This Week at Bungie
This week at Bungie, we introduced you to Warmind.
Several waves of developers talked about what you’ll find in the game on May 8. Creative Director Brent Gibson from Vicarious Visions joined Design Lead Evan Nikolich from Bungie on our Twitch stream to talk about Destiny 2: Warmind. It was our first conversation about a new story created by two studios working as partners. After a quick tour of Hellas Basin and an introduction to Ana Bray, we dove into a bit of gameplay. Design Lead Jacob Benton and Design Lead Ben Wommack walked us through Escalation Protocol, a new cooperative endgame activity with some intense challenges and exclusive rewards. For the final act, Senior Crucible Designer Kevin Yanes gave us a preview of Seasonal Crucible Rankings and Private Matches, with Cozmo riding “shotgun,” while Senior Sandbox Designer Jon Weisnewski and Sandbox Design Lead Josh Hamrick spiced the live fire exercise with some commentary about how Exotic weapons are evolving for all players in Season 3.
Oh, and DeeJ hosted, but no one cares what he has to say. If you missed the stream, here’s footage in full:
There’s a lot more we have to tell you today about Season 3. Read on for more!
How do you make an Exotic feel more Exotic? It’s a two part question, including how it feels to acquire and upgrade the weapon and how it feels to use the weapon. To answer the first question, Senior Investment Designer Mark Uyeda is here to walk us through the process.
Mark: Our goals in extending Masterwork perks and mechanics to Exotic weapons are primarily to create new in-game goals for hobbyist players and reinforce specific activities with these long tail pursuits.
There were a few “problem spaces” that we wanted to address when creating the Exotic Masterwork pursuit. First up, Exotics in Destiny 2 are very easy to acquire. Many players have most, if not all, of the non-quest Exotics. As we don’t want to make players re-earn every Exotic weapon, Exotic Masterwork acquisition and progression needed to take place after acquisition. Additionally, we needed to figure out a player-friendly way of representing the process of obtaining and applying an Exotic Masterwork. The milestone tray doesn’t provide a good flow for every Exotic Masterwork, and bounties are planned for summer (as noted on our recently updated Development Roadmap).
With these goals and restrictions, we landed on the following player experience:
There will be one Exotic Masterwork per Exotic weapon that exists so far in Destiny 2. In order to begin the Masterwork process, players will have to find an Exotic Masterwork Catalyst. When inspecting the Exotic, there will be a hint at what activities can grant the catalyst for that weapon. Not all Exotic Masterworks have the same drop rates. Some Exotic Masterwork weapons are guaranteed after a certain amount of engagement, while others are earned at random.
Once acquired, the catalyst can be applied to immediately enable orb generation on double kills for the weapon. Exotic weapons with a catalyst applied will also start tracking enemies defeated, like their Legendary Masterwork weapon counterparts.
After applying the catalyst, there will be bounty-like objectives available that need to be completed in order to upgrade to the final Masterwork state, which will apply stat/perk bonuses to the weapon.
A few Masterworks will require you to do a single thing, where others will have multiple steps. These objectives will vary in difficulty and length, but will not be determined by RNG. The goal for these objectives is to push the player to engage with the weapon that they wish to make into a full Masterwork.
When it comes to difficulty, there are a few Exotic Masterworks paired with difficult activities or accomplishments in-game. We’re expecting that there may be one or two Exotic Masterwork weapons that give players the opportunity to set goals in mastering specific activities in order to earn their most desired Masterwork.
To get ahead of a few questions we’re expecting, here’s a quick roundup of more specific notes:
Exotic weapon Masterwork pursuits only need to be done once per account- you don’t have to chase your white whale on each character.
Through the Masterwork process, duplicate drops of an Exotic weapon via engrams, milestones, or even the Exotic Collection will be initialized at your current Masterwork upgrade state.
The Exotic Masterwork process takes place fully in the weapon details screen – there won’t be any objectives that take up character inventory space.
Not all Exotic Masterworks will be available immediately when Season 3 begins. If you inspect an Exotic Weapon and a Masterwork socket is not visible, the catalyst is not yet available.
We won’t be publishing guides on how to acquire specific Exotic Masterworks. This is in your hands!
As with all things in Destiny 2, these new features are subject to evolution. We’ll be monitoring acquisition rates and community reaction once these are in the wild and adjusting as needed.
The Exotic Gunsmiths
Over the last few weeks, Senior Sandbox Designer Jon Weisnewski has been giving previews on how some Exotic weapons are evolving at base level to feel more powerful in Season 3. We’re keeping the streak up. This week, Tractor Cannon, Hard Light, and Borealis are up for conversation!
