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Bungie explains why Destiny 2 keeps going down — and how it plans to fix it

Bungie explained why the game has seen so many error codes over the past few months

A team of three Guardians fight a scythe-wielding boss in Destiny 2: Lightfall’s neon glow 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.

Destiny 2 has been in a tough spot since Bungie launched the Lightfall expansion earlier this year. While many fans have complaints about the expansion itself, the biggest issue with the game has been one of stability. In a recent blog post, the studio finally explained why these issues are happening in-game, and gave players a roadmap for fixes coming later this year.

Over the past few months, players have been disconnected from the middle of activities on a far more frequent basis than usual. From a player perspective, it feels as though the helpful Bungie Help Twitter account is letting players know the game is going down for “emergency maintenance” more often than ever before.

This instability — and the frustration it creates in the community — has led to Bungie’s most transparent update yet on the health of the game. In Thursday’s blog post, Bungie explained that the studio actually invested heavily in improving the stability of the game around high-traffic moments like an expansion launch or a raid race. And to Bungie’s credit, both Lightfall and the Root of Nightmares raid were very smooth launches from a player experience.

Unfortunately, these upgrades came with unexpected disruptions to Destiny 2’s “Claims” service, which is key to the game’s ability to function. All gameplay messages — every enemy killed or item picked up — create a Claim and route it to a specific server so the game can respond properly. Claims now remain functional even when loads of Guardians are all trying to login and play at once, but the system no longer repairs itself properly.

When a Claim communication channel breaks and doesn’t restore itself like it’s supposed to, players receive one of the many infamous error codes like Weasel or Baboon. When this starts to happen en masse, Bungie is sometimes forced to take the entire game down in order to restore functionality.

The developers assure players in the post that Claims is the most important issue on their plates, but also emphasize that it’s a complex problem and will take time to fix.

Currently, Bungie is working on processes to bring Destiny 2 back online more quickly when it does go down. For the upcoming midseason update — which should launch in a handful of weeks — Bungie is implementing an improvement for its logging and alerting systems, which should help prevent the game’s stability issues from getting even worse, while also laying the groundwork for key solutions coming up late in the year.

Starting with the launch of season 22 on Aug. 22, Bungie will introduce solutions to the “self-healing” problems Claims is having. There are multiple fixes here that should target specific areas where Claims is failing and hopefully allow it to recover on its own again.

Season 23, which should start in early December, will look to the future for even greater architectural improvements, depending on the success of the season 22 patch.

All of this is surprisingly transparent and straightforward from Bungie, a studio that typically keeps the inner workings of Destiny 2’s magic to itself. Patience in the community is growing very thin, even with the official reveal of The Final Shape expansion coming this August. But these kinds of blog posts do tend to restore some faith in Destiny’s creators.

All eyes are now focused on the Aug. 22 Destiny 2 Showcase — not just to see what new content Bungie has in store, but to see if the game’s stability will finally even out after months of turmoil.

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