
After Day 1, we saw a lot of players asking about score weighting since the results seemed to play out like the population of classes predicted. Since Titans have been relentlessly destroying the other classes, we have seen players asking if there may be some other issue going on. As a Hunter, I too am in disbelief as I watch our flag try to bury itself into the ground. We’ve been double checking behind the scenes and digging into the data to get a better picture of what’s going on. Here is Senior Designer Peter Sarrett to share some of our findings.
Peter Sarrett: When we first started planning Guardian Games, we knew there were more Hunters than other classes in the population and we’d have to do something to account for that so that the competition would be fair. “Fair” can mean different things. Our goal was that each class should have an equal chance to win regardless of its size, and that participating in the event should never hurt your team.
That last part is important, because it ruled out the simplest approach of basing results on the average contribution per class. While this would effectively normalize the classes based on how many people participate, it would also create a situation where participating at anything but a maximal level could actually HARM your team by bringing its average down. Dipping your toe into the event by depositing a single bronze medal per day would be worse for your team than just staying home.
So instead of normalizing based on participating players, we decided to normalize based on the pool of potential players. For each class, we counted every character who played at least one activity over the 30 days prior to the event and then divided that result by the total across all three classes. The result is the scaling factor that we apply to each medal deposited. This method means that medals from Warlocks and Titans count more, counteracting Hunters’ population advantage, and ensures that even a minimal level of participation helps your team. The more members of your class that show up to play, the better your class will do. It also means we don’t have to worry about players creating tons of dummy alt accounts once the event begins to try to tank a team’s chances.
On Day 1 of the event, Hunters won not simply because there are more of them, but because a greater percentage of them showed up and contributed. On Day 2 Titans arrived and began outperforming the Hunters. Warlocks are, no doubt, considering all the angles and planning for the right moment to strike.
This graph shows how many of each class actually participated, relative to how many characters each class had active during the prior 30 days of the event beginning. You can see the tight correlation between more bodies in the game and the outcome of the competition:
But that’s not the whole story. Titans haven’t just been overwhelming the competition with a flood of muscle mass. They’ve also been out-depositing the other classes on an individual basis. On average, each Titan has contributed more medals to their cause than each Hunter or Warlock. This was even true on Day 1 but, on that day, there were enough Hunters participating that they made up in bodies what they lacked in output.
So we can see that Titans are outperforming on two fronts: a higher percentage of their ranks are showing up to participate, and when they do, each of them is depositing more medals than their competitors. If Hunters or Warlocks up their game and get more of their compatriots to pitch in, there’s still time to steal the momentum.
We’ve seen the reports of shenanigans with players finding glitches to turn in more medals, or even be dedicated enough to delete characters to be able to put in extra medals for their team. We dug into the data to see if this was something to be concerned about and found neither case was having any impact on the results.
It’s also worth mentioning how the flags in the Tower work. At the start of the day, all the teams are even and so the flags begin at the midpoint of their poles. This represents equilibrium, where all teams have an even 33.33 percent of all accumulated points for the day. As medals get deposited and teams move away from equilibrium, the flags adjust. We expected that teams would stay fairly close to each other, and that all the action would occur in a narrow band around the equilibrium point. If a team ever pulls 5 percent ahead (with a total of 38.33 percent or more of all points), their flag will hit the top of their pole. Likewise, a team dropping 5 percent behind (at 28.33 percent or less) will hit the bottom of their pole. If a team goes beyond these values, their flag will just stay pegged at the top or bottom until the values come back into that +/- 5 percent window.
We don’t plan on making any changes that will affect the results in any way. Our goal has always been to create a competition that is decided by how much each class engages with the event, and not which class has the largest roster. Titans are currently engaging the most, but we will see if they keep it up.
Last week, we touched on upcoming Trials of Osiris changes and how we are tackling cheating issues in Destiny 2. This week we want to talk about our Seasonal model and some improvements we are working on to make it better. Here is one of our Creative Directors Evan Nikolich to share details on what to expect.
Evan Nikolich: Hey everyone, We’ve collected lots of great feedback over the last several months about our Seasonal model. Luke outlined some of our thinking back in February, and today we want to look at how that vision is guiding action in Destiny 2, Year 4.
The Story Continues
We have been making progress carrying the overarching narrative Season over Season in Destiny 2. Saint-14 and Osiris led to the Warmind which leads to… [REDACTED]
It’s not perfect yet. The bridges between Seasons can definitely be improved, and we could do a better job of recognizing prior Seasons’ narrative threads in the active Season.
