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The biggest event in Destiny this week was the launch of hard mode Crota's End. However, Bungie has also added something big to the competitive side of the game: a new mode.
The Doubles Skirmish mode pits two pairs of players against each other. Heavy ammo spawns only once. You can revive your teammate if need be but be careful because there's no one to watch your back while you're doing it.
“The goal here was about taking the rules we already have and mixing them up to create a fresh experience,” designer Lars Bakken said in the new Weekly Update. "Each player has the full weight of winning or losing placed squarely on their shoulders and nobody to blame but themselves... or their teammate. No pressure."
Bungie mentions that the mode is available "this week." You'll miss out if you don't give it a whirl in the next few days.
Here's some video footage from a Doubles Skirmish match, courtesy of Arekkz Gaming:
Bakken points out that the lack of other objectives and the low-player count means that you'll regenerate Supers much slower. There's more of a focus, then, on your gunfighting skills.
Bungie plans to provide players with other off-center multiplayer modes in the future as well.
"While this was a soft opening, back in December we did forecast some theoretical game modes. Doubles is the first experiment," said community manager David Dague.
The Crucible is definitely due for some experimentation. One of my main issues with Destiny is that the competitive modes are very vanilla. It's a big disappointment considering the wide range of modes that Bungie developed during their Halo days. I hope that future modes for the Crucible are far stranger than Doubles. If Bungie expects players to stick with the game for the months or years ahead, they're going to need to offer some additional variety.
Not that Bungie needs my advice on how to retain players. It sounds like shooter fans are still hooked on the game. The developer released some mind-boggling statistics from last weekend. The traveling merchant Xur was in town and selling the coveted sniper rifle Ice Breaker.
"Our mysterious merchant left with a strange haul of19,436,440 coins - all earned in battle. That’s the gameplay equivalent of 2,159,604 Weekly Heroic Strikes on the highest level of difficulty. Not bad for two days’ work."
Bungie says that players bought 1,143,320 Ice Breakers during the weekend. Sadly, Ryan was not one of the lucky new owners.