I’m playing Destiny again. No, wait. I’m back in the Tower hub for Destiny, but I’m playing Destiny 2. What happened? Also, why is my level 750? Why do I have a big fiery hammer superpower instead of my electric Tron shield? What happened to the farm hub? Where do I go next? What do I do now? I don’t even know what’s real anymore.
If you’ve been gone from Destiny 2 for a spell, (maybe to play other looter shooters) you’ll probably be as confused as I was. Things are kind of the same, but different. Destiny 2 is free to play now. No, really. Bungie just launched the Shadowkeep expansion, added a battle pass progression system with premium and free tracks, then made the base game along with a lot of previous expansion content free for anyone to try out. They also replaced the story start with a completely open Tower hub. Oh, Bungie moved the game from Battle.net to Steam for PC players as well! They’ve been busy, these rascals.
Confusing beginning aside, the strategy is probably a good one. In the absence of a cherry deal from a publisher or exclusive store, revitalizing an older title that always had a mixed reputation requires drastic measures to attract players. Everyone loves free stuff.
Bungie has released more details of Destiny 2’s planned move from Activision Blizzard’s Battle.net service to Steam. Beginning August 20th, PC players will need to go to this site and follow the instructions to migrate their accounts. That move will transfer the player’s expansions, loot, characters, and stats to the new service permanently, and allow them to continue playing the game. After October 1st, Destiny 2 not be available on Battle.net, and you’ll have to start over on Steam with a new account if you haven’t completed the move.
On August 21st, platform cross-saves come to Destiny 2. Players can designate an active account to play on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, or Google Stadia as they wish. Play for a few minutes in the morning on PC as you wait for your oatmeal to cook, hit up the break room Xbox One at work during lunch, then come home and unwind on your living room PlayStation 4. Cross-play won’t be supported, but logging in and playing from any valid platform is a convenience.
The Destiny 2: Shadowkeep expansion launches on October 1st.
Bungie is revamping the in-game store for Destiny 2. The Eververse, as it’s called, has always been a source of controversy for players, but Bungie hopes the upcoming changes will elevate it into more of a revenue generator. First, all Eververse armor will become Universal Ornaments, meaning they’ll be turned into purely cosmetic bits that can be applied to any legendary armor. You’ll get the spiffy new helm look, but keep all the underlying buffs and stats. Second, Bright Dust is changing from a currency to a reward. You’ll earn it for finishing bounties, and once you complete your weekly bounties Bungie will give you other ways to earn more. Finally, Eververse loot will no longer dismantle into Bright Dust. Breaking up that junk will give you Legendary Shards and Glimmer, which you’ll be able to spend in exchange for Collections. I’m sure all this means something to Destiny players, but it’s Foozles and Whatzits to me.
The changeover will happen on September 17th, so Bungie recommends that if you’re sitting on a pile of stuff to dismantle, you should do it before the update to maximize your Bright Dust payout. Coincidentally (or not) the PC version of Destiny 2 will be moving from Activision Blizzard’s Battlenet to Steam around that same time.
The future is bright for Destiny 2, according to Bungie’s Luke Smith. The latest weekly update from Bungie features a post from the game’s director addressing the news that Bungie is parting ways from Activision. Smith stresses that the studio will continue to work on the Destiny universe and that Destiny 2’s content updates are continuing as planned. In a separate announcement, Blizzard assured fans that the PC version of Destiny 2 will continue to live on the BattleNet launcher for the foreseeable future.
Bungie also thanked partners Vicarious Visions and High Moon Studios for their work on Destiny content. Since both studios are owned by Activision, it’s unlikely they will continue their relationship.
“We’re thinking about what it means to be truly independent, what it means to self-publish, and crucially, what Destiny’s future can now look like for our players.”
What happens with Destiny 3? Where will Bungie find development funding outside of Destiny 2’s revenue? Speculation has been running rife since the breakup announcement. Whatever the company decides to do, players are keen to see what a “truly independent” Bungie looks like.
You can grab a free copy of Destiny 2 on PC right now. No strings attached. It’s the regular base game of Destiny 2 that people paid full price to experience at launch last year. You just need to go through your Battle.net account and claim your copy before November 18th. It’s yours to keep as long as you add it to your account by then.
You’ll want to pick up a copy of the Forsaken expansion if you want all the most recent high-level goodness, but free is a pretty good price for at least twenty hours of the base campaign and multiplayer. If you really need to give Activision money, there’s always plenty of in-game stuff to buy. PC players that actually paid for Destiny 2 will get a free in-game emblem to mark their sacrifice.
