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Director's Cut - Part I
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Posted by
"Little Light"
7 days ago
Director's Cut - Part I


Hey everyone, 

I wanted to try a little experiment with our communications and put together a longer look at where Destiny has been over the last few months and where it's heading next. I think it's important to take time to reflect on what's happened so we can show you where we're going. 

I'm calling this Director's Cut. Based on how long this ended up being, a key learning from this is "maybe there's a better way to communicate this than a GIANT WALL OF TEXT!" Let me know. I also may like doing it in a different format in the future, I'll let you know. 

Today, I'm going to talk about more than just the Destiny game and talk some about how we build Destiny and the effects it can have on the team. I think transparency about the game is important and I also want to be transparent about the work required. Sound OK? That's rhetorical, because a wall of text is coming up. 

We're making a lot of changes to Destiny 2 with Shadowkeep and New Light. We want Destiny 2 to be an amazing action MMO, in a single, evolving world, that you can play anytime, anywhere with your friends

I'm going to keep referencing that. All the time. Until its true. And then, I'm going to keep referencing it until it's good enough.* 

10 Thoughts on the Last Six Months (Looking Back)

Overall, there are some things about Annual Pass that worked out very well and some real learnings for us along the way. The Annual Pass was a big transition for us. We've been moving away from DLC and trying to provide more ongoing reasons to play Destiny. I wanted to start the State of the Game series by looking back at how we got here. I'm going to largely focus on Season of the Drifter to near-present day. 

**We set up a calendar of content, showed you the plan early, and delivered it. **

A lot of you love Destiny for the chase on the way to improving your characters. Between the Annual Pass drops, questlines, and events in between, the team did a great job of providing stuff to do, items to chase, growing fat with strength, et cetera. Destiny history has had many content droughts, but not this year. 

**But, the Annual Pass was harder on the team than we anticipated. **

The scope of what we delivered, the pace that we delivered it, and the overall throughput for Annual Pass takes a toll on the Bungie team. I--and many others--had conversations throughout the year with team members--who had jumped from release to release-- about the grind of working on Destiny. Working on the game was starting to wear people down. Here's an example: 

During the annual pass, we invented new, bespoke ways to earn rewards each season. Black Armory had its bounties, Season of the Drifter had the "Reckoning Machine," Season of Opulence had its Chalice. Each of these mechanics - each with their own lessons - were valuable, but also put the team into an unsustainable development cycle. We needed to develop a more systemic, standardized set of mechanics for progression to keep our teams healthier. 

We're going to take this problem on in D2Y3. 

We have a Powerful sources problem

As the game's weekly sources of Power grew and Destiny grew with it, this  - at times - could really feel like a chore. Each season brought with it new Powerful sources and optimizing your character meant that you were maybe still running three story missions every week or returning to the Dreaming City months after those first few magical trips from last fall.  

I feel like we needed to do a better job of shifting Powerful sources. We could explore things like changing the value of Powerful sources to create new seasonal efficiencies or retire some Powerful sources as we bring new sources into the game. Simply put, I wish we'd been able do more seasonal curation of the game. 

Season of the Drifter Thoughts, Part I

I like Gambit Prime. It felt like a great refinement of Gambit to me. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. 

Matches end quicker, so it feels more efficient. The invading frequency feels lower, so I can Collect and dunk. I think there's something cool about the roles, although the requirements to get a full set online to inhabit a role meant not enough folks got to appreciate the playstyle diversity. 

In the future, we're going to have to make a choice: Which Gambit is the Highlander of Gambits. Prime or Classic. This isn't just about removing stuff from Destiny 2 -- but the game cannot grow infinitely forever --it's about focusing refinements and evolutions to the Gambit ecosystem. We think Gambit is sweet and deserves more ongoing support and we want to ultimately focus that support on whichever mode ends up being the Highlander. There can be only one. 

That said, we hear you that not everyone is excited about a season that overly focuses on one part of the game. Destiny is a game with a lot of breadth and we agree that this season felt too specialized. 

Season of the Drifter Thoughts, Part II aka Let's Talk About Reckoning

(and Encounter Design)

The first time I used Phoenix Protocol at home, I knew it was over. It's an exotic coat that refills my Well of Radiance and then refills itself as I "slay," so that I can continue to place my Well of Stand Here to be Borderline Invulnerable and Deal Tons of Damage. Datto has a great video that talks about Well of Radiance's effect on the PVE game.  

I wondered, *How are we ever going to make content that fairly challenges players again? *

With Reckoning in Season of the Drifter, we got a taste of what kind of content we'd need to build to challenge Protocol-wearing Warlocks. Matchmade encounters that accost you from all directions, plant snipers off in the distance, and put players in between a pincher attack of many whelps, handle it (I wanted to link a thing here, but it's definitely not T for Teen) and giant bosses (also eff you Knight Taken guy). 

