When Bungie delivers, boy, do they deliver.
In light of the upcoming Curse of Osiris DLC release, Bungie has given players an in-depth look at the expansion in the form of Twitch live streams and commentaries with the developers. The first stream, “New Stories to Tell,” introduced us to Osiris, and the new places, faces, and adventures we’d be going on. The second stream, “New Ways to Play,” demonstrated the new game modes, playlists, additions, and modifications to existing activities that would be integrated into the existing game with the DLC. However, a third stream was planned — aimed at highlighting the new types of gear and equipment the DLC would offer — but this was scrapped last minute. Instead, Bungie wanted to take a more compassionate approach, using this platform as an opportunity to address the community’s concerns.
A blog post titled “The State of Destiny 2” was posted on Bungie’s website. The post begins by addressing Bungie’s own lack of communication, taking an important, humbling step before making the ambitious leap of telling the community all that they have planned for Season 2.
In the post, Bungie discussed an overview of the upcoming updates and planned to address concerns and some of the less-engaging or fun elements of the game. A summary of these updates follows.
There will be new systems and rewards for players, including an all new weapon “Masterworks” system, improved vendor rewards, and armor ornaments. Better incentives will be rewarded to players who complete Prestige activities, as well as strikes, adventures, and lost sectors. PvP Crucible will be tuned to offer better incentives and penalties for completion and abandonment of matches. Improvements will be made to Iron Banner and Faction Rallies, as well. Along with these features, mods, exotics, and duplicates will see notable improvements. New ways to spend currency and materials will be made available, as well as the ability to bind four emotes at once. Exciting stuff.
With these upcoming updates, Bungie hopes to quell some of the community concerns related to the endgame, economy, uniformity of gear, and, most importantly, replayability. The exciting updates are coming in early December. Some will be available December 5, and others by December 12.
Let’s take a look at some of these game changers, which have been divided into four main points: “Deepen rewards for advanced players, Provide more player control over obtaining rewards, Make shards useful by adding things to use them for, and provide general quality fixes wherever possible.”
Let’s start with weapons. Bungie is introducing a new system for weapons called Masterworks, coming December 12.
Legendary Weapons will now have the Masterwork feature, which offers players advantages over the lower-tiered weapons. Masterworked weapons can track and display the number of kills one has with the weapon (similar to the Kill-Tracker Ghost), bringing about a bit of competitive spirit to your favorite gun. Some Masterworked weapons will include an all-new perk, which will generate orbs for your allies on multi-kills. Up to this point, the only way that a guardian could generate orbs was by using a Super, so introducing this will surely shake things up. Along with this perk comes the (long-awaited) ability to add weapon stat bonuses and perks. (And to re-roll them!) This will be familiar to D1 players, which allowed them to customize their favorite weapons with their favorite mods and perks. For comparison’s sake, currently in D2, a certain weapon has a certain set amount of perks. There is no way for these to change, so, if you want a weapon with the armor-piercing rounds perk, you’re limited to 3-4 choices. Not anymore.
Fear not, for the Masterwork economy has been well-crafted. Masterworks will drop from any source of Legendary weapons (250 Power and above), and unwanted Masterworks can be dismantled into materials that are then used to upgrade standard Legendary weapons into Masterworks or upgrading Masterworks. More challenging activities, like Raids and Trials of the Nine, will have a “very high chance” of dropping Masterworks.
With the introduction of this new Masterwork system, guardians will have a greater amount control over their loadout, customization of said loadout, and develop a stronger connection to the weapons and armor they’ve worked so hard to earn in the first place, making the feeling that much sweeter.
In the vein of improving character customization, Armor Ornaments will be introduced on December 5th. These may be familiar to D1 players, as well, as towards the end of Year 3, there were many interesting cosmetic armor effects, masks, hats, and the like. But as the light was stripped from the guardians for the purposes of Destiny 2’s story, so were the armor ornaments. Now they’re back.
Armor Ornaments will be added to Armor sets, which will be unlocked by completing specific objectives tailored to that set. For example, a Shaxx-based ornament will require you to play some crucible matches, and maybe even achieve a certain medal during the game. These ornaments will be similar to Exotic weapon ornaments, as they are unlocked once and are account-wide, able to be used by all three of your character slots. The following factions will have ornaments for Season 2: Vanguard, Crucible, Trials of the Nine, Iron Banner, Dead Orbit, Future War Cult, New Monarchy, and the Eater of Worlds Raid.
These Armor Ornaments are a very welcomed and exciting addition. Customizing my guardian has always been a key part of Destiny for me, and these ornaments will allow me to show off my hard work in a new way. It’s not just about having all the raid gear anymore. Now it’s time to make that raid gear shine with the all-new Eater of Worlds ornaments.
