Destiny 2 Is Changing Crucible Team Balancing Starting Today

Bungie eliminated skill-based matchmaking for most PvP modes in Destiny 2 a while ago, but it's trying out new balancing tweaks in this week's Iron Banner.

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Update: Bungie is rolling back some of its team-balancing changes after they created some problems in Destiny 2's Iron Banner event. The developer tweeted that the balance tweak, which affects how players are divided into teams in PvP matches, was interacting badly with groups of players joining the mode and not joining them into games.

The changes are still in place in Iron Banner: Freelance, the playlist for players joining the mode solo, so you'll still get a chance to see the balancing changes in action this weekend. There's also the opportunity to visit Xur for new Exotics to better gear up for the remainder of the Iron Banner event.

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Bungie is rolling out a new change to how it balances teams in Destiny 2's PvP mode, the Crucible, as part of this week's Iron Banner event. The adjustment doesn't change Destiny 2's matchmaking system, but does adjust how players are assigned to teams once they're in a lobby, in hopes of making matches a bit less lopsided.

The developer detailed the change in its This Week at Bungie blog post, where it explained how things will work in Iron Banner and Iron Banner: Freelance starting today. The new algorithm for choosing teams, Bungie said, is a little bit like a schoolyard picking system like you'd see as two team captains each take turns picking from a pool of kids to join their teams. The algorithm looks at the skill of players in the lobby and tries to assign them to teams in a balanced way, placing the top player on team one, the second- and third-best players on team two, the fourth-best player on team one, and so on.

That's different from the balancing system Bungie was using previously, which would try to make both teams have the same average level of player skill. The result was that teams were often lopsided. This was especially apparent if you were to play multiple games in a Crucible playlist--you'd often see the same players matching with you and getting assigned to teams in roughly the same way, first on one side, and then the other. The result was a series of swings where a player might get clobbered in one match and win handily in the next, while playing with roughly the same group.

Bungie says that while it's adjusting how it balances teams in Iron Banner lobbies this week, it is not making adjustments to matchmaking in general. In other words, this change won't affect which players you're matched against, only how they're divided up into teams.

Currently, Bungie uses connection strength to determine how it matches players in most Crucible modes, including Iron Banner. Only the Elimination, Survival, and Survival: Freelance modes use the old system of skill-based matchmaking. (The Trials of Osiris, Destiny 2's toughest multiplayer challenge, matches you based on how many wins you have on your Trials Passage card--so you're usually playing against people who have been doing about as well as you have.) Bungie mostly did away with skill-based matchmaking back in June 2020 in response to player feedback. The idea then was to make most of the Crucible a more casual, frenetic experience, and to shorten queue times for matches.

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