Having admittedly let the mode stagnate for a “couple of years,” Gambit is finally in store for a major overhaul with Destiny 2’s Season 16 patch. With everything from rewards and ammo economy being tweaked, we’ve got the full rundown on all the big changes.
While Gambit has long served as a middle ground between PVE and PVP in Destiny 2, the unique mode hasn’t received much attention in recent years. Following the addition of Gambit Prime in early 2019, The Drifter and his activity have mostly been left in the background.
That’s finally set to change with the arrival of The Witch Queen expansion along with its colossal Season 16 update. Gambit is finally changing in a number of key ways with the February 22 patch and there’s plenty to wrap your head around before diving in.
Intending to “appeal to a wider audience,” as Principal Designer Alan Blaine explained, everything from Primeval boss fights to Gambit-exclusive rewards have been under the microscope. Here’s a complete rundown on all you need to know.
New Freelance Gambit node
The first major change coming to Gambit in Season 16 is an entirely new way to play. Gambit Freelance is on its way to Destiny 2, allowing players to solo-queue into the mode.
Rather than jumping in against a full Fireteam and feeling their wrath, this playlist intends to focus on a more balanced experience for individual players.
It’s worth noting, however, that this Freelance option isn’t a permanent solution. Bungie is “investigating ways to remove the need for Freelance nodes that split the population.”
While a more long-term option remains in the works, this new matchmaking tool arrives in Season 16 as a temporary aid for Gambit.
Gambit Ammo economy changes in Season 16
Ammo balancing has always been touchy when it comes to Gambit. Too much Heavy Ammo and we end up with another Sleeper Simulant crisis. Too little Heavy Ammo and invading becomes almost impossible. It’s a fine line to walk.
The latest changes look to give all players a fair amount of both Heavy and Special Ammo moving forward.
After every Front, all players can interact with a chest for a “small amount” of both Ammo types.
Furthermore, one Heavy brick is also available for every player on your Fireteam after killing a high-value target.
- Read More: Witch Queen will be make or break moment
As a last bonus, players with finder mods equipped on their gear can also find additional Heavy and Ammo from regular enemy types in Gambit.
Gambit Rewards in Season 16
Engram focusing is finally confirmed for Gambit. Following in the footsteps of Trials, Gambit engrams can soon be focused into specific Gambit Armor or Gambit Weapons for a small cost. Just 10,000 Glimmer and 50 Legendary Shards are needed to focus this gear.
Outside of “expanding Drifter’s focusing options” in future Seasons, previous content should also be easier to grab.
- Read More: All Witch Queen exotics
From earlier Gambit shaders to The Furtive Shell Ghost, various rewards like these now have a chance of dropping at the end of any match.
Full Gambit changes on the way
Beyond the details mentioned above, a ton of smaller tweaks are being made under the hood as well. Below is a full list of every change coming to Gambit in the Season 16 update.
Core Activity Changes
- Freelance node added.
- We think it’s important that players feel like they always have a chance at winning, and we see over and over again that full stacks of friends or clanmates have a significant advantage over groups of solo matchmade opponents.
- The modes we have added Freelance nodes to (Iron Banner, Glory, and Trials of Osiris) all feel like they end up with more balanced matches more often, even as they increase and split the number of matchmaking pools.
- We are investigating ways to remove the need for Freelance nodes that split the population, and hope to have something for you later this year.
- In the meantime, the ability to queue for Gambit Freelance should be very useful.
- Rotating seasonal selection of curated encounters starting in Season 16.
- In Classic Gambit/Prime, you got a randomly selected encounter from a list of three for each enemy race, on each map. In Beyond Light, due to production issues, we were only able to bring one of the three variations forward into the new activity. Those issues have been fixed, and we are now bringing the missing variations forward.
- Playing with the single variation for race/map for a year led us to an interesting observation: it’s FUN to know that ‘Hive on Pacifica’ means “Oh, god, those Shriekers” and to learn the spawns and master them over time.
- Maybe not interesting for an entire year, but we think it will be interesting to have a set rotation of spawns for a Season and over those three months, really master each encounter.
- So, no more Shriekers on Pacifica for now, but they will be back later in the year!
- Respawn points added to all Fronts (sections of maps where enemies could cycle in or out).
- It can be frustrating to always have to run all the way from the backfield after spawning before you are able to help teammates, fight the invader, collect dropped Motes, etc.
- It can also be very frustrating as an invader to always spawn at the same location on the same map multiple times in a row, or to have the invader camp the entrance to avoid confrontation.
- More respawn points spread throughout Fronts should help you get back into the action faster, and provide for less predictable spawn points during Invasions.
- Players always drop half the Motes they were carrying when they are defeated.
- These can be picked up by anyone, including invaders! Invaders can also drop more Motes now!
- This makes recovering from a ruthless invader (or bad luck fighting enemies) a little easier.
- Players can be revived by other players two seconds earlier, and auto-respawn is delayed two seconds.
