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'Destiny 2' Has Been Secretly Reducing XP Gains, And Is Stopping After Fans Caught On

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Destiny 2 fans don’t need another reason to be cross with Bungie with the current state of the game, but they’ve recently found one, in a big way.

There have always been questions about how earning Bright Engram XP works in Destiny 2, the bar that fills up after you hit the max level of 20, and are able to earn the Engrams sold in the Eververse store for free. For a while the big question was whether or not there was a per-level XP cap or if it just kept increasing forever (I still don’t know the answer to this), but more recently, a new question has been a bit more pressing.

Is Bungie reducing XP gains for some activities?


Turns out, the answer is yes. A number of redditors did exhausting tests to prove this, showing that enormous piles of XP would result in only tiny increases of the XP bar, and things only seemed to normalize when you would wait longer in between activities before earning more XP. But that makes little sense, as you would imagine that if you earn (X) XP that your XP bar would increase by (X) XP. That is not what was happening, as repeated tests showed the faster you earned XP, the less you would receive for the same activities/kills. Ultimately, one tester concluded that this added up to 1.5 lost Bright Engrams every three hours.

After a few of these threads, some larger gaming outlets started running with the story, and then in a rather unprecedented move, Bungie itself chimed in just hours later explaining what was going on, and what change they were immediately making:



“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 earn rates change for all activities across the board, but with all values being displayed consistently in the user interface. Over the course of the next week, we will be watching and reviewing XP game data to ensure that these changes meet our expectations, as well as yours. Any additional updates to this system will be communicated to you via our official channels.”

This is, frankly, a bizarre statement from Bungie, because it’s not clear whether this was being done intentionally, or whether it was somehow an accident. If it was a bug, I would have expected to hear the phrase “this was a bug,” but instead they say “we are not happy with the results” of the current XP scaling system, which, and I don’t know how else to interpret this, comes across as “we are not happy that everyone found out that we’re doing XP scaling to reduce the effectiveness of farming, so we’re changing it.”

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This is…a pretty big deal. If Bungie was doing this by accident, that’s still bad, as testing should have caught this and it should not have taken an army of redditors and journalists to figure this out, as it has been happening since launch day. But if Bungie implemented this system on purpose, which is what this statement seems to say, that means they were consciously reducing the XP given for some of the most farmable activities in the game (ie. Public Events), which in turn makes earning Bright Engrams take longer, and would seem to encourage more instant-purchases of Bright Engrams.

Past this, fans have even pointed out that something like Bungie’s “double XP” deal with specialized Pop Tarts packages was technically having its effectiveness reduced because of the XP scaling issue. The same goes for “double XP” weekends or XP bonus events like Clarion Calls, which is in part what sparked this investigation.

Today, despite the XP scaling system being removed “effective immediately,” players are still testing and it still seems like they’re not getting full XP earned for some activities, though that data is still coming in.

I can understand XP upscaling for activities Bungie mentions like the Raid or Crucible where you often can go long periods of time without kills based on the mode or stage, but XP downscaling for killing lot of enemies quickly in other areas of the game? No thank you.

destiny pub1

This is yet another artificial cap that Bungie has put into Destiny 2 like chests or environmental materials failing to give out any items if you farm them too quickly. While those lock-outs are hated enough by the community, literally giving people less XP than they’ve earned is something else entirely, and a big problem when the thing players are trying to earn using that system is the exact thing Bungie is selling as the game’s only form of microtransaction. And their explanatory statement really does come across like “we’re sorry we got caught doing this,” though I have reached out to them to clarify.

This is a bad look, no matter how you slice it. Bungie should remove all caps and lock-outs in Destiny 2 that reduce incentive for players to play for long periods of time or find efficient ways to farm. They’re decidedly un-fun, but in the case of XP, it almost seems sinister, as it’s a way to artificially increase the grind for the one thing Bungie wants to sell you for real-world cash.

Stay tuned, as I don’t think this saga is over yet.

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