Earlier this year, Bungie announced that it's totally changing the way players acquire Powerful gear in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, and reducing the number of activities which award that gear. In a recent blog post, the studio explained that Year 2 Powerful reward sources will no longer grant Power increases, but instead drop normal Legendary gear.
The Power economy
This change will affect Annual Pass activities like Reckoning, Black Armory Forges, and the Menagerie, as well as Forsaken content like the Shattered Throne dungeon, Last Wish raid, and Ascendant Challenge rewards. However, nearest we can tell, evergreen sources like weekly Crucible and Strike rewards - which were around before Year 2 - will still award Powerful gear. Relatedly, Bungie says that gear from the new Nightfall: The Ordeal will "drop at the character's highest equippable Power level."
Removing Year 2 Powerful sources from the pool will drive players to Year 3 activities, and it will drastically trim the weekly to-do list that the game's Director presents. And while it might seem like an abrupt transition, it's really no different from what happened at the start of Year 2 - it's just that more activities are being cut out. The Year 1 Leviathan raids, for instance, weren't worthwhile in Year 2 because they dropped low-Power gear. New stuff drops stronger stuff - that's how Destiny expansions have always worked. And with the Power floor now set at 750 for all players, the only players who'll need higher-Power gear will be the ones playing Shadowkeep content, which will obviously drop higher-Power gear.
Bungie also clarified the somewhat confusing Power caps coming in Shadowkeep. There are basically three soft caps in Power:
- 900 Power - The new-season climb. After you reach 900, only Powerful and pinnacle sources will increase your Power. This includes Prime Engrams, which will now drop more frequently but grant smaller Power boosts.
- 950 Power - The normal cap. After you reach 950, only pinnacle (end-game) gear will increase your Power.
- 960 Power - The final gear cap. At this point, the only way to increase your Power will be leveling your Artifact. Note that your Artifact will affect your overall level, but it will not increase the Power of gear drops. So it won't speed up your Power climb, but it will let you climb ever-higher once your gear caps out at 960 - to level 999 or potentially even higher, according to Bungie.
The Bright Dust economy
That's one economy out of the way - now for Bright Dust, the free currency used to acquire Eververse items. As Bungie said previously, Bright Dust will no longer come from dismantled Eververse gear, and will instead only come from weekly Crucible, Gambit, and Vanguard "weekly and repeatable bounties." Bungie says "players will be able to do the repeatable bounties as many times as they like" with no weekly cap. To compensate, Eververse bounties are being removed; any deprecated bounties you may have can be dismantled for Bright Dust.
Additionally, players will no longer receive Bright Engrams (or the seasonal equivalent, like Best of Year One Engrams) when they level up. Instead, players will receive Bright Engrams upon reaching certain ranks within the free version of the Destiny 2 Season Pass. These Engrams will still be available to all players; you don't have to buy the Season Pass to receive them. Another Engram will also be granted every five ranks after reaching rank 100.
Notably, Bungie says "experience rewards have been rebalanced with the introduction of the Season Pass and Seasonal Artifact progressions." The experience-boosting Fireteam Medallion consumable is also being removed - players can dismantle any leftover Medallions for Bright Dust. The good news is that Vanguard and Crucible boons will be more affordable at 150 and 500 Bright Dust respectively.
Given these changes, it'll be interesting to see how increasing your Season Pass rank compares to increasing your character level in the old system, to say nothing of how the two systems' Engram rewards stack up.
With Year 3, Bungie's discontinuing pinnacle weapons and replacing them with ritual weapons.