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Is “Destiny’s” destiny in eSports? Custom matchmaking paves the way

The destiny for “Destiny” is clearly written. In legalese.

Yesterday Bungie announced a stream of new details about “Rise of Iron,” the game’s third-year expansion set for release on Sept. 20. The update focused on revealing freash details about a new raid, strike, weapons, gear customizations, maps and activities:

One detail instantly set the community abuzz. The “Destiny” subreddit in particular exploded with the news that “Rise of Iron” will offer the ability to create something players have wanted for a long time: Custom, private player-vs-player matches.

The system programmers revealed Tuesday shows that players can form their own matches with a high degree of customization, including the game type, map, environment, number of players and more. Finally, two clans can fight each other for supremacy (even in the game’s new Supremacy mode). Clanmates can square off against each other for practice. Aspiring directors can switch off the HUD and create a variety of videos in a private area. And the craziest, most creative ideas can be executed (Hide and Seek? One against everyone else? Tag? The answer is yes).

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The system allows for a wide variety of competitions and contests. Bungie all but blessed those types of contests when it also published its competition license on Tuesday. The license outlines limits for prizes, salaries, travel, reimbursements and more. It outlines internet broadcast policies, limits the amout you can receive in compensation and bans televising any competitions or sales of game merchandise.

While it seems like a structure meant to aid local gaming crews, the implication is clear: “Destiny” is headed for eSports.

Timothy J. Seppala, of Endgadget, writes that the update basically primes the game to be a venue for eSports competition alongside “Counterstrike: Global Offensive” and “Heroes of the Storm,” going beyond the needs of a user-hosted tournament. It makes sense: Matches of the game’s Trials of Osiris are some of Twitch’s most watched features WITHOUT custom matchmaking. Pitting some of the community’s pros together without relying on the game’s controversial skill-based matchmaking has the potential to generate a lot of interest.

But not so fast, writes Paul Tassi, of Forbes, who said that publisher Activision doesn’t have the wherewithal to organize another competitive league alongside its “Overwatch” and “Call of Duty” franchises. He also notes that “Destiny 2” is about a year away, and why build a competitive scene for a game that won’t get any more fresh content in a year?

Whatever. Just give me my Gjallarhorn already.

Joe Hadsall
Writer, reporter, magician, geek. Joe Hadsall is the features editor for The Joplin Globe, where he is the king of geeks in southwest Missouri, and is loving how the popularity of geek culture has led to more people understanding his jokes. He tweets a lot about Destiny, mobile devices, the New Orleans Saints and more at @JoeHadsall.

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