Destiny: The Taken King brings an overhaul to weapons and armor for the second year of the PlayStation and Xbox shooter. Bungie hosted a livestream this past week and followed it up with a Weekly Update post for added clarification. While the developer doesn’t specifically call out how everything works, we can derive some of the functionality and numbers from both sources.
All-New Attack and Defense Ratings
The current rating system that has existed over the first year of Destiny is getting completely scrapped and replaced. The game now uses a rating range of 0 to 300 and you can bet on that being increased with later releases.
Based on the Destiny Year Two reveal video, existing legendary and exotic weapons are being capped at an attack or defense rating of 160. Year One weapons are still going to work as they do today. The maximum 365 Attack rating on the Fatebringer legendary hand cannon, for example, is just being translated to 160 for Year Two.
All rare quality weapons and armor introduced with Year Two will start at the 160 rating, as well and can be upgraded. That means a blue rocket launcher that drops from a The Taken King story mission has the potential to be just as powerful as the Gjallarhorn exotic rocket launcher, even if it doesn’t come with the same number of perks.
The livestream also reveals that new legendary and exotic weapons and armor will start with a 280 attack or defense rating. Additionally, these high powered pieces can only be used by characters that have achieved an overall level of 40. How overall level and Light level work is explained below.
A weapon or armor piece’s power is not static and can be improved through the new Infusion system that works only on Destiny Year Two items. This is a new node in the item perk screen that replaces the Ascend node.
In the example shown in the Twitch livestream, Bungie started with a Legendary Suros DIS-43 Scout Rifle with a 280 attack rating. They spent 250 Glimmer, 10 Weapon Parts, 1 Mote of Light, and 3 Legendary Marks to consume an eligible more powerful weapon with a 290 attack rating and upgrade the Suros DIS-43 to a 288 attack rating. Players will be given the choice of which weapon to consume if they have more than one eligible option.
Eligible weapons must be of the same quality as the weapon (i.e. only a legendary weapon can be used to upgrade a legendary weapon), the same type (i.e. only a helmet can upgrade a helmet), and the item being sacrificed must have a higher power rating.
Infusion only works on legendary and exotic items. So, don’t expect to upgrade anything of rare or lower quality.
Bungie is not just fiddling around with attack and defense ratings in Destiny: The Taken King. The developer is adding more variety and flavors to the armor and weapon perks, as well.
One example from the livestream is the Kallipolis Robes sold by the New Monarchy vendor. The robes come with a choice between “Solar Recovery,” which provides increased recovery for five seconds after taking solar splash damage, and “Solar Armor,” which increases armor when using a solar-based subclass.
Another example is an armor piece that reduces the amount of damage taken when a burn skull is active. This is the kind of piece that players will covet for a Nightfall Strike and will likely encourage players to switch armor around more often to fit the activity they are undertaking.
Ghost Shells and Class Items also factor into the armor equation, as both have been upgraded with attack and defense ratings, respectively, plus perks to help a character. Ghost Shell perks include the ability to increase the amount of Glimmer collected or help find resources, while Class Items can help level up certain weapon types faster and increase reputation gains for different factions faster.
How Light Rating Factors
The new attack and armor ratings all factor into a character’s total Light, which is now completely separate from their overall level. As previously covered, Light in Destiny will now determine the power of a character.
The ratings from the three equipped weapons and Ghost Shell are added to the ratings for the four equipped armor pieces, one Class Item, and one Artifact. The average of all of these numbers is what determines a player’s Light score.
The higher the Light, the more damage characters will deal and the less damage they will take. We haven’t seen it in action yet, but it could be how Bungie makes the power curve in Destiny more gradual instead of the sudden jumps we see today.
Destiny players shouldn’t expect to see their characters lose a level during the transition from Year One to Year Two. Bungie has already assured that a Level 34 character today will be a Level 34 character on September 15 when The Taken King releases.
Have any questions or see anything that is missed? Sound off in the comments below. I’m going to add more articles on how Destiny is changing with The Taken King, but you can check out posts on Currency in Year Two now.
[Images via Bungie]