Bungie discusses the numerous quality-of-life upgrades coming to Destiny 2: Lightfall, including Guardian Ranks, Commendations, and more.
With the upcoming launch of Destiny 2: Lightfall on February 28, Guardians will be thrust into a new adventure that will see them prepare for the arrival of the Witness and its disciple, Calus. Challenge and thrills await players with Lightfall—from brand new enemies such as the formidable Tormentors to a gripping campaign, complete with a Legendary difficulty mode for those Guardians looking for the ultimate test of their skill.
Destiny fans got their latest look at Lightfall in the launch trailer, which debuted today during today’s State of Play. Take a look and whet your appetite for all of the Strand-weaving, Shadow Legion-crushing, Neomuna-exploring action to come:
Guardians won’t go into the fight against Calus empty-handed. A new elemental damage type, Strand, will let players pluck at the threads of cosmic consciousness and wield the Weave to sew destruction and chaos against the enemies of humanity. There will also be a bevy of new weapons and armor to add to your Guardian’s arsenal, including powerful Exotics, as well as a new Strand-enabled grapple ability that will give Guardians movement options they’ve never encountered before in Destiny 2.
With Lightfall, the Destiny 2 team has also been hard at work crafting a host of behind-the-scenes improvements to gameplay, armor customization, and more that will not just make your life as a Guardian easier, but more effective in combat too.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the quality-of-life features that are coming to Destiny 2: Lightfall to learn a bit more about how they evolved in development and how Guardians can put them to best use once they hit the neon streets of Neptune’s hidden city of Neomuna.
Crafting a better Guardian
Guardians are built for battle. Between powerful armor and abilities, plus a weapons arsenal that can only be described as “plentiful,” there are a myriad of ways to design and customize a monster-killing machine that suits practically any player’s style. But arming yourself is only the first step. Progress far enough into the game and you’ll encounter mods—upgrades that can be added to weapons and armor which offer new perks and abilities. Those mod effects stack together to create a Guardian that is as individual as the person holding the controller.
Using mods to craft a great build has been a part of the Destiny 2 experience for years now, and with Lightfall, the team is looking to make the process of taking your Guardian to the next level easier than ever. They’ve done that through some key updates that aim to make buildcrafting more approachable without losing the complexity and depth that Destiny 2 players love.
There is a lot to unpack with the updated buildcrafting system; from the retiring of the old mod energy system to Artifact mods being translated into passive perks, and more. Check out the recent post on Bungie.net for the nitty gritty details of how mods will change the game in Lightfall. Let’s focus on two buildcrafting features in particular: Mod Customization and Loadouts.
Much like Appearance Customization revolutionized the way players can quickly and easily customize their Guardian’s look, the upcoming Mod Customization feature will let players manage their mod collection with a dedicated interface that puts everything on one mod-focused screen.
As Bungie’s Rodney Thompson explains, one of the key goals for the buildcrafting updates was to save time.
“[Previously] it took up a lot of a player’s time to go in and modify a build,” said Thompson. “And because mods were spread across multiple armor slots, if you changed weapons, for example, there was a high likelihood that you would actually have to go in and change five different pieces of armor because your mods weren’t set up right.”
With the new Mod Customization screen, you will be able to navigate an all-in-one screen that shows all your mods and armor pieces at any given time, allowing you to quickly slot in mods without having to click on individual armor slots. In addition, you’ll be able to easily access crucial information such as your current weapon’s perks and stats, without the need to click back to your Character screen.
If you’ve ever gone from a strike to a Grandmaster Nightfall to an epic raid in a single Destiny 2 session, you know that switching gear is a must for the experienced Guardian. While third-party apps have traditionally been a huge help with gear switching, the new Loadouts system coming with Lightfall aims to give players all that convenience without the need to leave the game.
With Loadouts, you will be able to quickly swap entire sets of gear on the fly (yes, even gear in your vault), as well as to save, label, and visually identify new loadouts as they are created. You’ll start with six slots in which to save loadouts and will be able to earn more as you complete additional Guardian Ranks (more on those in a bit). You’ll also be able to swap between loadouts mid-activity (excluding activities where your gear is locked, such as Grandmaster Nightfalls), not just from orbit.
