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Destiny 2 XP advancement system changed after players cry foul

Told they were earning one amount, actually awarded another

Destiny 2 - Fallen enemies in Weapons Exchange Public Event Bungie/Activision
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Destiny 2’s progression system for players beyond level 20 will change, following player outcry over a system of diminishing experience-point returns that players suspected was steering them toward buying the game’s loot box item.

In a post yesterday evening, Bungie announced that it is deactivating a progression system that reduced XP gains for certain events “that can be quickly, repeatedly chained, like grinding Public Events.

“We are not happy with the results, and we’ve heard the same from the community,” Bungie wrote.

The outcry began about three weeks ago, and has its strongest basis in this analysis in the Destiny subreddit. Written by Redditor EnergiserX, it spoke to many players’ individual observations of how their own progression was going since last weekend’s initial “Clarion Call” public event, which gave an XP bonus to those who played it with fellow clan members.

Over the course of three tests, EnergiserX determined “there is a hidden scaling factor that ramps up as you earn XP more quickly.” Moreover, Destiny 2’s public events were only delivering half of the XP they promised.

The rate of XP accrual is important because, after level 20, each time a player fills up their XP bar they’re entitled to a Bright Engram, which is Destiny 2’s loot box equivalent — as in, it can be bought for real money via in-game purchase. Like loot boxes in other games, a Bright Engram contains cosmetic items, typically emotes, ships or weapon skins.

“Over the 3 hours [of play time] I should have earned ~1.5 more Bright Engrams than I did,” EnergiserX concluded. That comports with other players’ complaints since the Clarion Call event was first offered a week ago, in which players noticed that successive completions of the 5,000 XP event actually filled their XP bar less and less each time.

Redditor IbeLIEvel reported the same experience in this thread, with screenshots, confirming that a Bright Engram runs about 80,000 XP. “On the first event completion, the amount needed for my next bright engram went down correctly according to DIM,” they wrote. “On the second public event completion, I again checked DIM and received barely any XP.”

In Bungie’s defense, placing a limitation on repeatedly grinding a public event to farm Bright Engrams is a reasonable intention, to keep farming behavior from warping the game’s virtual economy, depleting the game of items to award or debasing the value — or accomplishment of earning — a Bright Engram. Players acknowledge that’s a legitimate concern.

“If Bungie wants a cooldown on this to stop us from [spamming] public events to get XP, that's a different discussion,” notes IbeLIEvel, “but we should at least have this communicated to us appropriately in the UI. Don't show us +9k if we're not getting +9k.”

That kind of discrepancy, in light of the loot box controversy in Star Wars Battlefront 2, made players quick to suspect this system was meant to encourage buying Bright Engrams in Destiny 2’s Eververse store. That was apparently enough to get Bungie to pull the plug on this kind of XP cooldown scenario and think over what to do next.

“As a result, players will see XP earn rates change for all activities across the board, but with all values being displayed consistently in the user interface,” Bungie wrote. “Over the course of the next week, we will be watching and reviewing XP game data to ensure that these changes meet our expectations, as well as yours. Any additional updates to this system will be communicated to you via our official channels.”