Hey everyone, I wanted to write a little about Destiny 2 PvP and some tips on being a top tier player. I led a lot of "Crucible school" in Destiny 1 and did lots of trials sherpa runs and carries and a lot of people appreciate the feedback I gave them during runs. So I'm gonna compile a list of top 5 tips for being the best in the Crucible in Destiny 2. All of my info is coming from playing a lot on PC, playing D2 on Xbox for a few weeks and watching plenty of streamers play.
My suggestion for incorporating all of this is to take 1 tip at a time and focus on it for a few games. Don't try to do it all at once. Once you start getting the feel for a specific thing, take another item and start focusing on it for a few games. Pretty soon you'll be doing all of this subconsciously. I'll list the tips in the order I think they go from easiest to pick up to hardest.
There's a TLDR for each tip if you don't wanna really read, but I go in depth on them anyways if you are interested. So let's get started.
1. Head level
TLDR: Learn where head level is and pre-aim there before each gun fight.
I think this is the easiest thing to start with and it will automatically make you better in terms of gun skill and winning your 1v1s. Learn where head level is. Pay attention to when you're running around a map, is your reticle in the center of your screen? Or are you looking slightly downwards towards your feet?
You need to always be ready for a gun fight, and that means having your reticle in the optimal place to get the best first shot off. Learn where head level is and be aiming there before your opponent gets there. In Destiny PvP, head shots are "critical" shots and have yellow numbers, and most have a multiplier around 1.3x. So if you're hitting headshots instead of body shots, you're gonna win gun fights the majority of the time. Get used to seeing those yellow numbers pop up, and don't settle for anything less. When your radar turns red, and you know an enemy is about to walk around that corner, have your gun ready at head level. With hand cannons, autos, and scouts, you want head level. For pulses, you want to aim around neck/top of chest level so your burst will drift upwards into a headshot. If you get the first shot, and its a headshot, your odds of winning the engagment are greatly increased.
This is even more true for snipers. Sniping has arguably the highest gun skill requirement in the game to be really good. If you've ever thought "I can't hit shit with a sniper", I'm here to say "don't try to.". Sure, there are god tier players who will hit crazy snipes. But the best snipers simply aim at head level near corners, boxes, on control points, and let the enemy walk into a headshot. If you're already aiming there, most people will simply peek out and put their face right where you want it. Simple trigger pull and you get an easy snipe.
One last thing on this, practice finding head level at different elevation points. There are plenty of maps where you will be way above or way below an enemy. Know how tall a guardian is on different elevations and at different distances. You hit those yellow numbers consistently and you'll win your gunfights.
2. Slide your ass
TLDR: Slide often so people can't pre-aim at your head, like you learned up in tip No. 1.
Now that you've read tip #1, you gotta think about the other side of it. What if the other team is full of top players who also always aim at head level? The answer is: slide your ass. Slide your ass everywhere. Slide around corners. Slide around boxes. Slide into your gunfights. Slide when you're running out in the open.
Like I said, top players will be aiming at head level. Assume everyone has a sniper aimed at every corner, down every hallway, across every open area. Slide often. This keeps your head from being easily targeted and makes you harder to hit. If someone is aimimg a sniper around a corner at head level, and you slide under their reticle and start firing at them, this puts the burden of hitting a crazy good shot on them, rather than them having an easy shot on you.
Sliding into gunfights also messes up your enemy's aim and makes them adjust to your new height during your gunfight, giving you the opportunity to pull ahead in the fight. If you do get into a gunfight standing up, simply crouch halfway through the gunfight and watch your foe's brain explode with confusion. Once they're in the groove of shooting at your face, and you crouch, suddenly their aim becomes potato. Good players will be better at adjusting, but most of the time this will help you win a fight. Don't forget to adjust your own aim when you do crouch.
By default on PC, the slide key will be left control and will activate when you press it after sprinting. You can chain unlimited sprints and slides now as there is no longer a sprint cooldown. I personally like the key being on left control, but if you don't I highly suggest you map it somewhere that is comfortable to you and start using it.
3. Don't jump
TLDR: Don't jump in gunfights. Bullet spread is crazy and you are fully exposed and easy to hit.
