We’ve known for quite some time now that Destiny 2 would be getting a revamped visual customization system, notably making transmog available for all pieces of armor, something the player base has been demanding for a while. However, players aren’t happy with Bungie now that they’ve revealed the full details about how the transmog system will work. Between a convoluted string of currencies to grind and arbitrary caps on how many pieces of gear players can turn into universal ornaments each season, the execution of Destiny 2 transmog isn’t going over too well with the community.
Transmog (short for transmogrification) is the ability to make certain pieces of gear look like other pieces of gear while retaining the original’s stats. In the context of Destiny, this means getting a sweet drop of Raid gear doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with whatever it looks like. If you like Vanguard, Crucible, or Iron Banner gear better, you can change its look to suit.
Destiny 2 already had half of a transmog system, known as Universal Ornaments. This was a change Bungie made years ago to paid Eververse gear so that it would be strictly cosmetic, rather than purchasing cool looking armor with terrible stats (so as not to be pay to win). While it solved half of the problem, it didn’t address the issues of earned world loot and taking on those cosmetic appearances. If you want to be outfitted in Iron Banner gear, you have to actually wear the Iron Banner gear.
Bungie announced in May 2020 that a transmog system was coming to Destiny 2, and then confirmed that it would utilize Collections, thus urging Guardians to delete unused armor in October 2020. With the new armor visual customization system coming in just a few weeks, Bungie outlined how armor transmog—formally called “armor synthesis”—would work in its latest This Week at Bungie blog post.
Why are Players so Mad About Destiny 2 Transmog?
Armor synthesis is outlined by Bungie as follows:
- Defeat enemies to earn Synthstrand.
- Spend Synthstrand on bounties to earn Synthcord.
- Convert Synthcord at the Loom in the Tower into Synthweave.
- Use Synthweave to convert an unlocked armor appearance (Legendary quality or lower) from Collections into a Universal Armor Ornament.
Right away, we have three new currencies being introduced to a game that is already overwhelmed by various currencies. The steps seem convoluted, and while most people don’t mind the grind to unlock armor sets as universal ornaments, the process to go through these currencies seems arduous and overly complicated when it could cut out two thirds of them and achieve the same result. Why can’t the bounties just award the Synthweave? Why the extra step of earning Synthstrand?
If it were up to me, I’d cut this down to: Buy bounties with existing currencies, either glimmer or legendary shards. Bounties then directly award Synthweave. Use Synthweave to convert unlocked armor appearance into Universal Armor Ornament. If balance is the issue here, make them expensive to purchase. Make them longer than normal bounties. But don’t convolute the process with an obnoxious injection of currencies we don’t need.
But the convoluted process isn’t the only thing players are upset about. Bungie is also adding an arbitrary cap to the amount of Synthweave players can earn per season, capping it at 10 per class. That’s 10 pieces of gear. 10 universal armor ornaments. After that, players will need to either wait for the next season or pay the Eververse tax—real world money—to get more.
There are currently more than 4,000 pieces of legendary armor in the game. If we divide that by three (by class), we’re looking at a low estimate of 1,300 pieces of gear to transmog per character class. Let’s even do a low round estimate to 1000 per class, just to rule out potential duplicate listings, older Eververse armor sets, etc.
At just 10 per season, that’s 100 seasons of Destiny to get all of your armor as universal ornaments. At three months per season, four seasons per year, you’re looking at more than 25 years to eventually unlock all armor based on the artificial cap and timegate. And that’s based on a low and very generous estimate given the amount of armor in the game.
And that’s not including any new armor sets added along the way (ironically, more than 10 pieces of armor per class are usually added each season, so there’s actually no way players can actually catch up and do them all).
Now, realistically, players aren’t likely to want to turn every single piece of gear they’ve ever earned into an armor ornament, but the cap is still extremely limiting considering the amount of gear in the game already, the gear to come, and the fact that Bungie cleared everyone to delete their inventories last year.
And the payment calculation? A Synthweave template bundle of five costs 1000 Silver, or $10. That’s basically good for one set of gear. To outfit just one class with their full armor suite—well over 100 sets of armor each—would cost thousands of dollars. Again, people aren’t likely to want to do their whole library of armor, but you’re still paying about $10 just to make your character look like armor you’ve already earned in game.
There’s Some Good to Destiny 2 Transmog
There are some good elements to the Destiny 2 transmog system, however. It’s coming with a whole new menu that allows you to setup a complete look for your character on a single screen, seeing how armor pieces and shaders play together better than before. And shaders are now permanent unlocks rather than consumables, so they’ve at least made one of the game’s many convoluted processes a little bit simpler.
While Bungie’s made strides in the past on fixing Destiny 2 problems like reining in its various currencies and putting less of an overt focus on the Eververse store, the armor synthesis system feels like it blatantly ignores previous feedback about those issues and leans into both convoluted arbitrary currencies and caps intended to push people into the store to spend real money. Most people agree that the Eververse solution should be for players looking to skip the grind for currencies, rather than the only way to do Armor Synthesis after hitting the cap.
Bungie has seen and acknowledged the feedback, which has been spreading like wildfire through the Destiny community today. The developer is usually quick to adapt to overwhelming fan feedback like this, and while it may be too late to adjust the currency issue before Destiny 2’s next season, I’d at least expect an update on the Synthweave cap, either to be removed entirely or drastically increased. This might also require an adjustment to the bounty cost and difficulty to balance things out. After all, there’s clearly intention to push players to Eververse here, and that part of it won’t be going away.
Destiny 2 is currently running the Guardian Games leading into the next season, a yearly event that acts as Destiny 2’s Olympics and pits classes against one another. While classes might be competing in the game, the transmog issues have been enough for Titans, Warlocks, and Hunters to set their differences aside and band together to make their voices heard.