7 Tower Thoughts: Nerfs, costs & systems

Lightfall has released, and while we're still digging into the endgame, we've got thoughts on some other elements including nerfs, costs, and more.


Destiny 2: Lightfall is out and we’ve all had a moment to chew it over. Some parts are a bit gristly while others are delicious morsels. While we’ll continue to cut and bite into the endgame, there are a few things that have piqued our interest over the last week or so. Join us as we sink into our armchairs and think about Destiny 2 in this week’s 7 Tower Thoughts.

Defiant Battlegrounds have perfect add density

A Taken Servitor floats above Taken Thrall

Before we dive into our thoughts on some of Destiny 2: Lightfall’s current problems (not including the campaign which Bill has aptly outlined), it’s important to discuss some good. I think there’s a sandwich named after this technique. The top layer of this sandwich is the new Defiant Battlegrounds.

Similar to Vanguard Strikes, Battlegrounds have players fight through waves of enemies, progress through a level, and ultimately fight a final boss. Battlegrounds, however, seem to provide players with new mechanics and experiences not often seen in your typical Strike. What’s more, Bungie has nailed the enemy density and flow of combat with the Defiant Battlegrounds, almost to the point of being overwhelming.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the onslaught of enemies, especially when coupled with the Warlock’s new Strand subclass. I wasn’t certain I was going to be pulled away from my Starfire Protocol Warlock, but my all-poison build has a certain appeal to it as I watch the damage-over-time tick through the waves of adds.

The number of enemies stands in stark contrast to the Patrol zones and original Strikes, which often feel barren. Hopefully we continue to see Bungie push Destiny 2 to its limits, giving players more enemies on which to use our powerful new tools.

Nerfing of the Duality farm

Earlier this week a farming method was discovered in the Duality dungeon. The first boss could be lured off the edge of the map easily and reliably, and the loot ranged from Artifice armor to Ascendant Shards to Weapon Patterns. Sam and I hopped in and received underwhelming loot for our 20 minutes of farming. I think I ended up with a single Ascendant Shard, a single piece of armor with a decent stat roll (but trash compared to my current stable of Masterworked gear), and one Weapon Pattern. I mean, that’s okay loot, but imagine if that was from a single clear of the full Duality Dungeon on Master. Ouch.

I was a little surprised that Bungie killed the fun so quickly. Sam and I farmed on Tuesday, then it was dead less than 24 hours later. While I know that it couldn’t be left in there forever, would it really hurt to leave it in for a few days? Give the average player a few golf balls (Ascendant Shards) and they’ll start buildcrafting. Give a Guardian a new weapon to craft and maybe they step outside the meta. It’s always rubbed me the wrong way how it can take months to course correct on something that harms or inconveniences players, and how something that benefits players can be nuked from Orbit like Rasputin resurrected faster than Esoterickk can solo flawless a GM.

Character Boost price

Exotic engrams beside a blue icon

There was a hilarious and heartbreaking moment between Sam and I when he was talking to me about clearing the Lightfall campaign on a second character. I asked why I would do this when I could simply buy the Character Boost for 200 Silver. Turns out, I’m just old and misread the cost. It’s not 200 Silver to skip the campaign on a second or third character, it’s 2,000 Silver.

Right now, 2,000 Silver costs $20 USD or $25 CAD. A Guardian who spent eight hours playing the lackluster Lightfall campaign can save 16 additional hours of grinding the campaign for the low price of $40. You know what, let’s pretend you’re really good at the campaign now and you can clear it a second and third time in only eight hours total. Still, are you kidding me, Bungie?

I’m cool with paying higher than expected prices for ornaments, but charging through the nose for skipping content that people have already completed is shady and the folks responsible for this should feel bad.

Commendations don’t feel purposeful

The Commendations screen in Destiny 2

It can be tough to offer critique on a system, especially one like Commendations. I don’t know how Bungie should fix the current state of Commendations but what I know is that it doesn’t feel like it serves a purpose in its current form.

