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I’ve grown skeptical of Destiny 2’s plan to sunset old guns

This deal is getting worse all the time!

Image: Bungie
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Earlier this year, Bungie revealed new plans to help sustain Destiny 2 as a loot game for years to come. They call the initiative “sunsetting,” and it will effectively remove current weapons from the game to make way for new ones.

Despite it being controversial among fans, I’ve supported sunsetting since the start. But as Bungie has started to implement the system in-game — and once they revealed a reskinned version of an old weapon coming in Beyond Light — I’m starting to worry, along with many others.

How sunsetting works

Destiny 2 reckoning guns
Some weapons like Gnawing Hunger, seen in the middle, came back this season.
Image: Bungie

Destiny 2’s loot operates on an infusion system. Players can basically feed new guns to their old guns to make their old guns more powerful. With sunsetting, Bungie is placing a cap on the infusion of older weapons. Players won’t be able to infuse weapons that came out over a year ago up to modern standards.

For example, the Loud Lullaby hand cannon came out with Shadowkeep last October. But when Beyond Light launches this November, I won’t be able to upgrade its power higher than 1060 — the game’s current max Power in Season of Arrivals, which should be significantly higher during Beyond Light. Loud Lullaby won’t be useless in Beyond Light, but I won’t really be able to use it in activities that require a high power level, like Raids, Nightfalls, or Trials of Osiris.

There are a few reasons this system can help the game. First, longtime players like me have hundreds of viable weapons we’ve collected over three years. When Bungie launches a new gun, I have to ask myself, “Is this better than my god-rolled Spare Rations from 2019?” If the answer is no, and it usually is, the new weapon effectively becomes garbage, and I never use it. Sunsetting is a way to spice things up, to encourage players like me to hunt for and use something new.

It’s also a way for Bungie to introduce new weapons with interesting power spikes. Destiny 2 has some extremely powerful weapons right now, such as Recluse and Mountaintop — Legendary guns with unique perks, more powerful than anything else in their class. Without sunsetting, players could use these weapons forever. But with sunsetting, Bungie can introduce powerful weapons like these knowing they’ll automatically become obsolete within a year.

A perfect system, in theory.

The creeping concern

Adored ritual sniper Destiny 2 season 12
A look at Adored, the “new” sniper ritual weapon
Image: Bungie

During the start of Season of Arrivals in June, I had some minor concerns about sunsetting, but I soldiered on. However, in Bungie’s most recent weekly blog, the studio revealed a new ritual weapon. These are Legendary weapons with unique perk combinations. A new weapon is coming in Beyond Light, and it’s called Adored. This “new” weapon looks very familiar.

Adored’s model looks the same as Beloved, a well-loved sniper rifle from 2019’s Season of Opulence. Even the name Adored is a play off of the name Beloved. Adored basically is Beloved with a different paint job and a golden towel wrapped around the body — at least in terms of how it looks. We don’t know what perks Adored will come with just yet. But even though Destiny 2 community manager, DMG04, said Adored will have its own personality, players have already started to make memes about the new weapon.

Destiny 2 Beloved sniper rifle
Beloved, seen here capped at 1060 power, sunset on Nov. 10
Image: Bungie via Polygon

The fear, as highlighted in players’ memes, is that Bungie will use sunsetting as a way to sell players back their favorite weapons. Sure, Mountaintop will get sunset on Nov. 10, but how long until it comes back in the game under a different name? Mountaintop takes hours to grind out in the Crucible, and if it does return, players would surely need to grind for it again.

Bungie’s re-issuing of several weapons at the start of Season of Arrivals exacerbates this concern. One of the most powerful weapons in the game this season is the Gnawing Hunger auto rifle. Players can get Gnawing Hunger as part of the Season of Arrivals activities, and it’ll stick around for a full year, until summer 2021. But Gnawing Hunger isn’t a new weapon.

Gnawing Hunger first came into the game in Season of the Drifter during spring 2019. It was a tough weapon to roll for at the time. But in 2020, it’s back, and now it’s easy to farm. It’s also very powerful in the current Destiny 2 meta, whereas it was pretty undesirable in 2019.

But as a longtime Destiny 2 player, I already had a Gnawing Hunger. In fact, I had several. But when the new Gnawing Hunger popped into the game this season, my old ones didn’t update. Currently, I have two identical weapons, with one sunsetting on Nov. 10 and the other sunsetting sometime next year.

Destiny is a series all about grind, but asking me to grind for the exact same thing a year later doesn’t feel particularly good. The only difference between my Gnawing Hungers are the icons next to them, denoting which season each one comes from. There are weapons, like Kindled Orchid from Black Armory, that I spent over 10 hours grinding for. I’m OK losing that to sunsetting if it means I’ll get new, cooler stuff in the future. But if Bungie just brings Kindled Orchid back and says “alright, go get it again,” I’m not going to be satisfied, I’m going to be pissed.

Games like Destiny need a loot chase to keep them interesting, so the current model doesn’t work if I’m throwing away 90% of the new weapons. But I also need to feel like the game respects my time. I’ve gotten to use that Kindled Orchid for nearly two years — my time was well spent, in my view.

But I need new things to justify the loss of my old things. If I’m losing Kindled Orchid, I never want to see it again. Season of Arrivals and the announcement of Adored makes me fear I will.