Wednesday, September 13, 2023
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Just about each week brings one thing new to Destiny 2, whether or not it is story beats, new actions, or fascinating new combos of components that allow gamers devastate one another within the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly take a look at what is going on on on the planet of Destiny and a rundown of what is drawing our consideration throughout the photo voltaic system.

Solstice might be my least favourite of Destiny 2’s annual occasions. The summertime celebration initially kicked off alongside the Moments of Triumph, marking the tip of a Destiny yr and serving to gamers commemorate all of the cool stuff they’d finished with a pleasant set of glowing armor to boot–but it tended to be a closely grindy occasion that lacked the enjoyable character of Halloween’s Festival of the Lost or The Dawning of the vacation season. Solstice additionally tends to be an intense grind, and if there’s one factor I’m not a fan of within the Destiny video games, it is grinding content material again and again.

For 2022, Bungie made some vital adjustments to Solstice, nevertheless. It altered the best way its particular occasion armor works, adjusted the particular EAZ location and the occasions that happen there, and launched a brand new “Event Card” system, each for ticking off aims and for incomes premium rewards as a part of the occasion. Solstice appears to be like very totally different in 2022, and now that it is over, we are able to check out the three-week summertime celebration to run down what labored, what did not, and what we would anticipate from extra annual occasions as Destiny 2 goes ahead.

The enhancements

Overall, my impression of this yr’s Solstice was that Bungie recognized some vital issues that maintain the occasion again and addressed them to make it higher. The greatest and most essential of them: Solstice armor.

Armor earned in the course of the Solstice occasion is all the time particular. It has its personal distinctive design and may tackle “glows” that give it a novel, incandescent look. The factor about Solstice armor, nevertheless, is that it takes plenty of work to make. The total celebration occasion is normally about placing within the work to improve your Solstice armor from low-level, frequent gear to high-level Legendary stuff. Most of the time, that grind is concerning the glow on the end–although usually, you must pay additional to realize the best appears to be like. This yr, nevertheless, Solstice armor was made lots higher by Bungie’s continued enhancements to gear-targeting methods.

The ability to tune your Solstice armor to your personal specifications almost makes the grind worth it.
The skill to tune your Solstice armor to your private specs virtually makes the grind price it.

With the Candescent armor you possibly can earn on this yr’s Solstice, ultimately, you possibly can tune every gear piece with the particular stats you wished. The system allowed you to choose one stat with a “spark” that assured it to have at the least 20 factors invested in it–a fairly vital quantity, since a single stat for legendary-type armor tops out at 30. In addition to that, with the Ghost mod system that lets you usually goal armor towards a selected stat, you possibly can additional tune your Solstice armor in a distinct course, with the Ghost mod guaranteeing 10 factors in a distinct stat out of your spark. That meant you possibly can get a assure of 20 Resilience, together with a assure of 10 Discipline, as an example, with randomness contributing the remainder of your gear’s numbers to a doable whole of 68. With numerous Solstice armor dropping all through the occasion, that meant gamers had fairly good probabilities of making fairly shut to precisely the form of armor they wished throughout Solstice.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the armor system this yr was a serious enchancment for Solstice. It made the entire occasion really feel very worthwhile by offering what’s mainly the very best gear-tuning alternative within the sport. Even for those who weren’t notably eager on Solstice’s actions, it was price it to interact with the occasion for the cool armor. Worthwhile rewards are all the time a giant plus in Destiny 2, and Solstice dished them out.

It did so equally by including a brand new weapon to the sport, the hand cannon Something New, which carried a brand new particular trait known as Dream Work that rewards you for working intently with teammates. The trait was bugged for a bit, making it very particular, however even with out that add-on, Something New feels particular (as does Compass Rose, a shotgun that was reworked for this Solstice). Bungie is making superb use of the brand new Origin Trait system, particularly as seen right here: Something New is a gun that comes from precisely one supply, with a novel component that makes it really feel particular. It’s one other good purpose to leap into Solstice.

Bungie did away with the previous EAZ occasion, which had gamers chasing down hidden treasure chests after preventing waves of enemies, in favor of a brand new exercise known as Bonfire Bash. Generally, I used to be a fan; it is not particularly totally different from the previous EAZ, nonetheless requiring killing waves of enemies, however at the least it freshened issues up a bit and did not require operating across the map to search out these treasure chests on the finish. Overall, the EAZ nonetheless will get stale in a rush (extra on that in a bit), however Bonfire seems like a greater model of what we have performed within the house earlier than, on the very least.

Adjustments to the EAZ make it more fun than in the past, but it still gets stale in a hurry.
Adjustments to the EAZ make it extra enjoyable than prior to now, however it nonetheless will get stale in a rush.

