Here's why Destiny 2's Ghosts of the Deep dungeon bosses have so much shield health

Destiny 2
(Image credit: Bungie)

What you need to know

  • A controversial element of Destiny 2's new Ghosts of the Deep dungeon is that its bosses have a resilient shield in addition to their large health pool, making it difficult for players to deal effective damage to them.
  • During a roundtable discussion with Bungie developers that Windows Central attended, raid and dungeon Design Lead Brian Frank explained why the bosses have this shield.
  • Ultimately, Bungie wanted the shield to add more mechanical complexity to the dungeon's boss fights, as they're directly tied to the bosses' ability to use their super against players.
  • The shield was chosen as a mechanic after players became frustrated with the buggy nature of the teleporting mechanic in Duality, a dungeon that came out during Season of the Haunted in 2022.

Destiny 2's new Ghosts of the Deep dungeon has generally been met with positive feedback from most players, but there's one element of it that's proven to be quite controversial: the tankiness of its bosses. Both Ecthar, the Shield of Savathûn and Simmumah ur-Nokru are more resilient than most dungeon bosses, and a big reason why is because both of them have a strong shield that players have to burn through in each DPS phase before they can do any permanent damage.

From what I've seen during Destiny 2 discussion both online and in-game, it seems like most players find these shields to be pretty frustrating to deal with, as they force you to use up a considerable amount of your ammo and DPS time. It begs the question: Why did Bungie add them in the first place, and does it have plans to adjust their strength? Fortunately, thanks to some insight from raid and dungeon Design Lead Brian Frank shared during a recent roundtable discussion I was present for, we have some answers.

"It was initially just proposed as another mechanical step, like more mechanical complexity to add to the encounter loops," explained Frank. "The dungeons have sort of gone up and down in terms of the levels of mechanics we provide and people expect...Duality kicked the door open in terms of bringing raid-like complexity to the encounters, and that was the last time I was facing lots of questions about difficulty in dungeons."

Frank went on to explain that the teleportation mechanics in Duality — a dungeon added last year during Season of the Haunted — were quite buggy, and that Bungie "really struggled to resolve those issues people were having in the live game." As a result, the studio wanted to opt for a less complex system that would be more stable, which is how the boss shields came to be. However, it seems like the developers are reluctant to tweak how resilient they are, as they're tied to each boss' combat capabilities.

Ecthar, the Shield of Savathûn in Ghosts of the Deep. (Image credit: Bungie)

"Breaking the shields disables the Hive Guardians' unique ability where they use their super like players do," Frank continued. "That behavior was part of the tuning problem we found ourselves in, where if we tune that shield way down, players immediately shut off the signature thing about the boss."

I can definitely see where Bungie is coming from here, as the threat of Hive Guardians' Light-based attacks is what distinguishes The Witch Queen's Lucent Hive from standard Hive riffraff. However, I do think the shields feel pretty bad from a player perspective. They mostly come off as padding for the bosses' health bars rather than something that adds "mechanical complexity," especially since there aren't any special mechanics you can use to disable them. The shield on Simmumah ur-Nokru is particularly annoying, as she erratically dashes and teleports around the arena to dodge your attacks.

With that said, I'm at least glad that the studio is trying to move away from things like Duality's teleportation bells, which were notorious for randomly killing players even when they performed that dungeon's encounter mechanics correctly. Hopefully in future dungeons, Bungie will come up with something that's less frustrating.

Destiny 2: Lightfall, the looter shooter's latest expansion, is available now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, Windows PCs, and PlayStation systems. With the Annual Pass edition, you'll get access to all of Destiny 2 Year 6's current and upcoming content, including Ghosts of the Deep. Destiny 2 itself is one of the best Xbox games for fans of the genre, so give it a try if you've never checked it out before.

Destiny 2: Lightfall + Annual Pass

Destiny 2: Lightfall + Annual Pass

The 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. The Annual Pass gives you access to everything in Destiny 2 Year 6, including Ghosts of the Deep.

See at: Microsoft | 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.