Destiny 2's buildcrafting is getting a massive buff in Lightfall

Destiny 2
(Image credit: Bungie)

What you need to know

  • Destiny 2 developer Bungie has extensively detailed the changes and overhauls coming to the game’s buildcrafting systems with the Lightfall expansion.
  • Players can expect a new Loadouts feature, a dedicated Mod Customization screen and extensive tweaks and overhauls for mods, subclass-dependent Elemental Well-style pickups, the removal of Match Game and armor affinities, intrinsic anti-Champion options with subclass abilities, and more.
  • The Lightfall DLC is expected to launch on February 28, 2023.

The highly anticipated Destiny 2 expansion, Lightfall, is slated to drop next month on February 28. We've known for awhile now that one of the biggest elements of the DLC would be an overhaul to the game's buildcrafting systems, as they've become fairly complicated and a bit confusing over the years. Ahead of Lightfall's arrival, developer Bungie has given fans an in-depth look at the changes coming — and they're much, much bigger than anyone thought they'd be.

Overall, the focus of the upcoming Destiny 2: Lightfall buildcrafting changes is consolidation, with Bungie aiming to make creating, swapping, and using builds in-game a smoother and streamlined experience. To achieve this, the studio is implementing some brand new features, while also removing or heavily reworking systems that get in the way of this goal.

There's a lot to get through, and it can be pretty overwhelming to try and absorb all the new information Bungie provided in its blog post. Therefore, we've broken everything down in individual sections below.

The Loadouts system

(Image credit: Bungie)

One of the new systems coming to Destiny 2 is called Loadouts, an in-game management tool that allows players to quickly switch between their builds. This is fantastic news, as up until Lightfall, players have been reliant on third-party apps like Destiny Item Manager for this functionality. Based on images shown in Bungie's blog post, it looks like this feature will be capable of swapping your weapons, armor pieces, mods, subclasses, and subclass Aspects and Fragments. 

When saving their builds, players can attach various colors, icons, and names to them so that they're easily recognizable. For instance, you can make differently-colored builds with the "Raid" label, signaling that they're for Destiny 2's six-man PvE activities.

Players can get up to 10 slots to fill with the best Destiny 2 builds, progressively unlocking them as they rise through Lightfall's new Guardian Rank system. Bungie says it will have more to share about this system at a later date, but for now, we know that most existing players will start out at Guardian Rank 6 and will have six available Loadout slots to use.

Mods and the Mod Customization screen

(Image credit: Bungie)

Bungie is also completely revamping the way players buildcraft with mods. Currently, you can only look at the mods you've equipped on individual armor pieces at any given time, making it difficult to see the big picture and create synergy between your mods. When Lightfall arrives, though, the new Mod Customization screen will allow you to look over all of your equipped mods and how they're affecting your stats in one place. You can then select individual pieces of gear from this screen if you want to change your mods.

Notably, the Mod Customization screen also has a Weapons tab. Like the main Armor one, this page allows you to view each of your equipped weapons, including their stats, perks, and the weapon mods you've chosen for them. You can also switch between perks and mods here without having to jump to the Character screen.

Previously, players had to unlock their mods by buying them from Banshee-44 or Ada-1. Under the new system, they can be acquired by reaching Guardian Rank 6 — the rank that the vast majority of existing players will start at come Lightfall's release. 

Mod energy costs are being reduced

(Image credit: Bungie)

In an effort to give players more freedom when it comes to equipping multiple different mods, Bungie plans to reduce the energy cost of mods. This should reduce instances of situations where players are forced to choose between one mod or the other, and as the studio says, will "give you more opportunities to mix and match."

Mod energy types and armor affinities removed

Destiny 2

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Another huge beneficial change is the removal of both mod energy types and elemental armor affinity. These were restrictive in that they limited which mods you could equip on a piece of armor, as mods with an energy type had to match an armor piece's elemental affinity. With these gone, players can now use any mod on any armor, completely eliminating the need for multiple versions of the same armor piece.

(Image credit: Bungie)

Bungie is also simplifying weapon-related armor mods, such as those that improve the handling of a specific weapon archetype or reload them while they're stowed. Under the new Lightfall-era system, these mods will provide their benefit based on damage type rather than weapon archetype. For example, you can expect to see mods like "Void Weapon Dexterity" or "Void Weapon Loader," which will make it possible to use mods that affect multiple weapons in your build instead of just one. For players that have tons of the best Destiny 2 weapons, this will be extremely beneficial.

Some mods, including Warmind Cells, are being deleted

(Image credit: Bungie)

With all of these changes to mods (as well as the introduction of new mods we'll go over in further sections), Bungie has decided to adjust the effectiveness of or downright retire some of Destiny 2's existing armor mods. The developer says that "some ability energy gains, stat bonuses, and weapon damage bonuses from mods have been reduced," though it has also added "some new mods to expand your build possibilities."

One particular type of mod that won't be available anymore are Warmind Cell mods, which tweak the effects of the explosive objects generated with Seventh Seraph and IKELOS weapons. Starting with Lightfall and Season 20, players will not be able to equip these mods on their armor.

Bungie has said that "Not all previous builds are going to be able to be recreated one-to-one," but that "the system has been changed enough to open up a lot of new possibilities with new mods and ability combinations."

