Thoughts on the Development Update for Destiny 2

Thoughts on the Development Update for Destiny 2

Christopher Barrett, Game Director working for Bungie on Destiny 2, took to the Bungie Blog to give the community a lengthy update on the plans for the game over the next year. I will be quoting bullet points from his post and giving my impressions of what these will do to the game.

You can read the full update here. I will not cover everything in the post, as some of it is pretty far off and vague.

Content

Destiny Content Categories
One thing we want is to set clearer expectations for which categories of content are available to everyone each Season, and which are exclusive to Destiny 2

Expansions:
Expansions are purchasable updates that typically add new Story, Destinations, and Gear, as well as new Crucible, Strike, and Raid Lair content.

Seasons introduce content that is made available to all players of Destiny 2, at no additional cost.

Iron Banner, Faction Rallies, and their rewards will be available to everyone as part of Season 2. Additionally, going forward we are making a change that new Seasonal rewards from Crucible, Strikes, and Trials of the Nine will be available to all players.

Faction Rallies return on January 16 and Iron Banner will be back in the rotation on January 30.

This is how the game should have handled all its content at launch. Expansions add new encounters, new activities, and give you an opportunity to earn new gear. Expansions shouldn’t remove activities that were available at launch.

Bungie needs to find a way to make all of its content relevant to all of its players. If a new Raid Lair is added with an expansion, the older raids or Raid Lairs need to have a difficulty level suited to current players as well as players that choose not to purchase the newest expansion.

Eververse

We recognize that the scales are tipped too far towards Tess at the moment, and Eververse was never intended to be a substitute for end game content and rewards. So, we’ll be making three changes for upcoming Seasons:

We’re shifting the balance of new content in favor of activity rewards over Bright Engrams. This includes adding Ghosts, Sparrows, and ships (to date found only in Bright Engrams) to achievement reward pools.

We’ll provide a gameplay path to earn Bright Engrams and all contained rewards (including Event Engrams).

We’ll give players more direct purchase options and make adjustments to Bright Engrams to allow players to get the items they want more often.

Destiny is moving some items that were in Eververse (their microtransaction store) into the loot pools for playing activities. Items such as sparrows, ships, and ghosts that could drop randomly while playing content in Destiny were placed behind Eververse in Destiny 2.

Now these items are 100% cosmetic and have no impact on your ability to complete activities in game, but players were still upset that there was not any other way to earn these items other than via earning Bright Engrams or purchasing them.

Also it appears in the above quote that there will be a direct route given to players to earn Bright Engrams other than just earning enough in game XP to level up. I am unsure what adjustments they will be making “to allow players to get the items they want more often”. That sentence is vague to me.

We’ve begun implementing these changes for the Crimson Days event beginning February 13 (with even more changes on the way in Season 3):

Completing Nightfall, Raid, and Crimson Days milestones during Crimson Days will reward you an exclusive Legendary Emote, Weapon Skin, and Exotic Sparrow, respectively.

Players will earn double engrams at level-up: one Crimson Engram and one Illuminated Engram for the duration of the event.

Crimson Engrams can also drop from completing the Crimson Days match and from completing the Crimson Days milestone on each character.

Each Crimson Engram is very strongly weighted to new rewards when decrypted until all new event items have been obtained.

If you played The Dawning at the end of December/beginning of January, then you got to see Bungie bring an event to its players that was 90% Eververse driven. The game gave you one dawning engram for signing in during the event. Each week you could earn 2 other engrams per week during the 3 week event. However, those engrams were still RNG based.

There were a lot of Dawning items offered during this event and it was impossible to earn all the items in game. What made the event more frustrating is that during The Dawning, you were still earning the Bright Engrams that awarded you Season 2 items.

It appears that with the next live event called Crimson Days beginning February 13th that you will now get Bright Engrams and Crimson Engrams each time you level up. This is a great change giving players a way to grind out the Crimson items they want.

