No surprise: No Destiny 2 dedicated servers for PC

Destiny 2 [official site] will not have dedicated servers on PC, Bungie have confirmed. Some Destineers had hope that it might switch from the first game’s peer-to-peer networking model as the sci-fi FPS series makes its PC debut, given that dedicated servers tend to be less laggy and make cheating — which is far more common on PC — tougher. I can’t say I’m surprised to learn the answer is a nope but it’s still a shame. Bungie have explained that Destiny 2 will use “a hybrid of client-server and peer-to-peer technology, just like Destiny 1”, so let’s get technical!

Bungie community manager David ‘DeeJ’ Dague raised the question of dedicated servers with Destiny 2 engineering lead Matt Segur in Bungie’s weekly dev blog update doodad:

Matt: We’ve seen a lot of people asking about how the networking model works for Destiny 2. Many are concerned by our announcement last week that Destiny 2 doesn’t have dedicated servers. While that’s useful shorthand, the full answer is more complex because Destiny has a unique networking model. Rest assured that we’re doing a lot of testing right now with players all around the world, and working hard to make sure that your experience is going to be smooth on launch day.

David: So why no dedicated servers?

Matt: Every activity in Destiny 2 is hosted by one of our servers. That means you will never again suffer a host migration during your Raid attempt or Trials match. This differs from Destiny 1, where these hosting duties were performed by player consoles and only script and mission logic ran in the data center. To understand the foundation on which we’re building, check out this Destiny 1 presentation from GDC. Using the terms from this talk, in Destiny 2, both the Mission Host and Physics Host will run in our data centers.

David: Wait, so we do have dedicated servers?

Matt: We don’t use that term, because in the gaming community, “dedicated servers” refers to pure client-server networking models. Destiny 2 uses a hybrid of client-server and peer-to-peer technology, just like Destiny 1. The server is authoritative over how the game progresses, and each player is authoritative over their own movement and abilities. This allows us to give players the feeling of immediacy in all their moving and shooting – no matter where they live and no matter whom they choose to play with.

That feeling of immediacy does always come at a cost of consistency for other players, mind. They say that “controller-throwing lag-induced moments” like “[seeing] a player warp around the map or shoot me through a wall” will be “reduced” in Destiny 2 as a result of their technical tinkerings, “but we can’t promise they’ll be eliminated.” These aren’t new problems or unique to Destiny, mind.

David: Why peer-to-peer? Are we trying to save money?

Matt: Nope! We’ve invested heavily in new server infrastructure for Destiny 2, including using cloud servers for gameplay for the first time. We really believe this is the best model for all of Destiny 2’s varied cooperative and competitive experiences. Engineering will always involve tradeoffs and cost-benefit analysis, but as a team we’ve got no regrets about the unique technology we’ve built for Destiny 2.

David: With Destiny 2 coming out on PC, does peer-to-peer networking put players at risk of being cheated?

Matt: The PC platform poses unique security challenges for Destiny 2, but our security Ninjas have spent several years building a plan for how to engage with this new and vibrant community. We have a variety of top-secret strategies to ensure that the life of a cheater in Destiny 2 PC will be nasty, brutish, and short. And, regardless of what platform you play on, all changes to your persistent character are communicated directly to our secure data center with no peer-to-peer interference.

Even games with dedicated servers are often hacked to heck and back on PC so I am wary of their claims of swift justice. But as cheating is sadly an inevitability, it’s the lag I’d be more concerned about. I’m not at all surprised that Destiny 2 is following the path of the first game (I’m more surprised that anyone thought it wouldn’t) but ah, it’s still a shame.


  1. Ghostwise says:

    When I saw “each player is authoritative over their own movement and abilities”, an angelic chorus appeared and offered a rousing rendition of “Wall hacks, aimbots and teleportation yay !” in D minor.

    • ddbrown30 says:

      Dedicated servers don’t help with the former two; both manipulate the graphics buffer and the aim bot is just overriding your mouse input. Both of these things are happening outside of the executable, so there’s no way to stop them.