Jon: Quick thanks and recognition to the video capture team that has been working hard to play, record, and publish this stuff on a tight deadline.
The Tractor Cannon has delivered a high amount of spectacle and has a huge fun factor, but was lacking utility for many players. To address this, in addition to the expected damage and physics impulse, any target hit by Tractor Cannon now has a debuff applied that adds suppression and makes the target vulnerable to Void damage for 10 seconds. Suppression will function as you expect, so in the Crucible, this will shut down active supers and prevent players from using their abilities. In PvE, this will put most enemies in the suppression state where they cower and grovel. The Void vulnerability adds a significant weakness to any source of incoming Void damage. So if you’re a solo player, run it with your favorite Void weapons and/or subclass for optimal effect. If you’re running with a coordinated fireteam… we’re both excited and terrified to see how fast you can melt some of our harder bosses with strategic Void attacks. The Void vulnerability does not stack with itself, but it does stack with other damage debuffs. Get to work!
Hard Light is inheriting the Borealis damage type reload swap: Holding reload will cycle elemental damage types in combat. The teaser clip shows this off pretty well, but what it doesn’t show very clearly is the other interesting change we made to lean in to this weapon’s gameplay. The bounce projectiles have always been a dazzling laser light show, but actually using them to do real work on your enemies around corners or off of walls has been difficult. It’s more of a suppression tactic than reliable offense. One option we considered was preserving aim assist for the lifetime of the projectile, but we couldn’t commit due to the sheer amount of pressure this would put on our runtime engine. (Imagine 12 players on a console in 6v6 all using this weapon, each player firing a round every three frames, and our aim assist code trying to predict the trajectory of each bullet for up to three bounces and then attempt to correct it to hit a target.) So, rather than make it easier for you to land a bounce shot, we made the payoff better for when it does happen. Bounced bullets now do double damage. We’re looking forward to seeing some montages from the geometry nerds out there.
So a natural question that may come from this is: doesn’t this change make Hard Light a better choice than Borealis? While Hard Light will definitely have more uptime due to living in your Energy slot, Borealis is also getting an update that will make it a tempting choice.
For Borealis, the utility of having a weapon that can match any damage shield on the fly is good, but in order to make the weapon great we wanted to double down on the reward for successfully pulling this off. After breaking an enemy shield with a matching damage type, Borealis now deals double damage until the next reload or damage type swap. For PvE activities it gives the weapon a more reliable benefit than Hard Light, in both casual modes and high pressure activities. However, it’s not a perk that was meant just for PvE. This behavior also applies to enemy Guardians in the Crucible while their supers are active. Simply put: If you use a Void round to break shield and/or kill an enemy Sentinel Titan who is actively using their super, you have double damage sniper rounds (yes, that’s a one hit kill to the body) until you die or reload. It’s pretty rare to pull off and requires a fair amount of predictive awareness, but we’ve had it happen organically a few times during internal playtests and I’m highly confident that skilled players will be able to make some amazing plays with this weapon.
That’s all for this week! I’m sure we’ll be chatting again soon.
Real soon? Maybe next week. We still have a few more development videos to share – stay tuned to @Bungie on Twitter.
Glory, Valor, and Combat
Since their original announcement, Seasonal Crucible Rankings have been a hot topic. The Crucible team has been hard at work to implement the system. Starting with Season 3, Crucible Ranks will be available to all players of Destiny 2. Senior Crucible Designer Kevin Yanes gave a quick overview on stream of what to expect. We’re diving deeper into the weeds to answer some of your burning questions.
Kevin: Hey everyone. During the Warmind reveal stream, we showcased Seasonal Crucible Ranks for the first time. We’ve been seeing a lot of questions from the community, so let’s get into the hot topics you’ve been asking about:
"What are Seasonal Crucible Ranks?"
Seasonal Crucible Ranks are comprised of two key mechanics: a level and rank points. As players earn points in each rank, they will level up and unlock new rewards for Shaxx to dole out in the Tower. Leveling up gives players an assortment of Crucible Tokens, Crucible Engrams, and Masterwork Cores depending on how far up they have leveled. There are six specific Crucible Ranks that players can reach, starting with the rank of "Guardian" and ending with players becoming "Legend.” Here is the full break down of what levels each Crucible Rank will feature:
"What types of Seasonal Crucible Ranks are there?"
Starting in Season 3, we're launching two Crucible Ranks: Valor and Glory.