Finally, the Event Card system is a fairly respectable one. It places all of your aims for the occasion in a single place, and if you wish to spend a couple of bucks to improve it, it dishes out some premium beauty rewards as well–without adjusting how Solstice performs in mainly any approach. The Event Card system is an effective one for retaining issues organized, though it might be good to see some higher rewards, as I’m unsure anybody actually cares about Ghost projections or transmat results, however possibly that is simply me. It’s a minor addition, however a helpful one, in any case.

The drawbacks

Solstice noticed plenty of enhancements this yr, however its main disadvantage remained: it is a grind, and never an particularly enjoyable one. As regular, it takes lots of labor to enhance your Solstice armor to its very best ranges. Not solely did you must play a lot of aggressive matches and a complete lot of Bonfire Bash, however you needed to fiddle with plenty of public occasions and playlist actions. It wasn’t as grindy as in previous years, however it was nonetheless a vital grind, when Destiny 2 has, in a common sense, moved away from prolonged necessities for making numbers go as much as usually extra significant engagement (though the infernal grind persists, for certain).

I’ll say that the work to get your armor as much as its finest ranges wasn’t almost as annoying as in final years, which included necessities like raid or dungeon completions–which aren’t a excessive bar for some gamers, however which may be extraordinarily irritating for others. The worst of it this yr was in all probability the 25 aggressive matches performed requirement for both Crucible or Gambit. It did not assist that boosted progress for alternate characters was damaged for a lot of the occasion. Still, although, 25 matches is lots to ask of anybody, interval. I’d prefer to see Bungie discover methods of creating these necessities really feel extra significant, possibly by tying some gentle story components to them so it feels such as you’re looking for out items of armor from across the Solar System, or doing one thing to pay homage to the triumphs Solstice is supposed to rejoice. Regardless, the armor grind is an annoying one, and as soon as I’d completed on my Titan character, which took me about half the occasion to finish, I gave up for the remainder of Solstice and deserted my alts to their non-glowy fates.

Bonfire Bash, too, suffers the identical destiny as earlier EAZ occasions. It’s nice for a bit, however not terribly difficult or fascinating. Of course, we’ve to consider that annual occasions like these are designed for broad engagement among the many participant base, and are subsequently stored informal, and I feel the changes this yr made Bonfire Bash much less of an irritation than it had been in previous iterations. But you continue to find yourself enjoying it a ton, and it is mainly the identical each time.

The Event Card system is useful for keeping the event organized, but it could stand some better rewards.
The Event Card system is helpful for retaining the occasion organized, however it might stand some higher rewards.

There’s potential within the EAZ as a space–it’s extra vertical than possibly wherever else in Destiny 2, and navigating in three dimensions to finish the occasion is a cool concept. New environmental objects to launch you round are additionally actually helpful. But the occasion itself does not use the house in a approach that provides a lot to it. Mostly, the tall buildings and distant floating islands are simply annoyances in your approach as you attempt to race to the following factor to kill, so you may end the occasion as shortly as doable. That’s additionally a operate of the grind, actually, as a result of everybody desires to knock out Bonfire Bash as quick as they will, since they’ve to finish so lots of them. It makes the occasion really feel like a chore, however even for those who weren’t sprinting by it, as soon as you have finished 4 or 5 runs, they’re all just about the identical. And that makes it powerful to remain engaged with Solstice for the complete three weeks.

The verdict

I’m pro-Solstice 2022, at the least within the body of the opposite Solstice occasions. Generally, it was a serious enchancment. The points that make Solstice one of many weaker annual occasions persist, nevertheless. Though Bungie added some actually nice premium beauty objects to the occasion this yr, of which I purchased a number of, it nonetheless seems like Solstice lacks character in comparison with the opposite occasions.

The worst component, nevertheless, stays the grind. I’m glad Solstice armor was improved to the purpose that it felt prefer it was price chasing, however it nonetheless required a excessive diploma of effort to earn–and not the enjoyable form of effort, like taking over a problem and defeating it, however the annoying form of effort, like operating 25 Gambit matches simply to get them finished. For me, I feel the reply is both to lower the grind, which seems like a common mandate for Destiny 2 general nowadays, or to boost Solstice armor much more, in order that the reward feels commensurate to the work concerned in incomes it. Solstice 2022 positively bought nearer to that stability, however it’s nonetheless not sufficient to raise Solstice amongst Destiny’s different annual occasions.

What’d you consider Solstice this yr? Did you just like the adjustments? What would you prefer to see Bungie do with it sooner or later? Am I utterly improper about it? Let me know what you suppose within the feedback beneath.

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