In Year 4, we are going to build a better interconnected narrative and, more importantly, let players be a part of that narrative no matter when they enter the current year. This means if you start playing in March 2021, you could go back and experience the Season 12 and Season 13 narrative content. We want our stories to feel more cohesive, flow with meaningful momentum Season over Season, and lead to an exciting climax each year.
That said, for a narrative to have weight, there needs to not only be meaningful change but also a meaningful way to experience the history of the world.
We haven’t preserved enough history for a player who comes in mid-year to have any concept of what came in that year’s prior Seasons. As a result, players can feel left behind later in the year and unable to experience the stories or to acquire prior Seasons’ weapons and gear. The Forsaken Season Pass allowed its content to build up over the course of the year, and that’s where we’re heading in Year 4.
Activities will last the entire year
Beginning in Season 12, the core parts of the activity experience will live on after the Season has ended. For late players joining in future Seasons, we want to give you the opportunity jump straight into the heart of the older activity experiences without all of the previous Season-specific requirements. We want to remove any competing and distracting elements with the new active Season, which has its own ritual progression, but the actual activity experience stays.
Let me give an example of how this might work in the future using Season of Dawn to illustrate. With our new approach, when Season of Dawn concluded we would have left behind the “Saving Saint-14” quest, the Exotic quests to acquire Devil’s Ruin and Bastion, and the Sundial activity. We would sunset the Obelisks experience to reduce clutter in the quest log and to keep bounty quantity from inflating across the game, and deprecate the Fractaline currency so it could be safely removed from the player’s inventory. The Obelisks were time intensive and we do not want to overload a player’s choices in engaging in the current Seasonal ritual versus the past Seasonal ritual. This is our current plan for Year 4 but, like everything else, these plans and exactly how content persists will change and evolve as we work.
Destiny 2 will still have moments woven into the overall universe narrative where we remove old content and allow for new content and stories to grow in its place. As we’ve said in the past, we cannot continue to grow the Destiny universe infinitely. There’s lots of reasons for this – technical, resourcing, as well as from an overarching universe design standpoint. Finding the balance of creating and maintaining content in our ongoing narrative is a necessary part of continuing to build on Destiny 2.
With the Seasonal activities persisting, a player will need a good reason to go play them. The reason is in the rewards and we are planning on carrying a Season’s rewards forward throughout the year. In today’s Destiny 2, history is expressed by the things you have collected. We want players to be part of that chase no matter when they enter the year and to reduce the pressure to collect everything during a single Season. In the short term to acknowledge this step forward we are taking, we are adding some selected weapons from Seasons 8, 9, and 10 to an engram that will drop during Season 11.
Long term, we want to make sure that the rewards we release each Season are available to players throughout the year. Continuing with our Season of Dawn example, the rewards that came out of Sundial would continue to drop from Sundial. How the drops will occur will change (as, narratively, Osiris has left and we have removed the Obelisks), but weapons and gear would still be present. This is the obvious solution, but it suffers from a design perspective in creating a narrow pursuit focus. Having the rewards in just one location oversimplifies the pursuit game and has the same effect of limiting the ways you can play Destiny.
Our focus is to broaden and provide multiple ways for you to earn past Seasons’ rewards. In addition to the rewards coming from the Seasonal activity, we are thinking of having the Seasonal rewards be available to earn in the core modes of play as well (Strikes, Crucible, and Gambit). If you’re getting tired of playing Sundial, you’ll have the opportunity to jump into Crucible or Strikes and pick up a couple of the Season of Dawn weapons we’ve handpicked. As the Seasons roll on, the rewards will continue to get added to these core activities and, as a player, you can tackle the pursuits at your own pace in your preferred mode of play and feel the world growing in terms of rewards.
To summarize, we’re going to move toward Seasons that can be experienced all year. The Destiny experience should grow each year after an expansion, have a meaningful evolving world, and a bunch of reasons to play. And then each year, we should take a step forward into a new expansion.
We’ve done this better in the past and we’re going to mine from that going forward to make our future Seasons that much more compelling. There will be much, much more Year-4 talk in the coming months.
Last week, we also told you we would address the growing concerns with the role bounties play in the game and what our plans are to make changes. Here is Design Lead Tyson Green to tell you more.
