One of the most unusual features of the original Destiny was that it lacked a matchmaking system for high-level content, like raids and Nightfall missions. With Destiny 2, Bungie hopes to open up endgame experiences to more players than ever before with a novel “guided games” system. Here’s how it works.
In Destiny, the only way to get into high-level raids was to gather your friends together online and jump into a game together as a party. But getting six skilled players together at the same time is a challenge — so much so, says Bungie, that only 50 percent of the player base even attempted Destiny’s endgame content.
Bungie’s plan to make raids more accessible is to leverage the strength of its existing communities, the homegrown groups of players called clans, and allow them for the first time to invite non-clan members to join them on their adventures.
“I’m really excited about it because it’s going to allow solo players and clans to find each other and help each other do activities,” said Steve Cotton, Destiny 2’s world design lead. “It’s a little different than matchmaking. Matchmaking is about us trying to smartly pair up random people together for activities, but what we’ve found is that some of the more difficult activities, especially the more pinnacle activities, can be really difficult to put a bunch of random strangers together and expect them to cooperate in a fun way.”
Instead of simply hitting a button and letting a matchmaking algorithm do the work, the new guided games option will allow solo players to shop among different clans who are looking for an extra player at that moment.
Clans will gather up their own members in advance of a raid. When they’re ready, they’ll then solicit a waiting pool of solo players in order to fill out their fireteam. Solo players will review those solicitations, and will be offered a snippet about the clan making the request in the form of a short sentence or slogan. Then, solo players will opt in to that clan’s lobby and start the raid.
“If players don’t have their own clan, what they can do is they can join with members of a clan that already has their stuff together,” Cotton said. “They’re looking for a solo to fill in, and that helps them experience some of the content that we’ve been trying to get into their hands for a while.”
Traditional matchmaking will still feature prominently in other parts of the game, Cotton said, like strikes and the player-vs-player Crucible. But for high-level content where there is a greater need for teamwork and communication, guided games will be added as an option.
“For the normal strikes, we still have matchmaking,” Cotton said. “So, you can go in there by yourself and feel pretty good about your experience with two strangers. What guided games do is they put you with a group that knows what they’re doing and wants to bring you in and help you get through this content.”
Bungie also announced plans to make clans themselves more prominent in the game. For the first time they will have in-game rosters and official tags. They’ll even be able to design their own heraldry. In guided games, how clans present themselves to the world will influence how attractive they are for solo players to join them for guided games.
“They’re going to post what their clan mission is. ‘This is how we play!’ And you’re going to see it,” Cotton said. “When you go into guided games you’re going to see, ‘Hey, this clan is searching for an extra person. This is what they like to do.’ And you might think, ‘Oh wow. These guys sound like people I want to play with.’ Then you say, ‘Alright, I’m interested.’ And you click a button to accept, and hopefully you guys are a good match.
“But you don’t have to join their clan. You just play that raid with them. And then, if you like them, maybe then you join the clan.”