Bungie Explains Why Destiny 2 Keeps Breaking

Destiny 2 used to have very little downtime. Now, the sci-fi MMO goes offline at least once a week, sometimes more, as error codes and unplanned outages prevent players from logging on and completing their weekly quests, challenges, and loot drops. Now Bungie has finally provided some answers, and they’re about as technical, complex, and nuanced as you’d expect.

Originally released in 2017, Destiny 2 has grown a lot over the years. Annual expansions added new missions, locations, and gameplay mechanics, while cross-play and cross-save integration connected players from opposing platforms. A “next-gen” upgrade for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S radically improved the look and feel of the game on console, and a seasonal roadmap means new content is getting added to the game almost every week.

The stability of Destiny 2 has always ebbed and flowed, but recently things have taken a clear turn for the worse. Prior to Lightfall, the game felt like it was being held together by duct tape, and after the expansion launched in February players became accustomed to checking the Bungie Help Twitter account on a regular basis to see the status of the game’s servers and find out if the always-online game had randomly been shut down for maintenance or not.

In response to a growing number of player concerns and questions, Bungie provided a mini-technical deep-dive into one of the systems that’s paramount to running a massive live-service game and one of the reasons things have felt so rough lately. “When gameplay messages from Destiny 2 are received, they are sent to a key service called ‘Claims,’ which then routes them onto the server that is responsible for your player data,” the studio wrote. “This is an essential service for keeping the client and server in sync during every moment of gameplay.”

A screenshot shows a list of popular server discussion posts on Reddit.

Screenshot: Reddit / Kotaku

With the launch of Lightfall, Bungie apparently tried to update this system to make it more resilient, especially at higher concurrent player numbers. It was clearly a good move, too, since Destiny 2 hit its highest-ever concurrent player numbers on Steam when the expansion arrived. But the improvements also introduced other issues that have ultimately led to an increase in error messages received by players, and thus the need to take the whole game offline at times.

Bungie writes,

Normally, if Claims has its communication channels disrupted to other services, it is designed to automatically restore these connections. These disruptions can happen for a wide variety of reasons, including hardware failures, network hitches, or problems with other services. However, despite rigorous testing, the updated system is not always recovering as expected in our live game environment. If these channels are permanently disrupted, this can be one of the causes behind Weasel, Baboon, or other error codes for a large subset of the player base. In these cases, even a rolling restart of our Claims service is not always enough to restore the service. Instead, a full restart of our Destiny 2 services must be performed to restore the Claims system, which we are rapidly working to correct.

The studio goes on to point out that while addressing the issues with Claims is a high priority, messing it up will make things a whole lot worse, so it will take a bit. In the meantime, Bungie outlined the improvements to stability players can expect in the current and upcoming seasons. A mid-season 21 update will stop stability from getting any worse, while a season 22 launch update will bring a “self-healing” ability to Destiny 2‘s Claims system that will make outages less frequent. A season 23 update should bring even more improvements.

Long story short: things should start getting better soon, beginning with the season 22 update on August 22. Bungie cautions that any change to these systems can temporarily make things worse before they get better, but the main takeaway is that the studio is aware of the issues and working on a long-term plan to deal with them, hopefully before season 24 launches alongside next year’s long-awaited The Final Shape expansion.


The Armored Core 6 Party Is Breaking Steam Records

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon marks the cult-favorite mech series’ long-awaited return after a 10-year hiatus, and it’s been incredible to watch so far. The community is alive and well, trading broken builds and sexy emblem designs, and new players are having their confidence checked by the very first giant helicopter boss. It’s already one of FromSoftware’s biggest Steam releases ever, second only to Elden Ring.

Armored Core VI peaked at 156,171 concurrent players on Valve’s PC gaming storefront over the weekend, and it’s currently the ninth most-played game on the platform at the moment. It even briefly nudged Baldur’s Gate 3 out of the number one spot on the Steam top sellers list. While Elden Ring’s peak concurrent player count still towers over the rest of FromSoftware’s games at 952,523, Armored Core VI’s opening weekend beat out both Dark Souls III and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the last game many of its developers had worked on.

The celebration around theseries’ triumphant return has taken many different forms. Twitch viewers have been happily watching their favorite streamers get their asses kicked by the early bosses. The level of customization, from armor and weapon parts to paint jobs and decals, has players trading their favorite designs, including homages to Mobile Suit Gundam, Warhammer 40K, and anime porn. Armored Core VI already has its first star: Rusty.

The first Armored Core came to PlayStation in 1997, and in the U.S. at least was mostly relegated to the status of “obscure game that one friend won’t shut up about.” The last entry in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi series was Armored Core: Verdict Day, a divisive entry whose muddy PlayStation 3 graphics, overwhelming menus, and multiplayer focus didn’t do it any favors in winning over a larger audience. So what’s different this time around, and why is Armored Core VI getting the red carpet treatment?

Read More: 13 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Armored Core VI

“Thanks to Elden Ring, FromSoftware has become a seal, a guarantee of quality, and therefore people will see that the Metacritic of this game is great, [that] it’s challenging but very rewarding, [and say] ‘I wanna try that game,’” Bandai Namco Europe CEO Arnaud Muller told Gamesindustry.biz last week at Gamescom. While the halo effect from Elden Ring is certainly part of what’s going on, it’s also true that Armored Core VI does a lot to bring new players into the fold.

I’ve only dabbled in some of the past games in the series (Armored Core: Project Phantasma, 3, and Verdict Day) and am by no means an expert. A few things the newest entry has going for it, though, are that it looks fantastic despite being cross-gen, the world building and boss fights are evocative and memorable, and the mission structure helps ease you into the game before overwhelming you with menus and choices. It’s still Armored Core, a different beast from the i-frame dodge-roll fest Soulsborne fans have come to love, but there are a lot more footholds to help new players get onboard.

The clearest one of all is the fact that the world itself is a lot more hospitable, with easy rank-and-file enemies and generous checkpointing. A handful of fights will stop you in your tracks. Otherwise, most of the game is content to let you surf around its futuristic playground like the overpowered robot that you are. It’s a blast, and it’s great to see Armored Core getting welcomed back with open arms.


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