Today, Joe Blackburn, game director for Destiny 2, took to X (formerly Twitter) and posted a 16-minute video where he spoke directly to the community and promised a free PvP map pack arriving next year. The move comes after Bungie released a State of the Game on August 3, 2023, leaving a terrible taste in the mouths of content creators, media members, and fans alike.
Trying something different, yall have 15 minutes to chat? pic.twitter.com/wzB6xqJPGU— Joe Blackburn (@joegoroth) August 15, 2023
In the video, Blackburn spoke directly to players in a way that Bungie has avoided in resent years. The delivery of the video was both direct and raw, and covered topics like PvP, armor, and Bungie’s communication strategy. After watching it myself, it’s a grand slam for the studio and exactly what was needed.
The big topic was PvP and, more specifically, maps. In recent years, Bungie has either delivered one new map to Destiny 2’s Crucible, or none. This trend was set to continue after the release of the State of the Game, with Bungie stating the following regarding new PvP maps:
As someone who plays Destiny 2, there’s no good way to take that. A studio for a live service game not structured to deliver more than one new PvP map per year is missing the mark. Thankfully, Bungie seems to agree. Starting next year, Destiny 2 will be receiving a map pack each year that contains a bunch of new maps. In addition, Bungie is forming a PvP strike team within the studio to tackle the Crucible specifically.
Another pain point from the State of the Game was the reveal that Bungie wouldn’t be releasing new armor for its ritual playlists every year. Ritual playlists consist of PvP, Strikes, and Gambit. In other words, the free-to-play portion of Destiny 2. As one would expect, players took Bungie not investing in new PvP maps or armor for free modes as not investing in the parts of the game that didn’t directly bring in revenue. Blackburn addressed this in the video, stating that Bungie had decided to focus on armor that players gravitate towards instead of armor that they largely ignored. He explained that this was something that the studio should have communicated to the player a long time ago. To make up for it, Blackburn announced that an armor set destined for Eververse in Season 22 would instead be free to earn as a gesture of good faith.
It's hard not to see this as a good day for Bungie and its Destiny 2 player base. The studio is known for its over-tuned PR that can lack personality. It’s understandable, though, as the abuse of Bungie developers has been well documented as of late. It’s hard to fault a studio for reigning in its communications when the consequences are that dangerous. That said, I thought this was a great move by Blackburn and something that, while not the answer to every problem, was the right move at the right time. As a Destiny 2 player and someone who makes a good chunk of his living off covering the game, I could feel the pressure release instantly when I watched that video. It will be interesting to see how the community reacts, and how that changes the mood for the big Destiny 2 Showcase scheduled for August 22, 2023, where The Final Shape expansion will be detailed.