Yesterday, in Luke Smith’s massive information dump about Destiny 2 development, he revealed that the game was going to have to make a choice in the future. Both Gambit and Gambit Prime cannot continue to exist simultaneously, presumably because they are too hard to balance as separate modes, and Destiny 2 is going to have to pick only one to live on. The “Highlander of Gambits,” Smith says.
I am…deeply disturbed that I appear to be in the minority with my pick, Classic, Vanilla, OG Gambit, as the majority opinion appears to be that players want Prime instead. I ran a poll yesterday and after 4,400 votes from my Destiny readership, Prime beat out OG Gambit 63% to 37%. I had a hunch about what was driving this, and when I asked a follow up question, 67% of people admitted they were picking Prime mainly because it was shorter.
Prime is shorter, but probably not by as much as you’d think. It’s one round, yes, but both its mote gathering phase and primeval phase are longer than any individual round in OG Gambit. Sure, if a normal Gambit match goes to three rounds it gets pretty long, also because you have loading screens in the Drifter’s ship in between each round, but in my eyes, it’s easier to make regular Gambit a bit shorter than it is to deal with all the problems plaguing Prime. Bungie has already done it once by making the final round sudden death, and they could do it again, if need be.
I am less in favor of OG Gambit than I am just…extremely anti-Prime. I have never liked the mode compared to regular Gambit, and most of its additions feel like burdens to me.
What’s wrong with Prime? Let’s see:
The entire set and role system is going to be extremely unfriendly to new players unless major changes are made to it. I personally don’t like swapping out 4-5 pieces of armor to play a single mode like this, and obviously because of how terrible The Reckoning has been, most players may not even have a full tier 3 set, much less one of each role on each class for maximum diversity potential. Even if Reckoning is fixed, even if armor is just added to the after-game loot pool, I have no desire to hunt for 12 different armor sets and keep them on hand for whatever role I may want to fill in my Prime game. In regular Gambit, I have a general Gambit build I like for each class. That’s it. In Prime, it’s a gearing nightmare, and would be outright prohibitive to new players. (Also if I ever see another Synth in my inventory it will be too soon).
I don’t like the mote draining system, nor things that happen like the Invader locking your bank completely when they show up. Invading itself is a huge, huge problem in Prime, as even with recent changes, it still feels like it’s spammed constantly, especially during the Primeval phase.
The Primeval phase is an absolute slog if you’re playing with randoms who don’t know the “burn the boss at two stacks” principle and will unload into the primeval at random times, or kill envoys right before an invader shows up, or whatever. I just like the entire boss phase far, far less than I do the same fight in OG Gambit.
While Gambit always has pretty beefy enemies due to normalized health and damage that exists outside of power level, fighting the AI in Prime can also feel like a slog. Without a Reaper to weaken them, do people genuinely enjoy killing yellow bar Shriekers? I sure don’t.
Prime is overcomplicated and much more of a slog than regular Gambit, even if regular Gambit can run longer on average. I think with a few tweaks to game length, that would solve most people’s problems with regular Gambit, while fixing what ails Prime is a much more massive task, and I’m not sure how you ever get around the entire issue with the armor sets, short of just assigning people dedicated roles with those active perks as soon as they show up.
I get that people who did do the crazy grind to get all these Prime armor sets would be mad if they were suddenly useless, and yet I maintain that it was never a good system to begin with, given that Gambit already snowballs when coordinated teams are on one side, and the role system only amplifies that. If Prime stayed as a “pinnacle” Gambit activity, sure, that could be bearable, but as the only form of Gambit? No way, absolutely not.
I may be generalizing but I am willing to bet a certain chunk of people voting for Prime just want a shorter Gambit match to play when some quest demands they play ten Gambit matches, and they don’t really care much about the mode in general. But I really actually do like Gambit, and as an avid player, I would definitely not want Prime to be the only form available to players, as I think it will further depress the playerbase and lead to all manner of unforeseen problems above and beyond what regular Gambit has to deal with.
We could end up with some kind of hybrid. Maybe regular Gambit says and Prime sets work with altered perks. Maybe Prime stays but we go back to a more traditional primeval phase in one-round play. Maybe that’s the kind of compromise we need.
Or maybe everyone picking Prime is just very wrong.