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Destiny 2’s new transmog system is incredibly confusing and involves grinding bounties for some reason

Destiny 2
(Image credit: Bungie)

We've known for a long time now that a transmog system, enabling players to outfit themselves in whatever styles they like without having to sacrifice stats, is on the way to Destiny 2. Our resident Destiny devotee Tim Clark was very pleased with the news: "As an inveterate lover of playing dress-up with my space soldiers, this is some of the best news I've heard in this otherwise accursed year," he said in October 2020.

Today Bungie revealed how that new "Armor Synthesis" system will work, and I have to wonder how—or if—his enthusiasm will hold up. Armor Synthesis, as it’s called, will enable players to convert their armor's appearance into Universal Armor Ornaments, so they can effectively change up their look as they like. But it's going to take quite a bit of work to make it happen.

To begin, players must earn "Synthstrand" by killing enemies; once 150 Synthstrand is earned, it can be turned in to Ada-1 in the Tower in exchange for class-specific bounties which will award "Synthcord." Synthcord can then be converted to Synthweave at the Loom in the Tower, and then finally Synthweave can be used to convert unlocked armor appearances (Legendary or lower) in your collection into a Universal Armor Ornament.

A few examples of bounties:

Vanguard

  • Complete playlists strikes using specific subclasses. 
  • Accumulate points in Nightfall strikes. 

Crucible

  • Capture zones in Crucible Control matches. 
  • Complete Crucible matches and defeat opponents using specific damage types as a team. 

Gambit

  • Send and defeat blockers in Gambit. 
  • Defeat Primeval Envoys, high value targets and Primevals in Gambit. 

Destinations

  • Defeat Nightmares on any destination or in Nightmare Hunts. 
  • Defeat bosses while defending the Blind Well within the Dreaming City.

Raids and Dungeons 

  • Complete the final encounter of any Raid or Dungeon. 
  • Generate Orbs of Power in raids or dungeons. 

Quite why Bungie felt what ought to be a popular quality of life improvement also needed to be lashed to the bounty mill, only they will know. 

There's also another catch: Players can earn a maximum of ten Synthweave per season, per class, meaning a maximum of two full ensembles. (The initial season offers double the amount, as a gesture of goodwill.) 

Want more? Then you're going to have to visit the Eververse Store, where you can purchase Synthweave templates individually for 300 Silver, or in bundles of five for 1000 Silver. Destiny 2 Silver, for the record, costs $5 for a stack of 500, with bonus quantities of Silver added to higher-priced bundles.

I haven't played Destiny 2 for a long time and so it's possible that there's a good reason for all this rigmarole, but to my eye it looks—at best—wildly and unnecessarily complicated. From a slightly more cynical perspective, it can also easily be seen as a not-too-subtle nudge toward the real-money Eververse Store: You can dick around all day for a limited number of appearance changes, or you can just suck it up, spend a few bucks, and be done with it.

Predictably, the new system did not meet with universal approval.

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Bungie also revealed some changes coming to shaders, which are used to change the color and shading on Guardian armor. The Legendary Shard requirement to apply shaders is being dropped, which is nice, but the cost to purchase them from the Eververse Store is jumping from 40 to 300 Bright Dust. That's gone over well too.

(Image credit: Reddit)

The transmog system is expected to go live "in just a few short weeks," but even though all the details are in place, this may not be the final word on it. The reaction to the system (and the shader changes) is very widely negative, and Bungie senior community manager dmg04 thanked players for feedback on Twitter and asked them to "keep it coming."

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"As always, we're in this for the long haul," he tweeted. "Looking forward to seeing y'all get your hands on Armor Synthesis."

That likely won't be a problem: At the time of writing, "Bungie" was trending with "Transmog" on Twitter.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.