For some reason, the default reaction when you're getting shot is to jump. We're all guilty of it. In Call of Duty, jumping over someone and gunning them down is pretty easy. Not in Destiny. In Destiny, when you're in the air all weapon accuracy decreases quite a bit. There becomes an element of randomness to your bullets. It becomes harder to hit someone and even if your aim is perfect, the game won't let you hit all your shots every time. Bungie has made it clear that they do not want people jumping around, flying through the air gunning down every enemy they see. So don't try it.
When you jump, especially when you double jump, you float. You float for soooo long. Warlocks and Titans especially. You just float in the air, hanging there waiting to die. You become VERY predictable in what pattern you will come down in (gravity, duh), you become very easy to hit because your entire body is out in the open for everyone to see, and you will mostly likely die before you get halfway to the ground.
If your enemy jumps during your gunfight, take your time and line up your shots. They've just given you a huge advantage. They are now travelling in a predictable arc, they are less accurate and they are fully exposed. You will win the fight. In air snipes are some of the easiest snipes to hit, right there with people who walk head level around corners. If they jump, put your sniper where their head will be after you've adjusted for their falling arc, and let them fall into it. Ez pz.
For hand cannons, auto rifles, sidearms, or other continuous fire weapons, practice your tracking. Practice being able to smoothly track enemies who move in a predictable fashion like this. Its so satisfying to be able to follow someone smoothly with your mouse while seeing a spray of yellow numbers come out of their face.
There may be a few instances where you would want to jump in or out of a gun fight. You can jump (single jump) around a corner to begin an engagement, you can jump when someone is point blank and just tyring to melee you, or you can try to jump to get behind some cover. Maybe you can jump around their head and outgun them. But MOST of the time, maybe even 90% of the time, in a normal gunfight, 1v1 out in the open, you do not want to jump.
So what do you do if you're caught out in the open, being shot by someone you don't see? Slide to cover. Sprint, slide, sprint, slide, sprint, slide until you find a box, or a wall, or a corner, or another teammate where you can hide and get your bearings. If you jump, you die. Simple as that.
A quick note on blink: I use blink on Warlocks. Blink is an evasive maneuver. It's meant for you to use it to escape. You can use it to get behind an enemy, to travel across open corridors from cover to cover, or to just straight juke someone. It is not meant to be used offensively. When you blink, you have a short period of frames where you still be shot, but you cannot use your weapon. For this reason, do not blink INTO gun fights. Blink out of them. Remember, the direction and distance of blink is determined by your current momentum (speed and direction).
TLDR: Tell your team where you are and where the enemy is. A lot.
It's no secret that Destiny 2 has become even more team oriented in the Crucible. For this reason, communication can make the difference in a match. 3 little words become extremely powerful when communicating with your team: "I love you". Ok, just kidding. The 3 words I'm talking about are "I'm with you."
When your teammates get into gunfights, they are most likely focused on their target. They are focused on evaluating if they can win the gun fight. They are thinking "will I win this gunfight? Am I outnumbered? Do I have backup?". Letting your teammates know simply that you are with them can turn the tide of a fight. You can give your team confidence and avoid arguments like "why did you leave me??? It was 2v3 until you left and then we all died!!"
Being together in gunfights and on the map are crucial. Let your teammates know when you are with them. There are also other examples of communciation that can help in a match. Do you see your teammate fighting an enemy, but they're in a bad position and you can't help? Tell them "back up, I can cover you a few steps back".
Did you just peek a corner and see the red glint of a sniper? Let your team know: "Sniper down mid lane".
Ready to make a big push towards B? "Ok I have a grenade, rush B in 3,2,1...".
So many things can be communciated in a match. "I'm dropping a healing rift." "I have a wall on the left." "1 flanking from our spawn." Don't be afraid to talk. When I play warlock, one of the things I say the most is "I'm dropping a rift, we can fight here." I'm telling my teammates that we have a healing rift, and that we are choosing to lock in this position for an extended gun fight. We can peek in and out of the rift and have an advantage in a 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 fight.
Did your teammate just get sniped in the face? Tell them "slide your corners." King and I pretty much tell everyone that every time we get a snipe. If we hit someone in the face, we tell the enemy "SLIDE YOUR CORNERS BRO". If we see our teammate get sniped in the kill feed, it's "slide your corners you scrub". Your teammate get picked out of the air? "Don't jump". Help your teammates help you.
TLDR: Always be aware of where you are on the map, what cover is behind you, where the enemy could be.
