Destiny 2 players believe they have come upon evidence that developer Bungie is hindering player progression in the shooter.
Late last week Reddit user EnrgiserX posted that the game drops XP earned in-game based on how quickly you earn it. "If you earn XP slow, the in-game display is correct," their post reads. "If you play normally, the game drops some XP (~ 50%). If you power-grind XP the game will drop most of your XP (in testing, I managed to lose ~95% of the XP during an ‘enemies moving against each other’ event)."
To figure all this out, EnergiserX conducted three different tests where they played the game in the three playstyles mentioned above, recording the playthroughs and then graphing out the amount of XP earned to see if there was a change.
"Since the XP bar in-game is 360 pixels long, I calculated that 80000 XP/360 pixels= 222.8 (rounded to 225) XP per pixel could be used to estimate how much XP was being recorded in the backend," the user said.
The first test had the player playing the game as they normally would. But when EnergiserX performed two Public Events one after the other, leveling up quicker than a normal playthrough might, they noticed a discrepancy.
“The biggest thing to take from this is that the Estimated Recorded XP was roughly flat for the duration of both events, while the in-game XP skyrocketed,” they said.
When the player played the game slow, they noticed all XP earned was exactly the amount it should be.
"This time I killed one enemy at a time. Waited for the chain to bank, then moved on to the next enemy," EnergiserX said. "No estimations required this time. Across a 9 minute period the ingame tally and DIM lined up EXACTLY – 4149 XP : 4149 XP (100% recorded). ... So the XP ingame is correct, and at the same scale as in the API and backend… until you start earning it too fast."
To see EnergiserX's full report and graphs detailing the XP earned, check here at the link.
When players caught wind of this it immediately led to controversy, leading Bungie to release a statement saying it would end the system. The full statement is as follows:
"We’ve seen community discussion around XP gain in Destiny. After reviewing our data, we agree that the system is not performing the way we’d like it to. Today, we’d like to describe what’s going on under the hood, and talk about what you can expect going forward when it comes to earning XP in Destiny 2.
"Currently, XP will scale up when playing longer or fixed duration activities like Crucible competitive multiplayer matches and the Leviathan Raid, and XP will scale down when playing activities that can be quickly, repeatedly chained, like grinding Public Events. We are not happy with the results, and we’ve heard the same from the community.
"Effective immediately, we are deactivating this system.
"As a result, players will see XP earn rates change for all activities across the board, but with all values being displayed consistently in the user interface. Over the course of the next week, we will be watching and reviewing XP game data to ensure that these changes meet our expectations, as well as yours. Any additional updates to this system will be communicated to you via our official channels."
Bungie's change, however, riled players up for an entirely new reason.
As Eurogamer reports, though the XP system detailed above's been turned off, Bungie double the amount of XP needed in order to level up.
"In other words, by switching off the code which constrained XP progress during certain activities where you could gain lots of XP quickly, Bungie had leveled the playing field across the game," the outlet says. "But, without telling fans, it then also made the playing field twice as long."
Where it used to take 80,000 XP to level up, it's now doubled to 160,000 XP. Players aren't too excited about that.
Bungie's fix for its XP discrepancy seems to just be another way to hinder players from leveling up in the game, just by less shady means. While the company's been outright about the level cap change, it's still unclear why the XP hindrance was in the game in the first place. Furthermore, it's unclear why the solution to slowing players' progression down was to find another way to slow player progression down.
We've reached out to Activision for comment on why it raised the level cap, as well as why it was hindering player progression in the first place. We'll update the story should we hear back.
Destiny 2 was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 6th and for PC on October 24th.