      As for teleportation, it’s actually one of the easiest cheats to detect. Just because the client is the authority doesn’t mean that the server isn’t doing any kind of validation.

      Source: I was the MP tech lead on R6: Siege.

      • Afkilla says:

        I’m sorry, but I can’t stop laughing at that “Source”. Is it a joke?
        R6S is fine now, but for a while after launch it was a mess. Quite the comparison.

        • ddbrown30 says:

          I’m giving a source so you understand my background and you don’t think I’m just some guy on the internet talking out of my ass; R6’s quality is irrelevant.

        • ddbrown30 says:

          Actually, what is your background? You’ve been talking shit on pretty much every comment here. Most of it is inflammatory and a lot of it is the same nonsense I hear regurgitated over and over again.

          I simply came here to try to educate a little bit and help clear up a common misconception. I have no opinion on Destiny 1 or 2, as I haven’t played them (obviously not for 2), but you shouldn’t automatically believe that they’re lying to you to save a buck. Building network architectures for large games like Destiny is incredibly complex. Given infinite money and the best hardware, I still might not choose dedicated servers in the same position. There are so many factors to consider.

          • DudeshootMankill says:

            Its just some guy talking out of his ass, having opinions about stuff he doesn’t know shit about. Dont worry about it.

          • lyralamperouge says:

            ‘What is your background?’ is not an argument, while ‘you admitted to being responsible for something I consider to demonstrate your incompetence’ very much is one, in a discussion of the value of a source.

          • April March says:

            I think the MP tech lead of a game with terrible cheating still knows more about what he’s talking about that someone who’s never done any kind of work in that field. In the modern world it takes an incredible amount of know-how to be shit at something you draw a salary from.

          • Afkilla says:

            Did you work on R6S before or after dedicated servers? Because either way I’m confused then.

            If before – holy shit why P2P?
            If after – how can you argue against dedicated servers if that, in part, saved R6S on PC.

            Doesn’t matter what my background is, I’m not going to fucking support profit over innovation. Activision Blizzard, EA, Ubisoft, Bungie, and others seem to be in a race to the bottom to see who can make the biggest profit while cutting any expenses like dedicated servers. They can’t be bothered scaling for launches, but always seem to keep accepting money. Just need to entice people enough to buy the game.

            I’m not angry, I’m disappointed that 1 shitty business decision will effectively ruin what could be a great game.

  2. Afkilla says:

    After hearing that Destiny 2 would be on on PC, I just assumed that a game of this magnitude, and so dependent on online play, would have dedicated servers. Guess I forgot Destiny 2 is only about making money, and Bungie/Activision are greedy douchebags.

    I actually hope cheaters ruin this game on PC. Not going to waste my time playing what will likely feel like Destiny 1 DLC.

    • KevinLew says:

      The bizarre thing is that I’m pretty darn sure that every other Blizzard game on PC uses dedicated servers. Why they purposely decided to use peer-to-peer connectivity is truly mind-boggling.

      • Afkilla says:

        Aren’t Overwatch’s servers dedicated, but 30 tick? Pretty insulting to the PC audience. CoD’s online (from a technical perspective, because the gameplay will always suck) on PC and console has been shit for a while too, so I guess this all shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    • Moraven says:

      Players are constantly making new and dropping instances of gameplay. Social spaces, Story Missions, Strikes, Raids, etc.

      Vault of Glass Raid in fact started in the normal patrol area instance. Your group’s activity would be running the door opening sequence event, but you could see other random people in the same Venus instance and could even help you. Once you got through the doors you were in your own private instance.

      Watch the GDC talk. For what the game achieves, it makes the most sense. What they are doing in Destiny 2 I wish they had in 1, as player hosting for PvE content could be terrible at times. Crota raid boss could be so out of sync if the player acting as host had a potato connection or had issues connecting with the other 5 people well. You could even essentially ‘lag switch’ the encounter and glitch out the boss (which they explain in the GDC talk).

      2 is a good update for PvE content.

