Bungie outline 2018 plans to salve Destiny 2’s wounds

Destiny 2

It feels like public opinion on Destiny 2 plunged headlong off a cliff in the final two months of 2017. While fundamentally solid, the loot-heavy FPS’s brief first expansion left many dissatisfied, and controversies over XP-throttling and Bungie’s seeming obsession with pushing loot crates as the primary means of character customization left many with less-than-kind things to say about the game.

In an attempt to head the worst of the PR off at the pass, Bungie released a broad development road-map this week, detailing their plans for new content and reworking of existing systems from here until late 2018. I attempted to decipher some of it for those not already neck-deep in weird immortal space-knight lore.

Most immediate of the planned changes is a patch coming on January 30th, which is set to add the Masterwork equipment rarity tier to armor, after the community seemed to react positively to its introduction on weaponry. Masterwork armor’s most immediate advantage over the regular sort is a boost to overall damage reduction when using your Super ability, but there’s an additional slot for random stat bonuses that can be re-rolled. You can also use Masterwork Cores to upgrade favorite pieces of lower-tier gear to the new rarity. A more long-term plan for the game is to introduce Masterwork perks to existing Exotic gear, too.

The January update will also rework Raid rewards. Now, doing the most demanding content in the game will reward you with unique equipment mods with perks specific to the raid in which it was found. If you don’t get the exact drops you want, you’ll be able to buy both Leviathan and Eater Of Worlds gear directly using Raid Tokens after a few laps through the grinder. This is apparently the start of Bungie’s plan to de-emphasize the loot-box Eververse store and put specific rewards on each activity or set of activities.

Destiny 2

Across the rest of the year, there’s plenty more coming. PvP will be expanding to 6v6 matches (I’m hoping for 8v8 with vehicles still), public chat is coming to The Tower, fully custom competitive matches with friends will be introduced, and Bungie hope to overhaul the item stash system, and as part of their de-emphasis plans regarding Eververse, Ghost skins, ship hulls and rare Sparrows will be added to the reward lists for various activities starting mid-February. There’s quite a bit more besides this, but these seem to be the most important of the upcoming tweaks and changes.

Destiny 2’s patchy content release schedule and the worrying brevity of the Curse of Osiris expansion make me realize just how spoiled I’ve been by the semi-episodic expansion structure of Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV. Both games receive massive paid expansions every now and then, but fill the intervening time with free (in the case of GW2) or standard-with-subscription (FFXIV) episodic updates, each easily equivalent in size to a Destiny 1 or 2 expansion. If Bungie want to play with the big kids in the MMO playground, they’re going to have to step up their game.

On a more immediately positive note, this week in Destiny 2, you can visit the mysterious wandering shopkeeper Zur this week to trade in some of your legendary shards for The Colony, one of the new expansion weapons; a grenade launcher that spits out homing spider-drones instead of boring bouncing explosive charges. It’s the kind of gun that makes me wish I had an 8-slot weapon selection wheel, and the kind of thing I’d love to see more of in the future of the game. You heard me, Bungie More spiders!

24 Comments

  1. Lurid says:

    Meanwhile, at activision, a man looks at this roadmap and asks the Bungie rep: “Okay, but how can we suck more money out of players?”

  2. Chris says:

    The decision to go scrote deep down the monetisation hole was Bungie’s, not Activision’s.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Are you sure about that? Activision who published Call of Duty, Overwatch, and owns the changes in WoW, not the driving force behind microtransactions? Activision who is run by Bobby “I hate all my customers” Kotick?

      • montorsi says:

        There are those who – despite all the lying going on – think that this one kernel of information is above reproach. What else were they going to say exactly?

      • Freud says:

        It’s not like developers are against the concept of maximizing revenue. They aren’t the white knights fighting against evil publishers.

      • mitrovarr says:

        Well, to be fair to Overwatch, it has one of the less unethical implementations of lootboxes out there.

      • Baines says:

        The most common source that pins the blame for the Eververse onto Bungie is an episode of the DTR Podcast with Jason Schreier.

        The relevant now oft-repeated quote:
        What Bungie decided was: ‘we can’t do this any more. This is just too much, this is too hard for us to do – the tools that we work with are really hard to deal with. It’s hard for us to make this much content. It’s just hard making content in general.’ And they said ‘we are going to do a drip feed of smaller stuff, and we’re going to put up the Eververse, sell microtransactions, and make money that way.’ And Activision said ‘okay’ – it was a part of their renegotiated deal – and they got to a point where they didn’t have to be cranking out as much content.

        If that quote is accurate, then while Activision okayed the plans, it was originally Bungie that decided to rely on the Eververse’s microtransactions and to even build their longterm DLC plans around the Eververse.

      • po says:

        The people who make up a studio change over time, and you can be sure that the ones with the kind of integrity to have issues with their publisher will be the first to leave, meaning that over time a studio will have fewer and fewer issues with the way their publisher works, and will instead become more supportive of their ideas.

        Then you have the whole aspect of monetary success going to the heads of those at the head of the studio, and they end up with a serious case of ‘head-up-arse’ syndrome, where they take all the credit for an entire studio’s past work, stop listening to anyone else’s criticism, fail to realise that they aren’t producing work that’s anywhere near the caliber they used to, and are instead shoveling shit by the pitchfork-full.

