Bungie has always said that they have long-term plans in regards to Destiny and its future. Today they announced a lot of those plans, which seem to be actively shaped by player feedback since the game’s launch over two weeks ago. Many of the problems being addressed are issues that have been brought up by reviews and community feedback alike, such as voice chat, loot drops and weapon balance.
First up Bungie explains some of the long-running problems that players have had with the Cryptarch and the engrams that he decodes for you. Apparently early in development you would receive whatever color weapon the engram matched, so if you had a purple engram you would get a purple weapon 100% of the time. This was changed to add a bit of randomness and fun to the act of decoding engrams. Unfortunately it resulted in player frustration as the random elements could cause anger. “Players see what looks like the familiar metaphor of item identification, while the Cryptarch thinks he’s opening a grab bag of loot. Rage sharding of blues ensues. Expect to see changes to address this soon.”
The post goes on to explain some of the reasons behind the elimination of Destiny’s popular Loot Cave exploit. “But shooting at a black hole for hours on end isn’t our dream for how Destiny is played. Our hope is that social engagement in public spaces is only one part of the Destiny experience. Expect changes soon which decrease the efficiency of cave farming and correspondingly increase engram drops from completing activities.”
Further into the post Bungie gets into their plans to fix a big problem that Destiny has had since the Beta, the lack of in-game voice communication. “Our vision for Destiny is that all players, even matchmade players in the Crucible, Strikes, the Tower or public spaces, be able to communicate with one another in a way that promotes positive socialization. Voice communication is the easy answer, but existing voice paradigms, including those in our own Halo games, have not done enough to protect players from abusive griefing from a minority of players. Destiny’s near-term solution will be to allow players to opt-in to voice communication during matchmade activities. Work on this feature was underway at launch and should be rolled out this year in Strikes and the Crucible.”
The other major change coming to Destiny is a number of weapon balances. I’ll include that entire section below since there is a lot that Bungie will be changing in the future. None of these changes, aside from the elimination of Loot Cave farming are in effect yet, but Bungie is determined to get them out soon.
Our goal when balancing Destiny is to never have one player choice– for example a choice of class or weapon– either be so much better than the alternatives that it is the only valid choice or to be so much worse that it would always be a mistake to choose. When we are successful with this kind of balance the result is a wide set of equally compelling player builds, some of which may be preferred by one player or another but none of which is an absolute right or wrong choice.
Exotic Weapons are designed to look, feel and sound overpowered, but to not actually break the game. We hope these weapons challenge the way players think about their loadouts and expect their idiosyncrasies to sometimes be a little frustrating. We find ourselves wanting to collect them all and hope players feel the same way.
Not all our Exotic Weapons currently live up to this promise. In particular those weapons received from completing exotic bounties including Thorn and Bad Juju have disappointed many of us who have gone through the great effort to obtain them because, despite looking and sounding amazing, they feel underpowered. We’re here to offer some advice: don’t shard those guns. Their time will come.
The Auto Rifle archetype is designed to appeal to players who like to throw up a wall of bullets and not worry if a few miss their target. It is intended to inflict sustained damage at close to medium range, but to lose effectiveness at longer ranges.
Today the Auto Rifle is too effective at long range, even beating Scout and Pulse Rifles in some circumstances. Expect stability and/or damage adjustments to the Auto Rifle to address this in the weeks ahead.
Scout Rifles are for players who like to keep their enemies at medium range and hate to miss. They are intended to be an awkward weapon to use at close range but to be dominant– as long as you land your shots– at medium and longer ranges.
Scouts just aren’t hitting hard enough today when compared to other precision weapons. We’ll be addressing this soon.
Shotguns are for those situations where you need to deliver a massive spike of damage, right now, to the thing standing next to you about to do you harm.
Today shotguns are effective beyond their intended range, especially when upgraded with that intention. Expect changes soon to address shotguns which push the envelope of what it means to be close quarters.