Destiny 2's Crucible scene has stagnated, but the PvP Strike Team has a plan

Spawn balancing, three new maps, and Artifice armor rewards are just some of the changes Bungie is hoping will attract players back to PvP.


The player-versus-player experience in Destiny 2 has been in a downward spiral for several seasons now. Long-time fans of the Crucible have lamented the lack of content and attention Bungie has given the mode, but it seems as though the PvP Strike Team – a special team whose goal it is to revitalize PvP – has some upcoming changes that it hopes will draw players back.

In a lengthy section in the weekly This Week in Destiny post, the PvP Strike Team laid out the upcoming changes in March, May and into The Final Shape. These changes touch five main areas of the Crucible experience: maps, rewards, game modes, sandbox issues, and matchmaking.

One of the pain points of the current suite of maps relates to their spawn points. Skilled teams are able to corral their opponents, controlling where they respawn, and effectively creating a fish in the barrel situation. With the March 5 update, Bungie will be updating several spawn locations to remove said traps while also “shrinking” the size of some maps.

For example, Cathedral of Dusk and Disjunction are two maps that will have their backfield spawns removed in non-Rift modes. This will ensure players can get back into the action faster, without having to jog from the back wall of their base into the middle of the map. These sorts of changes should hopefully be easier to make in the future thanks to an update to the developer workflow.

A wide shot of the Cathedral of Dusk map

Source: Mike Buelterman, Bungie

In May, three maps are joining the Crucible roster: Eventide Labs on Europa, Cirrus Plaza on Neomuna, and Dissonance in a Terraformed Pyramid Ship. There has been a lengthy drought of maps (the last one released in August 2023), so this should help spice up the rotation.

In terms of rewards, Bungie is adding Artifice armor to Competitive Crucible. To access these rewards, players will need to reach Gold 3 to unlock the third tier of Competitive weekly challenges. Completion of these will reward Artifice armor. After completing the challenge, additional victories have a chance to drop Artifice armor, with drop rates increasing alongside your rank.

This is an excellent addition that will make Competitive Crucible rewards on par with high-end PvE content. Previously, Crucible-only players would have to spend time farming other content in order to acquire gear that would directly help their preferred game mode. While activity-specific gear is important, this should help entice more players into Crucible.

Three Guardians wearing Artifice armor

Source: Bungie

Another massive change that is good news for the Crucible player population is related to Trials of Osiris. Bungie is overhauling the Passage of Ferocity whereby players that use the card and have not been Flawless in the week will no longer have a flawed card after a loss. Instead, the card will reset back to three wins. Additionally, Bungie is adding a new card, the Passage of Persistence. While losses on this passage prevent a Flawless card, it does allow players to acquire an Adept weapon:

Losses following a win will remove the win from your card. Consecutive losses do not remove additional wins. Getting to 7 wins grants you a drop of the weekly Adept weapon, regardless of how many losses you have taken.

This passage works like a trailing backstop. Once you have at least one win recorded on the passage, a loss will remove the most recent win instead of Flawing it. Since consecutive losses will not remove additional wins, winning two games in a row adds a permanent win to the card, and win streaks longer than two add additional permanent wins.

You can only go Flawless on this passage if you do not have a win removed. Once a win has been removed, you can no longer get Flawless using this passage, but you can still earn a roll of the weekly Adept weapon.

The advantage of these changes is that it makes Trials of Osiris less brutal for those who maybe don’t excel at PvP but still want to participate. The problem originally was that the playerpool of Trials was so low that newer players were bound to get stomped by the veteran players still playing. This system seems to give the best of both worlds: highly skilled players can still go Flawless and get their exclusive rewards while less skilled players can still walk away with something, even if they get decimated.

Two Guardians run and shoot

Source: Bungie

The blog post highlighted a lot of changes to the minutia of the various game modes. The 3v3 version of Clash is being moved to the 3v3 Quickplay rotator and will see Heavy ammo no longer shared, an increase to the respawn timer, and an increase to the match timer.

A new mode called Collision will be entering the Crucible Labs. This is a king of the hill variant that has a rotating point and a new Special ammo crate system. Four shareable Special ammo creates will spawn at the beginning of the game or round and then on a timer. Each point will have a crate with the fourth being in a neutral spot. Bungie is using this to test out its ideas for handling Special ammo and will decide which system works best for each mode.

Update 7.3.5 might be the biggest shake-up to the Destiny 2 PvP sandbox since double-Primaries. Bungie is increasing player base health from 70 to 100, increasing ability cooldowns by 15 percent, increasing critical hit damage, decreasing body shot damage of Hand Cannons and Submachine Guns, adding a new Special ammo acquisition system, and a host of adjustments to weapons. Taken all together, these appear to shift the focus onto mastering of weapons over ability spamming.

Cantata-57 Hand Cannon

Source: Shacknews

The blog post took a deep and informative dive into how matchmaking works in Destiny 2. It covered rank-based, connection-based, loose skill-based, and fireteam-based matchmaking as well as outlier protection. This particular section outlined how Bungie approaches the matchmaking setup, the thought process behind each option, and the impact it had on player experience and retention, especially in Trials of Osiris. As for what players can expect moving forward, with the upcoming patch, the playlist tooltip will accurately display which matchmaking style is being used, which should help players understand why they are being matched against their opponents.

There are certainly a whole lot of great changes coming to Destiny 2 with Update 7.3.5 as well as future updates in May and during The Final Shape. One does have to wonder whether these updates will be enough to revitalize Crucible to the point that droves of players will dive back into the fray. However, if the community response is anything to go by, many players who were wary of Crucible are now interested in Trials thanks to the Passage of Persistence and Competitive with its high-stat Artifice armor.

With four months until the release of The Final Shape, Bungie has plenty of time to give players more exciting news and hopefully provide them with a purpose to continue playing a franchise that is now a decade old. Perhaps it’s time to give Gambit its own Strike Team? At the very least, the developers seem excited about what's coming soon, and even talked about seeding new stories during our recent chat.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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