Destiny 2 Just Had One Of Its Wildest Weekends Ever

It’s beautiful when video games break. It can also be incredibly fun for players, and a nightmare for developers in charge of making sure everything keeps humming along without issue. Over the weekend, Destiny 2 players discovered a wonderful glitch that let them craft god-like weapons and tear through challenging end-game missions with ease. Days later, Bungie is still trying to put the genie back in the bottle.

Destiny 2 is a sci-fi MMO shooter built around collecting rare, magical guns and using them to complete cosmic gauntlets with ever-increasing efficiency and grace. This “grind” can at times feel like running on a treadmill, and Bungie spends a ton of time and resources trying to calibrate the variations in speed and incline to make it challenging and rewarding rather than tedious. Balancing the game’s hundreds of weapons is a big part of that, with minute changes to perk descriptions or numerical values leaving huge marks on the overall shape and trajectory of the experience.

Destiny 2’s bizarre weapon crafting glitch

On September 15, a new crafting glitch started making the rounds on social media and various Destiny 2 subreddits. It effectively allows players to create a new weapon with any set of perks they want by slowing down the game and swapping screens quickly. On PC, players put the framerate down to 30fps to increase the window of time to pull off the exploit, while console owners initiated massive file installs in the background to create a similar amount of lag. The result was the ability to create bows that fire grenades and auto rifles that shoot shotgun shells, each with mixes of some of the most powerful perks from standard legendary ones like Chill Clip to unique Exotic perks from guns like the Dead Messenger grenade launcher and Osteo Striga submachine gun.

These broken builds quickly started proliferating in various modes. In dungeons and raids it allowed players to clear encounters and demolish bosses in record time. In competitive PvP like Trials of Osiris, however, it gave players incredibly unfair advantages, and made it easy to essentially glitch your way into some of Destiny 2’s most coveted accomplishments—like flawlessly going through an entire Trials run (without losing). Many in the community assumed Bungie would roll back the game to remove the glitch and anything players had gained from using it. Instead, the studio gave players its blessing to have fun while it worked on a fix.

“We’re aware of an issue that allows specific weapon perks to be crafted into other legendary weapons and are investigating a fix, which will result in these weapons being reset in the future,” the studio announced on Twitter on September 15. “We currently don’t have any plans to disable Trials of Osiris due to this issue.”

How Bungie is fixing the Destiny 2 weapon-crafting bug

Instead of banning players who gained in-game rewards or achievements using the exploit, Bungie revealed the next day that it would work on deploying two fixes. The first would be a server-side update to disable players from using any crafted weapons. The second would reset the “illegal” weapons back to their defaults.

“This is a complex issue, and as a result of testing, our original timeline for a server-side fix has been extended,” Bungie tweeted on September 17. It disabled the Osteo Striga, Revision Zero, Dead Man’s Tale, Dead Messenger, Vexcalibur, and Exotic class glaives, but over 72 hours later is still working on the second half of the fix to bring everything back online. “Please refrain from asking your local Destiny 2 triage developers how their weekend was,” Joe Blackburn, the game’s director, joked on Monday.

Bungie even leaned into the chaos with a Ted Lasso TikTok meme encouraging everyone to go ahead and “live.” In response, the top comment reads, “The biggest glitch in Destiny’s history and Bungie is letting us have…”

Word of the loot party clearly spread, because Destiny 2’s concurrent player spiked over the weekend on Steam. Where it had been peeking around 80,000 in the last few weeks, it cracked 100,000, a number usually reserved for seasonal updates. While the glitch has likely sent the team into crisis mode and no doubt ruined several developers’ weekends, the unexpected bonanza has also been a bright spot for a game that’s been caught in a bit of a malaise as its pivotal The Final Shape expansion arrives ahead of Destiny 2’s 10-year anniversary. The integrity of the game and its loot chase may have been fundamentally undermined, but at least for the moment anyway, players had a blast.

Update 9/21/2023 4:59 p.m. ET: Nearly a week later, Bungie says the illegal god-tier guns players crafted have finally been replaced by normal ones. While players won’t be banned if they try to do the crafting exploit again, they will be sent back to the main menu with an error code.

Work on the fix ended up slightly delaying the Crota’s End raid challenge week, and Bungie made the unsual move of revealing that the Destiny 2 servers suffered from a DDoS attack earlier in the week. Fortunately, it sounds like the game will be back to normal now, at least for a little while anyway.


Destiny 2 Offers Players $45 Credit Over Mistaken Cheating Bans

A Destiny 2 Guardian rejoins the fight from their space ship cockpit.

Image: Bungie

Destiny 2 has been cracking down on cheating in recent years, and the sci-fi shooter is now riddled with players who claim they were banned by mistake. However, it seems at least some of them may have been telling the truth: Bungie recently contacted a few players to apologize for banning them by mistake, offering them roughly $45 in premium currency to make up for the error.

As reported by The Verge’s Tom Warren, a recent email from the studio stated that a “small number” of players had their accounts “inadvertantly flagged as having tampered with game client functionality.” The email continued, “While the overwhelming majority of these detections are accurate, we discovered that in extremely rare cases this detection may be triggered through no fault of the player.”

