Bungie’s streak of open communication and an attitude of change continues this week as the developer detailed their future plans for Destiny 2 Nightfall Strikes. They had previously announced that changes were coming to the endgame activity, saying that they would be moving from a timer-based challenge to a scoring system. The Nightfall timers have been a particular sour point for many Destiny players, as it pits them against a clock as a pass/fail switch, rather than testing their skills or allowing feasible solo play.
In this week’s weekly Bungie Blog post, the community management team had a few of the developers stop in to detail the changes coming to the Nightfall Strikes. Game Director Christopher Barrett outlined their vision for Nightfall Strikes going forward:
Nightfall should be a challenging test that only the bravest Guardians dare face. Fireteams of any size should be able to participate, from organized clan groups to skilled solo players. Players should be able to determine their own challenge level, by going slow and steady or fast and wild, with elective modifiers to test the most hardcore veterans. Your final score will separate the best from the rest, and with high risk comes high reward. Each terrible villain that players face should have a very rare and powerful unique item, themed to them, that tumbles to the ground as they collapse into a pile of bones. Conquering Nightfall should be a badge of honor, with the best players able to show off their achievements with new dynamic emblems and exclusive auras.
That’s the vision of where we want to take Nightfall, you’ll be seeing the first of this direction in the next patch, with more being added over time.
After Barrett took the stage, Senior Design Lead Tyson Green added a number of details on how the new Nightfall Strike scoring system will work.
We are repositioning strike scoring in Destiny 2 to enable you to achieve something prestigious in the weekly Nightfall and as a way to amplify difficulty. The new scoring rules are intended to be better at a few specific things:
- Reward you for engaging and defeating enemies instead of running past them.
- Avoid over-emphasizing specific mechanics like precision kills that highlight certain areas of the sandbox (and/or punish other areas), so that players are the ones who determine the most effective Meta.
- Reward you for taking on greater challenges up to the limits of your own capabilities.
- Reward you for doing the above quickly and over the course of a short run versus long slogs over several hours.
The updated mechanics look like this:
- Scoring is team-based and the sum of individual performances. A team should be able to focus on what works best, not feeling put out by who stole whose kill.
- Scoring is primarily driven by kills and secondarily by orb generation. We want you to find what works best for clearing strikes instead of telling you which weapons to use, but we want coordinated use of Supers and other team support mechanics to contribute to high scores. We’re interested in restoring special point awards based on medals, but we want your input to understand the basic meta first.
- Score bleeds over time. We are watching this closely — score decay can feel bad, but all else being equal, a team that clears faster than another team should score higher. Score decay achieves this in the most transparent fashion.
- Scoring cuts off after time thresholds. At 15 minutes, new points earned are reduced by 50%. At 18 minutes, you stop earning new points and it’s a race to finish the run and post your score. We want time to matter (see above), but we also want to avoid some of the problems we saw with Prison of Elders, where a “high score” might involve punishing respawning combatants (and yourself) for a few hours until the novelty wore off. A good Nightfall clear shouldn’t feel like a slog.
In addition to the above changes, Nightfall Challenge Cards will drop, allowing players to set additional modifiers that will multiply their score. Rewards are also being reworked, with exclusive emblems that display your high scores and provide a special aura for meeting certain thresholds. Green is clear to indicate that this is just the first pass and is in no way final. Additional modifiers are in the works, and adjustments will be made based on player reception to the new mechanics.
Prestige Raid Rework
This Week at Bungie also covered the coming rework to Prestige Raids, something that Bungie hopes will add replayability and challenge week after week to Destiny 2’s highest level activities. Beginning in May, each week will feature one Raid or Raid Lair in a curated loadout mode. Normal mode will still be available for all Raids, but the weekly loadout challenge will be for a single Raid or Raid Lair. The Raid team offered the following as hypothetical examples of Prestige challenges you might see:
Raid Activity: Expansion 2 Raid Lair
Modifier: Gladiator. Your melee damage is increased and melee kills grant bonus Super.
Energy: Submachine gun
Raid Activity: Eater of Worlds
Modifier: Conduit. Each kill you get before reloading or swapping weapons gives you increasingly more ability energy.
Kinetic: Auto Rifle
Power: Grenade Launcher
It’s interesting to see that some challenges may require a specific exotic weapon and will challenge players to use weapons and abilities that they normally wouldn’t use to complete these encounters. With this change to how Prestige Raids will work going forward, Eater of Worlds and the Expansion 2 Raid Lair will not be getting an encounter changes or adjustments. All adjustments for Prestige Leviathan will remain in place after the update.
The Destiny 2 Nightfall changes are scheduled to come at the end of February with update 1.1.3, and the Prestige Raid loadout challenges will be launching alongside Expansion 2 and the Season 3 update in May.
Earlier this week, Bungie laid out their plans for Destiny 2 Crimson Days, which will be active next week and do away with a focus on microtransactions. The earnable Engrams will only be available through gameplay.