I caught a little bit of yesterday's Bungie Bounty PC stream, in which players tried to queue into and beat the developers in order to earn an exclusive emblem. Far more interesting than the actual gameplay was the atmosphere—which today's 'This Week at Bungie' blog post describes as "supercharged" for the two-hour duration. The word I would use is "spicy", as fans in chat made the most of the chance to put their questions and concerns to sandbox design lead Josh Hamrick and senior crucible designer Kevin Yanes.
Arguably unusual for this kind of exercise, the developers were pretty candid when it came to their answers. Though the recent 'Go Fast' update has generally been regarded as a step in the right direction in terms of making more weapons and class builds viable in PvE and PvP, the prevailing sentiment among the playerbase is that more substantial changes are needed to persuade people to come back to Destiny 2, which has been widely criticised for having an anemic endgame.
One of the chief complaints is over the sequel's weapon system, which asks players to run two primary weapons and forces shotguns and sniper rifles to compete in the same slot as much more powerful rocket launchers. Bungie has largely been silent over the likelihood of making changes to what is such a core part of the game, but Hamrick confirmed something is in the works. In response to a question about whether D2 might ever return to D1's primary/special/heavy weapon slots, he said: "We know that you want more control over your loadouts. You can expect weapon slot changes in the future of Destiny 2. We are actively working on a new system right now and we will have more to show and tell this summer."
From my point of view as someone still sinking an inexplicable amount of time into a game for which I long acquired every item, the next most interesting question tackled what Bungie is doing to make duplicate drops worthwhile rather than insta-dismantles. Here Hamrick was less forthcoming, but at least acknowledged the issue. "We know you want to be excited about the possibility of any given drop again," he said. "We know you want to look forward to hopping on night after night for a shot at something you want to get your hands on and that you look forward to the adrenaline rush when it finally happens. We are actively working to get there, together. We’ll talk more about our plans when they are in a playable state."
So, wait and see I guess. If you are still interested in the game, I do recommend checking the blog out as there's plenty of meat there. Hamrick says they won't be nerfing the Vigilance Wing exotic pulse rifle, which is the current darling of the Crucible, Destiny 2's PvP mode. He explained that "we don’t believe slowing Vigilance Wing’s TTK in a world where our players are asking for a faster TTK is the right call."
Hamrick is of course correct that the community has been clamoring for a faster time-to-kill across the board in PvP in order to reduce the reliance on team-shotting. Here's what he had to say about lowering TTK: "The next big Sandbox update comes with Season 3 as we buff a good chunk of the Exotic weapons. These changes will be a direct response to “Exotics don’t feel Exotic enough.” Some of these weapons are getting damage buffs that can have a direct impact on the average TTK of an encounter."
Bungie also used the update to let players know that the Rumble mode will have a little less nutty spawns next time it returns. The free-for-all mode, which was recently reintroduced to Destiny 2, will no longer pack 8 players onto maps that were designed for 4v4 team play. "We're lowering the player-count to 6, and altering the spawning policy behind the scenes in an attempt to keep players more evenly spaced out. These changes are the first steps towards an even better player experience that we expect to drop when Season 3 begins."
An unconfirmed leak earlier this week suggested that Destiny 2's second DLC expansion will arrive on 8 May. Whenever that happens it will be accompanied by the third 'season' of content and the Exotic balance tweak Hamrick refers to. In the meantime, Bungie has invited a selection of high profile community members, Twitch streamers and YouTubers to playtest forthcoming content at its Bellevue, Washington office April 19 and 20.
Looking forward to being a part of this!!Perfect opportunity to give some quality feedback.Destiny Community SummitApril 19 and April 20@Cozmo23 @A_dmg04 @DeeJ_BNG @UrkMcGurkApril 5, 2018
I'm skeptical that any meaningful feedback they offer now can be incorporated into the next DLC, given that it will largely be content locked at this point, but hopefully that discussion will be sufficiently candid and forward-looking that its impact will be felt further down the line. Certainly, had Destiny 2's endgame been shown off a little earlier, some of the issues with it could perhaps have been ironed out. This kind of feedback exercise also paid substantial dividends for The Division, which also found itself in a parlous state but was then rescued, in part at least, by flying a bunch of players out to Massive's studio in Sweden for a boot camp.
Of course, the more cynical take is that this is simply an effort to try to get a bunch of the influential players with big followings back on side. Luckily my heart is full of hope and good intentions, so I hope it works out for D2. No invite in the PC Gamer inbox yet, but I will have further thoughts on the Go Fast update for those of you still reading this stuff. Hi dad.