This is what it had to be. We were breaking encounter rules left, right, and center on the Reckoning bridge, in no small part due to players in always-active Wells of Radiance becoming invulnerable gods, holding all six infinity stones all the time. 

In Reckoning, we set out to build an activity that could be relatively easy at Tier 1 and scale up to very challenging at Tier 3. We have an internal team here codenamed: Velveeta (they were formed in the wake of the Crota's End modem-unplugging debacle to help find the cheesiest things to do/use in the challenging PVE portions of the game) – these players are some of our craftiest. 

Once Velveeta can get close to beating something, or beat it outright, that becomes an important data point on our "is this hard enough?" evaluation. We give them a bunch of tips like "here's how this works, can you beat it?”, so if they can, it's a good indicator of the action game and gear game working together.  

Let's talk about encounter design. Generally, in activities we expect players to complete alone (dungeons, raids, zero hour-type activities can play by a different set of properties!) or in matchmade groups, there are a number of guidelines we use when we build them. 

  • We don't want to spawn enemies behind the player. 

  • We want players to play a game of taking space from enemies. 

  • We want players to have cover where their shields and health can recharge, or where they get to be smart using geometry, movement, ability and gunplay to dig enemies out of cover, and make interesting decisions about target prioritization. 

  • We want players to be able to understand where in the space enemies will come from, and if we're going to reverse the combat front on players (AKA spawn enemies behind them, we want to telegraph that. 

  • We use dropships, spawn clouds, audio cues, all kinds of tricks to try and prepare players for reinforcements.

  • As character power was dramatically increasing (more on reasons for this increase later on), the encounter rules got thrown out the window. 

To summarize this: Destiny had sweet gear and in order to create challenge in the Reckoning we broke a bunch of our encounter design philosophy. That sweet gear, coupled with the encounter design meant the number of ways to viably/efficiently progress was dramatically reduced. We want Destiny to be a game where you have lots of choices with your character, build what you choose to do, and funneling those choices down to only one in Reckoning is something we don't want to repeat. There's more about damage and player power sprinkled in this update, and even more on the rest. 

Last, last note: I think it's totally sweet when an activity challenges you to use something other than your favorite item. I don't think the whole game should work that way, but when it's time to bust some shields on the Shanks in Zero Hour, I had a use for that Distant Relation scout rifle in my vault. 

Season of the Drifter Thoughts, Part III aka Now Let's Talk about Difficulty and Touch on Sandbox Nerfs

I started to talk about challenge/difficulty above and drifted (heh heh) to encounter difficulty. But, it's all related. 

When the media would come to play our Halo games for an event, we'd always recommend they play the game on Heroic. Heroic changed a bunch about Halo combat – it made enemy weapons more accurate (but not too accurate); enemies would fire more frequently (which made you feel like a hero when you dodged them); it increased projectile speed; and Heroic lowered player outgoing damage (so that the enemies would survive longer and make their way further through their behavior tree - and therefore appear more intelligent). There's more than just the above going on, but that's a quick summary of some of the changes. 

But here's why: we asked the media to play the game on Heroic, because when the game is challenging, overcoming the challenge feels incredible

Important to note here: Challenge isn't something universal. In an action game, challenge can be largely personal. One person's challenging might be easy to someone else. We've historically thought about the main Destiny campaigns as something we want to be pretty easy (I think D2's campaign was actually too easy at times), and as players push further into the post-game they'd be able to find more challenge. Across Destiny's history we haven't had enough challenge deep into the end game, and that's definitely something on our list as we head toward fall 2019. 

Overcoming challenges is a huge part of what makes an action game's moment-to-moment engaging. Action games are a delicate balance of growing stronger, the game rising up to push back, introducing new challenges that force you to learn/become more powerful/master a new element and -- at their best -- creating the fist pumping moment of celebration when you achieve victory. 

But Destiny has an RPG component, too. And the RPG component is about customization, optimization, and it's a way for players to choose how they overcome challenge. The entire time we've been making Destiny, the action game and the RPG have been fighting. It's the forever war. The RPG has the power to dramatically overcome the action game, and the action game has the power to render the RPG game irrelevant. It's a line - by nature - Destiny will always have to straddle. 

In order to create challenge during Season of the Drifter, we needed to break a bunch of encounter rules, have exotics like Phoenix Protocol basically function like a key (or hope you match with multiple Radiance Warlocks) which then unlocks success in the matchmade encounters of Reckoning. There's a really good video from Slayerage on this in the context of the nerfs we made heading into Season of Opulence. 

Those nerfs also saw Whisper of the Worm get its day in court. If I could turn back time, we'd probably not run Whisper as the original Black Hammer infinite ammo design. However, considering the year before had Destiny 2 feeling very restrictive and power-limited, I think we did the best that we could with the knowledge and intuition we had last summer. 

