Full disclosure, I played a good portion of trials back in D1. I had 2 friends who were PvP players and carried my average ass to the Lighthouse 30+ times. But they hated D2 launch PvP and never came back to the game. And since I prefer PvE over PvP, I haven't bothered with Trials.
However, there is a triumph for 7 wins, 2 awesome guns for just doing a bounty and I figured it was worth playing. For a PvE player, who ventures into PvP ONLY when I need something from it, here is some honest feedback of Trials and what improvements it needs.
1) Obtainable Loot – Plain & simple, if there is something to chase that is worth using, people will grind their teeth to get that loot. Astral Horizon and Summoner are great guns that are worth losing 10 games for, just for a chance at a decent roll. Even a bad roll can be decent in PvE and PvP.
Obviously there needs to be great loot to chase for Flawless and going to the Lighthouse, but if Trials wants to be a playlist that invites all players to attempt it, the change to the bounty is was the best decision they made……… there are some awful decisions that were made for Trials, but the bounty was their best change.
2) Cheating & Prevention – PC has the bigger problems, but console does too….mainly network manipulation. In 2 weeks, I came across 4 blatant cheaters and 1 REALLY suspect team. What's sad is that you can view the cheaters stats and you know you're going up against cheaters. And reporting them does nothing for you. The match will most likely be a loss, a reset card, a chance at the Lighthouse…. and IF they get banned, it will be down the road after they ruined tons of loot chances for players.
In the 2 weekends, the blatant players were obvious. Low level accounts, and once the match starts the loading screens take FOREVER. Only to see a player get booted for beaver, anteater or any other network related error. And you can't name and shame these people, otherwise YOU get in trouble. Can't show their stats, showing 90% of their matches have DNF players on the other side, getting booted from matches, playing 3v2 or 3v1 all the time. And this is console….. PC has to dealing with hacking which is even worse.
3) Population vs Skill – Bungie wants Trials to be the 1337 playlist of .01% of top players (and cheaters) reaching the Lighthouse. Congrats, that's what the mode is. The problem is for the rest of the population, getting 3, 5 or even 7 wins for loot can be infuriating. Balancing out the top tier players versus the population who just want loot is a fine line that needs to satisfy both players. Being a top player should have rewards. Being cannon fodder should not give the SAME rewards as top tier people, but there should be loot available for people to claim. Otherwise you get exactly what happened last season with a low population by the end of the season, of just try-hards sweating it out against each other.
With these 3 items, how do you improve trials? How do you improve the loot, prevent cheating from screwing over players, and increase the population while rewarding skilled players. Here are ideas that have been suggested PLENTY of times before, and some that haven't been tried yet:
A) Drastically change the card system & W/L tickets. The absolute best way to change the system is removing the losses from the card forcing people back to the beginning. This doesn't remove FLAWLESS, but it does keep a ticket going for loot. I'm sure the try-hards are pulling their hair out over this idea, but look at what this idea would improve on:
Right now having 1 red X or 2 red X's on the card already means teams are not going flawless. But it also means they have less of a chance of getting loot. Do you honestly care if someone in the game isn't getting loot? Is it that big of a deal of a .65 KD crucible player getting a god roll Summoner if they still have a .65 KDR? Do you think they will magically aim better? Or faster? They most likely still run in a straight line, out in the open, not checking flanks, ADS'ing corridors and remaining flat footed. So what if they got a Summoner!
Removing losses will work sort of how Comp works now. A loss wouldn't set them back, it would just keep them where they are. 3 wins and 3 losses? This idea means they can keep grinding 3 wins until they get a 4th. Then a 5th and 6th etc. Let them play 30-40 games trying to get to 7 wins and get a reward, because this KEEPS people playing the game instead of trying for 3 wins and stopping immediately.
However, once someone has a loss on their card, they're going into the Non-Flawless/Loser pool. Sure, they can reset their card and try again to go Flawless….. but if this is just a team playing for loot and not the Lighthouse, then let them play to their heart's content to get all the loot they want. Try hards will play people on the Flawless card, while the people grinding can stay on the loss card and just get their loot.
