Destiny 2’s upcoming transmogrification system will have elements you can earn for free or pay for with premium currency, but limitations on what you can get in-game already have some players upset. As a few have already pointed out on Twitter and Reddit, the limitations on currency you can earn in-game for free means that converting your stock of armor into “ornaments” that can be applied to other armor–Bungie’s new transmogrification system–will take years.
The details were included in the latest This Week at Bungie blog post, which filled in gaps on the transmogrification system that Bungie has been talking about for a while now. The system allows you to convert any piece of armor you have into a “universal ornament,” which you can then equip to other armor to change its appearance. Essentially, if you like the look of one armor piece but not its stats, you can change it into a cosmetic ornament. Other MMOs have similar systems and allow players a greater degree of customization for their appearances, and Destiny 2 fans have been excited to see transmog come to the game.
How Transmog Will Work
What’s creating controversy is how the system will work. Bungie is instituting some new currencies for the transmogrification system: Synthstrands, Synthcords, and Synthweaves. You’ll earn Synthstrands from playing the game and killing enemies, and when you have enough, you can purchase special bounties from Ada-1 in the Tower. Complete those bounties by playing different activities to earn Synthcords. You can then convert Synthcords into Synthweaves at a new kiosk, the Loom, in the Tower. Spending a Synthweave allows you to change an individual piece of armor into an ornament. If you want to convert an entire armor set, you’ll need five total Synthweaves.
The rub, however, is that you can only earn 10 Synthweaves per season.
Destiny 2 players quickly did some back-of-the-napkin math on these numbers and found the results pretty frustrating. Looking in my own Collections tab, I counted roughly 400 pieces of Hunter armor that I could convert into ornaments. (There are more items in the tab, but some are already ornaments, some fall into a gray area of repeats because of the development of later seasons, some are the repeated pieces of Outlawed, Illicit, and Notorious Reckoning armor from the Season of the Drifter, and so on. The actual number looks to be about 456, but we’ll keep it conservative and simpler at 400). With the opportunity to convert only 10 items per season, it’d take 40 seasons just to convert all my Hunter armor for full customization. Seasons typically last 10 weeks, so if we assume that number going forward, that’s 400 weeks–or about seven and a half years, for just one character’s gear.
So even at our conservative estimate, it’s going to be a long time before you can make all of a single character’s armor available for customization through transmogrification. This math also doesn’t take into account armor that’s added over time for new activities. Lately, we’ve seen a new set of armor added with each season, plus other sets for things like raid rewards, the Trials of Osiris, and more. So with each new season, the total of armor pieces will only go up.
The Cost Of Fashion
While you can only earn 10 Synthweaves per season by playing, you can also purchase additional ones through the Eververse Store, Destiny 2’s premium currency shop. You can buy a “Synthweave Template,” which sounds like a single Synthweave use, for 300 Silver. You get a discount for buying in bulk: five Synthweave Templates will run you 1000 Silver.
For reference, 100 Silver is about equivalent to a dollar. like most premium currencies for in-game transactions, though, you get a discount for buying more of it at once, so while buying 500 Silver costs $5, spending $50 will actually get you 6,000 Silver.
To keep it simple again, assuming 400 items for a single character, buying five Synthweave Templates at a time, you’ll need 80 purchases of 1,000 Silver each. If you buy 80,000 Silver in the most cost-effective, $50 bundles, you’ll still need about $667 to convert all of one character’s gear. The numbers are higher if you buy Silver at cheaper rates or buy one-off Synthweaves. If you had two characters and wanted to convert all their gear, it’d cost you $1334; for three characters, it’s $2001.
It should be noted that these are extreme scenarios. It’s unlikely anybody will want to convert every piece of armor they own on one character, let alone three, for the transmogrification system. But the gates on the system do feel pretty arbitrary, especially in allowing players to convert armor with earned in-game currency. Again, for context, 10 Synthweaves per season means you can only convert two full sets of armor per season, and it’s worth remembering that each season lately has brought one full set of armor with it. If you burn your Synthweaves on the new stuff each season, you’re down to only five, or one full set of armor, to apply to your backlog.
The blog post included some additional caveats and more information about Destiny 2’s new transmog and customization systems. First, the new season that starts on May 11 will give players the opportunity to earn 20 Synthweaves, instead of the usual 10, as part of the introduction of the new system.
A New Appearance Interface
Bungie also showed off its new character customization interface, which will allow players to add colored shaders to any piece of armor, or to all pieces they’re wearing at the same time. As detailed before, shaders will no longer be consumable, nor will they take up inventory space, so you’ll have access to all of the ones you own at once from the customization screen.
The change in the shader system is also coming with a bump in the cost to acquire new ones. Shaders currently available in the Eververse Store cost 40 Bright Dust, which is a premium currency you can earn by playing in Destiny 2. Starting next season, that price is going up to 300 Bright Dust. So expect to think carefully about shaders before you snag them–it’s a price hike players are already complaining about.
While transmog has been a long time coming for Destiny 2, the details of the system seem to have disappointed a lot of players who expected to gain a lot more options for customizing the looks of their Guardians. This isn’t the first time Bungie has made a decision for Destiny 2 that it later reversed because it was unpopular, though. Just recently, Bungie rolled back its “gunsetting” change, which rendered weapons obsolete after a certain amount of time had passed, because of player complaints. So while the current approach to the transmog system will be in place when the new Destiny 2 season starts on May 11, like many things in Destiny 2, it seems likely to change based on player feedback and Bungie’s experience with the game. Only time will tell.