Whisper was an outlier that lets you stand still at a safe distance, in a pool that makes you borderline invulnerable, never having to reload or relocate for ammo, and allow players to deal piles and piles of damage on giant bosses who aren't threatening. This isn't your fault! It's ours! We're making some stuff too easy and allowing players to circumvent parts of the game! Mechanics that circumvent the ammo game (relocate to pick up ammo bricks) or completely ignore the reload animations (a critical part of weapon tuning) are mechanics that create the kind of outliers that we ultimately have to tamp down before the game spirals into the boss health version of Reckoning bridges. 

The other significant set of changes we made to the game during this time were taking down the Super Snowball exotics. With as powerful as Destiny Supers have become (they are - on the whole - dramatically more powerful than Destiny 1's Supers), using your Super to recover your Super is an amplification to player power that the challenge and difficulty game can't keep up with. But, we're going to talk about Supers much later on.

Difficulty and challenge are important parts of mastery. There are more changes coming in Shadowkeep (buffs to things like Scout Rifles, nerfs to mechanics that circumvent the ammo economy, refactoring of the way damage stacking rules work) -- we're gonna talk about it in the next episode. 

Season of Opulence, Part I: the Pursuits tray is a Caterpillar in a Cocoon–Questlog is the Beautiful Butterfly

I've seen streams and videos of people beating activities in Destiny blindfolded. I cannot imagine developing the muscle memory and memorization (nevermind the thumbskill required) to be good at Destiny with the blast shield down. 

When things fundamentally change in a way that interrupts muscle memory and mastery, it is frustrating. The initial set of changes to the Pursuits tray earlier this year did a few things beyond upsetting muscle memory. It certainly didn't get as far as the team wanted in its initial release and it also didn't feel like an improvement over what previously existed. 

It felt like we started to redecorate your house but we didn't finish it (and sometimes, that's how things in a live game can feel). 

The morning after the Pursuits changes went live, I talked to some folks on the UI team about the feature. They had Reddit open. 

"Have you read it, Luke?" 

"Nah, I haven't." 

"Please don't." 

They were crestfallen. Not just because of the sometimes-harsh-feeling feedback, but because this team wanted make something sweet, exceed your expectations, and meet their own expectations. None of those things happened. We wanted to try something different with Pursuits, in the sense that we knew where we wanted this feature to end up, but that we'd take some iterative steps to get there. I think we've got to do a better job ensuring that while we're remodeling your house, the potential of the renovation is clearer either in the game or via some communication here on the site. 

We want a Questlog with great tracking that can help players prioritize what to do next. 

Oh, and this fall, bounties will be separated from quests and PC players can assign a hot key that takes them directly to the Pursuits menu.

Image Linkimgur

Season of Opulence, Part II: The Evolving Eververse

Last year, we thought long and hard about Eververse and how we wanted to change the strategy around microtransactions in Destiny.  As some folks have smartly pointed out, MTX is a big part of our business being a live game. I'm not going to say "MTX funds the studio" or "pays for projects like Shadowkeep" -- it doesn't wholly fund either of those things. But it does help fund ongoing development of Destiny 2, and allows us to fund creative efforts we otherwise couldn't afford. For example: Whisper of the Worm's ornaments were successful enough that it paid [dev cost-wise] for the Zero Hour mission/rewards to be constructed (this shit matters!). 

The storefront, which we launched alongside Season of Opulence is the first part of the strategic shift we're making with MTX. The decision to run old content in Bright Engrams instead of making new Bright Engrams is another part of the shift. We want to believe that our players would rather just buy things they like from the store. Earlier this summer, we detailed a bunch of the changes coming to Bright Dust and Eververse this fall (and if you haven't read that, go check it out here). 

The storefront is going to get another round of enhancements this fall, too. We're going to move it to the Director, so you don't have go to the Tower and see Tess to interact with it. We're giving it some Class specific content, so if you're on your Titan looking for Titan Universal Ornaments with smaller shoulders, you'll see Titan armor on one of the store's subpages. We're also going to make it so that the pieces you've already acquired from a given set reduce the Silver price of the set. For instance, if you are 3/5 Optimacy set on your Titan, the cost to finish the set in Silver will be reduced by 60%. 

There are some other philosophies here that we haven't made explicitly clear: 

We have made deliberate choices related to cosmetic items and not having them come from gameplay. Gameplay rewards are where you get items, power, mods, perk combinations, stats, triumphs, and titles. The aesthetics for armor blurs the line some – we want players to get cool armor from activities and the world that feel thematic to where they were acquired. Cosmetic items like universal ornaments, weapon ornaments, shaders, ships, sparrows, emotes, and finishers typically come from the store (There are exceptions, but generally speaking, that's how we think about this). 

We are continuing to try and separate capability/gameplay from vanity. Armor 2.0 and Universal Ornaments are big parts of this separation. This is also why Finisher perks are mods that can be socketed into equipment, so that their aesthetic can stand alone. 

As always, we welcome your feedback and thoughts. 

