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How Bungie Created Strand, Destiny 2’s First New Subclass in 3 Years

How Bungie Created Strand, Destiny 2’s First New Subclass in 3 Years


  • We dig deeper into the decisions behind Destiny 2’s second Darkness subclass
  • Eric Smith, Head of Gameplay Features, talks to us about Strand’s design choices
  • Check out the first concept art of Strand’s supers and abilities

Late February saw the highly anticipated release of Destiny 2: Lightfallthe new extension that signals “the beginning of the end” to the of fate Light and Dark Saga. The campaign takes Guardians to the hidden city of Neomuna, nestled inside Neptune and quiet until the arrival of Shadow Legion forces. It’s up to you and Neomuna’s protectors, the Cloud Striders, to defend the city.

Our Guardians also discover a brand new power: Strand. They learn to handle this suspicious and stringy substance throughout the fall of light campaign, and it manifests in a whole new subclass for Destiny 2 players, the first to be introduced since Stasis in 2020.

We wanted to know more about this new subclass, how Bungie came to design it, and how all of its elements intertwine, and to dig deeper, we spoke to Gameplay Feature Lead Eric Smith to find out how the new Darkness power is. born.

Strand Titan Super concept art next to final product

Like all subclasses of Destiny 2, Strand gives each of the three player classes (Titan, Hunter, and Warlock) different abilities and a powerful super ability tailored to each class. Burly Titans gain the Berserker ability, summoning two giant blades to strike down foes, the sleek Warlock sends strands of Strand running through baddies that explode into ferocious Threadling foes, and skilled Hunters can use the Silkstrike skill to summon a long rope dart and pass through their enemies.

A little help

Strand focuses on traversal in a way that has never been explored in Destiny 2. Each character gains a grappling hook, which allows you to cling to a surface or area and swing through the air, perfect for moving quickly or solving tricky jumping puzzles. Smith tells us that the grappling hook sits at the center of the Strand class and was made possible by the team’s exploration of the skill.

“The theme of the Strand damage type is all ropes and ropes, so it just felt natural to grab a grapple into it,” Smith says. “We explored a lot of how the grappling hook should work, did we want it to be a burst of acceleration, or a point-to-point zip, and we ended up at this place where, as and when as players learn Strand, it’ll read your mind a bit.

“You can slide up to a certain point if you look him straight in the eye, but you can also swing underneath, you can accelerate left or right or swing around him. We ended up with a grappling hook really dynamic that we are all very proud of.

The grappling hook ability replaces the grenade slot for players using Strand, so it also needed some sort of damage ability to compensate for the loss of that slot. The bottom line is, what if you were the pomegranate?

“As he takes that slot, we wanted to give him offensive utility,” Smith says. “One thing you can do is grapple the punch, which does quite a lot of damage in the area of ​​effect. You can use the grapple to get out of bad situations, but you can also use it as you would with a grenade to take out multiple enemies. I think there’s a learning curve for Strand that I’m excited to see players master.

fail and deliver

During combat, Strand users can create entanglements by defeating an enemy that has been weakened by another Strand ability. For example, Hunters have the Ensnaring Slam ability, which allows them to suspend groups of enemies in the air by slamming the ground. Titans can also suspend enemies with Drengr’s Lash skill.

This entanglement can then be fired to cause an explosion, picked up and thrown at another enemy, or in the air to be used as a grapple point. Smith tells us that the Tangle passive skill immediately felt right at home in Strand’s roster.

“Once we installed this system and had different perks triggering the Tangles, it felt like we were doing something different than other subclasses,” he says. “It happens passively, and once you create a tangle, there’s a branching decision point where you can choose what to do with it.”

Tangles are just one aspect of Strand that helps make it a more collaborative subclass for Guardians playing together. For example, since a Guardian’s grapple ability has no cooldown if used on a grapple point, the hunter can use their Widow’s Silk ability to create a grapple point that a other teammate can use without spending their own grapple ability. Smith explains that as Strand grows, the team wants to create more opportunities for members of the firefighting team to combine their unique skills.

