The blowback over how experience gain is handled in Destiny 2 continued through this past weekend as Bungie once again failed to communicate changes and underestimated the community's ability to ferret out information on their own. The developer turned off XP scaling after PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC players figured out their XP gains were being throttled but forgot to tell fans they also doubled the amount of XP required to level up.
The initial controversy started last week when the Destiny 2 community discovered Bungie was reducing XP earned for completing activities like Public Events, even though the on-screen display the expected amount of experience points. This came across as especially egregious given that the in-game Eververse shop sold XP boosters for real money and there has been an ongoing Pop-Tart promotion since launch to give a 25 percent XP boost.
Beyond that, leveling is important in Destiny 2 because of the loot box-like Bright Engrams to receive unique such as cosmetic items, emotes, sparrows, ships, and more. These Bright Engrams can also be purchased using real money, so limiting XP is seen by the community as a way to "incentivize" them into spending more money.
Bungie responded to this uproar by turning off the scaling system because it was "not performing the way we'd like it to." However, the studio did not communicate the full extent of the changes and it did not take long for another member of the Reddit community to figure out the developer doubled the required amount of XP to level up a character.
The studio finally admitted to the change in a Bungie Help Twitter post Sunday that comes across as a simple problem with the Destiny 2 API instead of admitting the leveling requirements had changed.Adjusting the XP requirements to level a character is certainly within Bungie's purview. It was also likely necessary to ensure players spend roughly the same amount of time to level up after turning the scaling system off. However, the studio once again fell into the trap of not clearly communicating changes and underestimating the ability of the Destiny community to figure out when something is not right. Players have been figuring out when something doesn't work well since the early days of the game and caught unannounced changes like when Bungie changed the matchmaking algorithm in Destiny 1 over the holidays, which affected the connection quality of matches.
Destiny 2 Creative Director Luke Smith and Designer Mark Noseworthy will be on a Twitch livestream later this week to talk about upcoming changes to the end-game, the economy, and more with the release of the Curse of Osiris expansion on December 5 that also brings Season 2. Hopefully, they will also address the recent XP fiasco and how the studio plans to move forward there, as well.
[Featured Image by Bungie/Activision]