Bungie today announced a large-scale series of changes to the world of Destiny 2 to address fierce criticism from players, many of whom have been voicing concern since the game’s September launch that the developer was either ignoring community feedback or uninterested in changing what fans saw as fundamental flaws to the sci-fi shooter sequel. Some of the changes will go live with the upcoming Curse of the Osiris expansion launching on December 5th, with more to come in a patch the following week. The company also detailed longer-term updates slated for 2018.
Now, certain weapons will once again have “rolls,” or a randomly assigned set of unlockable benefits that make a player’s version of the virtual firearm different and potentially superior and rarer than another’s. Bungie is calling its new system for these weapons Masterworks, and there will be a way to unlock variable perks for specific weapons, including those items that are part of the game’s rarest weapons collections. You’ll also be able to make a standard weapon into a Masterworks one and re-roll the perks on those weapons individually.
Bungie is also adding a ranked mode for its competitive Crucible multiplayer mode, which pits humans against other humans (as opposed to against artificial intelligence-powered enemies), as well as private matches so players can compete directly against friends and have more control over the Crucible experience. Other changes include: a way to earn the game’s rarest loot — coveted exotic weapons and armor — through a system that will reward only those weapons players don’t already have; a more robust rewards system for the game’s hardest activities like prestige raids and nightfalls; more replay value for standard activities like strikes and adventures; more straightforward and transparent ways to purchase and customize armor sets using in-game currency and materials; and increased drop rates across the board for Destiny 2’s controversial token system.
The updates, listed in a blog post from game directors Luke Smith and Chris Barrett, take the place of a previously planned live stream for the Curse of the Osiris expansion. Following the cancellation of that live stream — the third and final stream in what had morphed into a contentious and failed attempt at communicating with an increasingly frustrated player base — Bungie decided to instead address the high-level criticisms with a list of specific updates and a concrete timeline for the implementation of the changes.
The company, since the launch of the original Destiny, has been plagued by an inability to adequately communicate with its player base. The developer has often made obtuse, sometimes mind-boggling decisions that are either left in place without further comment or largely ignored until players either become fed up and stop playing or voice enough criticism that Bungie rolls back the change or, at the very least, offers more detailed reasoning for it.
“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,” the duo write. “We know it’s frustrating when there isn’t enough of a dialog with the development team. You have our commitment that we’re going to do a better job going forward.”
The list of new changes is long and detailed, and any hardcore fan of Destiny 2 should head over to Bungie’s blog to read in it full. It is not, however, as exhaustive as some players may have hoped. The developer did not address the lack of Crucible playlist choice, leaving players with the two restrictive “Quickplay” and “Competitive” options. There were also no mentions of balancing issues between the game’s cooperative activities and its competitive ones, meaning core issues persist between how the game handles aspects like weapon loadouts and ability recharge rates across vastly different game modes. Bungie made no mention of specific changes to weapon classes or to any proposed tweaks to its controversial power weapons system, which moved some of the first Destiny’s most enjoyable guns, like sniper rifles and shotguns, to a more restrictive inventory slot that has come close to erasing their presence in the game.
However, it’s important to note that Bungie appears to be addressing some of the harshest criticism Destiny 2 has received in the last two months with direct and much-needed changes across every aspect of the game. The overall goal it appears is to give diehard players more reason to play the game on a regular basis, reduce more of the friction from and mystical nature of the game’s reward systems, make its in-game economy more manageable, and provide more quality-of-life improvements to the game to make it less of a slog. It all sounds very promising, and if Bungie follows through, the developer could very well steer Destiny 2 back on its path toward becoming an even deeper and more rewarding experience than its predecessor.
“Going forward, we plan to continue this dialog as openly and frequently as possible. This will be an ongoing process, but one that we are committed to. This week we’ll be publishing a new episode of the Bungie Podcast where we will sound off on the current state of Destiny 2, how we think about our communication challenges, and what it takes to update the game in the wild,” Smith and Barrett write. “Thank you for playing, for being passionate about the Destiny 2 experience, and for working with us as we look to continuously improve our game and studio communication.”