Destiny 2's Best Loot Mechanic From Last Year Is Coming Back

Illustration for article titled Destiny 2's Best Loot Mechanic From Last Year Is Coming Back
Screenshot: Bungie

Destiny 2's Umbral Engrams and Prismatic Recaster from season 11 are coming back in season 13, Bungie announced in this week’s blog post. That’s great news, considering it made for one of the better loot grinds in the game’s recent past.

Unlike most Legendary Engrams in Destiny 2, which decrypt into random gear you have no control over, Umbral Engrams can be “refocused” in the Prismatic Recaster (a weird vat of soupy space magic) into specific pieces of gear more likely to have certain perks or stats. There’s still some RNG involved, but it’s far from being the driving force behind the grind. Plus, the guns that Umbral Engrams could decrypt into were all pretty great. The whole progression system was so popular, in fact, Bungie is now planning to bring it back, but with added capabilities.

“The Prismatic Recaster returns as a kiosk with the capability to change Umbral Engrams into Focused Umbral Engrams, which contain a smaller loot-table,” the studio writes. “Because Umbral Engrams are here to stay, the new Recaster will have different pages for each Season, and you will be able to Focus engrams to the Season of your choice.”

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Screenshot: Bungie

This is part of Bungie’s new commitment to reducing seasonal “FOMO” (fear of missing out) and making sure the new missions and activities added every few months stick around for the whole year rather than disappearing once the new season starts. For example, Season of the Hunt’s Wrathborn Hunts and corresponding story quests will continue until the end of the game’s most recent Beyond Light expansion. Umbral Engrams and the Recaster, meanwhile, will provide a new means of getting targeted loot from prior seasons without being completely at the mercy of RNG. It’s really cool to see.

At the same time, like all things Destiny 2, this news cuts multiple ways. Am I excited for one of the game’s better loot mechanics to return? Of course. Do I want to work on upgrading the Recaster all over again in order to have a better shot of unlocking the exact gear I want? God no. It remains to be seen what loot Umbral Engrams will contain next season, and what will be involved in re-outfitting the new Recaster, but I’m skeptical it won’t feel like I’m repeating chores I already finished. And of course looming over all of this is the specter of sunsetting which gives all the loot you get in Destiny 2 an expiration date.

The other big news this week is that Bungie is adding a new tier of Titles to the game that will effectively let players re-grind and “prestige” core Titles—Flawless, Conqueror, Unbroken, Dredgen—that they’ve already completed. Doing so will add a gilded border. At the end of the season, however, these borders will go away, encouraging players to complete new challenges to achieve super cool status all over again in the following season. I’ve never been very invested in Titles and Triumphs, but have always admired those who have, and the nice little badges that pop up across the screen when you’re inspecting the build of a player who has one.

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It’s the permanence though that makes them so special, and adding a gilded achievement that resets every couple months just feels like another symptom of Destiny 2 becoming too seasonally focused. Like cycling content in and out, and sunsetting loot, some aspects of the game are beginning to feel like more of a rat race than ever, and I’m not here for it. But at least Umbrals Engrams are back.

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com

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I had to confirm via a Ctrl-F that the word “grind” only actually appeared three times in the article, because the placement of the words in question and the overall theme of Destiny 2's core mechanic might as well have turned the whole article into “grind grind grind grind” sung to the tune of the old Meow Mix commercial.

Someone needs to explain to me what appeal that damn game has beyond its Skinner Box addiction loop, because I really, really don’t get it.