7 Tower Thoughts: SBMM & Festival of the Lost

We talk about SBMM, Festival of the Lost, and wish one of Destiny 2's iconic voices a speedy recovery.


Guardians, we’ve successfully made it to the end of another week. Xur has returned (he’s in Watcher’s Grave), Trials is back (it’s apparently having problems launching matches), and Festival of the Lost is still cracking on. Let’s dig into what’s been going on with Destiny 2 over the last week. Fair warning, though, there's a lot of Aztecross videos in this week's post.

Get well soon, Mara Junot

Mara Junot is the voice of Ikora Rey and has more than 80 credits according to IMDB. For years, she’s been delivering a calm and thoughtful voice to our chaotic lives as Guardians. A few days ago, Junot announced she would be hospitalized for clots in her lungs. Today, she is back home from the hospital with some medication and orders to rest. It’s great to see her on the mend and we look forward to seeing what Junot and Ikora Rey deliver with Lightfall.

Don’t be a jerk

A few days ago, Senior Community Manager at Bungie, DMG, tweeted out the Code of Conduct. Now, it’s unlikely that DMG was bored on Monday and decided to share that for fun, so this is as good a time as any to remind people not to be jerks. This is a video game and there is nothing that could ever happen within or around that game that could justify you treating another human being poorly. If this applies to you, grow up.

Aztecross misses the mark

Look, Aztecross is one of my favorite Destiny 2 content creators. The guy has amazing builds, his delivery is hilarious, and he normally approaches topics with a level head. Calling back to my previous point about not being a jerk, Aztecross released a video at the height of the toxicity toward Kevin Yanes (F*ck you, Titan mains) that I think had more of an impact than Aztecross realized. The man has a voice and a huge influence on the Destiny 2 community.

Unfortunately, he’s missing the mark with his thoughts on SBMM (skill-based matchmaking). Aztecross wants to see SBMM taken out of the Control playlist because he just likes “…to go inside of Control and just play with fun loadouts.” When someone in Aztecross’ chat seemingly asked about the lesser-skilled players, Aztecross said, “It’s time to get good.”

Now, Aztecross is clearly sprinkling some lighthearted humor onto his thoughts, and I’m only referencing this clip so maybe he’s offered more insight in other videos, but the fact remains he’s wrong. You see, I like to go into Control and try fun loadouts too, and ever since SBMM has made it to the Control playlist I can do that. I can try new things instead of going in there prepared to sweat just to keep up. I can make plays knowing that the player on the other side is of comparable skill to me. Prior to SBMM, I often felt awful playing Crucible. I suffered through it for loot. I’d lost all hope of having fun in Crucible years ago.

Highly skilled players and content creators like Aztecross have had to sweat in Control for a couple of months and already they’re whining. They want players that struggled in Control prior to SBMM to get good but don’t seem to realize that they’ve got the time and resources to actually be good, while someone who’s working all day gets to hop in for an hour to get their teeth kicked in by a streamer who needs their “We Ran” for content.

Look, I don’t think it’s a secret that SBMM needs to improve as time moves on. I think Bungie has demonstrated that by making tweaks to the system since its launch. But what would really help is if the biggest voices in the community could approach the topic with more thoughtfulness than campaigning for it to be turned off. Suggest ideas that might improve things instead of suggesting average and lower-skilled players be sent back to the dark ages.

Deep Stone Crypt weapon crafting

It’s cool to see weapon crafting coming to more parts of the game, but we’ll have to see how the crafted weapon meta evolves over the months to come. I’ve expressed concern previously about too many godrolls in the hands of Guardians via weapon crafting, but I can’t deny that adding new reasons to play old content is a great step for Bungie. So much of the game gets left behind when new content comes out, and I look forward to digging into Deep Stone Crypt again next season. It also has my favorite music of any raid currently in the game.

Tweaks to weapon crafting with Lightfall

Bungie is about to make some changes to how the weapon crafting system works when Lightfall launches. Among the pain points are random Deepsight weapon drops, leveling weapons, and hoarding Deepsight weapons in vaults so they can be used (or sharded) for future currencies. Bungie also wants to give players ways to focus on crafting specific weapons instead of hoping for a drop.

I’m scared, Guardians. Maybe I’m just being too cautious here but making it easier to craft godrolls just doesn’t feel like a good thing for the health of Destiny 2. Now, I maintain that developers are better at developing video games than all of us, and they have already discussed how this can be balanced and controlled to prevent power creep. Perhaps Bungie has already figured this out and is confident it will be a smooth system. I love crafting weapons, so I certainly hope so.

Aztecross hits the mark

If I’m going to talk about how Aztecross missed the mark with SBMM it’s only fair that I mention when he’s on target. Festival of the Lost feels like someone is reaching into my pocket and asking for cash without really offering me a worthwhile return. Sure, spending money on Festival of the Lost is optional and only for cosmetics, but this event feels like it’s created because players expect it, and Bungie wants money. It doesn’t feel like this event was created because Bungie wanted to do something cool. Most of the gameplay loop for Festival of the Lost is the same as it was previously. It just doesn’t feel like something that you should look forward to. It’s kind of just on the calendar every year now and not really exciting.

Undercover ZK

ZkMushroom is probably one of the best PvP players in Destiny 2. While I’m not into weapon reviews, he seems like a positive young man for the most part. Some of my favorite Destiny 2 videos are when he goes undercover to take players flawless in Trials of Osiris. For some folks, going flawless in Trials is like completing a strike; it’s a forgone conclusion. For others, trying to go flawless in Trials might as well be trying to jump to the Moon (the real one, jumping to the Destiny 2 Moon is easy). Hearing the genuine joy in players’ voices when they realize this “new” player can carry them to the Lighthouse is amazing.

Side note: ZkMushroom is also a master at teaching and I’m not sure if he realizes it. He’s always explaining what he’s doing and why. I like to put his videos on my second monitor and just absorb his knowledge over time. Hearing him call out his and his opponent’s mistakes is such a big help to those who want to get better at Crucible.

That’s it, Guardians. This one was largely people and their contributions to Destiny 2. I highly encourage you to give Aztecross and ZkMushroom a subscription/follow on YouTube and Twitch. They are both great players and positive people, and even if I don’t always agree with their takes, the community is better with them in it.

Managing Editor

Bill, who is also known as Rumpo, is a lifelong gamer and Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He made his mark early in his career through guide writing and a deep understanding of editorial SEO. He enjoys putting in the work to create a great content, be it a wild feature or grinding out an in-depth collectible guide. Tweet him @RumpoPlays if you have a question or comment about one of his articles.

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