How core playlists could be improved in Destiny 2

Since Shadowkeep dropped into Destiny 2 there has been a focus on seasonal activities like Vex Offensive, Sundial and Seraph Towers. With the focus seasonal content there has been a shift in focus on some of the core playlists like Strikes, Crucible and Gambit. The following is a look at how the core playlists could be improved in Destiny 2.

Season of the Worthy has been a bit of a bumpy ride for Destiny fans and Bungie themselves. On the positive front, we’ve had some great story content and lore played out in the game with the Pyramid Ships / Rasputin and the reintroduction of Trials. On the negative front, we’ve had one hell of a grind this season with Seprah Towers, Guardian Games and then the initial community quest step. We’ve seen the rise of cheating in Trials and the bugs that have been released into the wild.

I don’t want to dwell too much on the negative side of things. One of the benefits of these short seasons is experimentation – you can put something out and test to see if it works. If it does, great… roll it into the game. If it doesn’t work, then adapt and change course. There are a lot of contributing factors to the current situation we’re in with the sentiment towards the game right now – it’s probably not one single thing but a snowball effect.

Recent seasons have seen players relying on bounties and seasonal activities like Vex Offensive, Sundial and Seraph Towers with Strikes, Crucible and Gambit taking a back seat. These are now activities we go into to complete bounties. Using this season as an example we’ve been completing Seraph Towers and upgrading the bunkers on EDZ, Moon and Io to get access to Seraph Armour and Seventh Seraph Weapons. We can also get access to some items through the season pass, but the most efficient way to upgrade the pass is to do bounties – which is one of the reasons we’re all a bit fatigued from seasonal content.

Bungie did update us in the last This Week At Bungie on some of their plans to start to improve the core playlists and reduce the focus on seasonal activities.

“So far, every Season in Year 3 has followed a formula where the Seasonal activity (Vex Offensive, Sundial, Bunkers/Seraph Tower) asks for a significant amount of playtime to earn new rewards. While we believe that new content should be one of the best places to earn new rewards, we also realize that Destiny 2 is a big game and it can be frustrating to have so much of your playtime dictated by and focused solely on Seasonal activities.

So, in Season 11 Seasonal rewards will drop from completing core activities (Strikes, Crucible, Gambit) as well as basically every other activity in the game. We want to make engaging with the entire game feel rewarding, and for every play session to give you a chance at earning Seasonal loot. In addition to new rewards, Season 11 also features two returning weapons each from Season of the Undying, Season of Dawn, and Season of the Worthy, for a total of six weapons that are free for all players.”

This sounds good. If you want to play just PVP to earn seasonal loot, then you can. If you want to play just Gambit, then go for it. Bungie continues on to let us know how this is going to work.

“Over the last few seasons, we’ve introduced Weapon Bounties that give you agency to chase specific rewards. While addressing bounty fatigue will be an effort that extends beyond Year 3, for the upcoming Season we’ve moved away from Weapon Bounties as part of that effort. Instead, we’re introducing a new type of [REDACTED] Engram that contains the majority of the Season 11 rewards, and by spending Seasonal currency you can influence the contents of this [REDACTED] Engram.”

“To clear up any confusion let’s imagine if we launched this [REDACTED] Engram in Season of the Worthy. Imagine this engram contained all the Season of the Worthy weapons and armour. Now imagine you could take this engram to a Seraph Bunker and spend Seasonal currency to Focus the contents of this engram so it only contains the Seventh Seraph SMG and Shotgun. By focusing [REDACTED] Engrams in Season 11 you can choose your rewards, this includes the ability (once you’ve earned it) to Focus engrams so they only contain Season 11 armour with high-stat packages.”

I don’t know exactly how this is going to work in practice, and we’ll have to wait and see, but this feels similar to how The Menagerie works. Season of Opulence was a massive win for Destiny 2. The Menagerie was, and remains to be, an engaging matchmade mode – but crucially you can pick and choose the loot once you’ve unlocked the features of the Chalice of Opulence. Bungie continues to outline what’s going to be in place during season 11.

“All free players and Season Pass owners will receive [REDACTED] Engrams while playing Season 11, however only Season Pass owners can access the full suite of Focusing categories in Season 11.”

“Here is a preview of the [REDACTED] Engram focusing categories that all players can access after completing the Season 11 opening quest:

  • Season 11 Armor Focusing reduces the number of rewards in the engram so it only contains Season 11 armour.
  • Previous Season Weapon Focusing converts the rewards in the engram so it only contains the six weapons that are returning from Season of the Undying, Dawn, and Worthy.

