One of the biggest additions that Bungie bought to Destiny 2 with The Witch Queen expansion was weapon crafting. This gave players the option and the ability to eliminate the grind for perfect weapons, allowing instead the crafting of their ideal gun. At launch, the pool of available weapons was small, and some complained about the frequency of unlocking craftable weapons, but the system was generally well regarded.
Fast forward to now, 4 months after the release of The Witch Queen and well into the next season, Season of the Haunted. Crafting has continued to grow, and many people are not happy with the direction it is growing. For some, the existence of crafting has stripped away any meaningful engagement with the loot game, while for others the grind for crafted weapons is just painfully slow and unenjoyable.
Whatever the case may be, crafting has upset the foundation of Destiny 2 in huge ways, some of which have hurt the game. This begs the question: does crafting even belong in Destiny 2 at all? If it does, where and how should it be implemented?
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Self-Made Problems: The Issues with Crafting In Destiny 2
Players across all different skill levels and communities, from streamers to Strike farmers alike, have picked apart crafting across the 4 months it has been in the game and has found several key flaws in its inclusion. These range in severity, but as with most things in Destiny 2, they quickly snowball into a much larger issue with player engagement.
Perhaps the biggest issue with crafting is the way you get the weapons. To unlock the ‘pattern’ (or blueprint) for a weapon, you first need to collect 2-5 ‘Deepsight’ versions of that same weapon: these weapons come with a snazzy red border and offer crafting currency when players take the weapon to 100% completion through enemy kills or activity completions. For many, this system has two issues.
The first is the ability to get Deepsight weapons. There are a few scant ways to get guaranteed Deepsights (such as upgrades at the Crown of Sorrow in the H.E.L.M) but in many activities, it is simply luck of the draw. There is a very high likelihood that you will end up farming an activity, only to get nothing in terms of crafting progress due to a lack of Deepsight weapons.
Forbes journalist Paul Tassi tweeted his experience with Deepsight hunting regarding umbral engram decryption and the results were… scarce, to say the least.
I just free-focused 22 umbrals
1 red frame
imagine if that was *focused* for 4x the energy cost
something's gotta change
— Paul Tassi (@PaulTassi) June 18, 2022
The second main issue is progressing crafting once you have gotten a Deepsight weapon. Once you obtain a Deepsight weapon, you must get that specific roll to 100% and then ‘extract’ the essence: this adds currency and a +1 to your pattern count. Often, this needs to be done at least 3 times on 3 separate rolls of the weapon. After that, you can finally create your crafted version of that weapon… only to learn that you need to level up that specific roll up to 16 times to get the perks you want on it (of which can take up to and beyond 1,500 kills with the weapon).
In theory, this is sound. Crafting eliminates the grind and luck of random drops, so the trade-ff should be time. However, the current system necessitates that you must use around 4 separate rolls of a weapon to get a perfect one, where the first 3 don’t even contribute past adding to the player’s pattern count. It is just a waste of time using any version other than the crafted one, leading to many players feeling disconnected from the loot they receive.
There are several other issues alongside these. The various currencies involved were an awful, jumbled mess (Bungie has fortunately since streamlined this), the amount of craftable loot is very sparse at current, and the areas to gain said loot isn’t ubiquitous and so causes confusion (not all new end-game content offers crafting for example), and some believe that crafted weapons power-creep other weapons into obscurity with the existence of Enhanced Perks. Overall, there are just a lot of problems that people have with the current iteration of crafting.
However, people often have problems with all the systems in Destiny, be they deserved or not, and crafting does have plenty of legitimate advantages from strengthening your bond with a chosen weapon to eliminating the need to spend countless hours relying on a lucky 5/5 drop from the Raid.
Even still, with so many people turning on the idea of weapon crafting, does it have a place in Destiny 2 at all or is it just a poorly thought-out system?
Destiny 2’s Conflict of Identity: Where Should Crafting Go?
One of the biggest talking points regarding crafting is that it has taken away player engagement in the ordinary loot game.
If you are seeking a fully crafted Piece of Mind (the Season of the Risen Pulse Rifle) or a Calus MINI-Tool (the Opulent Submachine Gun), why would you care when a ‘sort-of-good’ roll of either drop? The mere existence of a way to get a perfect, or even beyond perfect in the case of Enhanced Perks, eliminates the motivation for getting these weapons normally.
This mentality extends even further with the weapons available in The Witch Queen Raid. These weapons can be crafted, but if players can beat the challenging Master version of the Raid, they are awarded ‘Adept’ versions of those same guns: non-craftable, randomly rolled guns which can slot unique mods and gain a few extra stats when Masterworked. Here, we have 2 end-game pictures of the same weapons, one where they are perfectly crafted and one where they are Adept, and many people saw far more value in the crafted versions. The Adept versions became obsolete, and as a result, so did the motivation to run the Master Raid.
Crafting has completely destabilised both the mid-game and the endgame, leading to a lack of motivation to engage with the randomly rolled loot, a staple of Destiny since its inception.
