Guided Games are now pretty much available for everyone… I think. I’ve said from the beginning that Guided Games are going to be as good or as bad as the community wants to make them. They are a tool for players to use. And I think the core concept of guided games is good, people can find other people to raid with, help fill out their clans and find new friends, great concept, great way to get people linked up. However, while the excitement of a new thing will drive activity in the short term, I’m not sure that Guided Games are incentivized enough for continued long term play, but let’s get to some other issues first. A lot of these issues are gonna come from the raid guided game point of view, Nightfall still may suffer from similar issues, but not as greatly since it’s a shorter activity that requires fewer people. Before we start, if you’re doing a guided raid as a seeker, you can queue as a solo or duo and you’ll be paired up with a 5 or 4 stack of people depending on your team size.

The guided raid games feature is experiencing some issues at the moment on the technical side of things, one major thing being accidental oathbreaking. According to reddit user losk64, you need to abandon the guided raid and start from scratch if there are any raid breaking issues like everyone not respawning or being stuck in a death loop, fortunately the death loop is getting fixed.

There are issues with rejoining a guided game as well, disconnects can royally mess things up. For example, my friend tried out a guided game, waited almost an hour for a raid and within the first 10 minutes, a guide disconnected and the guide couldn’t rejoin the party for 45 minutes. If you don’t have a replacement ready, well, most groups aren’t gonna 5 man the raid. The game can’t tell the difference between you disconnecting and you being a malicious leaver because the end result is: you left the group and it assumes the worst every time. Not only that, but while waiting for a guided game, you are not allowed to do anything while the game is trying to matchmake you. With queue times of up to 45 minutes for a raid, that’s a long time to be doing absolutely nothing. Guided Games also begs a couple of questions that need some answering: 1) Should a clan that has not completed the raid be allowed to queue as guides for the raid? and 2) How can Bungie incentivize future guided raids to happen? Let’s start with that first question.

Should a clan that hasn’t done a raid be allowed to queue? If you’re asking me, then I’m going to say no. I think the entire point of the Guided Games experience is to be GUIDED through the raid. I’ve already been reading stories about how people are using guided games to matchmake into a 3rd person for the Nightfall, while not once ever having run a Nightfall.

Or a raid team that needs a 6th, but also has no idea what they’re doing. This is where the Oathkeeper score comes into play and I think once people get more runs under the belt, or abuse the system enough times, that ratings will start to normalize and the bad groups will get left behind while good groups get utilized. This is maybe not as much of a long term problem as I set it up to be.

I WILL say that when you do finally get to the front of the line and you want to decline someone with a low oathkeeper score, it does not appear that you’re kicked back to the end of the line if you decline, so if you DO see someone with a low score, you should be ok to skip them and try the next. Language barriers are also an issue with guiding. I first saw it on reddit that someone waited for 45 minutes only to end up with a Portugese speaking group. I thought “eh, how often could that happen?” Only to do a guided raid with my clan and end up with someone who only spoke Italian (Banter about Datto trying to look up Italian phrases.) and lemme tell you, google translate only goes so far. Make sure you put in your clan statement which language you prefer if you’re a guide.

As much as a language option would be nice, I feel like countries with smaller populations HAVING to wait for the same language, even if it’s gonna be more beneficial, is going to introduce longer queue times for them, very difficult situation for sure. This brings us to the reward portion of guided games. Right now, you get an emblem and some oathkeeper score, which is basically your clan’s Yelp review. Those are the known rewards, but let’s not forget the real reward: the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone, isn’t that enough? Ehhh, I think a lot of people are gonna say no. By the way, the emblem you get for the raid is the same as the Nightfall, in case you’re wondering, why there couldn’t have been 2 emblems or even a different color emblem, I dunno. Point is, if Bungie wants Guided Games to continue and have high activity levels, they’re going to need to add more incentives. Why would you run a guided raid in the first place? Because the only answer that I have is “out of the kindness of your own heart.” I feel like one of the core reasons that guided games exists is to find new clanmates and to get people in your clan.

I personally am not looking for new clan members, but I definitely don’t mind just helping people get a loot run every now and then, which is how I feel like guided games are going to end up. If I have a clan of people who I enjoy playing with, I’m just going to play with my own clan. Perhaps guided games are directed more towards smaller clans, but on average, I’d say if you’re in a small clan, you’re maybe not the most likely to be in a position to be running a guided raid in the first place.

Now, my clan is pretty hardcore, we’re playing Destiny a lot and we have the time to burn to guide people through raids. Hell, my clanmate started a sherpa service in Rise of Iron that went for a few months guiding people through RoI and getting them loot runs. We’re not strangers to running people through raids. We ran one recently that took a little under 2 hours to complete, had some wipes, going slow, did some chests, but generally speaking we know what we’re doing.

