To preface, let me get this clear – buildcrafting isn't for everyone. I'm gonna bring up topics that are, in the grand scheme of things, quite niche, but also extremely important for the longevity of the game, particularly the Endgame (I truly believe that buildcrafting is the true Endgame of destiny 2, also fashion.) While yes, the changes to weapon orb generation is a trending topic, and I will cover this, this post is discussing the entirety of the mod economy and its problems.
Acquisition issues Currently, the only ways to earn mods are:
The gunsmith (weapon mods)
Ada-1 (general armour mods and combat style mods)
Seasonal vendors (which will be sunset when Witch Queen drops, further bloating Ada's mod pool.)
Prime/pinnacle drops (mainly ghost mods and a few armour mods such as loaders)
Endgame activities (adept weapon mods and raid mods)
The seasonal artefact (which will sometimes contain a combat style mod at a reduced energy cost.)
Seems like a wide variety of sources, right? Let's say I need to get Protective Light to complete my collection.
Protective Light is an extremely useful PvE mod which converts stacks of Charged With Light into damage resistance when your shield is broken. The duration of this increases with the amount of stacks you have and continues to work as your shield regenerates. It has void affinity and costs 2 energy, but removes 10 strength from the armour you're slotting it into. It is a combat style mod, which can currently only be acquired from Ada-1 if and when she is selling it. You get one shot every daily reset and you'll need to either check every day or be notified from a Discord bot or Twitter account (shoutout @destinyinsights).
Furthermore, you'll need 10 mod components to purchase anything from Ada-1, which can currently only be acquired from dismantling year 1 weapons (from collections, it's around a 1/10 chance) or Gunsmith bounties (2 from weekly bounties and 1 from daily.) You used to be able to acquire mod components directly from, funnily enough, Ada-1 in Year 3, but this was removed in Beyond Light, if you didn't stock up then, you'll likely be having a pretty tough time now.
This is an extremely crude and difficult system to get into and is the primary reason that many players simply do not bother with buildcrafting.
What mods do I even need? Well, what are you playing?
As of the 30th update, In PvP, you'll want to run Arc armour as 3 of the most useful PvP mods are all Arc affinity;
Powerful Friends (4 energy, becoming Charged With Light will also give stacks to nearby allies)
Radiant Light (3 energy, casting your super gives nearby allies CWL stacks, and synergizes with Powerful Friends if they have it equipped)
Quick Charge (5 energy, gain stacks of CWL from shotgun or fusion rifle multikills)
These mods all have further benefits if you equip a general arc affinity armour mod, such as Invigoration; Powerful Friends grants +20 mobility, Radiant Light grants +20 strength and Quick charge grants +25 handling for all Shotguns, SMGs, Swords and Fusion Rifles.
Add the tried and tested Taking Charge (gain CWL stack from orb of power pickup) and High Energy Fire (gain +20 damage on all weapons until you land a kill.) And you have a well rounded, simple and competitive PvP armour loadout (the above mods are neutral, and can be slotted in any affinity armour) Now add St0mp-EE5, Multimach and a Shotgun, you're doing great.
There's a relatively high chance that basically all of the above are to be nerfed in the next season, so enjoy this while it lasts.
What about PvE?
This is much more about what you're running, and you're most likely running whichever weapon type the seasonal artefact's bullshit broken mod is buffing. This season is all about Particle Deconstruction (7 neutral energy, not a combat style mod, grants increased damage against a target when you deal damage with a fusion rifle.) Bungie has said they'll discontinue mods that so heavily shift the PvE meta, though I'll gamble they're doing something with rocket launchers next season, but probably not to the extent of particle deconstruction as they are already some of the highest burst damage weapons in the game. This will give other mods and weapons some breathing room, so what should you run next season?
As of writing this, there are 3 categories of combat style mods;
- Charged With Light mods
- Warmind Cell mods
- Elemental Well mods
Charged With Light mods give you benefits if you have stacks. Protective Light, as discussed earlier, is one of the most useful mods and is a staple of most Endgame PvE builds. Many CWL mods also benefit a particular weapon type, such as argent ordnance (5 solar energy, grants increased rocket launcher reload speed and massively buffed damage to rocket launcher salvo) or Surprise Attack (1 void energy, gives 5 massively buffed sidearm damage stacks per CWL stack when readying or reloading a sidearm). The energy required to slot these mods is generally higher than the other 2 sets, but tend to be worth the extra cost.
Warmind Cell mods used to be great. You could pretty reliably clear a room of any low health enemies by shooting one orb. However, these have recently been nerfed hard and it's now very rare to see a warmind cell in the wild. The activation cost is much more niche than the other 2 sets, dropping at random from Seventh Seraph or Warmind Ikelos weapon kills, (but not Outbreak or Sleeper, why bungie??) Or you could slot mods that cause certain types of kills to summon a cell, such as Wrath of Rasputin (1 solar energy, solar splash damage kills have a chance to summon a warmind cell). These mods have been pushed into obscurity as the radius of warmind cell explosions have been massively reduced, even with Global Reach (1 neutral energy, increases warmind cell blast radius), Warmind Cells are effectively dead in the water, and until they are buffed, I do not recommend building into them.
