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1000 Hours of Difficulty: How 'Destiny' Builds Systemic Challenge

Alan Blaine  (Principal Technical Designer, Bungie)

Location: Room 2014, West Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 23

Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, All Access Online Only Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design, Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Viewing Experience: In-Person/Virtual

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Yes

Bungie is well-known for the '30 seconds of fun' loop pioneered in its award-winning franchises, including both Halo and Destiny, but that isn't enough in today's market. As a Live Service game, Destiny 2 also needs hundreds and thousands of hours of pursuit to keep players entertained and engaged. In order do that without breaking the production cycle every release, they enhance their bespoke activity and sandbox content with numerous systemic adjustments to challenge players in seven difficulty categories. Learn about these categories and the kind of pressure they apply to players, the tools players use to overcome that pressure, as well as solo and group case studies that show how core activities are transformed to provide near-infinite challenge. Lastly, learn about techniques for effectively playtesting and tuning challenging content without making it impossible to beat!


Attendees to this talk will learn how to apply Challenge Categories to their live service or multiplayer game and use them to systemically improve challenge, entertainment, and engagement for their players, while keeping implementation and test costs low.

Intended Audience

This talk is intended for is for Designers, Testers, and Producers of all experience levels on MMOs, Live Service and multiplayer co-op games, who want to learn how to build, test, and maintain challenging content.