I've been looking forward to the massive mod changes coming in Destiny 2 Lightfall, both because they're sure to shake up the established meta and because they'll accompany a proper in-game loadout setup. I've also been a bit cautious about that loadout system because I've been playing Destiny long enough to know that big new features often start out in OK shape but need to be refined over a few seasons. But after a guided hands-off preview of the loadout system coming in Lightfall, I'm reasonably confident that I'll finally swear off Destiny Item Manager apart from mailing items around. The buildcraft features I rely on the most are finally in the game, and Bungie also has one massive advantage going for it.
Bungie showed a bit of the loadout page as part of today's big Lightfall vidoc, but some of the finer details from my recent preview event were skipped over. The gist is that there's a new build page styled after the existing transmog page (and transmog settings can be saved to loadouts, too); just tab over to the right of the character page and can see your entire mod layout in one screen without needing to manually check each piece of armor. There's even a tab that shows your current anti-Champion abilities, and you can access your subclass and Artifact on the same page to adjust your equipped passive abilities.
The best thing about this is how holistic it is. Seeing all your mods in one page makes it so much easier to envision and assemble a build, especially when you're comboing combat style mods. This is going to be a godsend as we all learn a new mod meta post-Lightfall, especially with the changes to Elemental Wells and Charged with Light mods.
It really seems to do everything. If you equip a saved loadout that uses equipment stored in your Vault (or, I believe, other characters), the game will automatically pull and equip those missing pieces. You can't bank items via the loadout screen, so Destiny Item Manager will still be getting plenty of use, but this one-click functionality is fabulous. If you go into the weapons tab of this new page, you'll see the perks and mods on all three of your guns. Plus you can infuse gear and upgrade energy or masterworks right from the mod screen.
Of course, you can also save up to 10 loadouts (once you unlock all 10 slots by achieving Guardian Ranks) per character with descriptive names and icons. It's my understanding that you can't actually enter custom names for loadouts, perhaps for technical reasons, but it looks like there's enough granularity to specify what build uses what. I saw naming schemes and icons featuring things like Solar, Gambit, PvE, Raid, Dungeon, Trials, Nightfall, as well as incremental identifiers like Alpha and Beta. I'd prefer the option to continue naming my loadouts after the ability or Exotic they are built around (my DMT + Contraverse loadout is well-weathered, for example), but I'm willing to make the tradeoff here.
I've saved the killer app for last: unlike third parties like Destiny Item Manager, the proper in-game system lets you change loadouts during activities. You don't have to go to orbit just to equip a different loadout anymore. As long as you aren't in a gear-locked activity, you can pull up the loadout tab and instantly change your entire setup in a matter of seconds. This is going to be a game changer for activities with Champions, swapping between AoE and boss DPS setups, and changing subclasses on the fly. It could also bring a new level of counterplay to PvP. Even if they were in a rough state, I'd wager most players would use in-game loadouts for this feature alone. But again, the attached mod page looks well designed, so I'm now properly excited to dig into this so-called Buildcrafting 2.0.
Check out our full Destiny 2 Strand preview for a breakdown of what the new subclasses are capable of.