There was a big blowup in Destiny 2 over the weekend when it came to light that a hidden scaling system was reducing the amount of XP awarded to players—sometimes dramatically—despite the fact that on-screen info suggested XP was being granted at the normal rate. Having been seemingly caught Reddit-handed, Bungie didn’t exactly fess up, but rather said that the system was “not performing the way we’d like it to,” and that it had therefore decided to switch it off.
Sketchy, yes, but score one for Destiny 2 players who would now start earning level-ups—and more importantly, the bright engrams that come with each new level—at a proper, faster pace. Except that it didn’t take long for another smart redditor to notice something else fishy going on. The XP scaling system had been taken out, yes, but the amount of XP needed to advance levels had been doubled, from 80,000 to 160,000.
So while the removal of scaling has increased the rate of XP gain, especially for those who grind hard, the doubling of the level-up requirement—which effectively cuts the gain rate in half—means that players will only see an increase of about six percent overall, a far smaller jump than what was expected given how much XP was being held back by scaling.
Bungie confirmed the new level-up requirement in a tweet that went out last night:
The Destiny 2 API has yet to be adjusted to reflect the recent in game change to earned XP. We are working on an API update to address the discrepancy. The correct value to earn an additional level is 160,000 XP.November 27, 2017
Bungie is free to set the Destiny 2 progression rate however it likes, and post-release tinkering with such things is hardly unusual. The real problem here is the way the studio appears to be trying to keep it all hush-hush and out of sight, and not just once, but twice. You would think that the debacle of the initial scaling discovery would be enough to convince all involved to be very open and up-front about what’s going on, and yet here we are, once again getting confirmation rather than advance notice. At best, it’s a misjudgment of the mood among players and a PR failure. At worst, well, they’ve got bright engrams to sell.
An interesting aside to all of this is the XP booster that comes in specially-marked boxes of Pop-Tarts, the sugar-coated cardboard “renowned lifestyle” brand Activision hooked up with back in August. Players willing to jump through sufficient hoops (because it’s not as easy as just entering a code that was on the box, no sir) will eventually get a 25 percent XP boost good for four hours—but since that tight time window means players will likely end up grinding hard to maximize its benefit, they may have actually ended up with less XP than they would have otherwise earned because of the way the scaling system worked: The faster you earned XP, the deeper it cut. The bonus is presumably being applied so it’s not outright dishonest, but deceptive? I sure think so, and I’m not the only one.
I’ve reached out for more information about how exactly the API update will “address the discrepancy” and when it will be ready, and I’ll update when I know more.