Destiny 2 game director Luke Smith has released Part 2 of his extensive Director's Cut breakdown of the past and future of the franchise. Part 1 delved into Destiny 2's past, while Part 2 looks forward to the upcoming Shadowkeep expansion. While Shadowkeep will be making big changes to armor and other areas of the game, the heart of the expansion remains power. Power and player agency are a primary focus for Shadowkeep and Bungie is making big changes, from Prime Engrams to world drops.
Prime Engrams are currently a core mechanic for increasing power in Destiny 2. Players earn Prime Engrams simply by playing. They're granted by what's suspected to be a measurement of total enemy kills over a window of time. Players kill a certain amount of enemies and earn a Prime Engram, which is guaranteed to be more powerful than the item that a player currently has equipped. It's a way to ensure that players, no matter what they're doing, are getting stronger just by having fun in Destiny 2.
In Shadowkeep players will start at a minimum power level of 750, guaranteed. Prime Engrams will begin dropping at power level 900. To help smooth what can be a very abrupt change in progression after reaching the endgame, players will accrue Prim Engram "charges" between 750 and 900. This means players will be able to earn more Prime Engrams after 900 than otherwise, without having to wait week-to-week. Engrams will also drop more frequently, so it will feel like constant progress is being made. However, due to this increased drop rate, the relative strength of each single Prime Engram item will be adjusted downward.
Bungie is also making a change to world drops, which after reaching endgame can often feel worthless. World drops in Shadowkeep will have a chance at being equal to the player's current power level. This means that players will at least have a chance of picking up an upgrade for their worst equipment. It's a small but meaningful quality of life change. Now those random Legendary engram drops won't be reliably worthless.
There's much more planned for Shadowkeep beyond adjustments to Destiny 2's power progression mechanics. Through both Destiny and Destiny 2, power has been the driving factor for progression. But as Luke Smith describes, in Destiny 2, "the prestige of power waned." Bungie's going to be experimenting in Shadowkeep. Some examples of that are the new Seasonal Artifact and pinnacle activities. Bungie will be sharing more information on those mechanics, as well as other plans for the future of power, within Shadowkeep and beyond.
Destiny 2 is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with a Stadia version also in development.