Players have had enough of the same old system and Bungie knows it.
At the conclusion of Destiny 2‘s Season of Plunder last month, widespread community burnout with the game became a major talking point when Steam player counts dropped to a historic low.
With this week’s release of Season of the Seraph, player concerns around the repetitive seasonal model and a lack of variety in the new content have only been exarcebated. An all too similar vendor upgrade screen in the H.E.L.M and a time-gated weekly story quest that follows the usual set of beats quickly spurred on widespread frustration, and Destiny 2 Game Director Joe Blackburn took to social media to promise players that Bungie was listening and changes were coming for 2023.
“I just wanted to step in and say: Heard loud and clear on the feedback with our current seasonal backbones,” Blackburn admitted in the lengthy thread, confirming that the developer wasn’t blind to the vocal criticisms that had flooded Destiny‘s online communities. “The team is excited to put some more creative risk in seasonal progressions, but there will be some time before the feedback catches up with the dev cycle.”
That delay between production and the final seasonal releases means that season 20, the one that will ship alongside the Lightfall expansion in February next year, won’t be seeing any of the major improvements that Bungie has planned for seasons. Instead, Blackburn explains that “our major focus is reducing complexity and improving the synergy between your seasonal pursuits and the rest of the game.”
“Season 21 is at the halfway mark of development, and the team is currently looking at ways to differentiate progression aside from having a more novel activity setup in the works,” he then added, giving players a clearer timeline of when to expect their feedback to manifest in-game. “were hardening our 2023 plans and are working to make improvements in this space every season next year. I wanted to make sure everyone knows that your words are not falling on deaf ears.”
Those words are coming from more than just disgruntled community members, as more prominent voices such as content creator Gladd joined the chorus of frustration after playing the introductory quest of Season of the Seraph.
“It’s just a constant cycle of gatekept, drip-fed content that does nothing to separate itself from any of the previous seasons,” he lamented on his stream. “Every season is literally the same thing. It is get a seasonal quest, you do a mission when you log in with a cutscene, you load up into a screen that looks exactly like this,” he said while displaying the new Exo Frame vendor in the H.E.L.M. “There’s nothing new, there’s no innovation, there’s no creativity.”
Reddit user u/Museskate24 shared a similar sentiment surrounding the new H.E.L.M vendor on release day as well, their frustrations quick to gain traction with other players. “These upgradable tables every season are getting VERY old,” they said in the post. “Every season its the same thing with the upgradable and time-gated table. This gameplay loop of it is getting stale.”
“It started off as a good idea back with Beyond Light and Season of Arrivals, then they started using it EVERY SINGLE TIME,” responded u/stormhunter2, noting how the system now causing such burnout was once praised for how it renovated Destiny 2‘s seasonal releases. “Destinys content is good quality in a vacuum, but due to the constant barrage of samey seasonal content, its all become so routine,” agreed u/Ode1st.
Time will tell if the changes to seasons that Blackburn promises will be enough to reinvigorate the gameplay cycle of Destiny 2 for these players, but Bungie risks further significant player count dips each season if they don’t provide Guardians with new reasons to keep playing the game come mid-2023.