Halo 1, 2, and 3 broke sales records in the entertainment industry and catapulted Bungie Studios into the spotlight
Before Bungie Studios went on to develop Destiny, they were most known for creating the FPS Franchise Halo for Microsoft.
Halo 1, 2, and 3 broke sales records in the entertainment industry and catapulted Bungie Studios into the spotlight and were considered to be one of the best Development teams in gaming.
Shortly after the release of Halo 3, Bungie and Microsoft announced that Bungie would be splitting off from Microsoft and becoming independent and work on other Projects, but still agreed to develop two more games in the Halo Franchise.
Both Halo 3 ODST and Halo Reach.
Whilst developing ODST the early stages of Development for Destiny would begin.
Concepts were being created, world building and story material were being written, and VERY early alpha builds were in the works.
And by the looks of it, based on an Easter Egg found in ODST they had already settled on a name for their next project.
During this time Bungie studios continued to grow in size nearly doubling the number of employees, and would seek a partnership to support their new ambitious project.
And after entering a 10 Year publishing agreement with Activision, the hard work began on Destiny.
It all started with the Development of a New Engine, The Tiger Engine which bungie had been working on since 2008.
Bungie would Design the engine to allow for Global illumination, Real-time dynamic lighting, and natively render graphics at 1080p on both xbox one and playstation 4.
While visually and mechanically very impressive, many developers at bungie have been critical of the tiger engine expressing how tedious and grueling it can be to create new content and described it as being ill-suited for the online nature of the game.
One employee was cited as saying that it’s resource intensive nature makes even small changes to the map would require an overnight rendering and compiling process.
Yet despite the challenges developers were facing with the engine, the team pushed forward working hard on Destiny.
Our first tease about Destiny was during 2010 in bungie’s Vidoc titled A Brave New World, where bungie discussed the history of the company and what they’ve learned from their previous halo titles.
From the onset it was made apparent that destiny was going to be extremely ambitious.
Doing things that hadn’t been done before and really going all in on it.
We’d get our first real look at destiny in 2012 with some leaked concept art provided by ign.
Shortly after the release of the leaked images bungie made a statement discussing how they weren’t ready to show off the game just yet, but went ahead and gave us a bit more of an official release of some concept art.
This resulted in the release of probably the most recognizable concept art image for Destiny.
Bungie would remain tight-lipped on news about Destiny until february of 2013 when we learned that the official name of the game would be Destiny with bungie releasing their first destiny vidoc, pathways out of darkness, showing numerous concept images short clips of gameplay and interviews with the bungie developers.
Progress for the game appeared to be coming along nicely and by mid-2013 most of the groundwork for the game had been finished.
The story, lore, and worldbuilding were basically completed, the game engine was finished and usable to the fullest extent, and many of the environments missions and levels were completely done right on track for a september 2013 release.
BUT something happened that would result in a year long delay.
In February 2013 Bungie’s lead writing team crafted a supercut of the game to show off the progress made on destiny.
It consisted of the game’s story mission structure and overall progression of the game.
After showing this supercut to the bungie upper management team the writing team received feedback that was unexpected.
The management team felt that the story was too dense and linear and wanted a more open-ended story experience.
So the decision was made to completely reboot the story, the mission structure, and the progression of the game just mere months before the game’s release.
Because of this unexpected decision Joseph Staten bungie’s lead writer left the company, as well as a few members of his writing staff.
Things were starting to fall apart for Destiny’s development and after three years of hard work Bungie was in big trouble during the 11th hour.
Up next was the 2013 E3 Gameplay Demo being shown off in June.
And it was a hit.
The demo was simple and straight to the point on what to expect from the game.
While the final game didn’t perfectly live up to players expectations, the Demo really did do a good job of showing off what we’d be experiencing in the full game.
And it’s pretty rare to see an E3 demo actually represent the final product accurately but I gotta say, looking back and watching this video now, Destiny really does look, play, and feel like the E3 demo.
But, after the E3 demo, what came next was a delay.
After losing their lead writers and the need to redesign so much of the game’s story and mission structure, it was nearly impossible to launch the game in just a few months.
March 2014 would be the new target window for release.
Bungie management essentially created a super-team with some of bungie’s best developers to work on recreating the story, splicing and reworking old missions and cinematics into something cohesive to make that march 2014 launch.
Areas like the Dreadnaught and European Dead zone were cut from the game, characters like Rasputin, Osiris, and the Crow were either cut from the game or changed drastically to fit this new cobbled together storyline.
With March 2014 coming ever closer Bungie Management knew they wouldn’t be able to deliver so they negotiated a bit more with Activision to secure a release date of September 2014.
But that was it.
No more delays, no more extra time.
The game had to ship that year.
The goal now was to polish up the gameplay, create the director, and add deeper customization to the character, classes, and weapon types.
The Hype surrounding Destiny continued to build with thousands of fans speculating and theorizing about what more was in store for us in the full release.
The Alpha was playable on the Playstation 4 and Playstation 3 after E3 2014 ended.
Those who wished to try out the alpha were able to register at GreatnessAwaits.
com Codes for those accepted were sent out on June 12th and those lucky enough to get in, were able to create a character, level up to level 8, play Story Missions on the Cosmodrome, and play a small selection of the Crucible Multiplayer.
Bungie released a whole bunch of statistics related to the Alpha Test period including 6.
4 million games since it launched.
(picture of stats) The Destiny beta released in July just 2 months before the release of the game.
The beta released with most of the content released in the Alpha, but added a bit more.
The entirety of the cosmodrome patrol space, along with all of the cosmodrome story missions, the devil’s lair strike, and a few more crucible maps and modes.
At the time of the beta, most players thought this was just a small slice of the game to come in September.
Little did players know that this would be roughly a fourth of the entire Destiny Vanilla Game.
That being said, players still stayed pretty optimistic while heading into Destiny’s launch, despite the concerns around things like the loot and what endgame will be like.
Biggest concern being Rahool’s engram decryption being broken or bugged or maybe intentionally messed up that somehow made it past both the Alpha and Beta and would still launch busted on release day.
Destiny 1 has officially launched.
September 9th finally came and the game shipped.
Everyone who was anticipating the launch of Destiny now officially had their hands on the full game and began their adventure into the world of Destiny.
4 Locations were explorable.
Earth, The Moon, Venus, and Mars.
Because Destiny was so highly anticipated by the masses and it was bungie’s first game after their massive success with the Halo games, I feel like most people expected Destiny to be a lot like Halo.
Meaning how the campaign is structured.
But the campaign actually played a lot differently than a Halo game and very much like a diluted version of the Halo missions.
As if they were Halo missions reworked for the MMO style of Destiny.
This proved pretty unpopular and for good reason.
I don’t think anyone can deny that the actual story being told throughout the game’s campaign was very weak (which was most likely due to the last minute rework of the story and Joseph Staten, the lead writer, leaving the studio after bungie decided to reboot his story).
But where the campaign story was weak, the worldbuilding was amazing.
Through the game’s environmental design on each of the Destinations like the black garden, the hellmouth on the moon, the steppes on Venus, the visuals always impressed and made you curious.
The backstory to the characters and enemy types were also beyond intriguing to say the least, spawning lore channels to discuss the mystery’s and piece together the story similar to the Dark Souls franchise.
The sense of mystery and feeling a part of something bigger than what we were seeing on the surface is what helped keep the interest in the game in regards to the Destiny Universe.
Of course the amazing Gunplay and fluidity of the supers for your guardian definitely helped keep people around.
You’ve heard it a million times before, Destiny just FEELS good to play and it always has.
From the weightiness of the guns that felt impactful with each trigger pull, to the power fantasy of bladedancing your way through a group of enemies, it always felt GOOD.
Strikes proved to be pretty popular with the community.
Fighting through dungeon-like experiences to defeat a menacing boss at the end, all while improving your gear, your power level, and your skill lent to lots of replayability.
PvP was arguably really good during this time too.
It felt very much like halo in some regards, but it also felt like it mixed some other elements from other FPS games as well.
Like Call of Duty meets Halo with ultimates, i.
I know for sure Destiny was able to bring over a ton of Call of Duty fans because as a call of duty player who had lots of friends on cod and watched cod related youtube channels, almost all of them switched over to destiny as their main game to play for at least a little while if not permanently.
The PvP being a big reason for that.
Balance was of course pretty wack, but it was admittedly a ton of fun, especially in this early stage before crazy metas formed and became a bit more competitive.
And PvP would go on to receive lots of content updates over the next year including maps and modes because of it’s popularity and necessity to keep a large portion of the playerbase around.
Now for probably the most important thing to happen in Vanilla Destiny.
The vault of glass raid.
Before Destiny released Bungie went on the record to say that the Vault of Glass raid was to be the most challenging experience that they’d ever created and that it was an experience that would take hours to complete, but would provide the ultimate rewards, and ya know what? They weren’t wrong.
The Legendary weapons were unmatched with things like fatebringer and vision of confluence, and the exotic exclusive to the raid was top tier and unique.
The challenge to complete this raid was very high early on, back when most of the community just weren’t ready for something like it.
Complex (for the time) mechanics in a 6 man cooperative setting while in First Person was essentially a brand new thing.
Raiding, something exclusive to MMO’s up to this point had never been introduced into an FPS before and more importantly, on Console.
Destiny was a lot of gamers first time getting a taste of the MMO experiences once exclusive to PC and I think it’s fair to say that Vault of Glass helped skyrocket Destiny’s popularity to a much higher level.
Its what helped keep the game alive long-term by giving hope for the future of the game to build off of the foundation set by vault.
Destiny’s launch wasn’t perfect.
Endgame progression was rough and people resorted to things like the infamous Loot Cave in order to farm loot effectively, the story was a bit lacking and ambiguous, the mission design was more than weak compared to bungie’s previous work in halo, yet there was something special there and many of us saw it.
Destiny was and still is a game that is brimming with potential and still hasn’t quite fully reached it, however destiny has improved over the years for the most part and built upon its foundation in major ways.
Subscribe so you don’t miss the next part of this series where we’ll cover the first 2 DLC’s.
Dark Below, and House of Wolves.
Leave a like on this video if you enjoyed, and I’ll see you in the next one.
The Dark Below & House of Wolves DLC’s gave us all hope for the future of Destiny.
From the moment players knew about them, speculation about what these DLC’s would include would run wild amongst Destiny players.
But not all was hopeful.
Others who were unimpressed with the Launch of the game would be more than skeptical of the DLC’s.
Players would find outside of the map glitches to access areas that would be exclusive to the Dark Below and House of Wolves, furthering the idea that Dark Below and House of Wolves content were cut from the original game and sold separately in the DLC’s.
But before we talk about the first DLC, the Dark Below, we need to briefly discuss the game during the three month gap between Vanilla’s launch, and Dark Below.
The state of the game in Vanilla was rough to say the least.
The grind was definitely real.
Getting above the XP level cap of 20 would require Gear with “Light Level” attributed to it.
The maximum Light Level gear would grant you level 30, but this could only be acquired through the Raid, Iron Banner, or an exotic piece.
But mostly the Raid.
Vendor gear or gear earned anywhere else in the system would cap you at level 28 so doing the endgame PvE and PvP content was the only real way to reach maximum level.
