Bungie have always been a company that sparked furious competition amongst its player base. Be it in the ranking system that Halo 3 introduced or bringing FPS games into the competitive arena with the Halo franchise way back when, players of Bungie’s titles have always had a thirst to prove who was the best. So, for the beginning of Bungie’s experimental looter-shooter FPS, Destiny, having only a very safe and standard crucible with 6v6 and 3v3 game types with no real sense of anything other than casual fun left players wanting more. This all changed on May 22nd of 2015 when the Trials of Osiris, Destiny’s answer to a weekly in-game tournament, went live for the very first time. Guardians either grabbed two friends, or scrambled to LFG sites to form their fireteams in hopes of crushing the competition. The format was very simple; don’t lose. Don’t lose – and win 9 games in a row – for the promise of in-game emblems, weapons, and armour that Destiny players would get their own grandmother farmed to add to their arsenal.
Since those dizzy days of year one Trials, a time that players would eventually look back on fondly, Trials has come through a lot of changes but this weekend marks the end of the line for Destiny 1 Trials of Osiris. Yes, that’s right, after this weekend Bungie will be turning off the lights on Mercury and saying goodbye to the battle for the lighthouse that we’ve known and begrudgingly loved for the past 2 years. Today we’ll be taking a look back at the good, the bad and the ugly of ToO as we get ready to make the passage to the lighthouse one last time this weekend.
At its very core, I think most players would agree that Trials can be an incredibly fun gametype. Two teams of three, hopefully well co-ordinated players, pitted against each other in a round by round elimination deathmatch. Think Call of Duty’s Search and Destroy mode, but with space magic and you’re pretty much there. High octane gameplay where you could cut the tension with a Gunslinger’s throwing knife at the beginning of some rounds, where every death is massive and just one of Destiny’s trademark super abilities can change the tide of a game. Speaking from first hand experience I can say I’ve had some games that a victory has meant my heart racing, palms sweating and waking up the neighbours at 2am with cheers. The format itself of getting your Trials card with your friends, seeing the victory stamps fill in with every successful game and creeping slowly but surely towards that sought after Flawless victory was thrilling. It gave players something to chase with their team weekend after weekend, honing their mechanical skills, callouts, teamwork and made making it to the Lighthouse after all that work even more sweet.
Of course going Flawless is no mean feat, no matter how skilled an individual player may or may not be, there is a whole host of reasons why getting to the lighthouse can seem out of reach for many. That is where Trials Sherpas came in. These brave Guardians took to LFGs, forums and predominantly Twitch streams to offer their services as personal tour guides to Mercury- and only some of them charged. Many bright eyed players would do what they were told by their highly skilled Sherpa as they acted as backup or sometimes even bait. Whatever their role if they made it to the fabled Lighthouse that was enough. These Trials runs would build communities and do wonders for the Destiny Twitch directory. Many argue that some of Destiny’s content droughts, particularly after Taken King, would have been the death of the game if it hadn’t been for Trials help streams keeping the game active and giving the community somewhere to get together and get excited for week in and week out.
Now we get to the bad and the ugly. Destiny’s Crucible balance currently finds itself in a spot where it’s arguable that abilities are more powerful and safer to engage with than weapons. Sticky grenades have enormous amounts of tracking and one hit kill, the Titan class has a one hit melee ability with no cooldown other than sprint delay. Why aim and pull the trigger of your hand cannon three times when one press of your grenade button can secure the kill in less time? This has led to a general feeling that in a game type where players should be rewarded for skill, the skill gap is getting smaller and smaller. This has led to a great deal of frustration among players that favour gunskill and generated it’s fair share of toxicity as a debate.
Of its flaws though, none are as glaring as the now huge proclivity of Ddossing in Trials. Be it a desperation for gear in game or simply a desire to grief other players, manipulation of Destiny’s peer to peer servers to knock your opponent offline has become a much more common problem recently it seems. It’s a problem that’s not only deeply frustrating to be a victim of as it can take you offline for some time, but it is also illegal to perform. Bungie have taken steps to be more proactive on punishing players that perform Ddossing, but it seems to be a losing battle. Its this kind of thing that raises questions about Bungie’s ability to deal with cheaters moving forward into Destiny 2- especially now the PC audience is going to be stepping into the crucible for the first time.
Speaking of Destiny 2, while this may be the end of Trials for the D1 world, it certainly isn’t the last we’ve heard of the name Osiris in the Destiny universe. From advertising materials we have already learned that one of the DLCs billed for D2 seems to be Osiris themed; the yellow and black eye we’ve got to know gives that away. More concrete than this, and more exciting for the PvP community however is a quote from lead director Luke Smith who said “I couldn’t imagine shipping Destiny 2 and not having a Trials-like experience very soon” in an interview with IGN. What this means exactly, we don’t know yet. It could mean Trials returns as one of the new competitive modes in a format we know, a run to some kind of lighthouse like end goal which would be a little disappointing. Hopefully this could be a hint towards some kind of ranked competitive experience or something similar but there is no concrete evidence of this as of yet.
Whatever Trials comes back as and despite its warts and flaws, it’s deeply loved by the community at large and it’s bitter-sweet to see it go. The last weekend will be playing out a wide variety of rotating maps something that players are always excited to see. It’s a fitting send off, and we can’t wait to see how it plays out here at Last Rites!
If you still haven’t made it to the lighthouse then we’ve got you covered! Check out our very own DestinyFunPolice, Aksarian, Darxider_ and Encebras this weekend on Twitch.tv as they take as many people to the lighthouse as possible and put on a good show doing it! Their links can be found below.
Bye Trials, you’ll be missed… sort of.
Author: Ellis “EZCARROT” Buckley