Destiny: The Taken King has introduced loads of new content to the game, but at the expansion’s launch, multiplayer were left wanting—the special PvP events Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris were put on hiatus, Bungie announced, until an unspecified later date. Well, that wait is almost over.
Tomorrow, the gates at the back of the Tower will lift and Lord Saladin will invite Guardians to compete yet again in Iron Banner, and this time he’s bringing new gear and bounties. Iron Banner also brings with it new questions, mainly “How will power advantages work with the new Light system?” From that comes a question of old, “How competitive will players be, specifically those who haven’t completed the Raid?”
Depending on the answers to those questions, which rely on Bungie’s decisions, some players could be in trouble, especially those who identify themselves as PvP-only.
With Iron Banner, where “power matters” as Bungie puts it, the level advantages are turned on. Whereas in normal Crucible players’ attack and defense stats are evenly leveled with one another, in Iron Banner (and Trials of Osiris) every stat matters, which in theory should make a Light Level 308 player do more damage and take less damage in a match up with a Light Level 292 player (although we’ve seen this system be flawed in the past).
With Destiny’s previous expansions, The Dark Below and House of Wolves, Bungie made it somewhat easy to reach or get close to level cap. In The Dark Below vendors sold Level 31 gear (the cap was 32) and most players had little trouble getting the raid gear from the Crota’s End raid to reach level 32. In a similar way, it didn’t take long to hit the new level cap of 34 in House of Wolves once players quickly started earning Etheric Light that would instantly boost them closer to the cap.
But looking back at vanilla Destiny (the game that shipped last year before any expansions) when the only way to reach the original level cap of 30 was by collecting every piece of raid gear, Iron Banner was a much more staggered affair. Could players be facing a similar situation this week withThe Taken King’s new system?
With the new Light Level system, the Light stat means more than the Level stat. Practically everyone in the game is currently Level 40, but the Light Level varies, as it is based on every equipped piece of gear. And the Light Level is exactly what will determine power in Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris. But for players who haven’t completed the King’s Fall Raid where 300+ Light gear drops, chances are they are stuck between 290 and 299 Light, while those who have completed the Raid are likely sitting somewhere between 301-309 Light.
For players who don’t complete the raids on a regular basis, and are limited by their Light Level, this could spell a problem, but only for PvP players. In essence, PvE players who regularly run raids have better odds at succeeding than those who focus specifically on PvP, despite Iron Banner and Trials being developed as Crucible-focused modes.
It really all depends on what Bungie does with what they call the “Nerf Curve,” that is, the math inside the code of the game that determines the damage done to and taken from opposing players at different Light Levels. Bungie said today that designer Derek Carroll is currently working on a blog article to discuss the new Nerf Curve, which will be published ahead of Iron Banner tomorrow. Previously, when Level depended on Light, the difference in power between Levels 32 and a 33, for example, was a drastic stair step in power. But with the new Light system, differences in Light promise to have a more gradual effect. That’s yet to proven, however.
One solution that may quickly remedy any complaints between those experienced Raiders and PvP-only players is if Iron Banner and/or Trials of Osiris offer gear with high Light level. That would allow those who excel in these PvP modes to catch up to the others in the 300’s and provide a secondary way to earn raid-level gear.
This first Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris since the launch of The Taken King will be an interesting experience this week as players wait to see the effect of the new Light Levels, as well as the search for the most effective weapons as this is the first time players will compete post-patch 2.0’s weapon balancing and tomorrow’s further nerf to shotguns.
Iron Banner comes to Destiny the morning of Tuesday, October 13. We will keep you up to date as players start putting this new version through its paces.