Reflecting on Lightfall

Bungie's thoughts about the game at the moment, and changes they're bringing to address feedback.

  • At Lightfall's launch, Destiny 2 had its highest number of concurrent players in years.
  • There were more new players, returning players, and daily active players than at The Witch Queen's launch.
  • They surpassed sales expecations on Lightfall, and the Root of Nightmares Worlds First Race had record-breaking viewership.
  • Here's a quote from Joe Blackburn, the Destiny 2 Game Director:

Hey, Guardians. We’re floored by how many new and returning faces have been devouring Destiny 2 these last few weeks, and while it’s clear the initial experience we delivered on day one didn’t provide the full clarity we originally planned for when we set out creating Lightfall, the team has taken the feedback to heart in both what’s coming this year, and with how we’re ending the Light and Darkness Saga in The Final Shape. Over the last few years, the team has set a high bar for what to expect from Destiny 2’s evolving world, and we’re committed to making sure the resolution of our first saga lives up to that legacy. We’ll continue to build toward that resolution throughout the year of Lightfall, and I can’t wait to experience the conclusion to this saga alongside all of you as we make our way to The Final Shape. Of course, there’s plenty to come between now and then. We’ve taken a broad look at community feedback across the game since launch and have been working to address several areas in the coming weeks, while also forging ahead on content for our upcoming seasons. Let’s get into the things we’re building and improving in response to your input on Lightfall so far.

Guardian Ranks and Commendations

  • The goals with these two systems were the following:
  • Guardian Ranks: should serve as a guide to let you know what you should be doing to improve your Guardian, especially if you're new to the game. Should create a social signal to others, so that you can quickly glean some information about a Guardian's skill within Destiny 2. This social signal should also carry meaning season-over-season
  • Commendations: meant to create cycles of gratitude so that players are thankful for one another. They shoudl reinforce that the most celebrated Guardians are those who have earned the respect of their peers by helping them out.

Meeting these goals

  • With lots of data on these systems, they realize they missed the mark on some of these goals, and needed to make updates based on the feedback.
  • Guardian Ranks have worked well for guiding New Lights, but they want to improve the system for all players.
  • Guardian Ranks should be a useful guide season-over-season, so they should reflect the most recent content in the game.
  • Hitting the highest rank isn't easy, so you should feel pride in showing it off across multiple seasons.
  • They expect players would become annoyed if they had to redo all the basics each season, so they're building shortcuts to renew ranks you've previously achieved even faster.
  • They're also refining the goals for seasonal resets.
  • Players should be able to represent their accomplishments across a whole season, and those who've completed a Guardian Rank should be able to renew that rank quickly in the next season. The social signal should also have meaning each season ("That Guardian is rank 8, so they clearly know how to complete a raid. I should join their fireteam for the new one")
  • To accomplish this, when starting a new season, the rank displayed next to your name will be the higher of the two numbers: your last season rank, and your current season rank.
  • Players renew previously completed ranks by redoing just the blue-tinted categories in Guardian Ranks. The rest will not reset.
  • Commendation counts will reset each season, but the score and breakdown will be tracked each season, you'll only lose a portion of your commendation score each season instead of it resetting to 0.
  • In Season 21, they'll also add a screen in the Journey tab that shows your history of recent seasons, including commendation score and distribution, guardian rank, season pass level, and seasonal challenges. recent seasons view

Forever Six

  • They believe several objectives for Guardian Ranks were initially over-tuned, and placed too many objectives in certain ranks, leading to the meme of most players being "forever six" at launch.
  • They've already made a few changes to address this:
    • Moved the lost sector completion and flawless objectives up one rank each.
    • Reduced the Commendations objective requirements in Guardian Ranks 7-11
  • Longer term changes (currently planned for Season 21)
    • Returning players will now start at rank 5, and ranking up from 5 to 7 will be easier than going from 6 to 7 was at launch.
    • Rank renewal will be fast tracked, so most players will quickly renew to rank 7 by playing seasonal content, earning artifact power, completing Seasonal Challenges, and trying out the newest exotic.
  • They also plan on "remixing" ranks 6-11 to provide a better expression of skill between those ranks.
  • Once these changes are out, they'll keep monitoring data to determine whether more long-term changes are needed.