Claim your free copy of Destiny 2 on PC here until November 18th.
Beginning on October 16th, owners of Destiny 2’s latest expansion, Forsaken, will get all the content from the expansion pass. That’s everything from the Curse of Osiris and Warmind packs. According to Bungie’s post, the content is being rolled together to streamline the process of bringing on new players. It makes sense because many popular MMOs and “games as a service” experiences do the same thing. Easing the barrier to entry can better entice fresh players and keep the community going.
Every player of Destiny 2 who has yet to touch down on the Tangled Shore will need only the Forsaken upgrade.
If you jumped on Forsaken already, you’ll get a bunch of in-game items as an acknowledgement of your loyalty. There’s nothing quite like wearing a cosmetic doodad to tell everyone you paid full price for something.
That’s hunky star Nathan Fillion playing Nathan Drake in an Uncharted short film. While it’s an unofficial fan production, this is something fans of the Naughty Dog action game series have wanted to see for a long time. Thankfully, director Allan Ungar did too. Between ABC’s The Rookie going from pilot to series, Fillion was able to squeeze in some time for the passion project.
“This is what we set up to make, what we set out to do when we sat down for vegan Thai food. It’s a fifteen-minute short film. It’s our tribute to the character. For right now, we’re very happy with this just this being what it is.”
Nathan Drake is famously voiced by Nolan North in the games, so it’s a bit coincidental that at about the same time the Uncharted short was hitting the web, Nathan Fillion confirmed that he does not voice Cayde-6 in Destiny 2’s upcoming Forsaken expansion despite voicing the character previously.
“I wasn’t available for this last instalment – it’s not me doing the voice for Cayde-6. In a wonderful, amazing turn of events – it’s actually Nolan North!”
When a door closes, a window opens. Something like that.
What’s going on with the experience grind in Destiny 2? That’s the question a lot of players have been asking over the long holiday weekend. It all kicked off when an armchair investigator dug into how the game throttles the rate of experience gain for players in certain situations. According to the data collected, players that stuck to the seemingly more lucrative XP activities in Destiny 2 may have actually had their XP scaled back by 90% with no notice. Shortly after the publication of the Reddit post, Bungie admitted that there were some shenanigans going on. They did have a system in place that essentially penalized players that stuck to easily repeatable content.
We are not happy with the results, and we’ve heard the same from the community.
It was a stunning turn of events to fans. The speed with which the developer responded to the initial accusations (over a holiday weekend) emphasized the severity of the breach of trust.
But the issue hasn’t ended yet. Further analysis by fans revealed that after the dynamic XP scaling was removed, Bungie increased XP level requirements by 100% across the board. Bungie has also admitted this is accurate. Any way you slice it, you’re going to grind for longer than you thought you were going to before all this came out.
This installment of live-action videogame theater brought to you by Destiny 2 and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Destiny 2 launches on September 6th for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The PC version follows on October 24th.
The PC version of Destiny 2 will be exclusively on Blizzard’s network. For the first time since its inception as Battle.net in 1996, Blizzard’s back end will be used to host a non-Blizzard game. In their statement, Blizzard explained that creating a new networking system for the PC version of Destiny 2 “would needlessly extend the development period” of their sister company’s game. Blizzard noted that they have no plans to add any other Activision titles to their platform, but they are “potentially evaluating” other opportunities for synergy.
In related news, the PC build of Destiny 2 will support an uncapped framerate, 4K resolution, and configurable controls. By being integrated in Blizzard’s network, Destiny 2 players will also have all the cross-game social features people get in titles like Overwatch, StarCraft 2, and World of Warcraft. Plus, they’ll be able to use their Blizzard Balance to purchase Destiny 2, and presumably that will extend to the in-game purchases as well. Destiny 2 will be available worldwide on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 8th.
It’s been a little more than six months since Tom Clancy’s The Division launched and big changes are afoot. Ubisoft has heard the complaints, collected data, and analyzed the information. They agree that The Division needs some attention. The upcoming 1.4 update leans hard into what the developers term “the importance of gunplay” and making progression more intuitive. Character boosting stats like Firearms, Stamina and Electronics, for example, will be on every piece of loot you equip in the endgame tiers, so gear management more closely resembles the journey in the early part of the game. The Division’s all-important firearms are being walloped with the balance stick so oddities like sub-machine guns outperforming assault rifles won’t be as common. There’s a long and detailed set of data the developers have to back up these decisions, including a few charts. Who doesn’t love charts?
