[UPDATE: Bungie has decided to separate the Niobe Labs puzzle from the Bergusia Forge unlock process. Instead, the forge will unlock at 2pm PT on Jan 9th.]
As promised, Destiny 2 unlocked the Niobe Labs as part of the Black Armory DLC, but there was a huge catch. In order to fully complete Niobe Labs and, in turn, unlock the Bergusia Forge, players would need to solve a complex puzzle.
It was an unexpected twist that sent the Destiny 2 community into a tizzy, as fireteams raced to solve each clue. Now, almost 12 hours later, the initial excitement has worn off and frustration has set in. What initially was supposed to be a fun community experience has instead turned into another misfire by Bungie.
Ultimately, Niobe Labs’ biggest issue is the complexity of its puzzle-solving. As fireteams progress through various levels of the Niobe’s Torment mission, they are required to decode messages and input “codes” to reach the next level. However, many of those codes are connected to ciphers and info that is not readily available in-game.
This event definitely felt like a "watch this unfold" and as a stream, thats cool, BUT… Im a bit fan of the sum of the whole rather than the efforts of the few in certain scenarios. Opening a big door feels like it coulda been an US moment, when itll end up being a THEM moment.
— Gothalion (@Gothalion) January 9, 2019
On its face, the puzzle-solving wouldn’t be such a problem, if not for a few reasons. The first, and arguably biggest problem is that this puzzle is connected to unlocking the Bergusia Forge – the final forge included with the Black Armory DLC. So players who paid for that content and are not interested in this puzzle-solving race are forced to wait until someone else does the work for them.
This isn’t the first time that Bungie has used the accomplishments of one fireteam to unlock content for the whole Destiny 2 player base, but the key difference is that Niobe Labs was touted as a content drop. Players expected to jump online on Tuesday and experience the content they paid for, but instead a dense puzzle stood in their way. Say what you will about the unlocking process of the other three forges in Black Armory, but at least simply playing the game could complete those steps. There was no need to consult a cipher or decode a mysterious message.
Alongside that, though, comes the tedium of finding the puzzle solutions and inputting the codes. Due to how the mission is designed, players need to progress through each level in order to test their theories on the current level’s puzzle. And if they are wrong, it’s back to the drawing board and back through those levels. At this point, fireteams are at level 6 and taking about 10 minutes to be able to test each proposed code.
I can appreciate the hell out of Niobe Lab’s puzzle. It has thousands of people stumped. Researching Wikipedia and using 3rd party sources isn’t my cup of tea. Stoked for the people that like this kind of stuff. I prefer the classic raid style puzzle solving and shooting aliens
— Gigz (@T1gigz) January 9, 2019
No doubt, there are members of the Destiny 2 community that are enjoying the puzzle solving, and they have every right to do so. But plenty of others are disappointed by the fact they are locked out of content that they paid for. Even some of those players who were initially intrigued by the idea have changed their opinion now that the puzzle has gone unsolved for so long. Hopefully, some team solves it soon, because a large community is counting on them.
Destiny 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.