Until this season of Destiny 2, I never saw a reason to go for Pinnacle gear drops. These items, rewarded only from specific high-level sources, allow players to progress beyond the soft Power cap. But in the past, there was little reason to do this. Besides Iron Banner, no PVP activities took Power into account, and no PVE modes demanded levels that high. Anyway, the Pinnacle cap was only 10 points above the soft cap, so for me it was never worth the effort.
That’s all changed in the Season of the Worthy. The Master level of the Nightfall Ordeal — previously the highest difficulty — has a recommended Power level of 1030. Playing it below level is miserable, requiring Guardians to hang back and snipe as much as possible, all while dealing with numerous Champions ready to ruin your day. It’s actually easier to get a score of 100,000 — one source of Pinnacle gear — on Legend difficulty.
And now, we’re a few weeks out from Grandmaster, a new tier of Nightfall that promises to throw every negative modifier, debuff, and Champion in the game at players. The recommended Power level is 1050, but Bungie has chosen to enable a “contest mode” in which the Power cap is 1025, so players are always going to be at a 25 point disadvantage. Oh, and the floor is 1025, too. So if you want a shot at playing this season’s high-level PVE content, you’d better get grinding.
One way to do this is to simply knock out as many bounties as possible, slowly increasing your seasonal artifact Power bonus. But getting it to even a 20 point bonus takes a long time, so you’re probably going to want to do Pinnacles to get your gear score up to 1005. And that’s where frustration sets in.
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Chasing Pinnacle drops is just awful, since what kind of gear you get from any given source is more or less random. Need a more powerful helmet? Here’s another Energy weapon. Need an Energy weapon? Well, you get the idea.
If Bungie is intent on gating access to Grandmaster Nightfalls behind the Pinnacle grind, the least they could do would be to make it a little less tiresome. One Pinnacle activity — the Pit of Heresy — is at least guaranteed to drop an armor piece. Why not go a step further and just let us pick our reward? Would it be so unbalanced to let players build up their Guardian week by week like this? Converting random Pinnacle drops into a choice of armor piece or weapon — just the slot, not the specific gear piece or roll — would make the process feel so much more satisfying.
I’m already expecting the worst from Grandmaster Nightfalls, based on what we’ve heard about them so far. I hope my suspicions are misplaced. But in the meantime, getting ready for them is a huge pain, and one that could easily be alleviated if Bungie wanted. Grandmaster is going to be challenging enough — why should the road there be such a slog?