The Destiny 2 community has been spiraling ever since a disappointing State of the Game update earlier this month failed to address what some fans see as core issues with the modern version of Bungie’s sci-fi MMO. Now game director Joe Blackburn has taken the unusual step of addressing the community directly in a new video that promises a free Eververse armor set in Season 22 and a free PvP map pack for Crucible in 2024.
“A few weeks ago we put out a State of the Game communication that wasn’t up to our standards for what y’all have come to expect for those kinds of communications,” Blackburn said in an August 15 video recorded at his home office work desk. “It didn’t provide the high-level vision we normally provide and really and truly a bunch of us were heads down working on The Final Shape and weren’t able to give it the sort of care and love we usually put into these sorts of communications.”
He then proceeded over the next 15 minutes to set expectations for the August 22 Destiny 2 Showcase revealing more about next year’s The Final Shape expansion (it will be focused on top-level ideas aimed at casual fans) and address some of the biggest points of controversy coming out of the State of the Game blog post from earlier in August. Those mostly had to do with the current state of PvP, which sits somewhere between benign neglect and full-blown abandonment, and Ritual armor sets which players were once upon a time used to seeing refreshed every year.
On the Crucible side, Blackburn promised a new streamlined PvP development striketeam that can decide on changes and new content and communicate those changes to the community sooner. While Destiny has always primarily been a PvE-focused game, Crucible matches used to be a much more significant pillar in the daily lives of players. One big fear, which was seemingly always unfounded, was that Bungie’s development of the recently announced extraction shooter Marathon meant Destiny’s PvP development resources had completely shifted away from Destiny. Blackburn tried to make clear that’s not the case.
To that point, he said the current system of periodically injecting one new PvP map into the game at a time wasn’t helping. Instead, the plan is to release a bunch of maps all together as part of one free map pack in 2024 that experiments with lots of new ideas and zaps the stilted mode with a lot more energy and excitement all at the same time. The “free” part will also help dissipate some of the recent frustration with how Destiny 2 has been nickel-and-diming players for every piece of old and new content.
Destiny’s Ritual armor blues
Microtransactions angst has also been a source of a lot of backlash on the armor front. Fundamentally a game about looking cool while doing alien genocide, many players have been angry with the lack of new Crucible-, Vanguard-, and Gambit-themed outfits earned in the game rather than bought from the Eververse shop. February’s Lightfall expansion skipped them entirely. Blackburn said this was part of a conscious choice to focus more on armor sets designed for top-tier activities like raids, dungeons, and Trials of Osiris, as well as the seasonal-themed looks like Season of the Deep’s underwater set. To try and make it up to players for not properly communicating that shift, he said one of Season 22’s paid Eververse sets will be made free instead.
So far the surprise transmission is working. The video’s been received positively by players, not just because of the extra information and freebies, but because it added a more personal and intimate framing for the news. Of course, given the heated nature of Destiny debates, and recent legal action Bungie has taken against players who have overstepped boundaries or made violent threats against the studios and its developers, it’s easy to understand why Blackburn’s casual on-camera video hasn’t always been the norm.
“We want to be talking to you all more, but talking to you all more our number-one priority we have to keep our community members and our community leaders safe from the Bungie side,” he said. “I don’t want anyone that signs up to come work at Bungie and to talk to y’all about the game to have to worry about their personal safety.”