Destiny 2 is in a much better place now than at launch, and the new Forsaken expansion, which came out this week, is going down well with fans (I'm a fan, too!). But there's one issue that's plagued the game since launch, and despite a recent change meant to tackle it, it remains a thorn in developer Bungie's side.
Destiny 2's shaders, which change the colours of your weapons and gear, have always been controversial. When the game launched a year ago, players criticised Bungie's decision to turn shaders into a one-use consumable that could only be applied to a single item, which most felt was a push towards the game's microtransactions.
Beyond that, shaders were pretty annoying to deal with. When your shader inventory space maxes out, shaders you find out in the world are sent to the postmaster for collection later - but the postmaster also has limited space for you. Otherwise, if you want to save a shader for later, you have to put it in your vault, which also has limited space.
Pre-Forsaken, most Destiny 2 players ended up with their inventory packed to bursting with shaders. With no quick way to delete unwanted shaders - and there are a lot of unwanted shaders - players spent ages deleting the things one by one (it takes a second to delete a shader). It came as no surprise to learn, in August 2018, that Destiny 2 players had collectively spent 25 years deleting shaders.
With the launch of Forsaken, Bungie added the ability to mass recycle shaders via Master Rahool, Destiny's cryptarch. That was welcome. But the underlying issue, which is that shader management is a convoluted mess, has not been solved, and players aren't happy.
I myself have run up against this issue while playing through the otherwise excellent Forsaken expansion. Destiny 2 floods you with shaders, most of which you'll never use, so I'm still spending a ridiculous amount of time deleting the things. Deleting shaders isn't the best use of my time. It is not fun.
On r/destiny, amid threads of praise for Forsaken and secret discoveries are threads of complaints about Destiny 2's shader system. "Shaders are supposed to be a fun aspect of the game; not a time consuming mess to manage," said u/G-star-84.
"We don't need a mass delete button. We NEED non-consumable shaders that have their own slot, which can be applied to individual pieces of gear."
"Receiving shaders is legitimately annoying now," said u/Ogthor.
"The shader management system is so convoluted and inventory space so limited that I'm legit annoyed whenever I get one. I know this has all been said before but there HAS to be a better way to do this."
"Players still want a 'delete whole stack' option for shaders, Bungie," said u/Requiem191. "If the issue is that you can't mass delete a stack because the game can't process all of the stuff it's supposed to give you in return for that stack, then let me delete that stack with the knowledge that I won't be getting anything in return."
There's a shared conclusion, well, plea: make shaders work as they did in Destiny 1: infinite use and not one-time consumables. Destiny 2 now has a useful Collections system, which houses items you've found as well as those you haven't. Why not place shaders in there as they're obtained?
This comment from u/Requiem191 sums up the sentiment: "It would be best if Bungie just made shaders into unlockable items like emblems, emotes, sparrows, ships, etc. Make them infinite use, put user experience first."
Bungie, of course, will have a lot on its plate a week into the launch of Forsaken (the raid comes out next week). And it's already done a lot of great work to make Destiny 2 a more exciting, enjoyable experience. But shaders remain Destiny 2's problem child - and a year after launch and with a major expansion out in the wild, Bungie still hasn't dealt with it.