Destiny 2’s Shaders Just Don’t Seem Right

I like being able to customize my looks in multiplayer games. In a world where there’s more than one ‘chosen one’ and you’re running around in public, you want to look good. After all, you don’t want clones running around, do you? Every game has its own way of allowing you to customize your character, while also making money in the process.

Destiny 2 is one such game that allows you to customize your character and how they look. But how it all works in Destiny 2… well, none of it seems right.

Well, first off, you’re only customizing armour.

I created a female Exo as my first (and currently only) Destiny 2 character. She’s okay to look at, I guess. Exo characters are pretty cool. They’re basically human minds inside robot bodies. And according to Braytech Industries on Mars, their minds are reset, so they don’t reject the robot bodies.

Anyway, my female Exo is a Warlock and has yellow-gold accents on her head. And I can’t change this in any way. If I want to change my Warlock’s physical form, I have to delete my Warlock and make a new one. That’s not too big a problem though because I can just wear a helmet at all times to hide my ugly robo-face.

Your actual customization comes from your armour and weapons, and shaders.

Armour is mostly fine.

There’s a lot of cool armour. There’s a lot of ugly armour as well, but we have plenty of options. Armour is different for each class, with Titans being bulkier, Warlocks being sleeker and Hunters being edgier. Sadly, Titans and Warlocks don’t get the cool capes that Hunters get.

If the cool armour with the right stats you want looks ugly as sin, luckily there are ornaments, which are basically transmogrifers. Or transmuters. Or whatever you want to call them. Basically a thing that lets you keep the stats of your armour while making it look like something else.

As for colours, well, that’s where shaders come in.

My Warlock, using the Dusk Mine shader.
My Warlock, using the Dusk Mine shader. You can see the original colour of the item on the side.

Your colour options though all come from shaders. And shaders are weird.

Shaders are pre-determined colour options. These drop from enemies, from loot chests, from doing missions and bounties and occasionally by handing in tokens and resources and stuff. Originally, shaders were single-use items, but they were changed so any shaders you get, once you have found or unlocked one for the first time, you can obtain more via your Collection. Each shader consists of 4 colours, sometimes with one of those colours also being a texture, and those colours and textures will be applied to whatever item you apply them to.

But these colours don’t always look… right. Each colour only applies to a specific area, much like how you colour various channels in Warframe’s customization. But the colours don’t always match expectations. I’ve found that colours often seem greener or bluer than they appear, or are more muted. There’s also the issue of being unable to really… change them. For example, I have the Monochromatic shader, which has white as its main colour and black and silver accents. If I want a black look with white and silver accents, I have to find (and possibly unlock) a whole new shader.

Sure, there’s a lot of shaders to choose from, but between their appearance not matching the four triangles in their previews, and the fact that you have to unlock most colours, it’s a massive hassle.

You also can’t apply them to everything. I’m not really sure where shaders can’t be applied, but most exotic weapons are exempt, as are a few other items. The standard basic ship I have can’t be changed in any way either. And particle effects seem mostly unaffected – while the cool auto-reloading boots I have can be coloured, the blue triangle particle effect remains blue no matter what.

The cost of fashion, at least early on, is expensive.

Most of the time, you’ll get 1-3 of a shader when you find them in the wild. You’ll need to make more to be able to colour your four armour parts, your three weapons and your Ghost. Luckily, you can just go through your Collections, find the shader you want and make more. This can get expensive though as legendary/purple shaders require Legendary shards, and rare/blue shaders require gunsmithing parts. Both of which require smelting down weapons.

On the plus side, you do get some shaders back if you dismantle an item with a shader on it. Sometimes. Most of the time, you just have to make more shaders. Thankfully, you can preview an entire shader in one go via Collections, or one at a time when in your Character screen. Which is great because it’s rarely obvious what each shader looks like from its tiny icon.

The customization in Destiny 2 is pretty cool, but you can’t seem to do much of it right from the start. Like most MMOs, it’s simply too resource-heavy to get in to, until you’ve settled down and got your resources and gear sorted. And when you do find a shader you want, half the time it doesn’t quite look how you expect it to.


Also known as Doctor Retvik Von Schreibtviel, Medic writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Medic has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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