The bright dust system will still be in place. Bright dust is awarded to you when you break down an Eververse item that you do not like or want. However, the ratio of what you get for breaking something down vs how much bright dust items cost needs to be changed,as it feels way out of balance at this time.

XP

We are still investigating changes to XP earn rates. Our goal with any updates to XP are transparency and consistent XP gain regardless of your preferred activity.

Right now, it’s too slow in general and lopsided towards grinding specific activities (which is not a fun grind) and we want to fix that without making those activities low value to players who aren’t grinding them (fairness is cool).

Our first attempt turned out to be unworkably buggy so we’re having to investigate other angles. We will continue to update you as we move forward.

This still confuses me, even after I have tried to research it. In November, during a Double XP weekend, it was confirmed that XP was not behaving the way the community thought it should.

It turns out that there was some kind of throttling system in place that if you did a lot of Public Events in a row eventually you were getting less and less XP than the first few times that you did them. What made this worse is that the actual number that appeared on screen was the same but the status bar would not move as far forward as it would with the first few public events.

Bungie turned off the throttling and made it more clear what it took to “level up”, however, this increase was almost double the XP it used to take before the throttle removal. Personally, I never felt I was being throttled or that I was unable to get Bright Engrams at a solid rate.

New Features

The following content and features will be available to all D2 players, regardless of expansion ownership.

January 30 Update
Masterwork Armor
We are expanding the Masterwork system to include armor.

Masterwork Armor provides increased damage reduction while using your Super.
You can reroll the armor stat type on Masterwork Armor, and similar to Masterwork weapons, you can upgrade a piece of armor to Masterwork by spending Masterwork Cores and Legendary Shards.

Masterwork weapons were added in a December update. Masterworks are the same legendary gear you already earn but have a random chance to drop as a masterwork. Masterwork weapons dropped with a permanent perk of getting double kills generate an orb for you and your allies. Orbs help charge your super ability in the game.

This was the first time in the history of Destiny that a player had the ability to generate orbs for themselves. Masterwork weapons also rolled with a random stat perk such as increased reload speed or increased handling to name a few.

Masterwork weapons have been a great addition to the game. They are meaningful and give players something to hunt for. Masterwork armor is being added to the game. The permanent perk that is being added is increased resilience while using your super.

At first glance this perk is underwhelming, however, if it can stack five times for each piece of armor equipped, it will be interesting to see how strong your shields are while in your super. Also, we do not know what the random re-rollable stat upgrade will be.

Raid Reward Rework
We are updating Raid rewards to make them more unique and interesting. They will now feature mods with Raid-specific perks, and we are adjusting the rewards to ensure a Raid item drops from each major encounter. The Raid vendor will also directly sell Leviathan and Eater of Worlds armor and weapons for purchase with Raid tokens and Legendary Shards.

We are also adding a new Ghost with Raid-specific perks that has a chance to drop from the Leviathan and Eater of Worlds final encounters. We intend to return to creating more Raid and other activity-unique rewards in the future.

This is one of the changes that excites me the most. I love to raid and love teaching people the raid. If I can be stronger in the raid than I am now, then that is awesome. I just hope the mods are powerful enough to make me want to equip the raid gear.

Having the drop rate changed from a “chance” to a guaranteed drop from the major encounters is great. Nothing is worse then completing a hard raid encounter to only get tokens. Also having the raid vendor sell armor and weapons for tokens and legendary shards is a welcome change.

All the other vendors have been doing this for a few weeks now and it always confused me as to why the raid vendor didn’t. This gives me something to spend my 500 raid tokens on. I just hope the armor that the vendor sells also has the chance to drop with the new raid mods.

February Update

Strike Scoring + High Score Tracking
Strike Scoring is coming to Nightfall and replacing the current time limit mechanic. The scoring is similar to the Destiny 1 system but with adjustments to emphasize competitive execution of Strike objectives and support for player selectable score modifiers.

