Bungie’s solution to the ‘Destiny 2’ XP issue creates a new problem

About three weeks ago, Destiny 2 players began noticing something fishy while trying to earn experience points quickly. Certain events resulted in diminishing returns, but this was not being communicated to the players. After more and more of the community joined the discussion, Bungie made the decision to alter the XP system in Destiny 2.

According to a post on Bungie’s website, the developer is deactivating the current progression system. “We agree that the system is not performing the way we’d like it to,” it reads. “Effective immediately we are deactivating this system.”

Prior to the adjustment, when players participated in longer fixed duration activities, such as Crucible competitive multiplayer matches or the Leviathan Raid, the XP gain would scale up to reward players for their commitment. Playing activities quickly and repeatedly, such as grinding Public Events, could cause the XP gain to scale down.

Redditors began running tests and discussing their results on the Destiny subreddit. If players earn XP slowly and play Destiny 2 normally, the in-game display is correct and reflects the adjusted XP drop. The issue arises when players grind events quickly. A hidden scaling factor drops the XP rate even further, delivering less than what the game tells the player.

What makes the rate of XP gain so important is that after reaching level 20, players earn a Bright Engram each time they fill up their XP bar. Bright Engrams are the Destiny 2 equivalent to loot boxes and are full of cosmetic items like emotes, ships, or weapon skins. If players want to earn these loot boxes faster, they can also use real money through in-game purchases.

Imposing a limitation to prevent experience farming from warping the game’s virtual economy seems reasonable. The real concern is that the game isn’t properly communicating with players. The game shouldn’t tell players they earned a certain amount of XP if they aren’t actually getting that amount. Given the recent loot box controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II, players were quick to suspect the system was put in place to encourage players to buy Bright Engrams using real money.

In return, Bungie responded: “Players will see XP earn rates changes for all activities across the board, but with all values being displayed consistently in the user interface. Over the course of the next week, we will be watching and reviewing XP game data to ensure that these changes meet our expectations, as well as yours.”

Simply deactivating the system did not completely resolve the confusion. Players soon found that the experience cost to level up had inexplicably doubled from 80,000 to 160,000 XP. Bungie took to Twitter to explain that the company still had to adjust the API to properly reflect the new changes to the experience system. Systemic changes like this are complicated to resolve because all of the game’s many moving pieces work together, though the delay in complete resolution was likely exacerbated by the fact that it occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday.