Destiny's New Exotic System Is A Total Mess

Destiny's New Exotic System Is A Total Mess

Destiny, a video game in which players roam the solar system getting angry at Destiny, recently introduced some changes to exotic weapons and armour, and today, as we finally see the last of those changes in action, it's become clear that they're a total mess.

Let me explain. About two weeks ago, Bungie totally overhauled Destiny's exotic gear — you know, the yellow-coloured stuff, only lets you use one weapon and one piece of armour at a time — to change the upgrade system and make weapons more powerful. Now, instead of using the "ascendant" shards and energy you use to upgrade legendary gear, you have to use something way rarer — an item called the Exotic Shard that you can only get from A) Xur, the weekend vendor, or B) dismantling other exotic gear. Also, all the weapons got some decent buffs.

So far, so good. Overall, those are Decent Changes.

But there's another wrinkle to this system. Since just about all of the old exotic weapons and armour are capped based on vanilla Destiny's values — including, most importantly, the level-granting Light, which caps at 30 on all old exotic armour — Bungie needed to figure out a way to get old gear on par with the new stuff they have introduced in the newly-released DLC, The Dark Below. Enter the Xur Upgrade System, a baffling, infuriating feature that's left me scratching my head and wondering what they were thinking.

To use this system, you need to take your old exotics to Xur, the vendor that appears in the Tower from Friday-Sunday morning. At Xur, you can swap one of your old exotics for a new and improved item with the same name and features but different base values — new exotic weapons will now go up to 331 attack; new armour will now go up to 36 light. You can only do this swapping at Xur, and you can only swap the items that he has available on any given weekend.

This introduces a number of problems.

Problem 1 - Since Xur's inventory of Exotic upgrades rotates every week, you're stuck waiting for him to have the specific items you need on any given Friday — and if you can't play Destiny on the one weekend he has your upgrade, you're shit out of luck. It's a slot machine. There is no way to alleviate this problem short of getting lucky or just tracking down another new exotic, which really just means MORE GRINDING.

Problem 2 - Buffing up your old exotics requires a ridiculous amount of glimmer — over 7000 per item — suddenly turning it from a currency that was almost useless to a valuable commodity. What does that mean? MORE GRINDING.

Problem 3 - This is the worst one: when you swap an old exotic to a new one, it resets the whole item's progress. You lose all of your boosts and upgrades. You'll have to grind for experience, get a bunch of glimmer to make up for the 7,000+ you just spent, and upgrade the whole damn thing again. It doesn't matter how much time and energy you put into your old exotics. In other words — wait for it — it's time for MORE GRINDING.

Combine this with the arbitrary weekly cap on Vanguard/Crucible marks, the new "Commendation" requirement, and other tweaks that feel designed to inhibit our progress, and it's hard not to feel really frustrated by The Dark Below in general. The whole system feels ill-conceived and messy, as if Bungie's designers didn't entirely think through the fact that attaching levels to equipment could totally skew the game's balance by making old loot feel obsolete every few months, so they had to tip the scale by adding a series of arbitrary obstacles to extend the time we spend with the game.

But, of course, Destiny is still really interesting and fun to play. This week my six-man fireteam has been powering through Crota's End, the new raid that came with The Dark Below, and like in the Vault of Glass before it, we're having a total blast trying to solve and tackle each challenge. That's what makes Bungie's decisions so infuriating. They have made a game that's really fun to play, yet they can't seem to figure out how to change or add new things without making us grind and grind and grind and grind. I feel like Destiny is both the best and the worst game of the year.


Comments

    ahh the good ole time and money sink. they might as well add a chat system and dragons at this point.

    The whole system feels ill-conceived and messy, as if Bungie’s designers didn’t entirely think through the fact that attaching levels to equipment could totally skew the game’s balance by making old loot feel obsolete every few months, so they had to tip the scale by adding a series of arbitrary obstacles to extend the time we spend with the game.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, they may not have been making a MMO but they lifted features directly from MMO 101. They thought they could make them work with simplistic changes but their inexperience with MMOs and MMO players meant they didn't understand why MMOs do things these ways to begin with.
    They assumed because they weren't aiming at the hardcore MMO crowd they wouldn't have to do things that way, but they failed to realise that MMO mechanics draw those reactions out of players. MMOs don't attract the hardcore they make the hardcore.
    Now they've got a messy, confusing, poorly planned/structured end-game and they're desperately working to tweak it into something that works. As much as I want to love Destiny I just can't see them fixing this without creating an entirely new game and starting fresh.

    The thing that really annoyed me was that I swapped my old exotic helmet which has a max intelligence of 112, for the new exotic which had a max intelligenxe of 96.

    Rather small detail, but that was the most annoying part of the new exotic system for me.

      Lol that's laughable. Also doubly, because they could easily just buff the old stuff without this BS Xur shit.

