Yesterday I made a post talking about some of my frustrations and some of the frustrations of the community at large. In lieu of giving the final Bungie Curse of Osiris reveal live stream, they opted to instead give us an extremely dense blog post paired with a podcast episode expanding on the theme. As a programmer by trade I am generally slow to assign malice to the actions of game developers, especially when said problems get patched out of the game. There have been so many times in my own life that I have thought something was going to be a really good idea, and in the end it only served to hurt my user base. As a result I haven’t really talked about the whole XP gain issue because it didn’t really directly effect me. I essentially told myself there were three reasonable bright engrams that I could get per character and past that I didn’t attempt to go out into the wilds and grind for more. I didn’t even really have time to participate in the Clarion Call event that was happening over the Thanksgiving weekend because family and reasons. Also as a programmer I read yesterdays post as a game company attempting to peel back the curtain and show the players the mess that is hidden behind it. I more or less accept their explanations and I figured this was something I should state up front before I dig too far into the specific issues. I highly suggest you read both the blog and listen to the podcast because hearing the voices of Luke Smith, Mark Noseworthy and Eric Osbourne explain why things are the way they are… really drills home the point that they did mean the best. None of them are really polished orators and there is emotion in those voices that helps to add accent marks to the commentary.
One of the biggest announcements is that there is a brand new tier of weapons coming. Yesterday I talked about the whole static roll thing and mostly how I was bracing for the return of randomized stats. In truth I was preparing for the worst because I actually like static rolls on gear because it lets me know directly what I am shooting for, and not always wondering if there is a better roll around the corner. I feel like they sort of shot down the middle and landed in a happy place that I can accept as reasonable. Masterworks will be legendary weapons that roll with an extra mode that provides some amount of randomized stats. The above image is lifted from the Bungie blog post and shows a Uriel’s Gift with a bonus 10 to reload speed and also shows that they are starting to track how many kills you have made with a specific masterwork weapon. They announced a couple of things about this that make them more reasonable… firstly you can re-roll the stat node until you get the one you actually wanted. Secondly you can break down masterwork weapons that you do not want to get upgrade materials to turn your normal legendary weapons into masterworks themselves. Functionally this gives players what they said they wanted… in the ability to get different versions of weapons but also makes it sane and rational for those of us who actually liked fixed rolls in being able to upgrade our existing stash to the new version. Also it allows us to slowly work our way to perfecting the roll with whatever combo we were wanting on it by re-rolling that node.
Another big announcement is that they are adding duplicate protection for exotics, so that the game will by nature favor giving you exotics that you do not already have over exotics that you have seen over and over again. This has been a major point of frustration for a lot of players, myself included… in that we keep getting the same exotic items over and over when there are still a bunch on the list that we have never seen. I hit a streak of six prospectors in a row awhile back, and anything to blunt that would be much appreciated. They also announced the return of Three of Coins in a modified form of just providing a 4 hour buff that gives you an increased chance at exotic drop rates. I had a love/hate relationship with Three of Coins, and to some extent I like Xur serving more of a purpose each week than just presenting you with exotics you have already seen him sell numerous times. Lastly while on the Xur front they announced that he would begin selling an additional item called a Fated Engram which decodes into an exotic item that you have not already unlocked on that character. The above image shows that this costs 97 shards… which is a hefty price but by the time you need this you are probably going to be swimming in them.
Another thing that I was extremely excited to see is that Banshee-44 will start just straight up selling a limited number of mods each week for a combination of Mod Components and Legendary Shards. Now at first this doesn’t seem a amazing because it is not like we are swimming in Mod Components, however they are attempting to create a bridge for that too. The biggest problem I have with the mod system is that in theory I need to hold onto every single blue mod in the hope that I get three of them to turn in for the purple variant. As a result I regularly have no room left for mods because the 50 slot inventory is just inadequate. Now they are going to make it so with blue mods you can break them down for gunsmith materials but they will also have a chance of dropping a mod component at the same time. While saving them up for a guaranteed mod is nice… I will absolutely start breaking down every blue i get because I just don’t have the room. They did state that eventually he will sell Kinetic Damage mods which in truth are the only ones we really have a hard time chasing. Side notes… apparently Master Rahool will start straight up selling Legendary Engrams to help those chasing Masterwork weapons, and Benedict will redeem raid tokens before you get your first clear. Additionally faction merchants will only now beckon you… if you have enough tokens to turn in for a faction package. So no more every icon in the tower blinking at once.
Functionally everything I have talked about is coming in either the December 5th update or December 12th. I am going to attempt to list out the various things appearing in each, but I am certain to miss stuff so again I highly suggest you read the blog post and listen to the podcast for yourself.
- Armor Ornaments
- Gunsmith Selling Mods
- Blue Mods Occasionally Dropping Mod Components
- Master Rahool sells Legendary Engrams
- Benedict allows immediate raid token turn-in
- Reputation Token Economy changes – way more tokens per activity but slightly higher turn in amounts
- Cayde’s Treasure Map Minimum Payout
- … and of course the Curse of Osiris storyline and related stuff
- Masterwork Weapons
- Selection of Faction Armor/Weapons Purchasable for Legendary Shards
- Xur Changes – Fated Engram + Three of Coins
- Zavala/Shaxx sell Gift consumables that give interesting bonuses
- No More Empty World Chests
- Vendors leave you alone until ready to turn a package in
All of this sounds great to be honest. The problem is we rarely get one of these posts like this. All the player base really wants is to know what is coming down the pipe and roughly when they can expect it. This is true for Bungie and Destiny but also equally true for World of Warcraft or any persistent game that receives a constant slow trickle of content. Sure dates may not be final and they can shift and slip… but it is still nice to know what exactly we are waiting on. I can only hope that this is the beginning of them giving us more information in greater detail… but in truth I feel like this is triage to stave off the angry pitchfork mob. As players we get deeply invested in these games, and to hear them talk about it as a Hobby is a step in the right direction. I would love to see one of these posts each time there is a content drop brewing just to let us know what folks are thinking and how they plan on addressing the concerns of the community. Deej and Cosmo both do excellent jobs of giving us information… when they are allowed to. Most of the frustrations with online games in general come from a feeling of not knowing what is going on in this thing that we are spending so much of our time doing. If we got a monthly post that outlined the timeline of what they were thinking about doing during that month… I feel like we would be in a much better state and more willing to give the benefit of the doubt. However this is a double edged sword and they talk about it a bit in the podcast. They have been so gun shy to say anything because they don’t want an idea they had to turn into a promise when they maybe don’t even know if it is possible yet. In the end… its a tricky situation but I think the combination blog post and podcast were the right decision to make at this time. I’m pretty excited about a bunch of the quality of life changes, and ready to tear into the new content next Tuesday. My sodium levels have lowered greatly.