I recently completed a No Ability Solo Flawless run of the Grasp of Avarice Dungeon. This self-imposed challenge was a great way for me to approach the game in a way that I haven’t really had to since vanilla D2 – by relying on weapons rather than ability spam. Don’t get me wrong, Destiny 2’s abilities are an amazing asset and a large part of what separates Destiny from other, great feeling shooters on the market today. But the most interesting part of this change-up was the way it made me rethink my combat mods.
Combat mods are the go-to tools of any end-game level aficionado. As someone who has participated in every Day One raid race since Wrath of the Machine (and even completed two* of them) I don’t know what I’d do without my precious combat mods. Currently, the meta for combat mods relies heavily on Elemental Well mods that grant the player a range of bonuses from buffs, to healing, to an additional twenty points of Mobility – combat mods do it all.
The biggest issue with combat mods, or any mods for that matter, is that unless you were around when they were given out as part of seasonal content, you have to wait for the Tower vendor, Ada-1 to sell them. While this was fine when there were only a handful of combat mods, there are now 71, of which I only have 62. I’m still missing a few Charge with Light mods and Warmind Cell mods, some of which haven’t been available in nearly a year. This doesn’t even touch the 373 total mods in the game, of which I’m missing 18.
While I understand that the responsibility to check with Ada everyday is the players’, it doesn’t minimize the frustration when the days that she sells the best mods in the game fall on days that make getting on Destiny extremely difficult for any of life’s little annoyances (damn you, adult responsibilities!). Just as frustrating is logging in every time I can just to see that she is only selling things I already have.
This is a problem that can be completely avoided by giving all players all of the mods that Ada has in her rotation, as well as those like them that are released in the future. It’s Bungie’s own vision to allow new players to go from the (utterly confusing) New Light quests to jumping into a raid within a matter of hours. When their friends tell them what mods to equip, these new players will find their mod collection to be quite lacking. While some are given out as part of changes to the game’s systems over the last few years, players will inevitably find themselves asking other players “how did you make that little orange thing appear, and how do I do that?” No one wants to tell their Kinderguardian friend that they have to go to Ada-1 in the Tower Annex and hope that she sells something cool every… single… day.
Obviously there are some mods that, in my opinion, are fine to keep as is: The raid mods, for example, could stick around as unlocks because they have a direct, permanent path to unlocking them and only work in the raids they drop from. By simply opening secret chests hidden in the raids, players get that raid’s respective mods. After two or three runs of a raid, as long as you grab the secret chests, you’re likely to have all of the mods for that raid. This would be fine, again, because I couldn’t take a Deep Stone Crypt raid mod into the Arms Dealer Grandmaster Nightfall and see any benefit whatsoever. They’re situational, not universal like all other mods.
Even if Bungie didn’t want to just hand out these game-changing mods, I think something like XP progression or activity completions could randomly reward mods. Several mods in the game already function this way and it would be just as exciting to see which mods you receive as it is to look at a new roll on a gun you’re chasing. However, I’d still prefer if the mods were just granted to everyone, as adding them to the random loot pool or tying them to XP progress would still require a serious commitment from new players to acquire. With 373 mods currently in the game, it could take weeks before a player is randomly rewarded enough mods with the appropriate synergies to even benefit from the grind in the first place.
I’m certainly not calling for simplification of game systems here, anyone who knows me knows that I want more MMO-style systems in Destiny 2, but gatekeeping the most important thing after weapons and abilities is definitely not how you get new or returning players interested in sticking around. Hopefully with the February release of the Year 6 expansion, Lightfall bringing things like in-game Loadouts and a mod manager, we’ll see this dream fully realized.
A quick, somewhat related, PSA: September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the Destiny community is currently rallying under the #GoGold and #GoldForSeptember hashtags on Twitter. Make sure to adorn your favorite Gold tinted shader and show off your Guardian in support of the movement, and don’t forget: Fuck Cancer!
*Challenge mode VOG, Day One clear for King’s Fall. Warpriest be damned.