An aspect of the Destiny franchise that Bungie has struggled with, and a lot of other looter shooter developers have struggled with too, is trying to find the perfect compromise between respecting players time while still maintaining high player retention rates.
When Season of Arrivals launched in mid 2020 it was believed by much of the community that Bungie had finally found this balance in the form of Umbral engrams, and according to the latest ‘This Week at Bungie’ blog post, these coveted engrams will be returning in Season 13.
If you’ve only just joined the Destiny franchise from the launch of Beyond Light, or maybe returning after a break, you might not be familiar with these special engrams.
Essentially, Umbral engrams are Legendary engrams that are able to be ‘focused’ using what's known as the ‘Prismatic Recaster’, a machine capable of narrowing down the loot pool and making it easier to obtain whatever piece of gear you are chasing. In Season of Arrivals it was possible to narrow this loot pool right down to only two weapons, ensuring a 50/50 chance of obtaining whatever weapon you have your sights set on.
Here’s what they looked like in Season of Arrivals:
Bungie has stated that not only will Umbral engrams randomly drop from completed enemies but will also be rewarded as end-of-mission reward from the following activities:
- The Ordeal
- Public Events
- Blind Well
- Nightmare Hunts
- Exo Challenges
- Empire Hunts
- New Seasonal Activity
Once an Umbral engram has been obtained, the player will need to use a ‘Prismatic Lens’ with the engram at the Prismatic Recaster to focus this engram. These new Prismatic Lens can be earned through completing various activities with a progress tracker towards unlocking the next Lens available at the Prismatic Recaster. You will be able to use this Prismatic Lens to not only narrow down the loot pool but also target specific armor stats, like a chest piece dropping with high Recovery or Mobility.
Some more good news is that these returning Umbral engrams will not be in place for just Season 13 but have instead made a more permanent return. The Prismatic Recaster will have different pages for each new Season so that it's possible for the player to focus the Umbral engrams across the gear available in different upcoming Seasons.
This system comes with a small number of tweaks and caveats however. Firstly, Bungie has stated that the high amount of Umbral engrams received in Season of Arrivals was a small bug and so players should not expect the same level of rewards. Secondly, while players can play many different activities in the game to farm Umbral engrams, Bungie has stated that the new Seasonal activity “always provide the fastest path to earning new rewards.”
The new Season 13, rumored to be called Season of the Chosen, is set to launch on February 9.