Skill in Destiny 2‘s PvP, YouTuber and streamer Drewsky argues, is less about gunplay and more about card game-like “deck building.” It’s been this way for quite some time, but Destiny 2: Beyond Light‘s powerful Stasis subclasses have made it far more apparent.
Typical first-person shooter multiplayer modes emphasize twitch reflexes and aiming skill; the extremely fast times-to-kill in military-style shooters, for example, mean the player with better aim and faster reactions (or better map knowledge, to get the drop on an unsuspecting opponent) usually wins each gunfight. Being a looter-shooter with tons of different weapons and high-powered abilities, Destiny 2 operates differently.
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When Destiny 2 first launched, however, “double-Primary” loadouts meant players had access to their most powerful weapons less often. Couple that with weaker abilities and longer times-to-kill overall, and succeeding in year-one PvP was mostly reliant on consistently hitting shots on opponents and knowing when to engage. In a recent video, Destiny 2 PvP YouTuber Drewsky explained how the game has shifted since then, moving away from gun skill and towards a knowledge- and loadout-based competition he compared to Yu-Gi-Oh!.
How Destiny 2 PvP Is Like Yu-Gi-Oh! & Other Trading Card Games
As Special weapons entered the game, abilities continually got more powerful, and new mods, Exotic weapons, and Exotic armor allowed for crazier builds, Destiny 2 PvP gradually shifted away from traditional gun skill. In “Let’s Shift Our Mentality of ‘Skill’ in Destiny 2,” Drewsky argued the game has four kinds of skill: “mechanical skill,” a player’s aiming ability; “decision making,” a player’s awareness of the map and other players; “mechanics mastery,” a player’s knowledge of the effects of Destiny 2‘s many stats and abilities; and “deck building,” a player’s ability to create unique builds using the game’s various tools. Lots of PvP players respect the former two as true skill and perceive success in the other areas as “cheesy,” Drewsky said, but Destiny 2 is just simply not that kind of game.
Being able to aim and knowing where to move are obviously still important, but certain weapons and abilities have gotten so powerful that deck building is vital – so much so that Drewsky compared Destiny 2 to Yu-Gi-Oh!, where a single card (in Destiny‘s case, a single Exotic or ability) can counter an opponent’s entire strategy. Now, especially with meta-breaking Stasis powers in play, succeeding in Destiny 2 PvP means gaining knowledge of its mechanics and building a deck, or multiple decks, to counter others’ decks. As Drewsky put it:
“Destiny 2 is basically very much like the card game I play, putting together your best, most synergistic bull—t … and [using] your bull—t better than someone else can use their bull—t against you. … The biggest skill in Destiny at the moment is knowing how to play around, and having the awareness to play around, all the potential other forms of bull—t you’re going to be facing.”
This, Drewsky argued, is just as much a skill as having good gunplay. Players who simply spam good abilities or powerful weapons can easily be shut down by those who know the proper times to use theirs. But just as Destiny 2 shares this required skillset with trading card games, it also shares TCGs’ biggest flaw: Players with the most resources are able to build the best decks. In card games, this resource is money, since players who can buy lots of packs or purchase specific cards can gain an advantage over those who can’t. In Destiny, it’s time – time to grind for the perfect weapon roll or armor roll to complement a build, or time to play consistently enough to have access to every armor mod or seasonal weapon. That said, getting good at any shooter requires lots of time investment. Destiny 2, as a “card game-FPS,” just requires that investment into different areas of the game.
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Source: Drewskys Channel/YouTube
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