Bungie UI Designer Xavier Durand-Hollis explained that the Loadouts and Mod Customization systems have been designed for ease of access, with each just a button press away from the Character screen. “When you open your Character screen, there will be two buttons on either side that you can press with the directional buttons. If you press left, it will open the Loadouts panel. You press right on the Character screen and then you can quickly access all of your different gear mods.”
By cutting down the number of navigation screens, Mod Customization and Loadouts have been designed to save time for players. “The time between when you conceive of a build and the time you’re playing with it is much shorter,” Thompson said. “Basically, it means more time shooting aliens in the face.”
Up through the ranks
Another pair of new features coming to Lightfall—Guardian Ranks and Commendations—have been designed with social gameplay in mind. At their core, Guardian Ranks are a visual shorthand that will let players easily understand the experience and abilities of other Guardians they encounter. Players who complete activities in the game will move up through the Guardian Ranks hierarchy as a natural result of playing the game, and some ranks will only be available to those who complete certain activities such as dungeons, Nightfalls, or raids.
Destiny 2’s new Commendations system will let players compliment fireteam members after an event or activity has ended. Example commendations include Joy Bringer, Selfless, and Playmaker, with each used to recognize positive qualities of gameplay and teamwork. Earning commendations will help you not only access the upper echelons of Guardian Ranks, it will also let everyone know that you are a good person to have on their fireteam.
Bungie Designer Steve Dolan said there’s a lofty goal that sits behind features like Guardian Ranks and Commendations: motivating the player to be better, not just in terms of skill, but also in terms of… being a person. “The reason why you want a good [Commendations] score is because a lot of the highest ranks are about helping the community,” Dolan said. “You can get to a pretty high Guardian Rank by just being good at the game. If you want to get to the highest ranks, you have to be good at the game and contribute positively to the community. All of a sudden, you’ve got someone who’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m rank nine but I want to help these rank fives because I want to get some commendations and really boost my score.’”
With its consistent focus on trying new activities—from Seasonal Challenges to tried and true modes like strikes and Nightfalls—the Guardian Ranks system also serves as a handy tool to let players know what optional activities are available to them if they’re looking to advance. At the start of each Season, players will be reset to Guardian Rank six (assuming they’ve reached that rank during the previous Season), and they’ll need to progress through Seasonal and higher-end content like dungeons and raids to attain rank seven and upward.
[With these systems in place] there’s this great gradual stepping up in understanding the systems of the game,” said Thompson. “You’re going to have all your progression in the narrative and then you also add the Guardian Ranks progression, where, if you do the challenges and then move up through the ranks, you will learn the things you need to know as you go. That’s a huge improvement over the way we’ve done it in the past because we can now say there is a progression to follow, there’s a logical next step.”
An epic new adventure, full of challenge, mystery, and thrills, and all bolstered by a bevy of features designed to make your life as a Guardian not just easier, but more friendly as well. It’s all coming with the launch of Destiny 2: Lightfall on February 28.
Play The Witch Queen for free this weekend
Destiny 2 fans can prepare for the launch of Destiny 2: Lightfall by taking the fight to Savathûn and her Lucent Brood for free this weekend. Starting on February 23 through February 26, The Witch Queen Standard Edition will be available to PlayStation players at no additional cost. The Throne World awaits, Guardians!
State of Play: All Announcements
- Atmospheric sci-fi western roguelike The Foglands launches on PS VR2 this year
- Dive into the jungle with Green Hell VR on PlayStation VR2, out 2023
- Synapse brings dual-wielding VR action exclusively to PS VR2 this year
- Destiny 2: Lightfall launch trailer and new quality-of-life features revealed, out Feb 28
- Humanity: intriguing puzzler gets new gameplay details and demo release today as part of State of Play
- Journey to Foundation brings Asimov’s epic sci-fi series to life on PS VR2
- Tchia sets sail on PS4 and PS5 on March 21 as part of PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium
- A closer look at PS VR2 narrative adventure Before Your Eyes ahead of its March 10 launch
- Street Fighter 6 rounds out its launch roster with Cammy, Lily and Zangief
- Goodbye Volcano High launches this June on PS5 and PS4
- Baldur’s Gate 3 launches on PS5 August 31
- Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections launches 2023 on PS4 and PS5
- Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League debuts 4-player co-op gameplay and more at State of Play
- Wayfinder: PS4 and PS5 players get exclusive Early Access to the character-based online RPG in May
- Resident Evil 4 trailer debuts new action gameplay, announces Mercenaries mode, demo