This would spawn the Forever 29 Meme that so many players were victim to if you couldn’t get just one more piece of armor that would bump you up to level 30.
There’s a similar struggle now with Pinnacle grinding in Destiny 2, but again, this gear had to be obtained in Endgame content only, and being level 29 was a much larger problem for you to compete.
You did 50% less damage, and took 50% more damage being just one level under 30.
The increase to survivability and damage output by being a level 30 was so high that this “stuck at 29” problem was a much bigger one that what we face today with the pinnacle grind.
On top of this grind, weapons and armor both needed to be leveled up simply buy gaining XP with them while equipped and required so many materials to upgrade.
Weapon parts, Armor Materials, Planetary materials, Ascendant Shards.
The grind was too much.
Now would the Dark Below address any of these Quality of Life issues? No and I don’t think many people expected it.
Being only 3 months after Launch, the dev team likely didn’t have time or a solution to solve these problems players had with the game before the Dark Below would launch, but a solution would still come later in House of Wolves.
The only change that would alleviate some of the grind was the ability to buy planetary materials from a vendor in the tower rather than having to run material farms on the planets.
A much welcome addition.
In the meantime, Dark Below content and gear would be bumped up to the new Light level of 32 in so doing would sunset all of the hard earned and grinded for gear from Vanilla.
All your Vault of Glass gear? Sunset.
All your old Legendary weapons? Capped at 300 damage.
And exotics required an upgrade from xur which would reset it’s stats requiring players to restart their grind on those weapons or armor pieces.
So the same Vanilla grind continued into the Dark Below.
Now as for the content in the Dark Below.
We received a short 5 mission campaign focused on the moon.
A few post campaign questlines centered around The Knights of Crota and helping the new vendor Eris Morn stave off the Hive from the solar system.
2 New Strikes, the Will of Crota and the Undying Mind, 4 new Exotic weapons, 9 new exotic armor pieces, 3 new PvP maps, a vendor refresh, and a new 6-Player Raid, Crota’s End.
Dark Below gets a lot of flack for being one of the worst DLC’s in Destiny history, but looking back at the amount of content we received it’s actually not bad.
LOTS of Exotics, plenty of new PvP maps, 2 of the best strikes in the game, and a raid.
Love it or hate it, Dark Below brought a decent amount of NEW things to do, especially when it came to the core activities.
The Crota’s End raid launched on the same day as the expansion so, many players were eager to get in there after their great experience with the Vault of Glass.
Crota’s End wasn’t always easy, in fact Crota’s End kicked all of our asses early on.
Just the intro to the raid with the lamp encounter was enough to prevent many of us from continuing on.
Survivability was probably the toughest part of Crota’s End.
Things like the Ogre’s on Totems would prove to be majorly difficult.
The Deathsinger was unbelievably tough due to the health of the knights that surrounded her, and Crota was a real bitch to get done, especially thanks to his many glitches.
Despite the raid not aging well as time went on, and this next point not aging well either, initial impressions were that it was harder than Vault of Glass but of course, the Level Grind, and the chance at new loot was too strong to stay away.
It wasn’t long though that many different cheeses were found in pretty much every encounter.
Lamps could be cheesed by being launched ahead, Totems could be cheesed by despawning adds by getting out of the map, and crota would go through many different cheese methods.
Most notably the ethernet cable glitch which caused him to stay kneeled down indefinitely.
Only a couple of these cheeses were patched, while the bridge encounter stayed the same.
The raid became one of the easiest once we learned there wasn’t a whole lot of depth to the mechanics and you could take a lot of shortcuts.
The Dark Below was essentially just an addition of content to the foundation of Vanilla Destiny and while the content did quench our thirst for a little while, it was clear that the game would need a bit more of a shake up to the Quality of Life and core systems.
Thankfully, House of Wolves would do just that.
Prior to the House of Wolves launch, news would come that it would not include a raid, and instead would receive 3 man endgame content.
This was a major disappointment to fans who had expected nothing less than a raid experience based on previous leaks and worried that endgame would be shallow.
More shallow than it kind of already was.
But thankfully the House of Wolves did just enough things RIGHT that it would be received much more positively than Dark Below.
The Marketing campaign was turned up a notch for House of Wolves between some great trailers, and reveal streams showing off things like Prison of Elders and Trials of Osiris.
And a week before House of Wolves launched, Bungie brought a new public event to the game known to us as the “Wolves Are Prowling” event.
This would basically be just massive waves of Fallen that when cleared, would provide a hidden chest in the area that contained a new consumable.
A Treasure Key.
Treasure keys would be used later in the DLC to open chests after the end of a Prison of Elders completion, so during this pre-launch week, EVERYONE was treasure key farming.
Cheesing that farm as well by sparrowing out of the area and coming back to open the chest.
It was a glorious time.
When House of Wolves finally did launch in May of 2015, we were greeted with some welcome quality of life changes.
Most notably, Etheric Light.
Etheric Light allowed us to infuse all of our previous gear from Vanilla and Dark Below to the current maximum Light Level of 34.
This was obviously great as all of our previously earned gear was relevant again, and of course, new endgame gear would drop at the same level.
The only problem with this was making the new gear a little bit obsolete as our previous gear was much better than House of Wolves gear, for the most part.
Why take a Six Dreg Pride when you could use your Fatebringer? But again, on the flipside, ALL the content in the game was relevant to farm.
Vault of Glass, Crota’s End, and of course, the new House of Wolves content.
Speaking of which what did House of Wolves bring to the table.
Well it brought another relatively short campaign with much better writing that Vanilla or Dark Below.
Featuring great characters like Petra Venj and Variks, two favorites who continue to be favorites in the game today.
It brought only 1 new strikes, the Shadow Thief featuring Taniks.
This was his first introduction before he was reused 4 times after this.
A new social space, The Reef, 3 New exotic weapons, 9 New exotic armor pieces, 4 PvP maps, a vendor refresh, Trials of Osiris, and the Prison of Elders endgame activity that featured 6 unique bosses with mechanics.
Most notably and importantly though, Skolas who was essentially the 3-man raid boss of the DLC.
House of Wolves definitely wasn’t light on the content, and I think more than made up for not including a Raid.
Now if House of Wolves did ship with a raid I think we’d be talking S tier expansion.
But even without the raid, House of Wolves added plenty to keep us busy, and made just enough changes to Quality of Life, even if they were temporary, that it kept us happy.
Now Prison of Elders was great, in my opinion, but did start to get a little bit boring as the weeks went by.
The only real reason to play was for a chance at one of the 3 new exotics, all of which have become fan favorites I might add.
Skolas receiving a nerf to his health pool was a MORE than welcome change because initially that fight was damn near impossible to do.
But, one of the biggest and probably most important additions during House of Wolves was Trials of Osiris.
Trials of Osiris was the competitive mode the game was missing for so long.
3v3, 1 life, deathmatch.
Some argue that Trials was a bad thing from the start or was not needed, but I’d say that even with the flaws it brought to the game, I think it skyrocketed Destiny’s popularity in many ways.
It was not only addicting and fun for most players to try out, but viewership on twitch related to trials was HUGE and growing quickly.
The Loot related to Trials of Osiris was top tier as well.
The weapons were great, and the armor was by far the best looking armor in the game at the time.
Emblems, Shaders, a trip to the coveted LIGHTHOUSE, all of it was desirable.
Now like I said, there were some drawbacks to Trials being added.
What used to be a more casual experience, PvP began to be a lot more sweaty in general thanks to Trials and the focus on “the Meta”.
Last word, Thord, Firebolt grenades, Felwinter’s Lie, Final Round Snipers, all these horrible things became the norm, and in some ways the enjoyment of PvP suffered.
Despite minor grievances, House of Wolves is what I consider to be one of the best times in Destiny’s History.
All content in the game was relevant thanks to Etheric Light, PvP was at it’s Peak interest amongst everyone, Prison of Elders was mostly a success, and the core activity content was plentiful.
House of Wolves was the best content we had to date.
Well until this came along… The Taken King CHANGED Destiny Forever.
Before we even got our first glimpse of the Taken King during E3 2015, players of course were excited to see what this soon to come LARGE Fall Expansion was all about.
Bungie had hinted at a 2.
0 Update that would change the game in major ways, and after the success of the House of Wolves, speculation amongst fans, as usual, ran wild with possibilities.
But I don’t think players were prepared for that E3 Taken King reveal.
So like I said, during the Playstation Showcase in E3 2015 we would get our first look at the Taken King expansion and man did it look good.
Oryx was the center of the marketing.
The big baddy of the expansion.
Someone who we have heard so much about, especially during the Dark Below revolving around Crota, Oryx’s Son.
New Supers, New Destination, New Campaign, SO many new strikes and crucible maps.
It was shaping up to be more of a sequel rather than an expansion.
The content coming in The Taken King looked great, and anticipation was at an all-time high for Destiny fans.
The 3 month wait after the reveal almost killed us, but, a week before Taken King’s Launch, we got the 2.
So many systems were overhauled.
XP Leveling and “Light Leveling” was the biggest change.
Where in Destiny 1, gear would need to have “Light” attached to its values in order to go up levels, instead with Taken King we would have XP Levels separate from our light level.
XP level rose from level 20 to level 40, and our light level was associated by the value on our gear.
Infusing was a part of the game similar to how we did it with Etheric Light in House of Wolves, only this time instead of Etheric Light, it was whichever piece of gear was higher would now act as the “infusion material”.
Ghost Shells now contributed to your light level, class items too, and a new item called Artifacts that served as mostly just stat boosting fodder.
Initially with the 2.
0 Update, infusion wouldn’t quite bump the level up to what the infusion material had.
It wasn’t 1:1.
For example, a 310 helmet being infused into a 300 helmet would bring it up to something like 305.
It kind of split the difference.
There were calculators made online by players in the community that would do the specific math for you if you were curious about exactly how it worked and it was kind of frustrating that it wasn’t just 1:1 infusion.
That was an almost immediate complaint about the new system.
However the groundwork was laid for a system that would basically remain the same for the next 7 years of the franchise and despite 1:1 issue, players would receive the change to leveling very positively.
Weapons stats were changed in pretty major ways.
Damage Falloff was now more of a thing.
In Year 1 weapons range stat was almost meaningless.
There was little damage falloff if any, and now with the 2.
0 update, things like hand cannons and auto rifles would be hit pretty hard.
A plethora of Perks would be changed in their lethality like Final round, Shot package, rangefinder, field scout, hammer forged, pretty much all of the top tier perks from year 1.
Exotic weapons and armor pieces would receive a bunch of changes as well across the board.
Some were buffed, a lot of others were nerfed, but most of the changes were well received.
Year 1 Activities were “questified” to be a lot more new player friendly and streamlined in their delivery.
Our Ghost’s voice actor was replaced by Nolan North for every line in the game.
Bounty slot size increased to 16.
The Vault was converted into a much larger and better organized version of itself.
Kiosks were added for shaders, emblems, sparrows, ships, and Exotics, a precursor to the Collections system in D2.
Banshee would receive a lot more use with his new ARMS Day quests where you could work towards a new shipment of weapons that could potentially be god rolls.