Elemental Wells are the new kid on the block, and I really like them. They are effectively more nuanced orbs of power, and grant ability energy on pickup. Elemental Wells are, well, elemental, and attuned to arc, void, solar or stasis. This is their biggest barrier to entry, as certain EW mods only work when they are attuned to a certain element, furthermore, many of the mods have armour energy affinity, and you'll want to run many armour pieces of the same energy type to effectively use Elemental Wells. These have a fantastic interaction with Stasis, as Elemental Shards (2 stasis energy) cause stasis shards from subclass aspects to activate extra benefits via mods. You can generate shards from ability kills on Revenant with Grim Harvest, run Whisper of Chains (damage resist near frozen targets or crystals) Whisper of Rime (picking up stasis shards grant extra overshield), Melee Wellmaker (4 neutral energy, powered melee kills spawn an elemental well of your subclass energy), Elemental Charge (2 neutral energy, Elemental Wells matching your subclass energy grant 2 stacks of CWL, other elemental Wells grant 1) and good ol' Protective Light, you've got an unreasonable amount of damage resistance. These mods encapsulate the best parts of buildcrafting, IMO, but you NEED to build into them to make them work well. I need to stress this, even if some look useless, the best time to pick up these mods is NOW, as the seasonal vendors that sell them in the H.E.L.M are going to be sunset by season 16, and they are likely to end up in Ada-1's pool.
CWL is the meta, as it's definitely the simplest and easiest mod economy of the 3. This is getting a very big change, however, as it's now going to cost armour energy to generate orbs of power from multikills. This puts a damper on Taking Charge (picking up orbs grants stacks of CWL), one of the most useful CWL mods. We'll have to see about the costs of these orb generation mods, I'd imagine that it'd cost 1-2 energy per element, and I hope these mods are element neutral (a void helmet could slot the mod that causes stasis weapons to generate orbs on multikills). I'm also picking up that if you have one of these mods equipped, a heavy weapon kill followed by a special weapon kill of the same element could be counted as an "arc multikill" and generate an orb, though I may be wrong about this. A surefire way to get ahead of the curve on this is to farm the master Grasp of Avarice dungeon for an artiface helmet, which has an extra general mod slot, as the helmet is already a very crowded piece of armour mod-wise.
Let alone the ridiculous cost of getting these mods, it could take up to a full year for any one of these mods to appear in Ada-1's inventory, heaven forbid you miss a day.
This isn't new terrain, it used to be even worse as Banshee was the only source of mods for a good chunk of time – one day he could sell Protective Light, the next, sidearm scavenger.
At risk of repeating myself, I'm once again stressing that the best time to get mods are when they are sold by their respective seasonal vendor. Do not be surprised if next season Ada-1's pool is clogged with a suite of elemental well mods. Let me reinforce this: Get these seasonal mods NOW. They currently cost a much discounted 3 mod components, tend to take up less energy on armour and some are genuinely very good.
For further reading on finding inspiration on buildcrafting, look up Ehroar and Plunderthabooty for PvE builds, and Coolguy and Drewsky for PvP.
What's the point? I feel that mods are in a fairly good place right now, but that is contrasted in the way you actually get them, which completely sucks. It is still prohibitively expensive to even masterwork an armour set for a lot of players, impossible for Johnny Newlight to experiment with new builds, and supremely irritating that we're still at the mercy of Ada-1 to even get anything good in the first place. It's nice that Bungie are reducing the cost to swap an element on armour, but imagine it was free, how amazing would it be to wear the same armour set, press a button on DIM and swap from your amazing sweaty trials loadout to your Endgame Master VOG loadout instantly. I could sit here and type about how it'd be great if you were guaranteed a combat style mod every pinnacle drop, or every other legend lost sector, or whatever, and yeah, that'd be sick, but I guess that's why I flaired this post as "Discussion", please, talk amongst yourselves about possible solutions to acquisition, I'm really interested to see what the community thinks.
I'm looking forward to the day where I'm spending more time playing my build than putting it together.
TL;DR I think if buildcrafting was more accessible then destiny would really flourish. We're currently at the mercy of Ada-1 to actually get anywhere with it and it's super annoying, particularly because it's looking like Ada-1's pool is about to get a whole lot bigger when beyond light's seasonal vendors are going to get sunset next season. We are on the verge of greatness, and Bungie is clearly warming up to the idea that 3rd party inventory managers will be able to save and store builds.
- You can get a 125% damage buff by stacking: Disruption Break (+50%), Weapons of Light (+35%), x Debuff (30%), Power of Rasputin (10%)
- [Warlock build guide] Ager’s Scepter
- Warmind Cells are viable. Their activation methods are not. And what Bungie needs to do to actually implement them as a bona fide combat mod style.
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