When Season 11 launches, all players will get three focusing categories and Season Pass owners will have access to an additional 15″

From what I understand there’s going to be 18 focusing categories with specific ways to farm focusing on items – hopefully, this means Breachlight is coming back. Bungie also outlined the activities that are going to be included.

“List of Activities that Reward [REDACTED] Engrams in Season 11:

[REDACTED]
[REDACTED]
Public Events
Strikes
Gambit
Crucible
Dungeons
Raids
Adventures
Nightmare Hunts
Forges
Reckoning
Menagerie
Escalation Protocol
Blind Well”

The first thing to note is the two [REDACTED] items there at the top of the list. But it’s definitely good news we’re going to be able to get these engrams from all over the game, allowing us to play the activities we want to get seasonal weapons and armour AND also selected items from previous seasons. Let me know down in the comments what you think those two redacted activities are going to be.

This is just one short term fix, of course, fixing the overall fatigue with bounties and interaction with seasonal content is going to take time and probably further iteration over coming seasons – but this does seem like a positive move in the right direction.

Here are a few suggestions that could improve core playlists (and let me know your suggestions down in the comments).

Vendors

We had it pretty good in Destiny 1. We could level up vendors rep in the tower in exchange for materials, pick up armour pieces with rotating stat rolls each week, pick up weapons from the loot pool with rotating stat rolls each week. Bungie has suggested they are going to give the vendors a refresh in the not too distant future, and looking back at what we had previously in D1 could be a good template for this.

As well as the vendors it’d be great for the core activities like Strikes, Gambit and Crucible to get a fresh set of weapons and armour. We’ve had these weapons and armour for a long time now and we’re due a refresh. By adding a new set to each game mode on a semi-regular basis that would give us something to chase and then give the vendors a subset to sell each week with rotating stat rolls each week.

Strike Scoring

This is another feature from Destiny 1. In strikes, we would be awarded points for kills and our performance like earning kill streaks. The more enemies you kill, the higher you score. The way you kill them in succession is the main contributing factor to medals, as well as the enemy type – the bigger and harder they are, the more rewarding they become.

Strike Specific Loot

More loot like this. We have Mindbender’s shotgun from the Hollowed Lair, D.F.A hand cannon from the Tree of Probabilities and Duty Bound from Savathun’s Song to name a few. Only a few of these weapons have risen to the top of the meta (Mindbender’s Ambition is still strong after 2 years). More strike specific armour too would be good and it’d be good to go down the Monster Hunter route where you can fashion armour from the monsters you defeat. It’d be great to get armour sets based on the strike bosses.

PVP playlists

Thanks to XTV400 for this suggestion (who’s part of the This Week In Video Games Discord). Adding Clash back into the regular weekly PVP selectable modes would be great as it’s a regular team deathmatch mode. I understand Bungie not wanting to have too many game modes to choose from, but Clash seems like one of the core PVP modes that should be there the whole time.

Better anti-cheat for PVP

PVP is in dire need of better anti-cheat. Whether this is a paywall for Trials or another system like the 2-step authentication recently introduced to Call of Duty: Warzone – something needs to change as the excitement for Trials return has turned into bitterness due to the number of cheaters in the game.

The cheating has trickled down into other playlists too, with cheaters clearly testing out their software in other PVP modes making competitive and even quickplay a pain in the ass to play.

I remember back at the start of the season, I was on holiday in the back of a cab streaming the announcement trailer for Trials on my mobile. I was excited. But then the cheating ramped up and Trials became more of an ordeal than the Nightfalls. Hopefully, Bungie can do something about the level of cheating in the game and restore the game mode back to the pinnacle of PVP competition in the game.

Balance the sandboxes separately

This is probably the most radical and time-consuming from Bungie’s point of view. However, it should be considered. One of the challenges with having a game with PVP and PVE in the same game means you have to balance across the modes. This restricts the potential of weapons being all-powerful in PVE, due to the impact they could have in PVP.

That’s a short summary of Bungie’s immediate plans to help improve the core playlists with the new [REDACTED] engram, plus a few ideas on how we could make them better. However, I really want to hear your ideas on how we could improve things in core playlists – so let me know down in the comments.

That’s it for this look at how core playlists could be improved in Destiny 2. For more Destiny 2 content like this check out the Shadowkeep Guide or check out the YouTube Channel.

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