Bungie’s first real attempt to address issues with Destiny 2 was detailed Wednesday following an ever-growing state of discontentment among PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC players. The near-term roadmap shared in a “State of Destiny” blog post Wednesday evening nips at the edges, but fans also need to hear about how the developers are going to handle more fundamental issues with the shooter.
The Destiny 2 December update is coming next Tuesday alongside the release of the Curse of Osiris expansion. Bungie has already detailed some of the changes coming immediately and over the course of the next two months. More will be coming, such as weapon balancing, when the patch notes are published when the patch releases.
Communication between Bungie and the Destiny 2 fanbase is going to be key going forward, and an area game director Luke Smith and project lead Mark Noseworthy admitted Bungie hasn’t been great at during a recent podcast. Part of that is due to their lack of confidence in when a new feature or change will be introduced.
Yes, there is danger in mentioning a feature or a change and then meeting a promised release date. See Studio Wildcard and ARK: Survival Evolved. However, a general roadmap of where development is expected to go over the near to mid-future would be incredibly helpful to both the fans and Bungie themselves. Epic Games has nailed that recently with Fortnite: Battle Royale, and it should be an example other studios should follow with a game that is being updated consistently.
That said, here are some of the fundamental issues that must be addressed in Destiny 2.
Lack of things to chase
A common complaint from the hardcore Destiny 1 player was they wanted the Grimoire cards in-game. Bungie elected to bring some of those story elements into Destiny 2 but completely remove the Grimoire cards and associated score altogether.
Extended story elements brought in as Adventures works well in Destiny 2 but should have a Grimoire score associated with them. The real problem though is there isn’t anything like golden chests, dead ghosts, calcified fragments, or SIVA clusters to hunt. Exploring the Destiny 1 maps to find these and piece together story elements was a genuinely enjoyable experience for the dedicated players.
Beyond that, other features like Strike specific loot needs to return to Destiny 2 along with more unique end-game style quests. The Forge weapons in the Curse of Osiris sound like a good but also not nearly as difficult as the Thorn or The Chaperone quests of yore.
Weapon class changes have not worked
Moving the Sniper Rifle, Fusion Rifle, and Shotgun from the Special Weapons category in Destiny 1 to Heavy Weapons in Destiny 2 and turning what would normally be primary weapons into Energy Weapons just has not worked well. In fact, those three weapon types are least used Heavy Weapons across all activities when checking stats at Guardian.gg, often joined by the Grenade Launcher.
Part of the issue is these three weapon types are underpowered when compared to the Rocket Launcher or Sword. Yes, Bungie had an extraordinarily difficult time balancing these three for Crucible and PVE activities in Destiny 1, but the current experiment in Destiny 2 has not worked thus far.
The problem is the extraordinary amount of work it would take to reconfigure these weapon classes again means it is unlikely to happen, at least not anytime soon. Perhaps Bungie can move the Sniper Rifle or Shotgun to only the Energy Class where they are more likely to be used but that will require some additional balancing.
Bungie says it has private matches and ranked play coming to the Crucible in 2018, which will help. There are still multiple other issues starting with the dynamic change from being a mode where you can feel like you’re a legend in 6v6 modes to a 4v4 team shooter.
There are still opportunities to get surprise kills and make the occasional great play but the absolutely insane plays from the days of Destiny 1 are gone and the dip in the number of Crucible streamers and players on Twitch reflect that. It is not as exciting to play or watch in its current form.
Bringing back 6v6 modes would be nice but seems unlikely as the Destiny 2 maps are much smaller and designed around 4v4. It is possible, though, along with tweaks to Super, Grenade, and Class ability recharge rates to make those happen more frequently. Supers, in particular, seem to only come once a match unless you are matched up against a team that feeds you kills and the grenades are not nearly as powerful as the amount of time it takes for them to regenerate currently.
Other positive changes would include adding the ability to select a specific gametype for at least the Quickplay playlist and introduce more modes, Rumble especially. Weapon balance changes and radar changes are needed as well but it is unclear if or how those will be altered in the December update at the time of this article.
Iron Banner no longer feels like a unique event
Some of Iron Banner’s issues are due to the current state of multiplayer in the Crucible. Much of it, though, is because it no longer feels like a unique event. Destiny 1 Iron Banner had the hook of Light level differences. Yes, the difference was damage from a single bullet in most matchups, but there was a psychological power fantasy there that drew people in beyond just the opportunity to receive unique gear.
However, the gear is indeed another problem. Bungie is allowing Lord Saladin to sell specific sets of gear once again and adding unique Ornaments but has said nothing about increasing the Power Level of the weapons and armor that drop. This takes Iron Banner from being a unique end-game style activity in Destiny 1 to a just kind of okay alternate version of the existing Crucible.
Bungie needs to find a way to make Iron Banner a unique event that stands on its own apart from the Crucible. If the developers do not want to bring Power Level differences back, then add modifiers to increase Super and ability recharge rates. These don’t have to Mayhem levels but use the Iron Banner as an opportunity to experiment or do something different like a unique new mode.
Bringing back Iron Banner ranks or adding Leaderboards would help as well to give players the opportunity to compare their progress against one another.
The Shader System
It’s great that Destiny 2 players can now apply Shaders to individual pieces of armor and weapons. What is not so great is that you lose an already applied Shader when applying another one. This kills any sort of experimentation with different color sets on different pieces of gear. The game does throw Shaders at you at a fairly prodigious rate, but those can be burned up just as quickly trying to mix and match.
A friendlier system would allow users to apply up to five Shaders to a single item and then choose which should be active. Once you reach the limit of Shaders for that item then you will need to delete one. This should help Shaders be used more and promote a greater variety of looks and styles in Destiny 2.