      PvP on the other hand we will have to see how that works. Destiny 1 had problems that has plagued Bungie since Halo 2 with connection manipulators. PvP should be full dedicated while the hybrid works better for PvE. Spinning up hundreds of thousands of small instances is different then a Battlfield 1 server.

      • Afkilla says:

        “PvP on the other hand we will have to see how that works.”

        Kind of a crucial element of an online FPS.

        “Spinning up hundreds of thousands of small instances is different then a Battlfield 1 server.”

        Both are very different challenges. Destiny 2 isn’t some game 3 devs are making out of a basement. This is a matter of how cheap can a feature be implemented without causing a large-scale backlash from the community. And to top it off, the devs are trying to explain how this is good. Ya, ok.

        • epeternally says:

          Games cost dramatically less than SNES titles despite being exponentially more complex, of course corners are going to get cut somewhere. It’s completely unreasonable to complain about developers taking shortcuts to save money when AAA games are extremely expensive to make and comically underpriced relative to the value that they provide. If you want more features, be willing to pay for them.

          • Afkilla says:

            This could be the AAA of AAA games, let’s call it AAAA.

            You may wish to refresh your memory with respect to Destiny’s pre-order/day 1 sales. This isn’t some small developer just scraping by. Sure there is a huge investment, but that was, apparently, more than returned on day 1.

            Although it’s becoming less common, lots of games charge monthly fees. Console gamers are paying monthly fees already just to access online features.

            This is cutting corners because the average Destiny player is a console pleb.

  3. Retorrent says:

    And now I have lost all interest in this…. Peer to Peer is always going to be the weak spot one that cheaters are going to take full advantage of. Then you add the client server on top of that and it sounds like it’s going to be lag city in most of the time. Not going to spend $60 to play a game while they have to play whack a mole weeding out the cheaters.

    • Afkilla says:

      I actually never cheat in games, but with the lack of dedicated servers I think I’m going to make that my game. Walls, aimbots, item generation/duplication. Can’t wait! Fuck Bungie!

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        Don’t be so aggressive and spiteful just because things aren’t as you would like them to be.

        I only play singleplayer offline games, so I don’t need to worry about people like you or other MP issues. For their sake, I hope most people aren’t like you.

        • Afkilla says:

          I extremely reasonable and understanding, but not having dedicated servers for a game of this scale is an unforgivable business decision. It’s gotta be sad as a developer when the business forces you to ruin the backbone of an entire game with 1 decision, just to save a few bucks.

          Remember, Destiny 2 doesn’t have to be ‘good’ to be a ‘success’, it just needs lots of people to buy it.

          • Hammer1649 says:

            Very little of what you have written in this comment section would be described by an outside observer as “reasonable and understanding”.

  4. Synesthesia says:

    Do you want cheaters? Because this is how you get cheaters.

  5. Doomlord says:

    Not shocked. They’re basically a crappy console company at heart. They’ve lost all ability to manage and create a PC-specific game. But regardless of that fact, I doubt many people were clamoring for this crummy game, anyway. It’ll be dead in the water not long after launch.

    • Dominitus says:

      It’ll be dead in the water not long after launch.

      That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thanks for the belly laugh. :D

  6. FizicsMcmanus says:

    No interest in playing local servers. Cheating makes the game worthless, passing.

  7. Unsheep says:

    Yeah, looks like the PC version will the bumturd version of Destiny 2.

  8. scatterbrainless says:

    Guh, I was really looking forward to Destiny 2, but this certainly makes me wary. Despite attempts to sell it as “in the players’ interests” (for example the “advanced peer-to-peer” of For Honour) I’ve never seen peer-to-peer perform with the consistency required for any kind of challenging online play. And the defenses of it always seem weirdly solipsistic, like “well YOU’RE performing at the speed of your inputs!” when the point is your relation to the rest of the game world.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    “We have a variety of top-secret strategies to ensure that the life of a cheater in Destiny 2 PC will be nasty, brutish, and short.”

    I am now picturing a big muscular guy in a pickup, cruising around, sometimes leaning over the passenger seat to pat a bat with “Banhammer” scribbled on it while waiting for a call with a new cheater address.