Our weekly update from Bungie finally addressed the crafting problem and promised some changes starting as soon as next week, with a bigger overhaul coming next season. I want to get into the update and unpack how these changes will impact the Deepsight grind, but first, there’s a lot of interesting details about how the current system came to be in the first place. It turns out the flaws in the system weren’t exactly by design – at least, not originally.
In a moment of profound transparency, the weekly TWAB explains how crafting was meant to work and why it isn’t in the best place right now. Apparently, the initial plan was that each perk would have its own element, and you’d need to farm the element for each specific perk in order to craft it onto your weapons. If you wanted Rampage on something, you’d need to collect Rampage Element from weapons that already had Rampage.
Suddenly, the entire crafting economy makes a lot more sense. In that system, we would have been able to specifically target the element we wanted and ignore the ones we don’t. It would have felt more exciting to get a weapon with a trait you’re after, even if it's an otherwise bad roll, because you’d be able to use it to build towards the crafted weapon you really want. It’s unclear if you still would have needed to find those traits on Deepsight weapons specifically or if any weapon could produce element based on the traits it rolled with, but it doesn’t really matter, because that’s not the system that was delivered to us.
Bungie cites “technical and usability issues”, like too many currencies to keep track of, as the reason this system was never implemented. The simplified element system we have now was the solution, but of course, that’s what caused most of the problems we’re experiencing with crafting right now. Deepsight hoarding, material caps, and a general lack of interest in the system are all consequences of the compromised element system, so Bungie is removing it altogether.
Starting next season, Ruinous, Adroit, Mutable, Drowned, and Energetic elements are all getting removed. Neutral Element will be the only element, meaning you won’t need to stockpile dozens of Deepsight weapons anymore simply because you’re capped on the specific elements it produces. Ascendant Alloy will become the sole bottleneck then, since regular Deepsight Weapons will feed you all the Neutral Element you need.
Intuitively, this feels like a better system than what we have currently, but I don’t think it solves all of the problems with crafting. The TWAB goes on to acknowledge that Bungie is looking into some of these concerns, namely improving player control over pattern acquisition, monitoring Deepsight stockpiling, acquisition rates, and progression, and exploring the possibility of lowering the cost to reshape.
The missing piece here, and what the element changes don’t address, is how uncompelling the crafting grind is without those specific, targeted elements. Bungie explains that the initial goal for currencies was to sustain interest in non-crafted weapon drops by giving players an incentive to search for perks they’re interested in. That’s not the goal anymore, obviously, so what’s the point of these currencies at all?
Bungie gets accused of implementing systems that create empty grinds, but this explanation shows us why that isn’t the case. It’s good that the developers are abandoning a system that wasn’t working, but then what’s the new intention behind crafting resources? That may be something they’re still figuring out, and the Season 17 changes are meant to be an improvement, not a fix. Converting all the individual elements into Neutral Element will likely relieve some of the poor balance in the crafting resource economy and stop players from hoarding Deepsight weapons, but it doesn’t make the resource grind itself any more interesting.
In the meantime, we’ve got some changes coming next week that will definitely help us empty out our vaults, if nothing else. The element cap is getting increased from 250 to 1,000, and the Neutral Element cap is going up from 8,500 to 10,000. You only have to hoard those attuned Deepsight guns for one more week… maybe. There’s also the very real possibility that we all go right back to hoarding Deepsight weapons once we reach the new cap. I don’t imagine Bungie will just keep incrementally raising the cap forever, so once again this feels like a temporary solution to a bigger problem.
Personally, I’d really like to spend more materials, but I can’t seem to get my weapons leveled up high enough to unlock the enhanced traits I’m after when I’m always swapping them out in favor of weapons that are already more powerful. That’s if the gun even has enhanced traits that are worth pursuing, which is a totally separate issue.
Props to Bungie for revealing why the system isn’t working as it was originally intended, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any real solutions to the problem yet. Raising the cap on element and eliminating all but Neutral Element will relieve some of the pain points, but that’s not going to make the crafting system enjoyable or properly incentivized. It sounds like we’ve got a ways to go until crafting finds its footing.
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