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Down the rabbit hole of perfectionism in Destiny 2’s Black Armory

How many hours would you spend for the perfect gun?

Destiny 2: Forsaken Black Armory - Waving in front of Forge Bungie via Polygon
Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

Destiny 2 has been through a lot since it launched in September 2017. The substantive loot changes made by last fall’s expansion, Forsaken, added something that had been missing: the god roll. Thanks to the newly added ability for weapons to roll with randomized perks, players began hunting for the perfect roll on their favorite gun. With the newest update, Black Armory, loot perfectionists are going even deeper down that rabbit hole. Myself included.

My favorite gun in Destiny 2 is called Go Figure. It’s a high-powered pulse rifle, and I was extremely lucky to score two incredibly helpful, synergistic perks from a random drop.

It’s not perfect, though. The scopes on it are chunky, and the magazine perk could have been better. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about that. In the early days of Forsaken, outside of participating in random activities, the odds of me getting another Go Figure with the same ideal perks but with a better scope or magazine were, well, so low I didn’t even consider chasing it. I did the best with what I had and moved on.

Destiny 2: Black Armory - Ada the Vendor Bungie via Polygon

Black Armory debuted a few weeks ago, and with it a new activity called Forges. Basically, these are small events that allow you to earn a specific weapon every time you complete a short quest line. You’re guaranteed the specific weapon you’re hunting for ... but the perks are randomized.

There are a half-dozen weapons to pick from, on a rotating basis. One of those weapons is a pulse rifle called Blast Furnace, and it is statistically almost identical to my Go Figure.

I tell myself, OK, all I want is a better version of my Go Figure. And here’s where things start getting mathy.

Thanks to the tremendously well-groomed site, I’m able to confirm the potential rolls every time a Blast Furnace is crafted. There is a generally considered god roll for this weapon, which includes two perks: Feeding Frenzy and Rampage. The odds of getting this roll? About 2.8 percent. Not super.

Considering the quest takes about 25 minutes for every gun, and I would need to run it 35 times to get to even odds, I’d be looking at nearly 15 hours of gameplay, just for that gun. And even then; it wouldn’t be guaranteed.

I decide to broaden my perk requirements, shooting for anything with Outlaw (faster reloads after headshots) or Feeding Frenzy (faster reloads after kills) in the first slot, and Kill Clip (more damage when reloading after a kill) or Rampage (more damage after kills) in the second slot. This gets my odds up to around 10 percent, which means 10 runs to get to even odds, which means about four hours of gameplay. I can handle that.

RNG can be fickle. After 10 runs, I’ve gotten a few interesting rolls, but nothing with my preferred perks and certainly nothing that could beat out my existing Go Figure. I decide to continue picking at it over the course of several weeks, sneaking in a couple of runs during lunch or early on the weekends.

Every time I fail to get the roll I’m looking for, I drop the gun into my vault. After several weeks of this, the pile grows large.

I hit the number I’d been dreading: 30. I’ve run this damn thing 30 times and haven’t gotten the perk combo I’ve been looking for. I begin to consider my life choices.

Destiny 2: Black Armory - Blast Furnaces in Vault Bungie via Polygon

And then something drops: It’s a Blast Furnace with Rampage (yay!) and Drop Mag, a perk I hadn’t considered. Drop Mag is a magazine perk that dramatically increases reload speed at the cost of losing whatever’s left in the magazine. While it doesn’t allow you to reload as quickly as you would with Outlaw or Rampage, it also doesn’t require a kill, so maybe I can live with that?

The problem is the third perk: Air Assault, which increases accuracy while in the air. It’s generally considered a total waste of a perk, and it mocks me every time I look at this halfway decent gun. I forge ahead.

It doesn’t take long. On my 32nd forging I get one with Rampage, Drop Mag and Snapshot (which speeds up aim-down-sights time). I consider this a victory and decide to call it quits. My Go Figure has finally been bested.

Destiny 2: Black Armory - Blast Furnace best roll Bungie via Polygon

All things considered, I got off light. Consider this Reddit post, where someone ran the quest 83 times to get the perfect hand cannon.

You would think I’d be sore after this ordeal, but there’s actually something magical about this process. Destiny 2 is built in such a way that I may still be using this same gun two years down the road, bringing it with me through every new raid and encounter that gets added before Destiny 3, or whatever comes next. I feel like I’ve worked all summer mowing lawns to finally be able to afford the car I’ve been dreaming of. And now it’s going to be with me, potentially for years to come.

And yeah, it may not be a god roll. But it’s mine.

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