The best shader in the game is behind an annoying grind, so Guardians found a better way: to lose. A lot.
There’s a shader right now in Destiny 2 that can turn anything your Guardian wears into chainmail armor. Aesthetically it doesn’t work on everything, but it works on many, and it looks good Damn it Well. So good that people are banding together to lose dozens of Iron Banner matches in a row just to unlock this shader.
Typically one of Destiny 2’s first PvP game modes, Iron Banner only occurs twice per season and lasts a full week. It used to be three weeks, but Saladin got a new job with the Cabal and now he only has two weeks off to officiate the tournament. Another issue with Iron Banner’s relatively recent revamp is that the reputation it offers for playing matches doesn’t seem particularly balanced.
Guardians have found that the best way to gain reputation is to lose as quickly as possible, rather than actually playing Iron Banner matches. So when the Iron Countershade shader was locked behind almost two full rounds of Saladin’s reputation track, which would normally take between 60 and 80 matches (thanks, Forbes), Guardians did the math. You can get 300 reps for winning a match, which can take up to nine minutes, or you can get 220 reps for losing a match as quickly as possible, which can take anywhere from three to four minutes. Sure, that means playing more games, but those games are much shorter.
Combine a highly desirable shader, an extremely annoying grind, and a fix to that grind where losing two matches quickly yields more progress towards that shader than winning a single match, and you have a bizarre scenario where the Keeper try to form six-player teams and intentionally throw every single Iron Banner match they participate in.
Destiny 2’s LFG is now full of players trying to farm Iron Banner reputation by losing. Failures have become the norm. And when two Iron Banner teams want to throw each other, some really bizarre fights can ensue.
This is hardly the first time Destiny 2 players have played the system to earn better rewards. Back in 2021, Guardians began fixing Trials of Osiris matches using the Hakke Emblem method to ensure they were getting the best possible loot.
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