Destiny PvP tips for absolute newbs
Since the launch of Destiny: The Taken King the quests, events and loot on offer in the Crucible have made Destiny’s PvP mode near mandatory. Wanna clear your quest log? Collecting all the Exotics? I’m sorry, Guardian – you’re going to have to fight real people.
Jumping into PvP for the first time is a nightmare: the learning curve is almost vertical and nobody seems to understand that you really don’t know what you’re doing. I do understand though, Guardian, so take my hand and I’ll tell you what worked for me.
1. Be prepared to lose
PvP is overwhelming – super fast paced action in new and unfamiliar places, possibly complicated by rules you don’t even know yet. You probably don’t even have the right equipment, and almost everybody else in there with you is some sort of ninja master of the art.
Steel yourself to lose and lose and lose. Give yourself ten hours in which you devote yourself purely to learning and make no demands on yourself in terms of performance. You are a great player; you just need to get across a different skill set.
2. Start with Control or Clash
Clash is a team deathmatch, while Control is a team deathmatch where kills are worth more if your team holds the majority of territory. Both modes are relatively simple, so you don’t have to worry about complicated objectives while you learn basic skills, tactics, navigation and the perfidies of the ammo system.
Best of all, there are five other Guardians in there with you to do all the work. They will go attack the enemy and you can stay out of trouble far from the frontlines.
3. Your job is not to kill. Your job is to stay alive
You’re learning, so you’re not going to be much help to your team. That’s okay. A group of skilled players won’t struggle because one person isn’t pulling their weight. Anybody who gives you lip about it is a shithead, and should be ignored.
The important thing is not to make things harder for your teammates. Dying over and over and over again will drive the other team’s score right up. Just stay away from the action if you’re on your own! Run away from enemies! It’s okay, nobody will know. You get rewards in Crucible just for showing up, too; you’re not wasting time.
4. Learn to use your radar
It’s easy to forget about your radar in PvE because in most situations you already know where all the spawns are. In PvP, it’s essential; you must know where the enemy is in order to take them down or avoid being killed yourself.
Note that you can very easily be killed by a sniper shot, grenade toss, or super from a Guardian who is too far away to spot on your radar. This is not an excuse for ignoring it and running around a corner into a shotgun blast. (If you’re a Hunter, the enhanced tracker is a big help.)
5. Ready to fight now? Stick with your teammates!
If you watch how other players behave you’ll notice that some stick together and others sneak off alone. It can be hard to get kills from the middle of a pack, so you may be tempted to go rogue. Take my advice and do not, at least for now; the veterans you are hunting are not silly, and their radars work as well as yours. Stick with your pals; you have a much higher chance of surviving an encounter when you’re on the right side of a 2v1 encounter.
Also, you genuinely help out. Assisted kills are worth more points to the team as a whole than solo kills. Cross and suppressing fire make a huge difference in encounters, even if you don’t get a shot on, since enemies have to try to evade more than one source of projectiles.
6. … but don’t bunch up.
When you’re hunting with your pals, don’t stand hip-to-hip; that’s super easy for a baddie to evade. If two of you are firing from different angles, they have a much harder time getting away and defending themselves.
Also, when you all stand in a group, one grenade, rocket or super will hit you all. Not fun.
7. Don’t just run through choke points
At the start of a match you’ll often see a bunch of Guardians peel off and head towards a central point, where apparently by convention the first firefight tends to take place. Usually there’s a choke point such as a door, window or other gap with limited visibility to the other side.
Remember that the other team did the same thing. They will be waiting with shotguns, snipers and grenades. By all means flirt with the door to try and tease them into coming through or wasting their grenades, but don’t be the first one through. Let some other chump take it in the face.
8. Leave the Fusion Rifle at home
Unless you’re very, very good with a Fusion Rifle, leave it in your vault. And I mean very, very good. It’s very hard to use a Fusion Rifle effectively in the Crucible.
Some players are excellent with Fusion Rifles and will absolutely destroy you, but for everyone else a dirty shottie for face-to-face encounters or some skilful, guarded sniping is the better choice.
Some people probably bring sidearms to the Crucible, but I’ve never been killed by one. Draw your own conclusions.
9. Ditto Scout Rifles
Scout Rifles are bloody deadly in the Crucible, but you need to be absolutely sure you’re getting head shots, and getting them fast. Unlike AI enemies, other players do not obligingly run directly at you keeping their heads still; they fly about the room, sliding, double jumping and strafing, and firing at you the whole time.
So what should you bring? Pulse rifles are one of the best options (at least until the December rebalance); at the very least, you can aim for the chest and let the firing pattern drag you up to a precision shot. Auto rifles and hand cannons are pretty popular, but not every model is ideal.
10. Think about your gear
When you die, flick your eyes to the upper right of the screen and see what killed you. This is how you learn which weapons are the most popular and effective. If you can’t seem to damage anyone, try a different weapon.
Your armour matters, too. Some pieces are better suited to Crucible. Of special note are bonuses that boost recovery after taking splash damage, which will help you make a comeback after a grenade, rocket or super brushes past you. Inspect your enemies and find out what they’re using, and think about which stats you want to boost depending on which abilities you find most effective.
By the way: standard Crucible is level-adjusted, so as long as you’re not in Iron Banner or (gulp) Trials of Osiris you can use anything you like, regardless of stats. Don’t feel obliged to use your 300+ raid drops if you enjoy other weapons more.
11. Think about your character build
The meta of the Crucible changes from time to time, and veterans are always talking about the best character builds for various situations. As a beginner, it’s probably best to stick to the abilities you feel most familiar with, and then adapt as you figure out what works with you, or after looking up some advanced tips.
What you definitely should think about immediately are your training upgrade nodes. Your choice of agility, toughness and recovery makes a heck of a difference when you can’t trust the enemy to wait politely while you hide behind a rock getting your shields back, or refuse to cross certain arbitrary lines in the environment. Recovery über alles, for me, but your mileage may vary; quick and clever players may find speed more to their advantage, and in 1v1 encounters toughness is certainly an ace card.
12. Throw some tricks into your run and gun routine
The basic unit of PvP is the 1v1 encounter: two Guardians shooting at each other in the hopes that only one of them dies. Sometimes this is resolved by who has the better weapon or character build, or who can aim more steadily. Most of the time, someone gets tricked.
Here are some tricks: crouch or slide. Crouch to get a better line of sight through a choke point to higher or lower terrain. Jump. Change direction in mid-air. Strafe. Strafe and jump. Circle around an obstacle. Circle around an obstacle, then double back, you ninja. Stand behind an obstacle, outside a door or in a little alcove with a shotgun. Wait for your pal’s grenade to die away, then throw your grenade. Oh ho ho! How we laugh about it later, down at the Guardian bar.
13. Put everything breakable out of reach
I don’t claim to be good at PvP yet, but I’m no longer a terrible waste of space my own teammates want to murder. More often than not I have a good time, make a useful contribution, and feel like I’m doing okay.
Then other times I’m just totally outclassed, or my teammates are silly, and it is awful. When this happens, I scream terrible curses and throw cushions around my living room. Everyone does. It’s okay. Just keep trying and hope for better matchmaking and map that isn’t a total piece of shit, gods above, what was Bungie even thinking, this is so unfair…
Ahem! Good luck, Guardian.