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Destiny 2 transmog: Armor Synthesis cost, cap and how Shaders changes work explained

Destiny 2’s transmog system is one of the most anticipated features coming to the game.

Transmog – short for ‘transmogrification’, and also known as ‘tmog’ by the community – is a term used in online games such as MMOs to change the appearance of an armour piece to another.

The concept was first introduced to Destiny 2 in 2019 alongside the arrival of the ‘Armour 2.0’ revamp with the Shadowkeep expansion as part of Universal Ornaments, allowing you to adopt the appearance to only a select few cosmetics.

Developer Bungie rolls out this feature in full with the Armor Synthesis system as part of the Season of the Splicer, allowing you to fully customise your appearance. But in a classic Destiny fashion, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

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What is transmog in Destiny 2?

Armor Synthesis, which is the official name of Destiny 2’s transmog system, allows players to change the appearance of their equipped armour to another, without sacrificing stats, perks and other unique traits.

Unlike the past Universal Ornaments system, which only allows you to change armour to select cosmetic appearances from Eververse and events, this lets you to adopt the appearance of any armour you have collected.

A look at the Armor Synthesis system in Destiny 2 from Bungie’s test builds.

For example, you have a Raid armour set you really like to use for its stats. But, there’s a Trials set you prefer to appearance of, the Armor Synthesis system allows you to keep the Raid armour equipped, but make it look like the Trials set.

How Destiny 2’s Armor Synthesis ‘transmog’ system works in Destiny 2

So, what does the new transmog system entails? Well, the step-by-step provided by Bungie is a tad confusing, to say the least, but we’ll use it as a foundation to explain the basics to get you started:

  1. First, you’ll have to defeat enemies to earn Synthstrand
  2. Once you have collected at least 150 Synthstrand, you can take on bounties to earn Synthcord
  3. Synthcord can be used at the Loom in the Tower to obtain Synthweave
  4. Lastly, Synthweave is used to convert an unlocked Legendary or lower armor appearance from Collections into a Universal Armor Ornament.
Whilst not final, there will only be some ‘slight differences’ when the system is released, according to Bungie.

How exactly the above steps will play out in practice is uncertain until the new season is live. For example, Bungie didn’t specify if any specific enemies will have greater drop chance than others, and it’s unknown how difficult the Synthcord bounties are to complete.

Additionally, players will be able to purchase Synthweave Templates from Eververse through the Guardian Appearance screen, with the option to buy a single Synthweave or a five-piece bundle, essentially bypasing the above process.

A single template will cost you 300 Silver, whilst the template bundle costs 1000 Silver. For reference, 500 Silver costs £4.79 in the UK. In order to avoid mistaken purchases, it’s confirmed templates can be applied to any class.

Destiny 2 transmog cost, Armor Synthesis cap and other restrictions explained

Whilst the previous section covers the basics, there are a number of caveats and exceptions to keep in mind:

  • If you happen to pick the wrong bounty, some – but not all – Synthstrand will be refunded if you choose to abandon it, so make sure to keep this in mind so your efforts don’t end up going to waste.
  • There is also a limitation on how many Synthweave players may gain per Season. Under the current cap, players can earn up to ten Synthweave per class. That being said, Season of the Splicer (which runs from May 11th to August 24th) allows players to earn ten additional Synthweave per class, so a total of 20. These can be used to convert four full sets of ornaments, or 20 individual items.
The Synth reunited.
  • Now, these Universal Ornaments obtained from Armor Synthesis may only be applied to Legendary armor pieces. As a result, the appearance of Exotic armor pieces can’t be altered. Bungie stated this decision comes from wanting for “players to quickly identify and understand what Exotic perks a player may have in all activities.”
  • Another exception is some Year-1 armor ornaments won’t be present due to “technical constraints,” but solutions are in process for a “future Season”. You can find the full list of what’s missing below:
    • Year 1 Vanguard sets
    • Year 1 Crucible sets
    • Year 1 Iron Banner sets
    • Year 1 >Faction Rally sets
    • Year 1 Prestige Raid sets
    • Year 1 Trials of the Nine sets
Guardians are experts at looking casual.
  • Ornaments can still be applied if the base armor piece is from an activity that the ornament originates. For example, players who own Crucible ornaments from Curse of Osiris can apply them to Crucible armor pieces at no cost. However, these ornaments can’t be applied to Seasonal armor.
  • If you were wondering about armor appearances from 2018 and 2019 Solstice of Heroes events, these will be available for Armor Synthesis. That being said, glows won’t be supported. If you happen to have Solstice 2020 armor glows, you will retain the white armor glow if it was earned during the event. Subclass based glows will continue to function on their Universal Ornaments as well.

Destiny 2’s Shaders changes explained

If you’re a fan of shaders, these will undergo their own set of changes as well. Up until now, shaders are one-time use consumables that must be repurchased from Collections, in exchange of Glimmer of Legendary Shards.

Starting in Season of the Splicer, all unlocked shaders will be visible on the Guardian Appearance screen when hovering over the shader bucket, and players will be able to apply shaders for 500 Glimmer per armor piece. There’s also the option to “apply all” with a new button, which will cost 2500 Glimmer. In summary, the cost remains the same, but Legendary Shards will no longer be required.

No shade on your choices.

You will still be able to earn shaders through various activities in Destiny 2, or purchase them using Bright Dust or Silver from Eververse. With this new update, the cost will bump from 40 Bright Dust to 300 Bright Dust, so keep that in mind. It will continue to be a one-time purchase for the time being, and you’ll find it in the Guardian Appearance menu when unlocked.

In celebration of the Armor Synthesis debut, an Eververse bundle will be available for Glimmer instead of Silver, if you fancy giving the system a go.

Destiny 2 transmog release date explained

During a blog post timed with the release of Destiny 2 on PS5 and Xbox Series in December 2020, Bungie confirmed transmog would be added to Destiny 2 alongside Season 14.

This season – named Season of the Splicer – and transmog along with it, will release on Tuesday, May 11th 2021.

How Universal Ornaments worked previously in Destiny 2

Previously, if you wanted to change your armour ahead of the full transmog system, this was only possible in some cases using Universal Ornaments.

Introduced with Shadowkeep and the ‘Armour 2.0’ revamp, it allowed Armor pieces released from Year 3 onwards to equip Universal Ornaments, a type of cosmetic which changed their appearance.

Solstice of Heroes 2020 armour.

Universal Ornaments were mostly sourced from the Eververse and events, and didn’t apply to armour you might earned in-game. An additional exception were Exotics, the appearance of which cannot be changed.

To equip a Universal Ornament, on the perks screen, you would scroll down where to it says ‘Appearance’ below.


From here, you could make cosmetic changes – including equip Universal Ornaments, Shaders and if supported, Glows.

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