In a new blog post acknowledging that Destiny 2's new expansion launch hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows, Bungie unveiled some promising solutions to several of the game's biggest problems, including many highlighted in our own Destiny 2 Lightfall review.
"We’re just over a month into the launches of Lightfall and Season 20, and there’s been a lot to take in," the dev team begins before passing the mic to game director Joe Blackburn, who seems to address the concerns that Lightfall's disappointing landing could spell letdown for the Light and Darkness saga.
"We’re floored by how many new and returning faces have been devouring Destiny 2 these last few weeks," Blackburn begins, "and while it’s clear the initial experience we delivered on day one didn’t provide the full clarity we originally planned for when we set out creating Lightfall, the team has taken the feedback to heart in both what’s coming this year, and with how we’re ending the Light and Darkness Saga in The Final Shape.
"Over the last few years, the team has set a high bar for what to expect from Destiny 2’s evolving world, and we’re committed to making sure the resolution of our first saga lives up to that legacy," he continues. "We’ll continue to build toward that resolution throughout the year of Lightfall, and I can’t wait to experience the conclusion to this saga alongside all of you as we make our way to The Final Shape."
More immediately, Bungie is prepping a significant batch of changes for Season 21, which is about seven weeks away at the time of writing. There's a lot to pick through, starting with changes for the frustrating Guardian Rank and Commendation systems introduced in Lightfall. Basically, Bungie's working to ensure that resetting seasonal rank challenges doesn't undermine the system altogether, so it's adding catch-up mechanisms for active players. The "forever six" problem is being tackled too, with returning players now starting at rank five and reaching seven "faster than it was to rank up from six to seven at launch."
Commendations are getting adjustments of their own, including a new display to track your seasonal and commendation history. Commendation eligibility is also being updated to account for activity participation, and a new commendation called Best Dressed will finally let you rate your clanmates' fashion sense. Perhaps most importantly, the scarce leadership commendations required for upper Guardian Ranks will become retroactive, which will cut the raid and dungeon grind.
"The best part about this community is that you're not afraid to give us input!" the socials team says, and ain't that the truth.
Destiny 2's recently adjusted difficulty is also back on the chopping block. An upcoming mid-season patch will reign in Heist Battlegrounds activities for Legend and Master, reducing enemy spam and increasing score multipliers to actually make them possible to complete.
The biggest win here is probably the addition of a feature that players have wanted for years: Exotic focusing. Finally, we'll have a way to turn Exotic engrams – which will no longer auto-decrypt – into an Exotic of our choice, and it'll only cost... an ascendant shard to choose from a small pool of Exotics, or three shards for a single specific Exotic. That, and 30,000 or 60,000 glimmer plus an Exotic Cipher from Xur. That's a steep price, but it shouldn't take more than a roll or two to get a usable roll on a given Exotic, so this should end up being a great quality of life change. Plus you'll be able to unlock new Exotics via the Vex Strike Force event in addition to Lost Sectors, assuming you can find it.
To round things out, Bungie confirmed an update to the artifact that lets you unlock different mods without resetting the whole dang thing. And to the delight of my fellow orb-haters, we're getting an armor mod called Powerful Attraction that automatically picks up Orbs of Power in a set radius when you use a class ability. Here's hoping that radius is the size of Texas. The other new mod is Elemental Charges, which gives you Armor Charges when you pick up class resources like Firesprites and Stasis Shards – especially Stasis Shards, which really need some help – or pop Strand Tangles. Oh, and the Shoot to Loot weapon perk will now pick up Orbs of Power when you hit them, which actually sounds pretty cool.
Will these changes fix everything wrong with Destiny 2 right now? Not without help from a time machine and perhaps the deity of your choice, but this looks like a solid response from Bungie that should address some of the biggest pain points. Bungie's also buried the lede on a potentially even bigger change: 15 crappy Exotics are getting buffed, and a few top-performers are due for some "balance changes." I'm putting 200,000 Glimmer on a Starfire Protocol nerf right now.
Destiny 2 players have been helping a 69-year-old woman play the game with her son.