Tyson Green: Bounties have come to be a central mechanic for any repeatable activity content in Destiny, so much so that weve seen them move towards being mandatory chores rather than opportunities to optimize. We have some changes coming to help bring things back into balance.
Shifting Away From Weekly FOMO
XP and Season Rank gains are currently balanced around large contributions from Weekly Bounties. The intent here was to provide a large amount of progress for a small amount of focused play every week, but Weeklies fall down here because you lose out on big chunks of progress if you miss a week, and they are strained between too little progress for single-character players and too much repetitive work for triple-character players.
While the specifics are still under development, as early as Season 12 we want to make this better by replacing Weekly Bounties with a mechanism that provides players with a set of non-expiring and account-scoped objectives each week that grant lots of Season Rank progress (more than the Weeklies they replace). That way the return on effort is better, more consistent between players.
Optional XP Optimization, Not Critical Path
Bounties have found their way into the critical path of some Seasonal pursuits, becoming primary sources for Seasonal progress. Starting in Season 12, we plan to steer away from this model in general. Bounties should focus on being an optional way to optimize for more or faster core progressions, like XP or Powerful gear by way of Challenges.
When it comes to optimization, we recognize that there is a very blurry line between "optional" and "mandatory", and theres no perfect balance that works for everyone. But we think the balance is tilted too far towards feeling like you need to do bounties to unlock Seasonal content, so were going to take this step to tilting back.
Our Seasonal free events are also currently heavily utilizing bounties in their design. We have seen the feedback around Guardian Games being the most recent source of frustration, with too much emphasis on completing bounties to participate in the event. We don’t plan on making any changes to the current event as it’s ending in a few weeks, but are already looking at plans to adjust the role bounties will play in future events.
We dont like that every play session starts with 10-15 minutes of loading up on bounties. We want to make it easier to grab bounties when you want to do them. To that end, we are looking at mechanisms like allowing bounties to be accessed directly from the Destination Map. These are a bit further out (think Season 13), but are on our roadmap.
We also dont like it when a bounty you’ve nearly completed in the middle of the previous days play session expires right in the middle of todays session. While we still see expiration as a necessary mechanism to keep half-completed bounties from hanging around forever, were going to relax some of the expiration times in Season 11 to give more time to close out yesterdays “19 out of 20 grenade kills.”
Speaking of grenade kills, in general were dialing in the time to complete bounty objectives to be more consistent. Unexpectedly time consuming objectives sneak in from time to time, and we generally want objectives in upcoming Seasons to be a bit less restrictive in terms of how you play.
Guardians to The Rescue
The Bungie Foundation is our way of making the world a better place. We feel very fortunate to be making games that bring people together. It’s also rewarding to share some of our good fortune with people who need it. Right now, the world needs all the goodwill it can muster, so our community has been invited to share in that mission. Guardian’s Heart
We’re still raising money to benefit frontline healthcare workers who are putting their personal safety on the line to confront COVID-19. Just a few weeks into this month-long initiative, we’re knocking on the door of our goal. We are so grateful for your support. Thanks to our partners at Direct Relief, these donations will find their way into the hands of heroes all around the world. The parade of Bungie Bounties will continue to raise awareness for how this community is doing more than staying home and waiting for this whole thing to blow over. Here is who you can expect to hunt in the coming week:
April 30 - Andy Edition at 10:00 AM on Xbox (Germany)April 30 - Riot and Mr_Ar3s at 4:00 PM on StadiaMay 1 - Fireteam Chat and Fran Mirabella III at 6:00 PM on PCMay 1 - HomesInFive at 2:00 AM on PC (Australia)May 4 - Scalap at 12:00 AM on PC (France)May 4 - Dragosnuv and BigDaddyTeej at 3:00 PM on XboxMay 4 - Myelin Games at 6:00 PM (Australia) on PCMay 5 - RissMeister at 2:00 AM (Australia) on PCMay 5 - ZKMushroom, IFrostbolt and PureChill at 3:00 PM on PCMay 6 - quasselquantic at 10:00 AM on PC (Germany)May 6 - Toni at 12:00 AM on PC (Australia)May 6 - OneSecondKill and evanf1997 at 3:00 PM on PCMay 7 - LogPowerslave at 4:00 AM on PC (Australia)May 7 - ZoulyZoo at 12:00 AM on PS4 (France)May 8 - Phammy at 1:00 AM on PC (Australia)May 8 - Kinda Funny and What’s Good Games at 12:00PM on PS4Kilts for Kids
It’s time to don our tartans and raise money to bring families back together in their time of need. Bungie Foundation Manager Christine Edwards has the details on how you can help:
Christine Edwards: Social distancing won’t keep us from upholding our annual tradition of supporting Seattle Ronald McDonald House! This year, we present Kilts for Kids: Stay at Home Edition. We bring you our usual suspects – Mark, Forrest, and Yours Truly – as we highlight how we are passing time and keeping sane at home these days.
