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EPISODE LINK: here (link goes to YouTube video; you can also find our podcast on most Podcast providers)



Destiny Massive Breakdowns: Podcast Versus Enemies had the very special opportunity of hosting two Senior Designers of Destiny 2. Chris Proctor (Weapons Designer), who has been a frequent guest on many Community Podcasts, was joined by Rodney Thompson (Armor & Buildcrafting Lead), on his first Community Podcast appearance!

This is our second Developer Interview/Q&A. Chris was joined by Weapons Designer Vivian Becks back in November 2022. You can read up on that Episode's overview here - lots was discussed then, such as Elemental Sandbox Perks, Divinity, Origin Traits, Kinetic uplift, and many things which we've seen implemented in Lightfall. You can also get a brief rundown of the hosts bios if you're brand new to the Podcast.

Destiny Massive Breakdowns Network:

Guests Overview

Quick reminder of who we (Court, Impetus, and Saint) were interviewing:

  • Chris Proctor - Senior Design Lead and Weapons Feature Lead for Destiny 2
    • Lead Designer/Worked On: Adept Weapons, Origin Traits system, Cloudstrike, Ager's Scepter, Osteo Striga, Seraph/Risen/Lost Seasonal Weapons Lead, to name a few
  • Rodney Thompson - Senior Design Lead and Armor/Buildcrafting Feature Lead
    • Lead Designer/Worked On: Lightfall Launch & post-Lightfall Buildcrafting System, Exotic Armor refreshes, Armor Mods e.g. Surges, Fonts, Mod Consolidation, Damage/Resist Stacking via Armor Mods, to name a few

Bungie Interview/Q&A Episode Overview

Like with our last episode, we have a show transcript/show notes that goes into much more granular detail which you can view here. This Reddit breakdown is the abridged version that highlights some key points.

A quick note of the scope of this episode and transparency:

  • Recorded 15th May during Bungie's workday; PR/Devs agreed to 90 minutes with the Devs
  • We signed an NDA and were given a draft version of the 17th May Blog Post and based some of our (the hosts) questions around
  • Destiny Massive Breakdown Patrons and Sponsors had a heads up of this episode and were given the opportunity to send one Weapon or Armor/Buildcrafting question each
    • We also gathered some additional non-Patron questions from Twitter and Discord
    • Full expectations: due to time restrictions some questions from our community and the wider public do not asked; we also had an abundance of questions related to Exotic Armor which Rodney does go into a lot more insight within the episode
  • Show Outline:
  1. Podcast Intro
  2. Chris & Rodney Intro
  3. Weapons & Armor Blog Post Questions/Clarifications
  4. Community Q&A
  5. Podcast Outro

Last Dev Episode/Overview we received a lot of comments and feedback related to "why didn't you ask about X Y Z" so I'm adding this section to make it very clear from our perspective:

  • We/DMB Community could only ask questions related to Chris and Rodney's departments (Weapons, and Armor/Buildcrafting/Mods respectively)
    • This is a PVE-centric Podcast, don't expect much (if any) PVP related questions/answers/news - Mercules & Eric Smith are/were on Firing Range if you want PVP info
    • Expect only questions and answers related to those departments; this means Abilities (Supers, Strand/Stasis/etc, Grenades, etc) and End Game Content (Dungeon, Raids, etc) are not discussed whatsoever unless there is some link to them (e.g. Exotic Weapons/Armor synergising with Abilities)
      • If you want to hear from Developers who represent these or other areas of the game, please send your feedback to Bungie (we'll also happily have them on our show too!)
  • While we had the opportunity to submit any questions, the hosts and I agreed not to make this a show about "question on why [insert Exotic Armor/Weapon] wasn't mentioned" or "what about X Y Z Exotic feedback" as that wouldn't have made for an interesting show. Additionally a lot of those type of questions normally lead to pretty lackluster answers like "no plans" or "yes we have plans but can't discuss/coming in a future update" or "we're listening".
    • Having said that, we did ask Rodney many high-level questions related to their philosophy and plans at-large for Exotic Armor and he provides comprehensive breakdowns of the design goals for Exotic Reworks and concept-to-release for new Exotics which I'll detail in the post below
    • We don't work for or represent Bungie, but we obviously suggest to continue sounding off your constructive feedback to Bungie related to individual Exotics

Episode Breakdown

Note: I've highlighted some of the bigger takeaways in bold*.

