Recent backlash against XP throttling has Bungie laying out plans for an improved Destiny 2 experience.
The situation surrounding the recent controversy over XP in Destiny 2 is problematic for one specific reason. Not because it prevented players from earning ornaments, emotes, sparrows and weapon skins faster, but because it was misleading. The Bright Engrams that some players covet so deeply do not contain materials that give any player an advantage over the other. However, by limiting XP gained in certain areas of the game and increasing the amount needed to level up without informing the community, players became more likely to purchase Silver with real world currency to hasten the process.
But, as we’ve learned in the past, you are hard pressed as a developer to get anything past your devoted community. After being caught in the act, Bungie has made a promise to fix the XP issue and has released a detailed schedule for how it plans to improve the gameplay experience.
On its blog, Bungie stated that it wanted to “keep slower-paced activities as rewarding as high intensity grinding”, which in turn resulted in a mechanism that inadvertently scaled XP gains for certain activities. And it did so, Bungie admitted, without letting players know.
The goal now, after removing that old system, is to replace it with a more streamlined way of calculating and earning XP. Currently, that new system is in the works, and Bungie promises to keep players up to date about the status of all future updates. Hopefully this whole revelation will show Bungie that open and honest communication is the only path for a happy, talkative, and lively player base. In a time when microtransactions and pay-to-win are ruling talks about gaming, it’d be nice for a AAA developer to not try and sneak something past us for once.
Whether intentionally or not, this controversy was followed by the discussion of some welcome changes coming to Destiny 2. Over the next few weeks and months, the game will shift into its second season and bring about a slew of changes, not to mention the Curse of Osiris DLC on 5th December.
Alongside that release comes a handful of changes including armour ornaments, reworks to the Gunsmith mod system, purchasable Legendary Engrams/Shards from Rahool, and changes to Reputation Tokens. The new ornament system is a small but nice touch that adds to player individuality, and they will unlock account wide for all your characters once earned through specific tasks for each set. Rare mods can now be dismantled into Gunsmith Materials and possibly Legendary components, and Banshee will now sell Legendary mods as well. Reputation Tokens will see a game wide boost in drop rate and quantity.
Not long after that, on 12th December, the more significant changes arrive. Most notably, the arrival of Masterworks weapons. These slightly-better-than-Legendary weapons will have stat tracking, orb generation on multi kills, and random stat bonuses (that are re-rollable!). Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that all perks on the Masterworks weapons will be random, just the one. Legendary weapons will also be able to upgrade into Masterworks weapons.
Factions will now sell armour and weapons outright that will be purchasable with shards and tokens. Bungie specifically notes that all five armour slots will always be present, along with a rotating weapon. Xur is bringing back Three of Coins and will have a Fated Engram, guaranteeing you an Exotic you do not own yet. Zavala and Shaxx will sell Gifts, boosting chances for better rewards for your whole fireteam, or even a chance at an Exotic for everyone. And lastly, vendors will have nodes above them only when you have enough tokens to earn an engram.
Hopefully these changes, and the Curse of Osiris, will bring players back. Since its launch in September, it seems Destiny 2 has been getting less and less crowded. Admittedly I haven’t been back to the tower in quite some time, but these changes, and Bungie’s quick response to criticism, have me keen to return.
Bungie’s misleading of its player base is not excusable, and I’m certainly not claiming it to be, but I applaud the team for holding their hands up, accepting that they’ve done wrong, and changing what they could as quickly as they could. I hope, sincerely, that Bungie and Destiny 2 continue grow and keep open communication with all us Guardians. Come next Tuesday, I’ll be dusting off my Hunter’s cape and tracking down Osiris. This series still holds a special place in my heart, and I hope Destiny 2 can carve its own chunk out someday too.