Throughout three years of Destiny and its sequel, several things have remained consistent. The shooting has always felt great. The aliens have always been fun to kill. And Bungie has always been unable to communicate with players in a way that doesn’t piss them off.
On Friday, Bungie announced plans to change the game’s experience system after players discovered that it was rigged against them, which felt particularly odious because it was connected to the real-life-money Eververse store. Then, on Saturday, hardcore Destiny 2 players found that their experience sliders were moving more slowly than before. On Sunday, the studio sent out a tweet saying, “The Destiny 2 API has yet to be adjusted to reflect the recent in game change to earned XP. We are working on an API update to address the discrepancy. The correct value to earn an additional level is 160,000 XP.” In the past, players had used said API (which allows third-party apps to interface directly with the game) to determine that you’d level up at 80,000 XP. In other words, it seems like the number has doubled.
The sketchiness of the experience system has frustrated players, but perhaps most infuriating for the community is Bungie’s unwillingness to address so many of the complaints that have been simmering in the three months since Destiny 2 came out. Every day, hardcore Destiny players have put together long lists of gripes about the lack of meaningful endgame content, the inadequacy of the Iron Banner PvP event, the frustrating dependence on tokens for loot rewards, and much more.
It all peaked in hilarious fashion during a stream for Destiny 2's first downloadable content, Curse of Osiris, last week, when community manager David “Deej” Dague promised that a new public event would be the most rewarding yet, only to open up a chest and receive two tokens and a common blue engram. (“#twotokensandablue” instantly started trending on Twitter.)
Of course, we’ve been here before. Since Destiny’s launch in September 2014, the veteran development studio has seemed unwilling or unable to be transparent with fans. (From what I hear, the company remains unwilling or unable to be transparent with many of its own employees, too.) As Destiny went through its ups and downs, Bungie never stopped obfuscating, doing its best to keep even the most basic mechanics as opaque as possible, sticking with marketing plans full of smarmy teases and dripfeed PR streams.
Over the weekend, Destiny 2 director Luke Smith promised that he and project lead Mark Noseworthy will be addressing gripes this week. “Next week the Destiny 2 team will detail the systems side of the December update. It includes: economy updates (vendors & acquiring their gear, tokens, legendary shards), investment updates (new reward systems for weapons & armor) gameplay updates, and more,” he wrote on Twitter. “Additionally, [Noseworthy] and I will also be answering some questions and addressing community feedback we’ve been reading since launch.”
That’s the Destiny cycle. Months of silence, then the promise of transparency. And it goes on and on and on. But hey, at least the shooting’s still fun.