This past week, Luke Smith arrived with what is probably one of my favorite rituals in the whole industry, a massive drop of text detailing not only future plans for Destiny 2, but also the decision-making behind those plans in raw, unfiltered form.
I spent most of this week defending probably the biggest bit of news made from the Director’s Cut, the concept that legendary weapons would be power limited eventually, and in turn phased out from pinnacle, power-required activities after a 9-15 month lifespan. I wrote a lengthy defense of that idea you can read here (in short, it allows for more exciting new weapons and less time wasted on balancing for years-old guns), but I didn’t love everything I saw in the Director’s Cut.
The passage I want to highlight has to do with ideas for future seasons, and reducing the kind of FOMO we’re seeing now with the “things disappear” seasonal model.
“We’re talking about moving away from creating Season-bespoke private activities and instead using that time and effort to build themes that aren’t just represented by a marquee event that will fade away.”
Okay, so far so good. This directly addresses feedback I’ve given earlier about how it seems like the current system is bad for both players and Bungie. Players feel hard FOMO with these activities that only exist for a season and then vanish. Bungie, meanwhile, is wasting a ton of time building content that is only in the game for three months before leaving. My solution was more about leaving those events in place rather than eliminating them entirely, but what’s the proposed fix here? Smith says that he wants players to be able to invest more in “core activities.”
“So what could investing more in core activities look like? It could mean more rewards being distributed into these activities or it could mean taking a theme for a Season and using it to galvanize Strikes. If we’re going to ask players to engage with these activities, we have an opportunity to leverage rewards throughout the Season. Imagine the armor sets or Sundial weapons being woven into core activity reward pools. Or imagine experiences like pursuing rolls for sweet weapons that could only be found in a given playlist as an end-of-match reward, like a Crucible Eyasluna.”
Ah, hm, wait a second here.
Yes, I am all for the idea of making strikes relevant again, or making Crucible or Gambit give out better rewards. But as a replacement for new seasonal PvE or PvP content? That…I am less sure about.
I can see a lot of problems with this idea, at least the way it’s presented.
First, I’m not sure making the argument that say, splitting up the Sundial armor and weapons into drops from the Strike, Crucible and Gambit playlists is a terribly attractive prospect.
There’s general fatigue with those activities. Some of these strikes are literally three years old now, so it would be hard to consider them “new” seasonal content even with say, a themed concept (ie. something like “snowball strikes”), and I could see people pushing back on that. Similarly, if seasonal weapons are thrown into an activity that people don’t want to do, ie. Gambit and Crucible, that would be bad too. What if Breachlight or Steelfeather only dropped from Gambit matches instead of being Sundial farmable like they were this past season? Does that sound like an improvement to you?
Also, from what’s being described here, if something is made an end-of-strike, end-of-Crucible/Gambit reward, doesn’t that take away the intentionality that players have come to expect from things like the Sundial farm? I don’t know, maybe there’s some new “bounty” system in place where you complete a Crucible match and get a specific drop, but that’s not detailed here, and it’s something I would be concerned about.
Finally, if this is seasonal content still, as in loot that is going away at the end of the season, this current idea sounds like it would increase FOMO even more. At least with something like the Sundial and its hugely generous target-farming, you have a pretty good shot of getting a large amount of rolls you want by season’s end. If Sundial-type weapons are instead given out as random strike chest rewards or end-of-match Crucible rewards, that would seem like it would dramatically increase the grind by decreasing the number of potential drops, and if this “Crucible Eyasluna” goes away at the end of the season like we currently see with gear, that only makes the FOMO worse.
To sum up, yes, I would love for Strikes, Crucible and Gambit to have better rewards as they’re all currently pretty terrible, and I agree there is little reason to run anything other than the seasonal activity as a result. And yet it seems like there could be a lot of potential problems with a seasonal model that shifts to putting all new limited time loot behind simple strike or Crucible playlist grinding, even with “tweaks” to those modes based on a seasonal theme.
I don’t know, perhaps there is a way to do this well, but what’s being described here doesn’t reassure me about this being a solid path forward. I think I need a lot more detail about the fleshed-out concept before I can get behind it, but I am guessing we’re not seeing this implemented this season, or probably even next, and this may end up being a year 4 thing instead. We’ll see.