For the First Time, I’m Out of Legendary Shards in Destiny 2

Inflation comes for everyone, even Guardians.

Inflation is hitting everyone pretty hard lately, and it turns out it’s extending into video game economies, too. Once a currency you couldn’t run out of if you tried, Legendary Shards have become scarcer and scarcer in Destiny 2 as of late. The culprit? Increased prices to focus gear. In Season of the Haunted, focusing an Opulent or Haunted Weapon at the Crown of Sorrow costs 50 Legendary Shards, a rate I didn’t fully process until I checked last night after realizing I was down to nearly 100 shards.

Why the increased rate? Most likely, Bungie realizes that longtime players have amassed piles and piles of Legendary Shards and wants to drain those reserves to make make the shard economy a little more important. Maybe other players pay more attention to their currencies than I do, but this took me by surprise, and I’m starting to realize I’m going to have to be a little more careful with my spending.

Destiny 2 has kind of an uneven history when it comes to currencies, with Bungie having introduced, removed, and adjusted countless ones over the years. When Armor 2.0 arrived, we got Enhancement Prisms and Ascendant Shards, which for a time were the new bottleneck currency for endgame players. But once sunsetting was abandoned and most players settled into a Masterworked armor set they liked, those currencies lost a bit of their importance.

Crafting brought a whole new set of currencies to Destiny 2, most of which Bungie removed soon after their introduction. Aside from Raid weapons, crafting is pretty straightforward now — you get the currency to do it by completing Deepsight Resonances on dropped weapons, and you can buy a limited number of Ascendant Alloys to craft Enhanced Perks each week.

But the spike in Legendary Shard focusing costs is maybe the biggest change to Destiny 2 currencies that Bungie has made in recent memory. While the move seems designed to reduce the stockpiles of veteran players, it will hurt newer players the most, adding an additional roadblock to the already-intensive crafting requirements for Season of the Haunted gear. I’m not sure how many weapons new players are meant to be able to craft in a season at this point. I mean, you need five red border drops of a weapon, and focusing each of those costs you 50 Legendary Shards now. I guess you’re able to craft the weapons all year, but still.

The intention behind squeezing players for shards might be to get them to play more, but it just means that they’ll be more likely to look for exploits to generate the currency. We’ve seen this time and time again — the recent armor dismantling glitch, the old Black Armory Forge idling bug, and so on. If you put a grinding paywall in front of Destiny 2 players, they’ll find a way around it. Bungie inevitably patches these exploits, but there are always more to discover.

Maybe we’ll see a reduced rate for focusing gear next season, if Bungie is satisfied that players’ reserves have been sufficiently depleted. But to be honest, I’d rather see it reverted now.