Factions would now be something you would Pledge to in order to rank up through passive progression, receiving their own exotic class item quest after reaching rank 25 with them.
Currencies were simplified between armor materials being 1 universal material rather than 3 separate ones per class, and Legendary Marks would replace the old Crucible and Vanguard Marks.
PvP would receive New Additions like the new Mercy Rule to end blowout games, new Post Game drops exclusive to PvP, New Medals would be added to the game, Balance changes made to various existing game modes as well as adding 3 New Game modes, Mayhem, Rift, and Zone Control, as well as 8 PvP maps.
And a whole bunch of other quality of life changes.
0 Update was huge and we hadn’t even got the expansion yet.
But it was only 1 week away.
During the 2.
0 update week ahead of launch was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in Destiny PvP.
8 new maps with massive sandbox changes just felt like a new game, in the best way possible.
It was familiar, but so much experimenting was going on.
There was no meta during that week and everyone was just having fun.
And after 7 days of experiencing this new and improved Destiny, we would finally get the Taken King expansion.
Let’s take a look at what we got.
We received 8 Beefy campaign missions focused on Oryx, and his Taken army, 8 Major Post campaign questlines, like the Taken War quests that had us fighting off taken champions around the solar system, The Wolves of Mars questlines, The Paradox Vault of Glass mission focused on some of the deep lore related to the Vault of Glass.
Various Exotic quests both obvious, and hidden.
And various secret questlines aboard the Dreadnaught with great lore and rewards.
4 fantastic strikes.
Fallen SABER, Shield Brothers, Echo Chamber, and The Sunless Cell.
All with brand new strike specific loot to chase and even old strikes would receive updated loot pools with specific weapons or armor pieces.
17 New Exotic Weapons, 12 New Exotic Armor Pieces, A big Vendor Refresh, New Iron Banner weapons and armor sets, New trials of Osiris weapons and armor sets, The Dreadnaught Destination full of so many secrets and things to do, including the first world World Boss style event, The Court of Oryx which was wildly popular.
Again, 8 PvP maps, 7 at launch and 1 more released after the Raid was completed and which raid was it? The King’s Fall raid, something that blew all of our minds when it released.
Nothing up to that point could even compare to King’s Fall.
Taken King truly felt like a whole new game thanks to not just the overhauls to core systems but the sheer amount of content.
It was truly massive.
Backing up a little bit to the campaign.
The mission design and writing was at it’s best up to that point.
If the positive improvements during House of Wolves campaign made you happy, then the improvements in Taken King’s campaign had you ecstatic.
Much Deeper narrative fleshed out with Cutscenes with real character development, Unique locations all around the Dreadnaught and even new parts of Old Locations.
A buildup and finale that was satisfying, and then sent off with Taken King’s best piece of content.
The King’s Fall Raid.
Like I mentioned, nothing had even come close to the level of complexity, difficulty, and length of The King’s Fall raid prior to its release.
Vault of Glass was great, but King’s Fall, was an EXPERIENCE.
It truly earned the Title of A RAID.
The sheer amount of distance traveled, champions defeated, failures along the way, followed by the grand finale of sending oryx hurling into space.
Defeating Oryx was not only one of the best moments in Destiny, but one of the best moments in Gaming.
The Taken King’s amount of content kept everyone busy for quite a while.
Not just because of so many new things to do, but again, because it felt like a new game.
Bungie would even surprise everyone with a new exotic quest or new secret to find almost every week.
Like the famous Black Spindle mission, which was released a week after Taken King launched, or a month after release in October we got the Sleeper Simulant questline that was just as difficult as the original Outbreak Prime quest in Rise of Iron.
Trials and Iron Banner were still active and popular due to their Major Draw with new Armor Sets and Top Tier Weapons, and we even got a surprise Holiday themed event, Festival of The Lost.
We had small holiday things in year 1 like jackolantern helmet consumables and at Christmas rahool gave us all a present, but this right here, was our first real Holiday event.
Releasing a week before Halloween, Festival of the Lost was a total surprise, nothing was announced ahead of time so when you booted up the game that Tuesday, nobody knew we’d be greeted by Halloween decorations and trick or treat questlines.
Eververse had just been added to the game about a week before Festival of the Lost and of course, our quest began with her in the Tower.
The quest related to the event had you collecting candy that you would turn in to Eva Levante once it was filled and she’d reward you with a mask.
There were 17 possible masks and in order to Keep your mask after the event ended, you would need to upgrade it to legendary which you could do with Glue.
You could get a few of these for free by dismantling your free legendary mask you received at the beginning of the event, but mostly this was an incentive to buy some loot boxes from eververse that could contain glue or a new mask.
The most sought after Mask at the time was Blue Skull mask which everyone spent way too much money trying to get, as well as buying the Thriller emote.
From their inception, Holiday events were designed around spending money at eververse but we didn’t quite know it at the time because it was all so new to us and we were too busy reveling in the event.
It was at this point that many players were very impressed with the post-Taken King content and consistent updates but of course speculation began about the next DLC in December.
There was going to be a DLC in December right? Well that was what we all thought, but in early December it would be confirmed by Bungie that there would be no DLC coming in December or even in the Spring, and instead would shift to Event based content for the year.
Senior Designer at Bungie, Derok Caroll would announce that “With the Taken King we are moving to a more event based model – things like Festival of the Lost and then smaller events such as Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris every weekend… Rather than doing these giant, monolithic DLC packs, this way everybody who’s an owner of Taken King can enjoy these things.
” This was disappointing news as fans always just wanted MORE Destiny.
Taken King had the game in a great place, and to see DLC’s not coming for the year was tough.
With this announcement though would come the announcement of another major event.
Sparrow Racing League.
Sparrow Racing League would be a very popular event that went on for 3 weeks.
6 man racing on 2 different tracks made specifically for the event.
It came with a whole host of new sparrows to earn with new models, some of the games best shaders and emblems, sparrow horns, as well as Sparrow Racing Gear which of course granted bonuses to your sparrow racing capabilities.
You had the option to purchase an event booklet which was basically a equivalent to earning a Title in D2.
The booklet provided you with rewards for completing various challenges and kept record of your fastest times on the tracks.
SRL was very popular, but players were still massively disappointed that there were no plans for DLC Expansions throughout the year.
Around the same time as SRL we would get some other new things.
First was some updates to 15 old Exotics from year 1 that would bring a lot of changes to how they worked in comparison to their year 1 counterparts.
As well as a few new exotics like the Twighlight Garrison for Titans and the ATS/8 Tarantella for the hunters.
Challenge mode came with the update for King’s Fall that would reward players with 320 Light level artifacts guaranteed.
Challenge mode would wind up being a bit underwhelming from a gameplay perspective since most of the “challenges” were either so easy they could be ignored, or were already the default strategy in the case of Oryx.
Things were pretty quiet for the next 2 months of Destiny at least from a new content perspective, but we would get another even in February called Crimson Days.
This event was of course the Valentine’s Day Event and featured a new 2v2 elimination game mode where you could earn the new rewards from the event.
An Emblem, couple shaders, a new ghost shell, and have some fun.
The catch of the 2v2 event was that if your teammate died, you would receive the “broken heart” buff which would max out your stats across everything.
Armor, Recovery, reload speed, everything.
Eververse was of course packed with new emotes and it went on for only a week.
This event in particular was pretty minor all things considered but man if I didn’t enjoy it.
But after that week, it would be pretty slow going for another 2 months.
Then we actually got some pretty good news.
We would be receiving a brand new Update akin to a Season in Destiny 2.
This Update was known as the April Update as it released in April 2016.
It would bring a whole heap of new weapons, some new armor sets, most popular being the Taken Armor set, it would bring a brand questline with a strike on the moon, the Blighted Chalice that had us hunting down Malok.
The Winter’s Run Strike would get a revamped taken version with a new boss and some new loot.
Prison of Elders would get a revamp known as the Challenge of the Elders which was a shorter 3 round version of the prison of elders with some new Taken Champions to take down.
This brought along a scoring system that would track your high score and require certain amounts of points to complete specific bounties that would reward you with updated versions of the original Prison of Elders exotics.
There were new paths made to earn maximum light level during this update rather than just being left to Raid and Trials of Osiris players, you could now earn max level gear in many different activities.
Challenge of Elders, Nightfalls, Court of Oryx, Raids, Iron Banner, Trials, and to top it all off, 1:1 infusion rates were added to the game which was probably the best quality of life change that has never gone away since it was introduced.
Major Sandbox changes were made for the sake of crucible balance primarily, however they did change the Sniper Rifle ammo economy to be much lower and this was a bit of a controversial change as it made the King’s Fall Raid a bit tougher to do since Snipers were the most useful weapon throughout all the encounters, and by extension strikes became a little bit tougher as well.
Overall though, the April Update was a major Win for Bungie and the Playerbase at the time.
It wasn’t a lot of content, but it was enough to bring players back for a little while and satiate our thirst for new content.
All in all the year of the Taken King was known as the Content Drought year and while I can definitely agree that it was tough in some regards, I wouldn’t say it was a year with NO content.
There were updates and additions to the game, Holiday Events were brand new at the time and were pretty good during this year.
The April Update was solid, but yes despite being a dryer year, the Taken King itself was a phenomenal expansion.
And during the off months of the year it gave players a chance to breathe a bit, try out other games like the Division or Overwatch and allowed us to be excited again for what would come next in Destiny… The Rise of Iron.
After the year of the Taken King, thirst for new content had reached its peak.
Players were enjoying the April Update, but we still didn’t know if we would be getting Destiny 2 in 2016, or if it was delayed.
Well 2 months later during the Playstation E3 conference we would get our answer.
Our first look at Rise of Iron told us SO much about what to expect.
New patrol space, new social space, new enemy type, new raid, and so much more.
And on September 20th, 2016 we’d finally get to play The Rise of Iron.
The game itself didn’t really change a whole lot with Rise of Iron, which was fine because the Taken King and it’s following updates had the game in a really good state.
The majority of changes were to the sandbox most notably with weapons.
Class abilities, armor, things like that were barely touched.
But we got exactly what we wanted.
A new full-sized expansion.
We received a pretty decent sized campaign with 5 missions.
Several post campaign questlines focused around Siva, as well as a few great Exotic quest missions like the Kvhostov quest.
We only got 1 brand new strike which was a bit disappointing, but it was a pretty good one.
We also had an older strike brought forward to current levels and SIVA-fied with The Abomination Heist.
Each strike brought along some new Strike specific loot as well.
5 new exotic weapons, 5 Exotic Armor Pieces, a vendor refresh, New Iron Banner and New Trials of Osiris weapon and armor sets.
World loot pool refresh with some of the best looking armor and weapons in the game.
A triumph book which also contained some incredible armor and weapon sets, along with ornaments.
The plaguelands destination that included part of the old cosmodrome, and grew out into a massive quarantined zone full of Spliced Enemies, Lava filled hellscapes, and Siva Chambers, with new public events that allowed us to wield iron lord axes.
Similar to Taken King’s Court of Oryx, we had its equivalent in Rise of Iron with Archon’s Forge.
Another world boss public event zone that had its own unique armor set.
4 PvP maps, a new PvP game mode Supremacy.
And of course.