- We want to emphasize and reward teamwork as much as possible — bringing your teammate back (and saving them a run) now is even easier.
- This change should also reduce the frustrating moments of teammates being forced to respawn as you’re halfway through the revive interact.
- When your teammate dies and you run to grab their dropped Motes, stop for a second and revive them, will ya?
- All shields have increasing resistance to non-matching damage types.
- While not as severe as Match Game resistance in Nightfalls, we wanted a way to promote buildcrafting and teamwork.
- “Rules of Gambit” node added to the launch screen, and numerous Gambit-specific hints have been added to the load screen.
- Gambit can be a bit opaque to newcomers — this should give them a leg up.
Blockers, Draining, and the Bank
- 10 Mote Phalanx Blocker has its health boosted a bit.
- While they are a good positional challenge with their shield and knockback, we felt like they weren’t quite tough enough for their Mote cost compared to the Knight, so we increased their health.
- 15 Mote Knight Blocker gains a Stasis attack.
- We originally planned to pull its health down some as we felt it was a little too beef for 15 Motes, but with the ammo changes below, we didn’t find the current health onerous in playtesting.
- We did think they could be more tactically interesting with a Stasis attack without necessarily making them more deadly or harder to kill.
- Mote drain from multiple Blockers continues even if the opposing team is in Primeval phase.
- This will help the team that is behind get to the Primeval a little quicker – it’s never felt great to send over four Blockers only to have the enemy team ignore them, all while still being severely behind.
- This also gives the team in the lead a bit more incentive to kill Blockers during their Primeval phase.
- Mote drain is paused if a player is near the bank and engaging Blockers.
- It never feels great to have your Motes draining away while you pour Primary ammo into three Taken Knights.
- When completing a Front, a chest containing a small amount of Special and Heavy ammo spawns in the middle of the Front and can be looted once by each player.
- It times out 20 seconds after the initial interact, so you still can’t dilly-dally.
- Killing a high-value target spawns one normal Heavy brick for each player.
- During the Primeval phase, ammo chests spawn in one of the Fronts every 60 seconds.
- This replaces the regular Front ammo chests – but you still need to find the time to go grab it!
- Limited Special and Heavy ammo bricks to only spawn from enemies if you have finder mods equipped.
- Other ammo Exotics and perks, like Aeon Cult still work.
The Primeval Fight
- Primeval health and Slayer stack bonus retuned.
- Burning the boss after three rounds of Envoys should be just as easy as it is now, but burning him after just one or two rounds should be significantly more work.
- Envoys now spawn with friends out in the Fronts, rather than in the bank area.
- They have reduced health, and are no longer affected by Slayer stacks, and have varied elemental shields.
- Killing the Envoys to get Slayer stacks will require movement, dealing with the Envoy’s protectors, and dealing with their elemental shield.
- Envoys put an invulnerability shield on Primeval.
- You must kill them both to remove it and damage the Primeval, forcing your team to go out and invade.
- Envoys respawn at 30% of the Primeval damage done.
- This increases by 10% every Envoy respawn, and Envoys stop spawning after the fifth spawn.
- The Primeval Servitor boss is removed, since its custom shielding mechanics conflicted with the new mechanics.
- The Malfeasance quest starts on the first Primeval kill.
- Level advantage is “now” disabled for Invader PvP.
- It has actually been like this since the start of Beyond Light. Surprise!
- One of the Mote phase invasions has been removed.
- Invasions now trigger at 40 and 80 Mote thresholds.
- Primeval phase invasions are unchanged.
- Invasions can no longer be saved up.
- Use it or lose it, pal.
- Invader no longer can see how many Motes enemy players are carrying, and player nameplates fade out when the Invader is aiming down their sights.
- You can still see players through walls, just not while you are engaging your rocket tracking, or using your sniper zoom.
- We found a bug with how the Primeval heal effect was being applied, which depending on the sequence and timing of kills, would heal the Primeval for somewhere between 5 and 35%.
- We fixed it, and now invader kills heal the Primeval for exactly 27% every time.
- This sounds like a LOT but is actually less than the optimal amount prior. We will be watching feedback and analytics very closely on this one and will retune as necessary.
- You can focus the Gambit engram into either ‘Gambit Armor’ or ‘Gambit Weapons’ for 10,000 Glimmer and 50 Legendary Shards.
- Gambit Weapons includes: Crowd Pleaser, Bottom Dollar, Trinary System, Borrowed Time, and Servant Leader.
- Brand new Gambit weapons are drop-only for a single Season, and are then available for focusing.
- We expect to expand Drifter’s focusing options further during upcoming Seasons.
- Other Drifter Changes
- Bygones/Trust/Bad Omens have been removed from the vendor.
- End Match Drops
- There is a Gambit memento for weapon crafting that can drop after any match.
- Older Gambit shaders now have a small chance of dropping at the end of each match.
- Primeval Servitor cosmetic drops can now drop at the end of any match.
- The Furtive Shell ghost can now drop at the end of any match.