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In Destiny 2: Forsaken’s Gambit mode, power level matters in PvP

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Those with the most powerful gear will have an advantage, but with a catch

Gambit is the name of a brand-new multiplayer mode coming to Destiny 2: Forsaken. While that mode is still in the balancing phase, representatives from Bungie tell Polygon that a player’s power level will be a factor in the player-versus-player phase of each match. Unlike in Destiny 2’s Crucible component, high-level players will have an advantage — but only during certain phases of play.

Gambit pits two groups of four players against one another in a race to defeat computer-controlled enemies faster than their opponents. The first team to kill off the end boss, called a primeval, wins.

For every enemy killed, players earn Motes of Light, which they can bank in a receptacle on the map. For every 10 or 15 motes banked, players spawn a larger enemy called a blocker on the opponent’s side of the map. When players bank 25 motes, a portal will open allowing one member of their team to invade the other side. That’s when the PvP phase of Gambit begins.

“Our goals are that with power against PvE combatants, Gambit is an evergreen experience,” said Bungie’s Lars Bakken, design lead on Gambit. “So, if you are power 450 or power 600, which is the maximum in Forsaken, we always want it to be a fun experience. [...] You’re never going to over-level those combatants. But the one difference is that Guardian-versus-Guardian power is on.”

Bakken likened the the PvP experience to how Trials of Osiris or Iron Banner worked in the original Destiny, but admitted that the team is still working on getting the balance right. Right now, invaders also receive a buff when they head over — a simple overshield that makes them more resistant to damage.

“If you are invading or being invaded,” Bakken said, “that Guardian is going to be highly dangerous, especially if you’re [of] lower power.”

But don’t expect powerful players to always tip matches in their team’s favor. Invaders only have 30 seconds on the other side of the map before they spawn out. The timing of your invasion, where you spawn in on the map, the position of the opposing players and player skill will all play a factor in how effective a given invasion will be.

In my time with Forsaken, I was surprised by how much strategy Gambit required. Guardians collect motes by walking over them, but banking them requires that you run up to the collector and press a button. If you hold your motes back, you can dump multiple blockers on the enemy all at the same time, slowing their efforts. When you die, you lose all your motes.

Forsaken arrives on Sept. 4 and costs $39.99. If you want to play Gambit, you’ll need to purchase that expansion.