Destiny 2 Rigged its XP System

It appears that the folks at EA aren’t the only developers under fire recently for shady practices in the video game industry.

In a similar manner to Battlefront II, Destiny 2 utilizes a loot crate system. After hitting the level cap of 20, guardians still earn experience points, but the level-ups are replaced by loot drops at regular intervals. This system is significantly less egregious than Battlefront II’s system, because the Destiny 2 unlockables are mostly cosmetic items. Only rare drops include gear modifications, and those often have a negligible impact upon gameplay. These loot drops can be purchased with actual money, but it doesn’t take too long to gain the necessary experience…or so we thought.

Reddit users, including one particularly knowledgeable user named EnergiserX, recently discovered and tested a scaling mechanic in Destiny 2’s XP system. If a player earns experience at a slow rate, or if they play intermittently, they will earn regular experience. On the other hand, players that play more often will see some problems. If someone plays Destiny 2 activities for sustained periods of time,the actual rate of XP gain will begin to diminish. Even if the experience bar says that the player has gained 7000 experience points, the true gain can be a fraction of that amount. One actual example from EnergiserX’s post says that after just thirteen minutes of gameplay, one of his experience point gains was displayed as 19800, but the true value was 9450.

A graph from the Reddit post. The dark blue line represents XP gains displayed. The yellow line represents the actual XP gained. The gray line represents the total XP lost thanks to the scaling system. It’s significant to note that the XP loss increases dramatically as the player moves onto an allegedly more rewarding activity.

This comes as a shock for a variety of reasons. First of all, Destiny 2 has been lying about the amount of experience points that players have gained for some time. It’s uncertain if this has been the case since release or if the program arrived in a hidden patch, but it’s already prevented players from reaching their potential progress. Plenty of games have timed caps or limitations on rewards, such as MMO events and free-to-play app games, to keep things balanced. Utilizing such a system is an iffy game design choice in itself, but the fact that Destiny 2 lied to its fanbase about it is undeniably unjust.

Second of all, this is particularly surprising because Destiny 2 is designed for the grind. The game is based on repetition of its events because it’s the only way for guardians to gain gear. As a result, the game is punishing players for following the rules. This likely means that the scaling system was implemented to deceive passionate players into buying the loot drops with actual money, since–under this system–they play the most, but progress the least.

Just four hours after this was confirmed, Bungie posted about it on their official blog. The post addresses the complaint, and the most important section reads:

Currently, XP will scale up when playing longer or fixed duration activities like Crucible competitive multiplayer matches and the Leviathan Raid, and XP will scale down when playing activities that can be quickly, repeatedly chained, like grinding Public Events. We are not happy with the results, and we’ve heard the same from the community.

Effective immediately, we are deactivating this system.

As a result, players will see XP rates change for all activities across the board, but with all values being displayed consistently in the user interface.

According to this explanation, Bungie admits to punishing players for grinding. This would be, again, a bad tactic to steer players away from grinding. Combining this with dishonesty (which is never explained in the blog) is unjustifiable. It could be argued that the developers listened to the fanbase and atoned for their sins, but I ask this: Is Bungie sorry that they implemented a deceitful system that scammed players, or were they sorry that they were caught?

For a more in-depth look at this issue, check out the video below from Youtube content creator YongYea. The video is complete with charts and measurements pulled directly from EnergiserX’s original post.

For our full review of Destiny 2, click here! For all your Destiny 2 news, stay tuned to NLGO.

Travis Northern

Freelance writer. Author-In-Training. Lover of all things geek.

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