These days, battle and season passes have become quite common in Live Service games, and Destiny 2 is no exception to this rule. However, one issue does exist within the implementation of seasonal passes in Bethesda’s flagship title: They haven’t yet fundamentally changed for the better. Season after season, year after year, Destiny 2 players are subject to the same tired seasonal pass structure of meager materials, stale bonuses, and a pathetic number of cosmetics.
At a time when the Destiny 2 community’s faith in Bungie is low, an overhaul to a tired system in good faith could dramatically improve Bungie’s perception. With that said, let’s dive into 7 ways Bungie could improve Destiny 2’s stagnant season passes.
Materials Should Be Replaced with Cosmetics
Long-time Destiny 2 fans will remember a time when a lot of materials were more difficult to farm, making what we got from the season pass a relief. Thankfully, one could now argue that the more elusive materials like enhancement cores, prisms, and shards are easier to acquire thanks to Bungie listening to feedback over the years; especially as Destiny 2’s economical bloat of various, confusing currencies are being removed, streamlined, or consolidated.
Now, in 2023, it makes sense that the season pass’ materials could be replaced with more interesting cosmetic options, because a good game economy should be able to provide enough of those materials to the player from reasonable gameplay alone. All in all, materials being replaced with compelling cosmetic options would only improve the seasonal pass’ perceived value. Especially to long-time players who have already earned more materials than they would ever need.
Seasonal Bonuses Should Be Buffed and Free
Do you remember the first time you unlocked a masterwork boost and were excited for armor and weapons to drop one extra masterwork point higher? Yeah, me neither.
Every season it’s the same plus one bonuses and increased chances at dropping X pieces of gear, which feels more than a little vapid. It’s even worse when you consider that the average value of a single masterwork point is, for the most part, going to amount to just a few hundred glimmer and maybe a couple enhancement cores.
Bungie can and should do better here. If they aren’t going to replace these kinds of bonuses, then they could at least buff them. Have the mid to higher end seasonal bonuses grant extra guaranteed deepsight activatable drops, and buff the masterwork bonuses to be an extra three to five points.
The only problem with buffing these paid-only bonuses is that if they are too good, it could be argued they are pay to win. But even then, an easy fix for that potential community outrage is to fill a lot of the free seasonal track’s open slots with these bonuses.
And if Bungie has fears or concerns about the free track having too much value — which could admittedly discourage players from buying the premium track — then all they have to do is replace the paid track’s bonuses with something of even greater value to their players.
Add More Shaders of Higher Quality
Shaders are the backbone of Destiny 2’s player fashion, and provide a wide range of curated color patterns that you can mix and match. Given this, it should be obvious more Shaders would be a great addition to season passes going forward.
When envisioning a version of Bungie that embraces over-delivering based on passion, more shaders and even exotic shaders would likely be accepted positively by most. But what would exotic shaders be? Specifically, they could be an extra cosmetic effect layered over the top of your Guardian. Imagine a Titan’s armor with a red and orange color scheme that has an exotic shader enabling small trails of smoke constantly emanating outward.
Alternatively, another fun example could be a wet, glossy sheen exotic shader, as if they had been rained on. The shader could also create small drops of water constantly dripping or leaving a small shimmer as they run.
High end cosmetics like that would not only sell well in the Eververse store, but could be very enticing as a reward on the paid track of a superior season pass. Additionally, the memes that players would make around these extra cosmetic effects could also increase community morale.
More Weapon and Armor Ornaments with Exotic Effects
The fact that current seasonal passes only have one set of armor ornaments has always seemed too few to me. If Bungie replaced, say, some or all of the current materials with more themed weapon and armor ornaments, that would be one easy way to improve the seasonal pass.
However, why stop there when Bungie could also introduce similar but different exotic ornaments to the seasonal pass too? These exotic ornaments could have similar effects to every year’s Solstice armor and ornaments, but with different seasonal themes. Exotic weapon ornaments would also be the logical next step, and unlike current ornaments for exotic weapons, these exotics would give legendary weapons special effects layered over the gun’s shaders.
More Themed Finishers and Emotes
Currently, each seasonal pass gives players one finisher and two emotes in the paid track. Like the ornaments, this doesn’t seem to be enough cosmetic content given the price Bungie usually asks for every season.
Emotes are a very common way for players to interact with one another, so it makes sense to put at least a few more in the seasonal pass. Adding even a few to the free track would go a long way toward player appreciation too.
Additionally, finishers have become a big part of the Destiny 2 sandbox over the past few years. Even the recent mod overhaul in the Lightfall expansion still allows for gameplay where finishers are integral to the build’s success. Because your character will perform one of the finishers that are in your inventory, it makes sense to let players earn more than one per season.
Silver Deserves a Place on the Season Pass
One of the best ways to get players to love your game and your battle or season pass is to reward their grind with premium currency. This is considered a pro-consumer move by just about anyone, as it shows the developer has the player in mind before profits.
Bungie adding at least five dollars’ worth of Silver to seasonal passes would let players save up for every other season pass. That amount would also allow for one or two of the smaller offerings on the Eververse store. It’s likely Bungie wouldn’t love doing this for the potential profits they would lose, but it would be worth it for the fact that it proves the good faith of their players is more important. Plus, it would undoubtedly bring them larger profits in the long run.
Seasonal Passes Shouldn’t Have an Expiration Date
There’s a new trend making its way through the live service space of late in the form of the permanent battle pass. In games that do this, once the battle or seasonal pass is released, it’s in the game for good. Players can then grind out whichever battle pass they want to tackle, whenever they want.
Halo Infinite and Wayfinder are good examples of this concept done right. They aren’t always free, nor do they always have a ton of rewards, but players seem to unanimously agree that permanent is the way to go.
This is likely because the fear of missing out has been taken out of the seasonal pass equation, and players can feel that difference. What was an extrinsic, anxiety-inducing motivation to grind has transformed into a much more relaxed, “I’ll grind it when I want to,” intrinsic experience.
This is healthy for any and all live service games and should be seen as one of the easy ways to fix relations between a developer and their community. I only hope Bungie eventually follows suit, and allows players to dive into seasonal content without worrying about missing out on content with a time limit.
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