    Out of all my exotics, absolutely none of them are available to upgrade this week. Combined with my shitty luck in the VoG raid of 0 armour pieces from at least 10 raids, yay me

      True. Only exotic that I have, which was upgradable, was The Truth rocket launcher. But it was cheaper for me to just buy a new one from Xur and scrap the old one I had, instead of upgrading the existing one. Go figure.

        I keep getting exotics for the wrong class and wrong sub class :(
        I have an exotic Warlock helm, 2 exotic Titan Helms, and Young Ahmkaras arm, a Gunslinger gauntlet for my Bladedancer :(
        I just want the Mask of the Third Man!

        I still hate exotic bounties >:(
        Currently have three going, none of which I can complete on my own >:'(

      Never mind about lack of raid gear, since now you can just buy better armour.

    Sigh. So much potential. SO MUCH POTENTIAL being ruined by the most mind boggling design decisions of all time. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Destiny feels like it's made by people who have never played games before.

      Destiny feels like it's made by people who have never played MMO games before.

      The loot/gear system is awful, the mechanics of the game are great.

      I still think the most needed feature in destiny is when you hit L20, you get an option to turn all green finds into Glimmer/parts automatically and instantly.

    Glimmer really isnt that hard to come by, a few strikes using one of the items and you get it easy enough. Further more is it really that much of a problem just because you cant get the weapon you want from him on a certain week? There was one week when I missed out a nice sniper rifle because I didnt have enough strange coins. yeah sure it was annoying but whatever, I just coped. What is your answer a chance to get everything right now, with no restrictions. No thanks.

    the only problem I have so far is the how hard it is to get strange coins. I dont mind the restriction itself (the amount you can get off strikes, loot, pvp) but the fact not everyone has friends who have the game and there is no match making on weekly's and some of them them are impossible to solo without good gear, which you cant get unless you get strange coins.

    From the start, with all the arbitrary caps on currencies and commodities, it really felt like it was designed with micro-transactions in mind, It just feels like micro-transactions were ready to go, but Bungie decided to remove it at the last moment, but kept everything else in place.

      Any decision to remove micro transactions from a game is always a good one.

    Problem 1 - Since Xur’s inventory of Exotic upgrades rotates every week, you’re stuck waiting for him to have the specific items you need on any given Friday — and if you can’t play Destiny on the one weekend he has your upgrade, you’re poopies out of luck. It’s a slot machine. There is no way to alleviate this problem short of getting lucky or just tracking down another new exotic, which really just means MORE GRINDING. It's been like this from the start of the game, one exotic armour for each class plus one exotic weapon (for sale with strange coins). How is this different enough to NOW be a problem.

    Problem 2 - Buffing up your old exotics requires a ridiculous amount of glimmer — over 7000 per item — suddenly turning it from a currency that was almost useless to a valuable commodity. What does that mean? MORE GRINDING. Kinda agree. However you said yourself that glimmer was almost useless but now it has a use (possibly an overly-expensive use) it is NOW a problem.

    Problem 3 - This is the worst one: when you swap an old exotic to a new one, it resets the whole item’s progress. You lose all of your boosts and upgrades. You’ll have to grind for experience, get a bunch of glimmer to make up for the 7,000+ you just spent, and upgrade the whole damn thing again. It doesn’t matter how much time and energy you put into your old exotics. In other words — wait for it — it’s time for MORE GRINDING. The [email protected]#k!?! The ENTIRE POINT OF A GAME LIKE THIS IS TO UPGRADE YOUR GEAR, LOOT BETTER GEAR AND UPGRADE THAT.
    rinse and repeat.
    What you are suggesting, that all pre-DLC upgraded gear should have been automatically upgraded to post-DLC upgraded stats?
    That you can't buy the upgrades off Xur and you have to wait to "naturally" acquire the same exotic you already had (with post-DLC stats) and upgrade that?
    That only the new exotics get to have the new post-DLC stats?

    The only new issue I have with the system (and someone commented on this already) is that upgrading doesn't take into account the strength/discipline/intellect of the existing item when upgrading it (however while you can end up with less S/D/I, you can also end up with more. Which complicates whether or not they should change it).

    If there was issues with the original system of Xur selling exotics then they have carried over to his new inventory, however I don't believe the changes have CREATED a brand new set of problems (even the thing about upgrading not taking into account your existing S/D/I was in the game already. Case in point: I bought the Armamentarium when Xur first sold it with 100-ish discipline, I then learnt from the forums that you can get higher stats from engrams (or Xur selling a higher stat version), so I bought some exotic engrams and decrypted a 120-ish discipline version. Weeks later Xur was selling a 145-ish discipline version and I bought that one as well. That might sound "crazy" but the Armamentarium is THE exotic I use and therefore I wanted the best version of it I could. Side note you can upgrade an upgraded exotic again, presumably you can use this to "upgrade" to a higher stat version when he is offering it.)

    p.s. I'm the type of player who hasn't purchased any new DLC weapons/armour because I'm waiting till the 16th to find out what I can get from Iron Banner so I don't "waste" marks/commendations.

