Ghost Shells Could Offer HUD Mods with Incredible Possibilities
Like the game's preorder bonuses, Destiny 2's actual gameplay keeps looking sweeter.
The latest batch of preorders include "Coldheart" a truly exotic weapon that fires beams of ice. It also includes a ghost that somehow matches that level of noteworthiness. How?
It tracks your kills. Interesting, but not a game change, right?
Tracking kills is neat, but it's not much more useful than a vanity accessory. Where this ghost shell starts to blow my mind is what it means for the game, and the possibilities it creates.
Ghost Shells could hypothetically change your HUD. That's a huge offer for players. This kind of ability is usually restricted to PC games, where mods allow players to link overlays. Even on PC, this isn't a common feature, nor one cooked into actual games. Now, keep in mind that the "Kill-Tracker Shell" only offers this extra display while your Ghost is open. That's not practical in combat situations. That kind of display is only helpful while exploring.
But, we need to capitalize on this possibility. Bungie's clearly open to the concept of HUD mods, and the Ghost shell is pretty close. When vanilla Destiny got its first DLC packs, they were loaded with game-changing features that fans had suggested. Remember infusion? That was our idea. And in TTK, they gave us 1:1 infusion after how popular it proved. Things like letting the Gunsmith reroll weapon, turning in bounties from the Progress screen, 3 of Coin; all suggested by fans.
So why can't we have HUD mods? They're in-line with existing features and they'd be dramatically helpful.
And Bungie's definitely thought about this. That the "Kill-Tracker Ghost" exists as a preorder bonus tells us a lot. First, it's a mostly cosmetic benefit, like most preorder bonuses. Second, other Ghosts will have similar features. And those other Ghosts absolutely have displays that will aid you in exploration or combat. At the very least, HUD mods exist in Bungie's design playbook for Destiny 2, in a subdued capacity as Ghost displays.
But what if Ghosts gave us full-blown HUD mods?
I'm fanboying just thinking about it. There are hundreds of mods that could have meaningful impacts on the game, each tailored towards advancing any number of playstyles. Imagine a Ghost shell that allows Gunslinger Hunters an advanced reticle for their throwing knives? As a Gunslinger who rocks them in the Crucible, I could easily start dominating mid-range fights I didn't use to before.
Or in a Raid, a Ghost that monitored damage output. Or gave you the number of ads nearby. Or a ghost that highlighted ammo bricks.
The possibilities are endless, but I'll list some of my favorite ideas below.
A ghost that:
-increases radar resolution
-highlights heavy ammo
-shows fireteam health
-shows footprints of enemies for 2 seconds
-gives snipers a persistent reticle
-highlights visible enemies with full supers
-highlights visible enemies with power ammo
-highlights players who take damage from your grenades
-public event timers
-larger minimap with treasure map overlay that opens with Ghost open
-shows icon that blinks red when player has boss aggro
I came up with those in just five minutes. And those are just ideas that would help my particular play style! With 6 different subclasses, each wielded drastically differently by different players, the types of ghosts that could be created are staggering. Bungie could even create exotic Ghosts.
What's further: Bungie's clearly thought this through.
I really think these kind of perks will be available in game. It's a fantastic option that PC gamers will love…that works for console gamers. Activision CEO noted a while back that the game was "bespoke for the PC community."
As many of you did, I assumed this meant the PC version would be different. Which is fantastic. Since there's no cross-play, offering them expanded features is ultimately good for the game. And many of us were encouraged that this meant Bungie was developing this game in a manner that was mindful of how PC gamers play.
What I didn't expect was that the core game--across console and PC--would have features that complemented each other. HUD mods--even in the limited capacity here--is easily something that could have been made a PC-exclusive feature. It could just be a checkbox in the PC settings with limited settings.
Bungie instead took the feature, looked at the their game and asked: What does this do to make the game more fun? It takes creativity, innovation and mindfulness of the player for a developer to come up with a solution like this. From grimoire, to the loot system, to the bounty system, vanilla Destiny had serious flaws where the game wasn't designed to optimize the player's gameplay experiences. It turned normal tasks into arduous chores. It was sub-par.
But here, Bungie's operating beyond par. This is beyond expectations to the point of innovation. No console shooter allows for this kind of modification, much less tailors it into their own progression system. It's this kind of thinking that makes Destiny such a wonderful game and Bungie such a revered studio.
The more I see of Destiny 2, the more I love it. The more I see of Bungie's work on the game, the fewer seams I see. And ultimately, that's what makes for great experiences. You expect seams in these kind of experiences. They're average and expected features and flaws. But when you look closer and see nothing…that's special.
So when Destiny 2 launches, try out these new Ghosts, and their pop-up displays. And if you love them, take to the Bungie.net forums, or Twitter and let Bungie know how awesome it'd be if we had HUD mods baked into our Ghosts. Of course, they can't make them for launch (unless they've already done so secretly). But adding these kinds of Ghosts would absolutely extend the lifespan of the game.