The new Armor Charge mods

(Image credit: Bungie)

Additionally, Lightfall is combining Destiny 2's Charged With Light mods and most of its Elemental Well mods under a single new mod type: Armor Charge mods. These mods will allow players to generate Orbs of Power in the same way that they used to create Charge With Light stacks of Elemental Wells, gain stacks of Armor Charge by picking up those Orbs of Power, and then use those stacks to access various buffs and helpful effects. Bungie's explanation of the mechanic is thorough and clear, so we've shared it below:

  • Socketing an armor mod that uses the Armor Charge system gives you access to the system.
  • The functionality of Taking Charge (picking up an Orb of Power to gain 1 stack of the charge) is now granted to you whenever you have any Armor Charge mod equipped.
    • Many mods that previously created elemental wells or gave you stacks of Charged with Light have been converted to instead create an Orb of Power.
  • You can now hold between 0 and 3 stacks of Armor Charge by default, which appears as a buff in the Status Effects area.
    • By socketing chest armor mods (Charged Up), you can increase your maximum number of Armor Charge stacks as high as 6.
  • Some mods provide a passive, ongoing benefit while you have any stacks of Armor Charge. When you have one of these armor mods equipped, every 10 seconds a stack of Armor Charge falls off if not consumed by something else.
    • Players can extend this decay time by socketing the Extended Charge mod in the Class Item socket.
    • For example, Font of Wisdom in the head socket will provide a bonus gain to intellect while you have any Amor Charge active.
  • Some mods consume 1, 2, 3, or all stacks of Armor Charge on a particular trigger, granting you an instantaneous benefit when they do.
  • A few other mods (Stacks on Stacks in the Leg socket, Powerful Friends and Radiant Light in the head socket, Time Dilation in the Class Item socket, etc.) can modify the Armor Charge system for you without providing you with a specific benefit while you have Armor Charge.
  • Finisher-specific mods will now consume Armor Charges and not dip into your Super energy.

Seasonal Artifact mods will be changed into perks

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Under the current system, the mods that players can unlock from each Seasonal Artifact as they accrue XP and level up require armor mod slots to use and also take up armor energy. The Lightfall DLC is overhauling Seasonal Artifacts and turning their mods into unlockable perks. These will stay always active once unlocked, and won't require mod slots or armor energy to equip.

Since it would be overpowered if players could use every single unlock from their Seasonal Artifact at once, it will only be possible to have 12 of these perks unlocked at any given time. However, resetting Seasonal Artifacts will be completely free, so players will be able to change their seasonal perks as they see fit without worrying about losing a currency.

Gameplay changes

(Image credit: Bungie)

Bungie has made some changes to Destiny 2's gameplay in an effort to give players more flexibility when creating their builds. Here's what you need to know.

Players can stun Champions with abilities

(Image credit: Bungie)

Traditionally, stunning the deadly Champion enemies found in Grandmaster Nightfalls and other endgame activities has only been possible with the use of armor mods that give specific weapon archetypes and abilities the ability to do so. In Lightfall, Bungie is adding some intrinsic anti-Champion functionality to Destiny 2's different subclasses. We've listed them below:

  • Barrier Champions: Weak to Solar Radiance, Void Volatile Rounds, Strand
  • Overload Champions: Weak to Arc Jolt, Void Suppression, and Stasis Slow
  • Unstoppable Champions: Weak to Arc Blind, Solar Ignition, Stasis Freeze, Strand

Match Game is being removed

(Image credit: Bungie)

Match Game, a controversial gameplay modifier that makes enemy shields extremely resistant to any damage type that doesn't match their element, is also getting removed. Base shield resistance to non-matching damage types is instead being changed to 50% globally. This still encourages the use of matching elements, but does not require them, giving players more freedom with how they approach endgame PvE activities.

Elemental Wells replaced by subclass pickups

(Image credit: Bungie, Inc.)

The final buildcrafting change coming with the Lightfall expansion is an overhaul to Elemental Wells. Though the functionalities of most Elemental Well mods were integrated into the Armor Charge system, some have instead been saved for subclass Fragments. Using specific Fragments, players will be able to generate the following Elemental Well-like objects in combat:

  • Ionic Traces for Arc
  • Firesprite for Solar
  • Void Breaches for Void
  • Stasis Shards for Stasis
  • Strand will also have an object Bungie will share details on in the future

Much like basic Elemental Wells do, these objects will restore ability energy when collected. However, players will be able to give them other effects based on the Fragments they're using with their subclass. For instance, the new Ember of Mercy Fragment for Solar subclasses will allow Firesprites to grant the Restoration effect when collected. Bungie says it plans to expand the depth of these interactions over time, though they'll be limited when Lightfall launches.

And that's everything coming to Destiny 2's buildcrafting systems with the launch of the Lightfall expansion! Many of these changes are absolutely massive and some will no doubt be controversial, but overall, we expect that they'll make creating loadouts a smoother and more enjoyable experience. Destiny 2 was already one of the best Xbox games for folks that enjoy buildcrafting, but these overhauls look to elevate that aspect of the game even higher.


Destiny 2: Lightfall

The upcoming Lightfall expansion takes players to the neon-soaked city of Neomuna on Neptune and pits them against the fearsome Shadow Legion — all while the threat of Darkness pyramids, The Witness, and his new disciple Emperor Calus looms overhead.

Buy at Microsoft | Buy at GMG (Steam)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.