At its Destiny Showcase last week, Bungie revealed that Destiny 2’s old Light subclasses will get the Stasis treatment, starting in The Witch Queen expansion and continuing throughout Year 5. While players seem to universally prefer to the less rigid Stasis upgrade path to the original Light ones, players may have had some concerns about what they might lose in the conversion. But in an interview with Polygon, Destiny 2 game director Joe Blackburn and general manager Justin Truman allayed those fears.
“There are no plans right now, for us, for players to lose anything substantial in the conversion,” said Blackburn. “If you’re talking about something like Nova Warp, or if you’re talking about something like Spectral Blades, we want to make sure all of that is there. One of the things we’re really passionate about is when players log in on day one in The Witch Queen and they’re exploring Void 3.0, that they don’t feel like a bunch of stuff got taken away from them.”
Last year, then-game director Luke Smith — now director for the Destiny franchise at Bungie — told Polygon that players could lose access to certain Supers if Bungie ever chose to convert the subclasses. In an example he gave, if developers refined the identity for the Voidwalker Warlock, they might choose to focus on the Nova Bomb Super, which Smith called “IP defining,” and remove the Nova Warp Super — first added in Forsaken.
While Smith was just postulating potential futures, the Destiny community exploded. Fans have spent nearly a year asking the studio not to remove Supers if the time ever came to change up the subclasses. Bungie’s announcement that Void — the element Nova Warp uses — would be the first subclasses to face the conversion likely made some players nervous. But Blackburn and Truman say they want players to be amazed by the possibilities that Void 3.0 offers them, not filled with a sense of loss.
Sandbox discipline lead Kevin Yanes confirmed on Twitter, when Bungie unveiled the first Void 3.0 details, that the studio has no plans to remove Nova Warp specifically. But what Blackburn and Truman told us should apply to all familiar Supers.
“I would think of this [conversion] a lot like you think about the Stasis system, all up,” said Blackburn. “Think about, ‘Hey, what does this system look like when there are just multiple Supers to be able to slot into this system as well?’”
Void 3.0 and future Light subclasses should offer more customization for players, pulling them away from the current system where players can choose between a cluster of four perks. Dawnblade Warlocks currently have to select a highly aerial version of the Daybreak Super, or a healing-focused Super called Well of Radiance. By selecting one or the other, they get a host of perks that work for that play style and little flexibility. But the subclass rework will free players of those constraints while still allowing them to rebuild those synergistic play styles.
In talking to Blackburn and Truman, we offered a hypothetical situation where a Warlock player could create a hyper-mobile healer build, combining perks from both play style trees. Blackburn acknowledged that something like that may be possible when Solar 3.0 launches later next year, but he also dove into how that highlights the improvements in the Stasis system.
By decoupling perks from Supers, players have so much more choice in how they play. Bungie mentioned in its weekly blog that players can combine a Void Titan ability normally used to kill large groups of enemies, with the more defensive-focused Ward of Dawn Super. Instead of just using the healing-focused tree, players can use a damage-based Super with healing passives, or the other way around. Guardians could couple a sustain perk like Warlock’s Devour with the mobility of Nova Warp. It opens up a host of bizarre combinations, and Truman said he’s looking forward to players coming up with combos Bungie doesn’t expect.
But as Bungie mentioned in its blog last week, some things will still change with the conversion. Familiar and key play styles like Devour will still be there, and there will also be new perks and abilities for players to use. Definitive is the focus here, but not everything reaches that level of importance. “Some of our melees in some of these [existing] trees, and some of our passives were not as exciting,” said Blackburn. “Some of those it’s like ‘yeah, that’s OK [to lose],’ we knew that was a weak point in the tree anyway.”
Blackburn didn’t offer specifics, but players who expect every passive and melee in the game to move over may be disappointed. Some Supers that are functionally the same, like the multiple Arc Staffs or Fists of Havoc, may also get consolidated and use the Aspect system to differentiate them. Maintaining each play style and identity — like the difference between Nova Warp and Nova Bomb — is key, not a one-to-one conversion.
For players who might read that and fear that something unimportant to Bungie may be important to them, Blackburn referred back to their high-level goals for the project. “It’s really important that, for us, when you log in on day one you’re not like ‘Bungie took a bunch away from me,’” said Blackburn. “[...] That is a huge non-goal for us.”
Blackburn and Truman went on to say that players also won’t need to re-earn their abilities through quests the way players had to earn new Aspects and Fragments for Stasis each season. And while the duo didn’t announce future additions to Light subclasses or Stasis, they said the new Stasis system allows Bungie to add abilities and passives over time, potentially giving players more options on a seasonal basis.
“The feeling of the year after The Witch Queen launches is going to be really different from the feeling of any previous year that we’ve rolled out in terms of the amount of evolution that you’re going to see,” said Truman. “Not just to, like, the meta of the weapons, but to your fundamental abilities. I think it’s going to be a higher bar than we’ve hit any previous year.”
Players will need to wait a bit longer to get the full breakdown of Void 3.0, and likely won’t hear about Arc 3.0 or Solar 3.0 until after The Witch Queen’s launch on Feb. 22, 2022. But fans who fear change have a lot more to hope for than to fear when it comes to the great subclass conversion.