A brand new Raid.
Wrath of the Machine.
Rise of Iron was a treat.
The expansion content (while not as large as Taken King’s) was substantial and the state of the game was the best it’s ever been.
Players were back to being busy trying out new things like the new artifacts.
In Taken King artifacts were just throwaway stat bumps, but in Rise of Iron they were game changers.
They would grant you extra grenade and melee charges for the cost of losing your super, or one would turn enemies into allies when you melee them, and one of them would remove the sprint cooldown on your guardian and you know damn well I had that one equipped 24/7.
Small secrets and easter eggs were plentiful this time around as well.
The New social space had things like climbing felwinter peak, or ringing bells in a certain order for an achievement, and plenty of new hidden discoverings around the plaguelands with unique rewards.
Crucible was in a very good state thanks to new maps and modes on top of the sandbox shake up.
The strike playlist was more rewarding than ever and included skeleton keys that could open up chests for better chances at strike specific loot.
The weekly story mission playlist provided some improved rewards as well.
And the wrath of the machine raid was just pure fun.
Not as big or complex as King’s Fall, but by far the most enjoyable Raid to replay in D1.
And the loot found inside was genuinely top tier.
Rise of Iron was a big success, and this year we kind of knew what to expect going forward.
We knew there wouldn’t be smaller DLC’s just like last year during the Taken King, and that we’d be getting smaller updates and events for the year.
First of which was the return of Festival of the Lost.
This year was essentially the same as last year only this time with some new masks, and some fun new cosmetic items to chase down.
As well as some more fun interactions between the NPC’s.
One mini questline involved you trading your box of raisins from last years event.
Make trades between a few of the NPC’s and eventually you’d get one of the best shaders in the game.
Another questline had you tracking down one of the sweeper bots’ brooms and searching around the tower until you could find it.
And when you did, it actually became a sparrow which was awesome, but unfortunately it expired once the event ended.
And this year there was a whole lot more focus on Eververse.
Just when you thought eververse couldn’t get any worse, Bungie kept pushing the envelope.
This year weapon ornaments were added to the game and 2 of them were found in Treasure of the Lost Loot boxes.
As well as some neat ghost shells, a new sparrow, and of course another sought after mask.
This one, was pretty sick.
If you paired this mask with the wolf howl emote, it would glow blue for a short time.
The event was arguably better than last years with some fun new easter egg style miniquests, but eververse was more prominent so it kind of left a bad taste in players mouths this year.
But the next bit of content in December was very well received because not only did Sparrow Racing make a return, a new event called the Dawning arrived.
The Destiny 1 Dawning is regarded as Destiny’s best ever Holiday event we’ve ever received.
The event brought a brand new triumph booklet that contained Sparrow Racing and Dawning themed items and this year it was FREE, as well as items required to open up presents at the tower.
3 of these chests would contain some really great rewards like, Treasures of the Dawning loot boxes, Exotic engrams, and the beginning of a new quest to get the Nova Mortis and Abbadon Exotic machine guns.
Treasures of the Dawning aka the loot boxes this time were much easier to get without purchasing anything.
There were 2 new armor sets inside them, a whole bunch of new ornaments, new sparrows, new consumables, sparrow horns.
And like I said it was easy to actually earn these loot boxes that would contain these items rather than having to purchase them with silver.
Sparrow racing received 2 more maps to the rotation, totaling to 4 maps and received some new questlines with Amanda Holliday as well.
Strike scoring was added to the game which was huge.
New medals and challenges were added with it as well as Zavala having new vanguard elite bounties like the Sunrise bounty that could grant you with an exotic.
2 more strikes were updated and changed.
Taniks Strike became Siva-Fied, and The Nexus became basically a mini templar fight from the vault of glass requiring the use of the Relic.
These versions of the strikes were fantastic I’ll add.
Ice Breaker was updated and brought forward with the update as well.
Destiny 1’s first and only Dawning event would be SO successful that many people claimed it was better than the April Update and I’d say they might be right.
It did so many things right.
It was rewarding.
It was cool.
And it gave us a lot of fun memories.
The game was continually getting the right amount of quality of life improvements, especially to the core game with things like Strike Scoring.
PvP was in a generally good spot.
Events like Trials and Iron Banner were flourishing.
Iron banner especially because the changes made to it would make it as close to perfect as you can get.
With the inclusion of a better bounty and progression system, and some seriously fantastic weapons and armor, as well as being hosted at the Iron Temple by Lady Efrideet.
It reached its peak during this year.
Players were expecting crimson days to make a return again, however this year bungie had other plans.
Deej would make a statement about having other things cooking up for us and would be taking up the Development time instead.
Players were a little disappointed, but speculation began about what this meant.
Was it a smaller DLC like House of Wolves? Something Like the April Update? Or something else entirely.
Well what we got was The Age of Triumph which is by far the best update Destiny 1 would ever receive, outside of an Expansion.
Releasing in March 2017, Age of Triumph was the cherry on top of what was already Destiny at it’s peak.
Age of Triumph brought forward the Vault of Glass and Crota’s End Raids.
It made changes to various encounter, especially in the Crota’s End raid.
It provided new Challenge modes to those raids as well and things like emblems and ghost shells that didn’t exist in them before.
Each Raid received brand New Ornaments to go along with their armor sets which are by far the best looking armor sets in Destiny history.
And each raid would now be part of a weekly featured rotation where all of the challenge modes would be active and drop rates were increased for their respective exotics.
Challenge modes would grant you brand new Exotic Level primaries that had elements just like they did in Year 1, as well as a brand new armor ornament.
But it wasn’t just raids that got amazing changes.
It was also things like Strikes.
Nightfall Strikes got the addition of what’s called Daybreak Nightfalls which is basically Mayhem Nightfalls.
Increased recharge rates across the board for your character, and all 3 elements would be the active burn.
These were just a TON of fun.
Also weekly Nightfall XP buffs were re-included from year 1 which would increase XP gains for the week, and would make your head have a blue flame around it.
Weekly story mission and Strike playlist received increase loot drop chances and Treasure of Ages rewards which were loot boxes which would drop by doing the core playlist activities.
The Age of Triumph Record book was the best record book we’d ever received and brought along so many new rewards for veteran players and collectors.
Only 1 negative thing came from the Age of Triumph update and that was the change to the special ammo economy in PvP.
When you respawned you would have no special ammo and would need to be picked up exclusively through ammo boxes around the map.
This wouldn’t have been such a bad thing because on paper I think it’s a fine idea.
However Sidearms could bypass this change because their intrinsic perk allowed them to respawn with a magazine of ammo, and weapons like Ice Breaker and Invective existed which regenerated ammo.
If they never made that change I think Destiny 1 would be in a damn near perfect state.
However Age of Triumph was a net positive for the game and is considered the best update for D1.
Around this time Destiny 2 would get announced and a reveal stream would be happening in May 2017.
And man were the hype levels high.
How could Bungie screw this up.
Destiny 1 is in such a great state.
I’m sure Destiny 2 is gonna be a masterpiece…right? Destiny 2.
The sequel is finally announced and the reveal stream is right around the corner.
Players are more than eager to just get a look at this game.
Will it feature the same classes? Will it feature a bunch of new subclasses? New Planets? What will the story focus on? What should we expect from this highly anticipated sequel? So many questions and theories were tossed around until finally the day of the reveal stream came.
Let’s get a quick overview of what we saw in the reveal.
It kicked off with a Zavala backstory cutscene which is a personal favorite of mine.
This trailer alone had so many players hyped, even the live audience was getting into it.
It really set the tone for most of the stream.
Just pure hype.
Luke Smith would give a brief breakdown of what Destiny 2 meant to them and why they decided to go with a sequel.
Finally, after his ramblings, Luke Smith presented us with the first Mission of the Destiny 2 campaign.
Now the Homecoming mission is absolutely top notch and seeing this massive step up in the campaign’s presentation had us all expecting this level of quality to remain throughout the entire new campaign.
Spoiler, that wouldn’t be the case.
Fighting through the old tower, having so many interactions with Characters and NPC’s, the game looked totally badass.
Next we’d get a Vidoc presented to us about Destiny 2 becoming a game about loss, and recovery.
A big baddy named Ghaul who wanted to steal our Light for himself, and most importantly we got key details on some of the big changes coming to the game.
For starters, the weapon slot change.
Kinetic, Energy, and Power weapons.
*clip* We also got a look at the games new supers Dawnblade, Sentinal, and Arcstrider.
Things that easily impressed everyone.
A brief overview of the new campaign, the return of Strike missions, and then we get to the Crucible.
4v4 across all game modes.
HUD display showing players supers, power ammo pickups, a more of a focus on competitive gameplay.
We’d get a look at some of the new Worlds to explore and what activities awaited us on them.
Additions like Adventures, Lost Sectors, New Public Events, and New NPC’s associated which each planet.
Then we got a look at some changes to how Clan Systems would be more integrated into the game, and a look at Guided Games.
The somewhat failed Raid matchmaking system.
The Reveal stream had so many people hyped, myself included, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say there were some red flags that had players a bit worried.
2 major things being the weapon slot changes, and 4v4 competitive focused PvP.
PvP players were more positive about the weapon slot changes being 2 primaries and 1 heavy or special weapon, but most PvE players really worried about how boring the PvE sandbox would become.
A worry that was very valid.
4v4 competitive focused PvP, well PvP sweats were more optimistic about the new competitive focus, but it brought a lot of worry to the more casual crucible players.
And I don’t mean like really casual players, just those who enjoyed the laid-back crucible experience in D1.
I would say I was a bit more casual in PvP, however I still went flawless over 50 times in D1 trials, but I enjoyed the laid back pvp games after my team and I would finish a raid or something, and now with it being 4v4, that wouldn’t be possible, and so much of the conversation around it was that it was designed to be more competitive, had us worried that it would no longer have that FUN factor.
Destiny PvP not being designed to be competitive is what made it so fun in D1.
About a month later it would be announced by Luke Smith in an interview with Mashable that “There aren’t random rolls on weapons anymore.
Better Devils is a crucible hand cannon, and what it has on it is what it has on it.
” “ How can my second, third, and tenth Better Devils hand cannon be interesting? That’s a question we should be asking and answering as quickly as we can.
We have ideas.
” This announcement brought a bit of a divide in the community as there were those who were happy about the change, likely a much more casual side of the audience, and then, a much larger majority who immediately saw the problem with this change.
Random rolls on weapons and armor were a MAJOR part of the endgame.
Looter shooters lose a lot of the excitement when the loot you get is static and stats never change no matter how many times you get them.
This was a major concern going into the game.
But a month later we would get the Destiny 2 Beta in July and players would finally get their hands on the game and see if some of their worries were overblown or if the game actually was able to pull off some of the core changes.
The beta brought the Homecoming story mission, The Inverted Spire strike, The Farm social space, and 2 Crucible maps.
Impressions were pretty mixed.
Going back and listening to a lot of players first impressions of the Beta its clear that players were trying to stay optimistic, but a lot of there was a lot of hesitancy in saying much positive or negative things.
A lot of players also felt let down.
I was one of them.
