Sunday, April 9, 2017

Destiny - My Hopes for Destiny 2

This is bit of a break from the norm for me on here, but the Age of Triumph update and the Destiny 2 Announcement really has me hyped. Today I want to do a fairly in-depth rundown of everything I'm hoping to see change going into Year 4 and the next base game. Tl;dr, this is a lot of stuff.

Separate but Equal: PvE and PvP

This really needs to happen. PvP consistently drags down the PvE experience due to the need to balance guns and perks. The whole point of the PvE experience, and one of the highlights of the game, is how powerful it makes you feel and how unique the battle mechanics work instead of being a mundane FPS. Supers, melees/grenades, and exotic armors/weapons all allow for a ton of neat mechanics to be introduced to the game, but are held back by the fact that they could (and would) break PvP in half. Take the Cauterize nerf for example: The perk just feels hobbled in PvE, and I can't save my bacon with it now nearly as well as I could before. I get that it was strong in PvP, but this just goes to illustrate my point. Crucible and Patrol are almost different games, and I feel that Bungie needs to start treating them as such.

The downside to this? Cross-play. In the game right now, you can hop into the Crucible with whatever guns you've been grinding for in PvE and go to town. If you needed an entirely new loadout, even if you're max light and have every raid weapon available, you'd need to start from the very beginning again, and that would just discourage people from playing. I'm a huge fan of a CoD-style rank-up-to-unlock-guns model for the Crucible, where Bungie has a roster of pre-created guns that the Crucible allows. Ranking up in Crucible would allow you access to higher tiered guns and armor sets. Of course, hopping over from PvE means you'd be starting from the bottom and playing against people who have everything available. There would need to be some conversion from PvE to PvP, maybe having beaten a Raid will give you access to a certain tier of Crucible weapons. Or maybe Crucible weapons can still drop in the overworld, like any regular weapon, and finding them gives you access to them in the Crucible. Bungie, as a multi-million dollar company, could certain flesh this out a lot better than I ever could.


I made a reddit post about this already here. The rundown is that exotics really don't feel exotic at all, since a good majority of them never actually see use and even more give bland "upgrades" like "Have another grenade" or "Have another punch." Or even "Run slightly faster." As mentioned above, they can't get but so gimmicky/cool since that would break PvP, but since this article is assuming Bungie separates the two as per above, exotics have a lot more freedom. I also assume that since Destiny 1's engine is so awful, they can't reasonably put some of their ideas into practice. Again, we'll be making the assumption the new engine isn't garbage.

Exotics are what we grind for. They're the pinnacle of rarity, the cream of the crop, and their use needs to reflect that. We need some crazy perks like "your character can stick to walls" or "all your melee attacks are on fire and deal way more damage." Things you can base entire builds around. I go into a lot more detail in the reddit post, but it boils down to the fact that exotics need to be way crazier and be in much lower supply. Three of Coins, while a necessary evil in the current game due to the huge number of exotics, needs to die. It devalues what exotics actually are, and we need more things like Outbreak Prime, Sleeper Simulant, Exotic Swords, Khvostov, and Black Spindle. Exotics we find by doing what we're supposed to do: Explore!

Engram Rarities

This isn't a HUGE issue, but it kind of bugs me. What's the point of anything other than an exotic engram? We don't even see whites anymore, greens are auto-decrypted, blues are just for farming cryptarch rank (which only gives you more blues), and even legendaries don't really serve a purpose anymore. I hope Destiny 2 will rejuvenate the rarities and give them all a place in the end-game. As mentioned above, I feel Three of Coins should cause legendaries to drop, which would follow the same rules that current exotic engrams follow where they decrypt at or above your current light level.

Weapon Perks and Perk Trees

Honestly, the way weapons work now is just awful. You run around doing activities, namely Crucible (which is the only place legendary weapons can reliably drop), and HOPE you get good randomly-generated perks on that weapon. Just one node off from your perfect roll? Sucks. Gotta try again, and you aren't any closer to it than when you started. I want to be able to forge weapons. What's the Gunsmith there for if not that?

