In the lead up to Lightfall's release (opens in new tab), Bungie appears to be supplementing its regular This Week at Bungie series with additional posts that dive deep into the expansion's upcoming changes. Last week, we got an absolutely game-changing update on what's happening to buildcrafting (opens in new tab)—something we further detailed in an interview with Bungie (opens in new tab). This week's update may be less dramatic, but it'll be no less exciting for anyone invested in the fashion side of the end game.
In a post on the game's upcoming economy changes (opens in new tab), Bungie finally reveals the long-teased "legacy focusing" system, and how it will let players earn old weapons and armour sets that no longer drop from the game's core activities—spending engrams earned from ranking up with their respective vendors to unlock or earn new roles on equipment that's otherwise no longer available. It's also announced a new section of Ada-1's armour shop, which—as of Lightfall's release—will stock a rotating selection of old shaders, three per week for the cost of 10,000 glimmer.
"Finally," players say, "We can earn Bergusian Night."
If you want a visual representation of which shaders are returning, this Reddit post has you covered—although it's worth remembering that, due to the baffling way shaders palettes are shown and applied, it's basically impossible to puzzle out how any set will actually look without previewing it in-game. There are some stone-cold classics in here, like the aforementioned Bergusian Night and its Season of the Forge sibling New Age Black Armory, Season of Arrival's Dark Omolon, and the old faction shaders from back in Year 1 when factions were actually a thing. I know what you're thinking: "Where's Carminica?" Hopefully the selection will be expanded in the future.
For legacy gear, there will be significantly more investment needed. For Crucible, Vanguard Ops and Gambit, armour pieces that you haven't previously unlocked will cost:
- Three Crucible, Vanguard or Gambit engrams
- 50 Legendary Shards
- 10,000 Glimmer
That cost is reduced when focusing armour that you've already unlocked, although I'm not sure why you'd bother. There are better, cheaper ways to earn armour, and, thanks to transmog, you can just reskin those.
For Nightfall, Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris weapons and armour, things will require a lot more investment. Each piece, for anything you haven't unlocked, is:
- Seven Vanguard, Iron or Trials engrams
- 100 Legendary Shards
- 10,000 Legendary Glimmer
The pain point here is the engrams. You earn one for ranking up, but each rank requires more points. So while the jump from Guardian I to Heroic II—which would earn you seven engrams—is just 1,925 points, the next seven—Heroic II to Mythic III—requires 5,625 points.
There are five pieces of armour in a set, so, for instance, collecting the full Iron Fellowship set would require 35 engrams. That's just over two full resets—ie, reaching Legendary at 10,000 rank points and resetting over again. It's a significant time investment.
Every time Bungie releases a new system, particularly one that has an economy cost, there is usually something that riles up the playerbase. For this system, the amount of effort it takes to unlock older sets will definitely be it. From Bungie's perspective, the cost is likely fair: once you've unlocked all the sets, transmog means there's very little point to interact with the armour side of legacy focusing. So doing so is a longterm goal, meant to be done over a number of seasons. But players are historically impatient about anything on that timescale.
Again, here, for gear already unlocked the price goes down to three engrams, which, yeah, fine. I'm absolutely going to chuck some towards unlocking a better Shayura's Wrath or PLUG One.1.
Bungie is also adding the ability to focus current Adept Nightfall weapons earned from Grandmaster Strikes, as part of Zavala's rollout into the current non-legacy focusing system. Focusing adept weapons, though, will require spending 10 Adept Ciphers. You'll earn just two of these for earning a Platinum award from a GM run (by killing all of its Champions). That means five GMs per focus, which means for most, farming GMs will continue to be the better, more profitable route.
There are also some notable omissions to legacy focusing. The most obvious on the weapon side of things is The Palindrome, an adaptive frame hand cannon that's no longer available in the Nightfall rotation. With perks like Quickdraw and Rangefinder, and the ability to slot in an adept mod, it was a particularly desirable choice for PvP. I suspect that may be why it's not returning yet. Bungie has made moves recently to keep guns more relevant to the activities they're earned from. When Mindbender's Ambition—another Nightfall weapon that became an actual terror in Year 2 Crucible—returned this year, its perks had been entirely redone to reduce its effectiveness in PvP. I wouldn't be surprised to see Pali get similar treatment.
On the armour side, the Iron Symmachy set isn't returning—a shame as it's one of the more distinct looks available. I've no guess why this one wouldn't come back, unless it's due to be cycled in as the active Iron Banner reward sometime next year.
Some pain points aside, it's good we have a method to unlock older gear. It was always annoying to see a weapon you were chasing leave the loot pool of Trials or Nightfalls. And between this and the planned changes to buildcrafting, it's clear there's a lot of long-awaited quality-of-life changes arriving next month. Hopefully, despite these changes, the launch of Lightfall is a smooth one, especially after this week's lengthy outage (opens in new tab).