The best shader in the game is locked behind a nuisance grind, so Guardians found a better way: losing. Very.
There is now shading in Destiny 2 that can turn anything your guardian wears into mail armor. It doesn’t work on everything, aesthetically speaking, but it works on many and it looks damn good. So good that people group up to lose dozens of Iron Banner matches in a row just to unlock this shader.
Typically one of Destiny 2’s main PvP game modes, Iron Banner appears only twice per season and lasts an entire week. It used to exist for three weeks, but Saladin got a new job in Kabbalah and now has only two weeks off to run the tournament. Another issue with the relatively recent overhaul of Iron Banner is that the reputation it provides for playing matches doesn’t feel particularly well-balanced.
The Rangers concluded that the best way to gain reputation was to lose as quickly as possible, rather than playing legal Iron Banner matches. So when the Iron Countershade shader was locked for almost two full laps of Saladin’s reputation track, which would normally take 60 to 80 matches to accomplish (thanks, Forbes), the Guardians did the math. You can get 300 rep for winning a match that can last as long as nine minutes, or you can get 220 rep for losing a match as quickly as possible, which can take three to four minutes. Sure, that means playing more games, but those games are a lot shorter.
Combining a highly coveted shader, an extremely strenuous grind, and a solution to that grind where losing two matches quickly grants you more progress in that shader than winning one match, you get a bizarre scenario where Guardians want to create teams of six to purposely throw every Iron Banner matchup, in which they participate.
The Destiny 2 LFG is now full of players looking to earn Iron Banner Reputation by losing. The outbreak has become the norm. And when two Iron Banner teams looking to roll meet, you can get some really freaky matches.
This isn’t the first time Destiny 2 players have been playing the system for better rewards. In 2021, Guardians began fixing Trials of Osiris matches using the Hakke Emblem method to ensure they get the best loot.
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