Let’s talk about Destiny 2, Sunsetting, and Loot Reissuing

This is a subject I haven’t really talked about a whole lot (if at all; I don’t remember) in the past because I was curious about how Bungie was going to handle it. Sunsetting is, in theory, a good idea. It forces people to engage with newer content, to try out new weapons and armour, and encourages – admittedly with a very heavy hand – the exploration and discovery of new content.

However, weapon and armour sunsetting, like most things Bungie seems to do with Destiny, is a good idea in theory marred by bad-to-mediocre execution, compounded (at least in my eyes) by weapon reissuing.

Let’s talk about Warframe for a second

I love Warframe. Haven’t played it anywhere near as much as Destiny, but over the last couple of years I’ve grown particularly fond of the experience and I go back to it periodically because I think Warframe is just inherently fun. And Warframe has a shotgun that I am wildly in love with, called the Tigris Prime.

It is a beast of a weapon and I love it with every fiber of my being. I don’t think it’s the most powerful weapon in the game, and it probably isn’t even the most powerful shotgun in the game, but it’s a double barrelled shotgun with a duplex trigger that sounds and feels like death itself. I actually traded for it with platinum because I wanted it so badly and I have loved it with a fiery, burning passion ever since.

I also used it incessantly for months, notably before Kuva Liches were released, after which I switched over to the Kuva Karak which I love almost as much as my Tigris Prime. And while I tend to use the Kuva Karak more now, every now and then I’ll dust off the ol’ Tigris, take her out for a spin, blow shit up, and feel great about it.

But it’s a choice that I get to make – and I can’t stress that enough. I got the weapon, I loved it, I moved on, I found something else, and every now and then when I miss it I come back to it. But it’s always there, waiting for me, whenever I want to pick it up again.

Bungie, with their hideously stupid implementation of weapon retirement and reissuing, has taken that very fundamental choice away from me.

Now let’s talk about Destiny

Weapon and armor reissuing only make sense if I don’t have to regrind the weapon or armor piece being reissued. And to explain why, I’ll take two examples of two items I am hopelessly attached to.

The first is Midnight Coup. In the early years of Destiny 2, I was too busy with work and not as willing to engage with raids as I was in the later days of Destiny 1. As a result, I never played any of the Leviathan raids when they were new. Hand cannons have always been my favorite weapon, and I spent years lusting after Midnight Coup but unwilling to go after one because in my time zone it was difficult for me to find a raid group, much less one that was willing to accept me because I hadn’t done the raid before.

Now let’s fast forward to last year, in which I joined a clan. Wonderful people, all of them, mostly in my time zone, who were more than willing to take me through raids. We’d run Garden of Salvation practically every week, sometimes as often as three times, and I feel in love with raids all over again. I wound up getting along with them so well that we even attempted a day 1 Deep Stone Crypt together. We failed (stuck on Atraks-1 for 12 hours) but it’s one of my fondest raid memories to this day. They also ran me through Leviathan and Benedict happened to be selling Midnight Coup that day (or week?) so I bought it.

At some point, I assume Midnight Coup will be reissued. But I don’t want to have to regrind it because the one I have, in my vault, is the one with the story. That’s the one I’m attached to. That’s the one I want to be able to pick up and reuse because it’s the one that means something to me.

Same situation with a very specific armor piece. I have a friend that I used to play Destiny with before he got tired of Bungie’s seemingly endless stream of badly thought-out decisions and decided to quit forever. One of the last things that we did together was two-man the Pit of Heresy. We went in with no idea what to expect and in two sessions, we managed to get the entire thing done. My armor drop from the final boss was a Titan mark and I wore it until sunsetting took it away from me. Not because of the element, not because of the mods, not even because it was masterworked. Simply because every time I looked at that Titan mark, I would remember our two-man shenanigans, and I would chuckle to myself because that was a damned good memory to have.

This is what ‘play your way’ and ‘create your own legend’ means, Bungie

Ultimately it’s about the friends we made along the way, right? Although that line has been widely mocked, the heart of it is true. Destiny is a fundamentally mediocre game, with top quality environment, sound, and gunplay design, with a half-hearted, badly-thought-out and poorly executed story, an overwhelming collection of bad gameplay and systems decisions over many years, and a series of so many missteps that any other game would probably collapsed under the weight of them.

The people I’ve played this game with are what has kept me going. Garbage loot table design, with no way to reliably farm for things outside of the Deep Stone Crypt, are much less frustrating when I’m playing with friends to help distract me from the irritation. It took me somewhere between 12 to 14 runs of DSC to get the hand cannon to drop for me once. The last time I played Beyond Light (at least a month or two ago), was to run the raid, dump all my tokens int getting a good roll, and then I said ‘fuck this shit’ and logged off.

And that’s sort of what I feel like Destiny has come to. I try to engage with the game, try to get into whatever is happening in a given season, but I’m tossed into a hamster wheel, forced to run in place for weeks, never really going anywhere, until I finally decide I’ve had enough and take a few weeks or months off to go play something else.

I didn’t play Destiny for most of last year, completely ignored two seasons, and when I came back to it, I felt great. Not because the game was better, but because I was more relaxed and more willing to be patient with Bungie’s bad decisions. And because I keep telling myself that, at some point, they have to kind of figure out how to make the game, right? Like, surely they’re going to stumble into a really great gameplay or content or design decision at some point by accident … right? Lord knows they’re certainly due.

Destiny 2 and its seasons were supposed to scratch the ‘I always want something to do’ itch for those of us that love Destiny. But Bungie has reduced ‘here are interesting activities’ to ‘we’re taking away your guns so you can go get those same guns again because it’s something to do’. Of all the bad decisions that have been made across Destiny’s lifetime (and there are a lot) this has to be pretty high on the list.

For example, Bungie stripped out all of Destiny 1’s systems only to spend years from Forsaken onwards trying to reintroduce them. Trials is perhaps the perfect example of Bungie’s inability to really innovate. Sunsetting and reissuing is another example.

Either sunset and abandon old weapons and armor entirely, or when reissuing, bring up the stuff that veteran players have in their vaults so that we can use the stuff we’ve spent time collecting, and have memories associated with. I have no doubt that it’s technically complicated to do, but Bungie seems to have chosen the quick, cheap, easy way out of a mess of their own making, and I think that’s the part that I’m most frustrated with.

Because these cheap solutions to problems that Bungie has introduced into the experience are a big part of what holds Destiny back. The one, consistent, longest-running sentiment in the community is that Destiny has potential. And for as long as Bungie continues to make bad decisions and implement half-baked solutions, without really innovating on systems (like random rolls, badly designed loot tables, and far too much RNG for anyone to be able to reliably grind weapons and armour that they want) Destiny will continue to be a mediocre experience that alienates its players, while forcing endless, ongoing commentary about how good we all know it has the potential to be.

Trevor Coelho

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