The current Season’s first Iron Banner will soon come to a close within a few days and with it disappears the one and only way to earn the event’s gear.
Even though Iron Banner is still a very rewarding event in terms of how it can easily boost a Guardian’s Power level with its Pinnacle granting bounties there is still extremely little agency when it comes to a targeted gear chase.
Many players are reporting through social media that it is taking them hundreds of Iron Banner tokens in order to obtain even a single copy of the piece of gear they are chasing, and that’s before even the random perk roll is considered.
Simply put, how players earn Iron Banner rewards is an archaic system that belongs in older Seasons.
The change by Bungie in recent Seasons to give players more agency with what rewards they obtain for their hard earned time needs to migrate to the Iron Banner, and soon.
Earning More Gear Through Completing Matches
This is a simple problem with a fairly simple fix. At the present time it can be quite difficult to obtain Iron Banner gear through match completions alone as the rate of drops seems to be one in every four or five matches.
For many of the Iron Banner match completions the player is only rewarded with some tokens and three or four Rare pieces of gear with Legendary gear still dropping fairly frequently.
The problem here is that the Legendary gear that drops can be from the World loot pool too which seriously dilutes the chances of receiving a piece of Iron Banner gear that you want.
If players are chasing regular Crucible drops they would play regular Crucible, it’s safe to say that those playing Iron Banner are after its exclusive rewards.
Iron Banner gear doesn't need to rain down on the player after every match but the loot pool does need to be more focused in regards to the match completion drops in order to respect the players time.
Diluted Engram Loot Pool
A player is rewarded with 5 Iron Banner tokens for each win within the playlist and it takes 20 tokens to receive a reward engram. If the average Iron Banner match goes for approximately 10 minutes then that is over 40 minutes to receive a single engram.
There are 13 pieces of gear within the Iron Banner Engram so if we assume that it's a simple 1-13 random roll, that's an approximate 7% chance that you receive any one piece of gear, the Forward Path for example.
It has been reported though that it’s not simple and in actual fact the game calculates a 50% roll between the gear being a weapon or a piece of armor, then a 33% roll to determine whether the weapon is Kinetic, Energy or Power, then a 25% roll to see which one of the 4 Kinetics the weapon ends up being. This comes to a 4.2% chance of a player receiving a Forward Path within each reward engram.
Now let's introduce random rolls into this equation.
The Forward Path has 6 different Scope options, 7 Magazine options, 6 perks in column 1 and another 6 perks in column 2.
If we take the more generous chance of 7% that a Forward Path is dropped that's now a 1.2% chance that the weapon rolls with even one of these options you are chasing, and an obscenely small 0.005% chance that everything lines up perfectly and you get all the exact perks you want.
You can see how with the above time of 40 minutes for a single engram it just isn't practical to farm for a certain perk roll
As stated earlier this system is extremely dated and there’s evidence that Bungie agrees with the introduction of new loot systems in recent Seasons that allow the player to pick and choose what piece of gear they want to obtain.
The Umbral Engram system is a great example from the current Season of Arrival.
This system allows the player to spend extra resources in order to focus the rewarded engram into a tighter loot pool so that players have much more control over what they receive.
A system like this could work for Iron Banner. Instead of just a single reward engram that costs 20 tokens and contains all 13 pieces of Iron Banner gear, a player can choose to spend extra tokens to focus the engram.
Possibly 25 or 30 tokens to focus the engram be a weapon and then 50 tokens for the engram to be a particular weapon.
The two above changes to the Iron Banner loot system won't cause gear to rain from the sky and then have players leave the playlist once they get what they want.
It will instead likely do the opposite as farming certain perk rolls on weapons will still take time with this new system. Players are likely to keep playing when they know that within a certain number of matches they have an 100% chance at another shot at the perfect perk roll on the item they are chasing.