Every year or so, one of Destiny 2's high-ranking developers will write a vast blog post inspecting the MMOFPS's problems and proposing solutions. "That might be good," I always think, "depending on how they implement it." But the plans are always vague, and have often turned out disappointing in reality. I'm quite pleased, then, that the latest blogblast lays out some very specific changes that definitely are welcome. Also, it sounds like they might continue Destiny for many, many years yet.
First, the longest-term news from associate game director Joe Blackburn's 3600-word post: this autumn's annual expansion, The Witch Queen, is delayed into early 2022. Partially it's because the pandemic got in the way, and partially because they want to make it proper good as Destiny's story approaches some sort of conclusion. Players had expected that end to come in that Lightfall, the 2022 expansion, but apparently not - in two ways.
Blackburn said Bungie realised "we needed to add an additional unannounced chapter after Lightfall to fully complete our first saga of Destiny." 1) Oh, so Lightfall won't be the end. 2) Oh! Even the end after Lightfall will only be the end of the "first saga"! Ooh! The current stand is called their "Light and Darkness Saga", he said, with no hint as to what could follow. I'd be happy with more Destiny expansions until Bungie release their mysterious brand-new thing in 2025 and hell, I'd take more Destiny after that too.
Witch Queen's delay might be concerning, seeing as the delay of Beyond Light last year left the final pre-expansion season stretched real thin. They have lots of time to plan around that, at least, and plans for this year's seasons do sound promising.
The biggest news for the next, season 14, is that Bungie are ending sunsetting. No longer will non-Exotic weapons and armour have a limit on high you can infuse their Power level. This has put a timer on how long gear can be usable in end-game activities, caused a lot of beloved weapons to be binned, and led to a whole lot of grinding out replacements for old favourites. While Bungie aren't outright undoing sunsetting (which would make me mourn so much gear I needlessly dismantled) they are ending it. If gear can currently be infused up to this season's maximum Power level of 1310, congrats, it'll be good next season too and forever after.
"With Season 11, we introduced infusion caps, an iteration on infusion designed to keep Destiny's gear game fresh from release to release and to create a healthy ecosystem for our aspirational content," Blackburn said. "While we still believe in these goals, it's clear our execution was off the mark."
I myself was up for cautiously sunsetting in theory, if Bungie could demonstrate interesting consequences. They haven't. It is such a nuisance to grind for new armour, and especially for new rolls of sunset weapons that get reissued. Sunsetting has also left the current meta with a real dearth of kinetic weapons using Special ammo. Goodbye, bad system.
Looking ahead to more changes with the yet-unnamed season 14...
- The Power grind is being reduced, with future caps only going up by 10 each season. Good. Though at this point, why even keep it?
- The first Destiny's Vault Of Glass raid emerges from the Destiny Content Vault. It'll have another World First race too, with a load of challenging Triumphs whacked on top because people already know how to complete the raid.
- Ikora will stop moping silently around the Tower and actually be part of the story again.
- Transmogrification will finally arrive. Armor Synthesis, as it's called, will let players turn armour into universal ornaments to slap on other gear (and no, you don't need to hoard in preparation - it will run off your Collections). Ada-1 of the Black Armory will return to do this, with the materials needed for transmog materials obtained either by doing bounties or paying Silver (the real money microtransaction cash). I have so many fashion plans.
- Shaders will no longer be inventory items too, just unlocks we can easily apply through like ornaments in the new Appearance Customization screen. Hooray.
Bungie also plan to tweak Stasis in PvP across this season and the next two. Stasis Hunters and Titans will be nerfed, Warlocks will have bugs fixed, and being frozen will give extra damage reduction. I still think Stasis is unfixably bad for PvP because being slowed or frozen is always unfun in a first-person game, but I guess this is something?
Other promising future plans...
- Ending "3-peeking" in Trials and Competitive PvP, the strategy of whipping out an out-of-ammo sword to get the third-person camera and look round corners. You'll only be able to equip 'em if they have ammo. Good.
- Fighting cheats by doubling the size of the security team.
- Buffing underused Light subclasses, which I think by this points is... most of them?
- Try to make Trials not so interminably dull that players would rather jump off cliffs than actually play.
- Actual proper Stasis weapons for your energy and power slots, not just this one rubbo novelty ice launcher we currently have.
- Cross-platform play arrives in Season 15. PC and console players won't be matched in PvP, mind, unless consoleers specifically join a PC party.
- Continuing to tweak Crucible by rebalancing guns, introducing new weapon perks, and maybe making guns a bit bigger focus than they currently are compared to abilities.
- And yes, the Crucible-dominating shotgun Felwinter's Lie will get a nerf. Though bad news for PvE peeps: Warmind Cells will probably take a battering too.
Ah, lots of good stuff. Yeah, some of these plans are the vague statements of intent we've heard before, but enough great plans are are concrete for me to be very pleased. Swallowing their pride and ending sunsetting is such a relief. Reducing the power grind is long overdue. Destiny's violence and exploration and raids are so damn good that I would have continued without these changes, but now I'll be grumbling a lot less. Even if I am incredibly sceptical about yet more vague talk about fixing Crucible, which has been busted and neglected for so long.
I didn't recap everything because ha ha ha so do read the blog post yourself. How do you feel about it all?