The Verdict Is In, Destiny 2’s New Elemental Armor Affinity Must Die
Paul TassiSenior Contributor
I gave it a chance, but after almost two weeks of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, I am willing to declare that one aspect of the new armor 2.0 system is just plain bad, and this is hardly an uncommon thought among the community, from what I can tell.
I’m talking about elemental armor affinity, a new decision which locks certain perks to certain types of elemental gear. As in, only “solar” armor can have Fusion Rifle and SMG perks, only “arc” armor can have Machine Gun and Shotgun perks, and so on. I wrote a whole list you effectively need to memorize here, if you want the full breakdown.
It’s just a bad system, a third layer of RNG the new armor grind doesn’t need.
I understand perhaps why it was made in the first place. You are no longer grinding for random armor rolls with all the empty slots, so affinity is a way to keep people grinding for the “correct” piece of armor for their build.
And yet, this doesn’t work in practice. There are already too many layers of RNG at play.
First, you have to get any and all of these mods in the first place, which unless you turned in 3000 vendor tokens on day one, could take months.
Second, you are grinding for a high total stat value on a piece of armor, as the range is a pretty wide span from about 45 to 65, and you’re really shooting for pieces that are 60+, which are few and far between.
Then, you’re searching for the correct stat distribution. You may find a “good” piece of armor, but if your Titan chest is +22 mobility and discipline and +2 everything else, it still may suck.
There just doesn’t need to be another layer, which is the affinity of that armor piece, which removes essentially two thirds of the gun mods you can use on each piece of armor. Additionally, sometimes this doesn’t even make sense, like a sidearm-based exotic that doesn’t even work with sidearm perks because of its inherent affinity.
Before the launch of Shadowkeep, Luke Smith tried to reassure us that this would be okay because generic mods would do the same thing as individual weapon mods, just at a higher cost. I was willing to give that a shot, but in practice, nobody wants to take up five full slots in their helmet for a “scatter projectile tracking” mod, and some of the mods like ammo finders don’t even have generic versions any more. It doesn’t work.
All this has done is make me not really bother with all that many weapon-specific perks. Taking armor to about level 7, which is as far as you get before you start needing enhancement prisms, I’m usually filling those slots with generic stat mods (recovery/intellect/whatever), higher cost artifact mods for specific builds, or Dreambane mods, now that I’ve found enhanced versions of them. Then if I do have any gun mods, I’m equipping the ultra-low cost, element-neutral enhanced SMG/auto/hand cannon/bow loaders from the artifact. And that’s about it, I’m almost always ignoring the other gun-based mods because of affinity (or because I haven’t found them yet).
I knew there were always going to be some growing pains when it came to a redesign of the armor system that was this drastic with 2.0, but I think we can safely say that elemental affinity is a failure, and should be removed in future iterations. Everything else seems good (Artifact mods, constant mod swapping) and other stuff can be debated (finisher mods costing super), but elemental affinity? Hard pass. Get that out of here next season.