Season of Opulence, Part III: The Menagerie is Sweet

Have you ever been to an amazing party for something like the Super Bowl? It's the kind of party where there is an incredible spread of snacks rolling out throughout the event, amazingly comfortable seating, an A/V system and TV that makes you jealous, and super sweet people to hang out with. Once you've been to this party -- the Super Bowl anywhere else never feels the same (invite me back somedayyyyyyyyy). 

This is how I feel about Escalation Protocol. Once I had the feeling of running around in public bubbles, fighting giant bosses with a bunch of players (even though getting into a good instance of Mars for Protocol was a pain in the butt!), public gameplay never felt the same. At its peak, when you have a bunch of players slaying big ol' bosses, Escalation Protocol is one of the best things we've added to Destiny 2.

The Menagerie - a six-player matchmade activity where you make progress no matter what - is awesome. Its "learn-by-watching mechanics" means that it doesn't require communication between players. The way groups can make progress - even if they don't kill the boss - means the real efficiency gain is by learning and executing the fights quickly. Hasapiko, Beloved by Calus -- and also beloved by me -- feels like a great translation of World of Warcraft's Heigan the Unclean** into an action game. 

There's a lot to like about the Menagerie, but I'm going to close the activity part here with: We love the Menagerie, it's a great middle spot on a six-player activity pyramid, with Raids sitting at the top. Escalation Protocol (aka Partying in Public) is a great base. We want to do more activities like this, but in the context of what we learned and in a way that we can better support them over the long-term. 

Season of Opulence, Part IV: The Chalice of Opulence and Somehow Even More Season of the Drifter Thoughts

Having some ways to target and farm some specific gear in Destiny is great. We did a version of this with Black Armory weapons but the very, very long character-specific attunement questline for the Forges was a bit much. We made the Opulence attunement account-wide as a result. 

The Chalice was an even bigger version of targeting rewards. Players could unlock different sets of armor, different weapons, and even select their Masterwork perk roll. 

*Pause on Chalice thoughts. *

We will come back to the Chalice. Let's talk about how we build the game. 

While content for Destiny is released serially, it is largely developed in parallel. For instance, while Forsaken was in its final few months, Black Armory was well underway, and Season of the Drifter was in development while Black Armory was being built, et cetera. For years people have wondered "Why doesn't release X do the thing content drop Y did? Get it together, Bungie." 

This is one of the reasons why. So even though Menagerie is sweet, and Chalice is great, while Shadowkeep was being built, the Menagerie and the Chalice hadn't yet been released. So we didn't know how players would react. 

Because we have so much to build, we frequently find ourselves having to place many bets at the same time. This has paid dividends at times – we discover new and awesome things like Escalation Protocol or Menagerie - and this has also resulted in things that feel like setbacks at other times. 

An example of a setback is the reward chase during Season of the Drifter. There are a bunch of super awesome weapons in Drifter (One Two Punch Last Man Standing), but the path to them isn't clear like Black Armory or the Chalice. We didn't do a good enough job of rewarding players for their time or giving them clearer paths to some of the sweet weapons in the release. If we had a do-over with this season's rewards we'd probably have dropped Armor directly from Prime and maybe used Reckoning combined with learnings from Menagerie's fail forward mechanics to let players chase awesome rolls on weapons they could love. While I got pretty lucky with a Rapid Hit Kill Clip Spare Rations, I personally had more fun chasing my Kindled Orchid or Austringer. 

*Unpause. Back to Chalice. *

The Chalice isn't perfect. Being held hostage by THE rune you want to drop from a Strike or Crucible to go make the weapon or armor piece you're coveting is pretty frustrating. 

But having more ways in the game to pursue loot in a deterministic fashion, while preserving the hunt for a great roll, is something that we hope to explore.

Things left unsaid-ish while looking back

  • There's a lot a lot a lot of awesome stuff we didn't spend time talking about (Tribute Hall, Lumina, that cool Drifter cinematic with the Taken Captain, lore books, Vanguard/Drifter choice, et cetera). 

    • Full disclosure: I'm almost always going to focus on opportunities for improvement, rather than celebration! 

  • We're in the midst of Solstice and Moments of Triumph so the learnings for those are still bubbling up.  

Looking Ahead to Looking Ahead

The rest of the Director’s Cut updates are going to focus on Shadowkeep and the changes we’re making this year. Here are some of the topics that will be included:

  • Supers and PVP in Destiny 2

  • Armor, Stats, Mods, and Tradeoffs

  • Powerful Sources, Prime Engrams and the World

  • Damage numbers, damage stacking rules

  • And more

I know this is a lot to read (because it was a lot to write). I appreciate you taking the time to make it this far. Like all things with Destiny, it's a journey. The next two parts of this journey will look at the RPG and Combat game.

See you soon, 

Luke Smith

*It's a set of aspirational goals that can help guide the team to create better experiences for players who love Destiny. And it's a simple way to describe how we're thinking about the game to all of you. And even when it's true, there will always be work left to do. And we're committed to it. 