Commendation Objectives

  • Over 100 million Commendations were granted in the first two weeks.
  • They're aware that Commendations are currently too closely tied to progression, they have plans already in motion.
  • They're re-tuning some values so active players can be much more deliberate about who they do or don't want to give a Commendation, without worrying about the amount they've given holding them back from their goals.
  • They're also adding five seconds to the commendations phase at the end of pvp matches.
  • In the March 30th patch, they already made the following changes:
    • Removed Guardian Rank objectives that require players to give Commendations from Ranks 7-9.
    • Further reduced the Commendations objective requirements for Guardian Ranks 7-9.
    • Reduced Hawthorne's weekly powerful reward requirement from 20 to 5 commendations.
  • In the coming weeks, they're making more updates:
    • Updating eligibility for Commendations based on activity participation (or lack thereof)
    • Adding a new Commendation: "Best Dressed"
  • Starting in Season 21:
    • Objectives to receive leadership commendations in ranks 10 and 11 will be retroactive within the season, so raids and dungeons that you lead from day one will count towards progerss.
  • Building social systems is challenging, and it's hard to know how things are going to work when released to players.
  • Constructive feedback is always appreciated, they'll keep monitoring to make sure their systems reach their goals.

Difficulty Adjustments

  • Lightfall saw some of the most extensive difficulty retuning since The Taken King.
  • As players tried these out, it was clear that some areas of the game were experiencing unintended behaviors because of this change.
  • For example, the Legendary Campaign modifiers feel great in single-player campaign missions at three players, but become oppressive in an activity like Avalon.
  • Even Nightfalls, which have far less aggressive enemy HP tuning than the Legendary Campaign, can feel overwhelming when played multiple times.

Legend and Master Activities

  • They feel incoming damage to players is in a great spot in Legend and Master activities.
  • They also feel non-boss units had a bit too much health, and could feel more like bullet sponges than they liked.
  • They've already made changes to address this in the march 30th patch:
    • Enemy HP scalar reduced by 10% in non-raid/dungeon Legend/master difficulties. Legendary Campaign missions are also generally not affected (although the weekly rotating mission is).
    • Co-Op scalar converted to Legend Nightfall levels, instead of Legendary Campaign levels. Should result in a 33% HP reduction in a full fireteam.

Heist Battlegrounds

  • They feel the first Nightfall Battleground felt great on Hero, similar to how it played when running it in Season 19. On Legend and Master though, it was a bit less clear.
  • They have the following changes lined up for the mid-season patch:
    • Heist Battleground: Mars
      • Decreasing how often combatant waves spawn on higher difficulties in the Towers phase
      • Increasing the map score multiplier to hel players reach score goals without exploits
      • Adding an additional ammo crate
    • Other Heist Battlegrounds
      • Reducing the frequency and number of some combatant waves in all boss fights
      • Reduced the health of Deathtongue Choristers
      • Hive runes now have the same health on all difficulties
      • Thinning out the Fallen tripmines on Heist Battleground: Moon

Neomuna patrol

  • When building neomuna, they were very aware that normal patrol zones feel very easy to any player who isn't new.
  • Generally, these areas are only threatening to players when large numbers of enemies are present, or when public event bosses are around.
  • For Neomuna, they wanted to make it feel dangerous, like a city under siege by powerful forces, where even rank-and-file enemies can be a threat, and powerful enemies demand your attention
  • It feeling unsafe and oppressive is on purpose, to some extent.
  • They understand this is a bit of a shock to many players who were expecting the old type of patrol.
  • They are pretty satisfied with how Neomuna plays (after nerfing threshers), and how it encourages teamplay and buildcrafting in ways patrol zones typically do not.
  • They have made some adjustments already though:
    • Increased the spawn rate of Vex Strike Force in the Vex Incursion Zone
    • Partition activities are now replayable each week after earning the initial Pinnacle power reward
    • Reduced the rate that red bar enemies are replaced by tougher (orange bar) enemies.
    • Reduced the spawn rate of turrets, especially in Ahimsa Park
  • And in a future patch, they'll be making certain patrols easier to complete as well.

