Destiny 2 is always trying to improve itself, balancing Bungie’s overall goals with player demands. But sometimes things that seem like good additions or fixes end up making everything worse, and I believe that has happened a number of times in different ways in the last year or two.
The more I play, the more many of these additions to Destiny 2 feel exhausting or pointless, even if there have been some great additions along the way too (loadouts!). Here are the changes I think have not gone well since around Witch Queen’s launch, now that we’ve had a lot of time to digest them.
1. Armor Charge
I understand that there were some issues with the old mod system, namely that Elemental Wells got too strong compared to Charged with Light, and Warmind Cells were left behind entirely, the flattening of the system to Armor Charge has been just so inescapably dull, and created so little variance in builds on the mod side.
Rather than fixing the issues with the original mods, they put them all into the Armor Charge system in less interesting, less powerful ways, and now save the best old mods for the artifact, depending on the season. It’s a largely ignorable system outside of a few standard picks, and I do not think that this has been an improvement over the old setup at all.
2. Orb Cooldowns
This is a recent one, but in an effort to combat ability and super “spam,” Bungie instituted a harsh orb cooldown that means far fewer spawn. Recently they walked some of that back where stacking certain mods can create more orbs, but overall, the system still suffers. Again, outside of nerfing a few orb-creating outliers, the entire concept has been hamstrung, affecting every aspect of the game and builds.
They’ve even introduced new perks like Attrition Orbs, but because of the new, lengthy cooldown, they’re almost pointless (ten sword swings to create an orb? Come on). This needs a re-examination, and possibly in conjunction with the other increased cooldowns on abilities that have made things feel worse as of late.
Look, I get that the idea behind this was well-intentioned. The system is just horrible in practice. While I do sort of enjoy looking at people’s fashion after the match, it is abundantly clear that people simply spam whatever commendation they see first, if they do it at all, or others bargain for high level blue ones whether they deserve it or not. Some of them truly mean nothing (”Thoughtful”?).
This also hides the after-action report almost all of the time, so you have to tab over to see things like Strike, Crucible, Gambit or seasonal activity stats, which few will bother to do as it’s now an extra button press. But to truly reward players for “performance” you want to see those numbers. Wait that long and they’ve probably left the lobby. It’s not a good system, and I don’t see any way to improve it without removal.
4. Featured Quest Screen
This was something that was supposed to help guide new players to quests more easily, but it’s a mess, either making things more confusing with its rectangles or if you finish the quests, often becoming a yawning void of empty space. Or it features old quests you’d be better off deleting (How is my “Timeline Reflection” the biggest one there?) Rather the “real” quest screen is on the next page down with much more relevant information. Again, something that was perhaps meant to help new players, but in practice, it’s not working the way it should be.
I don’t know how many different ways I can say this, and I always get yelled at, but I think crafting has severely damaged Destiny 2. In activities where crafting exists, it has completely neutered the loot chase. People complain about “the slot machine” of Destiny, but flattening the system so 20 loot drops in The Coil are all pointless unless they’re red borders has felt terrible. Everyone ending up with the exact some content-creator roll on a weapon because you can get to 5/5 the second you give those red borders done (now without even using them at all since you can buy levels) is damaging the whole concept of a looter. There were ways to reduce the lottery grind without literal crafting, and we already have some of them in the game, namely focusing and the addition of multiple perks in a column, so long as those prices as right (though they’re often not).
I keep finding my most prized guns are the ones I’ve gotten that have been pure luck, not crafted, like an amazing world drop Strand fusion rifle. Yes, it would be hard to farm. But it’s one of the only drops in the game that still feels…good? Like an actual, rare drop? Other than that, again, the only thing that matters is red borders and maybe the raid exotic or dungeon exotic finally dropping. It has erased so much motivation to play, and the only time I do find that motivation to grind is if I’m chasing something non-craftable, like the Impulse Amplifier/Voltshot rocket sidearm I want from the dungeon. I haven’t gotten it yet. Am I furious about it? No, it’s something to chase. And if I never get it? Too bad, that’s looting.
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