Destiny 2’s Single-Use Shaders Ruin One of the Best Parts of the Game

Destiny 2 is here, and while Bungie’s sequel has received plenty of positive feedback since launch (including our own tribute to its excellent opening act), there are many players who are furious about one particular aspect of the game: its single-use shaders.

In the original Destiny, if you unlocked a shader you could use it across all of your gear. However, in Destiny 2 shaders can now only be used once before disappearing forever, with them now appearing as a consumable rather than an equippable item. This means that if you find a shader color you particularly like, you’ll have to purchase it / unlock it multiple times in order to use it across all of your items.

Also: Destiny 2 Review-in-Progress: Light-Years Beyond the First

Whereas shaders were previously available to purchase individually, they’re now tucked away inside Bright Engrams; randomized loot boxes that offer customization options and in-game options for real-world cash. This means that if you find a shader that looks really nice on your Guardian’s helmet, you’re now encouraged to buy more Bright Engrams in the laborious pursuit of more types of that shader to deck out your Guardian in the same color.


Customizing your character in Destiny was an easy, fun process in which you could switch around shaders at will, but it has turned into a complete nightmare in Destiny 2. While Destiny 2 now allows you to customize more than just your clothing, with you able to apply shaders to your weapons, ships and Sparrows, too, now you’re forced to decide whether or not you want to waste your nice shader on an item in your inventory, or keep it around in case you stumble across something else you’d rather use it on.

This makes “Destiny fashion,” as it’s known, less about experimenting with colors in order to find a style you like, and more about managing shaders and hoping you don’t use one you’ll want at a later date. Transforming your Guardian’s outfit from a gruesome shade of blood red into a beautiful rainbow of color used to be fun, and something you could do in an instant; now you have to wait for a randomized loot box to give you the color you want, before deciding whether or not to use it and watch it disappear.

Destiny 2‘s shaders don’t affect its gameplay, but it does make an element of the first game that a lot of people enjoyed a lot worse. It’s still early days and, considering the immense backlash against this decision (the game’s subreddit is littered with posts discussing the issue), it’s hoped that Bungie will reverse the decision and go back to unlimited shaders, or at the very least implement a better system than what it being used now.