Since Destiny 2’s launch we have had mixed feelings about the Token system. At first, it seemed like a new facet of the loot grind that would help players gain even more rewards and specialize in terms of what types of gear they wanted.
Rather than chase a specific type of loot out of a singular, large pool, players could focus on the Tokens that correspond to a given Destiny 2 vendor. If, for example, a player likes the EDZ gear set, then they can farm EDZ activities and turn in Tokens to Devrim Kay.
It was an elegant solution to a problem that plagued a lot of Destiny 1, specifically that players never had clear routes towards certain pieces of gear. A lot of the items players wanted either had to be obtained via the larger Engram loot pool, or by farming reputation with a faction.
But while the Token system initially appeared to be a boon for Destiny 2, things soon shifted. Eventually it became clear that Bungie planned to use the Token system for EVERY activity, from Crucible to Trials of the Nine to the Raid. Where these events and activities used to be some of the most rewarding in Destiny, those drops were replaced by Tokens. And those Tokens needed to be collected in specific quantities (usually 20) in order to obtain one single piece of loot.
Not everyone has completed the Leviathan Raid, but those that have likely know the feeling of finishing a difficult section, like the Pleasure Gardens, and then finding a handful of Calus Tokens by the chest. Yes, your fireteam suffered through developing a strategy and executing that strategy, only to be rewarded with currency that buys loot. And not enough to even buy a piece of loot, at that.
It’s true that there are guaranteed drops from defeating Calus in the Leviathan Raid, but it is possible to go through the other three sections and only get Tokens. So instead of three pieces of loot, you end up with enough currency to buy one.
But nowhere are the Token system’s flaws more apparent than in Iron Banner. What was once one of Destiny’s best sources of loot has become a slow and unsatisfying grind.
When Iron Banner first released in Destiny 1 it had its problems too, but eventually Bungie learned. The studio introduced bounties with guaranteed gear drops and made it so players got tons of loot. It didn’t matter if a team won or lost either – anyone could get loot just by playing.
For Destiny 2’s Iron Banner, however, the only way to get loot is by turning in 20 Tokens to Lord Saladin. Yes, there are challenges that reward Tokens and a Daily Milestone that unlocks 15 Tokens, but the matches themselves are stingy at best. A win in Iron Banner unlocks 5 Tokens but a loss rewards a measly 2. So, those players who regularly lose in Iron Banner are looking at an average of 10 matches just to get one piece of gear.
Iron Banner is supposed to reward those that are the more skilled, but the event feels like it punishes those that aren’t. In Destiny 1, a loss was easier to swallow because players knew that the next win would count as extra reputation thanks to the Iron Medallion. But now a loss is 1/10th of a piece of gear and it could be a duplicate. In fact, it’s more likely that engrams will end up as duplicates because Destiny 2‘s loot system is not perfect.
As with anything in Destiny 2, the Token system is a work in progress, but there is little doubt that things need to change. It works as a supplement to the loot grind, but it should not be a key component or the only source. We’d bet that when Iron Banner comes around in a month or two, there will be some changes.
Destiny 2 is out now for PS4 and Xbox One. The PC version releases on October 24th.