CP = Chris Proctor; RT = Rodney Thompson.

Introductions (what have you been working on, highlights, etc)


  • S20: made the Raid Weapons and bit of stuff for Conditional Finality
  • S21: made one of the new Exotic Weapons - no name or info given
  • Recent work has been dedicated to the reticle/Charge Time redesign, described as a "pet project" for him
    • Let the Bungie Team know your thoughts and feedback when it comes to these changes, Chris will be looking out!
  • Regarding recent highlights: "Season 19 was a lot of fun ... getting to do the Tex Mechanica set and all of the Foundry Weapons. Otherwise all of the reticle work has been a ton of fun to work on."

RT (this will be a lot more in-depth as it's RT's first community podcast!):

  • RT got into games in 2001 while he was still in college
    • Started out doing freelance tabletop game design
    • Hired by an RPG company; worked on board games, tablestop games, card games
    • After 15 years he decided to broaden his horizons and applied at Bungie
  • RT has been at Bungie for 8 years
    • Started out as an Activity Designer for D2; worked on a lot of the design for the open world for the EDZ (Adventures, Quests) - also worked in Engineering for a few years
    • Moved to Sandbox and has been a Sandbox Designer for the last 5 years
    • During this time he's been Feature Lead for the Armor team and is the Sandbox Design Lead for the Rewards area
      • In fancy terms this means he oversees the Weapons and Armor teams, the Rewards UI team, and he is responsible for "making sure we put out the best sandbox rewards content that we can and that encompasses everything from mechanics, art, UI, etc"
      • "If I didn't have an all-star team that I work with everyday [...] it would be a lot more difficult. A lot of pain points and details fall away and I get to focus on bigger picture stuff. At the same time I feel compelled to get my hands dirty."
      • "Chris and I are similar in this regard in that we actually like making things that players will put their hands on."

Buildcrafting Revamps

  • RT started early work on Buildcrafting 2.0 back in the summer of 2021
    • Initial Work: "Months of design work and playtesting and redesign and playtesting and re-re-re-re-design and playtesting"
    • Initial Reactions: "When Lightfall launched, there was this moment of holding your breath where you think 'Are people going to like this thing?' [...] On day one I'm going to hear a lot of complaints about this thing but by day seven everyone's gonna have adapted to it."
    • The Newness Factor: "This is different therefore it is bad [...] and then people develop some mastery over it; here and the ins and outs of the new things, you start seeing the conversation get a lot more nuanced and textured [...] Once we got over the initial shock of the new stuff coming out, the conversation got a lot more nuanced and very detailed-oriented"
      • Saint [PVE Host] mentioned the 'shock factor' when he was playtesting this new system during his time as a playtester at Bungie last year
    • The Shock Factor: "We saw [a similar response] from our playtesters when we would introduce a big new change [...] there are always a bit of concern from the designers that after multiple playtests would eventually start to change. A lot of what it really comes down to is when you change the rules that you have mastered, it can be difficult to accept it for what it is."
  • RT re: Buildcrafting 2.0 Evolution
    • Making the system more approachable "was our Guiding Light"
    • Removing Armor Energy type was the first big shift that led to a lot of Mods being combined/removed
    • Usage data also indicated what was crucial to the older system
      • e.g. Taking Charge became the foundation of the new system
      • Orbs became more important Elemental Wells which in turn got Subclass synergy (Void Breaches, Firesprites, etc)
    • Buildcrafting 2.0 grew out of a simple starting point and covered a massive amount of the game
      • Many Destiny teams had input on the new systems
    • Weapons didn't get adjusted in a massive way
      • Moving Orb Generation off of Weapons well before 2.0 gave Weapons [and its team] room to shine
      • Orb Generation was a great collaboration between both Weapon and Armor teams
  • RT says he and his teams feel largely positive about the Buildcrafting Revamp
    • They knew the Loadout and Mod Manager systems were going to be the big highlights before launch
    • "Plenty of space for things"; lots of room for improvement for anything
    • RT has seen an uptick in people transitioning from New Light to a more confident Destiny player since Buildcrafting 2.0's launch; has encouraged and engaged a lot of build/theorycrafting discussions between many players
  • CP re: Live Service game
    • "One of the really nice things of working on a live game is that you can always fiddle with it"
    • Cites his previous work on Halo enemy AI; they only got one shot at doing it, whereas fairly frequently they can ship a simplified version of a thing then layer onto it after it ships - "let's us get into a good place much more efficiently"


