Destiny 2’s aim assist options are unchanged from the beta

Destiny 2 PC beta trailer

Update, October 24: Destiny 2’s PC release is nearly here, and Bungie have no plans to change their approach to aim assist just yet.

Destiny 2’s aim assist has been a hot topic since the PC beta, as its generous nature has some players concerned about its effect on the balance of competitive play. Some players say it’s seriously over-powered, others say its effect is negligible, but everybody agrees that the Crucible will soon be filled with players complaining that the assists offer an unfair advantage.

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That was all based on the beta some time ago, and with Destiny 2’s final PC release upon us it seems Bungie have no plans to change their approach to aim assists – for now, anyway. “We went back and double checked to make sure there was nothing funky going on, and that there were no exploits,” PC project lead David Shaw tells IGN. “The PC is very much about choice, though the vast majority of players want to play on PC with a mouse, there are those who want to sit on their couch and use a controller.”

Competitive play is a small part of Destiny relative to many other shooters, and its main focus is on PvE co-op, so it’s no surprise to see controller support as a priority for Bungie even if it does mean assists can be applied to traditional mouse aiming. Of course, the options like XIM required to make those assists always make for less smooth aiming, and Shaw seems confident those issues will prevent spoofed aim assists from becoming a serious problem. Yet if it does, he assures the world that “we are going to keep our ears open.”

Update August 31, 2017:A Destiny streamer has tested various input methods in the Destiny 2 beta, and shared some thoughts about aim assist.

After rumblings on Reddit (see original story, below) about the presence of aim assist when playing Destiny 2 PC with a controller, pro Destiny streamer Dr Lupo did a bit of testing.

Besides using the native mouse-and-keyboard (MKB) and a controller with aim assist, he also used a XIM input adapter to play with MKB andaim assist. He says gameplay outcomes vary depending on the weapon, and that, in his experience, aim assist isn’t that big of a deal, given average skill.

“I’ve seen on Reddit, Twitter etc thatmanypeople are bending my words to state that the XIM is now ‘OP’. Nope. Not at all what I’ve said. Here’s what I’ve said in the past:

“In Destiny’s sandbox, because of how the aim assist has functioned, a controller with aim assist is on-par with a mouse with aim assist via the XIM. When you leave Destiny, things change. But we’re talking about Destiny, aren’t we?”

Ina further statement to PC Gamer, Dr Lupo points out “the XIM still involves translation, which means it will never be as precise as a native mouse.” He also acknowledges that the existence of any aim assist will give salty players a cop-out excuse for losing, inviting toxicity in the community.

Lupo’s view seems to be that aim assist doesn’t make enough of a difference to imbalance the PvP game for casual players, and opens the game up to a larger audience. However, he recommends it be removed from PvP on PC if Bungie hope for Destiny 2 to be taken seriously as a competitive game, but if they don’t, it should be left as is.

It’s interesting to compare his remarks with the Reddit thread we found yesterday (see original story, below). The OP of that thread claims the controller aim assist is so huge as to be “VERY OP” in itself, while the top-voted reply suggests that controller spoofing (e.g., via a XIM) while using MKB would be another level of broken.

I tried playing with a controller in the beta last night. The aim assist does make weapons noticeably stickier over an opponent’s head and I was able to compete, but most of my games with MKB went better. My suggestion would be to enable aim assist in the quickplay playlist, and disable it for the competitive list and/or the forthcoming Trials mode. The bifurcation of competitive and casual PvP is already right there in the game – why not make aim assist another aspect of it?

Here’s Dr Lupo’s statement in full, via Twitter:

Original story August 30, 2017:Bungie have promised that, if you prefer the feel of a controller, the PC version of Destiny 2 will support it – to the point where you can have both a controller and keyboard-and-mouse plugged in, and can switch between the two on the fly. Bungie have even implied that the game will make adjustments when it detects controller input, and it looks like the impact of that is pretty far-reaching.

DirtyMercy reports on Reddit that controller input will cause the game to add a lot of aim assistance. And we mean a lot: “Believe it or not, it is VERY OP,” DirtyMercy says. “I was instantly landing nearly every shot by just swinging my joystick around and spamming aim/shoot.”

The worst this would do in PvE is trivialise the challenge, but in PvP, the problems go much deeper. DirtyMercy says they were “top of the board and won most games due to just wiping the enemy team.”

So it seems the aim assist for controller input needs to be revised off the back of the PC beta, but as long as controllers get any aim assist at all, there’s a second concern.

RandomedXY points out that controller spoofing/emulation would enable you to add this aim assist even while playing with a mouse and keyboard. Some input adapter hardware can do this, and Bungie can’t do much to stop it. It may also be possible with controller emulation software provided it doesn’t try to inject code directly into the Destiny 2 client; Bungie say Destiny 2 will block such code as part of a thorough approach to anti-cheat. (This preventscertain appsfrom interacting with Destiny 2, but any that don’t rely on code insertion will work fine.)

It’s great to see Bungie taking security on PC so seriously, but their assurances so far haven’t specifically covered this new issue. The drastic solution is to disable aim assist entirely in Destiny 2’s PvP – which most on the Reddit thread seem to think is a good idea. Another possibility is to separate PvP games by input. Which would you prefer?