Oh boy this is a big one. This could easily be 5 more, or even 10 more points, but I'm going to cover it here wtih a few subpoints. Besides raw mechanical mouse and keyboard finger/hand skill and gun skill, this is what separates the scrubs from the gods. Game sense. Smarts. You can beat anyone if you can out position them and out smart them.
I'm going to break down positioning into a few sub-tips that you should focus on. The basics of positioning are as follows:
i. Where am I on the map? At any given time in a match, there will be "your side of the map" and the "enemy side of the map". This is initally determined by where you spawn. If you run headfirst into the enemy spawn, into a 4v1, you die immediately. The basic goal of clash (team deathmatch) is to poke and prod at the boundary of the enemy line, until you get 1 or 2 kills, then force yourself into their territory. As a team, kill the remaining enemies, and now this becomes "your side of the map". You have effectively swapped the spawns. Now you simply rinse and repeat until you win. For games like control (domination in CoD), you want to continuously poke that line, but never push in. Just trap them in their own spawn. If you overextend before you should, you will most likely die and your team will be in a 3v4. The enemy will push into your territory with numbers and take control, gaining the lead and gaining map control. Pushing around the map as a team, knowing where that invisible line is between where you control and where they control is the first part of positioning. Against terrible teams you'll be able to run around freely without much consequence, but against good teams you will need to move together and control the map. Staying in one place too long can get you killed. Rotate. Rotate. Rotate.
ii. Do I have cover? This is big. Don't go anywhere on a map where you don't have cover. Make sure wherever you are, if you were to start getting shot, you can easily duck behind a box, or a wall, or turn a corner, or run through a doorway. If you must run across an open area, do it quickly, and slide across it. "Cover" can mean lots of things. It can mean physical objects that block line of sight for an enemy. It can mean the edge of the map where someone cannot possibly come from. It can be using your radar to watch your left while you move right. It can be a teammate that has positioned themselves to cover your back. Ideally you want to always be set up with cover such that your enemy can come from 1 possible direction, and that's the direction your gun is pointed in. This sounds difficult, but here's an example. While capping C control point on Javelin, use the boxes next to the control point to cover your left, use the edge of the map behind you to cover your back, use a teammate to cover your right (stair area with power ammo), and you point your gun straight ahead (towards the stairs in the middle of the map). Now you're covered from 3 angles and you're watching the 4th.
iii. Flanking. You'll hear plenty of people on reddit saying "flanking is useless now", "its all about holding your teammate's dick", "crucible is boring". These people have bad positioning. Flanking is still viable. You just need to be smarter about it. If you want to flank, you need to first go back to tip 5.i. Flanking is about tip-toeing that line between your map control and your enemy's. Its about poking them and annoying them, causing them to either drift apart as a team, position themselves badly, or die because they aren't paying attention.
Now let's look at the two sides of the flanking story. You are playing trials, and you notice 3 enemies in front of you and 1 red blip on your radar from behind. 1 person is flanking you. That person is now out of position, and they need to be punished for it. As soon as you notice a flank, you must command and order your team to abandon whatever they're doing and kill the flanker. Rush him and kill him. He's going for a cheeky pick while you're not paying attention. Turn that into a 4v1 easy kill, then go back to a 4v3 fight where you have a man advantage. Don't let 1 person go after him, don't let 1 person stay to distract the other 3, ALL FOUR OF YOU go kill him. Its just too easy to not take advantage of. The people that die this way are the people who bitch about "flanking being useless" now.
Now, say you want to get your flank on. After reading the above story, it doesn't seem like a good idea. What you need for a successful flank is an escape route. Make sure that wherever you go during your flank attempt, you can get out quickly and get out alive. If they try to punish you 4v1, you need to be able to get out. If you can't get out, you positioned yourself badly and you hurt your team. This takes in depth map knowledge and planning and radar awareness.
Now let's talk about baiting. Flanking can lead to baiting, on both sides. You need to be careful about chasing a flanker. If you can't kill them quickly, and chase them too far, you may be falling into their trap. A simple "I'm bringing 2 back to you" from a flanker can turn the 2v1 you had into a 2v4 against you, and you lose. This still goes under positioning, because if they manage to get back across that line of map control, and suddenly you are out of position, you lose. This can also work into your favor. Flanking and poking the team can draw 1 or 2 of them out, which you can bait back to your teammates for easy team kills. Flanking is a delicate thing, but can be very good when used correctly.
iv. What to do when you are badly positioned. So what do you do when you find yourself in a bad position? Despite all your previous training, you've managed to screw yourself and need help. First, look at your radar. It's probably red all around. You need to quickly pick an enemy, hopefully one who is alone and blocking your primary escape route. Rush him. You want to turn yourself being surrounded into a quick 1v1 by distancing yourself from 2-3 other enemies and pushing towards 1. Get that 1 kill, open up an escape route and get out. Sometimes this won't work and you're just plain screwed, but doing this may give you a chance.
