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Destiny 2 cheating up 50% since January, Bungie highlights Trials improvements

Bungie looks to address community concerns over the next several weeks

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Trials of Osiris 2020 Warlock Image: Bungie
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Destiny 2 finally revived the long-dormant Trials of Osiris this season. But the signature PvP mode has been more of a frustration point for players this season than a joyful return. In an effort to be more transparent around the problems currently facing Destiny 2, Bungie opened up about its plans to fix Trials of Osiris in the coming seasons.

One of the biggest issues facing Trials, where the goal is to win as many games as possible before losing three, is an army of cheaters. According to Destiny engineering director David Aldridge, cheating is up 50% in Destiny 2 since January, and that number only increases at higher skill levels. This increase in cheaters seems to be a mix of Trials-based incentives to win and the game’s introduction into the free-to-play market late last year.

Aldridge went into Bungie uses anti-cheat, and announced the studio has tripled its pre-Season of the Worthy weekly ban numbers. Without getting too technical, most cheating happens on PC via memory-poking attacks, aimbots, wallhacks, and lag switching — but denial of service attacks has been effectively eliminated, according to Bungie. Console players mostly face DDoS attacks and lag switching.

Trials of Osiris 2020
A Warlock battling in Trials of Osiris
Image: Bungie

Bungie has a few initiatives in place to combat the army of new cheaters. First, the studio is shifting current workers onto the cheater problem, further developing its anti-cheat, and making it easier to ban rampant cheaters. The studio is also making players aware of a new policy change: Bungie will now punish non-cheating players in the fireteam of a cheater.

“We now reserve the right to restrict or ban any player who has benefited from cheating, even if they didn’t cheat themselves,” said Aldridge. “This includes scenarios where players group up with or provide account information to a guide or carry service, which then cheats on their behalf. [...] If you ride [a cheater] to a flawless, the Banhammer will come for you as well.”

This new restriction only seems to apply to premade groups, so players shouldn’t have to worry about getting banned for randomly matching with a cheater — Trials only lets you matchmake with a complete Fireteam. Additionally, Bungie is looking into instituting a time investment requirement to even queue up for Trials. Bungie suggests a possible requirement of 100 Destiny 2 hours played on a single account. While this would limit the amount of players able to compete in Trials, it helps ensure banned players can’t just start another account and jump into more matches.

“If we’re forced to choose, we will choose for Trials to be a sacred space, even if that means fewer people can play,” said Aldridge.

Trials of Osiris 2020
Saint-14, the Trials of Osiris token vendor
Image: Bungie

But Trials of Osiris has reward problems in addition to rampant cheating. When players earn a new reward in Trials of Osiris, they can earn tokens during a match and turn them into Saint-14. Saint will then drop one of that player’s already earned rewards, letting hardcore Guardians go for the perfect rolls on Trials guns. It’s a good idea with a major problem: The best way to farm tokens is off the first three matches on a card, when matchmaking isn’t as strict and games are typically easier.

To grind tokens, some of the game’s best players are getting a few wins against easy opponents and then resetting their card to do it again. This results in a lot of frustration for average Joes, some of whom are struggling to get a single reward out of Trials of Osiris during any given week. We’ve witnessed this problem firsthand in our own Trials games, and it’s a frustrating roadblock to try and navigate around.

To fix this issue, Bungie will add a new token payout system next season. At three wins, five wins, and seven wins, players will get a significant drop of tokens to spend at Saint-14 — increased further with the Bonus Tokens Passage players can use. Ideally this will keep hardcore players running later cards, even if it’s not as surefire as grinding easy games.

But Bungie is also adding something to help players stuck at one or two wins — those beat down by the token grinders mentioned above. Coming soon, players will get a new, weekly bounty that does not require players to win Trials matches, only play them. The reward will be the same gear piece players automatically earn from winning three Trials matches on a single card. The goal is that more players will jump in every week and come out with something to show for it.

Finally, Bungie is looking into adding “Adept weapons” for players that go flawless. Similar to the Adept system in the original Destiny — where players could get slightly better and cooler looking versions of Trials of Osiris weapons — these rewards are only for flawless players (seven wins without a single loss). Bungie’s current plan is to offer custom-built weapon mods for these guns only, although development sounds early and the studio admitted nothing is set in stone.

According to its weekly blog post, Bungie plans to address more Destiny 2 problems in the coming weeks. On April 30, the studio will reveal what it’s learned from its new seasonal model, and plans to address some of its clear issues.

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