Legendary Shards. What are they, where do they come from, why are we getting them, and why is Xur the only one who knows anything about them? Truthfully, I don’t have a single answer to any of these questions. However, big changes are coming to Legendary Shards on December 12 — changes that some might say makes them useful for the first time ever.
Faction armor and weapons will be available for purchase using legendary shards and faction tokens, now. Additionally, vendors will always have the five relevant armor slots available for purchase, and you can buy them with shards. In the image above, a Hunter Cloak appears to require three things: At least 2 Reward Engrams, 15 Legendary Shards, and 10 Crucible Tokens. Again, it's another system that D1 players would recognize.
These changes incentivize completing tasks for vendors in a way that D2 needed desperately. I’ve watched my friends slowly fall off the face of The Tower because they see no need to talk to anyone, or complete any tasks, or hand in any tokens. Thankfully, things are changing for the better.
The man (?), the myth, the legend: Xur. Our old friend was lost for a while, but it seems that he has been found. Re-acquiring the consumable “Three of Coins,” and offering an all-new “Isochronal Engram,” Xur is coming on December 12 with some exciting new stock.
Each week, you’ll be able to purchase a new “Fated Engram” (using Legendary Shards), which will decrypt into an Exotic weapon or armor piece that is not already in your collection. (I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief, because I’m tired of Sunbracers and Hard Light dropping over and over and over again.)
Three of Coins are back and better than ever. These will boost exotic drop rates from any source for four hours. This system is different from D1, as previously, you were required to re-apply your “Tre Coins” before each and every boss fight, strike, raid, etc. Simplified, streamlined, and easy to understand — Three of Coins are back.
That’s it for the “big news.” However, it’s not always about the glitz and glamour of new features. Sometimes what’s important and crucial to the survivability of a game are the changes to the smaller things. Bungie has heard our cries, and the following changes are, what I believe to be, the developers' reactions to our criticisms.
For December 5
Banshee will have updated weapon and armor mods. For players hunting down a specific modification (say a Helmet mod), Banshee will now offer it to you, free of random chance. Simply choose which type of mod you want and acquire it for Gunsmith Materials. These will rotate daily.
Master Rahool, our crazy Cryptarch friend, will offer a small stock of Legendary Engrams and weapons for Guardians searching for specific weaponry or Masterworks.
Reputation Tokens will be affected, increasing their drop rates and altering the amount of reputation required to receive engrams from Vendors. Daily Challenges, Cayde’s Treasure Chests, and Strikes will drop a higher number of tokens. Destination-specific Tokens will increase their drop rate, and the value per token will increase, as well.
For December 12
Commander Zavala and Lord Shaxx (our favorite Titans) will now sell “gift consumables” that can be used during their respective activities (Strikes and Crucible) to increase the rewards dropped for each player in the match. These awards can be “anything from Faction Tokens to a round of Exotics for everyone.”
Exploits regarding Chests and Resource Nodes are being observed, but it doesn’t appear that much is being changed, which is troubling. Their comment: “We want to associate a visual indicator with this in a future update, but we weren’t able to pull that off in this update (but we hear you!)”
The following is a simple quality-of-life change, but a much-desired one, at that. Vendors will no longer notify you to hand in tokens unless the amount of tokens you are carrying is enough to earn an engram or piece of loot. Tired of walking all the way to Devrim, just to find out you need one more token? I know I sure am.
In closing, Bungie regards the future:
“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.
This week we’ll be publishing a new episode of the Bungie Podcast where we will sound off on the current state of Destiny 2, how we think about our communication challenges, and what it takes to update the game in the wild. You’ll be able to listen on both Apple and Android devices.
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.”
When Destiny 2 released, fans of the series were delighted by many of the changes. It felt as if some of the more annoying bits of the grind from the first game had been streamlined and the stress factor had been purposefully reduced. But, the changes brought about new features, some successful, some complete failures. The fans let Bungie know, and here we are. A massive list of changes, some all-new features that we’d never thought possible. Adjustments to the little things, as well as major improvements to character customization, are just some of the exciting additions coming to Destiny 2 free of charge. All of these changes are modifications or additions to the base, vanilla edition of Destiny 2, able to be enjoyed by all.
As just one member of the Destiny community, I write this post with admiration and appreciation. It took a few months for them to get their heads together and wrap their hands around the most important issues, but Bungie did it. The developers addressed many of our concerns and made great strides to improve the quality of their game — in many of the same ways that they did with the transition from Destiny 1 to Destiny 2. I see this blog post as a crowning achievement for Bungie and a bright beacon of a promising future for years, and years, and years to come.
Each image and piece of information is gleaned from Bungie's original blog post, found here.