It won’t happen until the launch of Destiny 2‘s next expansion at the absolute earliest, but at some point in the future, Guardians will finally be able to transform any piece of armor into a Universal Ornament cosmetic item. The new system, called Transmogrification, was announced as part of a larger slate of reward overhauls and enhancements that Bungie has in store for Destiny 2‘s fourth year of service, which is expected to start at the end of summer.
“We plan to allow players to do this [Transmogrification] with in-game effort OR Silver,” Bungie said, referencing Destiny 2‘s real-money currency. “This feature is in early development and is expected sometime during Year 4.”
Universal Ornaments, like the vanity armor systems in Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft, allow players to wear one item for its appearance, while simultaneously wearing another item for its stats. In practical terms, this lets a Guardian hide a ridiculous-looking spaceship helmet with a really good stat distribution underneath an equally ridiculous-looking but different spaceship helmet that might otherwise not be worth wearing from a gameplay perspective. The same goes for gauntlets, chest pieces, and the rest of Destiny 2‘s armor slots — weapons also have Universal Ornaments, but instead of completely replacing the look of a gun, Weapon Ornaments are more like reinterpretations of the same gun. (This is mostly a PvP conceit, as players need to be able to tell what guns the other team is using by sight alone.)
When Universal Ornaments first launched for Destiny 2 last year, many players (myself included) were disappointed by the lack of options available. What was pitched as a way for Guardians to customize their looks and engage in the time-honored tradition of MMO Fashion™ seemed more like a way for Bungie to sell cosmetic items through the Eververse store. While the selection of Universal Ornaments has grown since then, many players have access to fewer than ten customization options per slot.
Elsewhere in its plan for overhauling Destiny 2‘s spiderweb of rewards, Bungie also outlined plans for adding new armor sets obtainable through gameplay each season, rather than through the game’s Season Pass. “Each Season we will deliver an aspirational pursuit for armor. We haven’t done this consistently in Destiny 2,” Bungie said. “This armor will come from activities, not the Season Pass nor Eververse. As an example: We removed the Eververse Armor from Season 11 and itemized it into an aspirational activity, because this is the right thing to do for the game.” Season 11, for those who may have lost track, is the final season of Destiny 2‘s third year, and is expected to begin sometime in early June.
Bungie also wants to improve the rewards for what it calls “Aspirational Activities,” which the rest of the world calls “end-game content,” also known as raids, dungeons, and trials. “Going forward, Aspirational Activities will reward players with power, items, and vanity,” Bungie said. “When we build an Aspirational Activity it will have at least one accessory to pursue. The team is working on Adept Weapons for Trials of Osiris. Trials will get new Armor (aka not reprisal), accessories, and weapons in Season 13. Trials will get new Armor every year. Destiny’s next Raid will have brand new Armor, Weapons, and Exotic Accessories to pursue (no spoilers).”
While Destiny 2‘s next expansion has yet to be announced, scuttlebutt around the Tower posits (or hopes, at least) that it will finally place the big new/old threat introduced in Shadowkeep at the forefront of the game’s ongoing narrative. I, personally, am hoping for an evolution in the way that Destiny 2 tells its story — one that continues to address the main plot over the course of a year, rather than giving us an infusion of Story A at launch, followed by a year of filler arcs.