Bungie rolls back controversial plan to time-gate Into the Light loot [Updated]

Destiny 2: Into the Light art - three Guardians fighting a horde of enemies
(Image credit: Bungie)

Update: Bungie has put out a thread on X, responding to community criticism of its plans to slowly roll out the second batch of reprised 'Brave' weapons coming with the Into the Light update. You will now be able to collect the entire set as of April 30, giving players more than a full month to scoop the limited edition versions of whatever god roll perk combos they're chasing. The thread goes on to emphasise that the new Onslaught mode, from which these guns will drop, is going to have guardians swimming in loot. The news appears to have mollified players, which means we can reset the 'days since last Destiny 2 crisis' clock. Honestly, the hands have almost worn out at this point.

Original story: We're less than two weeks away from Destiny 2's Into the Light update, and, for the most part, it looks like an enjoyable diversion—a fine way to keep Guardians busy as they wait for The Final Shape to release on June 4. The new, much requested horde mode should promote some build-crafting in the final months of this extended season. And the returning 'Brave' weapons are, on the whole, looking good—a selection of returning favourites, with refreshed perk pools set to create some meta-defining combinations.

Yes. the mad lads have put Recombination on The Mountaintop. They've given Hammerhead the ability to run Rampage and Killing Tally at the same time. They've even put Envious Assassin and Bait and Switch on meme grenade launcher Edge Transit, meaning players won't have to suffer through Trials of Osiris in order to grind out the current DPS meta king Cataphract. Sure, there's some weirdness in there—I'm not sure why they're reissuing Hung Jury SR4 again, despite its last reissued version still being available for focusing with Zavala—but on the whole this should be an easy dub for a Bungie team in desperate need of one

But uh oh, here we go again. Instead of celebrating, the community is now angry about one specific aspect of the upcoming release. On the DestinyTheGame subreddit, the discussion thread for the blog post announcing the perks for the reissued weapons has more than twice as many comments as it does upvotes—a telling ratio that suggests things aren't looking good. The reason can be found buried at the bottom of Bungie's post:

"Half of these will be available starting April 9, including The Recluse, Hung Jury SR4, Succession, Edge Transit, Elsie's Rifle and Falling Guillotine. The remainder will unlock one at a time each week through the week of May 21."

That means of the 12 weapons being reprised as part of Into the Light, only six will be available at launch. The rest are rolling out week-by-week. In other words, they're timegated.

"I don’t understand why you decided to do it when you knew the playerbase would completely hate this decision," writes u/StarAugurEtraeus in a post that sits at the top of the subreddit with over 3,500 upvotes at time of writing. "I thought the whole goal of Into the Light was to hype people up to buy The Final Shape," writes u/apackofmonkeys in one of that post's top replies, "but here they are, monkeypawing like usual, killing hype with drip-fed loot, leaving only two weeks for the last weapon's limited edition before it gets taken away. It shows they've learned absolutely nothing." The replies to an unrelated comment made by the Destiny 2 community team gives a sense of how things are going right now:

(Image credit: Reddit)

It's an entirely predictable reaction. Of all the complaints players have had with Destiny 2's seasonal models over the years, "timegating" is one of the biggest. Even the good seasons can wear players down with the way new content is slowly delivered week by week.

Whatever the pros and cons, for the community timegating is totemic of a growing distrust in Bungie's motives—the idea that the studio values player engagement metrics and weekly active users over what's good for the game. Whatever the actual reasons behind this decision, more important is the perception. And the perception here is that Bungie is making another desperate play to monopolise its players' time. It doesn't help that Bungie clearly knew that this would be a source of consternation. The weapon timegating wasn't mentioned in the almost hour-long stream discussing Into the Light's loot, and it was tucked away at the bottom of the post announcing the perks.

It's worth noting that Into the Light isn't going away. The Onslaught mode and its weapons will still be available when The Final Shape launches in June. But each weapon has a limited edition variant with a special ornament, and those are only available before the expansion arrives. That means, when the final weapon is released on May 21, players will have just two weeks to farm for its limited edition version. God help us if it's The Mountaintop or Midnight Coup.

This release cadence also lessens the impact of Into the Light's launch on April 9, because the first six weapons aren't exactly a slam dunk in terms of desirability. The Recluse is a monster, sure, but much of what it does is already replicated on other Void SMGs currently in the game. Edge Transit is definitely going to be a big deal—especially as more people realise just how good grenade launchers are in the current sandbox.

The others, though? Succession is a repackaged raid weapon that's already available for crafting. Hung Jury, as I said above, only left the Nightfall rotation back in Season of the Witch, and is still available for focusing—even if this new variant does have some pretty nice perks. Elsie's Rifle is going to struggle to find a niche in the meta as a high-impact frame pulse. Falling Guillotine has a similar problem—it was the best legendary sword for years, which is precisely why Bungie nerfed the ammo reserves of vortex frames to the point where they don't have a strong place in the sandbox.

(Image credit: Bungie)

If we'd had the full 12 weapons available at launch, there'd be plenty to chase around the less exciting rereleases. If Bungie really wanted to avoid overwhelming players, releasing them in two batches, six at a time, would have at least lessened the blow. Even that feels unnecessary. The last time we had a non-seasonal release was the 30th Anniversary update—a paid DLC pack designed to keep players busy after The Witch Queen was delayed. Between its dungeon and the Dares of Eternity activity, there was enough loot to chase that, even without timegates, plenty of players happily stuck around.

Now the mood music feels very different. In 2022, I argued that the seasonal burnout players were experiencing was only going to get worse—in part because Lightfall wasn't delayed. It didn't help that Lightfall itself was a mess, but since then we've had a strong run of seasons. Deep, Witch and Wish have all had some fun experimental flourishes that made them stand out. And yet community sentiment feels as low as it's ever been.

That perception has not been helped by the turmoil within Bungie itself—including the recent layoffs, the departure of game director Joe Blackburn, and the suggestion that Sony is unhappy with the game's direction. But the bigger issue, I think, is that Destiny 2 so often feels so demanding of your time. Multiple weekly rotators with unique loot to earn, festive events with grindy checklists to complete, the weekly drip of new seasonal content. Here, in the back half of a season much longer than it was ever intended to be, a one-shot update was the perfect time to give people something to do while still respecting that people largely just want to spend some time checking out some other games—Helldivers 2 is right there. Instead, there's another grind to chase; another slow drip of stuff to demand attention right up until the release of a new expansion.

Ultimately the stakes are low here: you can completely ignore the sense of FOMO and all you'll actually miss is a gun that looks slightly different to the version that will be available forever. At the same time, though, the community's reaction was so predictable that it's genuinely bizarre that Bungie went ahead with it at all—why isn't someone pushing against these obviously controversial calls? Or, if they are, why aren't they being listened to? Bungie seemingly just can't help shooting itself in the foot with these small, unpopular decisions that continue to sand away any remaining goodwill from its most dedicated players. It's exhausting to watch. And it lessens what, by all accounts, should otherwise be an enjoyable update that will be well worth participating in.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.

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