Destiny 2’s Gambit mode has morphed into a strange beast since the release of the Forsaken expansion. The original mode merged PvP and PvE elements into a competition against another team that involved killing AI-controlled enemies. In the Season of the Drifter, things got even more complicated when Bungie added a faster, tougher version of Gambit called Gambit Prime, which included new mechanics. In the upcoming Beyond Light expansion, the two modes are going back to just one, but this version will be something of a merging of the two modes to make something new.
Bungie detailed the changes in its This Week at Bungie blog post, outlining alterations it’s been hinting at since it first started talking about major changes to Destiny 2 earlier this year. Consolidating the two Gambit modes into one is something director Luke Smith has talked about for a while, along with reducing the overall size of Destiny 2 by “vaulting” locations and content to make room for new things. The blog post explains that we’re going to get a new version of Gambit that sounds a lot like Prime, but with a bunch of key alterations from the original Gambit.
The original Gambit mode took place over three total rounds, with the victorious team winning two of them. Two teams play independently of one another, killing AI enemies to make them drop “motes,” which players then pick up and deposit in a bank in the center of the area. The “gambit” portion of the mode was the risk you run as you pick up motes. Depositing a certain number of motes at a time sends a powerful “blocker” enemy to the other team, which prevents them from depositing their motes until they kill it. The more motes you drop at once, the tougher the blocker–but if you die before you deposit, you lose everything you’re carrying. Once your team fills the bank to a certain level, you have to fight a big Primeval boss enemy, and the first team to kill their Primeval wins the round.
In Gambit Prime, Bungie streamlined the game some while adding new wrinkles. First, Prime is one long round instead of three shorter ones. Second, by playing the related Reckoning mode, you could gather pieces of armor that award buffs in Prime. Those buffs pushed you to play a certain role on a team–the Reaper role had you focusing on speedily killing enemies, for instance, while the Collector role got bonuses for gathering as many motes as possible.
The new Gambit will keep the longer, single round of Gambit Prime, while doing away with the Reckoning armor and the team roles they bring to the match. That brings about some other changes–since players aren’t getting certain boosts from wearing Gambit Prime armor that make enemies easier to kill, Bungie is downgrading some of the boss-level enemies running around during the mote phase of the match. The mode is also being rebalanced so that fighting the Primeval goes faster and happens later, so matches will be more like two-thirds mote-gathering and one-third Primeval fight, rather than half and half. Bungie says it wants the Primeval fight to have more of a “boss rush” feel in the new Gambit mode.
Alterations are also being made to the blockers you can send to the opposing team. Gone is the 20-mote giant blocker, which you could only get if you were using the Collector gear, as are the Taken Captain blockers that used to appear at the 10-mote mark. They’ll be replaced with Taken Phalanxes, which are a bit more resilient, but a bit less lethal to players. And invasions, in which players are able to jump over to the other team’s side of the match and try to kill players to slow their progress or heal their Primeval, will be spaced out more–you’ll now have to wait 20 seconds between invasions instead of 10.
All these changes sound like they should make Gambit a little speedier in general, combining some of the better ideas from the original and Prime modes. It’s a bummer, though, that Bungie hasn’t found a way to integrate the Gambit Prime armor set idea into a new version of the mode. Part of the reason for its removal, undoubtedly, is the vaulting of the Reckoning mode. It also seems pretty likely that very few players were ever actually using their Gambit Prime loadouts in matches; anecdotally, seeing players decked out in Reaper or Invader gear was relatively rare. Still, the armor was a cool addition to Gambit Prime that encouraged teamwork, and it’s a shame Bungie never found a good way to incentivize players to do so more.
We’re expecting more changes to Destiny 2 with Beyond Light when it launches on November 10, and Bungie is slowly rolling out information about them. We’ve now heard about the Stasis abilities players will use in the new expansion, for instance, and what content is headed to the vault. Stay tuned for more details as Bungie dishes them out as we get closer to Beyond Light’s release.
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