While Destiny 2’s PvE content regularly steals the limelight (positive or negatively), what often gets overlooked is that there is (or at least was) a very passionate player base that views Destiny 2 as a primarily a PvP game. The original Destiny had a rich community across Reddit, YouTube, and Twitch that would regularly discuss and break down loadouts, research weapon effectiveness, and participate in “sweats” AKA player-regulated and balanced competitions. That enthusiasm carried over into Destiny 2 at first, but quickly dissipated as large-scale fundamental issues (that we and many others have discussed ad nauseum), began to appear.
Crucible Ranks, added in Season 3 just a few days ago, are meant to be a way to try and reignite the passion for PvP that has faded. To quickly bring people not aware up to speed, there are two new ranks that you’ll rank up as you play PvP. Valor Rank is earned in Quick Play, and it goes up as you complete matches and is essentially a participation reward. Glory Rank is earned in Competitive and rewards wins only. In fact, losses will lower your score and the more you lose/win consecutively will amplify the change in your rank in either direction.
It’s hard to see how Crucible Ranks could be interpreted as a negative addition for Destiny 2. For starters, in Quick Play, it gives casual PvP players an increased sense of progression and purpose. While an obsessive Destiny 2 player isn’t going to care much about whatever minor rewards are obtained through leveling up Valor since they have already mapped out the optimal way for getting anything and everything they want in the game, the average person who plays PvP more for fun than anything else can get something more out of it, and enjoy the occasional reward that comes their way.
Glory Rank, on the other hand, amplifies an already stressful and competitive game mode that’s heavily reliant on coordinated teamwork to be successful. The big difference is that instead of having Trials of the Nine (and to a lesser extent, Iron Banner), be the main way of showing off your PvP prowess, Glory Rank is now an easily measurable way of seeing in-game how good you are in Destiny 2’s competitive Crucible game modes. Also, it adds an elusive and exclusive reward via Redrix’s Claymore, which hardcore players are going to strive to obtain. It’s reminiscent of the early days of Trials of Osiris from Destiny where reaching The Lighthouse was a huge badge of honor. It was less about the reward, and more about the status of just being one of the that was able to get there. For the people who are still invested in PvP, getting high enough Glory Rank to wield Redrix’s Claymore, whether it’s good or not, is going to be a fun challenge like Trials of Osiris was back in the day.
Here’s the storm cloud over all this positivity about Crucible Ranks, though. Destiny didn’t need any of this to be popular. Hell, it barely had worthwhile rewards for most of its lifespan outside of doing a flawless run of Trials of Osiris. It was just fun, and people wanted to play it.
In Destiny 2, there are major roadblocks that even objectively great additions like Crucible Ranks can’t solve. I won’t speak for everyone in the Destiny 2 community, but there is a sizable population of people who are not fans of the switch to 4v4 instead of 6v6, the banishment of snipers, shotguns, and fusion rifles to the power weapon category, and until very recently, the lack of interesting weapons to use. That last part is getting addressed via the sandbox changes to exotic weapons and later, exotic armor, that based on what we’ve seen so far, are excellent. However, there’s still no telling whether or not it will create a meta that is diverse and appealing enough to a widespread audience. The other two have been acknowledged by Bungie, and are going to be addressed in some shape way or form over time. Still though, while those problems linger, there’s going to be a population of people that are going to be turned off by the Crucible regardless of all the cool stuff Bungie pumps into it.
I have a renewed confidence in Bungie fixing things after seeing what I’ve been seeing with the exotic weapon changes. And I also see the positive direction that PvE is heading towards, and that should help PvP by extension. As long as there are happy people playing Destiny 2’s PvE, there will be some players that also trickle into PvP in their spare time even if PvE is their main jam.
To really turn PvP around and get it back to the former level of enthusiasm that existed early on in Destiny 2, and throughout the life of Destiny, both areas of the game (PvP AND PvE) need to attack the lingering fundamental problems with their mode. Once Bungie gets everything where it needs to be, and couple that with a big September “re-launch” of sorts, perhaps then a new and returning generation of players can fully embrace the coolness of Destiny 2’s Crucible ranks.