Bungie Announces Changes to Difficulty with Destiny 2: Lightfall 1

Bungie Announces Changes to Difficulty with Destiny 2: Lightfall

Destiny 2 has always had questions, concerns, and comments about difficulty. At the start it was the extreme level disadvantages, sometime later Nightfalls sending you to orbit on wipe, to even rather recently with Garden of Salvation being unenjoyable to play. Bungie is trying to revamp the series with Destiny 2: Lightfall, they announced their plans for difficulty.

The details below are from a brand new blog post on difficulty. While it contains all the changes we can expect from Destiny 2: Lightfall‘s modes/modifiers, it isn’t quite the full picture.

Prior to this Bungie confirmed resilience is being reduced from 40 to 30 percent, with the spread being reduced to compensate. Artifice armor will also be more useful, I’ve heard rumors resilience mods will increase in price, and the point is there will be other changes that impact difficulty beyond what Bungie detailed here.


How much? Well, that depends on you. Philosophically, we are attempting to bring the difficulty levels of Legend closer to the popular Legendary Campaign experience, and the Master experience closer to day-one raids. At the same time, any high-difficulty ritual content is designed to last many playthroughs over multiple Seasons, so we’re making some changes week-over-week and Season-over-Season to keep them fresh. Here’s a breakdown of the changes coming to several high-difficulty activities starting with Lightfall.


  • Adept difficulty is being removed.
  • Hero difficulty will now be available at 1750 Power (the Soft Cap).
  • Legend and Master difficulties can be entered once you hit 1800 (the Power Cap).
    • Activity levels for Season 20:
      • Hero: 1770
      • Legend: 1830
      • Master: 1840
  • We are implementing Power level disadvantages to provide a better challenge curve:
    • Hero: -5 Power levels.
    • Legend: -15 Power levels.
    • Master: -20 Power levels.
    • Grandmaster Nightfalls: -25 Power levels.
  • Match Game is being removed.
    • Mismatched shields will now take 50% less damage across the whole game.
  • Burns in high-level activities will be split into Surges and Threats.
    • Surges increase your outgoing damage:
      • Surges increase elemental damage dealt by 25%.
      • Surges for high-difficulty activities change every Season based around featured damage types.
        • Featured Surge for Season of Defiance will be Strand.
        • Weekly rotating Surges will be Solar and Void.
    • Threats increase elemental damage coming from enemies by 25%.
  • High-level activities now also feature Overcharged weapons.
    • An Overcharged weapon deals 25% more damage.
    • Kinetic damage is also increased by 25% if using a Surging subclass.
    • Overcharged weapons can come from several sources. Currently:
      • Weapons set per activity.
      • Weapons featured as Champion counters on the Seasonal Artifact.
    • Overcharges and Surges do not stack.
      • Overcharged weapons do not get extra damage if they are also Surging.
      • You only need one for a given damage source.
  • Combatants are harder to stagger, and their health has been increased across the board.
    • This is to compensate for Surge and Overcharge.
    • The effect is strongest on powerful enemies and weakest on rank-and-file.


  • Equipment is still locked on Legend and Master difficulties, as well as Grandmaster Nightfalls.
  • Matchmaking is still available on Hero, but closed on Legend, Master, and Grandmaster Nightfalls.
  • Modifiers that affect enemy types (Fire Pit, for example) or fireteam coordination (Chaff, Togetherness, etc.).
  • Champion availability remains the same.
  • Grandmaster Nightfall revive limitations, wipe conditions and schedule stay the same.


Ritual activities are at the core of the Destiny 2 experience. That’s why we have plans to improve on these familiar playlists that we all cherish so much. Today, we are focusing on the Vanguard Ops playlist.


  • Lake of Shadows and Arms Dealer are being updated with new enemies, new encounters, new mechanics and new objectives.
    • Expect them to be much tougher than before… and less Sparrow-friendly.
  • We are working on adjusting other strikes, like Exodus Crash and The Inverted Spire.
    • Their presence on the Vanguard Ops playlist has been dramatically reduced.
    • They won’t be part of the Nightfall rotations until brought to parity.


  • PsiOps Battlegrounds and Heist Battlegrounds will become part of the Vanguard Ops playlist.
  • The playlist is now Power Disabled, like Gambit and Crucible.
    • This means you won’t have a damage advantage over enemies, or them upon you, no matter your Power level.
  • Daily rotators and weekly Singes have been removed and replaced with:
    • One random weekly Surge.
    • One random daily Threat.
    • One daily random modifier from our “best of” collection, including Subtle Foes, Lightning Crystals, and more.


