Unfit for the Trials

For the past few weeks, I’ve slowly been getting back into the Destiny flow. I’ve been gathering weapons, raising my light (power) level, and playing through all the new seasonal content. I’ve also been trying to re-kindle my old Crucible skills too, which has, unfortunately, been a lot harder to do than I thought it would be. I’ve been doing this with my eye on finally getting back into the end-game content: Raids, Dungeons, and the big one: Trials of Osiris. I loved Trials of Osiris in Destiny 1, and I’ve been looking forward to jumping back into the mode ever since I heard that Bungie finally brought it back. Unfortunately, it looks like this iteration of Trials is currently very unfriendly to the average Destiny player.

For those who aren’t familiar with Destiny or Trials of Osiris, here’s the basic setup. Trials of Osiris (or just “Trials”) is Destiny’s end-game PvP mode. Before they can play it, players must first qualify for it by reaching the maximum Crucible rank, hitting at least a 1010 power level, and getting 50 kills in Elimination mode (the mode that Trials is based on). Only once that’s done can one break into Trials proper. Players must join as a pre-made team of three and compete against other teams in elimination-style matches. That is, one team must down all three opponents at the same time to win a round, and they must win 5 rounds to win a match. The overall goal is to win 7 matches in a row and go “flawless,” as this yields some of the best rewards found in Destiny. It’s meant to be a very intense game mode, and it was an absolute blast in Destiny 1.

Let me say this before we get into it: I haven’t played Trials of Osiris yet. I’m still way too under-leveled to even try it. I don’t have any first-hand experience with the mode, so this isn’t really meant as a complaint per se. Instead, I want to talk about the perception of the mode as it stands right now. I’ve seen hundreds of posts from people on the official Trials of Osiris reddit thread, and they all say more or less the same thing: getting wins in this mode is incredibly difficult. Taken on its own, this doesn’t seem to be a major complaint.

Trials has never been easy, so it only makes sense that getting wins would be difficult. This is how it was in the original version of Trials after all. However, it’s not quite that simple. In the original version of Trials, it wasn’t simply getting wins that was hard, but going Flawless. Getting 3, 5, or even 7 wins with 1-2 losses wasn’t an impossible thing to do. In this version though, just getting those first 3 wins seems to be the impossible feat. That’s not good.

So why is it supposedly so hard? Well, there are two major factors. The first is losing teams’ inability to get Trials loot. One of the key differences between old and new Trials is how loot is handled. In old Trials, losing teams would still be able to complete bounties and get the odd post-game drops. Even if you didn’t win, you could still get a weapon or a couple pieces of armor each week. Right now though, players apparently can only get one piece of gear from one bounty, and it’s almost never the most desirable piece either. This means that average players don’t have all that much incentive to engage with the mode. This directly feeds into the second problem.

With average and even above-average players having no real reason to engage with the mode, they’re choosing to leave. This has the effect of condensing the population down to only the absolute best of the best…and cheaters. People are obviously still trying to break into the mode, there wouldn’t be a mess of complaints if they weren’t, but it seems likely that most of those still left playing are not to be found among the complainers. Further evidence for this can be found on YouTube, where even major content creators (people who are still able to win) are calling out the problem. They’re saying basically the same thing as the players complaining on Reddit: it’s nearly impossible for the average player to go Flawless (or even just get to the 3 win milestone). The lack of rewards, the resulting lack of average players and the mode’s win-based matchmaking all come together to make this problem worse.

So what does this all mean for someone like myself? Well, I suppose it means that I’ll probably give Trials one shot to see if it’s all true and then jump out if it turns out to be true. I liked Trials back in the day, and I’d like to think that I’ll be able to enjoy it again. However, I’m just an average player. So if the mode truly is just for the top-tier player, with no room for an average guardian like myself, then I suppose all I can do is accept it and enjoy watching highlight clips instead. Hopefully the mode won’t stay like this, but, considering how slow Bungie has been to act whenever there’s an issue with PvP, I won’t be holding my breath.