Want to build for the highest possible damage? That’s perfectly fine, but you’ll end up with a gun that might have a big recoil or a small magazine. Or if you prefer, you can build a weapon that is incredibly stable and precise, but you’ll have to sacrifice raw damage. It means that there will be more skill involved in using the weapons, just like in a regular shooter and during the level 1-30 experience, and our hope is that it will lead to much more variety and less cookie cutter weapon setups.
The Division’s 1.4 update is supposed to come out in October, and Ubisoft is taking feedback on the announced changes. Players on the PC version will be able to check out the planned changes on the public test server beginning on September 26th.
Meanwhile, Destiny just released Rise of Iron, their latest major expansion since The Taken King. It brings back Gjallarhorn.
It’s microtransaction time for Destiny and Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Both games are adding new in-game purchasable items, just in time for Christmas.
In Bungie’s Destiny, players now have the opportunity to buy a consumable that instantly boosts one character to level 25. The Taken King expansion came with one free boost that did the same thing, but now players can apply this level-up to another character for $30 more. Sub-class experience will still need to be earned the old-fashioned way, but with this new offering players can bypass all that pesky low-level stuff and get right to the Taken King content. Who really wants to play through a game anyway?
In Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III, cyber-soldiers can purchase Call of Duty Points a new in-game currency that can be traded for Black Market cosmetics for versus multiplayer and consumable boosts for the cooperative zombie mode. Unfortunately for fans of pay-to-win, it appears that the new system won’t allow you to unlock game-breaking advantages.
By most players’ accounts, The Taken King expansion for Destiny and the updates to the main game are a success. The game at launch was criticized for its core loot cycle and level progression being obtuse, unfair, and just too grindy. With the 2.0 revamp, Bungie took a hard look at all the systems and addressed many of the complaints people had. In short, a loot-based action game launched with a screwy drop system and level progression that was unsatisfying, but the developers ditched core mechanics that proved troublesome and made the game better. If that story sounds familiar, it’s because it is.
Kotaku reports that in December of last year, members of the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls team met with Bungie to discuss what they had learned after Blizzard launched their loot-driven game. Namely, that people wanted the illusion of random chance, but that rewards needed to be skewed in favor of the players.
People who were at the presentation say it was extraordinarily helpful for Bungie’s team. One source called it “invaluable.” Others said it drove some of the decisions they made for The Taken King. In previous interviews with Kotaku and other sites, director Luke Smith has talked openly about avoiding randomness and designing quests with guaranteed rewards, an approach that has served Destiny well throughout year two so far. Destiny’s meta-narrative has followed the same path as Diablo III’s: It had a rocky launch, then the developers found redemption.
The turnaround on Destiny was successful enough that Bungie was able to approach Activision with the idea that future content could be supported through in-game purchases of optional content like emotes and cosmetic skins.
“There was a bet that was, ‘Hey if we did microtransactions, I bet you we could generate enough revenue to make up for the loss of DLCs,'” said a source. “Instead of it going Destiny, DLC1, DLC2, Comet, DLC1, DLC2, they’re actually just gonna go [big] release and then incremental release. So it’ll just be Destiny, Comet, Destiny, Comet every year. It’s basically just switching the game to an annual model.”
A little loot distribution from Diablo III and a page taken from buy-to-play MMOs gets you the current strategy for Destiny.
Destiny is being retooled. Bungie announced that the level progression system is being overhauled with the September 15th release of The Taken King expansion. Currently, players of the shooter advance their characters by gaining experience from level 1 through 20. After that point, Light Levels are earned by grinding for gear drops that empower the character builds. It’s why you hear Destiny players talking about Crota’s End, or Trials of Osiris armor all the time. If the random number generator doesn’t cooperate during the drop, the unfortunate soul is doomed to try again. The new system will be based on a straight XP progression for levels 1 through 40 just like it is for the first 20 levels now. Gear will unlock as you level up giving more direct progression feedback. While the Light gear system was good for keeping players involved, the random nature of drops made the system frustrating and hard to balance.
The Taken King will also see another big change to the game. Peter Dinklage’s voice will be gone. Bungie has hired veteran performer Nolan North to redub all of Ghost’s dialog and to take the character forward. Lines like “That wizard came from the Moon!” may not have the same pizazz after the expansion is released. Luckily, we’ll always have “I don’t have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain.”