Bungie today released the first substantial Destiny 2 update roadmap for the new year, after pledging in late November to communicate more with the game’s community and fix longstanding issues that have riled fans since the title’s launch in September. Contained in the blog post are a far-reaching series of planned changes, additions, and tweaks. But perhaps none are quite as important as the planned alterations to the game’s loot box system, called Eververse, which lets players pay money for slot machine-style “engrams” that randomly contain coveted cosmetic items.
“We recognize that the scales are tipped too far towards Tess at the moment, and Eververse was never intended to be a substitute for end game content and rewards,” writes game director Christopher Barrett. To try and remedy the issue, Bungie plans to start including in-game items that have thus far been restricted to Eververse — items like ships, sparrows, and ghosts — as rewards for playing activities in the game. Up until now, players could only earn a static amount of these engrams per week before having to pay real money for them.
Barrett writes that future updates to Destiny 2 will also give players a “gameplay path to earn Bright Engrams and all contained rewards (including Event Engrams).” That’s promising, as it should go a long way toward alleviating some critical issues around how Destiny 2 incentivies players. Many vocal critics in the community think the company expects players to spend most of their time in the game attempting to maximize the amount of Eververse items they can get, instead of actually playing the game’s activities and having fun. The situation was only made worse by a seasonal holiday event, called “The Dawning,” last month that introduced a whole trove of new items you could only earn through Eververse, all of it tied to randomized loot boxes.
Barrett also writes that Bungie will “give players more direct purchase options” and “make adjustments to Bright Engrams to allow players to get the items they want more often.” That’s also good to hear, as many of the concerns around loot box systems and microtransactions in modern gaming right now is about the lack of transparency. Players hardly, if ever, know the actual odds of obtaining an item when a system is based on a random number generator, which itself gets loot boxes accurately compared to gambling. Loot boxes are beginning to face harsher scrutiny from platform owners and government regulators overseas, but the US market has remained relatively untouched so far. Bungie’s moves here seem are clearly designed to appease fans, but there may also be an element of avoiding some of the larger-scale industry criticism against these microtransaction practices.
In addition to the Eververse changes, Barrett laid out a number of other pretty substantial updates to Destiny 2 down the road. Notably, the developer is bringing back six-versus-six multiplayer matches in the competitive Crucible game mode after making a risky gamble with its sequel and restricting all competitive play to four-versus-four. Bungie is also adding private Crucible matches and a new ranking system for the game mode later this year. For a more detailed explanation of all the changes coming to Destiny 2 in February and then later on in the spring and the fall, check out Barrett’s post in full over here.