Purple Engrams.... Purple Engrams Everywhere...

When Destiny launched it was a different game than it is today. And a completely different game than what it will be a month from now. Today I want to review a change the developers made to the engram system.

Back Story: Engrams are like randomized item boxes. Once you bring them back to the Tower and have them decoded by the cryptarch he gives you back an item you can actually use. So in short you find item boxes collect them and bring them back to this guy to open them for you and tell you what you’ve received. There are 5 different colored engrams (yellow, purple, blue, green and white). These colors are where the developers screwed up. (The colors in Destiny correspond to a weapon's rarity and therefore strength. Yellow – Exotic, Purple - Legendary, Blue - Rare, Green - Uncommon, White - Common)

How it started: Initially when a player received an engram, when the cryptarch identified it, the item could be as rare as the color of the engram or worse. Example: If I pick up a green engram it would turn into either a green or white item. If I were to pick up a purple engram it could be an item which is purple or blue. As a result, purple and yellow engrams would fall fairly frequently. Unfortunately, players would become frustrated (frustrated is an understatement) when they discovered a legendary engram and instead got a rare weapon.

I think AlyMew put it fairly well (might want to turn your speakers down a little bit):

How Bungie fixed it: They reversed the engram rewards and adjusted the drop frequency of engrams. So instead of a green engram getting you a green or white item a green engram would get you a green, blue, purple or yellow item. If the player were to pick up a purple engram they would be guaranteed at least a legendary purple weapon if not an Exotic. So the player was guaranteed an item at least as rare and as powerful as the engram they collected. In response to this change Bungie also reduced the drop rate of purple and yellow engrams and increased the drop rate of white and green engrams. (I assume blue didn’t move too much because it was already in the center.)

What we can learn?

Don’t tell the player they COULD win a new car but instead give them a plastic bag. Tell them they’ve won a plastic bag and give them a new car instead. Let me elaborate: players were frustrated because they were given an item and told it could be this super cool thing but instead was 99.9% of the time something really lame. When they patched it players would be told they were getting this lame thing but instead got something super cool. So they were always getting either something they expected or better.

By learning from the mistakes of others I hope to not repeat the past in games I get the honor to work on.

Thank You

Scott