Yesterday, I wrote an article about five relatively minor problems with Destiny 2’s Forsaken expansion that could use some fixing, but I saved one because I view it as more of a major problem, and Destiny failing to learn from its past mistakes, something Bungie has generally been pretty good at as of late.
The major problem is The Blind Well, a public activity in the Dreaming City which tasks players with clearing waves of enemies and a final boss in different tiers of varying difficulty. It is not really an optional activity, as so far, it seems like everyone’s two missing new subclasses only drop from Blind Well, and it seems like a gateway to a bunch of items and gear that are otherwise required in the Dreaming City.
The problem is not the activity itself, which is fun, when it works, but how you play the activity. Once upon a time, Bungie realized that players like doing public events where they’d all come together and achieve something on a patrol map, and decided to advance that concept with more elaborate events. That’s how The Taken King’s Court of Oryx was born, but already, you could see problems with that concept, problems that would extend to Rise of Iron’s Archon Forge, Warmind’s Escalation Protocol and now Forsaken’s Blind Well.
Because these activities are in a public space on patrol, they each have their own “instance” that appears as you run to them and change zones. What this means is:
- You can see a whole bunch of randoms in a zone, and if you’re all running to Blind Well, you can watch all of them disappear once you cross the instance threshold.
- You can arrive in an ongoing activity with a lot of people, but you will often find the room completely empty, with maybe one or two other players there, generally not enough to complete higher difficulties.
- You roll with a fireteam, but only with three people in patrol, when Blind Well is best played with a group of six, and you have no guarantees about who else will be there/show up as you present your hard-to-come-by offerings.
We just went through this with Escalation Protocol, which was supposed to be an “endgame” public event that was best taken on, according to Bungie, by a group of three at max power. And yet the way everyone wanted to play was to get a group of nine together in a patrol instance, which required backflips of joining randoms and inviting friends to fireteams and booting the randoms. Eventually, sure, some teams of three did beat EP by themselves, but for everything I loved about Warmind, I found Escalation Protocol far too frustrating to attempt most of the time. The activity itself was fun, as are all these activities, but simply starting it with a proper group was often a nightmare.
Blind Well seems more similar to Court of Oryx, but the issues are the same across all of these. Bungie keeps embedding these 6-9 man public event activities in patrol, but because of how these areas are instanced, it can be maddening to even find a group to start them and beat them at higher levels, even with a fireteam as a base. I’m already hearing about players doing Court of Oryx era goofy tricks like crouch walking up the stairs to get into a fuller instance. How has nothing changed in the last three years?
For me, the answer is simple. Stop doing this. I mean, keep making these events, but stop feeling the need to integrate them into patrol. I don’t think the solution is complicated instancing fixes or six man patrol teams, I think that these activities should be separately matchmade specifically for this activity just like it’s a strike or Crucible match or what have you. If that means you can’t run to them in patrol? So be it. It would be worth it because the most challenging part of these activities would be completing them, not organizing a team to even start them.
I’ve long been preaching about more matchmaking in Destiny from the Nightfall to Raids, but this is a related, but even more prevalent issue with these public event activities that can’t even use LFG tools to any success a good amount of the time. This is just not the way to set up activities like this in game, and Bungie has now done it four times with frustration only increasing with each new instance.
I know how I’d fix this for the future, but I don’t know what Bungie will do. As evidenced by the last three times, probably nothing, and we’ll just have to deal with it as is.