Destiny 2 Witch Queen's Weapon Crafting Sounds Like The Opposite Of Gun Sunsetting

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Bungie wants you to make and keep the guns you love "until the end of time" with the crafting system in Destiny 2's new expansion.

By Phil Hornshaw on

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Bungie is again about to shake up Destiny 2's gameplay systems with its upcoming expansion, The Witch Queen. The expansion is instituting a deep new weapon-crafting system that seems set to totally alter the game's loot-chasing gameplay loop. Starting in The Witch Queen, Guardians will be able to create exactly the guns they want without relying on random drops to get the best weapons in the game--or at least, they'll rely on those drops less, and use them in a different way.

Bungie recently gave GameSpot an early hands-off look at The Witch Queen, where the developer provided a deeper look at the new location of Savathun's throne world, explained the changes to its upcoming story campaign, and provided new details on Void 3.0. And while we've seen some details about weapon crafting ahead of the expansion's launch, Bungie's preview gave us the best sense of how the system will work.

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Now Playing: Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Hands-Off Preview

It all starts with the Enclave, a new destination where players will engage with the crafting system. The Enclave is a physical location on Mars, although we don't know how or why the planet returns after it vanished with the arrival of the Darkness at the start of Beyond Light. As game director Joe Blackburn noted during the preview, however, the planet won't be the same as we remember it. Mars is coming back "touched," whatever that means.

Mars won't be a large playable area, but instead is similar to what Phobos was during the original Destiny's Taken King expansion. From what we saw in the preview, once we venture to Mars to access Savathun's ship and her throne world, we'll treat the Enclave as a sort of base of operations. The place is home to the Darkness artifact called the Relic, which makes crafting possible, as well as a few other important items, like the string-covered Evidence Board we've seen in trailers for The Witch Queen.

Bungie's demonstration illuminated how crafting will work, further expanding on the recent This Week at Bungie blog post that detailed the system. In order to unlock a gun for crafting, you'll need to earn that gun's "pattern." To get that, you'll hunt for random drop versions of the gun you want, ones that have a red border on their icon. This means the weapon comes with "Deepsight Resonance," the key requirement to crafting.

The Deepsight Resonance guns come with objectives to complete by using them, which will have you playing activities and racking up kills. Completing these objectives will either earn you the pattern for the gun or currency that you'll use for crafting. Once you have a pattern, you can craft your own version of a gun, and then add the perks you want to it. There are two caveats to that, however. First, not every gun can carry every perk; just like random guns you get from drops, each weapon has a specific pool of perks that define it, and crafted guns are the same. Second, in order to access all the perks on the gun--especially the best perks--you'll need to level up the specific gun you crafted. Like with Deepsight Resonance, you'll level your guns by using them in the field.

Locating weapons with Deepsight Resonance is how you'll unlock patterns to craft new guns, and the currency you need to add perks to them.

Unlocking perks also requires using the Deepsight Resonance weapons that drop as you play. Completing their objectives earns you currency that seems to be specific to the type of perk to which it corresponds. So you won't be unlocking individual perks, such as Rampage or Outlaw, by using guns that already contain those perks. Rather, your Deepsight Resonance objectives might earn you the Damage Perk currency, or the Reload Perk currency, which you'll spend in crafting to add perks from those groups to your weapon. Each Resonance weapon has a single objective, and when you complete it, you'll cash currency out of it. At that point, you can either keep the Resonance gun as-is or dismantle it, but you won't need to destroy a Resonance gun just to earn its currency.

Bungie didn't lay out exactly how long it might take to level up and craft a weapon to perfection, but senior design lead Rodney Thompson said the team's hope has been that leveling weapons will happen naturally without feeling like too much of a grind. So while you can go hard to grind up a gun's level quickly, a lot of the time, you'll level your guns just by playing the game and won't really even notice it happening.

Expect to see a lot of different caveats and elements to the crafting system, though. Blackburn said that earning patterns for better, more prestigious guns--such as raid weapons--might require more work than standard weapons you find in the game world. As well, not every gun is going to be available for crafting at The Witch Queen's launch. Overall, though, The Witch Queen will walk you through the process, so you'll know how and where to earn patterns.

From what we saw, there will be a lot of currencies involved with the crafting system--we counted at least four during the presentation, although it's not clear what they all do or how tough to acquire they'll be. The good news is, however, that crafting materials won't take up space in your inventory. Destiny has definitely had issues with including tons of confusing, super-specific currencies in the past, so that's a potential drawback of the crafting system. We'll have to see how it actually feels and functions by playing it, and like everything with Destiny 2, it's entirely possible Bungie will adjust it once players have had it in their hands for a bit if the currencies get unwieldy. However, Bungie said there are no time gates or upper limits on how many weapons you can craft at the Relic; the only limiting factor is how many materials you have to spend, and if you have the materials on-hand, you can craft your gun right then.

Bungie wants you to create weapons you like, keeping them over the long haul and using the craft system to change them if you need to as needed.

Blackburn said Bungie isn't looking to make weapon crafting a situation that's about "making 10,000 daggers just to get one good one." Instead, you're going to be making very deliberate choices about the weapons you make, and Bungie wants you to develop a relationship with that weapon. The crafting system will even track the date you "shaped" your gun and will note its level as you use it. Leveling up guns by using them unlocks their ability to equip more perks, and it sounds like you'll have access to everything possible with your gun when it hits level 20. But using it will continue to build the weapon's level, even if you can't add anything more to it, with the idea that you'll see just how far you and your gun have gone together.

It's the exact opposite of "gunsetting," the weapon-obsolescence system Bungie added with Beyond Light (although, after backlash from the Destiny player base, later rolled back somewhat). Bungie depreciated a whole lot of older weapons with that expansion, effectively capping how long players could use them; eventually, you could no longer power up certain guns in order to take them into newer or higher-level content. That bothered a lot of players who had put in a great deal of time to earn some of their best weapons. The way Blackburn puts it, crafting sounds like Bungie's response to that backlash, offering players the opportunity to create exactly the guns they want and to keep them forever. Weapon-crafting encourages you to fall in love with a particular weapon and tries to reward you for putting time in with it.

In fact, the Relic allows you to not only craft guns, but re-craft them later on. In essence, you won't have to keep three or four copies of the same gun with different perks in your Vault, just in case one roll ends up becoming "meta" when Bungie makes changes to the Destiny 2 sandbox. Instead, you can take the one gun you made that you like, return to the Relic, and change its perks around with the reshape option. It's still the same gun you love, but crafting will allow it to be adaptable to changes in the game.

Among the first weapons you'll craft with the system is your first Glaive, The Witch Queen's new first-person melee blade.

Crafting will be a big part of the weapon system in The Witch Queen, but that doesn't mean it's replacing the current gear grind. Bungie said there are something like 50 new guns coming with the expansion, so the current approach of chasing loot through the game will remain. You'll also still want to use weapons with unique perk combinations that you can't craft yet, Thompson said, so don't expect crafted weapons to totally replace your current slate of gear.

Still, while The Witch Queen maintains Destiny 2's underlying loot system, it sounds like crafting will encourage you to find and create guns you love. It's an addition to the game set to reward players for the time and attention they invest with their weapons, making a game system out of the relationships players are already forming with their gear. It sounds like an encouraging change that will continue to help make all the loadout decisions players make feel even more important and meaningful.

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