Reticle Changes

  • Started work on the Reticle Changes back in S19
    • "We looked at what we can do with reticles and what we were blocked on. We shipped those and then realised that we needed to be able to scale reticles more cleanly based on field-of-view so that the Shotgun reticle size could match the pellet spread"
  • Chris mentioned in the past a lot of this tech was hard coded (e.g. the Glaive Energy Meter wasn't something they could copy and paste over for other Weapons)
    • As improvements were done to the tech they "got the ability to put anything we want into a reticle through something we call 'channels' [like charge state, sword melee, Exotic Perk counters, etc]"
    • This system is open for expansion for more Weapons/Exotics in the future where necessary

Buff/Debuff UI Bloat & Upcoming Changes

  • CP want critical Weapon Perk statuses to remain front-loaded where it reasonably makes sense to do so
  • It also cannot "only be in the reticle because currently that only exists in hip-fire and we would rather have multiple locations to show that data anyway"
  • Weapon Elements (e.g. Memento Mori) will still exist in the Buff/Debuff UI, but these will now likely be deprioritized to help with Buff/Debuff UI bloat
  • Chris says they are very aware how crowded that Buff/Debuff UI gets and that there are "some pretty big tweaks coming to that system several Seasons down the line"
    • After a follow-up question he reiterated that "it's way too early to drop specifics, but we are working on it" - no timescale given

Sniper Rifle Questions

  • re: Snipers in PvE (still) being in a rough spot:
    • "It's pretty easy to overdo damage on Snipers, [we want to] dial it up one step at a time."
    • The reserves buff that Rapid-Fire Snipers got during S20 "should make them quite decent"
    • The major buffs the Weapons team like to do [to Snipers] are damage buffs, but they can also improve ease-of-use and uptime. Open to doing another recoil reduction improvement (i.e. versus Combatants)
  • re: Whisper and DARCI:
    • [Context: all Snipers including Exotics but not Izanagi's Burden's charged shot are getting S21's damage buff]
    • Whisper:
      • "Is pretty close to where we want it to be (comparably, should be above LFRs)"
      • Weapons Team are looking at a larger change to Whisper "in a few Seasons" - no details given
    • DARCI:
      • "Is much weaker that where we want it to be, but we're waiting to see how the damage buff and reserves buff affect it before we touch it again" [Context: DARCI is considered a Rapid-Fire so receives both S20's reserve buff, and S21's damage buff]
      • Chris, unprompted, mentioned re: the community sentiment about 'just make it a Special Sniper': "Weapons Team doesn't want it to compete with Cloudstrike, another Rapid-Fire, Arc Sniper Rifle."

Next refreshed Raid Weapons?? Also New Rocket Launcher Perk Talk

  • Tyranny of Heaven doesn't necessarily guarantee that Last Wish is getting reprised, but CP was heavily teasing something during this section
  • Regarding older Raid Weapons:
    • Craftable Raid Weapons will have 7x7 perk pools
    • Reprised Raid Weapons will retain their unique rolls if they previously had them (e.g. Rampage + Kill Clip)
  • New Rocket Launcher Perk coming in S21:
    • Called 'Bipod'
    • Will drop on "several weapons next Seasons [...] maybe even a Raid one" - no other details were given [Context: we had a perk called 'Tripod' in Destiny that gave 3 in the magazine of a RL, maybe this is related?]

