With the addition of ornaments, purchasable gear, and more guns, Destiny 2’s Iron Banner is finally worth playing.
When Destiny 2 released their first Iron Banner event, I was disappointed. The milestones could be knocked out in a day or two, the gear wasn’t very compelling, and rewards were based on the RNG gods’ favor, not the skill or time put into the game mode. Fortunately, with the changes made for Season 2, all of my Iron Banner prayers have been answered!
Loot Worth Grinding For
In the first Iron Banner event of Season 1, the armor was just a reskin of existing stat packages, and the guns were pretty much the same. Although to be fair, the armor looked pretty damn good, and there were a couple guns worth owning. While this season’s Iron Banner loot pool still largely consists of the same gear, there are a few key additions.
Each piece of Iron Banner armor now has its own unlockable ornament. These ornaments can be unlocked via objectives that have a range of difficulty, from turning in five packages to securing a large pile of melee and/or grenade kills.
For some, this is just another coat of paint. But to me, these ornaments fulfill a key part of the Destiny ecosystem: showing off. One of the biggest points behind skins and emblems in any MMO is showing off either how much skill you have, or how much money you have. Destiny 2 players have plenty of chances to spend their money, but now there are finally rewards that can demonstrate a player’s prowess in the Iron Banner. Completing a full set of Iron Banner ornaments means you know your shit. Or you have a lot of time on your hands. Either way, it’s a hard-earned achievement worth showing off.
Masterwork armor is coming to all legendary armor, but that’s also a good thing for Iron Banner armor. Instead of being a shiny suit of armor locked into a stat set a player may not like, players can now customize their armor to fit their play style. I can look good and have good stats! Woot!
Season 2’s Iron Banner also brings three new guns, a ship, a ghost, and a sparrow. And the guns don’t look half bad. The shotgun has perhaps the longest range in the game, the scout rifle has full auto and dragonfly, no to mention the hand cannon which has an extended range on the first shot. Overall, these guns are worth playing with. And to that end, worth grinding for.
No More Praying to the RNG Gods
The worst part about Season 1’s Iron Banners: you could pour every hour of the entire week into the game, and you still may not get all the armor. My husband and I didn’t spend our entire week on Iron Banner, but we did spend every spare minute we had on it. We finished the milestones in the first couple days, and then we kept playing to finish our armor sets. We poured in piles of tokens right up until the reset, and still, we didn’t get the pieces we wanted. It was infuriating. We kept getting the same three guns over and over, and but those armor pieces continued to elude us. And yet, some people grabbed their full sets the first day. That’s the RNG gods for you.
It was far from rewarding.
But with Season two’s Iron Banner we finally have a clear effort-to-reward path. If I put in X amount of hours, I can buy these pieces of armor, and these guns. It is huge relief to Iron Banner players the world over!
Rewards That Take Some Effort
Now that we have a clear path toward end goals, Bungie isn’t going to hand out these rewards like candy. And I love it. In early Destiny 1, players had to play the whole week straight to unlock all of the event’s rewards. It was tough, it took time, but man did that new gun feel good at the end of it. I had earned it. So when Destiny 2’s Iron Banner came along and gave me milestones I could finish in two days, I felt robbed.
But not anymore!
While the armor can be picked up fairly easily, at ten tokens per piece, the ornaments for those armor pieces still have to be earned through various feats of skill.
The guns, meanwhile, cost far more. While they can be earned via the Iron Banner Engram’s random drops, anyone looking to buy one outright will need 60 tokens. At 5 tokens per win, 3 tokens per loss, you’re looking at 12 wins or 20 losses per gun. So you’ll have to put in some time.
The event’s weekly milestone is about the same as what it was: win 30 games. A player with a full a day off could knock it out in a day. A player with a day job could knock it out in two to four days. Either way, it can be finished before the weekend if players start early, so there is no real sweat.
Unless you are looking to finish that arm ornament. (A.K.A. grips, gauntlets, or gloves, depending on your class). It takes 5 milestones to unlock the ornament, so a player with 3 characters can knock out 3 of the milestones, making the ornament ripe for unlocking in the next event. But anyone planning to do so will have to plan their time accordingly if they want to finish all 3 before the event ends.
*Cracks knuckles* Looks like I’d better get started with my hunter.
Some Will Disagree With Me: Matchmaking
Some players are still mad about the current crucible meta in Destiny 2. The small 4v4 maps favor team-kills, and the matchmaking is often lopsided. For those reasons, there are many players who won’t come back until the crucible meta is fixed.
But personally, I love the current meta. If I’m matched against easier players, I get the fun of carrying my team to victory and boosting my KDR. Then the next match I’m with far tougher opponents. I’m forced to focus up, stick with my team, and hone my reflexes. It makes me a better player. And then as soon as I’m beaten enough times I’m back to easy opponents, a refreshing break that keeps me playing. And thus the cycle repeats.
I also love the tightknit 4v4 maps. I am constantly in the action, jumping, shooting, dying, and jumping back in again. In fact, whenever I play on Distant Shore I am reminded of how it was in Destiny 1: spending more time running around the map looking for opponents than actually fighting. And even then, it’s usually a 1v1 skirmish because the teams are so scattered. Some people like that. It’s easier to handle 1v1, and you don’t have to stick to the same “group up” strategy every time. But I enjoy being able to meet up with teammates or track down enemies quickly. And with a coordinated team, grouping up isn’t the only strategy. There are plenty of opportunities for coordinated flanks and the like, strategies which would take ages to set up on the larger 6v6 maps.
So yeah, that’s my spiel on the matter.
TL;DR: Get Out There And Pick Up Some Loot
This Iron Banner has plenty of loot and plenty of ways to unlock it. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to wreaking some havoc in the crucible this week.
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