Much slower recharge rate made PvP slightly more balanced but less enjoyable, getting maybe 1 super in a match right in towards the end.
PvE was an absolute bore.
Waiting over a minute for your grenade to recharge, less fun supering enemies, and the double primary weapon change just did not feel good.
It wasn’t fun.
PvP the double primary system felt a bit more alright, but teamshotting became the meta almost immediately.
Players just peaking 1 lane ADS-ing down a hallway waiting for someone to pop out.
It was so much less exciting than D1 PvP, even if it were more “Balanced” The Strike took place on nessus and was cool the first time around, but really didn’t wow anyone.
It felt pretty much the same as any D1 strike and players had hoped we’d see more significant improvements and changes to strikes.
But this one just wasn’t all that special.
The biggest highlight was the Homecoming mission which we were able to fully playthrough this time.
It was really good and gave players a lot of hope that the rest of the campaign would be at the same standard.
But that was the Beta, mostly underwhelming and brought more concerns to light going into the full game.
But like I said, a lot of people wanted to be wrong about their worries.
Wanted Bungie to have some tricks up their sleeves and blow us away.
Wanted Destiny 2 to live up to the expectations set by Destiny 1 by the end of Year 3.
September 6th 2017.
Launch day had arrived.
Players were playing through all the new content, looking forward to the Endgame.
And to our surprise, it happened a bit too quickly.
The Red War campaign.
How was it.
Initially impressions were that it was better than Destiny 1’s vanilla campaign, which it was, but it didn’t quite stack up to even the Taken King campaign for a few reasons.
First was that the rest of the campaign after the First Homecoming Mission just did not maintain a similar high quality.
There were a few exceptions like the one where you disable the Almighty’s weapon, but for the most part, they were very much just like the Vanilla D1 story missions.
Pull out your ghost, clear adds, door opens.
Do it again in the next room.
The new characters like Hawthorne weren’t really received too well either.
Hawthorne wasn’t really a likeable character despite Bungie’s best efforts to make us like her.
Failsafe, Asher Mir, and Sloane were mostly disliked.
I know there’s a few people who like them and that’s fine, but for the most part they were more annoying than anything.
Devrim Kay was the only new NPC people really liked.
The Vanguard had a lot more appearances and went off to each of the new planets to cope with the loss of their Light.
There wasn’t a whole lot to do with them on their respective planets though.
Most of their story arcs were wrapped up in a couple missions and just felt rushed.
It also was kind of hilarious that these guys went off and fled earth to cope with losing the light when our Guardian was able to get our Light back in the first 20 minutes of the campaign.
Really comical writing there that kind of kneecaps the whole idea of Destiny 2 being a game about loss and recovery when both the Loss and Recovery happens in just 20 minutes.
A new social space to rebuild our strength.
A place that would’ve been cool to see slowly turn into something bigger and more fleshed out, yet only after a few hours would be replaced by just another tower.
So much for losing our old one, we have a new backup one that’ll do just fine.
Such a missed opportunity.
Ghaul was a somewhat interesting villain.
He didn’t simply just want to take our Light, but he wanted to be chosen by the Traveler.
He needed his plan to work out in specific ways to fulfill his desired outcome, whether it be for greed or to fulfill some kind of prophecy he believed he was a part of, it was fine.
Killing him in the final mission of the campaign felt a little silly.
I mean he was so hyped up and talked about being the Destroyer of Worlds and he died to one lowly guardian.
Just a bit deflating.
When you kill him and he transforms into this Light Monster I thought maybe this could be him in his raid form, hell yes.
The traveler explodes and kills him.
It’s such a goofy ending.
The various new planets we visited were cool to explore.
Nessus being a fan favorite, as well as the EDZ.
Titan and Io were fine as well, just a bit small and less interesting to most people.
Although Io really got more interesting over time and Titan had some cool Hive Lore implications.
The new activities were pretty middling across the board.
Adventures were small post-campaign missions that dove into the backstory of various characters like Failsafe, Asher, and the other NPC’s.
Lost Sectors were mini underground boss dungeons that were cool the first few times but weren’t particularly rewarding or fun to rerun.
Public Events were mostly the same.
A couple new ones, but a lot of returning ones as well.
Strikes were pretty bog-standard as far as Strikes go.
Taken King’s strikes were far better designed than the ones here.
A few of these strikes were hated right off the bat like the Exodus Crash and Lake of Shadows.
Besides Savathun’s Song, they just felt samey.
A bit disconnected.
The new Raid, the Leviathan was a bit of a brighter spot.
The location design was unique, the expansive area and underbelly were awesome to explore.
And Calus was a great final boss fight.
The rest of the raid had some interesting more puzzle oriented encounters but were a bit boring and kind of underwhelming.
Only one Boss Fight in the whole raid.
Coming off of Something Like King’s Fall and Wrath of the Machine, Leviathan just wasn’t even close to comparing.
The loot however was probably its highlight.
Midnight Coup, Inaugural Address, Legend of Acrius, all pretty good.
But the sandbox of the game in both PvE and PvP was just unbelievably boring.
We felt so much less powerful than we did in D1.
Movement was slower across the classes, especially Titans who had their shoulder charge nerfed significantly.
It hardly propelled you forward at all so it couldn’t be used for traversal.
Recharge rates from things like your super, grenade and melee were so dreadfully long that mostly all you were doing was shooting every single enemy with your primary.
And this is when enemies were just much more bullet spongey.
You and your teammates would all be shooting 1 cabal centurion for 10 seconds to kill him, and that’s just one add.
Supers were mostly nerfed having a very short duration.
Golden gun especially which ran out in like 4 seconds.
Despite the new additions like Titan Barricade, Warlock rifts, and Hunter dodges, we just felt weak, and double primaries just made it that much more boring.
Endgame was lacking.
Raids, Iron Banner, Trials of The Nine were all neutered in both their gameplay and rewards.
Endgame became just Public Event farming and with Bounties being completely removed, Public Events would provide the best loot and XP.
The state of the endgame was just bad.
There was just nothing to chase.
Armor was changed in the worst way possible.
Whereas in Destiny 1 we had all sorts of stats to focus in order to make proper builds.
Intellect, Discipline, and Strength.
All stats you could focus your armor around in order to reduce cooldowns.
Destiny 2 allowed for no such thing.
Armor was only, Resilience, Mobility, and Recovery.
And the worst part is, armor was statically rolled just like weapons.
Armor from each vendor or planet was always the same roll.
If you wanted specific stats you had to wear that exact armor.
No chances of getting the better looking armor you wanted to wear with stats that you liked because it was simply impossible.
Vanguard and Crucible reputation was replaced with the Token system.
A system that was akin to a silly slot machine that lacked the RPG aspect of increasing a vendors reputation.
In D1 you would earn things for leveling up tower npc’s rank.
Things like quests would open up, special ships, shaders, weapons, armor, was now replaced with tokens that would give you weapons and armor yes, but because they were static rolls, what was the point of getting them again? They couldn’t be used to farm for a god roll because that horizontal progression was removed from the game.
Iron Banner and Trials of the Nine suffered the same consequences to this design.
Not only both being much watered down versions of their D1 counterparts in terms of gameplay.
But having Armor and Weapons with static rolls, most of which were not good.
Token Systems everywhere, even on our World Vendors.
Factions were stripped of their great passive progression in D1 and were now part of a monthly event called Faction rallies which had an interesting premise but fell flat on its face because now there was no reason to pledge to a faction or be loyal to one.
Only now you would pledge based on what reward there was that week.
And because 1 faction would always have an option better than the others, 80% of players just pledged to that one and it changed every subsequent month.
Hawthorne would give you free loot so long as you had clan mates who did the specific activities.
So you could get free trials and raid gear by never stepping foot in either activity.
The Shader system was one of the worst changes.
Where in D1 once you unlocked a shader you owned it forever.
In D2 you had a finite amount of uses for them.
Sure they could be applied to individual items now, but what if you wanted a new look but still wanted the shader you had on in case you wanted to switch back to it? Too bad.
Hope you get lucky in some eververse loot boxes.
OH MY GOD eververse was at its worst here.
Not only were every best looking cosmetic items in there, but so were all the good ships, shaders, sparrows, and ghost shells.
Bright engrams loot boxes could be purchased that would even give you mods, furthering the pay-to-win narrative building at the time.
And while you could earn bright engrams every few XP levels, Bungie was caught throttling players XP gains in order to encourage more Bright Engram purchases.
It was just bad all around.
Destiny 2 just didn’t feel like a sequel, it was an expansion for Destiny 1 yet had it’s foundation completely replaced and stripped from all it’s depth.
Players were not happy and withing a month players were leaving the game in droves and making various rants on Reddit, YouTube, and other places.
Bungie knew they dropped the ball with D2 and in late October would make a statement regarding changes they would be focusing on making for the game moving forward.
Better incentives for dedicated players to actually replay things like Strikes, Adventures, and Lost Sectors.
Crucible tweaks to both rewards and balance.
As well as announcing Private matches for early 2018, something Destiny 1 already had and was missing here for some reason.
Buffs to various exotics as they were feeling all around weak in the sandbox.
And some changes to the mod system.
Most of these changes wouldn’t be coming anytime soon, like spring 2018 at the earliest and the game was in absolute shambles.
All players could do was wait.
And if Content in the first DLC was good, then maybe we wouldn’t notice the long wait… Destiny 2 launch was a failure.
Maybe not a financial failure, but in the eyes of many die hard Destiny 1 fans it absolutely failed.
Within just 3 weeks Destiny 2 lost over 78% of its playerbase.
It took players just 3 weeks to fall out of the honeymoon period with Destiny 2 once they realized they really just wasn’t much here.
The game was shallow and boring.
Nothing like what we were promised.
Bungie had dropped the ball hard and it would take a LOT of work to come back from this disaster of a launch.
As previously mentioned, Bungie addressed some of the issues in a blog post, saying they’re working hard to figure out how to solve the problem of No Endgame, and Lack of Reason to Play, but this was a bad sign.
Why after launch are you now asking these questions.
Why throw away all that progress and improvements made to Destiny 1 over the course of 3 years, why not take what you learned and build off that instead of giving us this garbage.
But about a week after this 78% drop off in playerbase Curse of Osiris would be officially announced, coming in December.
Understandably not too many people were excited for this one based on the horrible state of the game.
Would Curse of Osiris be able to address some of our concerns if any regarding the state of the game? We’d just have to wait and see.
And after 3 very long months, Curse of Osiris launched.
Curse of Osiris.
Where to begin with this one.
Being released just 3 months after launch, it wasn’t very reasonable to expect Bungie to address all of the problems with the game, but man they really didn’t even address any of them.
Actually that’s wrong.
They addressed a few of them like “grinding towards meaningful gear” and added Heroic Strikes, a Destiny 1 feature, back to the game.
Only 2 problems.
HOW they addressed these things.
When Bungie heard us say we wanted meaningful things to grind for, Bungie only heard, we just want to grind.
Not realizing that those 2 things are not the same.
We grinded in Destiny 1 because it was worth it.
And in Curse of Osiris, we had the same terrible loot issues as Vanilla, but now they took 5 times longer to get.
All that changed was now we had to farm 15 public events, 10 strikes and kill 500 enemies on wherever.
