This week’s This Week At Bungie revealed the crafting update we’ve been waiting all year for. Starting in Lightfall later this month, Resonant Elements will be removed from the game completely, with Resonant and Harmonic Alloys to follow later this year. Standard currencies like Glimmer and Enhancement Cores will replace the Element cost in crafting, meaning that players will no longer need to farm crafting materials from weapons with Deepsight Resonance. In fact, Deepsight attunement is also being removed. No more red boxes, no more Elements. Crafting 2.0, here we come.
This is great news. Crafting has been in rough shape since it was introduced at the start of The Witch Queen, and although Bungie promised it was heading back to the drawing board, we haven’t seen a significant, major overhaul to the system just yet. The plan moving forward isn’t entirely clear, and the TWAB mentions that this info is “hot off the presses”, but removing all of the crafting materials from the process indicates that Bungie is starting fresh with crafting in Lightfall.
There was no way to fix crafting without stripping it down, which Bungie recognized almost right away when The Witch Queen first started. Last March, the studio dedicated almost an entire TWAB to addressing what went wrong. Originally, the plan was to give each trait its own specific crafting resource, which would allow players to farm for the traits they wanted and apply them to their crafted weapons. That system had far too many “technical and usability issues”, according to Bungie, and so we got a simpler version of it, which launched with The Witch Queen.
This compromised version of crafting has fundamental problems, and almost right away Bungie began making changes to alleviate the farming fatigue and problematic behaviors, like hoarding Deepsight weapons, that stemmed from the limitations and demands of the crafting system. The Element cap was increased dramatically during Season 16, and at the start of 17, all of the different elements were rolled into one Neutral Element. This made the resource management part of crafting more manageable, but it didn’t address the problem of Deepsight hoarding, or the general lack of enthusiasm around the new mode. Bungie continued adding craftable weapons in Season 18 and 19, but the crafting system remained untouched while the studio worked on an overhaul.
Now, all Resonant Elements and Deepsight weapons are getting removed from the game, with Resonant and Harmonic Alloys to follow later on this year. Crafting isn’t going away, but the way we pay for it is. This represents a major disruption to the seasonal gameplay loop, which for many was a lengthy process of grinding Umbral energy to buy Deepsight weapons and extract their patterns. With Umbral Engrams also going away in Lightfall, the entire gear acquisition loop is changing in a major way.
With the removal of Deepsight weapons, my hope is that there will be a deterministic, quest-based way to acquire weapon patterns. Whether they’re linked to seasonal challenges, completion of story missions, or specific triumphs, it would be great to have a way to target a pattern and go after it. Even if the grind takes most of the season, it’s bound to be better than relying on random red box drops.
All of the crafting changes we’ve seen so far have served to make it ‘less bad’ rather than ‘actually good’, and this update is no exception. But Bungie can’t relaunch crafting until it gets rid of everything about it that doesn’t work, and eliminating Elements, Alloys, and Deepsight Resonance is a big step in the right direction. We don’t know what crafting will look like in the future, but we know it will be different, and that alone is a reason to be excited.
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