Bungie have answered the bubbling discontent among Destiny 2 players – which was sparked into full-on outrage by the XP throttling controversy – with a statement on the current problems in the game, and how they plan to fix them.
To summarise: a new class of Legendary weapons called Masterworks will be introduced, the Crucible is getting some love, and it is about to get easier to complete your gear collections. Head here for a full breakdown of the forthcoming changes. The question is: are they enough?
Our Destiny 2 update tracker compiles all the changes coming to the game in the future.
By themselves, probably not. Every change is positive, and I applaud the presentation: there are clear dates given for most of the tweaks, estimates for longer-term goals and, crucially, a promise to be more vocal in the future as a matter of course. I argued yesterday that this was essential – Bungie leaving players to stumble upon XP throttling and one-use shaders, rather than explain them outright, made both controversies much worse than they needed to be. Still, there is a sense with this announcement that Bungie are taking care not to overpromise.
The introduction says Bungie will aim to support players “who want Destiny to be their hobby” (which raises the question of whom they were catering to until now), but the key change that would enable this – “better incentives to complete Prestige activities” – is given no further elucidation. Raid and Trials gear in the original game had unique perks and sat in a tier above other loot – neither of these things is true now (no, the Trials gear’s weird sliding perks do not count), and aesthetics are their only distinction. This has been interpreted as a pitch to casual players, whereas most of the recent discontent has, inevitably, come from the vocal hardcore on Reddit. Whether Bungie feel sufficiently chastened by them to reverse any of their overture to the casual audience will say a lot about how they see Destiny in the longer term.
The other changes are nice to have, but do not wholly settle the key complaints. Take Masterwork weapons, for example. They are cool, and people will certainly play to acquire them, but they don’t really do much. They are Legendary weapons that track your kills, generate orbs with multi-kills, and have re-rollable stat boosts. Stat boosts, not perks – the fixed rolls which have divided the community will remain.
Stats are less exciting; there is a screen of a Masterwork Uriel’s Gift with +10 reload speed. My initial reaction was a sarcastic “whoop-de-doo,” but if it is possible to get an overall boost of, say, +30 or more by stacking Masterworks alongside other mods, thenwe are looking at a bump to a gun’s performance that we might actually notice. Hardcore players will work for that, especially on more important stats like stability or range (there’s no way Bungie will let us do it to impact or fire rate, which jointly determine a gun’s DPS).
The ability to buy vendor gear directly returns from the original Destiny, though it’s tied to gameplay now, in that you have to unlock it for purchase. I don’t know whether to be grateful or annoyed that Bungie are letting us do something we could do before while putting new obstacles in the way, but at least most Legendary gear is getting cool glowing ornaments. More positively, Xur will now stock one Fated Engram a week, which will guarantee a non-duplicate Exotic. Its pricing is probably not final yet, but a screenshot suggests Bungie are considering charging 97 Legendary Shards for it, which is a lot. Three of Coins – a consumable buff that increases the chance of an Exotic drop – also returns, and also costs Legendary Shards.
So, as promised, we’re about to have many more ways to spend shards, meaning more incentives to stock up on them by playing the game. It is good news for gear collectors and fashion victims. Better rewards for strikes, and the Heroic strike playlist – anotherreturning feature from the original – should also give us a reason to play PvE stuff otherthan public events. This freshens up the midgame, which is welcome, but the endgame remains the bigger problem.
Finally, there is good news for the Crucible. Ranked play and private matches – two features the competitive community have been crying out for for too long now – are promised for next year. A quitter penalty system is also in development, but let’s remember a big reason we get quitters in the Crucible (and the Strike playlist, which might actually see some use now) is that all game modes are grouped into two playlists, and people do not enjoy them all equally. For instance: I really, really don’t like Supremacy, and it is very difficult notto leave when RNG hands me three games of that boring mode in a row. I assume Bungie pooled players like this to shorten queue times – though matchmaking still takes a while, in my experience – but I know I would welcome the chance to pick modes individually again. There is no mention of that.
These changes are a good start, and given how quickly the conversation has moved in the last week or two, I do not think we could reasonably have expected much more at this stage. But several important grievances are still unaddressed,so this statement feels like a stopgap ahead of further announcements – I certainly hope that is what it is.
Here’s looking forward to a more attentive, and more vocal, Bungie in the future – please start by telling us more about those Prestige rewards.