Update: Bungie has just tweeted the following, and it looks like Trials will no longer have Artifact power level gains enabled:
We will be disabling the Artifact for Power-enabled PVP (Iron Banner & Trials) until we can implement a Power Cap feature.
This cap will allow us to weave Artifact and Power Pursuit together while preventing unbound Power growth in PVP.
— Luke Smith (@thislukesmith) February 28, 2020
Original: Destiny 2‘s upcoming content drop, Season of the Worthy, will reintroduce the high-stakes Trials of Osiris PvP game mode. Trials of Osiris, a team-based 3-on-3 match with power level advantages enabled, has been on hiatus since 2018. Its return in Destiny 2: Season of the Worthy promises lots of fine-tuning and reworks across the board. However, in probably one of the most confounding decisions Bungie has made so far, the studio made note that Artifact power gains won’t be disabled.
Destiny 2’s Trials of Orisis and the power climb problem
Players’ fears for Season of the Worthy were confirmed by Destiny 2 community manager Cozmo23 in the game’s subreddit. In a topic suggesting that Artifact power should be disabled for Trials of Osiris, Cozmo23 noted:
Artifact power will be enabled for all activities including Trials. We are aware of the concerns around this and will be keeping a close eye on player data and feedback when the season begins.
We’ve seen suggestions from capping the artifact power in Trials to removing power enabled altogether. Feel free to share your thoughts.
Cozmo23 did mention that Trials of Osiris, historically, did have power advantages apply. However, a user also corrected him pointing out that power or light levels in Destiny 1 and Destiny 2 — prior to Shadowkeep — used to come solely from weekly activities, not farmable grinds and experience point gains for your Artifact.
Season of the Worthy: Will people really be worthy?
That’s true, for the most part. We’ve even outlined on several occasions why Destiny 2‘s progression needed reworks and how mundane and easy tasks became more rewarding. Destiny 2‘s Artifact system introduced in Shadowkeep — which was supposed to be the answer to letting casual players or those who aren’t focusing on endgame activities “catch up and feel stronger” — has become the go-to method for increasing power levels.
Players could just spend a dozen hours killing dregs or farming Eris Morn’s bounties on the Moon to grind experience points and Artifact level-ups/power gains. Likewise, the experience points you obtain from these “easy-mode” romps tend to be higher than, say, completing a raid, making them even more efficient than focusing on endgame activities.
As such, when you add Trials of Osiris having Artifact power enabled into the mix, along with the previously reported nerfs, Steiner Math suggests that it might spell disaster for Destiny 2: Season of the Worthy. After all, it’s one thing to encounter opponents with only a +3 or +5 light/power advantage, with those boosts coming from weekly endgame/pinnacle drops. But, it’s completely different to face players with a +15 or +20 advantage, especially the ones who’ve devoted several hours into repeatedly farming bounties and low-level activities.
In a high-stakes, skill-based, squad shoot-em-up activity like Trials of Osiris, will these lopsided matches truly make players “worthy?” Or will this decision to have Artifact power enabled create a huge gap between those who simply focus on PvP versus those who also have a couple dozen hours to spare? Only time will tell.
Destiny 2: Season of the Worthy releases on March 10, 2020. Trials of Osiris, for now, is expected to launch as early as the Friday of that week (March 13). You can find Destiny 2 via Steam.