The recent conversations about a potential ping system come down to Toland, an entity purportedly communicating from the Ascendant Realm and represented by an orb-like shape in the Destiny 2 Season of the Deep. Guardians briefly encounter Toland in the seasonal Deep Dive activity, which uses matchmaking to put players together if they’re not already part of a Destiny 2 fireteam. Interacting with Toland causes the entity to ‘Invoke Darkness,’ making the activity harder and granting greater rewards, including triggering a requirement for a weekly challenge. However, the catch is that all three fireteam members have to interact with Toland to activate this effect… and many players do not know they can interact with Toland or understand the entity’s role in the activity.
This is why Destiny 2 players are justifiably requesting a ping system, which some Guardians have wanted for years. With a ping system, players could mark Toland as an indicator that there is an object in the environment and their fireteam members need to interact with it. But Toland is far from the only use case. Players could also apply pings to help others find lore bits and secret chests in the Destiny 2 Ghosts of the Deep dungeon, target Champions as a team in Destiny 2 Nightfalls, or even show fireteam members secrets in various destination environments such as Region Chests or Lost Sector entrances.
Ping systems are becoming increasingly common in FPS and TPS games. Though it was not the first game to have such a system, Apex Legends made waves when it unveiled its ping system with its launch in 2019. Many regarded the game’s novel and robust approach to location marking as a true innovation in how people play games. Fortnite developers immediately noted the possible value a ping system could bring to its battle royale game and released a Fortnite ping system less than a month later.
Ping systems function well as an alternative to comms for players who are shy or are not interested in being harassed based solely on their voice, accent, or affectations. And, with Bungie being so interested in accessibility, a ping system could help players communicate with one another without having to actively face potential harassment by Guardians who might be frustrated, salty, or just all-around bad teammates.
With the launch of Destiny 2 Lightfall, Bungie introduced its Commendations system, which involved all-new visuals, endgame screens, and development works. The system was designed to add positivity and camaraderie to player interactions. Still, even with all that effort, the result seems relatively superficial in practice, as Guardians often assign random Commendations to random teammates. Alternatively, a ping system is a way for players to communicate meaningfully within the context of a game, fostering teamwork and positivity.
The Destiny 2 team is also reportedly working on a Looking for Group (LFG) system, which will undoubtedly be helpful when implemented and seems to be a massive developmental undertaking. However, numerous third-party tools are designed to solve this issue, including Discord channels, console-based LFG systems, and apps. By contrast, a third-party solution for a ping system is not possible. A ping system has the potential to positively impact every player in the game, unlike an LFG system that would primarily impact those looking for fellow Guardians for group activities.
As an FPS game, a ping system would provide great value to Destiny 2. And certainly, Destiny 2 developers have played games such as Apex Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Rainbow Six Siege, and many more shooter-based multiplayer games that have implemented ping systems. So why has Bungie not opted to integrate a ping system for its game?
Any answer would be speculative, but the most likely reality is that the development of such a system wasn’t simply warranted from a cost-to-benefit analysis. But with the Toland issue in the spotlight, it’s at least worth revisiting how much a ping system could realistically impact the overall game experience.
Perhaps as with the blueberries who are lost when it comes to Toland, Bungie just needs something to point its developers in the right direction.