Sweeping changes are just over the horizon for Destiny 2, and players aren’t sure how they feel about all of them. One change in particular pertaining to how Orbs of Power are generated immediately sparked heated debate and speculation about just how Bungie can and should handle one of the game’s key mechanics.
For the uninitiated, Orbs of Power are bits of energy that drop from enemies after they’re killed by specially upgraded weapons. Collecting them lessens the cooldown of the game’s most powerful abilities, and can bestow other benefits with the right character build. Today, however, Bungie announced that after the launch of The Witch Queen expansion in February, Orb generation will be tied to armor mods instead of weapon upgrades. Here’s where it gets complicated.
Bungie explained it like this:
Orb generation on weapon multikills will no longer be a function of a weapon’s Masterwork status but will instead be provided by a suite of armor mods, which are unlocked automatically for all players and which plug into the Helmet Armor Mod socket. Each such mod will apply the Orb-generation effect to all weapons you have equipped of a particular damage type, so a single mod will cover multiple weapons in your arsenal if they share a damage type.
Many players immediately balked at the decision. Mod slots for helmets are already extremely competitive real estate due to what can go in them, which include ammo finders and targeting boosts, as well as crucial mods for Charged with Light, Elemental Well, and other builds.
“Forcing mods slots/energy use to create orbs with only certain elements is a back step,” wrote Destiny streamer Sean “Gladd” Gallagher. “It’s gonna unnecessarily bottleneck builds and limit choices.”
But that sentiment, shared by many on the game’s subreddit, received swift pushback by others in the community who cited past developer comments that shed more light on the situation.
“[Designer] Chris Proctor told us that ‘bad things happen’ when weapons have too many perks,” Destiny YouTuber Kujay wrote. “Having orbs be tied to armor and NOT the weapon perk budget means that weapon innovation is now possible: more perks on guns, additional intrinsic perks, etc.”
Another player shared an excerpt from a November blog post in which Bungie hinted at a larger overhaul coming to what gives different guns their identity beyond stats and perk pools, suggesting the Orb changes are part of a much bigger rethinking of how builds work in Destiny 2. Bungie developers retweeted both threads.
“Awful take. Just make guns generate orbs by default,” wrote one player on the Destiny subreddit bringing the most Destiny subreddit energy to the debate possible. Things descended from there with one faction urging Bungie to simply make Orb generation an “intrinsic” part of the game (there is no conceivable situation in which you wouldn’t want to generate orbs, at least in Destiny’s current meta). Others interpreted past remarks by Destiny 2’s developers to mean that the game’s engine makes it tricky to treat Orb generation that way, and so this was the most optimal solution under the given constraints.
The Pro-Orb Change group accused the Anti-Orb Change group of not knowing what they were talking about. The Anti-Orb group countered with a similar critique. Weirdly, since Bungie chose not to delve deeper into the subject in today’s blog post, neither side will have the full picture until we get closer to The Witch Queen’s release. Even if Orb generation does need to be tied to equipment perks, there are less vital armor pieces it would make more sense to launder it through, not to mention Ghost Shells whose mods offer almost no creative build potential at the moment.
“This Week at Bungie, we ponder our orbs…of power!” Bungie wrote on Twitter to announce the news. Now everyone else in Destiny-land is pondering them as well.