Bungie finally shed some light on Destiny 2’s upcoming transmog options in a blog post today. The new system, called Armor Synthesis, will be added to the loot-shooter service game within a few weeks, fulfilling a long-standing request of the Destiny community. Unfortunately, its implementation sounds like more of a grind than anything you’d find in SSX Tricky or Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
As with all things Destiny, today’s announcement is a whole lot to parse. Let’s start by breaking down the basics:
- Defeating enemies will grant you a new resource called Synthstrand.
- You can spend that Synthstrand on transmog-specific bounties—called “Armor Synthesis bounties”—by visiting Ada-1, a vendor in the Tower. Based on Bungie’s blog post, these bounties look no different than the typical bounties you’d pick up from bounty vendors for Crucible, Vanguard, Gambit, or what have you.
- Completing those bounties will earn you Synthcord, which you can then convert at the Loom in the Tower into, bear with me, Synthweave.
- In the Collections menu, you can spend earned Synthweave on unlocked armor appearances, which will convert those unlocks into Universal Armor Ornaments.
Yeah, my face hurts, too. But wait, there’s more!
“If you pick up the wrong bounty, some of the Synthstrands will be refunded if you choose to abandon it. But not the full amount, so think carefully before abandoning,” reads Bungie’s blog post.
What’s more, you’ll only be able to apply transmog cosmetic options to Legendary gear, so no applying Universal Armor Ornaments to Exotic armors. Bungie says this decision was made so players will be able to “quickly identify and understand what Exotic perks a player may have in all activities.”
There’s also a limit on how many customization options one account can get. During each season of Destiny, players can earn up to ten Synthweave per class. Bungie says that, as a one-time bonus during a future, currently unnamed season, players will be able to earn up to 20 Synthweave per class.
According to Forbes writer and frequent Destiny commentator Paul Tassi, it would take about 33 years’ worth of Destiny 2 seasons to grind enough Synthweave to modify all current armors.
And this all ends up where you might expect: microtransactions. At the Eververse shop—the in-game storefront where you can spend real-world money on Destiny cosmetic options—you can buy a Synthweave template, which includes one Synthweave, for 300 silver. A Synthweave bundle, meanwhile, will give you five Synthweave. That costs 1,000 silver. You can buy 500 silver for $5.
So to summarize, instead of just letting you modify your outfits as you please, which is all players want, Bungie instead added three new currencies, a new type of bounty, seasonal caps, and a microtransaction. As Ethan Gach, Kotaku’s in-house Destiny expert, put it in Slack today, “this is some Obamacare shit through and through.”
While it’s not crystal clear in Bungie’s blog post, one might guess that the seasonal limit only applies to “earned” Synthweaves, whereas you’d theoretically be able to just buy as many as you want via real currency. Kotaku has reached out to Bungie for clarification.