From what I can gather, Destiny 2 is a fun game. Many gamers who hated the first Destiny seem to enjoy the sequel a great deal more, and thanks to the PC beta test, I can say from firsthand experience they’re right. While PC gamers need to wait a bit to play the game, PS4 and Xbox One (and PS4 Pro) owners are playing Destiny 2 as I write this article and sadly discovering several issues with the game, namely its microtransactions, or to be more specific, the one-time use shaders.
Depending on your video game experience, you may or may not recognize “shader” as the term commonly used to describe cosmetic items that overwrite the colors of wearable equipment. Shaders are standard in many modern games, especially role-playing games that emphasize character customization, including Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine. Shaders are a godsend in MMOs where all end-level armor looks homogeneous. Why should every player settle for the same old drab silver and brown suit when players can color it as bright and shiny gold armor with purple highlights? Shaders were everywhere in the original Destiny, and players could swap shaders at any time. However, according to a Reddit post, Bungie (or more likely Activision) decided to change how shaders work in Destiny 2 by making them disappear after being used. Oh, and they can also be found en masse in loot boxes that can only be purchased with real world money, because why not?
Perhaps the executive behind this decision didn’t get the memo, but Destiny 2 is a loot-based game, which means players are stuck in a never-ending cycle of “find armor and weapons, equip them, and replace them five minutes later with even better armor and weapons.” While luck plays a huge factor, eventually every player will replace every piece of equipment with something better, which raises the question: what’s the point in wasting a one-use shader on a piece of equipment that will inevitably be replaced? Gamers color their armor with shaders to give it a specific color scheme, but this scheme is replaced when players equip a new piece of armor. Since the shader is one-use, the new armor piece can’t be colored unless the player has a duplicate shader, which is highly unlikely given the random nature of the loot drops. In other words, there is no point in wasting limited-use shaders on equipment that will be replaced. Sure, gamers can always stockpile shaders and use them to color end-level equipment, but this equipment will eventually become obsolete in a future patch or expansion. To put it simply, the loot-based nature of Destiny 2 conflicts with the nature of Destiny 2‘s shaders.
You are now probably wondering how Activision/Bungie should handle shaders in Destiny 2. Since shaders can now be applied individually to every piece of equipment, including weapons and ships, perhaps the companies should take a page out of Wildstar. In that game, shaders have unlimited uses and can be applied to almost any piece of armor or clothing. Moreover, players can mix and match shaders to create any color scheme imaginable. Personally, I consider Wildstar the bar by which other MMOs should be measured regarding how shaders are implemented. Maybe it’s too much to ask the developers at Bungie to copy Wildstar‘s shader system, but the company should at least get rid of the one-use limitation.
Bungie could and should patch in an update to Destiny 2 to fix the shader system. The fan outcry is near universal; nobody likes that shaders are one-use items. I cannot think of a legitimate reason why shaders shouldn’t be permanent items, and apparently neither can anyone else. Please, Bungie, you have a good game on your hands; don’t ruin it for the fans. Please.