Weapon crafting will finally enter the Destiny universe in Destiny 2: The Witch Queen on Feb. 22, 2022. Bungie hasn’t revealed a great deal of information about this system just yet, but we spoke to Destiny 2 game director Joe Blackburn and general manager Justin Truman about how weapon crafting works, what it brings to Destiny, and the benefits of the crafting-only weapon: the glaive.
At last week’s Destiny Showcase, Bungie representatives referred to the crafting system as being “combat based,” but never gave a further explanation. In the original Destiny, weapons would drop for players with locked perks, and players would defeat enemies and spend resources to unlock a weapon’s full potential. Bungie’s description left us thinking Destiny 2’s crafting would follow a similar situation, but as usual, the studio doesn’t just want to repeat the past.
“This is definitely a more in-depth system than anything that we had in [the original Destiny],” Blackburn said. “We really want you to feel like you’re building a bond with anything that you’re super passionate about.”
But the crafting in The Witch Queen won’t resemble crafting in other loot-based RPGs either. “I think we all have the MMO, ‘Hey, how do I level up and do crafting,’ and it’s like, ‘Well, I make 1,000 of this bad pickaxe, and then I make one thing that I care about,’ and that’s what crafting is,” Blackburn said. “We really want it to feel more sacred, more special. And we want [you] to have this sort of long relationship with your weapons. And when you master a weapon, we want you to feel like, ‘Yeah, I've put in some time, I’ve put in some grease. And I feel like an expert with this thing.’ And so I don’t think you can feel like an expert if you’re, you know, driving around destinations, picking up grass, and then you’re like, ‘Yeah, I turn all this grass into a gun.’”
Blackburn went on to suggest that the weapon crafting system won’t play into Destiny 2’s current economy either. A veteran player like myself — with more resources than I know what to do with — won’t have a distinct advantage over a new player who is barely able to scrape enough Legendary Shards together to buy an Exotic from Xur each week. “This is a pretty new system, from the ground up,” Blackburn said.
While Blackburn and Truman wouldn’t paint a clear picture of weapon crafting — outside of how it wouldn’t work — we did speak a bit more in-depth about the new glaive weapon type, which will come in both Legendary and Exotic flavors. The glaive is a spear that’s three weapons in one: It shields, it shoots, and it stabs. It’s a weapon of multiple firsts for Destiny, being the first crafting-only weapon, and the only first-person melee weapon (as opposed to swords and relic-type weapons pulling the player into a third-person perspective).
The glaive is differentiated not only by its acquisition and camera perspective, but also its ammo type and flexibility. “We’ve had melee before, but this is also in the energy and special, like, this is a green ammo weapon,” Blackburn said, contrasting the Heavy ammo players need to deal damage with swords. “We haven’t had this style. [...] Even if you’re out of ammo [with the glaive], you can stab something. Even if you need to reload, you can stab something. [...] I think the first time someone picks a glaive and they put Swashbuckler on it, they’re like, ‘Oh, oh, I just won’t reload then. I will just stab things and shoot things forever.’”
Blackburn wouldn’t go into a detailed description of how the glaive works, but that quote gives us some interesting clues. First, players will need to reload their glaive for one reason or another — be it to shoot the energy blast, use the shield, or another unknown purpose. And glaives will have a wider influence on your loadout, as ammo is only required for one aspect of the weapon, with melee-focused players seemingly not needing ammo at all.
Blackburn also suggests that players can directly place a perk like Swashbuckler onto a glaive with the crafting system. Swashbuckler offers bonus damage stacks on kills, and maxes out those stacks immediately after a melee kill, making the perk ideal for a weapon like the glaive. This lends credence to the idea that players will be able to directly select certain perks for their weapons via the crafting system.
As for why players would use a glaive over other weapons, especially in difficult content, Blackburn spoke about its main benefit: encroachment. “We look at this as a weapon that really allows you to encroach on encampments,” Blackburn said. “You can imagine something like, ‘Oh my god, a Hive Guardian just died, its Ghost is back there. There’s a Shrieker in the back, I don’t have time to kill the Shrieker.’ So you pop the [Glaive] shield on and walk up to the Ghost and smash the Ghost.”
As a ranged weapon, the glaive lives in the short to medium range category, and the developers used the phrase “fusion rifle-y” to describe it, rather than the more close-range shotgun. Between its melee prowess, its ranged blast, and its shield, the glaive is about being the Swiss army knife of long, pointy sticks. It offers the ability to melee enemies quickly while you’re low on ammo, blast powerful foes to bits from range, and use the shield to protect yourself while resurrecting a friend in some of the game’s hardest content.
As far as the Crucible, Blackburn assured us that “the team has made some really smart calls on PvP.” Bungie doesn’t want players to have immediate access to the shield, allowing them to fend off attacks immediately when they spawn with Special ammo. The duo didn’t go into detail on how the team is solving that problem, just that it’s something they’ve all thought about and have a solution for.
Outside of the glaive’s usefulness and how players will put it together, Blackburn seemed most excited about how it looks on players’ backs. “You see people walking around the Tower and they look like they’re coming out of a Knight’s Tale or something because they’ve got this massive thing sticking off their back,” Blackburn said. With some of Destiny 2’s bows already spanning the length of their Guardians, we’ll be spending the next sixth months vividly imagining how the glaives will one-up their medieval cousins.