Published on: Apr 9, 2015 @ 17:50
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Load Your Guns!
Crucible Designer Kevin Yanes is among the most dangerous players on the team here at Bungie. We don’t enter the Crucible with him unless our A-Game is polished up and ready to shine. He’s here to talk to us about what he and his peers have observed in the competitive arena over these past seven months of Destiny gameplay.
They’re about to change the way ammunition finds its way into our magazines.
Ammunition is the carrot you chase in our digital warzone. In Destiny, you can bring your favorite weapons into battle. To use them, however, you’ll need to load them.
What’s changing in the Crucible? Can you provide us with some ammunition?
Kevin: At the highest level, we had a few goals in mind:
- Make Special ammo a more precious resource in Crucible
- Further solidify Heavy ammo’s role in the Crucible
- Further improve the balance of encounters by limiting high-damage weapons
Interesting. So what motivated these new goals?
Kevin: The Competitive Multiplayer Team is constantly listening to feedback – be it from people in our studio or players on forums and social media. A common thread has been the uptime, effectiveness, and usage of Special and Heavy weapons.
Or, as Mr. Fruit put it earlier this week: Shotgun violence runs rampant in the Crucible. Can you ease his mind with some details?
Kevin: The recent update to sandbox balance was the first step. Creating a new system to manage ammo drops will enable us to adjust the Crucible experience without altering other activities in your Director. We believe that making ammo more scarce and important will provide players with more choices and more memorable encounters in Crucible.
How much more scarce will Special Ammo become once 1.1.2 lands?
Kevin: Special Ammo will spawn less frequently, it will take longer to pick up, there will be less crates located on the map, and the bricks you find will provide you with less ammo. I’ll save the stats and gory details for the Patch Notes. [Editor’s Note: Coming very soon to a blog article near you!]
We wanted players to really think about how and when they should use their ammo. The hope is that you’ll ask yourself questions like:
- “Is this snipe worth it right now?”
- “Should I really shotgun rush these players?”
- “Should I conserve ammo until the next crate?”
Players make kills, but teams win matches. How do you think this will change the team dynamic in the Crucible?
Kevin: Like Heavy Ammo, a player who opens a green crate without waiting for their teammates will deny them of Special Ammo. To prevent this, we raised the drop radius for teammates by a considerable amount.
Raising the drop radius helped players understand the importance of pulling a crate as soon as they could, while ensuring that nearby teammates would still benefit from the drop. We’ve already seen some great plays come from last second pulls to deny enemies and supply allies.
Let’s change the subject to the all-important Heavy Ammo. What’s changing there?
Kevin: The main thing we wanted to prevent in terms of Heavy Ammo was players trying to buffer their supply by sitting within range of a brick without picking it up. This hurts your ability to anticipate when heavy ammo would be in play during a match.
By introducing despawn conditions, we’re ensuring that players will have to acquire ammo when it becomes available, or risk losing it all together.
Get it while the getting is good. Use it or lose it. Got it. What’s been the impact of these changes in your playtests?
Kevin: Internally, we’ve seen the arrival of Heavy Ammo create short bursts of intensity in a match that eventually reverts back to the “neutral game.”
We think the transition back to regular gameplay is super important because it gives the team on the losing end of Heavy Ammo distribution a chance to rally back.
Nice of you to think of the damned who spend the second-half of a match cowering in fear from an unending storm of rockets. Aside from being a perishable item, how else is Heavy Ammo changing?
Kevin: Extending the inbound timer by five seconds allowed more players to get to the ammo. We’re also adding some new visual prompts, like timers and pre-spawn effects, to forecast the arrival of all ammo crates. More advance notice reduces how often players open the crate without their teammates having a chance to get to it.
Get rekt, Kevin! [Editor’s Note: That’s battle language for “Thank you.”]
This is just a taste of the work they’ve done to refine the flow of traffic and mayhem on the battlefield. Like Kevin said, the Patch Notes will provide you with all the stats you need to reset your internal timers.
Once you’ve had a chance to experience the new Crucible for yourself, we’ll invite Kevin and his fellow warlords to invade the Competitive forum for a Developer Open House to answer some pointed questions.
Your Favorite Things
Gear changes the way you look at fight. Gear defines the strength and combat specialty of your Guardian. Gear tells a tale of which beasts you’ve slain. Gear is why we fight. And, sometimes, in moments of confusion and great tragedy, gear gets unintentionally trashed for spare parts.
The horrors! UI Engineer Daniel Hanson is here with a fix.
Daniel: One recurring story we keep seeing involves Legendary and Exotic gear getting accidentally dismantled by errant pets and over-enthusiastic children.
We decided to empower players to protect their precious gear with Item Locking.
If you want to protect something in your inventory from being dismantled against your will, just lock it down. Highlight the item with your cursor and click down on the right thumb-stick. It’ll be safe until you unlock it. Seems like a simple enough change, right? Nope.
Daniel: There were some unexpected complications to work through, such as preserving the locked state on our servers when transferring gear to and from the vault. (I hear some people like to put their exotics into the vault, after all.)
Thankfully, fellow UI Engineer Ricky Senft was able to help smooth out the wrinkles and bring the feature to completion. Your Icebreakers will thank you.
Protecting your favorite items is one thing. Letting you strut your stuff wherever your adventure finds you is another. Sooner or later, your journeys lead you to the Tower.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone could admire your Exotic helm while you were cashing in the Bounties that would move you closer to upgrading it?
Senior Technical Artist Andrew Davis certainly thinks so.
Andrew: The Design Team came to us wondering if we could give players the option to show off their sweet helmets while running around the Tower. We all agreed that it’s important to give players every opportunity to show off the cool gear they’ve earned. It turned out to be a fairly quick UI task to turn helmets on in the Tower. Our engineers banged out the code for it in short order.
All we had to do was figure out where to put the menu option. A number of locations in the UI were discussed. Character screen? Details screen? We decided that the Settings menu was the most obvious and easiest place to control this new feature.
Now you can stress out during your descent to the Tower about having nothing to wear. We’ll keep an eye out for the fashion show – not that you don’t already look marvelous!