The Destiny community is mad. It’s a refrain as old as time (well, nine years, at least) and yet lately, something seems to have turned. Broken. Snapped. And as of yesterday, for many players it feels like we may have sailed past the point of no return.
Destiny 2 routinely puts out large “State of the Game” posts which talk about the health of the game and preview changes and new features and additions coming down the road. While showcases (one is coming in three weeks) are more visual previews of things like new seasons and expansions, State of the Games are about the meat and bones of the game itself.
The 6,400 word 2023 post that was published by Game Director Joe Blackburn yesterday has seemingly united disparate fans and content creators all across the playerbase. Essentially no one, especially the creators who play the game for a living and are directly invested in its success, is happy with what was said. Many are either furious, depressed, or both.
The main problem with the State of the Game was that it took a pair of issues the community has been talking about non-stop, the utter lack of investment in Gambit and especially the PvP side of the game, and essentially went, “We hear you, but nothing is really changing.” Here’s what Blackburn said about why there aren’t more PvP maps:
“The most frequent feedback we see is that there is just not enough new PvP content, specifically new maps. To set expectations, our studio structure is built to support more overarching updates to PvP like the ones above, rather than focusing exclusively on maps. When we do focus our resources on building new Crucible maps, it comes with the tradeoff of multiple teams’ bandwidth on work that contributes to a variety of experiences that players also hold dear, such as new story or Exotic mission content, core activities that make up the foundation of each Season, or new destinations.”
So, even though it’s “the most frequent feedback” they get, there were no announced plans to significantly invest more into PvP, no indication that we would go beyond the current “one new map a year, maybe” format. That would cost PvE resources and so it’s just…not happening, despite PvP being 30-40% of the playerbase at any given time.
Gambit was just…publicly executed. Bungie said they would reprise one of the two deleted maps from when they were content vaulted with Beyond Light. They’d throw in some Witch Queen and Lightfall enemies. But instead of investing more in what has been a third pillar ritual activity of the game, they are instead…removing it as a ritual activity. You no longer have to play Gambit to get weekly rewards or complete seasonal challenges. It all felt like the final nail in the coffin for the badly neglected mode.
Relating to Gambit, one thing that felt off about the entire presentation was the circular logic used. Blackburn talks about how Gambit is an area of the game with “lower engagement” so it’s not a priority, though there is likely lower engagement because quite literally nothing of significance has been added to the mode in years, and they even took away a full third of its maps. So why would engagement go anywhere but down?
The circular logic also applies to another issue that has bothered fans, the fact that Bungie promised new, seasonal ritual armor sets every year. That just hasn’t happened, and Bungie says that while they are doing a new one with Final Shape, they’re no longer doing them every year. Again, they say the usage of theses armor sets was low, so there wasn’t much motivation to do more of them. And yet adoption was low because often these armor sets are far, far less appealing than their paid counterparts you get through seasons and Eververse.
Monetization was the unspoken thread running through all of this, something Bungie never brought up, but it colors everything here. Fans cannot accept that Bungie can’t make one single new free armor set for vendors a year when there are 3-5 paid Eververse/battle pass/seasonal sets every three months without fail.
And that circles back to the Crucible and Gambit question. In the transition to free-to-play (which to many, now seems like a mistake), those playlists are free. So when Bungie says they’re devoting more resources toward exotic missions and seasonal activities it’s because they sell those things, while they cannot sell Crucible and Gambit maps. They’d have to release them purely for the health of the game and community morale which they are simply…not doing.
I figured I’d conclude here with a sampling of Destiny 2 creators reacting to the State of the Game. I don’t think you get how rare it is to see a unformed position like this, even among some of Bungie’s biggest defenders. I’ve been on both sides of this, but I can’t view the State of the Game as anything but a huge disappointment. I am not alone: