Destiny 2 developer Bungie is working on a wide variety of changes to the game, many of which the studio is making specifically in response to player feedback. Bungie announced the details today in a lengthy blog post, “The State of Destiny 2,” in which design director Luke Smith and game director Christopher Barrett acknowledged that the studio needs to be more transparent and open up a dialogue with players.
“Our team has been reading feedback and working on updates to improve the game,” said Barrett and Smith. “We’ve also been reading some tough criticism about our lack of communication, and we agree we need to be more open.”
Today’s news follows the abrupt cancellation yesterday of a planned livestream about the gear in Curse of Osiris, the first expansion for Destiny 2. Bungie published its blog post in lieu of hosting the livestream, which had been scheduled for today, after a disastrous Thanksgiving weekend for the studio and the Destiny player base.
The community recently realized that Destiny 2 was misleading players about the amount of experience points they were earning. The resulting furor was so loud that it forced Bungie to respond during the holiday weekend with a hasty fix. This episode brought tensions to a head, although many of the most hardcore Guardians have been stewing for weeks about what they see as fundamental problems with Destiny 2. Their complaints touch on issues like PS4-exclusive content, exotic emotes and a lack of variety.
Today, Bungie expanded on a list of planned improvements that it published a month ago, days after the launch of Destiny 2’s Windows PC version. A number of those changes are coming in December — some alongside the Dec. 5 release of Curse of Osiris, and others one week later on Dec. 12. Plenty of other updates won’t arrive until sometime in 2018.
Bungie said that it has a few goals with the two December updates: to make quality-of-life improvements to Destiny 2, give players more rewards and more control over obtaining those rewards, and provide opportunities for spending Legendary Shards. (Many die-hard players have amassed hundreds of them, but there’s not much to do with that currency right now.)
Once the Dec. 5 update is released, players will be able to buy legendary engrams from Master Rahool for shards. That update will also revamp the mod economy, allowing players to dismantle rare-quality mods for Gunsmith materials and a chance at legendary mod components. And the Gunsmith will start selling specific legendary mods for a combination of shards and legendary mod components. (This will address a long-standing complaint: It currently seems damn near impossible to obtain legendary mods for kinetic weapons.)
The Dec. 12 patch will introduce a number of other items to spend shards on, including Three of Coins — yes, the beloved exotic item buff from Destiny: The Taken King is finally returning in the sequel. (It will simply increase your chances of earning exotics for four hours; Bungie has eliminated the “obscure stacking mechanics.”) Xur will sell Three of Coins as well as a new item called a Fated Engram. You’ll be limited to buying one per week — for a whopping 97 shards — but it’s guaranteed to turn into an exotic item that you don’t already have. Legendary shards will also be the currency for purchasing a new consumable that grants increased rewards for strikes or Crucible matches.
As of the Dec. 12 update, Guardians will also be able to spend their shards and faction tokens on faction-specific armor and weapons from most of the respective vendors. You’ll need to unlock the ability to purchase these items by turning in some tokens for faction engrams. So if you’re sitting on a hoard of tokens and shards, this will be a great way to get rid of them and receive loot in return.
One of the biggest changes in Destiny 2’s Dec. 12 patch is the arrival of a new weapon tier, Masterwork. It appears to be a variant of legendary weapons — you’ll be able to get a Masterwork weapon as a loot drop, but you’ll also have the opportunity to upgrade existing legendary guns to their Masterwork versions. (This will require a currency that comes from dismantling a Masterwork.)
Masterworks can drop from any source of legendary weapons, as long as you’re using a character with at least 250 power. Guns from Trials of the Nine and the raid have a “very high chance” to drop as Masterworks, according to Bungie. Here’s what the studio said these unique weapons can do:
- Track and display the number of kills with that weapon (with choice between total count or Crucible-only count)
- Generate orbs for you and your allies on multi-kills
- Add weapon stat bonuses that are selected randomly from a small pool and are re-rollable
“We have future plans to extend Masterworks to other gear and expose your kill counts in more places,” Bungie added.
On the armor side, Bungie is introducing armor ornaments in the Dec. 5 update. Just like exotic weapon ornaments, these cosmetic items will be unlocked permanently for all characters on your account — they’re not consumables like armor shaders. You’ll need to complete objectives to unlock them, like winning 25 Iron Banner matches. This patch will also make sweeping changes to Destiny 2’s reputation token economy. The game will award more tokens overall across a variety of activities, although Bungie is raising the number of tokens required to earn a reputation engram for destination factions (up 37 percent) and the Gunsmith (up 50 percent).
In addition to detailing Destiny 2’s two December updates, Bungie laid out plans for 2018. First on the studio’s list is ranked play in the Crucible, along with a system that will penalize people who quit competitive matches. Bungie previously said it wants to provide better rewards for strikes, Prestige activities, Adventures and Lost Sectors. The studio is bringing back Destiny’s heroic strike playlist (and making strikes more rewarding) in December, but similar updates for Prestige exercises aren’t coming until January. As for Adventures and Lost Sectors, Bungie said only that tweaks for those activities are “still on our radar.”
Two more long-awaited updates won’t make it in by the end of 2017. Bungie is still working on reducing the chances that you’ll receive an exotic that you already own. And the developer is still planning to introduce an emote wheel, but not until next year. Private matches in the Crucible are targeted for “early 2018.”
As for the recent controversy over the game’s XP system, Bungie admitted that the previous setup “betrayed the expectation of transparency that you have for Destiny 2.” The studio also said it needs to figure out a “new solution” to rebalance the progression system — Bungie acknowledged that its quick fix, which effectively doubled the experience needed to level up, is not a viable option in the long term.
“We have begun that work, and will continue to provide updates to you about timelines and specifics,” said Bungie. The studio also promised to keep players apprised of all of its plans for Destiny 2 from now on.
“Going forward, we plan to continue this dialog as openly and frequently as possible. This will be an ongoing process, but one that we are committed to,” said Bungie. “Thank you for playing, for being passionate about the Destiny 2 experience, and for working with us as we look to continuously improve our game and studio communication.”
It appears that this is a new day for Bungie and its player base. Communication (or lack thereof) has long been a pain point in that relationship; in the three-plus years of Destiny’s existence, there have been multiple occasions on which radio silence from Bungie has escalated a controversy. Here’s hoping the studio keeps up the kind of transparency we saw today.