Two weeks ago, Destiny 2’s Trials of Osiris returned with some fresh changes for Season of the Lost meant to reinvigorate the competitive PvP mode—and according to the data, it’s worked quite well. But Bungie isn’t content with exactly where the numbers are, and along with feedback from the general community, wants to continue being transparent about the tweaks and changes they are making, not only to address what they are doing, but also why.
Perhaps the biggest change that saw a surge in the player base was a combination of allowing players to queue up as solos or duos for matchmaking (the mode previously required you to form a full fireteam of three people), as well as changing the rewards structure to incentivize continued play regardless of losses. Wins are still what grants the best rewards—and playing out a 7-win Flawless card is still the pinnacle of the activity—but there are far fewer gates along the way. A healthy population is imperative to better matchmaking and more competitive matches overall, so just getting more players into the mode was the first step. “Solo players are a key to the entire system working,” Bungie said in its latest TWAB.
Bungie followed that up with a controversial change last weekend, which put players who had gone Flawless into a special matchmaking pool of other Flawless players. This was meant to serve a couple of purposes, first to make those matches more competitive for those top-tier players, and second to help the players who hadn’t gone flawless yet, preventing them from quickly hitting walls early in their cards against other Flawless players. While the change was met with a very vocal outcry, Bungie’s numbers showed that the Flawless matchmaking pool served it’s purpose for the most part. However, there are still some numbers that Bungie isn’t quite satisfied with.
Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris -The Numbers, and What They Mean
One of the key factors Bungie is looking at is “blowout games,” that is to say the matches that end with one team winning five rounds while the other wins at most a single round, or often no rounds. Bungie considers these “non-competitive” matches, and for a mode designed to be the pinnacle competitive activity, they need these to be a bit more rare. In the first week, matchmaking was quite off, with a staggering 60% of matches ending in blowouts. The new Flawless matchmaking preferences in Week 2 sent this number a bit lower, down to 52%, thought Bungie says the goal is to tailor matchmaking to where this total number is between 30-40%.
All in all, however, the changes that had many top-tier Destiny 2 players rather vocal online didn’t see a sharp overall drop in player numbers. Week 2 featured over 700k players in Trials, only 50k players less than Week 1. Bungie admits this was higher than expected, given it was the second week following the return, had some seemingly unpopular changes, and was a less popular map generally. However, the number they weren’t satisfied with in Week 2 was the very sharp dip in Flawless players who took non-Flawless friends to the Lighthouse, an enormous drop from 56% in the first week to just 16% in the second. Bungie says this “is unacceptably low for ‘friendgame’ content.”
Additionally, Bungie saw a decrease in the number of matches played overall in Week 2, as well as a decline in the number of matches played post-Flawless. For Week 3, Bungie is going to wait until Sunday morning to enable the dedicated Flawless matchmaking pool preference, aiming for a middle ground between Weeks 1 and 2. This weekend will also feature a few experimental changes to Trials as part of the Trials Labs, called Trials Labs: Capture Zone. Capture Zone is still Elimination, with the following changes:
- 30 seconds after the round starts, a capture zone is enabled. Players can capture this zone to win the round – or just eliminate the other team like normal.
- The capture zone has a waypoint from round start, including a countdown timer, so everyone will know exactly when and where it will be.
- The capture zone starts in the middle of the map in the first round and changes location each round.
- The team who just lost gets the advantaged spawn location.
You can also net yourself some double Trials rank points for playing this weekend.
It seems like, at least at a macro level, Bungie’s changes to Trials of Osiris are doing a great job of reinvigorating the Destiny 2 competitive PvP mode. However, rest assured that Bungie isn’t sitting idly by, and is continuing to analyze both player feedback and the data to make sure it’s the best experience it can be for everyone. The developer hinted at upcoming matchmaking changes that they hope will remove the need for the Flawless pool entirely, with more info to come in the latter half of October.
Destiny 2’s popularity has only been steadily rising in its approach to next year’s The Witch Queen expansion, and entering the game’s fifth year (year number eight if you consider the first game). It’s consistently in the top 5 concurrent players on Steam, and that doesn’t include its console player bases on PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Series X, and Stadia (yes, there are indeed still players who play on Stadia). In its lifetime, the Destiny series has accumulated over 187 million Guardians, and nearly 10 billion hours played.
What do you think of the changes to Trials of Osiris? Do you think these tweaks will bring the mode to a nice middle ground for top-tier players as well as more mid-tier solo queues?