You get the point.
Just busy work uninteresting grinds that only existed to give the illusion of a grind.
Heroic Strikes were added back but not only were they paywalled behind the expansion cost, all they did was bump up a few of the health bar numbers for enemies and bosses and call it a day.
No modifiers were added like we had in D1, no strike scoring, no strike specific loot.
Just increased health to enemies.
It was a joke.
But I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself here.
Let’s take a look at what came with the $20 dollar price tag.
We received a new very short Campaign consisting of 6 story missions but only 3 were actual real missions.
1 of them was a rerun of the Pyramidion strike but just with different dialogue to fit the new narrative.
And the other 2 were just Infinite forest repeats from the first time we went in there.
There were technically 2 more missions that seemed a bit random, and that’s because they were just Strikes that would be reused and dumbed down for the campaign before we actually played their real version in the Strike Playlist.
The Infinite forest where most of our campaign time was spent was a unique idea executed in the worst way possible.
Not only could you just run past all the enemies in most cases to open the next forest link, but it took so long.
There was nothing interesting about it beyond it’s first impression of a somewhat procedurally generated area.
The Story focused on Osiris who returns after years of exile.
Osiris discovers that the vex from both past and future timelines are amassing on Mercury.
We are sent by Ikora to find Osiris and determine if he can be a trusted ally in the fight against the vex.
Nearing the end of the Campaign after slogging through the missions we encounter Panoptes, the Vex mind who oversaw the Infinite Forest and managed its simulations.
And we took him out in no time.
Osiris gives us a congratulations and his thanks, and then he disappears into the Forest.
Almost nothing is explained.
Nothing made any sense, and players just felt confused by the whole experience.
And once the campaign was done, what else did we get.
Well, 2 Strikes were added.
The tree of probabilities and A garden world.
Now the Garden World was by far one of the better strikes in the game, but Tree of Probabilities was just another long run through the Infinite Forest until the end.
And as noted earlier, we’d already played through a dumbed down version of these strikes in the campaign.
We had a couple new Adventures and Lost Sectors added on the new Mercury Destination which was absolutely tiny.
3 new Crucible maps were added.
A raid Lair, Eater of Worlds.
12 exotic armor pieces, 5 exotic weapons, half of which weren’t even new.
2 of the weapons were just Destiny 1 weapons, and 1 more of them was just Red Death but in hand cannon form, so only 2 new ones.
And 6 of the 12 armor exotics were Destiny 1 exotics.
And these exotics were locked behind the curse of Osiris paywall.
It was such a slap in the face after touting before launch that Destiny 1 weapons and armor needed to go away and Destiny 2 would be a fresh start with all brand new gear to earn.
But that really wasn’t the case.
The plan was just to resell us our old exotics from D1.
Now Post-Campaign content was almost the same as Vanilla.
Like I said Bungie didn’t address any of our problems with the game in meaningful ways.
And again, to give credit where it’s due, its unreasonable to expect them to in only 3 months with such a tight release schedule.
But man did it still feel awful.
Now there were new things to chase post-campaign.
Prophecy Weapons that required you to grind X amount of strikes, public events, and adventures to unlock and man these things were definitely not a fun grind.
Unlocking all of the weapons would also unlock the Sagira Shell which was nice though.
Brother Vance was the new vendor on Mercury who oversaw things like the Prophecy weapon grind.
And boy did they ruin his character here.
In D1 a mysterious disciple of Osiris hinting at deep lore in Destiny 1 with his dialogue and shrouded in mystery, became an utterly annoying Osiris fanboy.
I mean just take a look at these clips and compare.
Bungie took their first steps to improve the value of repeat weapon drops in the game with weapon Masterworks.
This allowed weapons to get +10 stat increases to things like reload speed, or stability, but because these weapons masterworks could be rerolled, there still wasn’t a reason to farm for one with your preferred masterwork so they ended up being a flop.
The only positive that came was orbs generating on multi-kills.
Bungie also gave us their first Raid Lair.
A mini raid set within a different part of the Leviathan.
Now the final boss, Argos was a really great fight.
Much better than Calus from Leviathan.
It required lots of teamwork, the Arena was sick, and the soundtrack wasn’t bad.
But as a raid experience it was absolutely awful.
Prior to Argos you would play hopscotch for 5 minutes, clear a group of adds, and then bam.
You’re at Argos.
Loot was even more disappointing.
The armor was the exact same as Prestige Leviathan armor only now it was increased light level.
And only 2 new weapons could be obtained.
A grenade launcher, and a shotgun.
Both of which were mediocre at best.
And as good as the Argos fight was, this raid lair was a bit of a flop and did NOT impress.
Loot and Endgame was still a massive problem for the game.
Just like with Vanilla D2, after beating the Leviathan there just wasn’t anything to do.
And in Curse of Osiris after beating Argos, it was the same.
But Eververse brought the goods.
Lots of new loot there.
Nearly 100 new items.
New shaders, sparrows, ghost shells, armor sets, ornaments, emotes.
It’s clear this is where all the effort went for the DLC.
Now would it have been nice to have some of these ornaments, ghost shells, ships or sparrows be rewards for things like the Raid Lair, or a part of some Strike Specific Loot? Sure.
Destiny 1 did that.
But of course, Eververse got all of it.
In a world where the New Raid Lair didn’t even get a new armor set and was a reskin of the first raid, Eververse got 3 brand new armor sets.
And if that doesn’t tell you how much of horrible impact Eververse has on loot in this game, then I don’t know what else to tell you.
Curse of Osiris was an absolute flop and after having 78% of players drop off after D2 vanilla, Curse of Osiris helped sink those numbers even further down.
Look Destiny 1 Vanilla was far from perfect but at least it had an Endgame and PvP was chaotic fun.
And it’s first DLC Dark Below didn’t make swift changes to the game either, but even IT had an endgame.
D2 had no endgame.
PvP was locked to only 2 playlists.
A quickplay moshpit, and competitive which didn’t even have a ranked system.
With the release of Curse of Osiris we had entered the Dark Age of the franchise.
Where D2 launch touted 8.
4 million players, that number was down to just over 600,000 just weeks after Curse of Osiris launch.
Many players who returned for Curse of Osiris dropped the game just as fast as they returned after playing it.
And for those who stuck with the game through Vanilla into Curse of Osiris, it was getting harder and harder to stick with it.
Around this time, we would get the Dawning Event.
One of the most beloved Events in Destiny 1.
How did it convert to Destiny 2? Well not great.
The event was similar to Destiny 2 in that you did mini quests that would give you items to gift to an NPC, and in return they’d give you a gift.
Dawning engrams were similar to these gifts but of course could be purchased at eververse where most of the cool items were.
New armor Sets, new sparrows, ships, shaders all that jazz.
Mayhem crucible was brought to the game for the Event which was a nice change of pace compared to the very slow regular PvP playlist, and Snowballs were added around the game to things like strikes which were a fun little bonus.
But with the current feeling players had with the state of the game, it kind of sucked a lot of enjoyment out of the experience.
Especially with the core focus of the event being more eververse.
Bungie would continue to nerf anything that resembled fun throughout the next month to much backlash from the community.
At every turn bungie was just making mistake after mistake until finally I think it donned on them that something needs to change.
Big changes in fact need to happen.
And in January 2018 bungie would address these issues.
They talked about adding improvements to Raid armor stats, Strike scoring, gameplay improvements, competitive PvP actually having incentives, bringing a 6v6 pvp playlist, rumble and mayhem game modes would be returning, and buffs to various exotics.
But man this cycle was just getting exhausting.
Time went by slowly.
We got strike scoring for nightfalls only in February with the release of Crimson Days and was received to very little applause.
But it was appreciated that the Nightfall was no longer Timed and instead the Timer counted UP and rewarded you for going quicker.
As for the rest of Crimson Days, it went about how you’d expect.
The 2v2 game mode from Destiny 1 made a return, and rewards were just ghost shells and shaders.
Basically just Eververse focused cosmetics.
There was a nice bonus of receiving double bright engrams during the event, but that was about it.
Crimson Days came and went without much fanfare.
But then one of the more important updates to the game would release in March.
Something called the Go-Fast update.
So many damage buffs to all weapons in PvE.
50% buffs even to various weapons.
Supers became faster and more lethal.
Movement speed in general was buffed for all jumps.
Warlocks glide, Hunters jump, and Titans Boost jumps were all quicker, Titans even had their Shoulder charge back to being used for movement like it was in Destiny 1.
Abilities and Super recharge rates were buffed to come back roughly 25% faster also.
The game felt so much better thanks to this change.
PvP was a bit more hectic.
Much faster paced, not as fast as D1 at times, but faster than it was, which at this point was a good thing.
Rumble was added back to the game which was probably not as good as it could’ve been.
Terrible spawns really soured its return.
Trials of The Nine and Competitive had the radar disabled.
One of the more controversial changes for sure, wasn’t received too well if we’re being honest.
Iron Banner would be 6v6 Control and was better received than the change to Trials.
Sure it was a bit more chaotic and less balanced but despite a few people disliking it, it was more of a positive change, than a negative one.
Nightfall Loot got some new additions.
Strike Specific Loot was back! Only in Nightfalls however.
Weapons like D.
A, Silicon Neuroma, and Duty Bound were added to the game.
A few ships, sparrows, and ghost shells were added as well, but they left a lot to be desired.
But any step towards Strike Specific loot was a positive one.
Was the game better after this update.
Yes, but far from perfect.
Many of the Loot and Endgame issues still remained, but that wasn’t necessarily the goal of this update.
And this update accomplished what it set out to do.
Increase our strength, bring back some of the fun, and give us a taste for what the future of the game would look like.
A month later we would get our first look at the next DLC.
The Reveal stream started with a look at Escalation Protocol, the new Court of Oryx or Archon’s Forge style activity.
Taking place on the new Destination Mars, Escalation Protocol appeared to be a much more challenging version of those activities.
Much Higher light levels, a few more mechanics, and some worthwhile rewards.
Escalation Protocol would bring 3 armor sets, 1 for each class, and a host of new weapons, most notably the shotgun which would go on to become a fan favorite because of it’s raw strength.
The latter half of the stream focused on Crucible and the addition of Valor and Glory ranks.
Valor was a basic rank up system that granted you rewards from Shaxx the more points you got.
Ranking up to maximum Valor would allow you to reset your progress and do it again for more rewards.
Glory was exclusive to the competitive mode and acted more like a traditional ranked system.
You rank up for getting wins, and lose rank for losses.
Reaching the maximum Glory Rank would net you a unique reward.
One of the best pulse rifles in the game at the time.
A confirmation that Private Matches would be coming in Warmind, and they discussed some of the specifics about buffs to Exotics.
Things like Graviton Lance which would become crazy good once it released.
The reveal stream was more or less a success.
Based on what they discussed and showed off, it looks like some of our initial concerns during launch were finally being addressed.
Difficult endgame content with worthwhile loot to chase in regards to Escalation Protocol.
And PvP finally getting some much needed incentives in both quickplay and competitive.
More buffs across the board was a nice cherry on top.
Warmind was looking like it might actually have something to bring players back…maybe.
But we’d have to wait til release to see if our hopes would be a reality.
