What does it mean?!
On February 12, 2023, Destiny 2 game director Joe Blackburn posted a cryptic tweet featuring nothing but a plain wall with a sticky note attached to it. Seemingly uneventful, right? Well, not exactly. That sticky note promised a “State of the Game” post on Bungie’s website for the following day consisting of no less than 5,300 words, covering Destiny 2 Lightfall and the year ahead.
For those new to these articles, every now and then the Destiny developer team will share a blog on the state of the game, the future as they see it, and changes coming to future expansions. Generally speaking, these blog posts come about once every year or two, have plenty of detail, the contents are rarely if ever leaked, and it usually spells exciting new directions for the game.
Expand players’ imaginations
As the article dropped, Blackburn began by noting that each major update for Destiny 2 is released with the team’s hopes to “get the gears” turning inside players’ heads. This has become more prevalent with Season of the Seraph as the clues and hints around the universe foretell a story that is yet to be concluded. Some players have intricate and exciting theories, whilst others choose to take things as they see them, but Blackburn acknowledges that “this wasn’t true for all of our releases last year” and recognizes that “it’s going to take changes across multiple releases” to reach the final goal.
Blackburn revealed that season 20, which launches at the same time as Lightfall, will be called Season of Defiance. Umbral engrams and energies will be removed from the game, so when it comes to seasonal focusing Guardians will only need Glimmer and a seasonal engram. These engrams will also be stored and tracked with seasonal vendors.
Destiny 2 will no longer require players to hold stacks of the seasonal currency to open the bonus chest at the end of seasonal activities. Instead, the game will drop keys throughout the universe which allows for better rewards from seasonal activity chests. Blackburn also mentions that this will change the way players think of these additional chests. “Unlike today’s seasonal currencies, keys won’t drop every time you complete an activity,” he said.
As well as this, seasonal vendor upgrades will be fewer but more meaningful.
For future reference
For the first time in a long while, Blackburn revealed the name of a future season early in the form of season 21, Season of the Deep. Following player feedback, Season of the Deep will not feature vendor upgrades at all, nor will the following season. “This doesn’t mean players will never see a vendor upgrade system again,” says Blackburn, but rather that more varied and experimental gameplay is on its way.
In Season of the Deep and season 22, there will be “more fresh” activity experiences, similar to when the Shattered Realm was first introduced in Season of the Lost, or the debut of the Battlegrounds in Season of the Chosen.
More changes to weapon crafting
Blackburn also noted that the way to craft desired weapons can be “too random” but that the ability to craft the exact weapon with the exact perks Guardians desire can take away the excitement of having a weapon drop with an excellent roll. For this reason, fewer total weapons will be craftable, and more long-term weapons will get added value from random perk rolls. In order to facilitate this change, starting from Lightfall non-crafted weapons will have the ability to be enhanced. This allows the dropped weapon to level up, use mementos and gain access to enhanced perks and intrinsic properties.
Enhancing will allow Guardians to take a random rolled weapon and enhance its existing roll “to match the full power of a crafted weapon.” This will initially launch with Lightfall raid Adept weapons at the beginning of Season of the Deep. This will be expanded over the longer term to become available for “most” non-crafted weapon drops.
For crafted weapons, Guardians will now no longer see Deepsight on a weapon unless it is something to make pattern progress on. This adds value to red-bordered weapons. Beginning from Season of the Deep, craftable weapons will be able to have Deepsight activated if Guardians do not yet hold the pattern.
Bring challenge back to Destiny
Bungie has already acknowledged that most base content at a lower level doesn’t bring any challenge to the game at all. In response to that, the team recently issued an ability tuning preview, which detailed adjustments to Guardian abilities coming to the game. Blackburn also notes that some enemy combatants “just aren’t hitting as hard” as the team intends, so the cost of resilience mods will be increased from 1 to 2 for minor mods and 3 to 4 for major mods, as well as the amount of damage resistance granted by resilience being adjusted.
Bungie is issuing a balancing patch to gear-driven buffs as the introduction of build crafting updates and loadouts makes great builds more accessible to more players. Blackburn mentioned that the level of difficulty in the Season of the Seraph seasonal Battlegrounds was appropriate for Guardians’ ability as well as the team’s vision of the game. Due to this, Season of Defiance will be around the same difficulty level as well as the Vanguard Ops playlist activities. Alongside this, patrolling Neomuna will present a similar difficulty level.
The Crucible is a place Guardians may fear to venture into, but it’s a very replayable element of Destiny 2 and provides constant and changing challenges. Recently, new modes were added to the PvP part of Bungie’s game, and in Season of Defiance Blackburn reveals that the Countdown mode will be returning alongside a respawn version called Countdown Rush. Players must detonate two bombs on the map before the round ends.
Checkmate Control is coming to PvP which sees weapon damage, ability uptime, and ammo adjusted to reward players who are skillful and smart. A new map will be coming to Crucible in Season of the Deep called Meltdown, as well as a new Vex Network map in season 22. The Citadel will return to the Crucible in the last season before The Final Shape.
Blackburn also revealed that the team is looking at the reward and matchmaking systems for Trials of Osiris and will be pushing more updates on that throughout 2023, as well as making it more clear for Guardians why they won or lost rank points in Competitive and making it easier for players to climb to their best-matched Crucible rank.
PvE is good for me
Starting in Season 22, Destiny 2 will add an exotic mission rotator to the game. This will feature past exotic missions such as Presage, Vox Obscura, and Operation: Seraph’s Shield on a rotation basis. The team also hopes to use this same framework to add other classic missions to the game. Could this see the return of previously vaulted expansion content?
Inside the strikes playlist, Lake of Shadows and Arms Dealer will have objectives and encounters “reimagined and upgraded” to make them more relevant and match the difficulty levels of newer strikes. Battlegrounds from Season 16 and Season 19 will be added to the playlist, with some being added as Nightfalls. The Mars Heist Battleground is the first to receive this treatment, being part of the Nightfall rotation in Season of Defiance. This means that four of the six Nightfalls available as Grandmasters will be first-timers.
Guardian seeks Guardian for fun and frolics
Bungie wants to enrich the way in which Guardians interact with one another. For that reason, Commendations will be joining the game with the launch of Lightfall. The Commendations system enables players to thank others that they appreciated playing with. “Pacesetter” and “Saint’s Favorite” are exclusive to Trials of Osiris whereas “Perceptive” and “Knowledgable” are earned in raids and dungeons.
Game-wide text channels will change from opt-in to opt-out meaning more players will naturally be put into text channels. Text chat is not becoming required, and opting out will be a quick and easy process.
Also joining the game is the Fireteam Finder which will launch alongside a brand-new dungeon in the final season of the year. Players will be able to queue for it from anywhere in the game, tag posts with keywords, automatic joining as well as approve and deny features for Fireteam leaders.
With such a hefty dose of additions to the game, there’s plenty for players to explore and discuss. The next Destiny 2 expansion, Lightfall, goes live later this month on February 28.