In the final part of Destiny lead franchise developer Luke Smith’s blog post, he announced that Bungie will start to remove seasonal content over time. The goal is to create less activity bloat. After all, Bungie admitted it can’t technically grow Destiny 2 forever; Something has to give.
Normally, losing content and the ability to earn certain rewards can be very scary for players. But Bungie’s decision to rotate content in and out of Destiny at different times could build a stronger, more active community.
What do we know?
In the third installment of Smith’s Director’s Cut blog post, he teased how seasons will work in Destiny 2’s next year of content.
“This year will see events that last for three months and offer new rewards to chase, although at the end of that period, some of the activities will go away,” said Smith. “For a time, the rewards will too. But we also acknowledge that part of playing Destiny is collecting all of the stuff, so in future seasons the weapons and Legendary armor associated with these seasonal activities will be added to other reward sites.”
Later in his post, Smith cites two primary reasons for this change; the first being technical limitations. Destiny 2 is already a big game, and it can’t just keep getting bigger forever. By replacing activities instead of letting them sit in irrelevancy, the studio will reduce the technical requirements of new seasons and expansions.
The studio also wants the world to feel like it’s evolving and changing with each season. Earlier, Smith describes wanting events to kick off a story beat, resolve it, and set up the next one all in a single season. To Bungie, that means shrugging off the old and embracing the new every three months.
A more active world
Destiny 2 has lots of different activities, each with their own reason to play and their own kinds of rewards. But no matter how good an activity is, it gets hard to stomach after two or three hundred runs.
For example, the Black Armory Forge from December 2018 is one of the quickest, most engaging activities Bungie’s ever added to Destiny. But it came out nearly a year ago, and it’s starting to get old.
Theoretically, Bungie could rotate these activities out for the benefit of another. Removing options for play can, in some cases, be good. It keeps players more condensed, which increases the matchmaking pool for newer activities. The more player diversity in an activity, the higher chance for players to have a unique or memorable experience.
A finite time limit on a new activity also creates a sense of urgency. While many casual players may be fine with earning a few weapons from an activity and waiting until it comes around again, the hardcore Destiny fans won’t be so relaxed.
Instead of leaving an activity mid-season to do something else, players will commit to getting everything they can out of an activity before it goes away. Players have a reason to keep going; rather than dropping the season a few weeks in, and promising to gather the remaining loot next season.
Players’ current concerns rest on what exactly Bungie is referring to. What will leave each season and how will it come back? Bungie may give players a chance to play something and then take it out of the limelight for something new. But there are still plenty of players who like going back to old activities after things have calmed down. Bungie can never appease its entire fan base, but players are still looking for more clarity on what the plan is.
Perhaps the biggest question comes around how these activities will come back. All players have different timelines they can play on. Some people get a few hours a week while others get many hours every couple of months. Wanting a powerful weapon but being unable to play when it’s available (especially if it’s only around for a short period of time) could lead to some serious frustration.
Overall, the confusion around this new system centers on ignorance about Bungie’s future plans. Although some players already have alternative solutions they’d like to see instead.
In some cases, missing out on a piece of gear can promote a more varied and interesting landscape for players. Destiny has always been more about collection than gearing up. In other gear-based RPGs, you get a great piece of gear only to discard it an hour later for something better. Destiny asks you to collect everything, so you have the perfect tool for every job.
Running into players who don’t have the perfect tools in modern Destiny 2 is frustrating. You can always ask someone why they don’t have a well-rolled Hammerhead, or how it’s possible they don’t have Mountaintop yet.
Removing those weapons’ accessibility from the equation creates two benefits. The players who don’t have those weapons don’t feel the guilt. It broadens the game’s meta, and suddenly boss fights aren’t just a group of Guardians using Mountaintop to slam a boss into the dirt. The toolbox expands when some tools aren’t in stock anymore. Players have more choice to play with what’s available rather than what’s the best.
But the best aspect of missing out comes from the players who have it all. Because of its collection economy, Destiny has always tried to be that game where players can “ooh” and “aah” at another’s gear. “Where did you get that?” currently ends in a lengthy guide explanation or “I spent 12 hours straight in Reckoning.”
If activities shift, weapons fade into legend. If a veteran player participates in an activity with a new player years from now, it’s likely the new player has never heard of a Spare Rations hand cannon or Imperial Decree shotgun. It’s a status symbol, something that says, “I played way back when.”
Each piece of Legendary gear has a legend associated with it; that fabled activity that required a Well of Radiance on every piece of the bridge, or the time players could open a dozen chests in a single run. Legends aren’t built when every item is a lucky drop away.