  • We are adding scoring to the Vanguard Ops playlist.
    • Just like in Nightfalls, you earn points for killing enemies and other events (precision kills, picking up orbs, reviving teammates), with a multiplier based on the specific strike.
  • The higher your score, the larger your Vanguard Rank multiplier will be.
    • You get a 1x multiplier on Vanguard Rank earn for getting below 30,000 points.
    • The multiplier increases every 5,000 points after the initial 30,000.
    • The largest multiplier available is 7x for getting over 250,000.
  • This applies to all Vanguard modes, including Nightfalls.


The Vanguard screen challenges are being adjusted to reflect these changes. To complete the weekly Vanguard challenge, you will now need to:

  • Complete Vanguard activities with a Surging subclass.
    • It can be either the Seasonal Surges for Nightfalls or the Vanguard Ops weekly Surge.
  • Complete five activities.
    • You get increased progress for harder difficulties.
      • A single Grandmaster Nightfall completes this challenge.


Nightfalls are getting a tad more challenging, to the point where you’ll have to think twice before jumping into one without a proper build. Take one thing into consideration: once you reach the maximum effectiveness level, how high your Power level is won’t make a difference. Or how many extra Artifact levels you have, for that matter.

  • Battlegrounds will slowly become part of the Nightfall playlist, starting with Mars Heist Battleground.
    • We will include others in following Seasons.
  • Two Surges available.
  • Threats dependent on the featured Nightfall.
  • One featured Overcharged weapon.
  • Combatants are harder to stagger and have more health.
  • Nightfall activity levels for Season 20:
    • Hero: 1770
    • Legend: 1830
    • Master: 1840
    • Grandmaster: 1840
  • Power delta disadvantages:
    • Hero: -5 Power levels
    • Legend: -15 Power levels
    • Master: -20 Power levels
    • Grandmaster: -25 Power levels
  • Maximum effectiveness targets:
    • Hero: 1765
    • Legend: 1815
    • Master: 1820
    • Grandmaster: 1815
  • The Nightfall weekly challenge now requires you to attain 200,000 points across multiple Nightfall runs, rather than 100,000 points in a single run.


We know the Master difficulty experience for dungeons and raids had its flaws, so we are making a few changes that those looking for a challenge should certainly find appealing.

  • One Overcharged weapon.
  • Two Surges.
  • No Threat modifier.
  • Combatants don’t have increased health or increased stagger resistance.
    • We want to bring them into line with other Master experiences without the need to buildcraft toward Surges or Overcharges.


We are aware that Lost Sectors and weekly campaign missions are not as rewarding as the community would like. We actually agree. Same thing with Dares of Eternity and The Wellspring. The passion around them is appreciated and your feedback is always clear: they should be a bit more challenging. Here are our plans to improve not only them, but other activities, too.


  • One Overcharged weapon.
  • Two Surges.
  • Threats depend on the featured Lost Sector.
  • Combatants are harder to stagger and have more health.
  • Available in Legend and Master difficulties.
    • Lost Sectors feature +20 combat delta (rather than -15 or -20).
  • We will be monitoring completion rates and times during Season 20 to see if Exotic engram drop rates need to be adjusted.
    • There will be additional paths to acquiring Lightfall Exotic armors that you can discover on 2/28.


  • One Overcharged weapon.
  • Two weekly rotating Surges.
  • Threats depend on the type of activity.
  • Combatants are harder to stagger and have more health.
  • Three difficulty settings available:
    • Hero: -5 Power levels.
    • Legend: -15 Power levels.
    • Master: -20 Power levels.


  • Two rotating Overcharged weapons.
  • Weekly rotating Surges.
  • One Threat.
  • Combatants are harder to stagger and have more health.
  • Available in Legend difficulty on Dares of Eternity and Master difficulty on Wellspring.
    • Extinguish activated on Master.
  • Teams can wipe on a time limit if an objective is failed.


  • Shares the difficulty settings for Season 19’s Heist Battlegrounds.
    • Hero difficulty: -5 Power Level
  • Weekly rotating Surge (same one as Vanguard Ops Playlist).
  • Rotating threats.
  • No Overcharged weapons.
  • Combatants have a reduced health scaling and regular stagger resistance.
Bungie blog post

If this sounds like a bad direction, you might want to consider finishing current master raids, or solo dungeons. There are a couple days left before these are implemented, with this being a great season to complete these tasks as Solo Operative helps a lot.

In addition to that, before anyone worries about things becoming increasingly difficult, I can say historically Bungie has made positive changes. I would wager these changes bring content in line with the Heist Battlegrounds. Weaker players are apparent, but overall it’s more engaging content.

This is just a theory, but it will be exciting to see what happens when Destiny 2: Lightfall releases Feb. 28.

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