For some perspective, I've enjoyed Destiny 2 enough to grind three characters up to the level cap on PC, but right now there's no arguing that there are substantial issues with the way the endgame systems work. The Destiny subreddit, which is well-seasoned at the best of times, is currently an avalanche of salt directed at the game's perceived shortcomings, not helped by the Bungie's admission yesterday that it was using a secret system to throttle XP gains for players completing activities too fast. Having been uncovered by community sleuths, that system has since been turned off. Nonetheless, the shopping list of complaints currently includes (but is not limited to):
- A lack of balance updates, despite the pre-release promise that ditching the legacy consoles would make fine-tuning problem weapons and perks easier.
- Little incentive in terms of loot rewards to complete Adventures or Strikes, despite these being some of the best-designed content in the game.
- Raid gear armor being no better than items acquired in regular activities.
- The double-primary weapon system leading to an entirely teamshot-focused PvP meta, plus over-simplified playlists.
- A mod system that doesn't have much impact on build or gear diversity.
- Static perks on gear meaning duplicate drops are irrelevant once you hit max power.
The last of these is actually my biggest bugbear. Way back in early July game director Luke Smith spoke about this issue in an interview. "How can my second, third, and tenth Better Devils hand cannon be interesting?" he said. "That's a question we should be asking and answering as quickly as we can... We have ideas. While I would like nothing more than to share those ideas with you, we're up against [a deadline]. I don't know if they'll make it for our Sept. 6 [release] date. But we have some ideas that we're pretty excited about."
As we now know, those ideas didn't make the console launch, and months later are still nowhere to be seen. However, we may hear more on what those ideas are when Smith appears on Bungie's livestream on November 29, at 11 AM PST. After this week's stream, which was received much more poorly than the first, I wrote that Bungie needs to stop focusing on the features of the Curse of Osiris expansion, which is due out on September 5, and start explaining how it plans to tweak the core systems people are complaining about. Happily it sounds like that's what we're going to get. This morning Smith tweeted:
Additionally, @knowsworthy and I will also be answering some questions and addressing community feedback we’ve been reading since launch. See you soon. (2/2)November 25, 2017
To which I say amen and about time. Smith is a straight talker, and players need to hear from someone at the top to be reassured the game is on track. Mark Knowswothy, the other developer Smith references, is the project lead on Destiny 2, so we will be getting the most senior staff members' response to the issues.
When I was up at Bungie recently I saw a couple of tweaks to the way grinding works that I can't talk about yet, but I think will be well received by players. It's also worth noting that the build I played didn't feature the balance changes set to be introduced by the game's second season, so I'm also hopeful those will be substantial and positive. Right now Destiny 2 is in something of a rough spot, but I'm eager to find out what they're planning to do to fix it.