Iron Banner has arrived for a second time this season and it’s absolute chaos. Following the event’s release this Tuesday, the Destiny 2 subreddit was flooded with various complaints about balancing and matchmaking. A mode notorious for almost always placing users in one-sided matches, players have been clamoring for some changes made to a variety of aspects. Perhaps the two most frequently discussed revolve around the lack of a Freelance variant and the Light Level power scaling.
The former is something I’m rather surprised doesn’t already exist. For the unfamiliar, the Freelance Competitive playlist only allows solo players to enter into matches. This ensures that those who prefer to play alone won’t be paired against coordinated fireteams. It’s a fantastic solution that has helped alleviate one of the most frustrating aspects of Competitive as a solo playlist. Iron Banner, on the other hand, frequently pairs groups of all shapes and sizes against one another.
This crafts a frustrating environment where users are pitted against six-player fireteams that absolutely decimate uncoordinated teams. While it’s certainly possible to turn the tables on a pre-established group, it’s an issue that really shouldn’t exist. Iron Banner is billed as the premiere PvP event, serving as the only way for competitive-focused players to obtain Pinnacle gear.
Yet, the mode heavily favors teams over solo players since it’s far easier to win a match if your team is communicating. By introducing a Freelance Iron Banner mode, players who prefer to go it alone would have a much more balanced and enjoyable experience. It’s not just me saying this either, many users have been voicing their dissatisfaction with Iron Banner’s lack of solo-queue options.
Another major talking point has been the design choice to enable Light Level in this activity. What this means is, if you are a higher Light Level than someone you will deal more damage than they will. It’s a system designed to help scale PvE activities, not PvP. Various Destiny 2 figures including TrueVanguard, Luminosity, tripleWRECK, and Gigz have voiced their issues with this feature. It’s a system that rewards users for playing a lot of Destiny 2, allowing them to tackle more challenging content. The issue is, Iron Banner is designed to be a competitive PvP mode, not a raid or dungeon.
Balancing is a key part of any PvP experience, but Iron Banner happily tosses that to the side. While the Light Level scaling isn’t dramatic, having a 20-30 power increase on your foe can be more than enough to turn the tide of battle. This Light Level advantage can also restrict your gear since you’ll be penalized for using gear that hasn’t been infused. It’s an odd feature, one that can make Iron Banner an absolute hell for casual players.
Iron Banner is a mode that boasts a ton of potential for serious 6v6 competitive gameplay. There’s a lot of potential behind this concept, but it will never achieve this mantra if it continues to offer unbalanced gameplay and features.
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