The next State of the Game article for Destiny 2 has been released, going over what Guardians can expect from the game over the next 12 months and beyond.
After a very long wait, Bungie has finally published one of their massive State of the Game blog posts. These articles often address wide and overarching changes coming to the looter-shooter over the next year or so. This time, game director Joe Blackburn takes the stand once again to talk about the release of the Lightfall Expansion as well as the year ahead. He discusses a lot to do with the game, including changes to seasons, core playlist updates, where we are with in-game LFG and more.
Here is everything you need to know from the “Lightfall and the Year Ahead” blogpost on Destiny 2.
Seasonal fatigue has been a big factor in the recent Destiny 2 Seasons of The Witch Queen. No matter how good the content, running the same type of activity with the same type of vendor in the same type of loot has left many people burnt out on the system.
In the State of the Game, we received the names of the first two Seasons of Lightfall: Season of Defiance and Season of the Deep. Blackburn discussed how Season of Defiance will still stick to the traditional Seasonal formula and cadence for the most part, but that in Season of the Deep and beyond the seasonal offerings will become more experimental. There will be less of a focus on vendors and seasonal upgrades and more on interesting activities like Lost’s Shattered Realm or the introduction of Battlegrounds in Chosen.
We got a bit more detail into the season joining the game alongside Lightfall, Season of Defiance. Despite still remaining much the same as in past seasons, there are some important changes. First, there will be fewer currencies to earn and horde: Seasonal Engrams needed to focus gear will stay on the vendor instead of in your inventory, and they will only cost Glimmer to decrypt instead of needing Seraph Keys or Umbral Energy.
The other big change to seasonal activities is that they will have higher base rewards compared to the current system. End-of-activity chests will be treated as meaningful bonuses, rather than the only source of exciting loot from said activity. These chests will be opened with special keys that have a chance to drop after each run of a seasonal activity, with one key allowing you to open one chest and earn some extra goodies.
Aside from this, Blackburn assured fans that they would continue developing exciting themes and stories in their seasonal offerings. Paired with the other foundational changes, and the introduction of Guardian Ranks to more accurately represent player skill and knowledge, Bungie hopes that this will be enough to make seasons exciting once more.
Crafting and Enhancing
Weapon Crafting is also getting a touch-up in the year of Destiny 2 Lightfall. While crafting is a great system for enabling player expression and giving Guardians a deterministic way to earn certain weapons, it has undoubtedly diminished the desire for certain randomly rolled gear across the game. As such, starting with Lightfall, there will be fewer total weapons available to Craft and more weapons with “long-term sources” with random rolls. This likely means that crafted Seasonal gear will remain while harder content like Raids may lose access to crafting going forward.
The next change to weapons follows this up. Starting with the Raid Adepts in Lightfall and expanding to more as the year progresses, non-crafted weapons will have the ability to be enhanced. Enhancing a weapon will allow it to start levelling up and gain access to enhanced perks and enhanced intrinsic properties, but only for the perks and Masterwork that have already rolled on the weapon. This is to keep the power of crafted and non-crafted weapons on par.
Other changes coming exclusively to crafted weapons include the change to Deepsight. Currently, any weapon in the game can roll with a Deepsight which awards currency needed for crafting. In Lightfall, not only are most of the crafting currencies going away, but only weapons with patterns will drop with Deepsight, making it easier to distinguish what can and cannot be crafted. Another change targeting Season for the Deep is a way to activate Deepsite on any craftable weapon that you do not have the pattern for, granting you better direct access to patterns.
A big thing talked about in this blog post is bringing challenge back to Destiny. As we’ve grown stronger and our abilities and subclasses have flourished in the year of The Witch Queen, content has progressively stopped being challenging (in most scenarios).
Bungie is taking a “two-pronged approach” to difficulty in Destiny 2. On one hand, they are decreasing the uptime on a lot of the most potent abilities in both PvE and PvP to shift the balance away from a pure ability-based sandbox (you can find more information on the ability tuning preview for Lightfall) as well as making damage resistance less impactful via Resilience.
On the other hand, they are making some alterations to the enemies in the game. Blackburn says that they got some “great results” from Season of the Seraph’s Battlegrounds (which had a +5 Power Level adjustment at all times) and so are planning on moving more towards this end of the spectrum in future content. The Vanguard Ops playlist will be getting a baseline difficulty bump which, while not as drastic as the Battlegrounds one, will still make the content more engaging to the average Guardian. Neomuna will also have a higher base difficulty level compared to other patrol spaces.
Bungie also hinted at some future changes coming to the Power Level system. Over the past year, Power has mattered less and less with the move to adjustments like those seen in Seraph Battlegrounds. While Power Level is here to stay (for now), they have outlined that they want to make some big changes in The Final Shape. Alongside that, Season of the Deep and beyond will contain no increase to the Power of Pinnacle cap.
Core Playlist Changes
In a section about “Enriching Our Content”, Blackburn went on to describe several changes and alterations coming to the Core Playlists during the year of Lightfall. This mainly focused on Crucible, Nightfalls and a new playlist for some fan-favourite missions, but there was a disappointing lack of information on Gambit.
