Destiny 2 players just got a brutal reminder that the game is almost unplayable without apps like DIM

Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph
(Image credit: Bungie)

Destiny 2 was an absolute clown fiesta over the weekend. Bad news dropped just hours after the release of the new (and fun) Spire of the Watcher dungeon on Friday, December 9. Per the Bungie Help Twitter, a spike in error codes led the studio to disable API support for third-party apps, including the unsung hero of this whole freakin' game: Destiny Item Manager, known fondly as DIM. 

This outage ended up eating the whole weekend, and at the time of writing, DIM is still down, much like my spirits. This ordeal is only the latest addition to the somewhat worryingly long list of technical issues that Destiny 2's tripped over in the year of The Witch Queen – handily the buggiest year of Destiny that I can remember. It's also demonstrated just how heavily the game relies on third-party apps, in the absence of official versions of essential tools, to pick up the slack. 

A world without DIM

Season of the Seraph

Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph seraph armor set

(Image credit: Bungie)

Broken API might be DIMming our spirits, but you can learn about everything new in Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph here

This is a first-world problem of the highest order, but it really is hard to convey the agony of playing Destiny 2 without DIM. The simple task of moving guns from one character to another turns into minutes of tedious back-and-forth. You've got to ferry things to the Tower, dump them in the Vault, swap characters, come back to the Tower, dig through all the garbage in your Vault to find what you actually need (couldn't be me), realize you forgot something, and on and on. Repeat every time you need something specific – like, I don't know, the few weapons which can use anti-Champion mods and/or pop the specific shields you're facing. It's loading screen after loading screen every single time. With DIM? Click and drag, baby. Everything in your collection is just two seconds away. God I love technology. 

The effects of DIM's absence couldn't have been more obvious. Some friends and I were gearing up to take on the Spire, and we had to cram everything we could think of into our limited inventory space to try and account for the engagements we might encounter in the new dungeon, knowing we wouldn't be able to change on the fly. When our clan gathered to run the updated Deep Stone Crypt raid, almost everyone ended up enduring the unspeakable indignity of using a sub-optimal loadout because grabbing the right shit would've delayed the whole team for five minutes and we ain't about that life.  

Granted, Bungie does have its own Vault manager built into the official Destiny companion app (which was also down this weekend), but there's a reason all my clanmates and many more players use DIM instead. DIM is more than a Vault tool, for one. It's also the best way to create, save, and equip custom loadouts. DIM has equipment filters and optimizers that Destiny 2 couldn't even dream of. Bungie's working on its own loadout maker for Destiny 2 Lightfall, but I'm willing to bet many folks will stick with DIM, at least for a while, either because they'll be more familiar with it or because DIM will just work better. Much love to the studio behind one of my most-played games, but they've not had a sterling record with inventories or user interfaces in general. 

Destiny 2 Season 19

(Image credit: Bungie)

If it sounds strange that the best and most enduring looter shooter on the market is only getting in-game loadouts in its sixth year – long after competitors like The Division 2 – that's because it is indeed strange! I have to wonder how quickly Bungie might've implemented this feature and others if apps like DIM hadn't been carrying all this time. Because this is not minor stuff here; Destiny 2 is considerably and measurably less fun without DIM because the game's inventory system is absolutely archaic.

Not everyone feels this way, but I'm far from the only one who does. Between fussing with their Vaults, the Destiny 2 community spent the weekend lamenting flashbacks to the pre-DIM drudgery of Destiny 1. "I have like 15 builds I like to swap between for different activities and I just have no desire to play much without DIM," writes Reddit user Natekid99. "We really are spoiled with these inventory management apps. I can honestly say I wouldn't have dumped nearly as much time into Destiny without them," echoes another user. "This weekend has highlighted that Destiny as a game is operating in the stone age in terms of accessibility tools. It's relied entirely on third parties to carry it as far as it has," adds reicomatricks, hitting the nail on the head. 

For me, that sentiment is what distinguishes this issue from the usual technical hiccup. A thing went down for a few days and it hurt the experience; that happens all the time in games, and at least Destiny 2 was online during it all. But this weekend highlighted how important inventory management is to Destiny 2, how underdeveloped and externalized it is, and how Bungie has effectively outsourced a vital and in-demand part of its game to the community. It's cool that third parties can make this stuff, and Bungie's even released tools to support these things, but if players are this reliant on DIM and tools like it, why wasn't their functionality integrated in-house and in-game long ago? Bungie's tech wizards may have some good and reasonable answers to that question, and I'd love to hear them out. For now, all I'll say is that the loadout system coming in Lightfall certainly has a lot to live up to. 

Need to know when the Destiny 2 Lightfall release date is? Check out our guide. You can also learn how to beat the Destiny 2 Spire of the Watcher Dungeon for yourself. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.