Highlighted Exotic Weapons

  • Sweet Business's Explosive Rounds:
    • Similar to Explosive Payload/Rounds, but technically speaking it's just additional damage (instead of a split) and deals a higher percentage of that damage in a larger radius
  • Legend of Acrius Buff:
    • This change will make it "exceptionally" strong in close-range
    • Confirmed S21 has a Shotgun Champion Mod - no other details given
    • Legend of Acrius should work with the reworked No Backup Plans
    • Chris confirms they are reworking Swords for a future release; this will shake up the close-range meta - no timescale/other details given
  • Salvation's Grip - the Meme Gun:
    • The time has come!
    • CP says they've been wanting to touch Salvation's for a while
      • It's took a while as it's been "difficult to come up with a change that felt in line with its Exotic fantasy and worked in the Heavy slot [on top of it] takes time to do these reworks"
    • Same designer that worked on Verglas Curve ended up taking the task to rework Salvation, so it'll be no coincidence that the two will share a similar 'mini-game' fantasy
  • Reconstruction Perk:
    • Rolling out across more endgame weapons in Season 21 and beyond
    • "Definitely pickup a Rocket Launcher with Reconstruction and Bipod next Season [21]"

Exotics Catalysts

  • Standard Catalysts:
    • Generally speaking if a Catalyst shipped with an Exotic or we know the Weapon will ship later as a pre-order (Quicksilver), then a Catalyst is designed at the same time
    • Otherwise Catalysts are designed at a later stage
  • Raid Weapon Catalysts:
    • Newer Raids don't have acquisition paths for a Catalyst, so those Exotics haven't had one designed yet

Are Nightfall Weapons Rewarding Enough?

  • Weapons Team feel they "hit the mark fairly well"
  • Chris asks for any feedback for any activity if you feel like they are too weak or too strong for their source

Enhanced Perks

  • Weapons Team are happy with the Root of Nightmares initial run and its reception
    • Future Raid Adepts may have a different system
    • Note: aspects of Enhancing may be unique to certain groups of Weapons
  • Chris said in the long-term they want EVERY non-Craftable Weapon to have the ability to enhance its column 3 and 4 perks
  • Regarding multiple Perks:
    • Fully intend to have the ability to enhance multiple Perks in a column where applicable
    • No timeline for offering multiple perks on Crafted Weapons [Context: Chris and Mercules have mentioned before that this type of system change requires a tremendous amount of rework; they are still looking into it but no timescale]


Exotic Armor Development Process

  • It takes 6 to 9 months for the total process, depending on the complexity
  • Art starts a lot earlier in the design process; few months of paper design where ideas are bounced off other teams
  • 'Paper Designers' (which is unique to Bungie) begin the Technical Design phase
  • In-engine work is followed by 3-4 months of playtesting, then 2-3 months of bug fixing

Exotic Armor Commitment

  • Armor Team tend to commit to an Exotic once the Artists start work on it
  • Mechanical adjustments do happen along the way, but it can take up a lot of development time
    • "Once other teams are committed, you want to follow through on the Armor piece"

Metas for Exotic Armor

  • "We have multiple playtest sessions where we Build/Theorycraft"
  • When it comes to reworking or nerfing something the team "target the original playstyle and see how close we can replicate it with a change, scaling the level of Buildcrafting with every tweak"
  • Heart of Inmost Light & Starfire Protocol Change Context:
    • Goal wasn't to "obliterate usage, we wanted to make it not an automatic choice"
    • Starfire's goal is "[that it incorporates] the neutral game space, we don't want it to be as strong for damage phases"

Exotic Armor Seasonal Balance Passes

  • Asked if they have enough resources to commit to Seasonal balance passes:
    • "Can't announce anything specific at this time [...] Designers get 'eyes bigger than their stomachs' [but] we think it's worth doing"

Combining Overlapping Exotic Armor

  • "Nothing is ever really off the table [to combine Exotic Armor]"
    • But RT did reiterate that combining Exotics would be fundamental challenge to Exotic fantasies and design goals
    • "We don't want to deprive players of a fantasy that they fell in love with"
  • General consensus here is that they'd rather retune Exotics to a sufficient state (while retaining their fantasies) rather than trying to combine them