In February, Nightfall High Scores will be exposed in-game via new emblems and will unlock rewards. We also have plans for Clan and Community High Scores in the works.

Getting rid of the Nightfall timer is a good thing. I feel it added an unneeded stress to the encounter. Getting an emblem that will show your score is also a cool way to show off your accomplishment. Clan ranking will be cool as long as it can be seen somehow in the game and not on a separate site.

Mods 2.0
Work is underway on a full rework of armor and weapon mods. This will focus on reducing redundant mods, more unique theming, and greatly increasing their impact on your power.

We are aiming for a February release, but the scope of the rework could push parts or all of it out to early spring. We will be evaluating how Mods play into the Bright Engram economy as a result, because we’re sensitive to pay-to-win outcomes.

Mods are one of the biggest missed opportunities new to Destiny 2. They didn’t exist in Destiny and to be frank they are very boring and meaningless in Destiny 2.

Where are the exotic mods? Where are the mods that are rare and would get players excited to run an activity to have a chance at a great mod drop? The addition of raid mods is a step in the right direction. The mention of evaluating how mods play into Bright Engrams is making me interested, since they are worried about “pay to win” which I hope means these new mods will be powerful.

Exotic Repetition Reduction
This will prevent players from receiving the same Exotic twice in a row. You may still receive duplicates, just not consecutively.

Fireteam Members on Destination Map
You will finally be able to see the other members of your fireteam on the destination map. No more having to ask your fireteam where they went when they fast travel to another landing zone.

Two things that should have been at the game at launch as well. Nothing is more frustrating than your buddy fast traveling to another part of Earth and you not knowing where they are.

Also, getting the same exotic out of engrams when turning in two or three engrams at a time is very frustrating. I think duplication should still be a thing, otherwise getting all the exotics will become too easy, giving less of a chase to them.

We’re taking the time we need in development of Expansion 2 that will allow us to react to player feedback from Curse of Osiris. In the coming months, we’ll talk to you more about what you can expect to find in Destiny 2’s next story. The team is eager to show you what they’ve been working on.

This statement leads me to think we will not be seeing this expansion until June with the start of Season 4. It had been rumored to release in March with the start of Season 3.

Independent of Expansion 2, the team will deliver a number of new features that will be released before or during Season 3. Every player of Destiny 2 will receive new content in the following categories…

Crucible
We want to give players new reasons to play, more variety, and balance improvements. Spring will bring a number of exciting and long awaited features to the Crucible.

Crucible Rank
Beginning with Season 3 we will introduce Seasonal Crucible Ranks. There will be two different ranks for players to pursue:
Valor – A progression rank that goes up as you complete matches. Winning helps you move up faster, but there are no loss penalties.
Glory – A progression rank that goes up when you win and down when you lose. Performance is how you move up here.

Private Matches
Private Matches are coming to all players of Destiny 2. Players will be able to invite their friends to play on the map and mode of their choosing.

6v6 Playlist
We’re bringing 6v6 PvP to Destiny 2 in addition to the current 4v4 game modes.

Mayhem Event
Mayhem will return as a limited-time event during Season 3 and going forward.

Additional Fixes
We are making some changes to make quitting less common and behind-the-scenes security improvements to help improve the overall Crucible experience.

This is all about the Crucible (Player vs player). All the changes listed above are good. Bringing back a 6v6 playlist is something the player base has really been wanting. Bringing a Rumble (Free For All) playlist is also another great thing the player base has asked for. However, both of these were already features we had in the first Destiny.

Ranked play is also a great way to keep players interested and returning to the game. I’m not as worried about the PvP scene right now as I am worried about them getting PvE on a better course. I feel this game’s greatest assets are in the PvE environment.

There are a few more broad and vague statements mentioned as this development update ends, but they are either too generic or I just feel they are not relevant enough to give my thoughts on them at this time.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what Bungie has planned for the future of Destiny 2.

Written by Dave Hunt

Dave Hunt

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