Valor is a progression rank that goes up as you complete matches. Winning helps you move up faster and there are no loss penalties. Valor Ranks serve to showcase a player’s time commitment to playing Crucible. As players win, they will accumulate a win streak that will give players bonus points for each subsequent win. These win streaks will cap out after five wins, and then reset. Try to see how often you can hit a full five win streak! Players who complete their Valor Ranks can choose to reset them to begin their journey anew and even make progress toward some rewards that require a fixed number of resets.
Glory is a progression rank earned in the Competitive playlist that goes up as you win matches, but down as you lose. Closing out wins is how players are going to move up here. Glory Ranks serve to showcase the mastery players have in some of our most intense game modes, and show how they stack up against worthy opponents. Glory features the same win streak system from Valor but with the addition of loss streaks that work similarly. As players lose consecutive matches, they will lose more and more points. This means no game is without its stakes, so it's best to keep on your A-game.
"What do I earn for moving up the Ranks?"
Beginning in Season 3, new crucible rewards will be attached to Seasonal Crucible Ranks. This means that armor ornaments, emblems, and new weapons will require players to earn both Valor and Glory ranks to acquire them. Players receive reward packages when reaching a new level in Valor or Glory. (Note: Players receive Glory reward packages only the first time a new rank is reached in a season; if you lose a match and drop a rank, you do not receive another reward package when ranking back up.)
In addition to the suite of Season 3 rewards, we’re planning on bringing a unique weapon to Glory Ranks for players to work toward. The weapon will only be available for the duration of the season and once the season ends, it will disappear for a long, long, long time. This season we have a new weapon called Redrix's Claymore. This Pulse Rifle features a unique perk set in Outlaw as well as a new synergistic perk called "Desperado" - "Reloading while Outlaw is active increases your rate of fire." This translates to defeating enemies in the same three bursts it currently takes from a high-impact Pulse Rifle, just much faster. Make sure to land your headshot kills and you can keep Desperado and Outlaw running indefinitely.
Redrix's Claymore will be available to players once they reach the Fabled level in the Glory Rank. Ranking above Fabled will be rewarded with an ornament for Redrix's Claymore and a new emblem- and for those who push their Glory rank to Mythic and above, a special secret awaits you.
"Where can I earn these ranks?"
Trials and Iron Banner will not have any Crucible Ranks attached to them as they have their own investment rewards and are separate from the Crucible. Additionally, to maintain the integrity of Glory Ranks, players will only be able to earn Glory in the Competitive playlist.
“Why should I keep earning Glory week over week?”
Each week your Glory Rank will change depending on the number of games you played, maxing out at three games per week. Players ranked Fabled and below will earn bonus Glory Rank Points each week. For players ranked Mythic and Legend, each match completed will reduce the amount of Glory Rank decay, up to preventing the decay for the week. This means if you’re a player in Mythic or Legend you’ll need to hop into the Competitive playlist at least three times a week to maintain your status.
“Will matchmaking be based on Glory Ranks in the Competitive playlist?”
The Competitive playlist will be using our existing matchmaking system. At the start of Season 3 we are going to reset the skill bucket in Competitive to give every player an equal start as they begin their climb to Fabled and beyond. This means that as you win and lose, your skill and rank will go up or down accordingly. As always, we are never done iterating and improving our systems, and so once you’ve had time to sink your teeth into ranks we’d love to hear your feedback.
"Too long, give me bullets"
Featured in: Quickplay, Rumble, Mayhem
Requires a fixed number of Valor resets to earn some rewards
Has ornament, emblem, and weapon rewards
Resets each season
Can be reset when fully completed, with no cap on resets per season
Features win streak bonus points
Caps out at 2,000 Rank Points
Caps out at 5,500 Rank Points
Features win streak bonus points
Adds loss streak penalties for recurring losses
Players can earn bonus rank points or fend off decay by completing three competitive matches each week
Only resets each season
Has ornament, emblem, and weapon rewards
Features unique seasonal chase weapon that can be earned at Fabled level (about ~40% of the way through your journey in Glory Ranks)
Lets players earn ornament for seasonal weapon at Legend level
"How are you going to make sure everyone plays fair in the Ranked environment?”
Update 1.2.0 will come with a slew of improvements to our security systems to better maintain the sanctity of the Competitive experience. We've made what we feel are appropriate arrangements to ensure your Crucible experience is a good one.
"When can I begin earning Ranks?"
Players can start earning Seasonal Crucible Ranks beginning on May 8 with the release of Update 1.2.0.
Playing the role of matchmaker isn’t an easy feat. In Destiny 2 Update 1.2.0, the Crucible team will be addressing player feedback about pre-made Fireteams being matched against solo players. PvP Design Lead Derek Carroll has a quick breakdown of the changes that are going in, and what players can expect starting May 8.