Terminal Overload

  • They heard feedback that Terminal Overload feels too empty before and during the event.
  • They wanted players in the event to focus on event enemies rather than fighting generic enemies that don't give event progress.
  • Due to technical limitations, they couldn't accomplish this without removing enemies from the area prior to the event starting. They're working on new tech that would allow them to be more flexible with this in a future destination.
  • They also made a recent change to make sure Guardians interested in the event and not running through on sparrows get matched together more easily.

Lost Sectors

  • There was some initial frustration of being under-leveled early in Season 20 for lost sectors, but they feel the activity levels are appropriate as they are meant as endgame content for the Season, acknowledging that the full power climb with Lightfall makes it take a while.
  • As season 20 continues, and definitely at the start of Season 21 (where the power caps will not be changing), they feel both Legend and Master Lost Sectors will feel very approachable for regular players.
  • They're not planning on making any difficulty changes to specific Lost Sectors at this time, outside of the 10% enemy HP reduction that already occurred.


  • Originally, Threshers were tuned for combat against Guardian tanks.
  • Threshers have always dealt more damage than intended against Guardians, but under pre-Lightfall combat, they weren't lethal enough to need a nerf.
  • As part of the goal to make invasion of Neomuna feel more threatening, they deployed Threshers more often, and gave them difficulty modifiers previously only used in Nightfalls. This significantly increased their brutality.
  • To reduce this spike, they removed impact damage, so only explosion damage from the missiles is applying, as of the March 23 patch.
  • The maximum damage should be less than half of what it was before.

Vanguard Scoring and Reputation

  • It's still too early to tell if Vanguard scoring bonuses are tuned to their liking.
  • With Lightfall, they retuned the score multiplier of Master and Grandmaster from 2.0 to 1.75 and 2.5 to 2.0 respectively, in order to make the score curve from Hero to Grandmaster smoother.
  • This makes for a better play experience, where every strike can feel time-equivalent to others for rep gain at the same difficulty, although every pursuit that used single-instance score needed to be adjusted to account for this.
  • In a future patch:
    • Take a pass at low map score multipliers and individual objectives to make sure everything feels better, specifically Guardian Ranks Nightfall scoring objectives and Legend Dares of Eternity bounties.
    • Add a throttle to prevent certain exploits as an optimal score strategy.
  • After Season 20 concludes, the yplan on doing a full review of Vanguard scoring over the entire Season, and may make other tunings at that time.

Exotic Armor Drop Rates

  • When Legend and Master Lost Sectors were added in Beyond Light, they envisioned that they would accomplish two goals:
    • Give a place to test builds solo against endgame content.
    • Give a place to acquire new rolls of Exotic armor with some amount of determinism.
  • Since their addition, the game has changed a fair bit.
  • Lost Sectors were originally uncapped for combat difficulty, but now in Lightfall they are capped like the rest of Legend/Master activities. They knew this might make players struggle early in Season 20, but they would eventually level up and master them.
  • Since the pinnacle cap won't raise in Season 21, this means players can dive in from the start of the season to tackle them.
  • However, this places a lot of pressure on Lost Sectors as a source of exotic armor
  • They agree that currently, they aren't a great method for new players to acquire Exotics from Beyond Light onward until they've played enough, and the difficulty changes make them even less welcoming to many players.
  • They also agree that their utility for targeting specific drops has been getting less reliable as they add more exotics each season, and this will only get worse.
  • They already made changes to drop rates in a recent patch, they want to be careful about raising the drop rate too much at a time when the activity will be getting easier and players grind up in light. Once most of the player base completes their yearly power climb, they will re-evaluate completion times and rates for rewards.
  • In an upcoming update, they will also let the Vex Strike Force event drop a new piece of exotic armor if you have any left to collect, on a knockout list, with no slot limits like Lost Sectors have. If you have no armor left to collect, it will drop a random exotic roll.

