What Destiny 2 Can Learn from the Witcher 3
In the previous faction rally in Destiny 2, there was an exploit that allowed players to farm faction tokens in a lost sector called The Weep. This involved clearing the area of all enemies once, then going out the back door. However, you would stop short of the exit, turn around, and go back into The Weep. The reward chest would be closed again, but the enemies would still be gone. This allowed players to loot the chest once every 20 or so seconds, getting a couple faction tokens each time.
Admittedly, I was one of the Destiny 2 players that took part in the faction token exploit. I spent about three hours grinding that out, earning my 600 tokens and getting my 30 engrams from Dead Orbit. The goal; to get a full set of Dead Orbit armor in Destiny 2. It didn’t work out, though, and I ended up missing a single piece of armor. It was a major disappointment for someone who only wears full gear sets, minus the exotic, of course.
In the latest faction rally that players can participate in, Bungie has fixed the exploit in The Weep. Did they fix the door, stopping you from going back to take advantage of this specific bug? Nope. Did they close the tunnel and make you leave the way you came in, resetting the lost sector? Nope. Did they force the enemies to respawn so you couldn’t loot the chest again without a fight? Nope. What they did, however, was throttle how many faction tokens you could earn. Open more than two chests in a 10-minute period, and players will not receive any faction tokens.
Let’s look at this for a minute. The hardest of the hardcore players in Destiny 2, such as myself, spent hours in Bungie’s game, grinding for tokens to get sets of gear. Not powerful gear that would push us to the max power levels, just gear that we thought would look good, but would still have to infuse to make useful. To counter this, Bungie throttled every single Destiny 2 player. They didn’t just hurt me, they hurt the casual player who doesn’t have the three hours I spent farming. They had a mouse loose in their house and they burned it to the ground instead of buying a trap.
What shocks me the most is that Bungie would nerf anything given the mood of the community lately. Their fix is not only a kick in the pants to most players, it’s boring. This has not always been the case when it comes to exploits in Destiny and how Bungie handles them.
I haven’t played Destiny 2 in a few days. Instead, I’ve been playing The Witcher 3, where I put myself on a self-imposed fast travel ban. While doing so, I’ve accumulated more than 35,000 Crowns. As I was taking a stroll through Oxenfurt, I was approached by a man named Walthemor Mitty. He wanted to talk about my wealth and where it came from. I immediately searched for this encounter and found that it was a DLC quest called The Taxman Cometh. Oh boy…
During his questioning, Mr. Mitty asked me if I had ever participated in the wholesale trading of raw hide in White Orchard. I immediately recalled an exploit in the early days of The Witcher 3 where you could kill cows in White Orchard, meditate, and then do it again. You’d then sell all the hides for a decent sum of cash, getting rich a bit faster than CD Projekt RED had intended. I did this.
The second question was about whether I had participated in the acquisition of bivalves (seashells) with the intention of selling the pearls inside. This referred to an exploit where players would buy cheap seashells from vendors, then dismantle them into pearls. The pearls could then be sold for huge sums of cash. It was another get rich quick scheme. I also did this.
For Walthemor Mitty’s last question, he asked if I had ever gone into someone’s residence and taken their things without permission. Well, yeah, this is half of how you spend your time in The Witcher 3. I was guilty of all three crimes, and as a person of integrity (in my head), I admitted to it.
Mr. Mitty smacked me with a 1,000 Crown fine for back taxes. I was to report to a bank in Novigrad and pay my fine. I promptly hopped on Roach and rode all the way to Novigrad and paid up. I didn’t dare test the tax man.
As cool as The Taxman Cometh was, it got me thinking about the exploits it was based around and how they were handled. The White Orchard cow massacre exploit was fixed when CD Projekt RED programmed a monster to spawn only when you were engaged in the exploit. It was a huge beast that you had no chance of defeating. A harsh punishment, but one that only hurt players who exploited the game’s intent. It was also hilarious and fun as hell. CD Projekt RED stopped you from using the exploit, but it’s as if they gave you a subtle wink as they did. They were telling you to stop, but also taking a moment to acknowledge your creativity and dedication, even in farming an exploit.
Bungie, for what it’s worth, hasn’t always reacted as they did with the faction token fiasco. Remember the loot cave in the early days of the original Destiny? I spent about five hours on that one, and the response from Bungie was to just stop enemies from spawning in the cave. They didn’t delete that section of the map, or nerf engram drops across the entire game. The response fit the situation, and they even celebrated the event later with a cool little Easter egg. That, for the record, was the right way to stop an exploit from disrupting the balance of your game, while also celebrating the players that care enough to engage in that nonsense in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, Bungie was right to stop players from exploiting that faction token farming. However, imagine for a moment that they had taken after The Witcher 3. What if, after say three consecutive runs of that lost sector in The Weep within two minutes, Bungie spawned a nearly immortal enemy in the tunnel to beat the holy hell out of Guardians like me? It would be a deserving punishment, it would be a lot of fun, and it would create a buzz in the community for all the right reasons, something that Destiny 2 is sorely lacking right now.