Last weekend, Destiny fans erupted in an argument over data-mining and spoilers. What started as the sale of a mysterious emblem quickly turned into players turning on some of the community’s most valuable members: data miners.
Images of a mysterious new emblem called “A Classy Order” started circling around Twitter over the weekend. Destiny community manager Dylan “dmg04” Gafner publicly reached out to “Tryhard ‘Trials Player’ Tristan,” a user sporting the new emblem, to ask how they acquired it. Minutes later, Gafner tweeted a warning to players that started the weekend’s debate.
“Don’t buy the Spicy Ramen Coupon emblem,” Gafner said about the A Classy Order emblem. “It’s meant to be a free gift on Bungie Day, from us to you. Dataminers - please stop spoiling content whether it be story or emblem codes. I know it can be exciting to be the first person with cool info, but please respect the fun.”
At the time of the tweet, some players were apparently buying a code for the emblem from online sellers for $50. Gafner’s tweet served as official notice that not only is this emblem not supposed to be out there, but that it will eventually be free for everyone. The problem with Gafner’s statement came from the second half of the tweet, blaming data miners for the emblem’s mysterious appearance. According to a report from Kotaku, the emblem’s appearance had nothing to do with the game’s host of data miners.
An emblem seller by the name of Swim told Kotaku that he “received the Spicy Ramen emblem codes from a ‘Bungie insider,’ and as far as he knows he’s the only one who had them.” If the emblems came from an internal Bungie leak, then Destiny’s data miners weren’t to blame.
But the frustrations around the Spicy Ramen emblem opened up a larger debate around data miners and data-mining as a practice.
Data-mining, in this case, refers to players diving into the game’s files to discover various secrets, learn about upcoming content, or build tools to help players better navigate or plan. Data miners often discover upcoming Exotics hidden in the game files, or missions that will launch at a later date. Websites like Ishtar Collective pull all of the lore for a given season each time Bungie updates the game. Other popular tools like Light.gg help players review all the different perk combinations a new gun can have before they start farming for one.
But for as useful and popular as some of these tools are, the Destiny community often complains about data-miners spoiling the game and upcoming surprises. It’s uncommon for Bungie itself to weigh in, but this particular issue had more than one Bungie employee speaking out. Gafner’s fellow developer, Drew Tucker, from Bungie’s player support team, supported the community manager with his own tweet.
I can’t begin to describe how bad it makes us feel at Bungie when things are leaked and spoiled. We want to excite and delight everyone with our stories and content, and to see them datamined, leaked, or just spoiled really puts a damper on things for us. https://t.co/QvBS5uyAbr— Drewardo (@Duard0) June 21, 2021
“I can’t begin to describe how bad it makes us feel at Bungie when things are leaked or spoiled,” said Tucker.
While most players on Twitter are supportive toward Bungie’s plight, several notable data miners have been vocally frustrated with Gafner’s tweet.
"You" made a public API for third parties to use and make apps with, and you even promote them on their website and literally in the game!— joshhunt 1.17 (@joshhunt) June 21, 2021
Then you go ahead and throw them under the bus saying that they're "spoiling content"??? pic.twitter.com/fbTWd0zgcC
So this is all 100% on you. Bungie - please go back to actually redacting spoilers and other secret content.— joshhunt 1.17 (@joshhunt) June 21, 2021
Don't make the people that are building beloved sites in the community have to guess what you wanted to keep secret, only to get blasted by Bungie employees for spoiling
Josh Hunt, creator of Destiny tools like Destiny Sets and Ghost Overlay for PC, responded to Gafner’s tweet, blaming Bungie for the issue. Bungie has the power to mark things as “Classified” in the game’s API, making it more difficult to see, and signaling to data miners that it’s meant to be a secret. As Hunt points out, the A Classy Order emblem wasn’t classified at all.
JpDeathBlade, a data miner who runs the TodayInDestiny website, also spoke out against Bungie’s comments.
Hard to mine something that's just given publicly.— JpDaddyBlade (@JpDeathBlade) June 20, 2021
also, weird to rope dataminers into the emblem code thing since that wasn't mined and given to the guy from a Bungie insider. But what do I know... https://t.co/uMxMsdpvlI pic.twitter.com/xgiPxajoPE
To prove his point, JpDeathBlade dropped the lore entry for June 22, which was publicly accessible in the game’s API. JpDeathBlade also pointed out that Bungie can’t expect players to keep the secrets the same way it can’t expect players not to cheat in Trials of Osiris. According to the miners, the responsibility is on Bungie to keep things secret.
Polygon reach out to JpDeathBlade regarding his tweets, and he provided some additional commentary on his frustrations.
“Most people have this mental split with ‘datamining,’ where if it helps them out then it’s fine,” JpDeathBlade told Polygon. “A good example of that is my website.” One of TodayInDestiny’s most crucial features is telling players when certain weapon skins and other cosmetics will go on sale in the rotating in-game shop, letting players plan ahead for how they want to spend. “Because it saves people Silver, they see [TodayInDestiny] as a good thing, so most of my mentions are just people thanking me for that or talking about which Ornament they are going to by.”
JpDeathBlade then blamed the murkiness of Gafner’s tweet — while also taking responsibility for his own outbursts — for players attacking him over the past few days. “Instead of one person selling the emblem, people think all the data miners are selling it,” he said.
Data-mining has become a bit of a buzzword in the Destiny community. For year’s it’s meant either “exciting new things coming down the pike” or “spoilers that ruin the game for everyone.” But those two ideas are becoming intertwined, causing a war between players who don’t like to be spoiled and those that enjoy the various perks data-mining provide.
With this recent explosion from the Destiny community, it’s become clear that a majority of Destiny fans want change, and for Bungie’s surprises to actually be a surprise. But with an open API built for fans to create useful third-party tools, and an unregulated internet full of strangers that love spoilers, it’s a change only Bungie can make.