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Bungie previews Destiny’s new weapon retirement system

Here’s how Bungie plans to sunset weapons in Destiny 2 Year 4

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Destiny 2: Shadowkeep image of Guardians protecting a plate Image: Bungie

In February, Destiny 2 game director Luke Smith announced a new weapon retirement system coming in the fall. On Thursday, Bungie revealed how the system will work.

Currently in Destiny 2, players can power up any gun in the game through a system called infusion. The idea is that players “feed” numerically powerful guns that they don’t want into their favorite numerically weaker guns. The more powerful gun disappears, and the subject of the infusion gains the destroyed gun’s power level. It’s a way for players to keep using their favorite weapons season after season — and Bungie’s changing it this fall.

Starting in June, infusion will be limited to a maximum power level for each weapon. The level is set to whatever the seasonal power cap will be three seasons after Bungie adds the weapon in question. For example, if Bungie is set to raise the seasonal power cap to 1400 in spring 2021, then this summer’s weapons will have a max power level of 1400.

Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Loud Lullaby max power level
How the new max power display will work, using Shadowkeep’s Loud Lullaby hand cannon as an example.
Image: Bungie

Players will be able to infuse their weapons as much as they want for a year — four total seasons, including the season in which players first pick up the weapon. But once a weapon reaches the set power cap, players cannot infuse it higher than that. In our example above, weapons from this summer will never be able to grow beyond 1400, meaning that they could never reach the max power level of next summer’s season.

It’s important to note that this system only impacts activities where having a high power level matters. In Destiny, players’ overall level changes based on the gear they have equipped — like an item level in World of Warcraft or other MMOs. Some activities, like raids, Nightfall strikes, and Trials of Osiris, require players to be at a certain power level if they want to compete. But power doesn’t matter nearly as much in other activities, like patrolling the world, doing public events, and playing in non-pinnacle PvP modes. Players will always be able to use their old weapons; it’s just that doing so won’t be optimal in endgame activities.

Bungie plans to make this change for a few reasons. The first is to reinvigorate the weapon chase in Destiny 2. Aside from hardcore collector players, Guardians don’t have much of a reason to chase new loot. If it’s not better than the Blast Furnace pulse rifle or the Spare Rations hand cannon they got more than a year ago, why bother? By retiring weapons, Bungie can shake up the in-game meta every season, as new guns rotate in and old guns rotate out.

Another major reason for the change is to give players more powerful tools to play with. Weapons like The Recluse and The Mountaintop dominated the Crown of Sorrows raid last year, and Bungie later nerfed their power. In the current system, Bungie has to balance overpowered weapons, or they will be that way forever. Bungie’s Andrew Hopps noted on Twitter that retiring weapons will give the studio a chance to make more impactful weapons in the future — knowing that they’ll only be around for a year.

“We want strong weapons to have their time in the sun, and whenever possible we want you to expect and prepare for powerful gear to cycle out of the endgame meta,” wrote an unnamed member of the Destiny development team. “We can’t solve this by just making weapons that are always ‘better’ than the previous ones. This will steadily lower time-to-kill in both PvP and PvE, until the combat sandbox is neither fun nor tactical.”

Not every weapon will function the same way under this new system. Exotics will never have a max power, so players will be able to continue using them forever. Raid weapons from Forsaken’s Last Wish and Shadowkeep’s Garden of Salvation will also stick around for longer.

Bungie plans on making the same max power changes to armor, effectively retiring some super powerful armor mods a year after they debut in the game. The new transmogrification system coming in Year 4 will allow players to carry forward the look of their favorite armor pieces, even if the armor itself is too old to be max power.

Starting June 9 with the next season of Destiny 2, players will be able to see the power limit on all their gear. However, no weapons or armor will cycle out until the fall, where weapons from Shadowkeep and before will be effectively “sunset.”

While Bungie doesn’t ever plan to update an old weapon’s max power level, the studio is looking at reissuing weapons in future seasons. Players will need to acquire the new version of the gun, but the weapon will last a full year from when Bungie reissued it. The studio plans on experimenting with reissues over the next year.

Some players are understandably frustrated about losing their favorite weapons, while others trust Bungie when the studio says it’s the best thing for Destiny 2’s future. But players will need to wait for the fall to really see how the system affects the game.

If Bungie announces its future plans around the same time it did last year, it’s likely the studio will reveal more details on Destiny 2 Year 4 in early June, around when the game’s next season is set to launch.

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