Destiny franchise director Luke Smith has posted the first of three sprawling “director’s cut” write-ups commenting on the state of the game. In this first post, Smith reflects mostly on two of the three seasons from Destiny 2’s first year of annual past content, focusing on the latter two season, Season of the Drifter and Season of Opulence. It’s a long, fascinating read that’s less about new info and more context for why Bungie made many of the decisions it made throughout the last year. It’s worth reading if you’re a Destiny fan, but there is some new info scattered through this first entry.
Perhaps the most immediately exciting change is a change to one aspect of Destiny 2’s interface, though the process that lead to this change was a difficulty one. When the “pursuits” tab (read: quests and bounties) was moved from the character screen to the director screen, fans mostly reacted negatively to the change, saying it messed with their muscle memory and didn’t actually make selecting and tracking questlines any easier.
The people at Bungie behind the change were “crestfallen,” about the feedback, according to Smith. “We wanted to try something different with Pursuits, in the sense that we knew where we wanted this feature to end up, but that we’d take some iterative steps to get there. I think we’ve got to do a better job ensuring that while we’re remodeling your house, the potential of the renovation is clearer either in the game or via some communication here on the site.” Smith then mentions this screen will be getting an update in the fall, separating bounties and proper quests, and letting PC players map a key to take them directly to this screen.
Another change coming in later seasons is a more standardized approach to how players progress through content, mostly due to how taxing it’s been for Bungie to come up with new grind structures every few months. “During the annual pass, we invented new, bespoke ways to earn rewards each season,” Smith says. “Black Armory had its bounties, Season of the Drifter had the ‘Reckoning Machine,’ Season of Opulence had its Chalice. Each of these mechanics – each with their own lessons – were valuable, but also put the team into an unsustainable development cycle. We needed to develop a more systemic, standardized set of mechanics for progression to keep our teams healthier. “
As a result, players can likely look forward to a more streamlined approach when it comes to acquiring new items when Shadowkeep hits. This might make these quests less exciting initially, but I have to admit that my least favorite part of a new season, personally, is having to figure out exactly what order I should run through strikes, multiplayer matches, and Gambit this time around.
Speaking of Gambit: Smith not-so-subtly hinted one of the mode’s two current incarnations (there’s Gambit and the faster, more hardcore Gambit Prime) may be going away in the future to make it easier to support the mode as a whole going forward. “We think Gambit is sweet and deserves more ongoing support and we want to ultimately focus that support on whichever mode ends up being the Highlander. There can be only one.” Personally, I’m rooting for Gambit Prime on this one, as I generally tend the like its faster pace.
Another change that might make hardcore players happy is how Bungie hopes to up the difficulty of endgame content in the fall. “We’ve historically thought about the main Destiny campaigns as something we want to be pretty easy (I think D2’s campaign was actually too easy at times), and as players push further into the post-game they’d be able to find more challenge,” Smith writes. “Across Destiny’s history we haven’t had enough challenge deep into the end game, and that’s definitely something on our list as we head toward fall 2019.”
One aspect of Destiny 2’s economy that’s long been contentious is the Eververse microtransaction store, and while we didn’t learn anything about a major rework, we did learn some key things about it. For one, the Eververse will become a node in game’s director map screen, which means you won’t have to navigate to the Tower if you want to check out which wares are available for purchase.
Smith also made the case for why these transactions exist in the first place: To allow the team to pump out new bits of content more regularly. According to Smith, it’s been pretty successful at that. “Whisper of the Worm’s ornaments were successful enough that it paid [dev cost-wise] for the Zero Hour mission/rewards to be constructed (this s*** matters!).” So while the Eververse won’t be going away anytime soon, hopefully players will be more understanding of why it’s there in the first place, even if they may not like it.
Again, the entire entry is worth your time, so make sure to check it out if you’re at all interested.