Another Season of Destiny 2 and another Three Tier Object is here for players to upgrade. Bungie absolutely loves them. Bungie relishes an opportunity for players to collect Mystical Space Resources to upgrade a vendor that seems to only have a three to four month period of functionality.
I’m all for building a system that can be easily understood by the player. Better yet, a system that can be easily implemented by developers without having to recreate the wheel every single time. But, I must admit, these Three Tier Objects are getting a little stale.
What is a Three Tier Object? I hear you ask. Good question. I don't know what its proper name is, but It’s one of these things.
It’s a screen with three lines of seven blocks. Each block you unlock improves some aspect of the seasonal activity and you can (typically) only go to the next line when you unlock the equivalent item in the previous line. Sometimes Bungie will prevent progression until the entire tier is unlocked.
If memory serves, it all started back in Season of the Worthy with the Bunkers. Season of the Worthy is, in my opinion, one of the worst times in Destiny 2’s life, ignoring Curse of Osiris. In Season of the Worthy, I fell off Destiny 2 faster than the kill volume will annihilate you in the S.A.B.R.E. Strike boss fight. The whole experience just didn’t feel very good.
The Season had such little impact on me that all I could remember about it for our All Seasons guide is that there were Seraph Tower public events (where you’d wind up struggling to find teammates), Trials of Osiris (more like Trials of Jumping Off Edges), and the Seraph Bunkers. And since then, Bungie has been unable to shake off its obsession with Three Tier Objects.
The Prismatic Recaster from Season of Arrivals affected the Umbral Decoder.
Varik’s Sabotage from Beyond Light granted you increased resources while on Europa and other things to do with Empire Hunts.
The Hammer of Proving offered bonuses for smashing chests.
And now there’s the Splicer Gauntlet which affects Override and Ether acquisition.
All of these Three Tier Objects required some kind of funky currency that was sparingly handed out during the Season. If you played regularly, you could systematically upgrade the TTO until you had everything unlocked. At this point, the season was likely reaching its climax and you could spend the remaining weeks farming for gear a bit easier than you could at the start of the season.
These things obviously work. It gives players a set of goals they can see, but it also prevents them from actively pushing through content as quickly as they want. In Season of the Splicer, once you hit Rank 32, you’ll just need to wait for each weekly challenge to unlock before you get more Decrypted Data to feed to the Splicer Servitor.
I still maintain that the best implementation of one of these Three Tier Objects was Season of Opulence with its Chalice of Opulence. Though progression was conservatively offered out over time, each tier upgrade offered major improvements for the gear you would be farming. It also required some thoughtful interaction beyond unlocking everything and then forgetting about it.
While these Three Tier Objects are no doubt here to stay, I would love to see them implemented in a new way. Bungie, give me more Chalice of Opulence and less three lines of seven blocks. Please and thank you.