Currently, The Iron Banner is live in Destiny.
'What is the Iron Banner?' I hear no one as. Well, let me tell you anyway.
Iron Banner is a Week-Long once monthly PvP event. In it, guardians (players) Light level matters. The light level being the rating of your gear, all in combination to give a total light level. The current maximum is 400 light, though in the past it's been lower, as with the new DLCs releases increased the light caps.
So, a light level enabled PvP playlist, where reputation is rewarded for the Iron Banner, and upon levelling this 'faction' up, you can purchase well curated rewards. Levelling was achieved by obtaining reputation for the 'faction' but can only be achieved through bounties and winning. Loosing yields no reputation rewards, however a medallion of iron is awarded and these can stack up to 5, which are immediately cashed in upon victory, rewarding extra reputation, a way to stop people leaving games early when things aren't going their way.
In the past it wasn't this way, and the game mode was always the control game type.
In the past we had rewards offered that had not great rolls, but were re-forgeable, and armours that were offered. These were typically at the highest light available, and only unlocked at the highest ranks. So the grind to get this gear was real, but certainly manageable for any players, as long as you could bear the lag-fest that plagued the crucible at this time.
One of the key things about the Iron Banner was that the reputation you got for winning would be rewarded at greater amounts, the further the weekend progressed, as the tempered buff was applied. In year one this had to be obtained from Lord Saladin each day so there was incentive to log on just to pick it up. In year two this was applied immediately. Year three did away with this, as mentioned later.
The way the game has evolved, meant that the Iron Banner had to evolve with it. Initially, as mentioned, the Iron Banner only utilised the Control game type, but this game type isn't for everyone. The games would be long and slow, and for me, at the time, unenjoyable. Then, one month, Bungie tried out the Clash game mode. It went well, people had fun, and they eventually rolled it out to the Rift game mode, which is sort of a one flag variant. Then we went back to control, and things seemed to alternate fairly between Clash and Control. Rift was left behind because a co-ordinated team could lock out the game type far too easily, though a lot of people had a lot of fun playing, so it's still desired to come back.
Year three, the release of Rise of Iron rolled around, we were told of a new game type, Supremacy, Destiny's Kill Confirmed, and that the Iron Banner, it's bounties and the progression system would change. People were rightly apprehensive about the change, but many welcomed it as a relief. This changed the need to play later in the week, due to the tempered buff, and made it possible to pick up at any point in the week and the game would be populated.
The bounty system was also different, initially there were various bounties, weekly and daily that could be completed, and they awarded reputation only, ranks 3 and 5 rewarded packages that would award armour or weapons, and aside from purchasing items was really the only source of different items.
This year, the bounties have been changed so there are now 4, relatively easy to complete bounties, that are really awarded for just continual play. 2 of these reward Armour, 2 reward weapons, specifically armour and weapons that aren't being sold by the vendor. The vendor now sells weapons with curated perks picked, so that hitting the maximum rank so that you can purchase them is still a desirable thing to do.
The post game drops are now also incorporating changes made earlier in the year with the April Updates quality of life changes, so that drops are nearly always helping to your progression with them dropping above the current light level you're at. With different perks being available on everything that drops, and the fact that there is a variety of gear available, the player base picked up on the fact that this is one of the best ways to increase your light level.
The changes that have been made, the rotation in game modes, and the improvements in the reward system have been honed over the two and a bit years the game has been out, and refined the Iron Banner to where it stands today. I've been having fun playing it, and I've been slowly getting more comfortable playing in a PvP environment, and this aspect of Destiny has certainly helped that.
I have talked enough, there are things I've missed, but I know there's far more to say.
Have an excellent day! You're all my favourites!