Destiny 2’s latest expansion, Beyond Light, introduced Stasis. This power set is the first of what we expect to be three planned Darkness classes, which would compete against the existing Light classes (Arc, Solar, and Void). But the older classes feel a little stale compared to Stasis and its completely new modular customization system. According to Bungie, the studio would love to bring this new customization system to the old subclasses — it’s just not clear if or when that’ll happen.
“We only want to have one central system for supers,” Destiny 2 game director Luke Smith told Polygon. But as Bungie sets out to add new content, keep up with seasons, eventually add new Darkness powers, and improve Stasis over Year 4, there isn’t a planned release date for updated Arc, Solar, and Void Supers. But, “on a long enough timeline,” it’s something Smith is passionate about.
“I can totally imagine [it] in ‘Luke Fantasyland,’” said Smith. “You know, all the Supers using the same system, that sounds awesome. But also the Supers that we have in the game would be an edited list. It would be something that’s edited toward more identity than what we have today.”
Smith explained that “the classes [Hunter, Warlock, and Titan] are kind of homogenous.” He then noted that revisiting the Super system for these classes could provide a chance to hone them.
In the pre-Taken King era of Destiny, Smith said, Bungie had created a nice balance between each class. Back then, Titans had the powerful Bubble (aka Ward of Dawn), which prevented damage and buffed party members, but it was entirely immobile. Titans also had Fists of Havoc, which let them perform a single slam of damage to shut down a group of enemies. Titans didn’t have a roaming Super like they have now, where they can run around the map and mess people up for 30 seconds or so. That was first unlocked in Taken King. The immobile battle arena of Bubble and the “oh shit” button of Fists of Havoc gave Titans a unique identity, just like Warlocks’ self-resurrection ability, and Hunters’ mobile Supers.
As classes have gotten new Supers over the years — during Taken King, Forsaken, and Beyond Light — there’s been less of a reason to bring multiple different classes to a raid or Nightfall. So if Bungie ends up remaking old Supers in the heavily customizable Stasis system, Smith wants to use that framework to pare down some of the class bloat and hone the identity of each ability set.
Honing an identity is easy in some cases, he said.
“It’s much easier for me to look at Nova Bomb and say Nova Bomb is, like, IP-defining,” said Smith. “It’s an IP-defining super; get rid of Nova Warp.” But in this case, Smith is talking about a classic Warlock ability, Nova Bomb, and comparing it to a mediocre, PvP-only Super, Nova Warp. Cutting Nova Warp might hurt some fans, but it’s generally pretty safe; more people like Nova Bomb than Nova Warp. For other subclasses, though, the decision wouldn’t be as easy.
“Within Solar Warlock, there are two really distinct fantasies that don’t work together at all,” said Smith. Currently, Solar Warlocks can drop a Well of Radiance at their feet, which heals allies and buffs their damage. But a different tree of Solar Warlock lets the class fly around in the sky, raining hellfire down from a flaming sword. Same subclass, different trees, very different use cases. And unlike Nova Warp vs. Nova Bomb, both have an identity worth preserving. In order to transition Solar Warlock to the modular Stasis system, Bungie would need to pick one of these play styles to align the identity of the subclass, potentially alienating people who like the benched play style.
Solidifying that identity will clearly be a challenge for Bungie — if it happens. But Smith seemed excited about “class jealousy”; that idea that you might look at an allied Hunter and feel jealous that you can’t use Golden Gun on the boss, just as they look at your Titan wishing they could use Ward of Dawn.
That’s the goal for Smith, to give players a reason to play each class and help make Hunters, Titans, and Warlock all feel special for playing their chosen class. But to do that, Bungie would need to shore up the game’s wide variety of subclasses, something that may not happen for years to come.