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Why Destiny 2 is leaving cosmetic loot boxes behind and working to balance 'FOMO'

Bungie has slowly been adapting its action MMO game Destiny 2 to better fit its resources now that the game is a self-published title.

Bungie has slowly been adapting its action MMO game Destiny 2 to better fit its resources now that the game is a self-published title. That process has involved a measured bit of trial and error as the team rolls out season-by-season changes, an evolution at the core of game director Luke Smith’s latest Director’s Cut on how and why certain things are shifting in Destiny 2.

Bungie studio director Luke Smith’s Directors Cut blogs always make for a good read, as they break down and speak plainly about many behind-the-scenes discussions that both Destiny 2 players and fellow game developers are likely to find interesting.

One of those changes include ending the sale of cosmetic “Bright Engram” loot boxes, and instead being upfront about what gear players are spending their hard bought in-game currency on. Smith explains that the previous system didn’t fit with the more transparent approach it wants to take toward in-game purchases, and will instead only offer Bright Engrams as a reward on the free side of Destiny 2’s season pass.

Another change, or really a thought process that’ll fuel future changes, involves figuring out how to offer players, both current and returning, enticing content when they play without leaning too heavily on that fear-of-missing-out feeling.

“We aren’t delivering the feeling of an evolving world," writes Smith. "Instead we are delivering the feeling of ephemeral private activities and rewards that go away. The Forsaken Annual Pass had its share of challenges (see last year’s [Directors Cut]), but it also had this awesome property: If I stopped playing for a Season, when I came back, there were a bunch of rewards and activities that I could catch up on."  

"What we’re discussing now – and which is early enough that things might still change – is how we focus our efforts around Seasons from a development standpoint, while also trying to create the moments that make memories, WHILE ALSO balancing the amount of 'fear of missing out.' This is a tricky balance, because these elements don’t connect neatly and, in many cases, they work against one another.” 

This rest of Smith’s Director’s Cut blog touches on why the team wants to find way to balance seasonal content with FOMO moving forward, how the team is dealing with Destiny 2’s ever-present power-creep problems for in-game gear, and why certain systems are evolving to make better use of the resources currently at Bungie’s disposal.

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