        When it becomes more about feeding their egos and maintaining the lifestyle that previous success has allowed them, then they really don’t deserve to be called game developers any more, because the aspect of the business they’re more closely involved with is marketing, with themselves as the brand.

      • BlankedyBlank says:

        Overwatch is both developed by and published by Blizzard Entertainment. I’d also think it’s an example of how to make a game without cancerous microtransactions, being that they are cosmetic only and the items can easily be had without spending money.

  3. Ghostwise says:

    You heard me, Bungie More spiders!

    I thought that RPS had firm, uncompromising, resolute, steely-gazed policies against spiders in videogames.

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      Matchstick says:

      I personally feel it’s fair to draw a distinction between spiders as anatogonists (bad) and spiders as ammunition (good)

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        And spider drones aren’t half a s creepy as actual spiders.

        Also, Dominic writing “wish I had an 8-slot weapon selection wheel” made me think that perhaps he wants exactly *8* slots, because spiders have 8 legs. Or is it just coincidence?

        • Dominic Tarason says:

          Not intentionally, but 8 spider-themed weapons…

          There’s a game concept there, I can feel it.

          • Horg says:

            Right, so in true FPS tradition you have a basic melee weapon, which is hitting stuff with a large spider. Then you have a low damage but accurate sidearm, lets say an 8 barrel revolver that shoots small spiders. Next we need a shotgun that fires slugs containing spiders. Not cartridges, actual slugs. After a few levels you find the first explosive weapon, hand held spider egg sack clusters, and the first rapid fire weapon, a tommy gun with the drum replaced by a jar of spiders. For the end game stuff we need a sci-fi prototype weapon, so an organic / metalic hybrid venom spray with under barrel web launcher. No FPS is complete without some form of RPG, so we need a launcher that fires a grenade attached to a trained spider who pulls the pin. Lastly we need a special weapon attack. I propose the Phobia-bomb, an aerial call down of a crate containing one of every spider species on earth. Pre-shaken to make them extra bitey. Name pending, working title; Arach-narok.

  4. Greg says:

    I don’t see how any video game media service like Rock, Paper, Shotgun could gush over Destiny 2 at this point. It’s a real mystery. With all the “sorrys” the player base has been getting in between blatantly shady tactics designed to milk more money, it’s not a surprise that players are demanding the closure of the Eververse (ingame store – the one gaming component that Bungie Activision/Blizzard have perfected). It’s almost disrespectful to players to ignore their grievances and boast about some new currency/money making scheme.

    • Ghostwise says:

      If this article met your definition of “gushing”, I fervently hope that you’re not a plumber.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Funny thing is that the article was going to be even more negative, but I had to cut some things for brevity, such as my complaints regarding masterwork gear, and how I’d rather they’d just stuck to the less grindy mechanics of the launch version.

        I don’t think I was especially positive about anything other than the spider-gun, otherwise?

        • Baines says:

          To me, the entire article reads as neutral-to-positive.

          The only negative sections of the article are the first and sixth paragraphs. However, the first paragraph strongly underplays the various controversies around Destiny 2, reducing them to just “controversies over XP-throttling” and “seeming obsession with pushing loot crates [for] customization”. Meanwhile, the sixth paragraph can easily be read as praising GW2 and FFXIV for going the extra mile, which undercuts chiding Destiny 2 for being disappointing. (There is a difference between saying something isn’t good versus saying something isn’t equal to the best.)

          The rest of the article comes off as neutral-to-positive, listing other negatives but with Bungie’s promises that they have been acknowledged and will be addressed.

    • Eponym says:

      I can understand the hate of this game as a hardcore gamer, but I’ve been having a lot of fun with it as a casual gamer. It was free with my 1080ti and it’s been my go to FPS for the past two months. Guess some players want the fastest shiniest things yesterday, and knowing that’s an option with money infuriates some…

      • SkyCry says:

        Well as someone who also got it for free with my Ti I don’t think we are in a good position to judge. Spending 60 dollars on game that was the hardcore FPSMMO out there only to be forced to enjoy only if played very casually seems really disheartening and a really bad deal.
        Also the problem goes beyond monetization and grindwalls, a lot of the complaints from the community come from the same shitty cycle of D1 happening on D2, something most pc gamers didn’t experience.

      • Crimsoneer says:

        This is absolutely my view. I’ve had more relaxing fun out of this than anything else in ages, and have never felt any particular need to pay for anything.

  5. Obi-Sean says:

    I look at it like what WoW did:

    I put in literal dozens of hours most of my end-game of my raid gear in BC, and then Blizzard made it easy to get the PvP versions of it. It didn’t bother me because it wasn’t the same gear at all, had different colors, but the overall look… People cared about the look. Why? It functions completely differently. They won’t do my DPS and replace me. Sure, they’ll have to put in less work to get to where we are now, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It helps you get to end game quicker. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll be as good as me or that you’ll even be able to do the end-game content.

    If you had told me that I could buy end game raid gear for $5 a piece? Different story. You’ve bypassed the skill gap necessary to acquire it. You’re telling the world we are equals, and the only way to find out otherwise is to group with you and watch you fail because you’ve never done the dungeon the gear comes from. If they differentiated between pieces bought, and pieces earned by changing the look or item name: I could get behind it. Otherwise…

    • Sandepande says:

      Maybe the person did some hard, harsh real-life work to get that five bucks, and then decided to spend it on themselves.

      Bragging rights. What a waste of time.

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