Destiny 2 isn’t in the best place right now. Fans were holding out for the first expansion, Curse of Osiris, to summarily address concerns the community shared, and it sadly did not. It added more of the same to a routine that was already starting to grow stale, and it kicked off a backlash. Since Curse of Osiris, player numbers have continued to drop with participation in events such as Trials of the Nine falling to levels lower than end of life Destiny 1. The game, and Bungie, are currently also mired in controversy over microtransactions as players flood the official forums with requests to remove Eververse.
Recently, Bungie attempted to address these issues by being as transparent as they have ever been, outlining a detailed plan that stretches all the way to fall of this year, so that fans aren’t left in the dark while the game flounders. The result of this information, as Forbes’ Paul Tassi perfectly put it, is that Bungie’s plan is to essentially slowly crawl back to being Destiny 1. And the problem with that, which Tassi eventually and accurately concludes, is that fans were hoping for a Destiny 2 that built on the state Destiny 1 was at by the time it reached the Age of Triumph. Instead, Bungie was unwilling, or incapable of doing that, likely due to a myriad of development issues which may have included a reboot that were detailed by Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier.
As a result of all this, Destiny 2 is feeling more like an uncontrollable dumpster fire with each passing update. If you’re a fan, you can’t help but start to feel worried about the state of the game, and the amount of negativity surrounding it. Posts of positivity on the Destiny Subreddit tend to get really popular because those that are still invested do truly want the game to succeed, but many don’t want to wait around until the end of Destiny 2’s life to finally see marked improvements over the original. The only reason the Destiny 1 experience was tolerable was because there was hope and the expectation of progress heading into Destiny 2. Instead, most of Destiny 1’s accomplishments were thrown out and not adequately replaced with new and better features.
There’s lots of things wrong with Destiny 2 right now, but the most glaring problem is a lack of excitement surrounding exotic and legendary equipment drops, killing the primary motivation for playing. Drops are too plentiful now for legendary weapons, and with varied perk rolls removed from Destiny 1 to 2, there is little reason to get excited over getting repeats. Exotics in Destiny 2, well, just don’t feel that exotic. There isn’t that cross your fingers weapon or armor piece to hope and pray for anymore like there was throughout the life of Destiny 1. There are a small handful worth equipping, and the majority are largely forgettable.
I doubt that Bungie lacks creativity. The problem, I would wager, is that Bungie is still clinging to goal of keeping Destiny 2’s PvP balanced. Introducing crazy and exciting equipment for PvE could break the game in PvP. It’s time for Bungie to let go. They need to finally do what many have been asking since the launch of Destiny 1 and split PvE and PvP balance tuning. If the chains of PvP balance were lifted off of PvE, there would be nothing stopping Bungie from updating current exotics to be more unique, and adding new ones that go buck wild, opening the door for creativity on both player and enemy progression.
I get Bungie’s logic in spirit, I really do. Their desire to have your guardian be the same, no matter what mode you chose, is an admirable one. At this point though, it’s safe to say that the experiment has failed. Something needs to be done to fast track Destiny 2’s recovery, and splitting PvE and PvP balance is the way to go.
That said, in the highly likely event that Bungie is insistent on having a competitively balanced PvP scene or splitting the Crucible’s balance from PvE is something that would take too much time, then there is one other way that could also work within the framework that already exists in-game: Competitive versus Quickplay. Bungie can keep everything as it is now, but do what we suggest by adding fun, crazy, broken exotics that give people incentive to hunt for them. Allow Crucible Quickplay to be broken in this scenario. Let it just be a place where chaos reigns and people just play to have fun. If the reaction to the extremely broken, and even bugged, Mayhem playlist is any indicator, players are fine with this.
Competitive modes, however, could be changed to have preset weapons and armor choices that rotate every season or whatever period of time Bungie feels is best. This way, Bungie can carefully create a meta that is balanced, but also doesn’t stay stale forever. Bungie can be as boring as they want in this space and use fairly vanilla equipment, or better yet, give everyone broken weapons and see who climbs up on top. As long as it’s equal across the board, it’s balanced, right?
This wouldn’t fix everything that is wrong with Destiny 2, but it would certainly make what is currently available a lot more fun while Bungie marches through their plan for 2018. Alas, we’re probably just speculating into the void. Bungie has always seemed extremely resistant to splitting the balance tuning. This is unlikely to change, at least for Destiny 2.
Bungie has shared its road map for the majority of 2018. We’re going to have to just wait and see how this trip turns out and if Bungie is willing to take any detours.