The gear system in Destiny is no stranger to controversy. From the infamous loot caves discovered by players shortly after launch last year, to the complete retooling given to the engram system after many complaints, Bungie has had to put in some serious work to keep Destiny‘s players happy while also attempting to stay true to their vision for the game.
So while today’s news that Destiny‘s next expansion will not feature a new raid is certainly a bombshell, Bungie also teased some changes to the gearing system in House of Wolves that could serve to win back player support.
In a post to Bungie.net, the developer noted that next Wednesday, April 22, it will give players a tour of The Reef, which is likely a new social space for players. But more importantly, Bungie will take part in a live discussion about the upgrade paths for existing gear.
It sounds like there will be a method players can use to continue to upgrade current gear to max level in House of Wolves. Bungie seems to understand how sensitive players are about the gearing system, because it took the time in its blog to speak directly to players.
“Next week we’ll be kicking things off by revealing an upgrade path for your existing Exotic and Legendary Gear. We know this is an important subject for you.”
While Bungie has at times tried to distance Destiny from the MMO genre, it’s clear that Destiny is an online game in a persistent virtual world that uses a gear treadmill to keep players engaged. Any MMO veteran knows all too well the disappointment that can come from having existing gear made instantly worthless by a new expansion. When The Dark Below released, it contained brand new gear that was considerably better than what players had spent weeks farming in the Vault of Glass, which didn’t sit well with some players because the game had only been out for a few months at that point.
Now, it appears Bungie is going to address that specific point, as evidenced by the image of Fatebringer in their post. Currently, Fatebringer is one of a handful of useful Legendary weapons that players have oft-requested an attack power boost for. Vault of Glass raid weapons are among Destiny players’ favorites, and some of the best the game has to offer, so seeing them finally get bumped up to the upcoming max attack level of 365 would be huge.
If Bungie has indeed come up with a viable method for letting players make their current Legendaries usable in the next expansion, this could go a long way towards getting the developer some goodwill with its player base. The fact that there is not another raid coming may help, as there is no need to design brand new sets of raid gear that are clearly better than everything else in the game.
What would be really beneficial and unique, however, would be if Bungie introduced a system where gear could be continuously upgraded to stay competitive with each new content patch or raid, not just now, but far into the future. Raiders will of course still need some sort of exclusive loot, but allowing more casual players who just don’t have the time to farm end game content over and over a chance to gradually improve their existing gear could cause a lot of inactive players to get back into the game.
Destiny is out now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. House of Wolves will release in May. More details on Destiny’s upgrade path for existing gear will be announced April 22.