**Fun fact: Heigan the Unclean was often called the "dance" boss in the WoW Raid Naxxaramas and Hasapiko means "the butcher's dance" in Greek. It's a little nod back to Blizzard's Xûr reference.

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level 1
"Little Light"
Moderator of r/DestinyTheGame, speaking officiallyOriginal PosterScore hidden · 7 days ago · Stickied comment

This is a list of links to comments made by Bungie employees in this thread:

I remember my first task on Velveeta.

"Try to break King's Fall."

Wild times.

(going through all of these comments, btw. thanks to all sounding off!)

This is a bot providing a service. If you have any questions, please contact the moderators. If you'd like this bots functionality for yourself please ask the r/Layer7 devs.

1 more reply

level 1
Drifter's Crew // Well, well, well..
4 points · 4 days ago

Take a shot every time Luke writes "sweet"! Great update btw, not a fan AT ALL of the ongoing Eververse philosophy tho. Most of the cool looking stuff should come from the game, at least armor wise.

level 1
Gambit Prime // In insignificantia
-2 points · 5 days ago

THis post has rekindled my hope in this game and addressed two of my most intense criticisms. The game is too easy, and the games level progression is too easy, due to all of the powerful rewards.

level 1
-19 points · 6 days ago(0 children)
level 1
-7 points · 6 days ago(1 child)
level 2
Icebreaker 0.5
8 points · 6 days ago

You sure about that? IMO, Solo-queuers are gonna get stomped either way, so lets just have the stomping not take 30 minutes.

level 1
7 points · 6 days ago

The only thing I disagree with and I'm afraid we'll see more of is being forced to play in ways that we don't enjoy, and there's already been criticism about that with the Pinnacle weapon quests, where people are being punished or teams are being punished to play in ways that are detrimental to their team

level 1

FYI - menagerie was perfect. Full stop. If all you do is reskin for the season and add different encounters / mechanics / rewards, you can declare victory, pat yourselves on the back and crack open a cold one.

Having a path to a specific piece of gear with a specific masterwork felt like the perfect solution to 're-rolling'. Ex: you can reroll gear, but it takes 20 minutes.

level 1
7 points · 6 days ago

Seasonal curation and powerful tuning is incredibly necessary. I came back last week for the first time since black armory because I saw that the solstice armor would be an armor 2.0 set. i did the activity, then saw that the grind for the armor and powerful is doing all the same stuff i was doing before I left and got burned out in a day again

level 1

Thanks for this communication. I agree and I am happy on most part. However I am worried about a potential lack of content from now on. With the removal of a gambit mode and the Annual Pass format for example. I fear the comeback of long droughts.

I get the point that Bungie’s team might be exhausted from this development cycle but Human Resources and money attached to it shouldn’t be the community’s problem. We get it. It’s hard to make video games and it can take it’s toll on employees.

But how can you aspire to become a live service RPG MMO with a potential lack of content? How can you expect to furthermore engage a community and attract new people by cutting on content?

I am pretty sure Bungie’s bank account is pretty healthy. That’s why they can afford to become independent again. So...maybe they can afford to invest more in Human Resources and avoid other potential problems.

level 2

I agree with your concern!! It does seem like a he prefaced a lot of points to try and head off disappointment with Shadowkeep; especially about menagerie and it's development life cycle.

level 1

This was an awesome update, Luke! Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and reflections on the game. I look forward to more updates like this in the future.

Also, as someone who never stops to smell the roses or appreciate the accomplishments I've made, I just want to say how grateful I am for the entire Bungie team for making Destiny and that each and every person at Bungie - yes, even the UI team - should be so proud of what they've built and what they've delivered over the years. I am grateful to Destiny every day I get to play with my friends from back on the East Coast (I'm in the Midwest myself now), so please keep up the great work!

Lastly, I hope you and the Bungie squad find a happy medium in the dev cycle crunch. Crunch is hard - don't make it a year-round thing.prepare for dated reference and Treat Yourself!

level 1
2 points · 6 days ago

About the format: I definately wouldn't mind some transparancy in the form of a video where a (couple) devs sit down and talk about stuff like this, even if it follows a script.

Bonus points if they can do a semi-interactive twitch "dev-stream" to have some clear form of communication.

This text wall is great tho, and it gives good and clear insight to the future and past of the game. This is absolutely magnificent and I can't wait to see more.

level 1
6 points · 6 days ago

I hope not all content is being catered to the likes of Datto. Because that’s the vibe I’m getting from this. The Reckoning that was mentioned is a good example of what’s wrong with that approach. Of course people like Datto want more difficult stuff because they already have super polished teams with meta everything. The average player doesn’t have access to those kind of teams consistently and other don’t have those kind of skills.

Also what’s with Luke speaking like he’s a normal player that can’t do anything about certain parts of the game? If you knew yourself that matching up with other players in EP was a pain, why was nothing done to address it?

