Once again Bungie is having a change of heart on how things work in Destiny 2.
While we covered some of the upcoming alterations already, which sound good on paper, a new Bungie blog is covering power levels. In case you don't play Destiny 2: power levels are basically just an extension of the "gearscore" mechanic from MMOs, which measure the efficacy of your gear to properly slot you into certain (usually endgame) activities. It used to be called "light level," but things changed over time.
The short of it? Bungie is changing the infusion system (literally infusing gear into other gear to increase its level). The team wants plays to "more standout gear," more frequently, so they will be sunsetting "best in class gear" after a certain amount of time; basically so that people don't use the same weapons over and over. This is all part of a philosophy that allows for a "cycling endgame meta."
Legendary weapons will have a "max power level," while exotics will eschew that maximum entirely. Power levels for the former will be visible so you can "plan accordingly," and when season 12 kicks off, Season 1-8 gear will be slated to have a max power level at the Season 11 cap. You can find a full breakdown of the system below, excised from the lengthy explanation.
The goal for all this, Bungie says, is thus: "We want the sandbox to feel interesting, exciting, and dynamic, and to evolve in compelling ways over time in the same way that the game evolves." Going forward, the groundwork for these changes will be laid in Season 11, but Season 12 is really when you're going to start seeing them in action for real.
As someone who has played Destiny since the alpha of the original: I'm not sold on this. MMOs follow the sunsetting mentality like clockwork (much to the chagrin of some), but as Bungie has shown time and time again, shoving MMO sensibilities into this series, especially part of the way through an interation's lifecycle, never really comes together like they think it should.
As far as I can tell, this could lead to more grinding as old gear (both weapons and armor) becomes less relevant: and Destiny 2 doesn't need more of that right now. Given how boring and homogenized armor feels most of the time, lumping armor in too feels like an unnecessary hit, and a harder pill to swallow than just cycling out weapons. There's still time to tweak things, but for now I'm wary.
It's weird that after all this time Bungie never really embraced what made Destiny so great in the first place: it's action-packed, mechanically perfect gunplay that is still arguably the best in the industry. It's tried to limit its playerbase and create artificial MMO-like mountains to climb since the original loot cave was eliminated, all the way up to this very decision. Although the content itself has pretty much always been sound (minus the "micro-DLCs" like Warmind and Curse of Osiris), the way you actually consume it has felt askew and convoluted.
And we still don't have proper matchmaking for endgame content, despite the adherence to many other MMO sensibilities that directly clash with the game. It boggles the mind sometimes!
This Week at Bungie [Bungie.net]