Buildcrafting in Destiny 2 can be a complicated beast, especially after this year's big rework of the game's subclasses. While you can go a long way just equipping an exotic armour piece that compliments your chosen subclass element, the real depth is in fleshing out your setup with armour mods. That Coldsnap grenade that the abilities submenu says is on a two minute cooldown? Equip the Osmiomancy Gloves on Shadebinder, along with the Glacial Harvest aspect and a basic Charged with Light mod setup using Firepower, Elemental Charge and Elemental Shards, and you'll literally never run out of frosty 'nades.
The problem with that depth, at least up to now, is that it required you to actually own the mods needed for the best version of each build. If, like me, you've been playing since launch, you're probably fine—I've got 18 separate Warlock builds alone, and am having a great time. For new players, though, the process of acquiring combat mods has been a historical pain point. Players could only acquire mods from Ada-1, a tower vendor who offers four for sale per day, picked randomly from a pool of hundreds. If your desired loadout hinges on a particular mod, it could be months before it's available. According to Destiny Insights, for instance, the last time Ada stocked Bountiful Wells—a highly useful Elemental Well mod—was on November 15, 2022. It was only the fifth time she's ever sold it.
Luckily that all changes today, as announced last night in a tweet from the Destiny 2 account.
As a preview of things to come in Lightfall, we have some exciting updates coming soon.Tomorrow, all standard Armor Mods are unlocked for everyone! With big changes coming to buildcrafting in Lightfall, we want to give everyone a chance to enjoy all mods in their current state.January 10, 2023
As for what "standard" means in this instance, Bungie goes on to clarify that this applies to all mods except those unlocked through raids and the seasonal artifact. That makes sense as both of those types are earned through alternative means. Raid mods can drop from raid chests, and apply effects that are specific to that raid. And seasonal artifact mods are part of each season's levelling cycle, unlocking as you earn XP.
The important thing here is that it means all combat style mods will be unlocked. That includes Charged with Light, Elemental Well and Warmind Cell mods—some of the most versatile in the game. Whatever the build, there's always a way to incorporate these to make it better. Instantly, then, this change unlocks the most advanced part of Destiny 2 buildcrafting for everyone, no matter how long you've been playing.
Currently there's no word on weapon mods—although this is a much smaller pool, and so far easier to acquire. It's also not clear exactly what the "big changes coming to buildcrafting in Lightfall" will actually entail. We do know that an in-game loadout system is coming, hopefully taking some of the pressure off an API that has struggled this last season. How flexible that system will be, and what other changes might be planned for buildcrafting, will no doubt be explained in an upcoming This Week at Bungie post.
I do think the line, "we want to give everyone a chance to enjoy all mods in their current state" (emphasis mine) could be quite pointed, though. Warmind Cells in particular feel like a confusing legacy system that doesn't really make sense in the game today. In fact, originally they were designed to be deprecated—attached to specific armour slots that would, when the mods were originally created, have been sunset by this point. That never happened, though: sunsetting was cancelled, and the themed combat style armour slots were replaced with a universal one because it was originally just too restrictive and confusing.
Now, instead, we have a whole category of mods that only work when paired with specific guns—Seventh Seraph and Ikelos weapons. It's telling that, in this current season, both types of weapons have returned, but Warmind Cells remained untouched. I suspect the buildcrafting update will likely be taking a hard look at how impenetrable these mods are to new players.
In the tweet thread, Bungie also announced some other upcoming changes to a handful of player pain points. First, the cost of weapon focusing is being reduced next week. This is a way to turn rewards earned from vendor rank-up rewards into a specific gun—perfect for chasing god rolls. The downside is it's an expensive gamble. Last week's Iron Banner charged 100 legendary shards for each weapon—again, fine if, like me, you're sat on 22,000 shards, but prohibitively expensive for many.
As of next week, though, the price of Trials of Osiris, Iron Banner, Crucible, and Gambit focusing will be reduced to 25 legendary shards, with Adept weapons costing 50. This feels like one half of a good change. The price coming down is nice, but the game still needs a better source for earning them—as it stands, they trickle in at a slow rate for everything, but those who need to farm them quickly are going to struggle.
We also get a note that, in the next update, the Grandmaster Nightfall power cap and structure will be made more approachable. The details here are teased for Thursday's TWaB, but I assume we can read a lot into the fact that, this season, Bungie has been experimenting more with combat modifiers that restrict your power level regardless of your actual power level. The new Heist Battlegrounds seasonal activity includes a modifier that locks enemies to five points above your current power, and it's been largely praised as a way to keep the new stuff feeling more difficult and exciting. Honestly, the power level grind is my least favourite part of each season, so a more sensible rebalancing of how it works that still retains the challenge, feels like a good thing.
We're just over a month away from Lightfall, which brings both in-game loadouts and a new Guardian Rank system designed to lead players more naturally through the game's complexity. Add in a new in-game LFG tool, planned for later this year, and there's sure to be some big changes coming over the next few months. Likely we'll start to see some of these systems explained in-depth over the coming weeks.