Since Destiny first launched in 2014, patches to the game’s balance and systems have been few and far between at best. Over the franchise’s four-year history, it hasn’t been uncommon for players to wait weeks or months for small changes to the game or minor bug fixes. But with Destiny 2: Forsaken, Bungie has finally started a more aggressive and frequent patch cycle — and the game is already better for it.
“Lifestyle” games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft patch very frequently to keep up to date. For the past five years or so, League of Legends has received a new patch every two weeks, with rare delays.
Patches for World of Warcraft, on the other hand, are spread out quite a bit more, which can cause droughts of content, just like in Destiny. However, World of Warcraft drops minor hotfixes every few days, which can do something small, like fix a rare bug in a quest, or have more meaningful impacts, like buffing a certain class by 20 percent.
These worlds are always changing, because players put thousands of hours combined into each of them every day. People have been engaging with Destiny like that since it was first released, but Bungie is just now catching up to the patch game.
Bungie recently announced that two patches will be released for Destiny 2 in the coming month. Both of these drops will have not only bug fixes, but also weapon power increases and small quality-of-life additions. These patches will start coming only six weeks after Forsaken’s release, an encouraging sign that Bungie plans to address player problems and concerns. And we’ve already had four hotfixes since Destiny 2: Forsaken went live. Some of these have just been to fix simple bugs, while others have completely reworked quests after community feedback.
With previous expansions, frustrated players would have to wait for Bungie’s next big “sandbox update,” which could take months to arrive. This prolonged period caused the game to feel stale — as a PvE and PvP meta settles very quickly in this kind of game — and it exacerbated the game’s issues. If something is frustrating on day one, imagine how frustrating it is months later.
These more frequent patches are a positive step toward change. Sleeper Simulant has been dominant in gambit since Sept. 4, when Forsaken launched, for example. And while the weapon won’t get nerfed until Oct. 30, it’s a massive improvement for the franchise to at least offer a heads up that a change is coming soon.
Players have spent years making balance suggestions and complaining at a Bungie that seemed like it wasn’t listening. Since Warmind, the studio has been noticeably more vocal, regularly engaging with the game’s fans. This not only builds a relationship between developer and fan — it helps the studio know what players want and, more importantly, what the game needs.
From my personal experience, Destiny players love to dish and bag on Bungie — it’s a common hobby in any clan, LFG or friend group you come across. But the silent, plodding Bungie that put out the Curse of Osiris expansion looks to be completely gone, replaced by a developer that not only listens to its fans, but also acts quickly to fix their problems — at least, more quickly than we’re used to.
As a longtime Destiny fan, it’s a strange feeling to look at the next month’s roadmap and see two patches coming at me. And both of these patches have changes that I’m passionate about. Some of them are small, like being able to track three quests at once, while others are massive, like the duplication reduction in exotic drops.
But the content inside the patches doesn’t matter to me as much as their timing. Destiny has always been a game as a service, one with daily play incentives and recurring changes. But it wasn’t until Forsaken — with all of these minor patches hitting so frequently — that Bungie started to treat Destiny like the MMO it is.
September was the most exciting month to be a Destiny fan in a long time — possibly in the past four years. But almost nothing is as exciting as the potential of a Bungie that can keep up with the game it produces. Even weeks after the release of Destiny’s best expansion ever, there is a lot to look forward to on the horizon.