B) Drastically improve Lighthouse loot with a Drifter like magic trash can. You can't just give everyone in the game the same loot without rewarding the top skilled players. Otherwise, who cares about going Flawless. So this concept is simple, add a magic trash can to the Lighthouse so that Flawless players can re-roll ANY unlocked loot. Want a better shotgun? Sure, spend tokens to get them. Need a high mobility set of gloves? Sure, spend tokens to get them. Once you're at the Lighthouse, you deserve the rewards for getting there.
In addition, materials should be granted. 1 ascendant shard similar to Nightfall/GM Nightfall drops should be the norm. That way PvP players are also getting the materials they need for upgrades. So with this improvement, average players are getting some loot. Top players are getting more chances at rolling the loot, and controlling what type of loot they want.
C) Move the Flawless group to their own playlist. There are a few reasons for this, and it has to do with cheaters & account recoveries as well, besides creating a REAL sweaty list. Once a character has gone flawless, that character will only play other Flawless characters for more tokens/engrams for the Lighthouse. So if you went flawless on a Hunter, but now are playing as a Titan, you're in the non-Flawless pool. If you go back in as your Hunter, you'll be in the Flawless pool.
Those who have not gone flawless, can still have a chance and the new card system already mentioned is still in effect here. So if a Streamer wants to do carries on his favorite character, or went to the lighthouse 3 times already, any carries are going to be again the flawless population, even if the carried player(s) hasn't been there yet. It helps get the under the radar cheaters out of the normal pool faster (next item discusses blatant cheating), it keeps the card farming players from resetting a card and staying at 1 win the whole time to pubstomp, and gives people a better chance at the end of the week to try to get to the Lighthouse.
The Flawless playlist will award significantly more tokens per bounty & per win. And since they can go to the Lighthouse at any time to cash it, now they can play other sweats for better rolls. Since the population will change due to the removal of losses from the card, there is a MUCH better chance that those 5-7 win games could go against average players when using second and third characters. So ultimately, it's splitting the population up, after people have already busted their ass to get to the Lighthouse.
To be fair to flawless players, this wouldn't go into effect IMMEDIATELY upon winning that week. Because the flawless pool would be pretty empty for the first few teams to get there. Make it active after a waiting period, like 4-5 hours after reset, which gives the game more than enough time to get some teams to Lighthouse. Basically they can continue to play, up until the flawless pool grows enough.
D) 2 ways to eliminate cheaters, outside of a functional anti-cheat system that works. First – add an hours minimum before someone can play. Whether it's a 100 hours or 50 hours etc…. people need to play SOME time before they get into Trials. No cheater is going to play 100 hours on a new account to get into Trials. Optionally, do not let New Light players play Trials. It can be meant for season pass holders only if you wanted to Paywall the mode. This would SIGNIFICANTLY drop cheating down.
Second – Bungie needs to check DAILY for players reported in game. There's no info present on how often cheating is monitored, but here is an easy solution. There is a good chance that someone flying around a map with an automatic Wardcliff is going to get reported. If any account gets 10 reports, it should be looked at IMMEDIATELY. If 10 players report the same person, there is a good chance the person is actually cheating. It's not hard to look at someone's stats and see 15 Wardcliff kills in 6 straight games. Or that someone had 0 opponents when they got to the Lighthouse. If you tell players that cheating will be looked at DAILY once a certain threshold of reports come in, it will deter people. Yes, there will also be false reporting, but those investigations would need to take time. The easiest to spot cheaters though, should get banned immediately. However, with the suggestion above to prevent New Light players, cheating would already slow down.
For Trials not to die off like it did at the end of D1, it needs some help. Most of these suggestions are not new, but they are effective. And guess what, if NOTHING is done to Trials, then it will return to the sweaty ghost town that it was at the end of D1 and the end of last season. Making it a game mode for everyone, is the only way to justify keeping it around for players to play. Give shitty to average players a chance to grind, give sweats a chance to roll for better loot.
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© Post "I played Trials the past 2 weekends for Summoner & Astral. Honest feedback from a non-trials player on what improvements it needs" for game Destiny 2.
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