Hardcore Destiny 2 players are hoping that the game's challenge level will increase in future after an overwhelming response to the difficulty scaling in Season of the Seraph's Heist Battlegrounds playlist.
Bungie wants to continue to add challenge to Destiny in the Lightfall expansion and beyond, while increasing both core and seasonal activities to give a greater sense of challenge and reward.
Fortunately, the 3.0 changes to the Light subclasses during The Witch Queen's year have not helped make most activities seem legitimately challenging to most players.
Blackburn said his abilities became more powerful during that time, but their synergy with weapons and gear increased the total Power tide for all boats. "We feel that the baseline challenge in most of our content is simply too weak."
To overcome hurdles in two directions, here's how to get things back on track.
Bungie will use a "two-pronged approach" for Lightfall and its seasonal releases to combat Power creep and make Destiny 2 a more engaging experience.
"If we just tuned up our opponents across the game, we would begin to encounter issues where combatants would often one-shot players and would feel super spongy," Blackburn said. "On the other hand, RPG elements would start to feel like they don't matter," and Destiny might lose its core promise of being this powerful battle wizard in space."
Bungie's answer is to make smaller-scale adjustments that can be in sync with one another. We already have a glimpse of the changes coming to abilities thanks to a preview blog on the topic released last week, where the team discussed its intentions to reduce ability recharge time across a wide variety of abilities.
On top of this, the resilience stat will be revamped. It was previously buffed to feel more impactful, but Guardians are now capable of causing enemies to "just don't strike as hard" as Bungie wants them to. Both minor and major variations of Lightfall will have their costs increased by one.
But nerfs to our Guardians alone aren't enough to make Destiny 2 a harder game, as the team feels they're not as intimidating as the team wants them to be. Blackburn notes that the team has been "happy" with the Heist Battlegrounds playlist during Season of the Seraph, and that it will serve as the foundation for their future plans.
Heist Battlegrounds contains a Power cap modifier, which limits how much a Guardian may be over-leveled against enemy combatants, giving Bungie an adjustable dial to make various content easier or harder with ease. In Season of Defiance, the same Power cap will be included as part of the base Battlegrounds playlist.
The core Vanguard Ops playlist will now have this same difficulty change as it does in seasonal Battlegrounds playlists, but the more relaxed Guardian Power limit will allow strikes and legacy Battlegrounds content to still feel "a lot more engaging to the average Guardian." Even patrolling Neomuna will benefit from this feature, although Blackburn admits they don't want the whole game to "feel like it's turned up to eleven."
The future of power
In a closing statement for this section of the post, Blackburn said, "You may have noticed that we have been experimenting a lot with our Power settings over the last few seasons." "We intend on doing even more experiments this year."
„We feel that there are some major issues with Power in Destiny 2 and how it prevents players from seeing some of our finest content, so we'd like to make a major change to the system in The Final Shape.”
Power has been a source of contention in the Destiny community for years. In the old yearly expansion scheme, Destiny 2's shift into more regular seasonal releases has left Power and Power level increases feeling virtually meaningless. Content like Nightfall strikes don't get significantly harder, but require players to re-grind Power levels once more season over season.
For the first time in the game's history, the Power increase coming with Lightfall will be very similar to The Witch Queen.
The major changes to the system that will be included in The Final Shape are still under wraps, but Blackburn claims that they will continue to evolve in development depending on how changes to the current Power settings are implemented throughout the year of Lightfall.
All of these adjustments appear to be ideal on paper to fulfill their intended aim of bringing challenge back to Destiny 2, but it remains to be seen how much their impact will last until Lightfall launches later this month on February 28.