I don’t know, I think some parts of the blog post contradicts themselves, specially when talking about difficulty. I certainly don’t want to play the same game that Datto and his team wants to play. Also why do I get the feeling that we’re going back to Y1 in terms of balancing? Y1 was the most boring point of D2, why aim to go there again. Also why do all changes seem to only have the PC version as a reference, I hope console players don’t get screwed up in the balancing as well.

I’m not even gonna talk about the Eververse because, everything mentioned contradicts itself.

I was planning my move to PC and get all content there as well but right now I’m wondering if I want to continue on this to begin with. I’ll just keep reading about it and take a decision when all the info has been put on the table.

level 2
Icebreaker 0.5
0 points · 6 days ago

Personally, I want Destiny to be difficult. I think the campaign should stay relatively easy, but things that are supposed to be powerful in teh lore (like Xol) should absolutely be difficult fights. In no world should a big Vex mind in the middle of a centaur be more difficult to kill than a deep-space Worm God who has had 1 on 1 conversations with the Darkness. And in no world should that Worm God die to a fiery stick and some bullets.

I quote FF14 a lot, but that's because it does a lot well. The final bosses of the last 2 expansions were PERFECT difficulty. Both times fighting incredibly powerful foes that were hyped up immensely in the lore, and both times they were difficult but beatable. Voice of Riven was almost there, but once you replay the mission above 500 power it's a bit easy as well. The one thing this game is missing is incredibly hard enemies with incredibly good loot that ONLY comes from that enemy. I want D2's Diamond Weapon that takes half an hour to kill and requires perfect execution of mechanics to down (Riven was almost this, but cheese happened).

And that's JUST in campaign stuff. Strikes need more mechanics, the open world needs rare-spawning world bosses that take 8+ players to kill, stuff like that.

Also, Luke addressed why certain things can't be fixed in relevant time. Things are developed in parallel - so when Warmind was out and settled, Forsaken was being worked on already, which meant the team wouldn't have time to do major overhauls for that expansion when it launched. The best they could do was things like Black Armory.

The Eververse section does not contradict itself whatsoever, I'm not sure where you're getting that idea.

level 2

I'll second this.

I walked away from Destiny 2 a month or so after launch because trying to do the end-game content with a group of friends wasn't viable at the time (not everyone has a horde of 12+ friends to organize into six-man fireteams) and we'd deeply exhausted all the matchmade content.

I came back briefly at times, but by and large there was still no new matchmade content so I felt locked out.

I'm NOT looking to join an existing clan, I'm looking to play with friends I already have, but there's not enough of us to do pre-made six-man content.

Infinite Forest was... well, everyone's made a million jokes about it by now. Having a planet we can't ride sparrows (BUT CAN DURING A STRIKE ON THAT PLANET!?) and that doesn't actually have anything memorable visually was a disappointment.

Gambit armor not dropping from Gambit itself made me write that entire mode off for the longest time because I couldn't tell where the heck to even get the armor to actually unlock powers.

If a mechanic or unlock requires hitting up Google to find out how, it's a failure. Period. Gambit armors were such a failure, writ large.

I've never even come close to crossing the bridge in Reckoning even now that I see how. Having any content require specific gear or subclasses is another abject failure, period.

Having very specific triumphs or achievements require those things indirectly (like say defeating every X on the bridge less than Y seconds after it spawns) is fine.

But requiring any specific gear or subclass to progress to the end and complete content available from the Director is a failure, IMHO, period.

Escalation Protocol is another such complete failure to me as a player: Even if you have a perfect team, if you haven't done what feels like Black Armory levels of pre-grind-before-you-grind you get literally NOTHING in rewards from completing an Escalation Protocol. Zilch.

EP needs to be a matchmade activity akin to Menagerie, and would translate well. Make individual Tier 1's pop up randomly on Mars, but remove the 'go to a planet to actually activate the activity you want to do' entirely. Black Armory as well. Once you've gone once to unlock them, move that stuff to Director entirely to launch, especially when the latter already does "go back to orbit" matchmaking to boot already.

Now, the good:

Forsaken brought me back for the story. I DEEPLY enjoyed playing through it, and while it was in some ways anticlimatic it was very well done.

Menagerie kept me playing. Full stop. Menagerie is why I was playing when Solstice arrived, and I still go back to Menagerie when I can because it's bloody enjoyable.

It's the correct blend of larger-party matchmade + lightly targeted loot grind. Having something beyond Strikes, that lets you work towards a specific item and loop-grind so it feels like you're making progress, with the runes to force you to take a break when you exhaust a specific type, is great.

Yes, at first it's frustrating not getting the runes you need, but soon you have 20+ of every single rune. Just having an initial 'injection' of ~3 of each rune when you unlock a new color would cure that though, or any number of other methods.