And 2 weeks later on May 8th, it released.
We got a brand new campaign focused around well.
one too many things.
Rasputin, Nokris, Xol, Ana Bray and the Braytech backstory.
The story was all over the place and it was only told in 3 story missions as well as 2 strikes repurposed for story missions.
It was…awful to put it lightly.
The story and lore in the game at this point was in the gutter.
There was absolutely no interest in the world of Destiny as far as story goes.
Lore Channels on YouTube definitely felt the side effects at this time.
The game was full of retcons and wasted story potential for characters like Xol and Nokris who were relegated to strike bosses, and Rasputin was now on Mars for some reason.
Ana Bray was written in such a way that kind of ruined the cool lore surrounding here from Destiny 1.
And yeah, the story was not great at all.
The strikes as far as gameplay goes were much improved compared to the rest of the game.
The Nokris Strike is one of my personal favorites in that regard, and the Xol strike was quite a spectacle.
And again I just want to add, man these characters deserved to be part of the same raid or something because what we got instead was…phew.
Playstation players got an extra strike, the Insight Terminus, which was on par for the rest of Destiny 2 strikes.
Meaning it wasn’t all that special.
2 Crucible maps were added to the game, the Mars Destination along with the Escalation Protocol event, and another Raid Lair set in the Leviathan.
Spire of Stars.
Warmind continued the trend of bringing back Destiny 1 exotics.
6 of the 11 Exotic armor pieces were from Destiny 1 and 3 of the 6 exotic weapons were Destiny 1 weapons.
Bungie took some more steps in creating a better balance between grind, and meaningful loot chases.
Power Levels were increased to 385 with the introduction of a more strict Soft Cap being 340.
Getting up to level 370 would be the next hurdle, then a much more Endgame Focus grind in order to get 385.
Clan Engrams were nerfed to only provide rewards up to 340 meaning players would actually have to play the game for some of the better loot drops.
Reaching maximum power level actually meant something now.
Especially with the addition of Escalation Protocol.
The enemies in that activity were very high level so getting as high as possible was almost required if you wanted to snag some of the best loot.
Things like exotic weapon catalysts were added that would provide bonuses to the weapon after doing a bit of grinding and helped add a bit more meaning to those exotics.
And speaking a bit more on Escalation Protocol it was fantastic.
Finally a post-campaign grind actually worth leveling and working towards.
The armor and weapons were top tier in the game, and the activity was always challenging, even when you were matching the level.
Escalation Protocol gave players a lot of hope that the game was heading in the right direction.
Bungie also added some more difficult exotic missions.
One for a new scout rifle called Polaris Lance which was similar to Nechrocasm from Destiny 1.
It required being leveled from a legendary to an exotic weapon through some grinding.
Worldline Zero required some collectible farming, and Sleeper Simulant had quite the lengthy, almost too grindy questline to obtain.
The raid lair, Spire of Stars was an improvement over Eater of Worlds having a bit tougher mechanics and an actual jumping puzzle.
As well as the hardest Raid Boss in the game.
Maybe even the franchise up to that point.
Val Ca’uor was a real bitch and required the most perfect execution.
It was well designed for sure, but not necessarily fun.
At least in most of the community’s eyes.
Spire of Stars had a much lower completion rate than Leviathan or Eater of Worlds which was probably due to its difficulty, but also due to it not being that fun or worth running.
That’d be because of the loot which was underwhelming on all accounts.
The Sidearm was pretty bad, the fusion rifle was alright but pretty underwhelming, and the armor was basically the same as Eater of Worlds.
Another raid where there’s no new armor.
A few months after it’s release, we’d get quite the unexpected surprise.
The Whisper of The Worm exotic mission.
A mission that is basically akin to a dungeon these days that was timed.
It was filled with jumping puzzles, secrets, and a very tough challenge.
The reward was ever so sweet.
Whisper of the Worm which was basically the Pre-Nerfed version of Black Spindle aka Black Hammer from Destiny 1.
The Whisper of the Worm Mission would be a massive win for both Bungie and the Players.
It set another standard for more things like it to come in the future of Destiny 2.
Warmind was a success all things considered.
Was it perfect? Absolutely not.
The story was awful, faction rallies, Trials, and Iron Banner were still lacking, Strikes were still in a bad spot, eververse was still invasive, and various other aspects of the game were still very frustrating.
Overall though, Warmind was received positively, especially to those who were avid players that enjoyed Destiny as a hobby.
It delivered where it needed to most.
Gameplay, PvP, and loot.
Next we’d get another surprise event.
Solstice of Heroes, the last send off before the Fall expansion.
This event would be focused around the Red War Campaign missions but on a higher difficulty.
Pretty much Legendary campaign difficulty like what we have now with Witch Queen.
You worked through various challenges to achieve a legendary gear set, and Moments of Triumph style objectives would let you unlock other vanity items like Ghosts Shells and Sparrows.
Solstice of Heroes was a great event and left year 1 of Destiny 2 in a much better place than it was throughout the first half of the year.
Destiny 2 Players were feeling content at this point, the game was taking the right steps.
And players now had reason to be excited for the fall expansion.
Backing up a little bit, prior to the release of the Whisper of The Worm mission in July, we’d get our first look at the Fall Expansion for Destiny 2.
It was revealed to us yet again with another Bungie Livestream.
Beginning with a brand new Vidoc.
The Vidoc began showing off one of the new Destinations.
The Tangled Shore.
A Wild West inspired extension of the Reef.
Filled inside the area, a new enemy type.
The Scorn who bared resemblance to the Fallen, but actually a lot more unique than anything we’d seen before.
SIVA and Taken were absolutely great, but the Scorn looked appeared to be much more unique.
They would be led by 7 Barron’s, the leaders of the Scorn.
We’d get a brief tease about the set up for the story.
A prison break in the Prison of Elders, and Cayde-6 would be involved.
Next we’d get a look at some of the sandbox and core system changes.
The Weapon System was being reverted back to the Destiny 1 Weapon System, but expanded on, allowing 3 Shotguns if you wanted.
Players could already imagine the combination options.
On top of that, Random Rolls on weapons made a return from Destiny 1, and new additions to masterwork options which would bring more investment back to weapons.
Supers were up next, 9 new ones were added.
Blade Barrage, Nova Warp, Thundercrash, and more.
They looked so good, and it’s clear FUN was in mind when designing them.
A new weapon type was added.
Combat Bows, which who can be mad at that.
Everyone loves bows in video games.
Then we saw Gambit.
The hype levels were very high for this.
PvPvE is something we’ve always wanted, and players thought if we ever saw it, it would be something like the Darkzone from the Division.
But Bungie surprised us with Gambit and it looked even better than we imagined.
Slaying as fast as possible in the PvE, and Defeating opponents when Invading for the PvP.
Next we got a look at the New Raid which Joe Blackburn cited having the MOST Bosses they’d ever had in a raid before.
And it was set on the next new destination.
The Dreaming City.
An area that would also be an endgame patrol space filled with secrets and lore to discover.
Similar to the Dreadnaught.
The Dreaming City would also be a dynamic Destination, affected by players actions in the Raid over time.
We’d get a look at Collections.
The next major quality of life improvement to the game that showed all your previously obtained weapons, armor, and vanity items.
As well as acting as the Exotic Kiosks from Destiny 1.
Triumphs were added which were like permanent Record Books from the past and extended to each Destination and Activity in the game.
Titles were added to the game to show off your achievements under your Gamertag.
And most importantly, the Vidoc ended with Bungie saying that Forsaken is being made for the players who Love Destiny.
Those who play it the most, and that pursuits for those players would be the focus.
The rest of the reveal stream expanded on those sentiments.
The developers were taking the feedback they’d received during year 1 and addressing all of it in MAJOR ways.
Endgame challenge and pursuit would be a big focus of Forsaken.
We’d even get a hint at what would come after the expansion.
Cue the Annual Pass.
3 Separate releases throughout the year, less story campaign focused like Curse of Osiris and Warmind, and instead would be Endgame focused.
Building more long-term replayability into the game as the year goes by.
We’d get very few Details besides that, and their names which would be changed for the full releases to be called Season of The…whichever, rather than these DLC style names.
And the stream would end with a look at the 2.
0 update which was FILLED with quality of life changes.
Fast forward a few months, past the Whisper Mission, and Solstice of Heroes, and September 4th would arrive.
The Forsaken Launch was here.
Forsaken brought us a brand new very large campaign.
It had 5 Unique missions which is roughly the same as previous DLC’s, however the campaign also included 6 Baron Hunts where we’d be hunting down various Scorn Leaders and these missions took us to unique locations and were actually pretty tough thanks to their higher power level.
And a few of the Baron Hunts were filled with some awesome storytelling contained within each mission.
Like the Mindbender learning how to create his own throne world Each Mission of the Forsaken Campaign was well varied taking us all across the Tangled Shore, and wrapping up with a few final missions on the Dreaming City.
The Story in Forsaken was a Massive Step up from the Vanilla, Curse, and Warmind.
The E3 2018 trailer earlier spoiled a big part of the storyline by showing us that Cayde-6 would be killed, but I can’t deny that the trailer sparked a lot of interest in players to return.
And as the story began, and the Prison Break in the Prison of Elders ensued, Cayde-6, our Hunter Vanguard would be killed by Uldren Sov, and we were hellbent on revenge.
A very simple revenge story plotline that would evolve into something much bigger.
In our quest for revenge we learned of the Scorn, the Undead Fallen race.
How and why the Scorn chose to follow Uldren, and deeper lore surrounding the Awoken Race, and a curse being brought upon the dreaming city by an Ahamkara Wish Dragon.
All of this story had much more connections to the Taken King story from Destiny 1 in major ways and honestly, you could exclude Red War, Curse, and Warmind from your memory, and the Forsaken Campaign would fit perfectly as a sequel to Taken King.
Forsaken finally felt like the sequel to Destiny 1 we should have got.
Uldren being possessed by Riven, Mara Sov’s absence until the post campaign questlines, and New Characters like Spider, a Fallen gluttonous crime lord, who was a total badass.
And more interactions with a fan favorite character.
Petra Venj who just like she did in House of Wolves, steals the show once again with another great performance.
Losing Cayde-6 was tough, but his death set the tone for the expansion.
Forsaken was not just a revenge story.
It was a return to Destiny 1’s tone.
The grittier, high stakes narrative was back in Destiny, and after Destiny 2’s very adolescent story telling in it’s first year, the return to this style was a welcome one.
Forsaken brought 4 brand new strikes.
The Hollowed Lair, where you slay the Fanatic Fikrul, Uldren Sov’s right hand Scorn leader.
Warden of Nothing which had us returning to the Prison of Elders from Destiny 1, only this time MUCH more expanded upon and fleshed out.
Warden of Nothing was the ultimate homage to the area we loved from Destiny 1, and because the Campaign all began with a Prison Break inside the Prison, it tied in perfectly.
The Corrupted which was a Dreaming City Strike that unlocked after the World’s First completion of the Last Wish Raid, where we’d free another Tech Witch, Sedia from her Taken Corruption.
And Lastly, the Broodhold strike which was a PS4 exclusive.
