Destiny 2 is in a tough spot right now. The problems had started long before the recent controversy over experience throttling and bright engrams: overall, there was the feeling that the game wasn’t as sticky as its predecessor, that it was too easy to hit max level and too easy to lose interest in the game once you had done so. Destiny 2 made a host of changes from the original Destiny that made the game more approachable and less grindy, but there’s a flip side to every coin. The grind, in many cases, was what kept hardcore players feeling engaged, and without a strong incentive to complete endgame activities the player base has been made to feel adrift, with players like myself mostly sitting around for the next content update. For many, this is a disappointing rollback, and Bungie canceled its livestream today to tell us a little more about what it has in store in the form of a wide-ranging blog post. Here’s the intro, from developers Luke Smith and Chris Barret:
With Destiny 2’s console and PC launches behind us, we want to take some time to talk with you about Destiny 2 – specifically where it’s at today, and where it’s going. Our team has been reading feedback and working on updates to improve the game. We’ve also been reading some tough criticism about our lack of communication, and we agree we need to be more open.
Going forward, Destiny 2’s post-launch game systems, features, and updates are being designed specifically to focus on and support players who want Destiny to be their hobby – the game they return to, and a game where friendships are made. We want Destiny to be a game that fits into your life, providing you with reasons to log in and play with your friends, clans, and families. We want Destiny to be a world you want to be a part of.
The intention here is clear: Bungie wants Destiny 2 to be something you can play every day and still feel rewarded by (coincidentally, every other video game released in 2017 seems to want the same thing). Most of this is focused on endgame rewards, which ironically need to be made both more and less rewarding. Players want top-tier rewards that feel powerful, and they need to take long enough to earn that they feel special.
The first category here is what Bungie is calling “Masterwork Weapons,” a new tier for Legendary weapons that come with re-rollable stat bonuses, kill trackers and the ability to generate orbs on multi-kills. The last note, in particular, has the potential to really transform the Raid, but it’s the re-rollable stat bonuses that will likely cause the biggest change to the way that people grind. In the original Destiny, all weapons came with random perks, and that meant that people would spend months doing Nightfalls and Raids searching for that perfect mix. It was annoying to get a useless version of Raid armor, but it gave you something to do, and that’s crucial for long-term engagement. Kill trackers are something I couldn’t care less about.
We’re also getting Armor Ornaments, and from what it sounds like we’re getting a lot of them. These are ways to change the look of a particular armor set specific to activities: we’ll have Vanguard ornaments, Trials of the Nine Ornaments, Iron Banner Ornaments, Faction ornaments and so on. They’ll change the look of a particular set of armor And unlike shaders, these will be one-time unlocks available account-wide. That means that they’ll have a function similar to that of shaders in the original Destiny, which were doled out as trophies for completing high-end activities and served as bragging rights in the Tower or Crucible. From what I can tell, you can get the standard armor set for an activity from the sort of thing you’re doing now, but Factions will reserve the Ornaments for more impressive accomplishments.
the crucible is getting a few much-requested changes: we already knew private matches were on their way, but we’re also getting ranked matches, offering some much-needed structure to high-end PvP. There’s no schedule on these, but Bungie promises they’re at the top of its priority list.
There will be a suite of changes meant to address vendor stock and Legendary Shards, both of which are essentially useless at the moment. Xur will now sell “fated engrams,” which will decrypt into exotics that the more player doesn’t already have in their collection. And not only will we be getting more ways to spend our Legendary Shards at Vendors and more stock from Xur, we’ll also be getting some interesting items from Lord Shaxx and Zavala, capable of granting bonus rewards on activity completion up to and including a “round of exotics” for everyone involved. That last one sounds fantastically broken, but we’ll see.
Crucially, we’ll also get the ability to equip three different emotes at once, which still sort of shocks me we can’t do yet, especially in a game that wants to make money by selling emotes for real money.
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