This week, I did something that I probably consider to be my crowning Destiny achievement, never to be topped. I finally, finally won a Bungie Guardian fashion contest.
For the last year or so, Bungie has been periodically having fashion contests where they ask for submissions of your best-dressed Guardians. This last week, they’ve done Warlock, Hunter and Titan submissions separately, with three winners for each. And my bird-themed Warlock managed to snag one of those spots after I’ve entered quite literally every other fashion contest to date. I could cry.
Amidst the congratulations, I did hear one complaint about my win repeated pretty frequently, and I’ve heard it about others in the past. I was wearing almost all Eververse ornaments to achieve my look.
This is true. Of the six visible piece of my ensemble, only two were non-Eververse, my Claws of Ahamkara gauntlets and the Guardian Games bond. But my helmet was Eververse Dawning from a few years ago. My coat and boots were Eververse from Season of the Worthy. And my Vigilance Wing was a paid ornament.
In truth, in almost all the fashion contests I’ve entered, most of my gear ends up being coated in Eververse-earned ornaments, or at best, battle pass ones. And while sometimes I may sub in piece of non-Eververse gear from raids or activities like EP or Forges, it’s painfully old and useless stuff I would never actually wear.
A fundamental problem with Destiny remains. Players really cannot be both as powerful as they want and look exactly how they want on any given occasion. There are too many limits in place for this to happen.
“Dresstiny” is an important part of the game for many people. These fashion contests will spawn thousands of entries with their first hour, and for many players, looking good is the endgame in many ways, but Destiny can make it very difficult, and far too reliant on the Eververse.
I use Eververse items for fashion because quite simply, it’s the easiest way to switch looks around, because I can just reskin my powerful gear with different styles in seconds. But the way armor drops work in Destiny, there are dozens and dozens of sets that I literally have no reason to use because their stats aren’t high enough and there’s no dedicated way to farm them. Past that, there’s simply no way to even store the sheer number of armor sets in the game with our current vault space limitations. Try to keep even one copy of every set for all three classes for fashion purposes, to say nothing of power, and you’ll run out of space almost immediately, between that and your gun collection.
There remains pretty much no way to get proper use out of some of my favorite sets in the game. I cannot realistically form a Forge set or an EP set or a Braytech set that competes with the 65+ stat set I got from the battle pass each season. I can wear those items, but it will cost me in some way, either through stats or the lack of a proper seasonal mod slot, which has been more and more vital as time goes on.
The solution here is obvious, but one that Bungie seems very afraid to implement: transmogrification.
That weird word has a simple purpose, the ability to reskin an item to look like another item. A game like Diablo 3 has full transmog. As in, any piece of armor you find has the ability to look like any other piece of armor.
Bungie is doing a half-hearted version of this system, and one that serves Eververse and the season pass model only. Eververse and battle pass ornaments are the only universal ornaments in the game that can override the looks of any legendary piece of armor.
What I am proposing is that Bungie open up a way to allow every legendary armor set in the game too become a part of the transmog ornament system.
This could work a few different ways. The easy way is just that when you get any armor drop, that transmog skin goes in the pool. If you wanted to make it more of an “activity,” maybe each armor piece has a mini-quest attached to it. Ie. 200 precision kills while wearing X helmet unlocks it as an ornament. Mindless content maybe, but content all the same, and you can bet that I would be doing this for as many pieces of armor as I could to unlock the full spectrum of transmog.
I will pre-push back on two counter-arguments to this idea.
No, I do not think this would “kill” Eververse, and could work perfectly well within the current system. Yes, it would make Eververse ornaments somewhat less valuable given that all armor can now function as an ornament, and yet it’s not fair that it works the way it does now.
Rather, Eververse ornaments could still be a coveted purchase if the armor set is good enough. Even with a transmog system in place, I absolutely would have bought the Warlock fur coat I won the contest with because it’s sick.
Past that, Eververse can still sell all the exotic armor ornaments it wants, and both legendary and exotic gun ornaments the way it does now. I do think some of those could slide into an “earned” system (the Trials ones from this season, for instance), but I have no problem with most of that stuff continuing to be silver purchases.
The other argument is that this would kill the armor chase.
Well guess what? The armor chase already sucks. Yes, once you got an ornament for a specific piece of armor you technically wouldn’t need to find it again. But the current system means that chasing dozens of sets of old armor is entirely useless. I don’t even bother going for so many sets because I know they will not be relevant to my current builds either with no seasonal slots or bad stats. The “Prime engrams have gear with better stats” problem was a tiny step in the right direction but again, you really cannot reasonably farm an amazing full, single set of armor from that method. For things like raid armor, you can’t even farm it effectively with only one chance to clear it per character per week. But change it into an ornament? And those single drops become instantly, immensely valuable.
The armor chase would remain to some extent, because Bungie’s “seasonal mod slots expire” system would be in place, so you would need to pursue different elemental sets with high stats in different seasons. Transmog wouldn’t kill that, it would just mean you’re not locked into that one look from whatever armor is dropping with the correct slot that season.
I have been thinking about this for a long, long time, and I do not think Bungie puts enough weight into giving players the freedom of making their best builds look exactly how they want them to. Eververse has mucked up a potential transmog system so far, but I think Bungie needs to realize that both can function together at the same time.