Even if your friends are very impressed with your legendary Destiny 2 skills, you may still find yourself humbled very quickly by Destiny 2: Forsaken’s new game mode, Gambit.
At E3 this week, Destiny 2 fans at the Activision booth get their first chance to play Gambit, an extremely-chaotic multiplayer mode that is part PvE and part PvP. Bungie gave us a look at what players are experiencing at E3, and the action was intense.
Our Gambit match was introduced by a new character from Forsaken named the Drifter. Our jumpships flew toward his base of operations, a spaceship tugging a net full of space debris in orbit over the Earth. Next, our team of four Guardians and our four opponent Guardians were on The Drifter’s ship, separated by a force field, in what looked like a hangar bay.
The Drifter tossed a coin into the air to determine what type of enemies we’d be fighting during the match. There are three different kinds of enemies the teams can face, and when the coin landed it bore the symbol of the Red Legion, which meant we’d be facing the Cabal.
Next, our Fireteam transmatted to the Emerald Coast in the European Dead Zone, where the Gambit match would take place. The Drifter’s spacecraft and its giant net of space garbage hung in the atmosphere, off in the distance. We didn’t have much time to enjoy the view before the Drifter called out the arrival of hostiles in the trees to our left.
Every enemy killed dropped one or more Motes. The more powerful the enemy, the more Motes they dropped. When the Hunter on our team blasted a Cabal Legionnaire or a Psion, they each dropped one Mote. When the Hunter took down a Centurion, several Motes flew into the air.
Our team was collecting the Motes to deposit them into the bank, a container filled with dark Taken energy, that sat on a platform in the middle of the map. Right near the bank was an Ascendant Portal, a metal ring that wasn’t active when the match began, but which is activated when a team deposits enough Motes into their bank. If a player jumps through the portal they come out on the other team’s side of the map to wreak havoc against the competition.
As our Hunter approached the platform to bank some Motes, we saw a Ravenous Taken Phalanx waiting on the platform. Someone on the other team banked five Motes at once, which was enough to generate a Small Blocker – the Taken Phalanx – onto our team’s side of the portal. It’s called a “Blocker” because it blocks the other team from banking Motes until the Blocker is destroyed.
Part of the strategy of Gambit is to decide how often you want to bank your Motes, depending on whether you want to send a bunch of Small Blockers like the Taken Phalanx, or whether you want to save up ten Motes for a Medium Blocker like a Taken Knight, or try to gather enough Motes to bank fifteen of them at once and send a Large Blocker like a Taken Ogre to get in the other team’s way. Our team mopped the floor with the Taken Phalanx and deposited their Motes in the bank.
Whenever a team banks 25 Motes they activate the Ascendant Portal and can send a Guardian across to the other side to harass the enemy team. Our team took out a wave of Cabal landing on a nearby beach, which provided enough Motes to open the Portal, and our Hunter decided to jump through the portal and invade the other team’s arena. He didn’t manage to kill anyone – a Titan on the other team killed our Hunter pretty quickly – after which the Hunter respawned on our side of the portal to help us take down the next wave of arriving Cabal.
Those are the basics of Gambit. Collect and deposit Motes, send Blockers or Guardians to mess with the other team, and keep collecting and depositing Motes faster than they do. When a team banks 75 Motes they summon a giant Taken Primeval, and the first team to summon and kill a Primeval wins the round and it’s best-out-of-three rounds to win.
But those are just the basics! Teams have to communicate and coordinate to decide who will jump through the portal and when, leaving their teammates temporarily short-handed when they invade. Failing to coordinate these invasions can lead to disaster.
When a Guardian invades the other team’s side of the portal, they have 30 seconds to hunt down other players before the invader has to return. That’s 30 seconds where the invader’s team is one Guardian short while the waves of enemies are getting tougher and it therefore takes longer to kill them and collect their Motes. Furthermore, when an invader is killed they also drop Motes that the other team can collect! Poorly-executed invasions can cost a team a healthy number of Motes.
Once your team summons its Primeval the Ascendant Portal remains open, meaning you can send a Guardian to harass the other team whenever you like. Attacking the other team while they’re distracted by a Primeval might be a great way to pull off some killer ambushes. Also, Primevals get healed when one of the Guardians attacking it dies and it doesn’t matter whether those Guardians are killed by the Primeval or by an opposing Guardian.
So, let’s say the other team has almost killed its Primeval. Your team can send an invader through the portal, kill some of your opponents, and heal the other team’s Primeval in the process. But - your team is short-handed during the invasion, which might mean a greater chance of one of your teammates being killed, which means your Primeval gets healed.
That’s the excitement of Gambit, figuring out how to minimize risk and maximize reward while keeping teams of four Guardians working well together against hordes of increasingly-powerful enemies and keeping an eye out for the other Guardians trying to kill you.
Gambit is part cold calculation and part knowing how to flow with the chaos. It brings an entirely unique experience to Destiny 2 that requires a different kind of teamwork, and it is awesome.