Destiny 2 reveals "Buildcrafting Evolved," game-changing mod updates coming in Lightfall

Destiny 2 Lightfall
(Image credit: Bungie)

Destiny 2 Lightfall will totally change the way players create and use loadouts, from combat style mods and armor energy to Artifact mods and Champion counters, as Bungie revealed (opens in new tab) in a massive deep-dive fittingly dubbed "Buildcrafting Evolved."

Let's start with the in-game loadout system coming in Lightfall, which will let Destiny 2 players create, save, share, and instantly equip up to 10 different loadouts without relying on apps like Destiny Item Manager. You will need to unlock the full 10 slots by climbing the new Guardian Ranks system also coming in Lightfall – and we're still waiting for more details on that – but you'll start with enough slots for some good variety.

Bungie gave us our first look at the finalized loadout interface in today's post (which also seems to confirm a Power cap over 1800 for Lightfall). Note the icons and colors you can use to label the loadouts you make. 

Destiny 2 Lightfall

(Image credit: Bungie)

You'll be filling these loadout slots with totally revamped builds that break all the established rules of Destiny 2 buildcrafting. For a primer, here's a quick list of some key points here:

  • All mods will be unlocked once you hit Guardian Rank six. Bungie says most players will already be rank six when this system launches through retroactive achievements.
  • Armor energy types are gone; all mods are universal now. Some redundant mods have been deleted to compensate. 
  • The endgame Match Game modifier is being removed, and elemental shield damage has been rebalanced to promote build variety. 
  • Weapon-specific mods like hand cannon reloader are gone. Instead, we'll have mods that affect entire elemental damage types. Think of something like Arc reloader. 
  • You don't equip Artifact mods anymore; they're now perks that are automatically applied to every loadout once unlocked, but you can only unlock 12 Artifact mods at a time. However, resetting your Artifact will be free. 
  • Combat Style slots are now just extra mod slots for armor mods (helmet, gloves, etc.) 
  • Instead of a combat style slot, Artifice armor gives you an extra slot for stat mods worth three points you can use to round out your build.  

As if that wasn't enough, Bungie says it's reevaluated the cost and power level of every mod in the game. Some of them, like the entire Warmind Cell mod family, didn't make the cut and have been removed. 

Other mods have been combined, with many Elemental Well and Charged With Light mods coming together to form new Armor Charge mods. Likewise, in place of Elemental Well mods, subclasses can use updated Fragments and Aspects to generate element-specific resources which function similarly to the old Wells, sort of like Stasis Shards for all. 

"Not all current builds in Destiny 2 will be possible upon launch, but there will be a healthy offering to start with," Bungie says. "We’re also planning to expand upon buildcrafting options Season over Season." 

Destiny 2 Lightfall

(Image credit: Bungie)

Here's another pain point addressed: Champion counters are being added to subclass trees. Solar, Void, and Strand Guardians will be able to counter Barrier Champions innately; Arc, Stasis, and Void can stun Overload Champions; and Arc, Solar, Stasis, and Strand can stop Unstoppable Champions. You'll still have access to Anti-Champion Artifact mods – again, now globally applied once unlocked – but these built-in counters will free up a lot of space on their own. 

"As with everything involved with supporting Destiny 2, this evolution is not an end point," Bungie concludes. "We have plans to continue tuning and improving this system and will be adding new buildcrafting elements to fill power gaps we didn’t have a chance to get to with this release. We’re excited to see what you build with this new toolbox and look forward to seeing all the new builds shared out."

Phew! This is easily the biggest buildcrafting update in the history of Destiny, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all. A lot of this stuff sounds really promising on paper. Everyone hates Match Game, I've written at length about the limitations of the current Champion system, and combat style mod balance was undeniably out of whack. This update seems to address a lot of these issues while freeing up space for more involved builds and making seasonal Artifacts easier to use, so I'm feeling pretty optimistic for now. I do want to know more about mod costs and which existing options have been removed, though. Onto the next pre-Lightfall hype drop. 

Bungie just dropped a new Lightfall trailer showing off the cyberpunk city of Neomuna, and it channels an iconic Year 1 moment.  

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 staff 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.