Bungie Brings Changes to Checkmate Mode and the Return of Skirmish in Destiny 2

Destiny 2’s developer Bungie has recently released information regarding the future of PvP updates and changes coming to their recent Checkmate game mode. While still firmly focused on gunplay, Checkmate aims to promote thoughtful primary and special weapon usage through changes to ammo economy and ability regeneration. Alongside tweaks to melee combat and a new 3v3 playlist, PvP looks to become more balanced and tactical in the coming months.

Primary Weapons Rule the Field in Checkmate

A screenshot of a Skirmish game mode in Bungie's Checkmate with a gun prominently featured.

The unique Checkmate mode provides players with set weapon loadouts on small team deathmatch maps. Designed to highlight gun skill rather than ability power, optimal time to kill values with primary weapons will match those used in regular Crucible playlists. However, body shot time to kill times may differ to continue encouraging precision play. Players now begin matches with two kills worth of Special ammo as well, limiting dependence on one-shot weapons.

Abilities and Melees Get Strategic Changes

Beyond primary weapon focus, Checkmate also adjusts cooldown rates for grenades, melees, class abilities, and Supers. The cooldown penalty compared to normal PvP decreases from 30% to only 15%, helping to keep engagements exciting without becoming repetitive shooting contests. Additionally, melee attacks will now take two hits to secure a kill rather than one. Along with extra Special ammo provided for assists and deaths, these changes help prevent snowballing while keeping ability usage meaningful.

A screenshot of a Skirmish game mode with a gun in it.

The Ever-Evolving Identity of Checkmate

While currently emphasizing primary gun duels, concerns exist that Checkmate will become too similar to standard Crucible over time if not kept truly distinct. However, even if tweaked to be less specialized, the mode clearly provides strong moment-to-moment enjoyment at present. Only time will tell where Bungie takes Checkmate’s identity, but the next few months promise a uniquely tense PvP experience regardless.

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Zac Kaye
I've been playing games for pretty much as long as I can remember. There's about 15 years of gaming experience under my belt at this point. Destiny, Warframe, Halo, CoD and the list goes on. I was a brief world record holder for Destiny 2 speedrunning, as well as a season-long stint as a top 10 ranked PVP player. More recently, I've been shooting for the Celeste speedrun leaderboards. In-between sessions of getting too mad at shooters, I spend a lot of my time playing gacha games like Honkai Star Rail and Limbus Company.

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