They have been for quite some time now.
Back in the day, when Forsaken launched, Bungie implemented the triumph system. A system where players can complete certain tasks and be rewarded for doing so.
With triumphs, they added Seals, or better known as Titles (I am going to use these interchangeably throughout this post). Titles could be earned by completing a list of triumphs associated with a specific activity or part of the game.
Initially when Seals were added to the game, there were 6 seals:
At first, when it was just these six seals, seeing someone with purple under their name truly meant something. You knew right away that person was grinding the game. Of course, these took a while to get and were actually timelocked for a while. But when they became available, Rivensbane and Unbroken were the signs of a fucking gamer. Rivensbane requiring crazy dedication to the Last Wish raid and Unbroken demonstrating unmatched prowess in PvP.
Wayfarer and Chronicler were not difficult by any means, but they both required insane amounts of dedication to achieve.
As time went on, more seals were added to the game. Blacksmith was added with Black Armory. Reckoner with Drifter Season, and Shadow with Opulence. These seals were respectable, as they required insane dedication (Reckoner) and crazy feets of skill.
Blacksmith required a huge grind to forge the weapons, clear Niobe Labs, and do the Scourge of the Past raid Flawlessly.
Shadow required a little less grind, but was much more difficult, flawless Crown of Sorrow was tough, but defeating each of the Heroic Menagerie bosses without anyone in your fireteam dying was a fucking grind. You were forced to be 20 levels under the activity, which at the time was like being 40 in the current power system. It was painful, but god damn did it make me a stronger player for doing it.
The End (of skill in seals)
With Triumphs, Bungie added an event to the game known as Moments of Triumph, which introduced a yearly seal into the mix, the first being 2019. The seal is just the year in roman numerals, so the first one was MMXIX.
This seal was a little grindy and did require players to clear one of each new raid. Despite this it felt like it was very easy to obtain. I was disappointed by this, but god damn I had no idea just how bad it would get.
Fast forward to Shadowkeep, and they introduced the seasonal model, and with that seasonal seals. Seasonal seals were meant to be done in the seaoson they launched, and became unavailable after said season. The first seasonal seal was Undying, it required a bit of a grind and still felt somewhat satisfying to get.
Over the years Bungie has lowered the requirements for seals, asking for less and less of a grind every season. Going as far as to allow players the entire expansion year to obtain any seasonal seals they may have missed.
To the point where seasonal seals have become a joke. Rather than a display of dedication, they are simply a checklist.
Raid seals got an even worse treatment. Rivensbane, Shadow, and Blacksmith were Raid seals, with Blacksmith and Shadow being Raid/Season Hybrids, that required players to complete the respective raid in a fireteam with zero deaths. Because of this, these seals were super rare.
Shadowkeep brought Garden of Salvation, and with that the Enlightened Seal. This seal didn’t directly require a flawless raid, but it did require the shader acquired from the flawless raid in the collections badge, which is a major part of completing a Seal.
After some time, Bungie decided to remove the flawless requirement from the Enlightened seal, making it much easier to obtain. This was a bummer, but wouldn’t be that big of a deal so long as they don’t keep up with that trend.
Unfortunately they did keep that trend up. Since Garden of Salvation, Bungie has released Four new(ish) raids and four new raid seals
Deep Stone Crypt — Descendant
Vault of Glass — Fatebreaker
Vow of the Disciple — Disciple-Slayer
King’s Fall — Kingslayer
None of these seals require a player to do the raid flawlessly. Which has entirely ruined the prestige in earning said seals. I used to look at people with raid seals with a sense of envy before I obtained them. After I got my first seal, Shadow, I looked at them with a sense of comradery. I was like “Hell yeah, brother. We’ve seen some shit, yeah?”
Now I look at people with raid seals and chuckle. I mean, not really, I don’t notice seals any more. They’ve become so damn saturated as of late that I don’t pay attention to people’s seals anymore. But my point stands, Raid seals are easy to obtain and do not demonstrate any real skill.
For the last couple years, the core playlists have been severely neglected by the powers that be (Bungie). So instead of fixing the issues, they put a band-aid on a bullet wound by implementing the ability to gild the Conqueror, Dredgen, Unbroken, and Flawless Seals. These simply add a list of triumphs to each seal that need to be completed every season in order to keep the name orange instead of purple. These triumphs don’t change, or if they do very slightly, and simply serve as a checklist that people have to cross off every season.
They aren’t fun, they’re a chore at best.
Seals used to be rare and coveted, I loved seeing people with purple under their name in my raid team because it meant they were an absolute giga-chad gamer. Now it means nothing and I don’t even bother looking at people’s seals.