Dark Math and Infusion

Dark Math and Infusion

I finished the night last night at 287 power, putting me well within striking distance of at least 290 this week… and with some additional luck in getting some really good drops 300.  For the moment I have standardized on the gear set that I am wearing and I have been eating everything that gives me slightly higher light levels to pour into it.  This morning I thought I would talk a bit about the infusion game in Destiny 2 and my frustrations with it.  The longer I play Destiny 2 the more I think of it as a continuation of the previous game to the point of largely feeling like a big smooth reboot.  There is a lot of gnashing of teeth over this point but I have reached a sort of equilibrium in my attitude.  I realize there are going to be some people that cannot get past this fact and I am guessing they really were not that big of a fan of the original game in the first place.  There are certainly things that I am not the biggest fan of, but overall I am really enjoying my time spent wandering around…  and weirdly looking forward to starting over with the PC launch and doing all of the things that I wish I had done this time around.  For me at least the chronology of Destiny looks a little something like this.

  • Year One – Destiny Launch/Dark Below/House of Wolves
  • Year Two – The Taken King
  • Year Three – Rise of Iron
  • Year Four – Destiny 2 Launch

Now back to the original topic I wanted to discuss…  Infusion.  During Year One it was not really a thing even though there was a limited form of it available in the ability to “power up” weapons with ascendant shards…  which was less a version of infusion and more a version of delayed gratification making you level your weapon further after getting it.  Side note… they are doing something like this system with an exotic shotgun that you get from the raid but that is a discussion for another day.  During Year Two they introduced the infusion system but made the calculations behind it extremely frustrating.  The closer you got to the level cap the less light you were able to squeak out from each infusion.  I remember keeping a vault full of random gear to step new items that I got up… without losing a bunch of potential light in the process.  For those who didn’t live under the system… say you had a 300 light level exotic item.. and you wanted to infuse a 335 item into it…  the resulting item would be 324.  If the first item was a legendary item…  you would end up with 328 making this weird penalty on using exotics.  During the tail end of Year Two and all of Year Three this changed and you started to get the complete face value of every infusion, meaning in that same scenario… of a 300 exotic and a 335 infusion fodder… you would end up with a 335 exotic gaining full credit for the item you were pouring into it.  The previous infusion system was pretty straight forward in that any primary could infuse into any other primary…  with the same being true for armor pieces.  Meaning I could throw my trash at my alts and help funnel their light level up.

Now we scan forward to Year Four and a bunch of things have changed that make the system as a whole way less beneficial to the players.  Year Three was pretty much the pinnacle of the system as far as I was concerned, it felt good and didn’t cause needless strife to the players.  In Destiny 2 however… they made a bunch of tweaks that seem like nonsense.  Firstly they removed the element of simplicity, meaning it was no longer slot based infusions and instead depended upon the specific item type.  This means if you need to bump up your auto rifle… you are going to need another auto rifle.  Similarly it means that if you want to pour additional power into your hunter arms…  you are going to need another pair of hunter arms.  To further confuse things they added a system of mods into the game, and at face value these seem like awesome things.  It lets you take one piece of gear and tailor it to your exact needs without having to wait for the ideal item roll to drop.  Where this complicates things however is when it comes to legendary mods, because not only do they add perks to an item…  they also had 5 power levels.  This means that if you have a 200 item without a legendary mod and a 225 item with a legendary mod…  feeding the 225 item into the 200 item will result in a new power level of 220 because the mod gets consumed in the process.  The first time this happened to me I was confused as hell and extremely angry because it felt like they had taken a step back to the lossy days of item infusion.

Where things get even weirder is the fact that in the past there were hard item level caps that you could not breach.  For example right now in Destiny 2… blues stop giving you upgrades initially a 260 and purples at 265.  That however is a somewhat fungible barrier, because as your power level trickles up…  so does the level at which items start dropping.  I am not entirely certain why things drop at the level they start dropping… but for example last night the maximum power I could hit was 287 but the blues I kept seeing were 277.  The lowest power item I have equipped is a 282 helm…  so I do not think it is based on that given that there was a period of time where I kept getting items that I could infuse into my lower armor pieces to keep pulling my total up a bit.  There is some manner of dark math happening behind the scenes and I think that is what is making this process feel less certain and because of that less “good” than the previous system.  We reached peak infusion during year three and all of these tweaks just feel like they were screwing with a solved problem.  I am hoping at some point we revert back to just having slot based infusion rather than item type based.  The whole item levels and drops thing however I am not even sure how to straighten that out because it seems super wibbly wobbly.  All of this said however…  Bungie has tweaked things significant given time and I have a feeling that they will also tweak this product to roll back some of the weird parts.  It is just a little frustrating at this point however to be entering what is legitimately year four of the game, and it feels like they forgot some of the lessons they learned during the first three years.  I mean maybe this is the influence of Blizzard, since they seem to love fixing systems that were not broken by ripping up the pavement and installing brand new and improved pavement that requires a completely different car to drive on it.  Whatever the case I am still loving the game and have been spending almost every non-work waking moment playing it…  but there are just frustrations that build up as with any new experience.  I thought I had gushed for awhile… and its probably time for me to start unpacking some of my baggage as well.

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