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7 Tower Thoughts: Divinity & the red-border grind in Destiny 2

We're talking about the Divinity nerf, weapon pattern drop rates, SBMM, and more of what's happening in Destiny 2.

Shacknews
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Greetings, Guardians, and welcome to the first ever 7 Tower Thoughts. This recurring feature will be my place to dig into what’s going on in Destiny 2, offering my take on current conversations surrounding the game. There will be times I cover issues that are serious, times I talk about lighthearted and fun topics, and everything in between. Let’s not waste a second more and dive right in.

Weapon patterns and RNG

A screenshot showing weapon patterns in Destiny 2.
It's a big grind to get weapon patterns (red border drops) in Destiny 2, but you were never supposed to collect them all, Guardian.
Source: Shacknews

It’s fair to say a lot of people would like to see the drop rates of weapon patterns increase in Destiny 2. I’ve heard complaints about how difficult it is to get all 30 patterns required to craft the six Season of Plunder weapons. The thing is, I don’t think it was ever Bungie’s intention to have players craft every (or even most) available weapons. There are currently 61 weapons in Destiny 2 that can be crafted, and if a player manages to craft all of them, that’s theoretically 61 weapons with 5/5 god rolls.

I believe the intention for the weapon crafting system was for players to craft a couple weapons out of each pool. Maybe you craft two weapons from King’s Fall, another two from Season of Plunder, a couple from Dares of Eternity, and you get a few (including the must-have Taipan-4fr) from quests. The intention was never for players to craft all the weapons. 

Now, some of us are going to chase every weapon. It’s what we do, and that’s fine. But we’re the outliers and if we choose to play Ketchcrash for 200 hours for weapon patterns, that’s a choice and not something that’s expected or intended. Bungie is going to make that a grind because crafting every possible weapon was never the goal.

One area Bungie did drop the ball with weapon crafting this season is with the requirement to craft three weapons for the Scallywag title. I understand that titles are aspirational content, but a seasonal title is more about saying, “I was there, and I did that.” Asking players to craft three Season of Plunder weapons for a title only reinforces the mindset that players are expected to grind for weapon patterns.

Bracus Forge, the Cabal, and the Iron Banner

An image showing Empress Caiatl in Destiny 2
Do we really think it's wise to let the Cabal study us in the Iron Banner like they're watching Sunday football?
Source: Bungie

With the Iron Banner set to kick off again on November 15, 2022, I wanted to see if I’m the only one concerned that Bracus Forge and the Cabal are watching us fight in the Iron Banner like it’s Sunday football. Listen to the voice lines before and after matches, and it’s clear that the Cabal are watching us delete each other. Whether they’re studying us or simply watching for entertainment purposes, they’re soaking in how Guardians throw down. 

Now, we are aligned with the Cabal, or at least some of them. While I trust Empress Caiatl and Bracus Forge, there is clearly an issue with dissention among the Cabal. Could we be teaching them how to defeat us, or at least helping them close the gap between our combat skills and their own? Perhaps watching is only teaching them how pointless it would be to fight us. I don’t know, but generally it isn’t ideal to allow potential opponents to study your skills.

Skill Based Matchmaking (SBMM)

An image showing SBMM applied to the Destiny 2 Control playlist
Skill-based matchmaking has been great for some and unwanted by others.
Source: Shacknews

The more I play Crucible with skill-based matchmaking active, the more certain I become that Bungie cannot flinch along this path. They must continue to tweak and improve skill-based matchmaking, but they can’t abandon it. There are simply too many Guardians out there who are feeling good about PvP for the first time in years, myself included.

When I first started playing Destiny 2 on PC, I was using a controller, and I did just fine. I could finish at the top of my team, but I was an average player. Then, I ditched the controller for mouse and keyboard and the struggle began. I had been a controller player my entire life, so the learning curve on mouse and keyboard was steep.

It was pointless to try in Crucible. There was always someone who would stomp me no matter how much I worked on my build or focused. I found myself playing defensively, trying not to die and worrying more about my KDA than if we won or lost. I started to use gross combinations of weapons and builds to get okay results. Mostly, though, my confidence was shattered, and I only played Crucible for loot, or Power, or whatever else, but it was never for the experience.

With SBMM now in the Control playlist for Crucible, I can’t recall the last time I was part of a round that ended with a mercy (outside of Iron Banner). I don't remember the last time I played a game where I felt helpless. Every match I feel like if I put in a good effort; I can help my team win. Mostly, though, I feel a renewed confidence to make plays and try new things. I know that if I push that Guardian under the right circumstances, there’s a good chance I can win the encounter because they’re like me. That confidence builds, and my skill increases, and suddenly Bungie is breathing new life into PvP by empowering its existing players. I know not everyone's experience is like mine, and there are a lot of moving parts to consider, but I hope we push forward with SBMM and create a Crucible that is fun for everyone.