BONUS TIP: Stay Alive
TLDR: You're better alive than dead.
My last point for this guide in total. Stay alive. This is a no-brainer right? Remember, as Shaxx would say, "you can't kill if you're dead." You're always better off staying alive and not getting a kill than sticking in a losing gunfight and still not getting the kill and dying in the process. Don't be afraid to run away. It doesn't matter if you get 30 kills if you die 30 times. This point here will make you take everything you've learned above and apply it quickly to make decisions on the fly. For most guns in Destiny 2, the OPTIMAL time to kill is about 1.2 seconds (call of duty is about 0.3 seconds). This will obviously increase with any missed shots. And this will decrease significantly with each enemy shooting you. You need to be able to quickly evaluate whether you can win a gunfight, or whether you will lose a gunfight if you do not get out right now. This is easier in 1v1s and gets harder when facing mulitple enemies. I'll give some examples.
Scenario 1: You engage in a 1v1 battle. You are using a hand cannon, and so are they. You know that it takes 4 hand cannon shots to kill, as long as 1 of them is a headshot. You hit your first shot, a body shot. You feel 1 shot hit you. You miss your next shot, you feel another shot hit you. At this point, you are behind in the gun fight. You can try to crouch and mess up your opponent's aim, you can try to dodge (as a hunter), you can put up a wall (as a titan), or you can hope that your enemy misses a shot and you hit your next 3 and 1 of them is a headshot. Or you can use your pre-planned escape route or cover because of your awesome positioning (remember what we learned above) to disengage from the gunfight and stay alive. This is the simplest example. Knowing how many shots/bursts (scouts, hand cannons, pulses) it takes to kill, or getting the feel (autos, smgs, sidearms) for how long a gun takes to kill is important in evaluating when you're in a winning/losing fight.
Scenario 2: Let's say you turn a corner and see 2 enemies down the hallway. You won't win a normal 2v1, but you can still evaluate this fight. Are you positioned close enough to cover that you can cut line of sight from the second enemy, and turn this into two 1v1s? Do you have enough time to kill 1 enemy before the other can regain line of sight? It's very important to cut sightlines. Are either of them already weak and can be picked off quickly? All these things need to be decided quickly, and you either need to start winning the fight, or get out if its not possible. If you can't win, just get out.
Scenario 3: Now let's assume your teammates are sticking with you. You turn a corner and see 2 enemies. You can't win a 2v1. Did your teammate say he was with you? Fight it out. Are you weak? Tell your teammate you need to back off for a moment. Maybe help them out by dropping a healing rift or a wall. Communication is also very important when evaluating if you can win team fights.
Scenario 4: Ok, this time you turn a corner and see 2,3,4 enemies. You're alone. You need to run. Just turn around and run. There's no reason to die, there's no reason to feed them super energy by letting them kill you. If you run in and die to multiple enemies just because "I woulda lost anyway", that is called feeding, and feeding is bad. Just run, regroup with your teammates and try to reposition yourself. Your number 1 priority is to stay alive, not get kills.
If you ever watch my stream, sometimes you'll hear me say "I got one" or "this guy should die" before I actually kill an enemy. This is because I've already determined that my enemy is out of position or has fallen behind in the gun fight and barring a miracle, I will secure this kill.
For every time you hear me say that, you'll also hear me say "I'm dead" before I actually die, for the same reasons. I've fallen behind in the gun fight, I'm out of position and I know I should die. If I do manage to win these fights, it's usually followed by "ooooohhh he choked!"
Try to constantly evaluate what's going on in each of your fights and know when you will win, and when you should bail before you die.
Again, I recommend trying to incorporate one of these tips into your game at a time. Positioning will be the hardest and will take time. There's always room to improve. One last thing, when you do die, ask yourself what happened. Were you out of position? Should you have not been there? Should you have not done that? Or was the other guy just better than you? Fix the things you can and learn from your mistakes. In the end its all about having fun, but winning is more fun than losing! I look forward to visiting the spire with all of you.