Destiny 2 – Here’s how Bungie plans to revamp Gambit, Endgame challenges and more in Shadowkeep

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Bungie just kicked off a new three-part series on their website where they’re detailing what kind of changes players can expect to face within Destiny 2 once Shadowkeep rolls around in October. But to know what’s coming, you’ll need to face a creature more terrifying than Atheon in the Vault of Glass or Kell’s Scourge: A wall of text.

There’s a LOT of detail to digest, but if you’re looking for a cliff notes version of how Gambit is changing, what’s happening to the Eververse store and how Shadowkeep will ship with a jar of KY Jelly for Warlock players as they get f***ed once again. then scroll on down to hear what game director Luke Smith had to say!

Eververse store

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It ain’t going anywhere! Even with Activision no longer pulling their strings, Tess Everess will still be manning her kiosk in the Tower with her selection of Microtransaction vanity items. If you’re thinking that Eververse exists merely to make some extra coin for Bungie, you’d be 100% right. But remember, this coin is used to fund development and provide a source of income for future game development.

Yes, game developers also like to eat. Crazy right? “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!),” Smith said. Beyond that, there will be changes in how Eververse operates in the months to come, as character classes will get their own pages of ornaments and, a deeper separation between vanity and gameplay items while also introducing set discounts for items that require the Silver currency.”The cost to finish the set in Silver will be reduced,” Smith said.

We are continuing to try and separate capability/gameplay from vanity. Armor 2.0 and Universal Ornaments are big parts of this separation.

General fixes

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There’s an old adage about Destiny 2: The more something is fixed, the more something else is broken within the game. A tradition that Bungie wants to nix as they go into the Shadowkeep era of their sandbox, but they also want to explain why stuff keeps breaking. “While content for Destiny is released serially, it is largely developed in parallel,” Smith explained.

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. Perhaps most importantly, Smith outlined how Destiny 2’s production line plays into repeat problems – that is, the old ‘one step forward, two steps back’ problem which live games like Destiny 2 often run into.

Gambit

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In its current state, Destiny 2’s PvPvE mode Gambit is two games: One catered towards a more casual crowd and the other having a more specialised feel with matches often coming down to the wire. Earlier this year Bungie released the Season of the Drifter within its annual pass and while that period of Gambit-centric activity may have revamped the mode significantly, it’s an idea that the studio doesn’t look too keen to repeat in the future.

“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,” Smith said.

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.

I’ve got a feeling that Bungie is looking to push Gambit Prime forward thanks to its quicker and tenser match-ups, leaving vanilla Gambit to get the axe in the near future.

Power creep

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With the addition of The Reckoning as another game mode within Destiny 2, players had yet another activity to tackle in an effort to increase their power. It’s a fun time to be had make no mistake, but Smith thinks that Reckoning may be a prime example of how Destiny 2 currently has a power creep problem that is tied to some balance issues. “The first time I used Phoenix Protocol at home, I knew it was over,” Smith explained.

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 … 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.

The overall effort then, will be focused on a whole bunch of nerfs and buffs across the board, while also once again killing Warlocks and their Well of Radiance because nuking the Voidwalker wasn’t good enough.

Endgame challenge

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Speaking about the Warlock and their glorious Well of Radiance, Bungie is looking to break players out of their current builds and force them to experience the game from brand new directions as the power they’ve built up over the last two years is torn apart and rebuilt entirely. “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,” Smith said.

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.

In a nutshell, that means that players can expect a more challenging endgame that is aimed at revitalising the PvE side of Destiny 2. Too long, didn’t read? Here’s the tweetable synopsis: Big changes are coming to how Destiny 2 will play, with the Warlock getting buggered yet again.

Last Updated: August 14, 2019

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