This season is a little slower, and that’s fine

An image showing a Guardian using an emote in Destiny 2
Honestly, I don't mind slower seasons. Lets me catch up on my in-game naps.
Source: Shacknews

We’re starting to see some Guardians talking about how this season is boring or they’re losing interest quicker than usual. Personally, I don’t find the storytelling boring at all, but I would agree that the gameplay loop is less intense than other seasons. But why is that a bad thing? Part of me prefers the Destiny where I’m out of things to do, because that’s when I chase Titles and clean my vault and tidy up my Triumphs. That’s when I raid because I love raiding and not because I’m on that red border grind. That’s when I work through Shadowkeep for the Exotics on alternate characters. It’s like a Destiny vacation and, every now and then, it’s good for you. It lets you take a step back so that you can get yourself fully hyped for the next season or big DLC. My only issue with slower seasons is that Bungie tries to cover them with seasonal grind.

Grandmaster Nightfalls and endgame difficulty

There were some that felt last season featured a rather easy Grandmaster Nightfall rotation. I can see where those folks are coming from, but I also think that the Solar 3.0 and seasonal artifact played a major role in that. We were all benefitting from Classy Restoration or Loreley Splendor Helm, and it was the first season that 100 Resilience would give a 40 percent reduction in the damage you took. In other words, we were able to tank an incredible amount of damage in Season of the Haunted, and the Nightfalls weren’t particularly difficult.

Season of Plunder is looking like a tougher rotation of GMs, though. The Glassway and The Lightblade stand out as two of the tougher ones, and we’re living in a post-Classy Restoration world where the Loreley Splendor Helm only provides x1 Restoration instead of x2. Basically, we’re in for a fight this season, Guardians, and I’m excited. My entire focus this season was on getting GM-ready, whether that was Power, XP, weapon crafting, or experimenting with builds. Nothing in Destiny 2 currently has me as excited as gilding that Conqueror title.

PvE matchmaking

A screenshot showing a Guardian using a Legendary emote in Destiny 2
Instead of letting us matchmake for Master Ketchcrash, we all have to go fumble in Discord.
Source: Shacknews

I’ve seen this debate kicking up quite a bit lately, and the more I think about it the more I feel confident that high-end content should include matchmaking. Yes, Guardians should be able to get matchmaking for raids, for GMs, for Master Ketchcrash, Master Dares of Eternity, and Master Wellspring. There’s no reason in the world that these options don’t exist in the game in 2022 when so many Guardians are solving this problem with LFG Discords. If you’re worried about communication when it comes to raids, simply require a working in-game mic to queue. Forcing people to find third-party solutions is a bad look for a game where almost everything is designed for multiple players.

Divinity gets a nerf

Well, Divinity is finally getting a nerf, and there’s a lot to unpack. First, Bungie has stated that this nerf is not due to the social media debate that’s picked up in the last few months. Second, the nerf seems sensible if you ask me.

Divinity is taking a 50 percent nerf, bringing its global debuff from 30 percent to 15 percent. It’ll still stun Overloads, and it will still create a giant crit spot, so the weapon maintains its identity without pushing all other global debuff options to the side. I can’t think of a downside here, as this will give fireteams more options to consider for damage checks. It should also prevent Bungie from having to pile extra boss health into encounters to counteract Divinity, but that’s speculation.

For anyone who happens to be upset about this, don’t be. Divinity was too strong. There will be those that blame a World First raid legend, but they would be mistaken. Changes like this don’t come about quickly, and Bungie isn’t fumbling around in the dark waiting for players to tell them what works and what doesn’t. This may come as a shock to a few keyboard warriors out there, but Bungie is better at game design that you and I, and they depend heavily on analytics to inform their decisions. Not to say player feedback isn’t a factor, because it is, but one Twitter thread wasn’t the cause of a grossly overpowered Exotic taking a sensible nerf after years in the endgame PvE meta.


Well, Guardians, that was a lot of thinking, and there are sure to be some vastly different opinions. Feel free to join the conversation in the comments below and give me your takes. You can also follow our extensive coverage with our Destiny 2 strategy guide, one of the best Guardian resources on the internet.

Co-EIC

Bill, who is also known as Rumpo, is a lifelong gamer and Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He is known for his guide writing and, unsettlingly enough, enjoys grinding out in-depth collectible articles. Tweet him @RumpoPlays if you have a question or comment about one of his guides.

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