On ‘Destiny 2,’ Divinity, Elitism, And Gatekeeping

A few weeks ago there was a Destiny 2 debate over whether “toxicity” in the community was always centered around the PvP community, and whether or not that was ever a problem on the PvE side of the game.

Well, welcome to this week.

There has been an absolute firestorm in the Destiny 2 community about a thread that triple World’s First raider Saltagreppo made about a possible nerf to Divinity, the Garden of Salvation raid exotic that debuffs enemies and creates a giant crit spot to shoot.

The “drama” that ensued is that a large portion of the Destiny community pushed back against Salt’s thoughts, not just the meat of what he was saying, but because of who he was, an “elite” raider who is out of touch with the average player base. Things got so heated that I even saw Bungie’s social media manager chime in about the discourse:

As someone who is probably the least hardcore raider who can still consider themselves a Destiny content creator, I still found myself on Salt’s side, and I wanted to talk through this a bit.

I have previously amassed a reputation for wanting to nerf things more often than not, and my policy on this remains the same. If something is such an outlier that it not only defines the meta for an entire activity almost 100% of the time, but also Bungie is starting to have to design encounters around it, that’s an issue. And the common solution of “well, just buff everything else to be viable” is neither a plausible suggestion nor healthy for the game, as that leads to intensive power creep.

In the case of Divinity, ever since the weapon’s introduction in Garden it has become an almost essential part of most DPS phases for bosses if you want to do them “efficiently” and with that much usage, yes, I believe it’s something that needs to be looked at (and in fact, Bungie said ages ago they were looking at Divinity, so any changes will not come as a result of Salt’s comments here, as some are suggesting).

It’s true that when you nerf one thing, other things will rise to take their place. In this case probably a Hunter tether to debuff the boss. But again, it’s been three years since Divinity arrived, and yes, it’s probably time to shake up DPS phases by making it not feel mandatory in most situations. Or at the very at least, it’s worth a conversation like the one Salt is having here.

I do not understand the pushback against Salt specifically as the delivery mechanism here (trust me, if I brought this up first, I’d be considered “too casual” to say what raid DPS mechanics should be nerfed). If anyone is an absolute expert on DPS metas it’s him, and what he’s saying about returning the skill gap to high end boss encounters is not wrong, nor do I think it’s “elitism” or “gatekeeping.” You want to burn bumps quickly like the pros? What if I told you the reason bosses have amassed as much health as they have at this point (hello Warpriest) is in part because things like Divinity exist?

I keep seeing arguments that don’t even make sense when said together. Some people are saying that nerfing Divinity would be a disservice to those who worked hard to get their own copy of the powerful raid weapon, an elite prize that is worthy of its power. But then others say nerfing Divinity is an affront to more casual players who cannot have perfect precision aim and so they can aim at that giant crit spot and slam a debuffed boss for a one-phase. So which is it? Is Divinity an elite weapon that deserves to be protected for the few that own it? Or a tool for the masses to even the playing field of raid boss DPS?

Similarly, the argument that players annoyed by Divinity’s ease of use should just “not use it” is absurd. You can take that to literally any extreme. Oh you’re killing the boss too fast? Try using no exotics. Try using all blues. Try turning the brightness on your TV all the way down. It’s not on players to handicap themselves to deal with balance issues. And in the case of say, World’s First raiding, you literally cannot do that if you want to stay competitive.

We’ve been here before, so many times. The most prominent boss DPS debate I can remember was the ridiculous situation we got ourselves in with Lunafaction boots and Rally Barricades that mean no-reload boss DPS phases in every encounter, and that strategy had to be nerfed out of existence. Was that “catering to elites” and biased against casuals who couldn’t time reloads well? No, it was just overpowered and making for bad overall encounters.

We can go back even further to Destiny 1 Year 1 Gjallarhorn, which made literally every other DPS option in the game absolutely pointless with zero viable alternatives, so no, it couldn’t stay like that forever. After three years, yes, that’s where we are with Divinity too. Maybe not ace extreme of a case, but similar, all the same, and worthy of discussion, not dismissal and toxic harassment of someone who would propose such a conversation.

Just wait until you hear Salt’s thoughts about Well and Resilience, too!

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.


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