Bungie explains the lack of Destiny 2 dedicated servers; addresses PC cheating

Destiny 2 won't have dedicated servers, a detail which caused quite a fuss when it was revealed last week. When Bungie made the announcement the studio didn't do much to elaborate on why, but they've now published a lengthy explanation for the decision. The explanation comes straight from Matt Segur, the engineering lead working on Destiny 2.

According to Segur, Destiny 2 has "a unique networking model" and is being thoroughly tested as we speak. But addressing the lack of dedicated servers directly, he had this to say.

"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."

In other words, Destiny 2 "uses a hybrid of client-server and peer-to-peer technology". 

He continued:  "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."

Taking the peer-to-peer approach isn't a cost saving factor, Segur instists. Much has been invested in the sequel's new server infrastructure, and cloud servers will play a greater role in this instalment. Still, that doesn't change the fact that peer-to-peer networking is much riskier on PC than it is on console, in terms of cheating.

Segur agrees, but believes Bungie is prepared for it. "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."

The post also addresses the timeline for Destiny 2's beta. Summer (or winter in Australia) is still the goal, but there's no solid dates as yet, nor any confirmation that PC will be included in it. The PC version, in case you hadn't heard, won't be releasing concurrently with the PS4 and Xbox One versions, so it's natural to suspect the beta timeline might be different. 

Need to know anything more about the game? Here's an exhaustive rundown.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.