Bungie has shared further details on the big changes coming to Destiny 2‘s Nightfall Strikes. One of the biggest changes is related to the countdown timer. Game director Christopher Barrett started off by saying Nightfall Strikes should allow players to determine their own level of challenge. If players want to zip through it as fast as possible, they should be able to; and players who want to play “slow and steady” should have that option available to them as well.
Senior design lead Tyson Green said in Bungie’s extended blog post that a lot of potential Strike players have passed over Nightfall Strikes because “it is both difficult and indexes performance solely on speed.” Under the new setup, there will still be a timer, but your score will “bleed” over time. “We are watching this closely–score decay can feel bad, but all else being equal, a team that clears faster than another team should score higher. Score decay achieves this in the most transparent fashion,” Bungie said.
When the clock hits 15 minutes, the new points you earn have their value decreased by 50 percent. At 18 minutes, you will no longer earn any points, and the experience turns into “a race to finish the run and post your score,” Bungie said.
“We want time to matter, but we also want to avoid some of the problems we saw with Prison of Elders, where a ‘high score’ might involve punishing respawning combatants (and yourself) for a few hours until the novelty wore off,” Bungie said. “A good Nightfall clear shouldn’t feel like a slog.”
Also new for Nightfall Strikes will be team-based scoring, with all participants contributing. “A team should be able to focus on what works best, not feeling put out by who stole whose kill,” Bungie said. “Scoring is primarily driven by kills and secondarily by orb generation. We want you to find what works best for clearing strikes instead of telling you which weapons to use, but we want coordinated use of Supers and other team support mechanics to contribute to high scores. We’re interested in restoring special point awards based on medals, but we want your input to understand the basic meta first.”
Regarding the new Nightfall Strike scoring changes, Bungie said it had a number of design goals in mind for what it wanted to achieve. These include:
- Reward you for engaging and defeating enemies instead of running past them.
- Avoid over-emphasizing specific mechanics like precision kills that highlight certain areas of the sandbox (and/or punish other areas), so that players are the ones who determine the most effective Meta.
- Reward you for taking on greater challenges up to the limits of your own capabilities.
- Reward you for doing the above quickly and over the course of a short run versus long slogs over several hours.
Additionally, there will be new Nightfall modifiers for Prestige mode.
“The current Nightfall climate encourages play that pushes players through the encounters as fast as possible, focusing on extending bonus timers, and skipping encounters unless they are required, which was more stressful than fun,” designer John Favaro said. “With Nightfall strike scoring, we were looking to give players a little more control, allowing them to modify their experiences to provide them the challenge they want and incentivize more methodical progression through the activities. People like big numbers, and the best way to get big numbers is to kill everything. We’ve been listening to the community’s feedback, and this is our first step in making a few improvements. We’re hoping you’ll put some time in and let us know how you feel.”
The new modifiers will add a multiplier to your score in Prestige mode, but you can still lose points through things like the previously discussed score bleed. Additionally, the timer reduces your multiplier as time goes along, to encourage faster play. These are the modifiers that Bungie plans to introduce with the new Nightfall Strike scoring:
- Void/Solar/Arc Singe – currently provides a +25% increase to player and enemy damage of the corresponding element.
- Extinguish – fireteam wipes return the team to orbit
- Power modifier – voluntarily decrease your power to gain a score bonus.
“If you still enjoy the thrill of racing through quickly, you will be rewarded with a higher score,” Bungie said. “If you prefer to go in solo and take your time, you might lose some points, but will still finish the activity and collect a reward. You can complete the normal Nightfall and get a score, or you can take on the Prestige Nightfall and ratchet up your score with some modifiers.”
Go to Bungie’s website to see a full rundown of what’s changing in Destiny 2 and more. The Nightfall Strike changes are scheduled to go live in an update coming on February 27.
In other Destiny 2 news, the game’s Valentine’s Day event, Crimson Days, is scheduled to start on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on February 13. Among other things, it introduces a 2v2 Crucible gametype where staying close to your teammate causes your abilities to recharge faster. You can learn more about Crimson Days here in GameSpot’s previous coverage.