Last week I played the latest week-long theme event in Destiny, called Crimson Days. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Tower was decorated in red flowers and carpets, and Crimson Doubles was the Crucible challenge that pitted teams of two against each other. It was a perfect fit for my co-op partner and me, since we’re a couple.
The trouble is that I don’t play much multiplayer, especially anything competitive. I get nervous facing a real live opponent. They’re less predictable than AI opponents, and there’s something about being killed by one of them that feels a lot more terrible (to me, anyway) than going down because a computer program sniped you. It’s just not a natural fit for me, as I’m not a competitive person.
But I faced my fear and jumped into the 2v2 Crimson Doubles matches with my partner.
The first night we tried it, we played five matches, and they went horribly (in my melodramatic opinion). Since we don’t play Crucible PvP, we weren’t familiar with the maps. We have very little strategy. I was all sweaty-palmed which wasn’t helping anything. Instead of treating it like any other mode (in which I would wisely hide from enemies while I regen my health), in Crimson Doubles I just ran out there and let myself get shot while freaking out. It’s really sad how little I know about multiplayer, guys.
One thing that was apparent early on, though, is the excellent loot that is earned from missions. Even as we lost match after match, I earned one of the red Crimson Doubles ghosts right away (lots of complaints from other players that they weren’t dropping — I guess I got lucky), as well as Legendary gear and goodies that gave my partner and me boosts during the Crimson Doubles matches. I loved just playing dress up in the new red and white Shader that made my armor pretty for Valentine’s Day. That made Crimson Doubles worth playing, even if it was a little soul-crushing for me to lose so much.
At the Tower, you can pick up bounties for Crimson Doubles. Bounties are special objectives that, when reached, earn you some bonus points or gear, etc. One wanted us to earn a certain number of points — you get one point for a loss and four points for a win. If we lost every match like we had the first night, it was going to take over 20 matches to meet the objective, and I just didn’t know if I had it in me to face failure after failure like that. It’s just not fun when you’re not doing well. I don’t play games to feel like I suck at them.
But my partner, being more competitive and very experienced in competitive multiplayer games (he plays a lot of Halo), wanted to do it. He told me to be patient. Sometimes you have to learn the maps and figure out a strategy to do well in multiplayer — that was what he reassured me, anyway. So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I got into it.
The second night we tried, everything changed. We lost a few matches early on, but suddenly we were pitted against teams much better suited to us. They were more daring, running toward us instead of hiding with a strategy like the other couples we’d faced. It was a free-for-all, and we started winning at least half the time, if not more.
I don’t know if it was just an improvement in the matchmaking, or if we also improved as we learned the maps and gained confidence. Personally, I think it was both. When we played on Tuesday, it was the first day of Crimson Doubles, and we were probably facing hardcore players while we felt the most inexperienced. When we played on Friday night, I’m assuming the crowd included more casual duos who just play on weekends, or who maybe just wanted to try this particular mode. In any case, it was much more enjoyable the second time around!
It became apparent that two melee hits would kill an opponent. Also, if one of them is down, the other can revive them — so it was important to guard the body! While my partner liked sticking together so we could revive or avenge each other easily if one of us was shot, I preferred going in opposite directions to flank the enemy. We tried it both ways. Both strategies worked well, I think.
We ended up completing our bounties much sooner than expected due to all of our wins, which was awesome. We probably played 10 to 15 matches Friday night, and then we called it quits and returned to our other Destiny missions and Strikes.
I had a lot of fun trying something different and mastering a new type of gameplay. Playing with my partner made it really exciting. We were kind of euphoric when we won the first couple times! Besides that, the decorations at the Tower offered a pretty change of scenery.
It’s the little things that can go a long way in making Destiny feel fresh. I know there are a lot of complaints about the game being stale, not a lot of good loot dropping, and an overall lack of content. And I can see where something like Crimson Days is just a bandaid or distraction from that. But it inspired me to play a game mode that was initially way out of my comfort zone, and I had fun spending more time with my partner, experiencing new kinds of victories together. For my first week-long theme event in Destiny, I loved the experience.