It is that time of year again: the Guardian Games have returned to Destiny 2 The annual celebration is entering its third year and whether you love it or hate it, it’s back with some new seasonal offerings: new cosmetics, a new submachine gun named The Title and a new way to engage with the core seasonal mechanic of laurels and medals. This new mechanic is the introduction of an alteration of the Vanguard Strikes playlist, which gives buffs and bonuses when completed in a variety of ways.

In addition to this, the new playlists also bring back Strike Scoring, a system introduced in Destiny 1 that rewarded players for completing Strikes in fun and unique ways. Whether it was killing enemies rapidly with a certain type of gun, or using your abilities to quickly blitz an encounter, Scoring offered medals and points which prompted players to climb ever higher for better scores.

Despite not offering anything directly outside of score and pride, the mode was a highly acclaimed addition to the Strike playlist, and it went a long way to keeping the playlist fresh and repayable day after day (alongside Strike specific loot).

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That was Destiny 1 though. Here, in Destiny 2 the same system has returned for Guardian Games and despite only spending a few hours with the mode, one thing has become clear: we need Strike Scoring back, now more than ever.

Guardian Games Strike Scoring

New Guardian Games Warlock Armour. Destiny 2, Bungie

The new form of Strike Scoring has had very little alteration from the original mode. It still has medals for completing objectives in certain ways, scoring to accompany that and a rating system ranking from Bronze to Platinum (up for Gold in Destiny 1). Getting higher scores may help grant more rewards from the playlist or to complete certain challenges but overall, it’s still the same.

And yet, it is so much more engaging than regular Strikes.

Just knowing that there are medals up to grab and scores to rapidly increase becomes so much more engaging and fun. It pushes you to actively go for interesting ways of playing or makes you consider going forward with a more unique style of play. Do I try for the 9 rapid precisions kill medal or the 30 kills with rapid-fire weapons? Can we make it to Platinum in this run?

The game does have a system like this in Nightfalls, with scores increasing as a way to offer more rewards. However, in Nightfalls it feels like a bar to hit – to even get decent loot, you need to hit Platinum, which paired with the locked loadout of Nightfalls means that you need to bring the best of the best to every run. Regular Strike Scoring is drastically opposed to this, inviting new, fun ways to play and engage with Strikes (with the medals being a particularly large draw in this area) where you don’t need the best gear.

With the state that Strikes are currently in, they need a lot of help. Unlike their Destiny 1 counterparts, the best loot is locked to Nightfalls and Grandmaster Nightfalls and there are no longer any forms of Strike specific gear (guns and armour that can only drop from a single Strike that match the aesthetic of said Strike). There is very little reason to compete in the playlist aside from early-season pinnacles and to get the seasonal ritual weapon.

If Strike Scoring was introduced, however, maybe that could change.

The Future of Strike Scoring

New Strike Medals for Guardian Games 2022. Destiny 2, Bungie

Being able to go into the regular playlist and play to just simply have fun would go so far in making the current Strike playlist feel fun and fresh. You could focus on getting high scores and beating your mates, on getting fancy medals to show off your prestige, and on simply having fun. Of course, just putting scoring in wouldn’t fix a lot of fundamental problems that Strikes are currently facing, but it’s a start.

Pair scoring with cosmetic rewards (an emblem that tracks certain medals maybe or a unique shader for reaching high scores) and some more interesting modifiers that play into allowing Guardians to achieve these high tier medals, and then the Strike playlist suddenly becomes a little more appealing.

With how Bungie has approached Strikes in recent years, it’s very clear that they will never likely return to the height of their popularity in Destiny 1. Too much has changed, too much is missing or available in other areas of the game. But just because it’ll never be the same, doesn’t mean that the playlist can never be just as fun or engaging. Opening the playlist as a neutral playground, without the need for restrictive loadouts or high power level, and offering it as a place to score big and have fun without stress would go a very long way.

Strike Scoring returning has made me a very happy Guardian and it is my utmost hope that this means some sort of return to general play in the future. Bungie has recaptured my attention and made me enjoy Strikes again with this change – let’s just hope they don’t keep it locked to a once-a-year showing.

The newest seasonal activity, Guardian Games, has just gone live in Destiny 2, running from the 3rd of May to the 24th of May. You can find more information on the event here.

Destiny 2 is available for free on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.

Jack Carson