The new Destiny 2 transmog system shows why the game will never get better

Yesterday, Bungie revealed the details on Destiny 2’s long-awaited transmog system. Cosmetic armor slots are a pretty standard feature in most loot-centric games, and players have been clamoring for a way to wear their favorite armor, while getting the stats from another, since the original Destiny released. Unfortunately, once again, with Armor Synthesis, Bungie has turned what should be a straightforward system into another outlet for grinding, complete with an entirely new tier of currencies.

How transmog works in Destiny 2

Destiny 2 transmog screen 2

Instead of just picking a piece of armor from collections to place into a cosmetic slot you have to use Armor Synthesis to make a Universal Armor Ornament. The process is:

  • Grind for Synthstrand by defeating enemies (in specific ways).
  • Get 150 Synthstrand, and you can spend it on bounties that let you earn Synthcord.
  • Once you’ve got enough Synthcord, you can take it to the Loom in the Tower to make Synthweave.
  • Use Synthweave to convert a single piece of armor (of Legendary quality or lower) into a Universal Armor Ornament.
  • Equip the Universal Armor Ornament to change your Guardian’s cosmetic appearance.

Of course, you can skip gathering Synthstrand and Synthcord by purchasing a Synthstrand Template (one token) in Eververse for 300 Silver or a Synthweave Template Bundle (five tokens) for 1,000 Silver.

Why Armor Synthesis is just another time (or money) sink

Destiny 2 transmog screen

The transmog system Bungie has established for Destiny 2 shows precisely where its priorities lie. Despite being one of the most requested features since Destiny 1 was released, it was only once Bungie figured out how to monetize it that developing it became a priority.

Alongside the Armor Synthesis system is a change to shaders. Instead of paying for single-use shaders through Collections with Legendary Shards or Glimmer, they’ll be permanent unlocks with a 500 Glimmer per application charge. On the surface, this seems like a good deal since the Legendary Shard requirement is being eliminated.

However, the cost for shaders through Eververse is being raised from 40 Bright Dust to 300 Bright Dust. This is a 600% increase which is obviously designed to be just one more Bright Dust sink that aims to keep players buying season passes and grinding.

Inexplicably, there’s a limit to how many items a player can convert to Universal Armor Ornaments per season. During the season that the feature is introduced, it’ll be 20 per class, but after that it’ll be limited to 10 per class.

Transmog is just a symptom of a larger issue

Destiny 2 transmog new shaders

I was excited about transmog finally coming to Destiny, but Bungie managed to destroy my enthusiasm with a swiftness. Everything positive about this game has a caveat, and these have become larger and larger since launch. Bungie doesn’t care, though. It continually pushes the limits of what players will accept. Then it backs down and gives back part of what it took away like it’s doing its audience a favor.

Vaulting content is a perfect example. Bungie will point toward free-to-play players as being the reason it needs to monetize, but then it’ll vault away most of the free-to-play content. Looking at it in more detail, the whole situation has layers. It was all initially paid content. So, Bungie gave it away to lure new players into the Eververse and then vaulted the majority of it once they slowed to a trickle, which makes the whole thing even worse.

Along with vaulting content came sunsetting, a move that everyone hated and complained about for a year before Bungie finally said future gear wouldn’t be deprecated. However, making that statement cost Bungie nothing. It didn’t bring back the old gear; it just promised not to vault it in the future.

Because of Bungie’s erratic behavior, why bother even using transmog or playing the game at all? You might finally get that sweet armor set you’ve always wanted, maxed out your power level, and have a sick set of weapons only to find out Bungie decided that to keep it all you have to grind out some sort of token each season.

Transmog should have been a simple, straightforward system. This has shown Activision was never the driving force behind the bad decisions concerning Destiny 2. Bungie is constantly grasping at straws to increase the grind, FOMO, and monetization of the game while putting forth the least possible effort, and I won’t be logging back on for a long, long time.