The Other Side
Although, at the same time another wave of criticism has come about. With the release of the new Duality dungeon in Season the Haunted, many have complained that the majority of the weapons released in this content aren’t craftable: the Fusion Rifle and the Light-Machine Gun are, but many are saddened that the new 3-burst Linear Fusion Rifle is not craftable.
This is completely antithetical to the above point, that crafting has eroded the motivation for the endgame. Instead, many now claim that getting Deepsight weapons would be a greater incentive for running the content multiple times, contradicting the other point about the lack of motivating loot.
The Destiny community is massive and so there will be many subsets of that community whose views differ. However, it does go to show that the crafting solution is not as simple as many claim – many who talk of the eroding nature of crafting are also those wishing it was in the Dungeon – and that any decision will affect a massive group of people.
So, how do we fix crafting then? Can it be fixed?
Making A Viable Solution: How to Fix Crafting
I believe that crafting has a place in Destiny 2. Being able to slowly work towards getting the perfect version of some of my favourite guns has been a rewarding experience, as has levelling them up to their Apex: my Enhanced Incandescent Calus MINI-Tool has been an absolute monster and even helped me clear the dungeon solo-flawless. I have a deeper connection to these weapons now, and I am actively seeking more weapons.
At the same time, it has undoubtedly erased some of my desire to grind activities and gain randomly rolled loot. While I am seeking the new Season of the Haunted Shotgun, every time it drops as a non-Deepsight I feel an immense pang of disappointment and immediately shard it. I don’t want to run Master Vow of the Disciple either, as I already have a perfect Submission and so the Adept version has absolutely no appeal.
While many would want Bungie to be consistent with crafting, I feel that the system should only be available in certain areas.
Crafting in The World-Loot Pool
Crafting in the endgame destroys the loot economy, as proven by Master Vow of the Disciple and how Duality lacks a crafting system. It reduces the need to replay the activity and makes the endgame, something nearly every Destiny player is building towards, worthless after a certain point. As a result, I don’t believe that crafting should belong there.
Where it should belong, however, is in the world loot pool.
The world loot pool is a large collection of various loot from different foundries that can drop anywhere: Raids, Strikes, Crucible, anywhere. These weapons also often have massive perk pools, with some even having 16 perks to choose from. Getting a perfect roll of these weapons is an absolute shot in the dark, as players have no real guaranteed way of getting the exact weapon they want and even if they do, no way of guaranteeing the perk choice.
As a result, these weapons would benefit massively from crafting. World loot drops often enough that Deepsights would come regularly, and the pool is massive enough that players will keep getting new loot to chase season-to-season. Crafting would also side-step the massive amount of chance required to obtain a great rolled world-loot drop. So far, there are a small number of world-loot drops that have been made into crafted weapons, and they have all worked well.
Crafting in Destiny 2’s Seasonal Activities
The other area in that crafting makes sense is the seasonal activities.
With how seasons in Destiny 2 operate, all seasonal activities disappear with the release of the next big expansion, meaning players lose access to the ability to gain gear from that season. This means that players are constantly on a timer for getting good rolls of these weapons before they disappear.
Enter crafting. Here, the player simply needs to get the required Deepsight weapons, and they can then craft the weapon whenever they want, even after the activity disappears. It eliminates the need to horde a ton of seasonal gear in the Vault and is a way of securing a perfect roll within the timeframe. For both the world-loot pool and seasonal activities, crafting makes perfect sense.
Core Playlist Crafting?
Some may suggest that the core playlists need crafting as well, but I disagree.
Over the last few seasons, the core playlists of Strikes, Crucible and Gambit have been getting numerous additions and alterations to make them a better fit in the modern landscape of Destiny 2. This includes giving them a revamped reputation system and reward track, and additional perks on weapons depending on how many times they have had their reputation reset, but most important for this discussion is that they seem to be getting a focusing system. Currently, only the Drifter and Gambit have access to this, but it will likely come to Zavala and Shaxx eventually.
Focusing allows a player to consume an activity-specific engram to gain a specific piece of gear, which is randomly rolled. This system rewards players for engaging with the playlist (by getting engrams) while not destroying it like crafting may do – if crafting was introduced to the main playlists, you may find a situation where the core playlists become devoid of desirable loot once all the unique loot has been crafted. Focusing is not a perfect system, but it makes far more sense for the core playlists than crafting does.
Building to a Conclusion For Destiny 2’s Weapon Crafting
In the end, does crafting belong in Destiny? In my eyes, yes, but the system needs to simultaneously be expanded and drawn back.
As Bungie has altered and experimented with the system in the live game, it has resulted in some warped and misaligned expectations for the community regarding where crafting belongs. Those who love the system will likely want to see it everywhere, whereas those who detest it will want to see it removed entirely. I don’t believe either will occur, but that Bungie will eventually find a nice compromise that doesn’t devalue the loot game while offering a compelling experience.
So far, it is still early days for crafting, a system which I imagine will take many passes to get right. I believe in Bungie, and I believe in Destiny to eventually get that balance right.
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