Bungie is planning to cap the Power of certain Legendary guns in Destiny 2, and that's not the only big change coming to the game.
On the heels of the Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris announcement yesterday, Destiny 2 director Luke Smith penned another lengthy deep-dive on the game's current and future plans. Smith's blog looks at the game's current seasonal model, the studio's plans for Destiny 2 Year 4 and beyond, and plenty of other hot-button issues, the hottest being the ever-expanding pool of Legendary guns and the power creep it's brought.
"Where Power matters or aspirational activities are involved, we’re going to make some changes to Legendary weapons," Smith explains. "In the world we’re imagining, we’ll have space at the top end to create powerful Legendary weapons. Legendaries that are just better than other items in the classification. We’ll be able to do that, because the design space for weapons will expand and contract over time. Items will enter the ecosystem, be able to be infused for some number of Seasons and beyond that, their power won’t be able to be raised."
In other words, older Legendaries will have their Power capped, meaning they'll fall behind as new seasons and expansions raise the overall Power level. "Those values will project the weapon’s viable-in-end-game lifespan and we think that lifespan is somewhere between nine and 15 months," Smith says. However, retired weapons won't actually be removed from the game, and they'll still be usable in activities where Power is less important, like PvP and Patrol. Additionally, Exotic weapons will not be affected by this change, and their potential Power will remain uncapped.
Destiny 2's proposed Legendary retirement plan raises several questions. It's unclear when this model will roll out, for starters, and what weapons will be affected initially. If weapons have a maximum lifespan of 15 months, I would wager that Bungie will retire weapons on a yearly basis. When this new system does drop, I'd expect Legendary weapons from Destiny 2 Year 1 and Year 2 to be retired. And since the window is 15 months, not 12, we may have a one-season grace period every year to gear up before our old stuff is retired. That said, it sounds like the specifics of this model are still up in the air.
Smith also discussed the successes and failures of Destiny 2's new seasonal model (which I criticized for making the game feel pointless). This ties into the Legendary weapon economy - "the way we are treating weapons in Destiny 2 isn't actually fueling the aspiration engine" - but Smith says it's also a product of seasonal FOMO and disposable content.
"We aren’t delivering the feeling of an evolving world. Instead we are delivering the feeling of ephemeral private activities and rewards that go away," Smith says. "The Forsaken Annual Pass had its share of challenges (see last year’s DC), but it also had this awesome property: If I stopped playing for a Season, when I came back, there were a bunch of rewards and activities that I could catch up on … This year’s version of Seasons has too much FOMO in them. We want to fix this, and next year’s Seasons will have less."
"Because we aren’t spending our development resources and time as well as we could," he continues, "we’re talking about moving away from creating Season-bespoke private activities and instead using that time and effort to build themes that aren’t just represented by a marquee event that will fade away, but rather to inject these Seasonal themes into more of the game. Like we continue to evolve the world’s narrative, we could invest more in the evolving world of our public spaces and take further efforts to evolve Destiny 2’s core activities."
By "core activities," Smith is referring to repeatable playlist activities at the heart of Destiny 2's Director - Strikes, Gambit, Crucible, and the like. "If we’re going to ask players to engage with these activities, we have an opportunity to leverage rewards throughout the Season," he says. "Imagine the armor sets or Sundial weapons being woven into core activity reward pools. Or imagine experiences like pursuing rolls for sweet weapons that could only be found in a given playlist as an end-of-match reward, like a Crucible Eyasluna."
Smith's blog also touches on a few small but significant things. Bungie has no plans to bring back Faction Rallies, for instance, and it's planning to rework the Destiny 2: New Light experience to better onboard new players. You can read the post in full here.
Next season will also add universal seasonal mod slots and the option to change armor affinity.