Iron Banner: Then vs Now, A Discussion on Tokens

Remember Destiny 1? I do. It started out as this immense, wondrous, alternate universe where anything seemed possible. It went through iteration upon iteration and tons of hard work by the devs to get to where it concluded just a few short months ago before the launch of Destiny 2. It concluded in a fantastic place. Three years of evolution did good things for Destiny, which is why we were all so excited for its successor.

I’ve made my opinion known that so far, I greatly prefer Destiny 1 Year 3 to Destiny 2 Year 1. To Bungie: Why did we reinvent the wheel? Why are we back to where we started 3 years ago? Why didn’t we build off of what we learned in Destiny 1 to give Destiny 2 its deservedly higher starting platform? This is a mentality I take to many areas of the current game, but this time out I’d like to focus on its newest feature, Iron Banner.

Iron Banner in Destiny 1 grew into something even non-crucible players could look forward to. We leveled up the salad man ranks 1 through 5 where we could use the currency we’d earned throughout the game to purchase our Iron Banner gear or weapons of choice. Sure, he only offered a certain selection each time out, but it rotated and gave each weapon its own sort of spotlight in the community. Leveling salad ranks on our alts was given a boost to lessen the grind, but we were always met with the same outcome: being able to choose the rewards we wanted. At least, to an extent. That’s not to mention the random Iron Banner-specific drops we got at the end of matches. They weren’t overly frequent, but they provided excitement and an opportunity to get gear or weapons that weren’t available from salad man that month. Overall, it was a good system.


This time around, however, the salad man decided to conform with the rest of the Tower vendors and provide us reward engrams in exchange for tokens. 20 tokens, to be exact, per rank. Now we get 5 tokens per win, 2 per loss which comes out to roughly 7 Iron Banner games per salad rank, promising what? Well, nothing. A salad engram doesn’t even guarantee any Iron Banner specific loot yet alone an upgrade, which none of the vendors provide once you hit around PL 300 anyway.

I’ve gotten 3 rank up packages so far. One contained a Vangaurd submachine gun, one contained the Iron Banner chest piece, and the last…another Iron Banner chest piece. Now, the warlock chest piece is undoubtedly cool as is the entire samurai-inspired set, but no one needs two of them, especially now that all stats are fixed. Above all, it just feels bad to get repeat items and even worse to get no items at all.


What this speaks to at large is the ineffectiveness of Destiny 2’s new token system. Complete a public event? Here’s a token. Find a chest? Token. Crucible match? Token. Strike? Token. Hell, even raid drops are mostly reliant on tokens. Tokens are a good supplement to RNG loot-based games, but they shouldn’t be the whole system. We still want the chance for that boss to explode into shiny things like he did in Destiny 1 (or Diablo or Borderlands), but when he doesn’t, then give us some tokens to save up to buy that weapon or piece of gear we’re missing. Getting actual loot from boss kills or at the end of PvP matches feels better and provides more excitement, and tokens should only be a supplement to this.


This is all not to say I’m not having fun playing Iron Banner. I am, but it’s not because of Iron Banner, which is just a sweatier quick play guaranteed to be control. No, it’s because of the friends I’m playing with. I’ve said time and time again it’s my friends that keep me playing, no matter the game, and Destiny 2’s no different. That doesn’t mean it can’t be better. It has to be better, or else the hardcore players like myself and my clan that carried Destiny 1 into its third year are going to disappear right along with all the casuals who always bail a few months in anyway.

Something to think about,


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