Coming in Season 21

New Buildcrafting Updates

  • One common feedback they've received on the new armor mod system is that players would like to better integrate their subclass and armor mods by having a way to gain Armor Charge for picking up elemental pickups (Stasis shards, Void breaches, firesprites, traces).
  • The Artifact perk in Season 20 that allows you to do so with firesprites has proven to be a popular one, so they decided on a more permanent solution that covers all subclasses including Strand.
  • Additionally, players miss the ability to build into gaining armor charge without having to get into the middle of enemies. While the increased number of ways to generate Orbs warrants requiring Guardians to push forward into combat to collect them, they do want to provide some ways for players to opt-in to making collection easier through build crafting.
  • They're adding the following two mods in season 21
    • Powerful Attraction: When using your class ability, you collect all Orbs of Power within a radius, with the radius size scaling by number of mod copies equipped.
      • They saw the requests for a "seeking orbs" mod that would allow orbs to track to players, but adding such functionality to an object that is spawned so frequently and in such high numbers would create performance issues.
    • Elemental Charges: Collecting the subclass collectible associated with your damage type (firesprites, ionic traces, Stasis shards, Void breaches) has an escalating chance to grant you a stack of Armor Charge. On Strand, this is granted by destroying tangles.
      • The chance is tuned for each element, matching how easy or hard it is to make each collectible.
  • Additionally, in Season 21, they're making a change to the Shoot to Loot perk, so it can be used to pick up Orbs of Power.

Artifact Perk Refunds

  • In Season 21, they're adding the ability to individually refund and apply Artifact perks, instead of needing to reset the entire thing at once.
  • They wanted to get this in at Lightfall launch, but technical limitations prevented it until next season.

Season 21 Ritual Schedule

  • Because Season 21 will not feature a pinnacle cap increase, they are adjusting the schedule for certain activities.
  • Trials of Osiris will be available in the first weekend. They're hoping this can be an ongoing change, if there's no raid launching, no Iron Banner running, and no significant Power climb increase, they want to run Trials as early as possible.
  • In Week 4 of Season 21, Grandmaster Nightfalls will be available.
    • Specifically only the weekly Nightfall will be available, the Conqueror gilding node will still open in Week 7.

Exotic Armor Focusing

  • In Season 21, Exotic engrams will no longer auto decrypt, and will instead be stored in players' engram inventories.
  • Players can take these engrams to Rahool, where they can either decrypt how they do now for free, or use two different tiers of focusing.
  • Advanced Decryption: Focus an Exotic engram to a specific expansion release (expansions include the armor released in the seasons available during that expansion year).
    • These will cost one Exotic engram, an Ascendant Shard, and 30,000 glimmer.
  • Precision Decryption: Focus an Exotic engram for any individual exotic armor you want
    • These will cost one Exotic engram, three Ascendant Shards, 60,000 glimmer, and one Exotic Cipher.
    • They will also be raising the Exotic Cipher limit from 1 to 5.
  • Focusing can only give you exotic armor you already own,

...And more!

  • They'll be upgrading more than 15 of the lowest performing Exotic armors, and rolling out balance changes to several others.
  • There will be exciting news for players who enjoy improving raid and dungeon Exotic drop chances through Triumphs
  • Theyll be taking a pass at team-unfriendly Vanguard bounties requiring specific weapon or ability kills, and more.


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