Destiny 2's Persistent Reticle is A Game Changer
At the Destiny 2 reveal livestream, director Luke Smith talked about the new Crucible modes—hinting at a new focus towards more competitive play. First impressions from attendees further note that classes are distinctive, yet complementary, the skill gap is far more rewarding and the PC version feels excellent, smooth and precise. All of these have been huge barriers to Destiny’s potential as an eSport. This has always been unfortunate, because despite those shortcomings, Destiny has always felt incredible to play.
Bungie is receiving much deserved praise for knocking down these barriers to competitive play. But there’s one that few, if any are talking about: the persistent reticle.
The Taken King just over a month before Halo 5. While I’ve sunk far more hours into the former’s multiplayer (1,000 vs ~100), Halo 5 still feels superior to Destiny. It’s not quite as smooth, but it was always more precise. For all Destiny’s excellent handling and incredible gunplay, it has never been as rewarding. For all the story’s flaws, 343i’s Halo 5 is a paragon example of some of Bungie’s best gameplay choices from its own past. Nothing—and I mean, nothing—matches the crisp, rewarding headshots from Halo. Dancing between geometry, calculating grenade distances and snapping reticles for headshots is a dance of pristine gunmanship. I’d go as far as proclaim dueling in Halo 5 to be unmatched by any shooter this generation. Nevertheless, this strength was from Bungie’s own design choice’s in Halos past. And it troubled me that it was nowhere to be found in Destiny.
In my previous opinion piece “Why Destiny Shouldn’t Be an eSport,” I cited the gameplay's reliance on ADS in dueling as the dominant factor. In my opinion, eSports cannot use ADS. ADS as an action determines far too many gunfights in Destiny, and while a legitimate skill, just does not make for interesting sport.
So imagine my delight when the Destiny 2 Gameplay Reveal opened with the player character wielding a pulse rifle—with a persistent reticle. And to my wonder, it was no stray HUD element, as the pessimistic demon that scratches at my soul tartly suggested: the player fires precision shots without aiming down sights. Destiny 2 will likely deliver advantages for players who aim down sights: reduced flinch, increased distance, etc…as even Halo 5 does. But within the gameplay presentation, firing from the hip was a perfectly accurate method of play. Contrast that with the original, where pre-firing or shooting from the hip was as accurate as shaking a magazine and shotputting the contents towards your enemies.
With persistent reticles and gameplay to match, Bungie is making great steps towards eSports. This is my opinion. And it’s not an opinion of pure rationale. I’m not an eSports player or a game designer. I desired this for a very selfish reason: I want Destiny’s gunplay to feel as rewarding as Halos, because it’s already a lot more fun. And nothing beats the crisp *pop* of a perfectly lined up headshot.
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