Destiny 2

Destiny 2’s summer hot spot is getting a major makeover.

Bungie adds a new activity and loots grind to its Solstice event.

Destiny 2’s summer “Solstice” event is coming up soon, and Bungie has already planned some big changes for this year’s loot party. I love a few of them. Some people, not so much. The proof will be in how well the event is balanced as a whole, but for now, I’m more interested than I have been in years.

In the past, the Destiny 2 Solstice was just a grind fest that was too familiar and had some annoying flaws. This time, Bungie wants to change things up, and here’s how. As had been hinted before, the Solstice celebrations will now be based on a single Event Card to make it easier to keep track of everything. It will help you keep track of all your long-term goals, just like the weekly challenges tab does now. It’s also being used to make money.

During the Solstice event, you can earn tickets. If you pay $10 to unlock the premium tier of the Event Card, you can start trading those tickets for new rewards that are only available with the tickets. Some Solstice cosmetics will be sold in the regular microtransaction shop in Eververse, but others will only be available with the Event Card. This is meant to save players money since the total value of the rewards they can earn would be more than $30 if they were sold in the shop. It’s kind of like a mini-season pass.

Armor, on the other hand, is the real meat of Solstice, and the changes there are much more interesting. There is a complicated new currency economy, and it’s all about upgrading gear so you can re-roll it for higher custom stats. It’s very confusing and true to Destiny 2 at the same time. This is how Bungie explains it:

Solstice Event Challenges can be done to earn kindling.
Spend Kindling to improve the chances of your armor stat rolls.
You can earn Silver Leaves by doing things in the game.
Finish the new activity to turn Silver Leaves into Silver Ash: Fire Party
On the armor mod screen, you can spend Silver Ash to reroll your armor’s stats.

Armor has three levels of upgrades. When a new tier is unlocked, it affects every piece of armor that belongs to that tier. Once you’ve unlocked all tiers, you can start re-rolling and choose which stats to boost (the armor will also start to glow, though the best glows will still be locked behind a microtransaction). The idea is to let you go after armor for Trials, Grandmaster Nightfalls, or any other end-game activity with a specific build in mind. At least on paper, it sounds great.

There are some ways it could really stink in real life. The most obvious way is if there are bottlenecks in this new system that make it hard to go at your own pace. There’s really no reason to reroll armor before you’ve maxed out the upgrades, but those upgrades depend on completing Event Card Challenges, so it’s possible that you’ll reach the limit on Leaves or Ash before you can do anything useful with them. We hope that doesn’t happen, and we hope that the activities that give out the new currencies are generous.

I say “hopefully” because this year, I’m really looking forward to Solstice. Since the last time I wrote about Destiny 2, it’s been a while. Things are kind of love/hate right now, which is saying a lot since Bungie’s loot shooter has been making people feel different ways for almost eight years. So far, Season of the Haunted has been a big letdown for me, especially after how much I enjoyed The Witch Queen.

Usually, I get bored of the annual Solstice event very quickly, but this year I’ve taken longer breaks from the game than usual, so I’m eager to get back into it and have something to do besides another dreaded run-through of Nightmare Containment. With a few notable exceptions, there aren’t many books coming out this summer, and I need something to fill in the gaps. I, too, need to chill out a lot more. It might not sound like much to work for three different currencies and another paid pass to get all of the rewards, but when Destiny does it right, that can be pure bliss.