Destiny 2’s Crucible has seen better days. Rarely does it seem like the PVP offerings please anyone. Hardcore players complain about gun balance, while newcomers are quickly thrashed and resign themselves to never coming back. But today many players are united in being pissed off about the latest change to the Crucible: getting dinged for leaving Control, its biggest mode.
Bungie’s latest hotfix for the loot shooter went live yesterday, and while it was mostly aimed at addressing bugs, it didn’t take players long to discover a change that wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the patch notes. Now, anytime players leave a Control match, they’ll receive an angry notification telling them not to do it again. If they do it again, they’ll be sat in timeout and have to take a brief break from matchmaking. I recently tested it and the suspension lasted nearly 30 minutes.
The idea is to discourage players from going AFK or leaving matches early and thus putting teams at a disadvantage, but some players feel like that’s asking too much for a casual mode. Twitter lit up with streamers complaining about the change, and one of the fastest-rising threads on the Destiny 2 subreddit is a warning against leaving matches.
“OOPS!” reads an initial warning. “You left a competitive match before it was complete.” But many players feel that’s a miscategorization of the mode.
Control is Destiny 2’s core PVP mode. A riff on Call of Duty’s Domination mode, players fight over points on the map in order to boost their scores until the match is over. It has the largest icon of the PVP modes in the game, and is the easiest to hop into to complete daily bounties and obtain the weekly Crucible Pinnacle loot drop. Even players who don’t like playing PVP will play a couple of Control matches each week because it benefits them in the game’s PVE progression. For many, it’s the definition of casual quickplay.
That’s in contrast to Survival, a more focused three-on-three mode that operates at a much higher skill floor and even has its own dedicated competitive ranking. There’s also Trials of Osiris, Destiny 2’s famous weekend tournament where diehard players try to rack up multi-game win streaks to obtain some of the most coveted loot in the game.
Players also point out that there are plenty of legitimate reasons to leave a regular Control match. Maybe someone’s internet connection is having trouble or they need to step back to help their kid or take care of something in the apartment. Or maybe you just want to leave the match early because you finally unlocked the Exotic Catalyst you were chasing and want to go back to the Gunsmith in the Tower to advance the next step in the quest chain. Control has always been a low-stakes PVP grind in that way, which is what makes it so odd that Bungie decided to implement the new penalties there of all places.
While the move caught many by surprise, Bungie actually teased it in a blog post a few weeks ago on adding skill-based matchmaking to PVP. Unfortunately, it comes right after Season of Plunder’s first Iron Banner week which ended up being a recent highwater mark for Destiny 2 PVP. The event featured a new mode called Eruption where players get more powerful when they go on a kill-streak, but lose bonus if they stall out. The design rewarded players for sticking closer together and not dying, and actually ended up being a lot of fun. Hopefully Eruption comes back soon and Control AFK penalties go away permanently.