As for Eververse... if it sticks to "interesting variants" like the Intrepid Adventurer set that don't make direct sense lore-wise to tether anywhere in-game? Cool beans! Heck I bought that for my Titan, I love the Indiana Jones look with zilch shoulders and a sleek look.

But if there's nothing but reskins of existing gear or mods dropping from future content and literally 100% of cosmetic variance is in the Eververse? That I'll walk away from, and Destiny 2 as well.

level 1

Read it, read many of the comments, Luke or the team if you see this despite me being late to the thread:

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Thank you for the hard work, long stressful hours, for that passion and part of your life you don't get back.


Last fall my younger brother got cancer. A couple years before that I almost lost him to drug addiction. He's had a rough decade. He is my world.

We are always searching for coop games to play: Diablo 3 and Borderlands 2 were the last two. (I hadn't played the former since it first came out and WOW it has changed. Not the biggest fan of the changes but I have friends who love them).

I remember driving around to different game stores to desperately try to find coop PlayStation games (we've had most of the consoles but that's the most recent for us). At one point in the past year I worked my way through steam's entire library of games, wishlisting all of the promising looking coop games.

Then he sent me a message last fall to get Destiny, it was free in the app. I couldn't believe what he found.


I had been excited when Destiny 1 had first popped up in the news. It looked like my dream game. I've always had my eyes to the stars and head in a good sci-fi novel. But then I fell under the misconception that the game was purely PVP and abandoned hope. Shucks, another PvP game, I had long since grown out of CS, Opposing Force, America's Army, Quake arena, Unreal Tournament PvP, and others. I was sad.

But Bungie is a studio we've followed since Minotaur and the Marathon games. Before school each morning we would be over at a friends house watching or playing a Marathon game. Staying true to the absolutely stunning, believable worlds, Halo simply knocked our socks off. But then came Destiny 2.


Brother and I have spent an uncountable amount of time gaming but this really took the cake.


So, it is with immense gratitude that I want to preface this feedback:

1. Gameplay for single or dual players

Then we get to endgame content.

A 2 man team can't do raids. I get booted any time someone demands that I have a microphone and I tell them that I don't.

I'm sorry, I don't come to this game to chat. I'm happy listening to a shot caller or pulling my own weight, but I can't even do a raid. We can't even do a raid. In fact, we're even boxed out of Nightfalls. As 2 working professionals, we just don't have the same time to put into joining a raiding clan. Maybe I'm missing something.

I've tried to squeeze in watching videos of people successfully soloing amazing things, but let's face it, I'm not quite there yet and, as a team, we have a low tolerance for spending hours toiling away just to throw the towel in so we aren't late for work the next day.

Which leads me to:

2. Please don't remove the challenge, restructure it

We are willing to go through some stupid tough stuff to get things though (although he gave up on whisper a while ago and outbreak perfected seems out of reach for both of us). The timer is what killed it for him. If there was no timer, we would have spent time exploring, instead we had to go look up a video. That removed some of the fun. Same with Zero Hour. I wish he and I could be at the forefront with other players, pioneering the way, but it's currently out of our reach. That's a huge downer.

I feel like we miss out on really well done content because it's just us, or just one of us. All of our friends are off playing other games and we've met a handful of people in game. I've tried the looking for fireteam part of the Destiny app and it seems a bit messy, people having to indicate what server they are on or else you magically can't join someone who should be in game (you're simply told that you need to enter the players full battle tag, which gets frustrating until it clicks that they were on a different region servers...) I don't get why that functionality isn't in-game. We're guessing that the guided game beta is what that is, but with strikes, gambit, crucible, and numerous other things automatically pairing us with other players, we're pretty confused at why we can't do this with nightfalls or raids. It's less the challenge of the respective activities, more the challenge of even being able to do them. Shoot, I'd be down to solo a raid if it scaled its difficulty based on the cumulative fireteam level or some similar solution even if it meant tripling the raid time to do so.

Unfortunately, I don't come with a more useful suggestion for redirecting the challenge of these things. I think that doing so might break the game for those who have been playing a long time, for those who haven't run into these issues, for those in clans. All I know is that we feel like we miss out on content. We even bought the annual pass and still feel locked out of certain content.

(Part 2 below)

level 2
5 points · 6 days ago · edited 5 days ago
3. Clans, Chat, and PvP pairing

I'm not sure how the PvP pairing system works but holy Jesus. Sometimes we're on the team completely crushing others, most of the time we're somehow on the team getting completely wrecked, but every once in a while, maybe the number is countable on our hands, we've been pretty evenly matched.

Those are the most rewarding.

Playing against a stacked team or being on a stacked team is not fun. It's worse when a clan hops in a game and occupies the whole other team. That should be for a separate clan league.

It's not fun when the other team doesn't have a chance for 2 reasons:

  1. It's not challenging

  2. We've been in their shoes too often and it's not fun. It is a huge bummer.

Then to have a series of matches like that makes me wonder if I'm terrible at PvP (didn't used to be). When we have an evenly stacked match I'm reminded that's not the case. Sure I got a bit rusty, but I remember unfairly stacked teams being an issue since the dawn of PvPs.