Derek: From reading your feedback and looking at data, it’s clear that solo players are facing an uphill battle in the Crucible when they encounter well-coordinated opponents. Players in Fireteams have a substantial advantage, particularly as average skill increases. In the current Crucible, solo players at virtually all skill levels win fewer than half of their games.
We're making some under-the-hood adjustments to try to ensure that even when solo players do end up fighting against Fireteams, they’ll be doing it on a more-even battlefield.
Instead of using your normal skill value when in a Fireteam, we will use a modified value that takes your Fireteam size into account. The larger your Fireteam, the larger the potential modification. We don’t want to try to completely nullify the benefit of team-play, so our initial values are conservative and can (and will) be tuned as we see the system working in the wild. All of these settings can be configured on our servers without waiting for a new update, so we'll be able to make additional tweaks based on what we see.
We always encourage you to bring your friends with you into the Crucible, but we think this change will improve your experience during those times you have to fly solo. As always, we’ll be keeping an eye on how well these changes are working once they’re live, and look forward to hearing your thoughts! #FTMM (Editors note: For those like me who didn't understand this hashtag immediately, this means Fireteam Matchmaking.)
Season 2 Finale
Lord Saladin returns for the final bout of Iron Banner in Season 2.
Begins: Tuesday, May 1
Ends: Tuesday, May 8
The game is Control!
As some of you may have noticed, we’re diving back into the Iron Banner playlist pretty quickly compared to previous months. Senior Designer Jeremiah Pieschl gave us a quick rundown of initial feedback we’re looking to address since 6v6 went live:
Jerpie: While we continue to evaluate the feedback and data from the last Iron Banner Control with 6v6, we've heard two messages very clearly. Having more opportunities to play 6v6 is highly desired and Control remains the most popular mode for 6v6. As such, you can expect Iron Banner to feature 6v6 Control exclusively moving into Season 3.
As a warning, this will be your last chance to earn Season 2 ornaments, so make sure to jump in and complete those objectives.
Speaking of Iron Banner, Destiny Player Support has been working behind the scenes to investigate reports of error codes encountered last week. If you’ve recently seen a pesky ZEBRA or two, read below for some important information.
With the launch of 6v6 Iron Banner, we saw a large increase in ZEBRA error codes which were determined to be caused by players timing out while loading into the maps. We took steps to reduce the rate of this error code by increasing the time in which players could attempt to load into a Crucible match. If you continued to frequently encounter ZEBRA error codes during 6v6 Iron Banner, you may be experiencing issues with your connection quality or your PC hardware may be below the minimum specifications.
To improve performance and reduce the frequency of ZEBRA error codes, you may want to try the following:
Read through the Network Troubleshooting Guide for recommendations on optimizing your network setup.
On consoles, try clearing your console cache
On PC, close other open programs, ensure all drivers are up to date, or run the Scan and Repair tool
We expect to see this issue continue in future 6v6 Iron Banner events; however, after Update 1.2.0 this instance of the ZEBRA error code will provide players with the BEET or KALE error codes. If you encounter these issues, please post a report to the #Help forum.
Warring Over Stones
With the introduction of Exotic Weapon Masterworks and Crucible Ranks, we expect to see many players challenging themselves to master activities that they may not have engaged with before. The videos you find here may be a source of inspiration or even strategy for approaching engagements in a different manner.
Winner: The Power of Math
Runner Up: Cream of the crop
If you’d like a chance to earn the Lens of Fate emblem, make sure to submit your video to the Creations page on Bungie.net and include #MOTW in your title.
Last week, The Arms Dealer was the featured Nightfall for the first time since Nightfall Strike Scoring was introduced. On May 8, we’ll be addressing the Lost Sector strategy used to boost scores to the moon and back – but we’re happy to celebrate those who are reaching for the stars. Shout out to Johny_Hopkins for appearing on two of the top scoring fireteams!
It’s good to be back in the office. We’re less than two weeks out from Warmind and the beginning of Season 3. Restoring the hobby in Destiny 2 has been a major goal throughout the development process, and what you’ve read above are a few steps in that direction. Soon, it’ll be in your hands – and we’ll be at the ready to process your feedback.
See you in the Crucible? I need to get some practice in before Crucible Ranks go live. I’m not sure my team can reach Mythic status if I’m not pulling my weight. Oh, and before we go – if you’re excited for Warmind, Associate Artist Joseph Biwald cooked up a few Twitter banners for you. Enjoy!