Destiny 2 players may never recover from "the worst Iron Banner ever"

Destiny 2 Iron Banner
(Image credit: Bungie)

The first Iron Banner event of Destiny 2's Season of the Seraph ended today, January 10, after a legendarily frustrating week that highlighted basically everything wrong with the game's PvP, and with such intensity that it may well go down as the worst version of the Crucible event of all time – or at least so far. 

Destiny PvP hasn't been in a certifiably "good" spot in a while – according to the PvP community, that is – but it also hasn't been this bad in a long time. This Iron Banner had it all, starting with disappointing, RNG-locked loot. Instead of the Iron Banner gear that they were grinding for, Guardians were inundated with regular-old Crucible drops, most infamously the Blowout rocket launcher whose disproportionate drop chance inspired so many wonderful memes. 

after_playing_ib_nonstop_for_last_week_oc from r/destiny2
grinding_for_any_ib_gear_in_a_nutshell from r/destiny2

I've seen countless reports, some from my own clanmates, of playing several dozen matches without even obtaining a full five-piece set of Iron Banner armor, which is doubly painful because the armor on offer this time was an especially beloved returning set. To make matters worse, the event's unique and highly coveted shader, which gives armor a chainmail-like texture, required players to max out and reset their Iron Banner rank a full two times, which requires a huge time investment and inspired the kind of widespread FOMO that Bungie has said it wants to move away from. No doubt plenty of players got their shader, but at what cost? 

the_iron_banner_experience from r/destiny2

And were the dozens upon dozens of required matches even fun to play? Evidently not, for a variety of reasons. As YouTuber Fallout Plays highlighted in a community-sourced video, lag was rampant during the event, and even when you could get a stable connection, you'd only be treated to a smorgasbord of cheese. 

This Iron Banner featured a new game mode called Fortress, which doubled down on controlling zones with the addition of a singular objective for teams to fight over. Simply put, this brought out the most degenerate turtle strategies Destiny has maybe ever seen. Many will tell you that the team with more Titans running the Ward of Dawn bubble Super was often the winner, and this led to counters like Witherhoad for area denial, Warlocks running Well of Radiance to hold territory of their own, Titans using Thundercrash to kill Ward of Dawn campers, and on and on. It was an utterly biblical clown fiesta made all the more un-fun by the resulting weapon meta. 

Match pacing ground to a halt as turtling incentivized long-range weapons like pulse rifles, not to mention a lethal comeback for the Exotic scout rifle Dead Man's Tale, taking us right back to the laning days of early Destiny 2. It got so bad that many players eventually opted to just throw matches entirely to rack up Ls for a quick and painless reputation farm, even going so far as to make LFG posts for "loss farming." You've almost got to respect a game mode so soul-crushing that players farm it via boycott both as an act of protest and a loot cheese. I don't know if you could produce a better description of the Destiny community. 

when_iron_banner_is_so_shit_teams_are_actively from r/destiny2
the_absolute_state_of_iron_banana_i_love_it from r/destiny2

To summarize: this Iron Banner had bad and frustrating loot, established a frankly disgusting meta for Supers and guns, was bogged down by lag, and ultimately drove players to an act of protest fueled by desperation and antipathy. I'm sure some players had fun this past week, but the general consensus, as one new and rapidly climbing Reddit post puts it, is that "this Iron Banner has easily been the worst I have ever played in Destiny 2." 

It really was quite a run, albeit for all the wrong reasons. I look forward to a biopsy from the PvP team, who must be returning to work after the holidays looking like Donald Glover carrying a pizza into a burning room, in an upcoming This Week At Bungie. 

Hopefully changes will be made for the year of Destiny 2 Lightfall. Bungie is also now working on multiple unannounced projects with Sony, which officially acquired the company last year

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.