Plugged In

Being a true account of the author’s trials and travails in Destiny 2 PvP

Vol. 3

Let’s start with a very quick recap of my Forsaken review: It’s awesome. I never played Destiny 1, but even many people who did are saying this is the franchise’s best DLC ever (yes, even better than The Taken King).

However, no game is perfect, and I do have some criticisms of Forsaken. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

In this entry I’ll focus on the burdensome nature of the infusion system. It’s clearly designed to slow progression, but instead of acting like a throttle, it more often functions like a tourniquet, as the requirements to infuse gear are onerous.

In the past, infusing one piece of gear into another (to raise its light level) required two currencies: Glimmer (the most common and plentiful currency in D2) and Legendary Shards. These two resources were abundant, and I very rarely ran into a situation in which I couldn’t infuse anything for lack of the necessary Glimmer or Shards.

In Forsaken, however, infusion requires four currencies: Glimmer, Legendary Shards, planetary materials (which you can find on each individual world, e.g., dusklight shards in the EDZ), and Masterwork Cores.

Furthermore, the amount of Glimmer and Legendary Shards required to infuse is considerably higher than before. (The exception to all of this is if you’re infusing one of an item into another of the exact same item, in which case the only currency required is Glimmer). Likewise, 25 planetary materials are required for each infusion, which is a considerable number if you hadn’t been stockpiling them before Forsaken (and why would you have been, considering that they were well nigh useless before?).

On top of all this, the game is now much more stingy with its drops. Last night, for example, I soloed the heroic Taken Blight public event on Io. Glimmer gains? 430. WTF, man? They couldn’t even make it an even 500. Legendary drops also occur less frequently, which means fewer shards acquired from dismantling items you don’t want.

As mentioned above, planetary materials are a pain, but at least there are bounties for those, which are easily completed. But even still, doing three bounties (which is all that’s available on any given world per day, for its particular resource) yields only enough to infuse one piece of gear. And while they’re quick to complete, quick doesn’t mean instantaneous. You’re talking 15-20 minutes to complete three bounties for about 30 of the given planetary material (and infusing one item requires 25). That adds up.

But the real bottleneck is Masterwork Cores. Masterworked legendary drops, like exotic engrams, are thought to still exist in the wild, but (also like exotic engrams) I have yet to see a single one. This is a problem, as cores are now mandatory to infuse anything. So where can you get them?

Why, from Spider, of course. The Tangled Shore’s Fallen mafioso sells them, but of course it’s not that simple. One core starts at ten Legendary Shards — and, since Spider has no competition, he’s decided to double the price with each core purchased (this scale resets every 24 hours). Thus, buying more than about three per day quickly becomes prohibitive.

Many players are encountering a situation similar to mine: having a bunch of higher Power level gear that isn’t the gear you really want to use, but, for lack of resources, being unable to infuse it into the stuff you do want to use.

And perhaps strangest of all is the fact that the excellent weapon balancing in Forsaken actually exacerbates this problem. Think about it: If there are only a handful of really good weapons (most Year One, Season 3 players will know which ones I’m thinking of), there’s little reason to infuse anything else.

Now, many weapons in myriad classes are competitive in Crucible and Gambit — but, unless you have a huge amount of time to grind for resources, only a precious few can be infused up to your current Power level. This is relevant because, during year one of D2, power level didn’t matter in Iron Banner or Trials of the Nine (and Gambit, in which power level matters during the PvP encounters, didn’t even exist). Now, however, power level matters in all three of these activities (although Trials won’t be back until Season Five). And the power level requirements for the Dreaming City, much less the Last Wish Raid, are considerable.

I get that infusion was a little too easy before, but I feel that Forsaken has swung the pendulum way too far in the other direction. Before Forsaken, I was always flush. Glimmer, shards, even masterwork cores, I was steady rollin’. But now, I’m perpetually broke. Just the other day I had to run three bounties on Io simply to get enough Phaseglass Needles to infuse one piece of gear. Likewise, as often as not I find myself with less than 10,000 glimmer, and even that amount can disappear very quickly, as nearly everything seems to require it. (Applying a mod that I already own to a piece of gear I own costs 5,000 glimmer? Why?!) Just like society, D2 needs a strong middle class to thrive.

Alright, alright, I’ve come down off the soapbox.

Here are a few tips I’ve used to maximize my resource accumulation:

  • Dismantle unwanted rare (not legendary) shaders for glimmer; recycling five grants 5,000 glimmer. A lot of those shaders are butt-ugly anyway. Avalon Teal? Atlantis Wash? Ugh. No thanks. I got around 50,000 glimmer from dismantling untold numbers of Blue Geometry, Crucible Glory and other shaders that would make couture designers cringe.
  • Dismantle unwanted legendary shaders for legendary shards
  • Break down year one weapons/armor in your vault/inventory for shards and cores
  • Make sure to pick up bounties every day; this is tough to remember at first, since we didn’t even have them to pick up during all of year one. Some grant glimmer, some grant resources, some grant tokens, some grant gear. All are worth it. I wish we could pick these up from the D2 app, which would negate lengthy trips to the tower. Please, Bungie?
  • Use your consumables (Rainmaker, Fireteam Medallion, etc.) and appropriate ghost shells to increase RNG drops of resources
  • Turn in old planetary vendor tokens; these will grant year one legendary armor and weapons, some of which drop fully masterworked (unlike every other drop in the game right now … *sigh*). I had a butt-ton of these accumulated and was able to get hundreds of shards and tens of cores out of this. Sure, you could keep the year one weapons and armor, but … why? The gear drops with fixed rolls (booor-ing), and can’t accept year two mods (lame), so there’s really no reason to keep it. Besides, if you delete a year-one item you end up wanting later, you can easily reacquire it from collections.
  • Escalation Protocol is easier to do now than ever (simply because you’re now going to be at a much higher Power level than before, but the requirements haven’t changed), and it’s a great source of glimmer, legendary shaders and legendary gear.

Finally, I know I tout this as a PvP blog, but have yet to really focus on PvP. Please bear with me. With the release of arguably the biggest and most important DLC in Destiny’s history, there’s a lot to talk about at the moment, and I felt it necessary to write about the state of the game as a whole before narrowing my focus to the Crucible. Stay frosty, Guardians!