Designed to challenge the most elite PvP players, Destiny’s ‘Trials of Osiris’ is a competitive 3-on-3 multiplayer mode. These matches are only available on weekends and during these contests, all stats and upgrades matter. Players killed in Trials of Osiris will not respawn unless a teammate revives them. This is a sharp contrast to most other competitive multiplayer modes which generally allow the player to come back seconds later and rejoin the combat. This is the most competitive mode Destiny has – however, Trials of Osiris brings out the worst in Destiny’s players.
In order to enter Trials of Osiris players must purchase a passage card from a vendor in the Reef. The card and the player’s experience is complete when either of the following has occurred:
- The player loses 3 matches
- The player wins 9 matches
At the completion of a card, players can purchase a number of armor items, weapons, and packages containing a random combination of goods. These goods include dedicated Trials of Osiris armor and weapons, and the armor is among some of the best looking items in the game. The purchasable items are determined by the number of wins on the card. For example: 8 wins will allow you to purchase the 8 win item and all of the items below it. Additionally, players who make a coveted 9-0 run will gain access to a location on Mercury called The Lighthouse. Inside the lighthouse there is a chest with premium loot. This past weekend I was able to get the Gjallarhorn, Destiny’s most coveted weapon, from said chest.
Some players, wishing to obtain this loot, have resorted to cheap tactics. During my flawless 9-0 run, my team met with players that would drop out of the contest before it started so that they would not suffer a loss. Others were jerks who ‘tea bagged’ after winning a round. One opponent’s connection lagged so frequently, the behavior was consistent with that of a person using a lag switch, a device used to disrupt internet connection in an attempt to gain an advantage. One losing team decided not to come down from their starting point, instead attempting to snipe from on high. Some players take advantage of the unbalanced manner in which some weapons have perks which makes them disproportionately useful. There are sniper rifles in the game that allow the gun’s last round to be a one shot kill regardless of where it is on the body. We encountered a team that would waste all their ammo at the start of the match just to get the ‘final round’ shot. Everyone else either uses The Last Word, Thorn, or Vex Mythoclast as these have proven to be the most dominant weapons in PVP.
Some might suggest that this is the essence of competition and that anything goes. But in a game in which weapons and armor are acquired so randomly, some players are immediately put at a disadvantage: In Trials of Osiris, my team faced multiple groups in which players all had maxed level Thorns. The aforementioned gun injects poison into its victims causing their health to steadily decrease after a shot. Thorn is only “earned” by gaining access to an “exotic” bounty and then completing a number of steps necessary to acquire it. Disproportionately, as someone who has put nearly 1,000 hours into Destiny on Xbox One, I have yet to have the opportunity to obtain a Thorn as the bounty has never been available for me.
Others might suggest Destiny’s PVP cannot be balanced and that Trials of Osiris is an example of the game’s developer, Bungie, embracing that fact. But in Destiny’s other stat-based competitive multiplayer mode, The Iron Banner, all players have the opportunity to “earn” the Iron Banner armor and weapons. In The Iron Banner, the losing team gets a coin which counts as 80% of the experience they could have earned with a win. Once players reach higher levels of experience they can purchase the coveted Iron Banner items. This tradeoff makes The Iron Banner accessible to everyone – more skilled players, and players with better weapons and gear, can obtain this new gear faster. Less skilled players, and players without the top tier weapons, can eventually access these items if they dedicate themselves to the effort.
Additionally, online server issues are often times the thing that prevents a team from reaching the number of wins they desire. My team beat a group whose best player lost connection, and they were forced to play 2 vs 3 for the remainder of the match. Those two players were handed the final loss on the card, which is indicated in the bottom left corner of the screen when a card is finished. My team’s own 9-0 run came after multiple times of a teammate being kicked offline, despite having what Destiny considers a “GOOD” connection. The unfortunate part of this is that it is possible we were kicked off by cheaters. Many Destiny players have reported being booted off Xbox Live during trials competition by an IP exploit. While Bungie is doing what it can to ban these cheaters, it is unlikely they’d find everyone doing this.
Despite what I feel are obvious design flaws in Trials of Osiris, this is a fun mode. But it is not one the majority of Destiny players will spend a lot of time in. Playing against cheap players and cheaters has always annoyed me and pushed me away from online multiplayer. Fortunately, I’m a skilled enough player to overcome this, but others are not. This is a big negative considering the nature of this game. It would behoove Bungie to re-evaluate Trials of Osiris, or at the minimum, reconsider how gear is obtained or many players may grow tired of being cheezed or cheated and find other games to play.