Another thing I don't really get about Destiny's PVP is this: sometimes you can be winning a match by a margin and the match will be called early. Other times you could be being completely destroyed by a significantly greater margin and have to suffer through the whole thing.

That makes no sense to us. Usually Brother and I will burn out after a couple unfairly stacked games that we grind through. That will kill gaming for us for the night. We haven't figured out what triggers a match to be called but we've played through many matches that should have been based on what we've observed.

But, something I'm grateful for: chat being off by default.

I don't remember multiplayer chat being the cesspool it eventually evolved in to. It used to be decent. Then sometime in the past 15 or so years it seems like it just went downhill. I really like the fact that we started playing and it was silent. Man, please please please don't change that. At one point I made the mistake of opting into one of the chats (team or something else, can't remember) and I noped our so fast. This is another reason I'm not really interested in a mic or hearing people talk. I remember how annoying that was in other games.

But the PvP system. It feels so close to perfect.

Speaking of so close to perfect:

4. Events events events

I think other people seem to like EAZ? but Brother and I aren't big fans. If people at the studio are feeling a bit burnt out I don't blame them. The Solstice armor seems like too much of a grind. It's kinda cool, but a lot of these grinds end up feeling rewarding briefly and then fairly lackluster. I got whisper of the worm but then don't really enjoy it, the challenge was frustrating enough that it didn't feel rewarding to get, it was a bittersweet "checked that off the list". Others feel differently and I appreciate that. What I like about the Taken Anomaly: it didn't have a finite timer on it, it's not an event we felt rushed to do, it was fun for us to empirically discover when and how to get it open. Other recent events feel like the type of too fast things that if we don't do we'll miss out on something. That's burning us out. Back to back events? We typically get part of the way through main core stuff and part of the way through those. There isn't enough time. I also feel really bad for those at the studio having to pump these events out back to back. It's too much.

Iron Banner is cool because if we missed it this time, we can always catch it next time. Moments of Triumph and the Tribute hall? We're stressed about those ones. Menagerie is still occupying us and we literally just started playing Gambit Prime a month ago.

We'd cast our vote on giving people a break. I've seen myself burn out on other games that have a fast cycle which try to take over my time with FOMO (fear of missing out) tactics even unintentionally. Typically, it's like thermal runaway, it rapidly feeds into itself until it burns out.

Destiny is not Brother and my be all and end all of games (pretty damn close). We both enjoy numerous other titles as I've been working my way through a library of hundreds that I'd either waited years for it to go on sale, new ones I was too excited to wait for, or old ones I just never got to (finally got and beat Grim Fandango!)

Honestly, I'd encourage other people to branch out as well. If someone is complete with endgame content and is easily staying up to date with these recent rapid event cycles, maybe they need a break. I'd rather have good, solid content, than rapid vapid-feeling or overly challenging events.

I think giving the events a longer lifecycle would help here. Instead of having to stress into crunch time, allowing more time for development and downtime as well as more time for those of us casual* players to enjoy the events.



I do want to wrap up with more gratitude.

My Brother is probably hitting the road sometime in the next 6-12 months. It's been a great couple years being closer to him. I feel like we finally have the relationship I always thought we could have.

Team Bungie, you've been a huge part of that. Thank you.

level 1
Vanguard's Loyal // Vanguard Knight
11 points · 6 days ago

Delete Mercury if you wanna reduce game size.

level 1
1 point · 6 days ago

Slap that trigger button like your moma told ta mananana

level 1
Glub Glub
1 point · 6 days ago

Did I just read...that they are going to make sure we are able to access the eververse store from our directory. Ummmm, so how about being able to pick up all the bounties and access the vendors from there too? Really make tower as relevant as the farm is

level 1

First: A huge thank you to Luke Smith and the team for providing this extended commentary on the game; it's interesting, helpful, and shows trust in the players and transparency. More please!

I like and agree with most of Luke's comments. I guess the only thing that had me scratching my head a bit was when seemingly given a choice with Reckoning design of:

A. Address/nerf Phoenix Protocol and/or Well of Radiance, and make Reckoning playable by all characters and subclasses


B. Leave warlocks untouched but create an activity that breaks Bungie's design rules and is almost unplayable without a warlock at higher levels

the team went with option B. Why?? The Well of Radiance has proved its incredible usefulness since the Leviathan raid, months and months ago—this isn't something that reared its head with Reckoning. Basically taking a titan ability that was a staple in endgame D1 activities and making it a more powerful warlock ability in D2... well, honestly, what did they expect?

*"The first time I used Phoenix Protocol at home, I knew it was over." Um, didn't anyone on the dev team playtest it with Well? When it comes to nerfs and such I usually agree (if not always like) like Bungie's judgement calls, but I'm just not understanding the design philosophy in this case.

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