Destiny 2 capping gear levels doesn't sound so bad, as long as Bungie reduce grind to get it
One of many changes planned for Destiny 2's next year is a time limit on how long players can keep boosting their gear's level to remain viable. Legendary-rarity weapons and armour will get one year to shine, and then they'll be left to fade away. Bungie say it'll make the game stay fresh over time, get players chasing new loot, and let them make things powerful knowing that they won't stay around forever. Yes, one day you'll put your Recluse away.
"Our weapons are the primary way that players interact with the world, and Season over Season we want players to discover new weapons that feel powerful, have interesting new perks to explore, and power the builds that players craft in new and unexpected ways," Bungie say.
After first raising the idea of putting a cap on infusion in February, the devs got into a whole lot more detail in the latest This Week At Bungie post.
All Legendary (purple rarity) weapons and armour pieces will have a maximum Power level you can infuse them up to. That cap will be equal to the cap coming three seasons after the item debuts, so you'll be able to boost it up to the max level in four seasons in all. After that, it'll go no higher.
Do note that Exotics (yellow rarity) are exempt from the caps so they'll be usable forever.
This is retroactive for gear already in the game. Stuff from seasons 1-8 will be capped at Season 11's player Power cap. Items from Seasons 9-12 (9 was Dawn, we're on 10 now) will be capped at the max Power level coming one year after their debut, so it'll vary. Gear from the Last Wish and Garden Of Salvation raids will have higher max Power levels, though.
"We want strong weapons to have their time in the sun, and whenever possible we want you to expect and prepare for powerful gear to cycle out of the endgame meta," Bungie say. They add, "We believe Destiny is at its best when you have new desirable things to pursue and when you have active debates with your clanmates about which of those new things to bring into the new raid, or which is going to be hot in Trials next Season."
I hope they do actually follow through on this and make some unusual and interesting metas, knowing they don't have to last forever. Nerfs and buffs have always changed the balance of power but they could do something big with this.
The Power cap won't make old gear wholly useless, to be clear. For a whole lot of the game, old gear will still have high-enough Power to be just fine. Power Level really only matters in the toughest bits. And given that Power Level is averaged across all eight equipment slots, we'll likely be able to slip in an old favourite without being dragged way down. But for things like new raids and dungeons, Iron Banner, Trials Of Osiris, new seasonal activities, Grandmaster Nightfalls, and such, yeah you'll want new gear.
I'm not opposed to this gentle retirement but Bungie will need to reduce the grind to get truly great guns if they'll all fade away. I've put in the work for The Mountaintop, Luna's Howl, and 'god rolls' of all sorts of seasonal and meta guns, and some of it really was a grind. I shrugged when Bungie later nerfed most of them but it'd be a different prospect if I knew up-front they would one day definitely become worse. Hell, I've still not got a proper great Spare Rations after dozens of Reckoning runs. The grind will need to change.
I'm not sure if the new seasonal Engrams that Bungie reveal in this blog post, which will let us spend seasonal resources to influence their contents, will change enough.
I am surprised to hear that armour will fade away too. Especially as Bungie now say that starting with Season 12, armour will no longer have a seasonal mod slot (accepting mods from three seasons) it'll have a mod slot accepting a whole year of mods. Why replace it at all? Armour is mostly just armour. Just another thing to grind? If they're giving Last Wish armour extra time, this move seems unlikely to be an assassination attempt against the revered Taken Armaments mod. Weird. At least Bungie plan to add proper transmogrification in Year 4 so my fashion can live on.
Though seeing as Exotics are exempt from caps, I guess none of this really matters: we can all still use Fighting Lion forever. Nothing else matters.