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Iron Banter: This Week In Destiny 2 - Readying For Raid Day And A Merciful Respite From Blue Engrams

While we're waiting for more information on The Witch Queen, Bungie has dropped some nice quality-of-life changes coming to the game.

Just about every week brings something new to Destiny 2, whether it's story beats, new activities, or interesting new combinations of elements that let players devastate each other in the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what's going on in the world of Destiny and a rundown of what's drawing our attention across the solar system.

A little less than five weeks remain before the launch of The Witch Queen in Destiny 2, meaning we're now in the clean-up portion of the Season of the Lost. It's a chill time, at least, when players get to finish up seals like Moments of Triumph or farm Grandmaster Nightfalls for a bit. I still haven't seen a lightning round in Dares of Eternity. Whatever.

The real draw of the next few weeks (other than the final culmination of the Season of the Lost happening in there somewhere) is the trickle of information about everything that'll come with the next expansion. We've gotten a few teases in the form of trailers, and we're getting new tidbits in each This Week at Bungie blog that comes out along the way. This week, we found out about the new Power level cap coming with the Witch Queen, as well as the launch of its new raid. The date on that one is 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET on March 5. We're planning to stream our Day One attempt at clearing the raid when it goes live, so stay tuned for more information on that.

As for the Power cap, it's jumping up another 200 levels to 1560. The new Power floor is 1350, a touch higher than it is now, and all players who jump into the game will find themselves at that level--even if they're new to Destiny 2 or they've lapsed for a while. So the good news is, you don't need to do any grinding right now to get in position for The Witch Queen. However, you are going to need to play the new story campaign and the activities of the expansion in order to get ready for the raid.

All that said, get ready for blue gear drops to matter again--you'll need them to push up to the new Soft Power cap of 1500. After that, you'll need to pursue "Powerful" gear drops from specific activities to climb up to 1550. To get to the final Hard Power cap of 1560, the highest number your gear can attain, you'll need to chase "Pinnacle" gear drops from endgame activities. If Beyond Light and the Deep Stone Crypt are any indications, expect to need to hit around 1530 to be ready for the raid.

Speaking of blue drops though, Bungie also announced it's making some changes to gear drops in The Witch Queen, while also altering the economy some. It's a bunch of quality-of-life changes that sound excellent.

Remove these from the game, Bungie.
Remove these from the game, Bungie.

Blue Blues

There are a lot of little things being altered about the gear economy in The Witch Queen, but my favorite is a reduction in Rare weapon and armor drops--the ones that are colored blue. Those drops occupy a very specific place in Destiny 2's gear grind: They're only really necessary when you're leveling up with a new expansion. When The Witch Queen drops and everyone starts at Power level 1350, every piece of gear they pick up will be of a higher level, and equipping that gear is how you raise your character's overall Power. Blue drops, the most common in the game, will come fast and furious as you kill enemies out in the world. They'll allow you to boost yourself up to 1500.

Once you hit 1500, though, only purple Legendary drops matter--Prime Engrams and Powerful gear rewards are what you need to increase your overall level toward 1550, and those are only Legendary. Blues only ever drop at your current level once you've hit the Soft cap, which means that for anybody who's playing the game regularly, blues become items you instantly dismantle for their parts.

So Bungie is reducing the number of blue drops players have to contend with--although, since blues are necessary for leveling, they're not going away entirely. Once you hit the Soft Power cap, though, you'll stop receiving blue drops from playlist activities like Strikes and Gambit and Crucible matches. Instead, you'll only receive Legendary drops, or a smattering of the materials you'd otherwise get from breaking down blue gear, essentially saving you the step of deleting all those useless weapons and armor pieces yourself.

This is a thing that I've been waiting for, personally--I'm a person whose inventory is constantly full, and blue drops often find their way to the Postmaster, where lost items and inventory overflow wind up, as a result. And I don't clean out my Postmaster, because I need that space since my Vault is perpetually full. So when a bunch of stupid blue drops wind up in my mailbox, they crowd out the other gear I've been holding there, hoping to hang onto (or that I still haven't decided if I want to keep or not). When your mailbox is full, the oldest items in it get deleted first. Thus, stupid blue drops I'm just going to delete anyway literally rob me of guns I want. (Yes, I know this is the fault of my own disorganization and inability to stop hoarding items--I don't care.)

Please, no more random kinds of currency that you can only spend with one guy in the Tower and take up two inventory slots.
Please, no more random kinds of currency that you can only spend with one guy in the Tower and take up two inventory slots.

So anything that gets rid of extra blue drops is awesome. In fact, it'd be great if we could just eliminate them altogether once you're at the Soft cap, if you ask me. Barring that, anything that reduces the amount of inventory management I have to do at any given time just to play the game is a positive change. I'd love to see Bungie do more quality-of-life stuff like this, automating the deletions I'm going to make anyway. Just give me the Glimmer, that's all I really want.

There's other unnecessary stuff being knocked out of the economy, too. Gunsmith Materials and Telemetry are gone in The Witch Queen, another boon to my bloated inventory. Instead, the Gunsmith vendor will function like other vendors in the Tower--you'll gain reputation points by doing their thing (in this case, smashing apart guns, I guess), and earn rewards when you do enough of that.

The reputation system as it stands isn't perfect, necessarily (it takes way too many Strikes to get stuff from Zavala, for one), but if you ask me, these systems are better than having tens of obtuse currencies that have limited uses and are scattered throughout the game. In fact, anything Destiny 2 can do to cut back on the number of crystals, tokens, prisms, cores, materials, and bones and worms that are their dollars, would be great. They feel like stop-gap solutions for introducing new mechanics, but they always needlessly complicate the game. There's plenty to keep in mind already. We don't need to feed piles of gun parts to a robot in the Tower to get more guns.

So I'm all for anything that streamlines Destiny 2. Of course, that's an ongoing process and the feeling I get is that it's a lot easier to complicate the game to make it work a little better than it is to de-complicate it. But there have been positive steps of late, and this is another one. Anything that lets me gather less junk while I'm trying to shoot people.

It's been a light week, so that's it for me. Don't forget to visit Xur and grab his high-stat ST0MP-EE5 and Phoenix Protocol, because he has some pretty solid rolls this week. And as always, feel free to leave your own impressions about Destiny 2's upcoming changes, and anything else, in the comments below.


philhornshaw

Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw has worked as a journalist for newspapers and websites for more than a decade and has covered video games, technology, and entertainment for nearly that long. A freelancer before he joined the GameSpot team as an editor out of Los Angeles, his work appeared at Playboy, IGN, Kotaku, Complex, Polygon, TheWrap, Digital Trends, The Escapist, GameFront, and The Huffington Post. Outside the realm of games, he's the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero's Guide to Glory. If he's not writing about video games, he's probably doing a deep dive into game lore.

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