      Most of the changes devalue what players have already done. If I bought exotic armour last week, it cost me 13 strange coins, and has less armour/light than if the same armour pops up again this week (still for 13 strange coins). Only now you have to spend another 7 strange coins and 7000 odd glimmer to upgrade it to the higher armour value. But now anyone can just walk up and buy the same armour for 13 stranger coins.

      Oddly enough, it would be more prudent to just wait for Xur to sell the base armour, buy that for 13 coins, and then dismantle the old one to get an exotic shard for the final upgrade. It costs one less strange coin (13 coins total instead of 14), and you save 7000 glimmer.

      One of my characters is Vanguard rank 7, but I have no commendations to show for that.

      I actually spent glimmer on ships at the start, just because I'd hit the cap and there was nothing interesting to do with it. I (foolishly) spent all my money on 30 light gear from the Iron Banner. Now that money is more useful, I'm dirt poor.

      I went through the raid several times with one of my characters, and got nothing (in terms of armour), and now I can just buy better gear?

      Last edited 15/12/14 12:00 pm

        I agree that Xur's stock pre-DLC and post-DLC is quite "jarring" (I'm quite tempted to say it was the players mistake to not wait a week and buy the post-DLC versions, but that depends on how well Bungie communicated the changes. I was aware of the changes before December, but I'm not sure how well Bungie told the more casual players.)

        I agree that it's better to buy new armour rather than upgrade the old exotics, but I was under the impression that it was intentional. After all Xur offers twice as many options to upgrade than to flat-out buy the new version.

        Having commendations not trigger retro-actively is disappointing, but I don't think it's a big issue given everything you do is going towards factions, so getting commendations is an eventuality. It's not like you have to actively do something like nightfalls or being online when Xur is here.

        For glimmer I'm personally happy I have something worthwhile to spend it on (I happen to also think it's overly expensive to do so). For Iron Banner even if lvl 30 gear is kinda outdated (lvl 30 is where the raid starts, so lvl 30 gear is still useful.) I'm glad to have it because I like the look and it has good modifiers for me.

        For VoG gear even if you can buy higher lvl gear you can't buy (legendary) boots with heavy ammo bonus, Chest pieces with special ammo bonus, gloves with special weapon reload bonus (+bonuses for the raid itself in case you want to continue playing the raid). So you can't buy 100% objectively "better" armour.

        I happen to think Bungie did something clever with how vendors sell armour: Assuming you had a full set of purple armour but never got do to the raid you had the capacity to become lvl 29. By having the vendors sell 2 pieces of lvl 31 armour without needing commendations (which is very easy given you only need marks to afford them) You have 2 pieces of lvl 29 armour and 2 pieces of lvl 31 armour which is enough to become lvl 30 and be in prime position to do the highest lvl of the daily heroic, weekly strke and nightfall strike without needing to rank up a faction and spend commendations.

    While i do agree with this article i am not surprised. The new system is not broken at all. It simply leaves a players level and weapons power all down to 2 things, luck and grinding. Both of which are strong features in this game from the very beginning. So, really its nothing new at all.

    This just adds a couple more gradients to the treadmill - and Destiny is one gigantic treadmill where you grind the same strikes to get materials to get better stuff/upgrade stuff so you can do the same strikes and so on and so on and so on. That's what Destiny is - it is a GIGANTIC GRINDING MILL where you sink time into improving gear so you can continue to sink time into it.

    If you like that sort of thing, Destiny is a great game. But stay away if you don't.

    This game becomes more confusing to me with each update. I'm out.

      Yep, feeling the same way (sadly).

        pretty much the same here. i just don't have time for bullshit like this. i like the game, but i don't have time to keep up with it. I have 1 character that is level 28, and i've been playing since day 1.

          Yeah - I have pretty much all but quit myself.

          To be honest I wish I hadn't wasted the time or money on the expansion but it may be useful when jumping on occasionally.

    The content included in the DLC is laughable. Instead putting their efforts and energy into given Destiny new story and meaningful content, the main thing they introduced is a new upgrading system so players have to do more grinding, ALL ON THE SAME MAPS even.

    A word of advice to players who is still play Destiny, don't upgrade your exotic weapons just yes. From what I read on the internet the reaction to this new upgrade system is pretty negative. So following true Bungie fashion, they will probably revise or amend the system soon because they "listen to player feedback". If you have already upgraded them like me, then tough luck! All the time we spent on grinding for those glimmers and strange coins meant absolutely nothing... again.

    Last edited 15/12/14 9:37 am

    I'm not that big on mmo gaming minus playing final fantasy for a bit. Destiny like some others mention is a good game with problems here and there. My problem with Destiny is the exotic engrams from xur. I can't understand why it was made in such a way that you can get a item for a class you did not buy it with.

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