“We wanted players to pave the way for their teammates, help them solve jumping puzzles, and that’s something we plan to double down on in future seasons,” he says.

Guardians can use Tangles to swing or shoot them to cause an explosion

Release the Threadlings

Strand subclasses introduce Threadlings – small creatures formed from Strand that swoop in and attack anything in range. Smith tells us it was one of the hardest abilities to master, due to Destiny 2 turbulent terrain and dynamic environments.

“Threadlings are what we call ‘ground follows’, as they are limited to crawling on the ground, and we have a lot of surfaces in Destiny 2 where it can be difficult for a player to use them effectively,” he explains. “They have a fairly long follow range, allowing them to follow an enemy and then stop and jump, which gives them some verticality, but we’ll adjust how they work over time.”

The team also had to balance how much damage Threadlings can do and how often they’re active, not just in PvE modes like the campaign, but in online PvP, where the smaller amount of damage can radically change the game.

“Too many Threadlings in PvP would be frustrating to play against, so this was a balancing act to allow players to have maximum fun without destabilizing PvP modes.”

Strand abilities release Threadlings (pictured) which can damage enemies

This balancing act was also important when designing the main class’s three super abilities, and Smith details the level of work and breakdown of disciplines that need to be involved in creating just one.

“Every time we create a new Super, we come up with a list of possible designs, and narrow it down to what’s realistic,” he explains. “But there are a lot of decisions, it’s animation, it’s VFX, design, engineering, audio – so many things have to come together, and then you have to balance the Super itself in so many game modes.”

You can check out some of the unused super ideas in the images below, but Smith told us the Warlock Super ability almost ended with tentacles sprouting and attacking enemies. Still cool is the real Warlock Super, Needlestorm, which allows players to unleash a barrage of spikes on enemies.

With Strand explored in detail, we were left with only one question: why did the team choose green for the subclass color? Smith tells us that in pursuit of the perfect hex code, the team wanted to make sure each class was both immediately identifiable and aesthetically pleasing.

“We had a handful of options, but green was the most distinct,” he tells us. “It worked really well with the Strand theme. We kind of saw it as a ball of green yarn and wanted you to think of it every time you walk past some yarn in a store.

fall of light players unlock Strand permanently at the end of the fall of light campaign, and from there can unlock Skins and Fragments that allow them to truly customize the subclass to their playstyle, whether that’s keeping the distance or rushing straight into the action.

Last Friday also saw the release of Root of Nightmares, the brand new raid that comes with fall of lightso be sure to swing through Neomuna to unlock those Strand abilities and gear up to take on the ancient threat growing on our doorstep.

Destiny 2: Lightfall is available now on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.

Destiny 2: Lightfall



Pre-order to instantly unlock a new Exotic Ghost and Legendary emblem. Includes Lightfall, the new raid, and a Season Pass for Season 20. Campaign In a beleaguered Neptunian city, draw strength from your fellow Guardians as the end of everything draws near: The Witness is here. Arm yourself with new rewards and unlock new dark powers to triumph in Lightfall’s unforgettable Legendary mode. Strand Harness Darkness and pull the strings of reality with this new subclass. Speed ​​through the city at newfound speed as you scramble from building to building. Every class can tap into this new element, but it’s up to you to create the perfect build. New Destination Travel to Neptune and discover a neon metropolis like you’ve never explored in Destiny 2. Meet the Cloud Striders, join the fight against the Shadow Legion, and avoid devastation in the technologically advanced secret city of Neomuna. 105 GB of hard drive storage space required as of November 10, 2020. Subject to change. Requires a broadband internet connection. After November 10, 2020, check for current requirements before purchase. Destiny 2 may contain flashing patterns and images which may produce undesirable effects for a small percentage of people who are sensitive to them. Bungie, Inc. makes no guarantees regarding the availability of the Game or Online Features and may modify or discontinue the Online Services with reasonable notice at any time. Use of the software constitutes acceptance of the Destiny Software License Agreement available at © 2023 Bungie, Inc. All rights reserved. Destiny, the Destiny logo, Bungie, and the Bungie logo are trademarks of Bungie, Inc. Published and distributed by Bungie, Inc.

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