'Destiny 2' Is, Thank God, Finally Leaning into its RPG Roots

Armor 2.0 brings back stats from 'Destiny 1' and adds a whole new way to build your Guardian.
A Hunter and a Warlock from Destiny 2 pose in glowing armor, to the right of them Armor Mods from the new Armor 2.0 system coming with Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Image courtesy of Bungie

"The entire time we've been making Destiny, the action game and the RPG have been fighting. It's the forever war,” Destiny 2 Game Director Luke Smith, wrote yesterday. On a stream today, Bungie showed that the RPG elements are winning that war with “Armor 2.0,” the new customization system coming with Destiny 2: Shadowkeep this October. This revamp brings back three stats that influence the cooldowns of your Class, Grenade, and Melee abilities, mechanical changes that had been relegated to the rarest of Exotics since the launch of Destiny 2.


Alongside the return of these stats is a new mod system for armor. Destiny armor currently allows for very little customization, with mods and perks that are vaguely described and don’t really allow for specialized builds. In the fall, players will be able to slot in new, more specialized mods with a new point-buy system that allows for wildly diverse builds, something Destiny has always shied away from in favor of a simpler system.

The new armor screen from Destiny 2: Shadowkeep. Each mod now has a point value and each armor piece has a point limit.

Screenshot courtesy of Bungie

But the current system has never been particularly simple to understand. The three current stats on armor (Mobility, Resilience, and Recovery) are all represented by a simple 1 to 10 scale, but nowhere in the game can you find what the actual difference between Mobility 1 and Mobility 8 are. This meant there was little incentive to try different builds, since not only did you not really know what you were building towards, but there was very little synergy to be gleaned from the way these stats were presented.

Armor 2.0 adds a layer of transparency and customization that has me excited about armor drops for the first time since the launch of Destiny 2. The armor has NUMBERS that clearly tell me what I can tinker with, and as small as that may seem, it’s a big step for Bungie who has traditionally kept most of these things under the hood, in what always felt like a misguided effort to not scare off potential new players.

If anything, Armor 2.0 might be enough to pull in a new type of player, one with deeper roots in RPG games that maybe don’t play as many FPS games. There is now the possibility for builds where the right stat and ability choices can de-emphasize the focus on the headshot-palooza (which I love!) that is Destiny combat, allowing for new and more diverse ways to play.