A growing subset of the Destiny 2: Shadowkeep player base is growing frustrated over perceived unfair design at the game's highest Power levels. Multiple threads on the Destiny subreddit are taking issue with Destiny 2's current Max Power level and Pinnacle Power rewards. To put it simply, the only way to climb to Destiny 2's current Power cap is to earn time-gated rewards, rewards that only incrementally increase the player's Power level. To put insult to injury, these Pinnacle rewards can also be duplicates.
The crux of the issue is Destiny 2: Shadowkeep's soft caps for its Power levels. The first soft cap is at Power level 900, after which players can earn upgrades through a variety of specific daily and weekly activities. Dedicated Destiny 2 players can climb from 900 to 950, the second "soft" cap, with relative ease. However, once reaching 950 the Power grind becomes excruciating to a degree where it feels difficult to believe it's an intentional design choice from Bungie.
In their Reddit post "Pinnacle leveling (950-960) is broken. Here's why," Redditor itztherealmojo breaks down the problem. They explain how in order to go from 950 to 951, 951 to 952, and so on, every piece of a players' equipment must all be at the base level, as Pinnacle rewards only provide a +1 bump based on your lowest Power piece of gear. More than that "assuming perfect rng, you need 80 perfect drops ... with no duplicates to hit 960 [from 950]" but "currently there are 5 pinnacle drops per week" and only 7 weeks left in the season.
Reddit user PM_SHORT_STORY_IDEAS explains in a different post how frustrating the experience is. They're sitting at 949, technically in a range where Powerful rewards should help them get to 950. However, since they only need one item, a Chestpiece, to get to 950, they're bottlenecked. They can't progress to 951 until they get that Chestpiece up to 950 first -- and that's while still earning the much more plentiful Powerful Rewards.
There is a counter-argument to players' frustrations upon reaching 950. The argument doesn't negate that the grind at 950 is frustration; everyone seems agreed on that point. The counter-argument is that those final 10 Power levels are intended to be an expansion-long grind, a very limited reward for Destiny 2 endgame players who have reached the pinnacle of Shadowkeep's content. And further, that the content that grants Pinnacle rewards is already the kind of content that endgame Destiny 2 players will regularly be doing -- Nightfalls and raids.
The desire to min/max, to reach the heights of power within a game, is strong. That's particularly true for those who enjoy games like Destiny 2 where the Power crawl is a core part of the Shadowkeep experience. Pinnacle Power levels are clearly not intended to be completed quickly, if at all. That's an understandably frustrating design choice, but it's also fair. It'll be interesting to see if Bungie reacts to players' thoughts on the matter.
Destiny 2 is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.