If there's any undeniable strong point to the post-Taken King Destiny environment, it lies in the multiplayer chaos of the Crucible. It can be a rowdy place, but at least in the past couple months, it's been a more stable place. That's thanks to the renewed focus from Bungie to make the Crucible a more reliable shooting experience. This has come through matchmaking optimizations as they roll out gradually over the Crucible's many match modes. The next step? The Damage Referee.
If this conjures up images of a guy in stripes officiating every pvp match, deciding who lives and dies by the toss of a flag, then you're not COMPLETELY wrong. Zavala won't be floating over each match in judgement, but your shots will be subject to an extra level of scrutiny. Ideally, Bungie wants to improve the quality of your run-of-the-mill gunfight by shortening the gap between the internet connection quality between players.
There is no single point of reference for a good shot or a bad shot, necessarily. Damage Referee is less a bot designed to watch every shot, and more of an extra layer of quality control programming added to the netcode. Network Engineer Paul Lewellen filled Community Manager Deej in on the details in last week's update blog, and the idea seems simple enough, theoretically. If your connection is good, you should see your play affected positively. Hit markers should appear more reliably. That weird space in time between the kill and the time the game tells you you killed someone should be much smaller. "Snappier" is the word Lewellen used, with an emphasis on lowering frustrations when playing against laggy opponents.
Laggy players should find that the opposite is true. They will lose more skirmishes, and have a generally worse time until they figure out what the issue is. How will we know it's working? Not sure. I guess we have to trust the process?
Coupled with the new Special Ammo scarcity, the Crucible should be a more desperate place in the early goings. At least in the 3v3 maps that the Special Ammo changes actually affect. You now don't start games with Special Ammo, which means you can't start the game with sniper or shotgun threats. Those first couple of minutes are fair game, which was the point. The effect of well-placed sniper rounds early is hard to overcome in 3v3 matches. At least now you know that, when you get your ammo, you will strike more true.
Why not in 3v3 games? According to Senior Designer Derek Caroll, bigger game types don't suffer from the same early game sensitivities of ammo economics as smaller games do. The smaller, more hardcore modes like Skirmish will benefit from a greater focus on Primary Weapons, in his estimation. I can see the point, but I'm generally terrible in the Crucible, so I'm not sure any of this will actually help my game.
If you need help with your game, don't be afraid to give our Destiny Wiki a visit. It's got all the info you need to know about your favorite legendaries, and its pretty food at keeping secrets. Let us know how you feel about the changes on our Facebook or Twitter.
Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.