I could harp on about Commendations for probably a feature-length amount of words, and I may just do that, but let’s cut to chase. Right now, Commendations are tied to Guardian Ranks, which means if you want to increase your little number beside your head, you need to beg, farm, or grind out Commendations. Your progress through Destiny 2 is anchored to whether some random player remembers or even knows to give you a Commendation.

I believe I know why Bungie has implemented Commendations. I’d wager it’s tied to the in-game LFG system that’s arriving sometime in the future. It may give newer players an idea of the type of person they’re about to follow through some of Destiny 2’s pinnacle content. But right now, the only thing Commendations are doing is preventing veteran players from differentiating themselves from the players with a six beside their name.


The loadout bar in Destiny 2

For every miss, Bungie delivers a massive hit. For Destiny 2: Lightfall, the massive hit is buildcrafting, specifically, loadouts. The new loadout system is basically magic. I don’t know how it works. I don’t understand why it’s so fast. But with a click of my mouse, I can instantly equip a certain subclass, armor setup, weapons, mods, and even cosmetics. The process is instantaneous.

Sure, you have to do a bit of work to unlock them all, but it’s worth it. Being able to save 10 completely different builds, and switch between them on the fly, is a game-changer. I’ve got about four different Solar builds, each one with a slightly different endgame setup ranging fast boss burning to one designed to do nothing but assist my allies.

And while the mod system has been reduced and simplified, I must admit it’s good to get back to basics. I’ve had to rethink some builds and retool others. It seems like foundational work and I hope Bungie gets kinda crazy with how it evolves mods over time. Pour one out for Warmind Cells, though.

The next reprised raid

The start of the Wrath of the Machine raid with the giant Servitor made out of planes

Looking out at the horizon, I can see another raid. It’s far off, and it’s not clear what it is, but it is coming. Unless Bungie does something dramatic, this will be Destiny 2’s last raid before the big one with The Final Shape. What’s more, the next raid is set to be a reprised raid – but which one?

I’m hanging my hopes on Wrath of the Machine. This was the final raid released for the original Destiny and one I didn’t play nearly as much as the others. After the success of King’s Fall, it would be fantastic to have Bungie tackle another big one from the first game. The only puzzling thing here relates to the enemies in the raid. What would Bungie do about the Splicers?

There are some players who are hoping for a Destiny 2 reprised raid. Personally, I think that would be a miss. Sure, the Leviathan, Eater of Worlds, and Spire of Stars make sense due to the connection to Calus, but those are so much more recent. It’s better for Bungie to bring back really old content instead of something that many Destiny 2 players have already experienced. Plus, we’ve got Vault of Glass and King’s Fall, why not cap it off? The one outlier here is Crota’s End. Surely Bungie wouldn’t revive this as a raid in Destiny 2?

We’re going to fly through the Traveler, right?

The Traveler with the purple triangle cut into it

Lightfall has only just released and we’re still a year out from The Final Shape, but Destiny 2 gets me thinking. We’ve spent so long in the H.E.L.M., operating above Earth to distance the ship and its suspicious contents from humanity, but now that we’re facing a literal portal in the Traveler, things are starting to add up.

Sure, everyone made it very clear that we do not have the technology to travel through the portal. Yet. We’re no doubt working on it. Maybe we revive Savathun and get talking with her about how to do it. But chances are pretty high that we’re going to strap some sort of wild tech to the front of the H.E.L.M. and use the corpse of the traveling god as a portal to another dimension.

That about does it for this installment of 7 Tower Thoughts. We’ve still got more things we want to talk about, but those can wait until a later time. For now, we want to hear from you about some of the topics we outlined here. What do you think of loadouts or the pricing of character boosts? Do you think Wrath of the Machine is coming back? How about our pursuit of the Witness? Join us in the conversation below!

The Destiny 2 Guys

Bill and Sam are the two Shacknews writers who handle the bulk of the Destiny 2 content. As a Hunter and Warlock main respectively, they can cover a great deal of ground with whatever is happening in Destiny 2 today. What they don't know they can find out thanks to their all-star lineup of Destiny 2 friends.

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