Episode 16: Spooky Trials, Halloween, Accessibility Settings, and Playing for Fun vs. Winning
This week we talk about how Destiny's Accessibility settings can improve your game, and the difference between playing for fun and playing to win. Read on for full notes on our recommended Accessibility changes!
Music / Sound
When you're struggling in a raid, strike, story mission, disabling the music (while it is beautiful) can make things much easier. Music creates emotional reactions and impacts and, even more directly, having the volume balanced wrong can interfere with hearing party chat. PS4 offers party settings to balance game sound against chat, but you can also adjust the game and music volume directly within Destiny, which I highly recommend.
There are also a lot of sound queues in Destiny, which give you useful information - perks activating, supers activating, firefights, etc. However sometimes these cues can become a distraction. As a parent, I sometimes play on mute, and I have found this actually improves my game play. No longer focused on Shaxx-salt or distracting noises, I take heightened notice of radar and pay a lot more attention to enemy movements. I wouldn't do all the time, but it can help to highlight the visual UI cues that we sometimes miss.
I'll lump vibration into this too. The rumble gives you viceral feedback and adds hightened intensity to cool moments in the game. It also makes it more difficult to stay calm and relaxed and to react precisely under fire. If you are struggling, or just want to feel the difference, turn it off. The first time you do this in a Nightfall or raid, you will be shocked how much calmer it feels.
Men in general cannot see shades of red as well as women, giving all men a slight disadvantage in the highly visual and fairly red UI of Destiny and many other games.
Different types of color blindness
Deuteranopia - blind or only weakly sensitive to green light. Most common. 6% of men, .45% of women. Genetic. Protanopia - blind or weakly sensitive to red light. 2.09% of men, .05% of women. Genetic. Tritanopia - confuse blue with green and yellow with violet. 1 in 10,000 people. Genetic. Also acquirable during life through aging or head injuries (sometimes reversable/treatable in this case). All of these settings provide stronger contrasts on different UI features, and may appear different to different people. I find the tritanopia settings give the game an extremely vibrant look in general, but the other settings do more to make the radar contrast obvious, a strong benefit for Crucible. They can also make it much easier to identify the names of friends and enemies against a variety of backgrounds. If you've never experimented with these settings before, they are a must-try.
When you first set up Destiny, as with many games, it tells you to adjust the brightness to a certain level - you might remember the different shaded bars and lines of text. Follow those instructions if you want the full atmospheric experience of the game, as it was intended. But when you've beat the story this way and are ready to start optimizing, forget about it! Turn the brightness up so that you can comfortably see and distinguish each shade - the whole game is now brighter, shadows can't hide adds or enemies, and you have an immediate edge in every gunfight.
Playing on a big TV and having trouble seeing your radar and other UI elements in you peripheral vision? Make your screen bounds smaller to move them closer to center. Everyone has blindspots in vision, so you may need to adjust a few times to get it right.
Sensitivity and Accessories
Lower sensitivity can make sniping easier for a lot of people, as you are forced to anticipate more and are less likely to wildly jerk the reticle around when startled. Playing that way requires a lot of planning and smart positioning for success - both important skills for snipers. High sensitivity allows for rapid reactions, but requires fine motor control that can get more difficult with age.
There are accessories out there to aid with this though. NKCougar and I both use KontrolFreeks to extend the length of our sticks, giving a greater radius of movement and making fine adjustments on high sensitivity MUCH easier. (Full disclosure: I get $0.00 for mentioning KontrolFreeks here, and don't care what brand you prefer. Feel free to make alternate suggestions in the comments.)
To illustrate the benefits of this, think of a ruler and a yardstick. If you hold one end of the ruler and put the other end on the ground, then move your hand 6 inches to the left, the ruler is extremely tilted - this is a fairly sharp turn in Destiny terms. But if you hold one end of a yardstick, the other end on the ground, and do the same thing - moving your hand 6 inches to the left - you've only made a small adjustment, but you can push farther to get the sharp movement when needed. Longer sticks give you the same edge.
There are a variety of brands out there, can't speak to all of them, but I have found the Galaxy sticks I have to be comfortable, easy to attach and detach, and very solid. No difficulty clicking at all. Custom controllers like Scuf's often also come with the option to get sticks of varying lengths and grips. I recommend experimenting with extenders before committing to a larger purchase, but you do you.
For longer range play, high sensitivity is not helpful for most people I know, but with the increased focus on CQC in Destiny's current meta, I recommend pushing yourself. As an experiment, increase your Sensitivity to 10, then play at least 3 games (that's where I generally fatigue when I am having no success). Go do something else, then try it again later or the next day. If it's too high, go down to 9. If it feels insane, go down to 8. Play more games, wait, then try it again at this new setting.
Repeat until it feels doable but difficult. Within a few weeks of casual play, or days if you play a lot, you'll be used to the higher Sensitivity and may be able to push higher. Don't feel like you have to be on 10, but if you can make it to 7 or 8, you'll be reacting meaningfully faster than at 5 or 6. On balance, Mercules recommends playing at 4, 5, or 6 for all players, especially using a standard controller, as he does.
Thanks for tuning in!