While we all do our part to keep each other and ourselves safe, children and their families continue to battle with illness. Now more than ever, RMHC families need our help as they are even more isolated and face greater economic hardships. Help us achieve our $77k goal and cast your vote for Team Bungie by donating $10 or more. Every $30 donated will pay for a family to stay at the House for one night. Head to the RMHC Donation Page to cast your votes by Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m. PDT!
Need a sweeter incentive? Check out these backer rewards* for donating to Kilts for Kids!$50 and over – Receive one Plaid Pride Destiny 2 Emblem per valid e-mail address.Donations over $50 are welcome but will not grant more emblems $100 – The prize above, plus receive a postcard, signed by our K4K team and mailed to you.$250 – All prizes above, plus receive a digital print of exclusive art made by Mark Flieg.$500 – All prizes above, plus receive a physical print of Mark’s exclusive art.$1000 – All prizes above, plus participate in a virtual “Date with Destiny”**Spend time with Bungie employees via virtual call to chat about all things Destiny, followed by a Destiny play session with you and your fireteam.*Rewards will not be automatically redeemed, as we must receive donor data from RMHC before reward distribution. An email will be sent to donors at each prize tour at the end of the event, no later than Friday, May 22, with instructions on redeeming each prize. **No secrets will be revealed. Bungie employees may not be able to answer every question you have.
The DPS team is hard at work staffing our help forums and making sure known issues are known.
This is their report.
SEASON OF THE WORTHY WRAP-UP
When Season of the Worthy ends at the weekly reset on June 9, 2020, there will be a number of items, activities, and triumphs that will no longer be available to players. A full list of items being removed at the Season’s end can be found here.
Please note that this list is subject to change as more items are added towards the end of the Season.ERROR CODES
Destiny Player Support is continuing to investigate increases in connection-based error codes such as ANTEATER, BEAVER, and RABBIT.
The team has prioritized investigations into WATERCRESS and NEWT errors. As we are still trying to understand the root cause of this issue, a more detailed updated will be given in next week’s Player Support Report after more investigations have occurred.RESOLVED ISSUES
Below is a list of issues that have been resolved with Hotfix 188.8.131.52 on April 29:
The Level 32 PDS upgrade can now be used to clear the Bunker by any character.Rasputin’s Daily Seraph Weapon can now be claimed on any character.The Grasp of the Warmind mod no longer allows for infinite ability energy.CURRENT KNOWN ISSUES
While we continue investigating various known issues, here is a list of the latest issues that were reported to us in our #Help Forum:
Players are having difficulty completing the Hunter Chain Reaction Guardian Games daily bounty. Nightstalker Hunters using the Way of the Pathfinder must defeat groups of at least five tethered enemies twice. This count will reset when the Shadowshot Super is activated, so if a player is wearing Moebius Quiver it will reset their count every time they fire Shadowshot.Players who are unable to pick up the Show Your Laurels Exotic Ghost quest from Eva Levante can still gain progress towards quest – once progress is complete, Eva will offer the player the Exotic Ghost of their choice. Localization changes regarding the Hard Light Exotic Auto Rifle adjustments will not be available until a later date. Rounds fired from this weapon have reduced damage falloff instead of no damage falloff.
For a full list of emergent issues in Destiny 2, players can review our Known Issues article. Players who observe other issues should report them to our #Help forum.Epic Chase Scene
Now let’s dim the lights and fire up the reels. It’s movie time.
Every week we pick our favorite community-created videos and share them here for the community to gaze upon. The creators also get to take home a special emblem for their effort. Here are this week’s winners.
Movie of the Week: Community Speculation
Honorable Mention: Odyssey 3
If you see yourself in one of these videos, please make sure you have your bungie.net profile linked somewhere in the description so we can send out your emblem.
We hope we were able to give you a better understanding of Guardian Games and our plans for improving Seasons and bounties in the future. Next week, we plan to talk about Eververse feedback and some changes we’ll be making to the store in future Seasons.