Bungie explained that a recent audit of its cheating detection processes revealed the false positives, and it’s taken action to fix the issue. It’s unclear for how long any of the players wrongly banned for cheating were excluded from the game, but the studio is offering them 5,000 Silver to spend on emotes and ornaments in the Eververse microtransaction shop. The premium in-game currency bundles can also be spent on battle passes for upcoming seasons.

Destiny 2 has been in a constant tug-of-war with cheaters, especially in its top-tier competetive modes like Trials of Osiris, a weekly competition where players compete for some of the best loot in the game. Its recent crackdowns, which have been cheered by the community as a way to sure up the integrity of the game’s struggling PvP modes, have resulted in a number of publicized ban waves. Bungie even got a player legally banned from ever playing Destiny 2 again through a court order last month.

Some of those caught up in the cheating ban waves have been less impressed by Bungie’s efforts. The game’s subreddit, forum, and social media include frequent posts by people claiming they were wrongfully banned and criticizing the studio for the lack of transparency around its appeals process. It’s unclear if the recent “small number” of mistakes will alter the way Bungie deals with suspected cheaters. The studio did not immediately respond to a reqeust for comment.

Update 10/11/2023 2:00 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for Bungie provided Kotaku with the following statement:

“We recently identified and resolved an issue that resulted in a small number of accounts being inadvertently flagged during a recent ban wave. This issue was isolated to this specific ban wave, and we have made changes to our review process to ensure this issue is not repeated. Impacted players have been notified, accounts restored, and make-goods provided.”


Destiny 2 Maker Bungie Latest PlayStation Studio To Cut Staff

Destiny's main characters stand above The Traveller.

Image: Bungie

Bungie is the latest PlayStation studio to face layoffs. While the scale of the cuts wasn’t immediately apparent, multiple, now-former staff members began posting on social media on October 30 that they’d been let go by the beloved Destiny 2 maker.

“My heart is breaking for all affected…I am now looking for opportunities,” tweeted Destiny 2 community manager Liana Ruppert. “It’s a strange feeling to wake up in the morning excited for the week ahead, only for your day to begin learning that you’ve been hit with a Reduction in Force and are now on the job hunt,” wrote recruiting lead Amanda R. on LinkedIn.

The scale of the cuts and which teams or departments are most impacted isn’t yet clear. They come the same month that fellow PlayStation studio, Naughty Dog, cut dozens of contractors across art, production, quality assurance, and other disciplines. The downsizing comes in a year that’s seen publishers like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two, and Embracer all lay off hundreds, consolidated teams, or closed entire studios. PlayStation rival Microsoft has imposed severe cuts at current first-party Halo studio 343 Industries near the beginning of 2023.

Sony acquired Bungie for $3.6 billion just last year amid an acquisition frenzy across the video game industry. In addition to the popular sci-fi MMO shooter Destiny 2, Bungie is also working on the extraction shooter Marathon as well as another original IP. Bloomberg also previously reported that the studio was involved in an internal evaluation of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us 2 multiplayer spin-off that stopped the project in its tracks. Kotaku reported earlier this month that the game, while not fully cancelled, had effectively been put on ice.

Sony and Bungie did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Update 10/30/2023: Bungie CEO Pete Parsons called today a “sad day” on Twitter. “What these exceptional individuals have contributed to our games and Bungie culture has been enormous and will continue to be a part of Bungie long into the future,” he wrote.


Bungie Blames 100 Layoffs On Players Leaving Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Guardians prepare for The Final Shape.

Image: Bungie

Bungie employees knew the Destiny 2 studio was struggling, but might not have expected a recent mass layoff of roughly 100 staff. That’s according to a new report by Bloomberg which details a meeting earlier this month in which studio leadership blamed poor player retention following 2023’s disappointing Lightfall expansion for revenue going off a cliff.

The money Bungie was bringing in was reportedly running 45 percent below projections for the year. Despite an initial spike in concurrent players on Steam, Destiny 2 has struggled in the weeks and months following the release of its cyberpunk-infused Lightfall expansion. Bloomberg reports that The Final Shape, which Bungie has been hyping up as the climactic conclusion for Destiny 2‘s current storyline, was getting good but not great feedback internally. As a result, the decision was made to delay it from February 2024 to June in order to try to win back players. (Extraction shooter Marathon was delayed as well, to 2025.)

Read More: Destiny 2 Fans Worry About The Future After Cuts And Delays

In the meantime, Bungie ultimately decided to lay off roughly 100 employees, or about 8 percent of its 1,200 headcount, Bloomberg reports. As first shared by Forbes writer Paul Tassi earlier today, employees are receiving three months of severance and health insurance, while other benefits run out on November 1. And while bonuses will be prorated for the year, those with shares from the 2022 Sony acquisition that haven’t yet vested will lose them. Sony, for its part, also appears to be cutting costs across its studios.

“Today is a sad day at Bungie as we say goodbye to colleagues who have all made a significant impact on our studio,” Bungie CEO Pete Parsons wrote on Twitter on October 30 after the news broke. “What these exceptional individuals have contributed to our games and Bungie culture has been enormous and will continue to be a part of Bungie long into the future.”

The tweet has since been ratioed, with some commenters calling the remarks “tone deaf” and asking the executive whether he had taken a pay cut before deciding who to lay off. Bungie has so far declined to comment on the situation.