The idea I have in mind is that you can bring him a gun you get from a drop. It could totally suck, but it might have one perk you want. The Gunsmith would dismantle the weapon (not giving you any weapon parts or glimmer), and hold on to that one node. Do this with a ton of weapons, and then ask him to forge a gun using selected perk nodes you've scavenged. It's still a little RNG, but it's much less all-or-nothing, and a little grind is always healthy for a game. The Gunsmith could have a variety of weapon frames to pick from, and you could mix-and-match your perks as you please.

On the note of perks, they all need an overhaul. Forget crap like "Slight boost to range, add 2 bullets to your magazine size" vs "Reduced stability, slight boost to range". That's vague and most of the time doesn't matter anyway. If you're forging your own guns, we need perks like "Increased clip size by X" or "Increased stability by X", where each gun frame has base stats that can be altered by the perks you choose. The Scout Rifle frame you like has 5 perk slots? Maybe you want to throw in 5 "Increased stability" perks since you really like stable guns. Maybe you don't give a bother about stability and throw in 5 "Increased clip size" perks. Who cares if you can't hit anything if you have 100 bullets pre-loaded, right? That's what we need.

Elemental Damage

In the same vain as the perks, I think Bungie needs to take a good look at how elemental damage fits into the game. If I asked you right now why I needed elemental guns, what would you say? They serve two purposes, currently: 1) Break like-element shields, and 2) Do more damage during like-element burn modifiers. But you don't actually need a gun with the same element as a shield to break it (except in a few cases), so you can easily get away without a "proper" elemental lineup (which isn't even a thing). Right now it's really just "What burn is on this week?" This severely hinders future game design.

What if Bungie introduced a new element? Only the guns in whatever expansion that is would have those elements. Do the enemies here have that elemental shield? Looks like every other element just got the boot. Even if only 1 or 2 enemy types had that shield type, it probably wouldn't even be worth it to get those elemental weapons for the element alone.

What I feel the game needs is elemental properties. Instead of "Solar Damage kills red shields quicker, and does more damage when we say it does", we should have "Solar Damage applies dot effects to enemies" or "briefly sets affected areas on fire". Things inherent to the damage type itself. I know void already kind of does this, since killing an Exploder Shank with a void Titan punch causes them not to explode. Have enemies shot/affected by void damage momentarily have their abilities disabled. This would make having void weapons imperative against things like Hobgoblins, since they couldn't go invincible if you keep them under fire. This would also allow Bungie to introduce new elements as they please, since they would all have intrinsic use.

Make leveling up mean something

In vanilla Destiny, it was "Reach level 20, then reach level 30 with gear." Taken King dropped and revamped this system, where "Level" became tied to your XP and "Light Level" became tied to the average of your gear stats. A much better system, sure, but why even have level? The only real purpose it served was "You must be X level to wear this armor", which could just as easily be accomplished with something like "You must have X amount of light to wear this armor." Level isn't a real indicator of anything, since enemies are scaled using Light Level and we're given a "recommended light level" to go against them. In Destiny 2, I hope Bungie either abolishes Level altogether, or gives a meaning to it.

It could go into stats, like giving your character more armor, health, or even letting your weapons/super scale. You know, basic RPG leveling up. The issue with this is that you'd be locking yourself out of certain builds by permanently putting points into certain stats, and I don't know if Bungie would want to do that. It would certainly add more dynamics to your character.


This is something I've heard everyone talking about. Give our NPCs more personality, more meaning. The change from vanilla Destiny to Taken King was drastic, and not just because of Cayde. Eris and even Ikora got more fleshed out and we have a much better idea of their personalities and character. But Destiny has a nasty case of "1 NPC follows you for the whole DLC"-syndrome. Dark Below? Eris was the one talking to you through every story mission. House of Wolves gave us Petra and Variks (who were the first real personalities we'd gotten), and while Taken King was dominated by Cayde, we got a ton of banter between him and the rest of the cast. The Taken War: [Planet] missions were all lead by different Vanguard heads, too, which was nice. Rise of Iron traded off between Saladin and Shiro, but both were fairly void of real personality and weren't up to the standards Taken King had set. For Destiny 2, I sincerely hope we get more of a focus on a variety of NPCs, and that they all get very well fleshed out.