Some sweeping changes that Bungie hopes to implement further down the line included getting more rewards for ritual content, as well as more options to engage with said content. One such change is moving Exotic armour acquisition away from farming Lost Sectors and towards the core playlists. Others include not needing all three ritual pursuit ornaments for the Seasonal Challenges and allowing players to earn more new rewards by playing content of their choice.
For specific changes coming this year, we start with the Crucible.
To begin, Bungie committed (once again) to their focus on the Crucbile and PvP in Destiny 2. Over the last year, we got a big Iron Banner rework, a Competitive playlist adjustment and several new modes including Fortress, Rift and Eruption. In Season of Defiance, Countdown is returning to the game along with a variant called Countdown Rush. There will also be a series of Crucible Labs events taking place, including one to test a new mode, Checkmate Control, which promises to have a “drastically changed” sandbox when it comes to weapon damage, ability uptime and even the ammo economy.
We also learned what Crucible maps are returning over the next year. Meltdown is returning in Season of the Deep (Season 21) while Citadel is coming back in Season 23. The new map will make its way to the game during Season 22 and will be set in the mysterious, neon-drenched world of the Vex Network.
To close, Bungie mentions that they still “don’t feel like [they’ve] nailed the trade-off between fair matches and good connections” following in the wake of SBMM. They commit themselves to continue adjusting algorithms and working on game connection.
They also tease some upcoming changes making their way to the Trials of Osiris. Similar to the level of the Iron Banner changes earlier this year, Trials is currently being looked at for updated rewards and matchmaking structure.
Strikes and Nightfalls
The Vanguard Ops playlists have slowly been growing over the last few years with the addition of Battlegrounds (with more to come thanks to the S16 and S19 activities joining the playlist in Lightfall). Alongside an increase in difficulty, Vanguard Ops is getting a little shake-up.
The Arms Dealer and Lake of Shadows Strikes are both getting refreshed with new objectives and reimagined encounters. Bungie claims that they will match the combat engagement of Strikes like Proving Grounds and Lightblade, some of the toughest and most dense Strikes currently in the game. Alongside them, Strikes from early in Destiny 2’s lifespan such as Exodus Crash and The Inverted Spire will be given a reduced presence in the playlist until “they get bought up to the engagement parity with some of our more recent Vanguard content.” These Strikes revamps will likely continue throughout the year, breathing life back into these 5-year-old activities.
Apart from Strikes, changes are coming to Battlegrounds, too. Select Battlegrounds will begin making their way to the Nightfall playlist and become available as Grandmaster content. This will begin with the Mars Heist Battleground in Season of Defiance, with more to come each season. According to Bungie, “four out of the six Nightfalls” in Season of Defiance will be new or refreshed content coming to the Grandmaster rotation for the first time.
Exotic Mission Rotator
Lastly, some good news regarding Exotic Missions. In addition to their commitment to more Exotic and hidden missions in Destiny 2, Blackburn also describes an Exotic Mission Rotator that will be joining the game in Season 22.
This rotator will “feature Exotic missions from the past that rotate on a weekly cadence and offer great rewards for players willing to dive into some classic content.” The starting line-up of missions in Season 22 will include Presage, Vox Obscura and Operation: Seraph’s Shield but they do hint at including some other fan favourites, like Zero-Hour or Whisper.
“With this framework implemented, we hope to use this rotator in the future to continue to bring some of Destiny 2’s most classic missions back into the fold.”
Lightfall and the Year Ahead
To finish the article, Blackburn discusses some ways that they are changing the game to better allow communication between Guardians.
The first is the Commendation system. These Commendations act similarly to those found in games like Final Fantasy XIV or even Overwatch 2, but the ones in Destiny 2 will be a bit more fleshed out. Commendations will allow you to showcase how you specifically contributed to the team, with some being exclusive to certain modes: Pacemaker and Saint’s Favourite can only be earned in Trials, whereas Knowledgeable and Perceptive are given out in Raid and Dungeon content.
Another thing is that the game-wide text chat will become an opt-out system. This means that all Guardians will be able to see the text chat and be able to contribute without needing to toggle with any settings. If you would prefer to have it off, the option is still there, but this is a great and easy way to open up avenues of conversation between plenty of different players.
The big thing regarding communication is the introduction of in-game LFG via the Fireteam Finder. This will serve as an in-game way to request help and find teams for content like Trials, Raids, Dungeons and more, without needing to go to a third-party app.
The Fireteam Finder is launching in Season 23, the last season before The Final Shape. While the wait time will be a bit longer than anticipated, Blackburn assures us that it is for good reason.
“This means a Fireteam Finder that you can queue up for from anywhere in the game. The ability to tag your posts with keywords to describe the kind of group you’re running and the kind of people you’re looking to recruit. The option to create groups where folks can join automatically, allowing you to get right into the action. And the power to create groups where you as a leader can approve or deny each person trying to join up, giving you tight control over the kind of group you’re putting together.”
Lightfall and the Year Ahead
Bungie is making a lot of great changes in Destiny 2 with Lightfall and beyond. We’ll get to see some of them in action when the Lightfall Expansion launches on the 28th of February.