The average clan might end up taking longer. The average clan probably doesn’t even want to run people through in the first place. And the average clan probably only has 1, MAYBE 2 nights set up where they can raid for a couple of hours. Are they going to risk picking up someone completely random to do their weekly raid? Are they going to uninvite one of their friends for a random person? Why wouldn’t they help their own clan members first? If there’s one thing I’ve learned about raids in Destiny, it’s that a lot of people tend to not have a lot of time to run raids in the first place.

If I only have 4-5 people online, am I going to risk running a raid with 1 or 2 people who likely have no clue what they’re doing? Probably not, I’m just gonna say “let’s run it tomorrow”. Odds are that the majority of people seeking are inexperienced players, which makes sense, I’m not faulting them for being inexperienced and using the feature in its intended way. But that also means I’d rather not frustrate my group with someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Here’s a fun thought too: As more and more experienced raiders finish their characters and move on from Destiny, the pool of potential guides is going to constantly shrink, to the point where people might be waiting all day for a guide. I’m willing to bet the amount of people who will have ran a guided raid successfully will be close to equal to the completion rate of prestige nightfalls once both have been out for an extended period of time. Who is the target audience for something like guided raids in terms of guides? Probably really experienced and enthusiastic Destiny players and I’m gonna make an assumption that a lot of those kinda of players are hardcore plays.

Bungie has slowly been pushing away from a hardcore style of game, not that it really was in the first place… and soon, the only people who are even gonna be interested in guided raids in the first place beyond 1 or 2 raids are… hardcore players. Of course not all hardcore players will be sherpas and not all casual players WON’T be sherpas and I’m sure there’s going to be those middle of the two, non-hardcore mentality players who can spend their days running people through raids. So, you have all of that going, on top of the fact that there is no tangible reward to gain from doing a guided game.

In a perfect world, everyone would be doing guided games to further the education and enjoyment of the players of Destiny, giving back to their community, doing charity. We do not live in a perfect world and people want stuff. I’ve seen many examples of rewards suggested: a guided games armor set for the Nightfall and raid, the ability to get loot more than once a week, gaining raid tokens as if it were your first time through, new shaders, bright dust, bright engram rewards. I do like bright engrams as a reward either in the form of simply getting a couple of bright engrams or in the form of the well rested buff, but a stronger version. The well rested buff by the way is a buff that you get at reset that increases your XP gains for the first 3 bright engrams earned per week.

In guided games case, if this were to be rewarded, it should be a version that lasts until you get, I dunno, let’s say 5 or 6 bright engrams for a full week as to not create this hysteria around doing a guided game on tuesday or wednesday and then ditching the playlist until the following week. I realize that the main incentive of guided games should not be the reward you get at the end, it should be the satisfaction of helping someone or finding a new person to potentially play with. That doesn’t change the fact that people are still probably gonna want something if they’re even going to think about stepping near guided games. I’m also thinking about this in potentially the wrong way, but the thought of hundreds of seekers waiting in a queue of only a few qualified guides, no matter how the system was intended to work, doesn’t sit too well with me.

I don’t have numbers, I don’t have data, I just have what I think might happen based on past experiences. I think a lot of people are going to take away from all of this that Bungie should just add matchmaking to the game and I don’t think that’s necessarily 100% the answer. At this point, you might be able to get away with it for Nightfall, especially if it’s only going to be 240 light moving into the future. For the raid, I would say absolutely not, but I’m not opposed to a WoW style “Looking For Raid” difficulty setting that is easier than normal mode. The problem THERE might be designing the fights in a way where a matchmade group can do them easily, but still making it feel like a raid experience. As long as the integrity of the normal and prestige modes are kept in tact, I have no problem with an easier difficulty mode. I also believe that experienced solo players are more likely to use an LFG website or system to find other experienced people quickly, but I don’t think Guided Games was necessarily a full on replacement for the LFG experience. Guided Games as a concept is great and in practice, I imagine the average experience probably more good than it is bad.

And most of the issues pointed out here, in my opinion, are solvable. Are they EASILY solvable? In theory, sure, we can TALK about it all day, but to actually implement in the game, maybe not, I can imagine it taking quite some time to make certain things work properly without breaking or at the very least, taking a lot of hours to complete. After all, we thought the heavy ammo bug of 3 years ago was a simple fix that took 5 months to fix. These aren’t as egrigious of issues compared to something like “fixing” the end game though. But uhh, yeah, those are thoughts on guided games.

Thanks to Slayerage as well for laying some of the foundation of this video. Thanks to you for watching, I’ll see you next time..

As found on Youtube