Destiny 2 is a good game. I have had my problems with it at launch, specifically I couldn’t get into any Crucible match, but it is a work in progress with a strong start. A lot of care obviously went into it, and the basic gameplay experience is fun. It didn’t take me long to start leveling up and getting my character set. But there is a rather big problem for people who like to look different and put a lot of time into the game. The Shader situation is shady.
First, what is a Shader? A Shader is an item that changes the way pieces of equipment looks. It can be applied to pieces of your gear to alter the appearance. Since weapons and equipment otherwise look the same, it is a chance for your character to stand out. People would change to match their friends, their Clans, and essentially show off. You could buy them, get them from events, and earn them as rewards for Crucible matches or raids. Most importantly, they were multi-use item. If you applied a Shader, then took it off, you could go ahead and reapply it.
Destiny 2 changes that. Yes, we are here to throw shade at the Shader system. Earning them isn’t all that different. Special events, raids, Crucible matches, real-cash purchases, ranking up, and other activities have a chance of giving you Shaders. Shaders are, theoretically, rather easy to acquire. The problem this time is that they are also consumable. Once you apply a Shader to one of your pieces of equipment, that is it. The Shader is gone forever. Which means all that effort you put toward completing an event, ranking up, winning a match, or earning real money to buy what is essentially a loot box with a chance of getting one is gone. Goodbye, cool thing. Hello, grind.
Why is this such a big deal? A big part has to do with how disposable gear is in Destiny. Both in Destiny and Destiny 2, you’re being bombarded with new weapons and armor. Something you’re using today could be obsolete in a few days, if not a few hours. This means applying Shaders gets to be useless. You never know exactly how long you will even bother with an item. Do you want to throw away something you worked hard for on it? Especially at this stage in the game. It isn’t even a week old. Even if you have an equipment set you love, there is no way you will still be using it in a week or month. Too much will be happening.
It also reeks of greed. Destiny 2 is a game with microtransactions. One of the ways you get Shaders is through paying actual money for a chance at a new one you could want. This means each time you use real cash to get a Shader, pop it on one of those oh so disposable pieces of equipment, then realize you have found something better and need a new one, Bungie and Activision profit. It comes across as incredibly greedy. Especially since Destiny let you keep using your Shaders over and over.
It does not matter how easy it is to get Shaders in Destiny 2. I’ve accumulated a few after 72 hours of play, none of which I have applied since I know I am too early to start squandering such things. We went from a system that encouraged us to dress up and be unique with no penalties, to one where we will need to level grind, invest countless hours, and maybe even spend real cash on color schemes and designs applied to gear that could be obsolete in a few days or weeks. It is disappointing and makes Activision, Bungie, and Destiny 2 look bad.
Image Credit: Songbird Cosplay