Destiny 2 Developer Response to XP Cooldown, Alexa Ghost Skill Launched

By Lucy Wood, 1 year ago
Bungie responded to complaints from players by replacing the third and final Destiny 2 "Curse of Osiris" reveal stream with a post called The State of Destiny 2, detailing upcoming changes to the game. They also announced a collaboration with Amazon Alexa that integrates voice technology with the app to create a premier companion experience.

Bungie Responds to XP Cooldown Complaints

The Destiny 2 XP cooldown effect caused by XP scaling mechanics has been causing a lot of anger since it was brought to light on Reddit and gained media attention. Player testing found discrepancies of 50% or more between the XP the UI said was earned and the amount actually awarded, impacting on speed of levelling and earning Bright Engrams. The deactivation of the XP scaling system causing the cooldown was announced on November 24th, but was soon followed by the news that twice as much XP would be required to level up or earn a Bright Engram:

Not only do players dislike losing out on rewards, but they also do not appreciate dishonesty and this debacle has undermined the Destiny community's trust in Bungie. "The State of Destiny 2" opens with a statement from Luke Smith and Chris Barrett acknowledging criticism for lack of communication and promising greater openness, but stops short of actually apologising to the community. XP issues are only addressed directly in the following section, added like an afterthought at the end of the article:

XP Mechanics

Last weekend, we disabled a scaling mechanism that adjusted XP gains up and down without reflecting those adjustments in the UI. Our intention was to keep slower-paced activities as rewarding as high intensity grinding without confusing variations in displayed XP values, but the silent nature of the mechanic betrayed the expectation of transparency that you have for Destiny 2.

We were able to disable the system with a server-side change, but a new solution is now needed to rebalance XP in Destiny 2. We have begun that work, and will continue to provide updates to you about timelines and specifics. The values coded into our website API are being updated today (and may already have been as you read this post) to reflect the removal of this scaling mechanism. In a future update, we intend to link these internal and display-only values together for greater consistency, and to ensure that when changes are made they are accurately reflected everywhere we report them.

We already see that the newly adjusted 160K XP per level value means that leveling is too slow for some activities, and we have begun the process of collecting data and recalibrating XP earn rates to improve them as quickly as possible.

XP boosts, including both consumable items and passive bonuses like the Well Rested 300% bonus, were always applied after this system and never resulted in early slowing of XP. They should be unchanged by the disabling of this system and will continue to provide their stated increase in XP gain.

Expect to see a lot of conversation from our team on this front, as XP rewards are updated and brought back in-line with player expectations.
Bright Engrams are earned through normal gameplay in Destiny 2, but they are also sold in-game for Silver, a currency purchased with real money. Bungie's spin on the XP cooldown fiasco involves presenting the scaling mechanism behind it as being there to give players a sense of making progress during activities that generate less XP. While there may be some truth in this, the idea that they never considered potential losses of microtransaction revenue from players rapidly earning XP is implausible. Furthermore Bungie's claim that they didn't realise XP scaling wasn't working as intended until player complaints got media attention is unconvincing given that the data is relevant to microtransactions.

Upcoming Changes to Destiny 2

Changes confirmed for December include the introduction of a new Masterworks weapon tier, more armour ornaments, faction gear on sale from vendors, a new Fated Engram to help players complete their exotic collections, a new and simpler Three of Coins that boosts all exotic drops for four hours, the ability to buy consumables and engrams with Legendary Shards, relaxation of exploit prevention mechanics for chests and resource nodes, a new way of acquiring Legendary Mods, and adjustment of token drops and values. Vendors will also lose interest in players' tokens until they have enough of them to claim a reward.

A January update will improve incentives for Prestige activities. Timescales are not yet confirmed for other upcoming features, including ranked PvP, Crucible quitting penalties, private matches, reduced duplication of exotics, and emote interface improvements. Full details are in spoiler tags below.

Upcoming Updates Overview

*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***

December Update Details

*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***

Alexa Ghost Skill and Limited Edition Ghost

A new Destiny 2 Ghost Skill is available free of charge for all Alexa device owners. Voiced by Nolan North, it gives users a voice-based companion and some new ways to interact with the game:

Players can say, “Alexa, ask Ghost to…” with a variety of utterances — from “…tell me which friends are online,” to asking “…what should I do next?” giving recommendations for what to play next based on players’ real-time current progress, to “…call for back up,” which offers an easy way to interact with friends in their clan to enhance the social experience of Destiny 2, to “… equip my Raid loadout,” equipping players’ favourite weapons and armour for a number of different gameplay activities, to learning more about the world and characters of Destiny 2 with a request like, “…tell me who are the Red Legion?”
A Limited Edition Destiny 2 Ghost is now available either as a standalone Alexa accessory or as part of an Echo Dot speaker bundle. This physical Ghost is a WiFi enabled speaker and is not required to use the Destiny 2 Ghost Skill. However, it does require both the game and an enabled Alexa device to function.

Destiny 2 updates are scheduled for December 5th and 12th. The first expansion "Curse of Osiris" will also launch on December 5th.

We've got the full list of Destiny 2 achievements - check the list for guides to unlocking them.

Check out our Best Xbox First Person Shooters Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.
Lucy Wood
Written by Lucy Wood
Lucy wasted her youth in the pursuit of music, art and stories. Eventually she discovered that video games combine all three with shooting and exploding stuff and a gamer was born.