You knew this was going to be here. I didn't want to write about it since its so obvious, but Bungie should definitely put the grimoire in-game. Or at least do a better job of introducing more of the larger story into the actual story. The Oryx portrayed in the main Taken King story absolutely pales in comparison to the Oryx dictated onto the pages of the Book of Sorrow. I read the Rise of Iron grimoires and had to re-read them again, because they almost felt like they contradicted the dialogue and story presented in the actual DLC (seriously, I hate the Rise of Iron storyline SO MUCH). And tons of players don't even know this information is out there.

Classes and Subclasses

This is the last bit I want to touch on, but also what I feel the most strongly about. Classes (Titan, Hunter, Warlock) are defined almost entirely by their supers, and really only by a few. In any true end-game activity, you won't see a Titan with anything but a Bubble. Warlocks are pretty much always rocking self-res, and Hunters are locked into Nightstalker aside from the few times Golden Gun is worth it. Outside of that, though, the classes don't play differently. There's a bit of leeway here, since you can't actually make "Pull the trigger, shoot the thing" feel different from class to class, but there are a lot more to characters than the guns they use. You also have to take into account that since most things are matchmaking, you can't force roles too much or else you could end up with 3 hyper-support players that can't actually deal damage and thus can't clear a strike. But there's still a ton of wiggle room here.

In-game, Titans are always told to "be the wall" and things like that. Warlocks are mystic bookworms that delve into the understanding of the unknown. Hunters are sly and sneaky. I've never felt any of that while playing the game. If I'm a Titan, make me an actual wall; make me tanky as all get-out, and let me wade through waves of enemies while my teammates do their thing. The sheer variety of supers doesn't help narrow down roles either: Titans have an AoE slam and chuck Hammers. They must be add clear, right? Wait, what's this bubble doing there then? Warlocks have a huge AoE bomb and Palpatine mode? Are... are they add clear too? Hunters take out a knife and kill things... so add clear? And get a shiny gun to kill 4 things? This arrow is cool though. The point is that there's no overarching theme or purpose to any of the sub-classes. Sunbreaker, Stormcaller, and Bladedancer are basically just clones of each other, and Strikes/Voidwalker are similar enough. Each class only has one "unique" subclass which, incidentally, tends to be their most-used ones. The problem is that when you're making a character, you aren't choosing what class you want, you're choosing what super you want.

My friends and I have talked about this, and we've come up with some good identities for each class. Titans are the "support", Warlocks are flashy, mystic, AoE wave clear, and Hunters are sneaky single-target damage. Titans could have taunts, pulling aggro away from the rest of the team, and expand on the idea of the bubble. Give them a ton of abilities that take pressure off the rest of the team while simultaneously beefing them up and giving them more survivability to deal with that aggro. Warlocks keep their magician theme, casting large spells and dealing with waves and waves of enemies. Hunters, never wanting to be seen, stay far away from the action and zero in on specific targets. I've got entire subclasses and abilities fleshed out for these, but that's for another time.

Another aspect of this would be class-specific guns. Guns are what you most use in the game, and having weapons only your class can use definitely helps flesh out and identity for you. Give Warlocks things like Flamethrowers, Chain Lightning Guns, things mimicking actual magic. Let Titans have Hammers, Shields, even Mini-Guns, things reminiscent of of their hands-on, punch-everything nature as well as their supposed unrivaled physical strength. Hunters can have Rail Guns, super-snipers that have ungodly range and power, or guns that lay traps, synergizing with their play style of staying out of the action. All these factors, and more, can all go into class creation in Destiny 2 and really make you think about what role you want to play.

That's all for now. I'm sure a lot of these won't be met, at least not in the way I want them to, but Bungie will probably fix just as many things that I haven't even thought of. Destiny 1 has been hampered by a sketchy, drama-laced release and a terribly, restrictive game engine. Even if half of these things aren't addressed, Destiny 2 is poised to be a much better and grander game than what we're used to, and I have absolutely no doubt that it will deliver. Bungie is a team of well-versed game designers who know what they're doing. For as bad as Destiny 1 started out, it's already come this far. I can't wait to see what Destiny 2 brings and where it goes.

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