Bungie Is Shutting Down 'Destiny's' Loot Cave
Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in the world of Destiny has, at some point, heard of the loot cave. Every MMO has its farming methods, but there was something especially empty about this one: you and however many friends or strangers wanted to join would go to a particular cave on Earth, stand in a particular spot, and shoot the steady stream of low-level enemies that came running out. No matter how soul-crushingly boring it could be, the wealth of loot made it impossible for a certain kind of gamer's brain to ignore. Thus, we have the loot cave. It became a symbol of the strangeness that was Destiny in general: a theoretically lavish and expansive experience reduced by curious design to just sort of shooting at an empty hole. Bungie agrees that there's something not quite right about it, and it's shutting it down. Bungie writes in some patch notes:
'But shooting at a black hole for hours on end isn't our dream for how Destiny is played. Our hope is that social engagement in public spaces is only one part of the Destiny experience. Expect changes soon which decrease the efficiency of cave farming and correspondingly increase engram drops from completing activities.'
But that's not all - the developer does also appear to be trying to spend some time addressing the problems that make the cave so appealing in the first place. For one thing, many consider the Legendary Engram to be one of the ultimate rewards in any gameplay situation, except that too often that elusive purple orb ends up being some useless blue pants. Bungie will be updating the game so that all Legendary Engrams will yield legendary items, ending the humorous reign of this twitter account.
It's a start, of course, but there are lot of late-game problems yet to address. There's a bizarre lack of content for characters level 20-26, after you've hit the level cap but before you qualify for the late game raid which, as Jason Evangelho notes, is far more interesting than anything else in the game. It takes titanic grinding to get up to 26, however, so players resort to farming methods like the loot cave.
The patch notes also address balance issues, voice chat issues, and reward presentation. It's nice to see the developer responding quickly to both the community's issues (legendary engrams) and exploits (loot cave), but if it wants this game to keep momentum in the face of what will likely be much ore interesting games to come in the fall, it needs to fix its late game progression.
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