The Destiny 2: Warmind expansion had much to live up to following the disappointment of Curse of Osiris. Bungie and partner studio largely meet those expectations via updates to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC shooter’s sandbox and quality of life, plus a more compelling play space. However, the studio also fell into some familiar traps and has a growing list of issues to fix.
Destiny 2 is undoubtedly in a better place now following the release of Warmind and the previous “Go Fast” update in March. The changes to the Exotic Weapons and weapon sandbox alone have injected much-needed fun and variety to a weapon collection that had been extremely stagnant not long after the game’s launch last year.
Warmind goes beyond that, however, with a Mars play space that is far better than the small Mercury play space and repetitive Infinite Forest from Curse of Osiris. It is big enough to allow for diversity in settings and landscape while also bringing back much-needed discoverability through hidden objects and references. There is an actual tracker on Destination map counting down how many hidden objects are left.
Meanwhile, Heroic Strikes feel difficult once again and the Escalation Protocol end-game public event is providing a huge challenge already. The changes to Crucible with Ranked play, matchmaking, sandbox updates, and 6v6 Iron Banner have brought needed excitement and improvements to the in-game quality of life.
Things to Address
While Bungie has addressed many issues with Destiny 2: Warmind, it still has more updates planned for this summer. Exotic Armor will hopefully get the same kind of revamping the Exotic Weapons have received, plus a new Seasonal Event will be added along with Bounties and PC Clan Chat.
Bigger improvements are planned for September with what should be a Destiny 1: The Taken King style expansion. Weapon Slot changes and Weapon Randomization are the current headliners while Gear Collections and Records are also listed.
The improvements to Warmind show a positive direction for Destiny 2 and they give hope to upcoming improvements. However, there are still many other areas where Bungie can improve. The number one issue for the expansions is that the stories behind Warmind and Curse of Osiris both feel shallow when compared to the lore behind characters like Ana Bray, Osiris, Nokris, and Xol, the Wormgod.
This is largely a function of the time and effort required to develop the story, play spaces, and gameplay updates. The expansion campaigns are relatively short for this reason, but Bungie needs to find a way for these to come across as much grander than their short running time through story, lore, or interesting mechanics.
One significant way to fix that would be to stop using Strikes as part of the expansion campaign missions. This makes players feel short-changed when it comes to the story missions. Especially when another one of the few story missions takes place in a previously existing part of Destiny 2 and the third Strike is a PlayStation exclusive until at least September.
There are many other things that need to be addressed like not penalizing players toward their Valor Rank when joining a Crucible match in progress. Players are being matchmade onto a losing squad and seeing their Valor Rank decrease because.
Additionally, reward Power Levels need to be adjusted to match the Recommended Power Level of the activity. For example, Heroic Strikes are dropping items at base Power Level of 335 when it has a recommended Power Level of 350.
Finally, the problem of matchmaking in Nightfall and Raids will have to be addressed at some point. Guided Games has not panned out as hoped for and matchmaking should be added to at least the base Nightfall runs without challenge cards. Players still depend on LFG groups outside of the game for end-game activities and that leaves them scattered across multiple sites and services instead of searching for each other collectively.
Return to ‘Destiny 2’?
Is now the time to return to Destiny 2? That is a tough one to answer. The game has improved greatly yet there are still some of those same lingering and needling issues. The good news is Bungie appears to be fully on the right track and the development team has been saying all the right things the past few months and ramping up their engagement with the community.