We’d have a full year to accrue “unlimited” power. There could still be diminishing returns that would make going above the seasonal +20 threshold increasingly slow, but those caps could be raised each season in lieu of a big gear grind and bonus power reset.
New content would still scale up seasonally, but players who go hard in the expansion season would have a head start in the next and wouldn’t have to grind as much (or at all) — time would not be taken away from them. Likewise, new players could have a catch up mechanic until they reach the expected starting power for a season. But there would be no more (big) seasonal power cap increases. It’s all bonus power until the next expansion.
Power level is mostly an arbitrary gatekeeper of content anyway, right? Increasing the cap seasonally does nothing for gameplay; if old content gets easier, it’s maxed out after one season due to the game’s scaling rules. Raising bonus power without raising gear cap would actually have a really interesting effect on difficulty scaling though.
Gear power can individually impact the efficacy of a piece of gear. For example, if your overall power level is above the recommended for an activity, but one of your guns is under that power level, that gun will still do less damage. Your overall power level, which comes from both gear power and bonus power, is necessary, but not sufficient, to maximize your activity effectiveness — you still need individual gear power. But this is largely an afterthought right now since gear power has been raised every season since bonus power was introduced.
If gear cap isn’t raised, but bonus power keeps going up, content released through the expansion-year will keep getting further away from our gear cap, making later year content progressively more difficult even as our bonus power increases to match it.
I think this would be super cool for a number of reasons, not least being that it would make power feel more tangible and less arbitrary. Difficulty is already scaled up each season to match the new power cap, but once we get there nothing has changed. Now it would change. It’d still be difficult. And increasingly so. Our enemies are growing stronger all year, and we can’t keep up!
Then, when the next expansion hits and gear power cap is raised significantly, the prior year content finally becomes easier. We actually feel like we got more powerful! But since bonus power was reset too, the difficulty scaling still remains; the prior season’s content is still harder than that from 3 prior (provided the new gear cap isn’t +200, which it wouldn’t need to be anymore with year-long bonus power).
Anyway, this is just something I was thinking about today with the grind rearing it’s ugly head again in a week. The sentiment against large seasonal power cap increases feels like it has been growing, but I haven’t seen much discussion around what a better solution could be, other than “stop it”. Year-long bonus seemed like an option, and one which had some interesting side effects I didn’t even anticipate.
But let me know if anyone has better ideas!
—— Addendum: Sunsetting
It’d be nice if it went away, but it’s probably not, so it’s at least worth mentioning.
Since gear is currently locked to a seasonal max power cap, gear power would still need to increase at least a little seasonally to allow for sunsetting to continue to work as it does currently. So be it. Gear power cap can increase 10 each season in between expansions.
This is probably good anyway. A little bit of power grind is fine I think. And a slightly higher number keeps the gap between gear power and content difficulty from completely running away by the end of an expansion-year.
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© Post "You know, if Bonus Power stretched a full year, it might accomplish all of Bungie’s goals without murdering us with seasonal grind." for game Destiny 2.
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