I'm looking over the Destiny 2 headlines from this week and wondering how they all dropped this week. This feels like some launch week stuff, which I guess is a good sign as Destiny 2 Lightfall creeps ever closer. There's still a lot I need to see and try for myself once the expansion is out, but Bungie has successfully stoked the flames with a ton of exciting announcements.
This week started off pretty normally with a new Lightfall environment trailer. And yep, that's a trailer. It trails. The Neptunian city of Neomuna looks unlike any previous Destiny environment, and I can't wait to rip through it with an iridescent grappling hook in my hand and some thumping bass in my ears.
Things really picked up on Wednesday with the unveiling of "Buildcrafting Evolved," which promises to totally overhaul the way we think about loadouts in Destiny 2. For starters, we're getting actual loadouts.
Bungie finally showed off the in-game loadout system it promised a few months ago, and it actually looks... pretty good? We'll have 10 slots per character – once we unlock them all through the new Guardian Ranks system, which is one of the biggest question marks hanging over Lightfall – complete with transmog settings and a solid suite of labels to help distinguish them. I'm honestly impressed, and a little relieved given the game's track record with user interfaces. Will I spend noticeably less time in Destiny Item Manager after Lightfall? Time will tell.
More importantly, we're going to stuff those loadouts with dramatically reworked mods. It's hard to describe succinctly just how much the Destiny 2 meta is about to change. Warmind Cell mods are gone, Charged with Light and Elemental Well mods are having a baby named Armor Charge, Artifact mods are now just free passives you don't have to equip, and anti-Champion tech is being added to every subclass. Match Game is gone, armor energy types are gone, combat style slots are gone. Bungie is absolutely gutting the current mod system, which it admits is a relic of an outdated sandbox, and in doing so it hopes to trim hurdles and limitations from the buildcrafting experience.
Bungie was quick to admit that "not all current builds in Destiny 2 will be possible" one-to-one after these changes go live, but I'm all for this nevertheless. None of my current builds really matter to me anyway, because as a grappling hook devotee, I guarantee I will almost never take Strand off – except to pop an emergency Well of Radiance where needed, obviously. Can't leave the house without a Well.
To sum up my frustrations with buildcrafting, Destiny 2 has been getting in its own way for too long. We've finally got all the 3.0 subclasses with all these cool mods and play styles, but immovable obstacles like Champions and elemental shields are still forcing us to use specific stuff. I would kill to see Destiny 2 encourage and reward creative buildcrafting rather than boil it down to rock-paper-scissors as soon as you enter any content where enemies are actually a threat. Fortunately, it looks like I won't have to kill anyone other than the unlucky Lost Sector boss I'll test my new builds on.
This buildcrafting news dropped the day before Destiny's usual weekly blog post, so I figured the actual TWAB (opens in new tab) would be light on content after Bungie emptied its arsenal in the first round, but the studio managed a double whammy. Rumble is back! Blue engrams are actually, seriously, 100% going away this time! The new raid is out March 10! Airborne Effectiveness is basically getting deleted from primaries! We'll see more reprised raid guns, full auto melee incoming, ability nerfs for everyone but Warlocks (sucks to be one of the lesser classes), and even PvE buffs for my beloved Dead Man's Tale. Bungie, you shouldn't have.
This has got to be the most exciting collection of changes since The Witch Queen, and I know Lightfall still has gas in the tank. Strand remains an enigma, Guardian Ranks could be huge for both new and veteran players, and cataclysmic story revelations are brewing. I'm over the moon and it feels like we haven't even gotten to most of the Big Expansion Stuff yet. I said in my Destiny 2 Witch Queen review that these releases are measured by their new content as well as the systemic updates accompanying that content. Bungie has never failed with the former, and Lightfall already seems mighty promising on the latter front, so this is looking like an excellent year for Destiny.