After a very rough weekend for Destiny 2 which saw a hidden XP scaling system revealed to the public, followed by an unannounced doubling of XP requirements for leveling up, Bungie has posted a big update on its blog in which it talked about its plans going forward, and addressed concerns and feedback from players who've expressed disappointment with a lack of incentive to play endgame activities.
Bungie admitted to the scaling system shortly after it was discovered and disabled it, but also doubled the amount of XP required to gain levels without telling anyone. But even before all that, players weren't happy with the state of the game. Tim recently ran down the highlights, but the short version is that rewards for completing Adventures and Strikes are repetitive to the point of being meaningless, modding is largely irrelevant for anything but maxing out your power level, and weapon and armor perks are identical: If you've seen one Better Devils, you've seen 'em all.
Finally, against a backdrop of much grousing, changes are on the way, and for once Bungie has been willing to put solid dates to some of them.
"Going forward, Destiny 2’s post-launch game systems, features, and updates are being designed specifically to focus on and support players who want Destiny to be their hobby – the game they return to, and a game where friendships are made," game directors Luke Smith and Chris Barrett said in today's update. "We want Destiny to be a game that fits into your life, providing you with reasons to log in and play with your friends, clans, and families. We want Destiny to be a world you want to be a part of."
One of the biggest changes will be the introduction of a new Masterworks weapon tier, with random, re-rollable bonuses, unique item tooltips, and a displayed kill counter. Vendor rewards will be improved, with new ways for players to purchase items directly using Tokens and Legendary Shards. Armor Ornaments are coming, so players will be able to create looks that show off their prowess at particular activites. Incentives for completing Prestige (ie the hardest difficulty) activities will be improved, Heroic Strikes and "more generous" Strike rewards are coming, and better rewards for Adventures and Lost Sectors are "on our radar."
Another noteworthy item coming in the December update are new Fated Engrams, available one per week from Xur using Legendary Shards, that will decrypt as Exotic items that you don't already have in your collection. December will also see Faction armor and weapons made available for purchase from most Faction Vendors: All five armor slots will always be unlockable with Reward Engrams, while weapons (for Factions that have them) will rotate on a weekly basis.
There will be two rounds of updates next month, on December 5 and 12, and more coming in 2018. "With the launch of Curse of Osiris, and the beginning of Season 2, you can expect to see a full suite of patch notes that will document all of the changes outlined above, as well as additional gameplay and sandbox tuning changes the team is making to improve Destiny 2," Bungie wrote. "We’ll also soon be providing pre-load and launch day details, as well as a roadmap for our Season 2 content, which includes The Dawning in mid-December."
The developers also opened up on the XP controversy, saying that while its intentions were good, "the silent nature of the mechanic betrayed the expectation of transparency that you have for Destiny 2."
"We were able to disable the system with a server-side change, but a new solution is now needed to rebalance XP in Destiny 2. We have begun that work, and will continue to provide updates to you about timelines and specifics," they wrote. "The values coded into our website API are being updated today (and may already have been as you read this post) to reflect the removal of this scaling mechanism. In a future update, we intend to link these internal and display-only values together for greater consistency, and to ensure that when changes are made they are accurately reflected everywhere we report them."
It's a really big update, with changes large and small—the December 12 update will change Vendors so that they'll only call you over if you have enough Reputation Tokens to actually earn an Engram—and it really does look like a big step in the right direction: More rewards and personalization options means more of a reason to actually keep playing, and a proper breakdown of what's coming and when is the sort of transparency that should have been in place right from the start. If Destiny 2 is your thing, you'll want to lay eyes on the full update at bungie.net.