Damage Stacking & Bungie's Philosophy post-Lightfall

  • RT gave some broad Guidelines to Damage Stacking (related to Armor/Mods):
  1. If the damage bonus is tied to a specific damage type: use the damage buff category used by the Surge Mods
  2. If the bonus affects all weapons equipped: use the damage buff category used by Empowering Buffs (e.g. Rift, Weapons of Light, etc)
  3. Prioritise more ways to use a damage buff rather than have multiple damage buffs stack on top of one another
  4. Stacking damage buffs will apply to extremely specific cases
  5. Artifact will be the place for stackable damage sources as "those are temporary and exciting"
  • [Author Note: Hey, Court here. I spend a lot of my time explaining, truncating, and conveying damage stacking. Damage stacking isn't necessarily going away, they are moving the goal posts so to speak as they realign a lot of the specific categories and what goes under each, but you'll still be able to do some high damage stacking if you build craft into it. I'll hopefully have a breakdown of this in the new Season once the dust settles.]
  • Other Notes:
    • Stacking damage buffs from Path of the Burnings Steps/Eternal Warrior free up Mod spaces on your Legs (frees up for Holster, Scavenger, and Orb Mods)
    • Want to alleviate the pressure to stack everything for optimal damage
    • CP mentioned this on our last episode, but reiterated that it's "very easy for things to get out of hand with multiplicative stacking" and still something that they are looking at in the long-term [e.g. using additive stacking or another approach] but requires a lot of work and is "hard to implement in-game" due to a lot of moving parts

Specific Exotic Armor Mentions

  • Eternal Warrior
    • Armor Team have been trying to make a "concerted effort to unify our damage bonuses and relieve the pressure people were feeling about having to stack up all these damage sources"
    • In the process they saw how Path of the Burning Steps played out that concept and wondered if they could do an Arc version of that
    • Minigame of "get that highest damage buff"
  • Chromatic Fire
    • Team is looking to add those kinds of mechanics to other options (for Titans and Hunters)
    • Chromatic is something the team want to be "judicious with as it has a lot of design and test work [...] and has lots of latency in its Exotic effect"
    • "If functionality is based on Subclass, the Armor Team wants to make sure those functions are easy to understand no matter what Subclass you're on. Elemental effects are intuitive."
  • Mask of the Quiet One
    • Rodney confirms it's on the list for tuning - gave no specific details or timescale
    • They utilise usage metrics to help identify "outliers" that eventually "filter their way to the top of the list"
    • Things high on the priority or unpleasant to play against/with are the first things that get looked at [Context: while we didn't specifically mention some other pain Exotics, we believe this is a direct answer to those that have grievances with over/underpowered Exotics]
    • "Easy fixes also influence what Armor pieces get touched [...] What's a priority? What do we have time for? What's our idea for this Armor? We don't want to mess with the fantasy of any piece."
  • Khepri's Horn
    • Scorch Stacks are comparable to Caliban's Hand (60x, but this isn't 100% as it may have changed since RT last looked at it)
    • Scorch is applied once (either when the wave is going out OR coming back)

Weapons & Armor Team

  • Are largely in the same production schedule
  • You'll see more collaborations between Weapons + Armor in the future


And that's a wrap! Once again I wanna say how fast these 90 minutes come and go. We had an absolute joy to host and chat to Chris and Rodney, and thank you Bungie for another amazing opportunity.

If you would like to join the Massive Breakdowns community - of which Patrons had the opportunity to directly ask questions for this Q&A - then head over to our Discord. It's the bastion of Destiny information, data, science, breakdowns, LFG, Star Wars, and much more.

EPISODE LINK: here (link goes to YouTube video; you can also find our podcast on most Podcast providers)



P.S. it's late here in Scotland as I post this, so I'll pick up on any comments/questions in the morning. :)

Cheers! <3

- Court, Impetus, Saint, Auto, and the Destiny Massive Breakdowns Community

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11 days ago - /u/Destiny2Team - Direct link

Originally posted by Necessary_Bug_9862

All I took from this was Basso Orinato is staying in my Void Special slot. Bring on the Shotgun champion mod!

The team misspoke on this one. There's no anti-Champion shotgun mod planned in Season of the Deep, but you never know what the future holds!

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