In its latest weekly blog post Bungie laid out plans to address some of players’ biggest complaints about the current state of Destiny 2, including how content disappears once a season ends and the game’s recent emphasis on grinding bounties.
Destiny 2 operates on a seasonal basis with new activities, quests, and guns rotating in about every three months or so. Once a season concludes, returning players don’t have a chance to take part, not only missing out on gear but also the narrative throughlines that connect each season’s plot to the game’s overarching storyline. This model has been responsible for a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out), with players feeling the need to regularly log in and treat Destiny 2 like a job rather than explore it at their own leisure. And it’s also led to some of the game’s better quests being unnecessarily retired before some people ever get to see them. Bungie wants to change that.
“Beginning in Season 12, the core parts of the activity experience will live on after the Season has ended,” creative director Evan Nikolich wrote. “For late players joining in future Seasons, we want to give you the opportunity to jump straight into the heart of the older activity experiences without all of the previous Season-specific requirements.”
As an example, under this new system Season of Dawn’s “Saving Saint-14″ quest, Devil’s Ruin and Bastion exotic quests, and Sundial activity would all still be in the game. The Obelisks and their associated Fractaline currency, however, would be gone, so players who missed out on Season of Dawn’s original run could still go back and experience the meat of that season without having to grind its Obelisks. This is already what Destiny 2 does for power levels, boosting all players up to a new baseline when the yearly expansion comes out rather than making them grind from scratch. It makes sense that this same logic would apply to content from past seasons.
Each season’s loot would remain for the duration of the year it first appeared. Players running next year’s version of the Sundial would still be able to earn its loot even once a new season had started. Some season-specific loot will also drop in non-seasonal activities like Crucible or Strikes to help them remain more relevant. To help bridge the gap in the meantime, Bungie is going to add some select weapons from Seasons 8, 9, and 10 back into the loot pool for Season 11 via a special new engram drop.
The other big changes Bungie outlined were for bounties. Since each season revolves around a battle pass and the fastest way to level up that battle pass and collect its loot is to earn XP, bounties, the most efficient way to earn XP, have become central. The result is the start of every Destiny 2 session starting the same way: with a tour of the Tower and its vendors to stock up on bounties in order to rank up the battle pass a bit before logging back off.
“Bounties have come to be a central mechanic for any repeatable activity content in Destiny, so much so that we’ve seen them move towards being mandatory chores rather than opportunities to optimize,” wrote design lead Tyson Green. “We have some changes coming to help bring things back into balance.” Green didn’t go into many specifics, but here’s a quick overview of some of the changes coming in Season 12:
- Weekly bounties will be replaced by account-wide objectives that get added every week and grant more battle pass progress.
- Regular bounties will be “tilted” back in the direction of feeling more optional.
- Adjustments to the role bounties play in seasonal events like Guardian Days and The Dawning.
- A way to access new bounties directly from the Destination Map rather than needing to visit the vendor in-person.
- Bounties that are less restrictive in terms of how you play and offer more leeway in how long you have to turn them in.
Some of the changes coming in Season 12 and beyond are ones game director Luke Smith had previously hinted at in his own Director’s Cut post back in February, but the new specifics help paint a picture of a Destiny 2 that’s much more forgiving and whose grind will potentially prove more varied in Year 4.
There are plenty of other problems responsible for making the current Season of the Worthy feel like a real low point for Destiny 2—not the least of which is the outsized role the Eververse microtransaction shop plays in players’ abilities to customize their Guardian—but it certainly sounds like Bungie has learned a lot from the first year of the game’s new seasonal model and is ready to try and right the ship.