The dust has settled on Destiny 2’s Lightfall, an expansion with a bad story but a good subclass and a lot of mixed things in between those two. But while the Lightfall campaign’s plot is the worst aspect of the DLC, I find myself pretty disappointed with two new additions to Destiny 2 that seem like they should have been slam dunks, Guardian Rank and Commendations.
They aren’t the biggest of deals, and yet I don’t quite understand why and how they were implemented in this current state. So let’s go through the issues, and how to fix them.
While I agree that the giant season pass number next to everyone’s name wasn’t the best way to deduce who was a true veteran player and who was just a bounty goblin, the way Guardian Rank was implemented made little sense.
The playing field is too level at baseline. I absolutely love the idea of some sort of grand, career-long rank documenting just how experienced you are in Destiny 2. But instead, what this did is set people with 20 hours in the game and 5,000 hours in the game at level 6, because the 1-5 requirements are essentially Baby’s First Destiny Challenges. So instead of rewarding players with loads of time with a high rank, it just flattened everything.
But fine, if that’s the starting point, so be it, but that leads to the next problem, the fact that Guardian Ranks are temporary, which seems absolutely counter-intuitive for what I thought was supposed to be some sort of lifetime career indicator. You will reset to 6 at the end of every season, so we will go through this leveling process every single time.
Yes, it’s true that some challenges will carry over so there will be less to complete the next time, but you will have to regrind things like Commendation Score (more on that in a minute) and just re-do Legend Seasonal things and what not. And as long as this rank is temporary with no real rewards other than watching a number go up, it actually seems even less useful than grinding something like temporary artifact power, which at least is providing some value benefit, albeit just for a few months. So what we’re left with is essentially another meaningless number next to your name, and your “veteran” status is still better conveyed by legacy titles you may or may not own.
This one is just baffling. It’s a great idea with horrible implementation on every level. Commendations, which create a network of trusted, valued players in a community, have been turned into a commodity in Destiny, just something else to be mindlessly farmed.
Commendations should not be tied to any challenges, Guardian Rank or rewards in any capacity. This entire system needs to be purely optional and allow you to reward players just for the sake of rewarding them. Anything other than that makes it just another currency and as such, it completely loses its value. Already, we’ve seen Commendations tied to weekly powerful drops, weekly challenges for XP and steps for Guardian Rank climbing (which required so many commendations they already had to nerf it). Your current score means nothing outside of how many activities you’ve grinded or how much mindless Wellspring or Petra’s farming you did to make the number go up.
Then there’s the practicality of it. It’s bizarre to separate out the score screen at the end of an activity from the commendation screen, as you cannot see who actually performed well without flipping over, and by the time you do, the person may have left or you are back in matchmaking again. So you spam commendations quickly, many of which are quite literally nonsense (“Joyful”? “Thoughtful”?) just to make sure you’re not the jerk who didn’t contribute to someone’s commendation score. In activities with more players than commendations to give out, I’m awarding random ones based on fashion. It’s a bizarre, unfinished, illogical system.
If I had to sum all this up in two sentences:
- Guardian Ranks should be permanent career milestones
- Commendations should not be tied to any sort of achievements and should exist for their own sake.
That’s it, that’s the pair of fixes I would like to see here.
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