Bungie details Destiny 2 Exotic Masterworks and more changes

Following the big Destiny 2: Warmind reveal from earlier this week, today's This Week At Bungie blog post delves into one of the big changes coming to the game with the start of season 3 in May: The quest to make Exotics "feel more exotic." A big part of making that happen will come in the form of Exotic Masterworks, which senior investment designer Mark Uyeda said will "create new in-game goals for hobbyist players and reinforce specific activities with these long tail pursuits." 

There will be a specific Exotic Masterwork upgrade for each Exotic weapon in the game, which will be available via a process that begins with the discovery of an Exotic Masterwork Catalyst. Exotic weapon descriptions will provide a hint about what activities grant the catalyst for each weapon: Some are guaranteed to drop "after a certain amount of engagement," while others will appear at random. 

Once the catalyst is applied, orb generation and kill tracking will begin immediately, as they do with Legendary Masterwork weapons. But completing specific objectives with the catalyzed weapon will upgrade it to its final Masterwork state, with stat and/or new perk bonuses applied. 

"A few Masterworks will require you to do a single thing, where others will have multiple steps. These objectives will vary in difficulty and length, but will not be determined by RNG," Uyeda explained. "The goal for these objectives is to push the player to engage with the weapon that they wish to make into a full Masterwork." 

Exotic Masterworks apply across accounts, so once you've got it on one of your characters, all of them will have access to it. Duplicate Exotic drops during the Masterwork process will appear at the current Masterwork state, and the quests to complete each process will not take up space in your inventory—everything will appear on the weapon details screen. Not all Exotic weapons will be Masterwork-ready when season 3 begins, and Bungie also warned that it won't publish any guides on how to acquire Masterwork Exotics—figure it out, or go without. 

The update also includes some new previews of amped-up Exotics. Last week it was Graviton Lance, Skyburner's Oath, and Rat King; today we get to check out Tractor Cannon and Hard Light. Tractor Cannon will have a buff applied that adds suppression (shuts down any live supers and keeps opponents from using abilities in PvP, makes enemies "cower and grovel" in PvE) and a "significant weakness" to Void damage, which as you can see in this Bracus Zahn beatdown works pretty well.  

The new and improved Hard Light, which Bungie talked about that during the Warmind reveal, will cycle elemental damage types when the reload key is held, and will also deliver double damage for bounced bullets. Indirect fire isn't the most efficient way to kill people, but this upgrade should make Hard Light a full-tilt murder-machine under the right circumstances. 

Bungie also talked about Borealis, but as that is a PlayStation exclusive sniper rifle we're skipping that one. Also: Boooooo!

The post also went into detail on Crucible rankings, which will be measured in Valor, based on completing matches in Casual, and Glory, which will rise and fall based on your performance in Competitive play. There will be six ranks in all, running from Guardian through Brave, Heroic, Fabled, Mythic, and Legend, with rewards including ornaments, emblems, and weapons earned at specific tiers. There will also be a unique weapon awarded to players who reach the Fabled Glory level, Redrix's Claymore, which will only be available during season 3—after that, "it will disappear for a long, long, long time," Bungie said. 

Interestingly, Bungie is also working on changes to Crucible matchmaking aimed at addressing the imbalance between solo players and organized fireteams. Generally speaking, packs of randos tend not to do very well against teams of coordinated opponents. (Trust me, it's true.) PvP design lead Derek Carroll said that solo players at all levels currently win fewer than half of the games they play.   

"We're making some under-the-hood adjustments to try to ensure that even when solo players do end up fighting against Fireteams, they’ll be doing it on a more-even battlefield," he said. 

"Instead of using your normal skill value when in a Fireteam, we will use a modified value that takes your Fireteam size into account. The larger your Fireteam, the larger the potential modification. We don’t want to try to completely nullify the benefit of team-play, so our initial values are conservative and can (and will) be tuned as we see the system working in the wild." 

Destiny 2 season 3, and the Warmind expansion, are both set to go live on May 8. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.