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Is Destiny’s Iron Banner absolutely broken?

The tale of the Iron Banner and it’s rise to prominence…

At this point I'm not sure if Lord Saladin even knows what his event is for anymore
At this point I’m not sure if Lord Saladin even knows what his event is for anymore

Throughout Destiny’s shaky first year, the Iron Banner monthly event was always in a bit of a limbo. The first iteration was undeniably terrible as fresh characters could compete with high level characters and the rewards were only useful from an aesthetic standpoint. Furthermore, the only time you could make progress was when you won a match, leading to widespread quitting. Due to player uproar, the next iteration of the Iron Banner was much improved: rewards were equivalent to raid level rewards, weapons had the unique property of being able to be reforged, and losing a match didn’t necessarily mean that you wasted your time.

Of course, once Trials of Osiris came out and the Gunsmith was able to reforge almost any weapon, the Iron Banner lost some of its luster, but it still provided a way for people to reach the highest level without having to play the raid, albeit only if you had the time and patience to wait a month between Iron Banner seasons. Plus the weapons bearing the Sigil of the Iron Lords were generally considered to be among the best in the game, so even if you were at the maximum level, the allure of Felwinter’s Lie or Efrideet’s Spear or Jolder’s Hammer made the extra commitment worth it.

And here is where the Banner shattered…

Like the armor that you see? Then get ready to play the ultimate game of waiting
Like the armor that you see? Then get ready to play the ultimate game of waiting

The first season of Iron Banner in year 2 threw almost every improvement made out the window. Between all the screenshots of the aesthetically pleasing and unique new Iron Companion armor and the promise that “drop rates have been increased and are intended to be the primary source of rewards from Iron Banner”, it was safe to say that those who cared looked forward to the latest season of the Iron Banner. But while the change in the bounty system was nice, almost every other aspect reverted back to what made the first iteration of the Iron Banner hated. Gear being sold was not even close to max level, and even if it was it will be outclassed in less than a week due to the introduction of the Hard mode of the King’s Fall raid.

On top of that, the statement that loot drops were to be the primary way to get Iron Banner gear was incredibly misleading if not an outright lie. It was not uncommon for players to reach Rank 5 with almost no drops from matches, and less gear was being sold than previous seasons. Thus it was unsurprising that most people reached the conclusion that the trouble of not only going through the Iron Banner but also having to wait another 3 months to complete the full set as well as having to run the raid to infuse the gear into any semblance of usefulness was not worth it.

How Bungie can reforge the Iron Banner into something useful…

Doesn't quite have the same meaning as it once had when the rewards aren't worth it
Those words don’t have the same weight to it when the rewards aren’t worth it

Bungie can simply look at what made the previous seasons of the Iron Banner worth running to see what made it appealing. Raid equivalent gear, relatively little time gating to obtain a full set of armor (as 2 pieces of armor used to be sold compared to a singular set of boots for this season), and actually delivering on the promise of increased loot drops will go a long way in redeeming the PvP event. While it would be nice for the armor to also be a little bit less expensive, and for level differences to be much more pronounced, from a practical standpoint most people who competed were within 10 levels of each other and Legendary Marks weren’t too hard to obtain.

About Anson Chan

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