Destiny 2: Forsaken has done a lot to turn Bungie’s struggling sequel around. Its swath of content and the sweeping introduced with it have done much to reward steadfast fans for sticking around and it’s convinced many lapsed players to return to the fold. Truly, Destiny 2: Forsaken has revitalized its parent game and turned it back into a success, but it’s not without its faults. Forsaken-era Destiny 2 is still lagging behind its predecessor in a couple of important areas; one of those being the amount of freedom players have when outfitting their guardian. In theory, any piece of gear can be brought up to a player’s current light. In practice though, it doesn’t work out that way.
In Destiny 2: Forsaken, gear can be upgraded in two different was. The first method, infusion, sacrifices high power gear and transfers its level to gear of a lower power level. If that’s not enough, players can also decide to “masterwork” a gear piece in order to grant it elevated stats. Both systems are supposed to be there to help guardians better enjoy their arsenal, but engaging with them is difficult thanks to a certain amount of overlap that exists between them.
At the moment, both infusion and masterworking require a number of masterwork cores to accomplish. The cost for either process isn’t particularly high; it takes two cores to infuse into legendary gear and three cores to infuse into exotic gear. As for masterworking, each level after three requires at least one masterwork core. On their own, there’s nothing wrong with these requirements. They’re just a small barrier to ensure that players are giving all their new gear a chance. Put both together, however, and a bit of an annoyance is created.
Unless one is playing at least a few hours daily, masterwork cores are fairly hard to come by. They can only be acquired through dismantling certain pieces of legendary gear or purchasing them from Spider, the Tangled Shore’s vendor. Masterwork cores rarely drop from legendary gear, so Spider is the main source for most players. Each day, Spider sells one masterwork core in exchange for ten legendary shards. After that, the price doubles to twenty shards and keeps going from there. It’s an expensive business for those who don’t already have a large stockpile of shards lying around. Thus, this key resource for two important systems is perpetually in short supply and that makes engaging with either of them difficult.
The intent behind this situation isn’t all that difficult to discern. Bungie wants players to be more willing to try new gear and weapons as they get them rather than relying on their “perfect” build. Masterworking and infusion are only to be used as a means of establishing favorites and carrying them forward. It’s not a bad idea in theory. Having the means to make one’s favorite gear into something special sounds fun actually. It’s just that, in practice, this isn’t working as well as it could be.
Fortunately, this system is only in need of a couple of tweaks rather than a full rework. If they wanted to address this, there are a couple of methods that would hopefully achieve positive results. The first of these is straightforward: just increase the availability of masterwork cores. It doesn’t even have to be increased by all that great a margin either; just attach the cores to a handful of Spider’s daily bounties. Players would still have to work for their cores, but at least they’d be able to get their hands on enough of them to upgrade a couple of gear pieces each week. If that’s somehow not a viable solution, then perhaps the answer can be found in adjusting the costs of upgrading. Bungie could remove masterwork cores as an infusion currency and then decrease their overall availability. This method would allow players to infuse more freely and relieve many of the current system’s annoyances. At the same time, Bungie’s vision of players singling-out their favorites could be preserved through the masterwork system. If masterwork cores were to become even more scarce, one can be absolutely certain that players would only spend them on the armor and weapons they love the most.
Destiny 2: Forsaken’s masterworking and infusion systems are by no means terrible. They do their job of providing players a means of maintaining their best armor and weapons. It’s just that their mutual requirement of a scarce resource is currently limiting both systems a bit too much. This limitation betrays the system’s core intent by stifling the player’s ability to build their ideal guardian instead of helping them better enjoy their favorite gear like it’s supposed to, an adjustment is needed. It won’t be a simple as Bungie flipping a digital switch, but whatever time and effort it does take will be both worth it and appreciated by the Destiny 2 player base. You’ve set yourself up quite nicely here Bungie, now all you have to do is apply the finishing touch.