Our ‘Destiny’ multiplayer guide will help you catch up in the Crucible

Destiny: Rise of Iron
Each time Bungie releases new content for Destiny, the game undergoes a renaissance of sorts. Players who had moved on to other games return to shoot their way through new story missions, cooperative strikes, and epic six-man raids that test the limits of teamwork on consoles. The game dangles new pieces of Exotic gear as carrots on the metaphorical stick, daring Guardians to “become legend” in pursuit of better guns, better armor, and a higher Light level.

The latest chapter in the Destiny saga, Rise of Iron, balances these activities in such a way that players can level up no matter which activity they’re playing through. In the past, rewards from raiding and completing weekly activities (such as the Nightfall strike) outweighed those from its competitive multiplayer mode, the Crucible. After Rise of Iron, though, you’re free to forge your own path to the top.

Destiny‘s competitive multiplayer suite has undergone wholesale changes in the last two years, and we aim to bring you up to speed with a comprehensive guide to the Crucible.

Overview and game modes

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To make its competitive multiplayer balanced and fun for everyone, most Crucible modes do not factor in your gear’s light level. A level-10 Guardian can theoretically stand toe-to-toe against a level 40 Guardian and the winner will be determined by who has the quicker trigger finger, rather than the highest stats.

That being said, lower level Guardians aren’t on exactly the same footing as their more experienced counterparts. Legendary and Exotic items, which are much more difficult (and, in some instances, outright impossible) to acquire at lower levels, still have upgrades that give players an edge, such as quicker reload times. Similarly, each class (Titan, Warlock, and Hunter) is outfitted with three “subclasses,” each of which has its own subset of abilities. Newer players may not have access to as many abilities and upgrades as those who have put in significant time with their class.

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The Crucible features several modes, each providing its own objectives, as well as a few special event modes that show up on a weekly or monthly basis.  Today’s Crucible is a far cry from the multiplayer experience when Destiny first launched at the end of 2014: Originally there were four game modes to choose from. There are now 11 permanent and weekly rotating game types.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the Crucible’s standard game modes:

Control

A 6v6 match in which both teams vie for control of three different capture points. The more locations your team controls, the more points you accrue for gunning down an enemy player.

To capture a flag location, simply stand inside the glowing circle that appears around it until a meter fills up. Players also earn points for capturing and defending flags.

Inferno Control

A 6v6 match with radar trackers disabled. Kills are the only way to earn points; however, controlling flags grants bonus score for kills.

Clash

Your standard, 6-on-6 team deathmatch. Like Control, It’s just one team of six shooting at another team of six, with each fighting to be the first to reach the match’s point total.

Mayhem Clash

The exact same rules as Clash, except all players’ abilities recharge much faster. That means more grenades, more melee charges, and — of course — more supers.

Inferno Clash

Just like Clash, but with radar trackers disabled. Kills are the only way to earn points.

Elimination

A series of 3-on-3 matches with no respawns (revives are enabled). Once all members of a team are eliminated, the surviving team earns one point. First to five points wins.

Rift

This 6-on-6 match where teams must retrieve a “spark” from the center of the map and bring it to a “rift” near the opposing team’s spawn point.

Rumble

Free-for-all. Six players. No teams. The basic rule in Rumble? If it moves, shoot it. No one works together in this mode, as everyone fights to have the highest point total once the match ends.

Mayhem Rumble 

Like Mayhem Clash, but with six players and no team affiliations.

Skirmish

Much like Clash, Skirmish is a team-based match type with no objectives beyond the basic “Kill anyone who isn’t an ally” commandment. Unlike Clash, it’s a 3v3 mode, which makes working at part of a team all that much more important.

Downed allies can also be revived in Skirmish, which earns some points in addition to helping keep the team together.

Salvage

Salvage functions as a sort of mashup of Control and Skirmish. It’s a 3-on-3 match wherein an objective location will spawn occasionally. Players must fight to capture and hold the objective to earn points, and revives are enabled.

Supremacy

Similar to “Kill Confirmed” modes in the Call of Duty series, the Rise of Iron-exclusive Supremacy match requires players to pick up “crests” dropped by players when after they’ve been killed. Players only earn points for a kill after someone on their team recovers the crest off an enemy you killed. Players can also pick up their fallen teammates crests to prevent the other team from scoring.

Zone Control

The exact same rules as Control, except kills won’t earn you points. This means you must win a match of Zone Control the old-fashioned way: by equipping a shotgun, hiding in the corner, and camping the flag until your opponents rage-quit.

Event modes

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While the game modes above are usually available — Supremacy, Control, Clash, and Rumble are permanent fixtures, while the other modes rotate weekly —  there are a select number of Crucible “events” that appear less frequently. Here’s a quick roundup of the time-sensitive Crucible modes you might come across in Destiny.

Iron Banner

Remember how we said most Crucible matches did not take players’ level level into account? This is the exception. For one week each month, players can participate in Iron Banner matches, which pit players against each other with their loot fully active. There is nothing fair or balanced about this mode, and generally you can expect to lose unless you have high-level gear. Traditionally, Iron Banner matches are always Control-type matches, but the October, 2016 Iron Banner event substituted it for the expansion’s new mode, Supremacy.

For players who have Rise of Iron, Lord Saladin, Efrideet, and the rest of the Iron contingent appear in the expansion’s Iron Temple social space, offering special quests and bounties that you can complete in Iron Banner Crucible matches. Players will be rewarded with gear themed around the Iron Lords, who are also the main focus of the Rise of Iron single-player storyline.

Trials of Osiris

Like the Iron Banner, Trials of Osiris, is a Crucible variant available for players with The Taken King expansion, which allows players to compete in the Crucible using equipment with light level stat boosts enabled. The elimination-style matches run every week from Friday to Tuesday. There is no matchmaking for this mode, so players must put together their own three-player teams to participate.

Rather than simply choosing to participate, players must buy their way to the mode with an in-game item called a “trial passage,” which can be purchased from a vendor in the Reef social space. Once a team buys in, they play against other teams until they lose three matches or win up to nine. Players can also use consumable items called “passage boons” at the start of the trial, which can enhance the team’s record.

Combined Arms

The Combined Arms playlist doesn’t offer any special rewards, but it offers an experience that you can’t find anywhere else in Destiny‘s multiplayer suite: vehicles. Using only the largest maps in the game, Combined Arms provides players with Pikes (hover bikes similar to players’ Sparrow transports, but with mounted guns) and small tanks called Interceptors to shake up the action.

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