In this strike we’d venture deep into a crashed Hive Warship, destroy the nest inside of it, and defeat the Brood Queen.
All of these strikes were top tier, a big improvement over anything in Destiny 2 at the time.
They were full of so much story, intense gameplay, and massive in scale.
2 brand new Destinations which even to this day are some of the best we’ve ever gotten.
The Tangled Shore was the extension to the reef we’ve always wanted.
Ever since Destiny 1 we wanted to explore the shores of the reef, see what’s out there.
And with Forsaken, we got to do just that.
Asteroids tethered together, enemy hideouts, mysteries around every corner, and truly just a beautiful location.
And the Dreaming City, the Endgame patrol zone that was filled with secrets.
And to quote Bungie, it’s as if the Dreadnaught and the Vault of Glass had a baby, left it on the doorstep of Peter Jackson, and he raised it on his own.
An absolutely perfect description.
The Dreaming City was the awoken home world having awe-inspiring architecture, magical crystal caves, and towering mountain ranges.
The Dreaming city would also be where most of the post-campaign content would lie.
Things like Petra Venj missions that would send you to discover more secrets in the Dreaming City, and would end with us communicating with Mara Sov through the oracle.
And some more Secret missions that had us entering the taken throne world.
The Dreaming City was dynamically changing too.
Each week the Taken Corruption would get worse after the Curse cycle began after Riven was Killed in the raid.
Not only would the Dreaming City look different, but new quests, public events, and secrets would open up each week of the cycle.
Also on the Dreaming City we would see another Public Event style horde mode similar to Escalation Protocol with the Blind Well.
It was fun, but not near as good as Escalation Protocol.
It might have had a better reception if there were some more incentives to run the activity.
It didn’t have its own unique armor set or weapons like Escalation Protocol which was a bit of a shame.
You still got loot, but it was the new Dreaming City weapons and armor which were great on their own, but you could get that loot from any activity on the Destination.
Forsaken brought us the first ever Dungeon to the game.
The Shattered Throne.
A 3-man mini raid like experience filled with bosses, puzzles, and secrets.
The reception to Shattered Throne was overwhelmingly positive.
The Dungeon experience was the perfect middle ground between Strikes and Raids.
And would prove to be a very important piece of content for the future of the franchise following its success.
The only shame about Shattered Throne was like Blind Well, it also didn’t have its own Weapons or Armor sets, with the exception of the Wishender exotic bow.
And finally Last Wish.
The most expansive raid in Destiny history.
Bungie did a lot of hyping this raid up prior to release and they didn’t underdeliver at all with this one.
The Last Wish raid succeeded for a number of reasons.
Number 1 being its direct tie in to the narrative of the expansion.
This is something Taken King and Rise of Iron did really well with their raids, but with D2 vanilla, Leviathan was still cabal themed, but there was no mention of Calus in the game prior to hopping aboard the Leviathan.
He was hinted at in a collectors edition book and that was it so it felt a bit disconnected, until we pieced things together in the lore a bit later.
And the Raid Lair’s for both Curse of Osiris and Warmind continued the Calus story and were not themed around their expansion content at all.
Last Wish corrected this issue by being a massive quest to save the Dreaming City.
Saving corrupted Tech Witches, defeating champions, unlocking the vault to Riven, and finally defeating Riven, and destroying her heart.
The one who possessed Uldren to begin with and set off the events of the entire expansion.
Riven was a badass villain.
Last Wish was a badass raid.
The encounters were the most complex we’d ever seen and the challenge to complete it was the highest it’s ever been.
World’s First took over 18 hours to complete and only 2 teams have the 24 hour emblem.
Last Wish would go down as probably the best raid in Destiny history.
Riven Legit especially was the best boss fight we’d ever had.
Forsaken also brought some content for the Crucible.
4 new Crucible maps 3 of which have been vaulted since Beyond Light, which is a shame because they were pretty great maps.
Breakthrough, a new game mode was added where you fought to hack each others vaults.
Sort of a tug of war style mode that bared some resemblance to Salvage from Destiny 1.
It was a bit imbalanced and wasn’t too popular.
Bungie would remove the mode from the competitive playlist within just a few weeks and it kind of died off after that.
Similar to Redrix’s Claymore in Warmind’s season 3, Forsaken’s Season of the Outlaw brought some new pinnacle weapons to chase.
Luna’s Howl and Not Forgotten, and another chance to earn Redrix’s Claymore with Redrix’s Broadsword.
Luna’s Howl and Not Forgotten were S-tier PvP hand cannons that required quite the grind to obtain.
Of course inside the competitive playlist.
But these weapons made the grind worth it.
Iron banner would get some updates and changes.
Power levels now matter in the game mode like they did in Destiny 1, and received a Brand New armor set and some weapons.
As well as having bounties.
Oh yes, Forsaken added back bounties from Destiny 1 and were everywhere.
Every vendor had bounties for better or for worse, bounties were here and initially made players very happy to see their return.
Trials of the Nine was shelved for now.
Removed from the game until Bungie could “figure out” what to do with it.
kinda strange, but not too many people cared since Trials was in a pretty bad spot prior to Forsaken.
I would’ve liked to see it stick around to be honest.
Give us a chance to play around with it in the new sandbox but, Bungie would go a different route as we’ll discuss in a future episode… Gambit would be added into the game and would quickly become a favorite amongst players.
I know I know, we all hate Gambit now, but there was a time when everyone was loving this mode.
Gambit brought 4 Maps on release, 2 of which have been vaulted.
Rest in Peace Cathedral of Scars you were my favorite.
There was so much to work towards in gambit.
It had its own armor set, 9 exclusive weapons, the Dredgen Title to earn, and the Malfeasance exotic weapon which required you to kill a rare version of a Primeval.
The Meatball as he was known.
He had an incredibly rare spawn rate so the pressure was on if you were lucky enough to fight him.
I grinded the hell out of gambit, I’m talking 5, 6 hours every night almost.
A fully complete mode that was a great addition to Destiny.
Another Pillar for the core activities.
Forsaken brought a bunch of exotics.
12 Exotic weapons, 4 of which were Destiny 1 weapons, and 12 Exotic armor pieces, all of which were brand new.
Forsaken Exotics were another upgrade compared to previous Destiny 2 exotics.
Most of them were overpowered which was imbalanced but was fun.
The game was fun again, exotics were actually exotic again.
Loot was in a much better spot now.
Forsaken brought a massive world loot pool refresh, accompanied by random rolls to weapons and armor.
And I think it goes without saying how much good this does for replayability for the game.
Leveling became a bit grindier.
Infusing your armor was expensive.
Enhancement cores, legendary shards, planetary materials, all of it was required to infuse so you had to pay a bit more attention to what you wanted to infuse, and thereby made leveling matter a bit more which was a good thing.
Core activities and endgame quests would now provide you with Powerful Gear that would give you those high power level drops.
A core system change that would stand the test of time as it’s still what we have in the game today, save a few tweaks and changes.
The weapon slot change gave players ultimate freedom over how they played, aaand most players chose to play like the Destiny 1 system.
1 Primary, 1 Secondary, and 1 Heavy.
But the options were there to mix and match how you wanted.
Forsaken was not just a success, but an absolute slam dunk.
It was make or break for Bungie in a similar way that Taken King was for Destiny 1.
But Forsaken even more so, because we’d already gone through overhauls and changes for Destiny 1 and people didn’t want to do it again unless Forsaken absolutely exceeded expectations.
And thankfully it did.
Again, Forsaken was a proper Sequel to Destiny 1.
Destiny 2, because of the quality of life changes basically reverted back to Destiny 1, but expanded on them with things like the weapon system, collections, triumphs, titles, and more.
The sheer amount of content that came in Forsaken is still the most amount of content we’ve ever received in an expansion.
2 Destinations, 4 Strikes, 4 Crucible Maps, 12 Exotic weapons, 12 exotic armor, the largest and best raid, largest loot pool refresh, a brand new core activity with Gambit, a massive campaign.
Forsaken was amazing and absolutely SAVED Destiny 2.
Players were returning to the game in mass, and would be looking forward.
The game’s foundation was better than it had ever been.
And players were excited to see what would come next.
On June 4th 2019, the same day Season of Opulence launched, the next expansion for Destiny 2 would leak online.
This one image was datamined from the PC game files and had many players in deep discussions online after its release.
And this leak was a bit hilarious considering in 2 days time Bungie had planned to reveal Shadowkeep properly on June 6th in a livestream, but the Dataminers beat them to it.
After 2 days of theory crafting and speculation online, we’d finally get to see it for ourselves.
The stream started off with an Eris Morn focused trailer that would set up the story of Shadowkeep.
Eris had discovered Nightmares from our past haunting the moon.
*moons haunted We weren’t really quite sure what Nightmares from our past meant yet.
Old enemies being resurrected? Relatives of enemies like Crota? What were “nightmares”? Luke Smith and Mark Noseworthy would take it from here.
Bungie finally came out and said it.
Bungie is an independent company, and are committing to the game being considered an MMO.
Now like they said, they have shied away from this term in the past and instead using terms like “shared world shooter” and “a living breathing world” but now it’s official.
They want the game to known as an MMO.
Destiny has always had MMO elements, Raids, weapon and armor grinding, crafting, social interactions in the world.
Destiny 1 was always considered an MMO-Lite experience because it isn’t quite massive for one, and it was instanced a lot throughout its gameplay.
You had to do things like, select missions and activities through orbit so it wasn’t fully seamless in an open world.
Classes were unique, but not quite as distinct as traditional MMO classes, but with Bungie now committing to this title.
What did it mean for the game? Deeper RPG buildcrafting would be returning to the game.
More stats and customization of those stats would be a focus.
This is such a stark contrast from the vision Bungie initially portrayed to us for Destiny 2 vanilla where things would be streamlined, and said things like “we don’t want players to feel like they made a mistake somewhere in customizing their armor or subclass” The next major highlights announced by Luke and Mark were, 1, “a single evolving world” meaning plans for more “dreaming city curse cycle” style content for the future of the game.
2, Cross-save is coming to the game 3, Destiny 2 is going free-to-play with all year 1 content being available to free-to-play players.
4, Seasonal Content can be purchased Al A carte 5, Destiny 2 is switching to Steam for PC 6, No more playstation exclusive content These announcements were pretty huge for the game.
Cross save has been a long requested feature, as well as no exclusive content and seasons being alacarte.
But the biggest and most important announcement here might be that Destiny 2 is going Free-to-Play.
More players get a chance to hop in, but free-to-play monetization would be a concern.
The impact this could have on the game could be huge.
Next up was a Vidoc going over the Nightmare Storyline and returning to the moon, but most importantly, we got a look at how the RPG aspect of the game would evolve.
0 including a bunch of new mod changes and a more stats to mess with than ever before.
The seasonal artifact that unlocks more mods, and would serve as an endless way to obtain power level.
Finishers would be added to the game that allowed you to kill enemies with a unique animation when their health is low.
We got a look at some new exotics, including the famous Divinity which would be coming in Shadowkeep.
Then we’d get a look at something that didn’t age too well.
To bungie this meant updating crucible labs, and reworking how the playlists work.
But no mention of maps or game modes.
The New Light experience was explained a bit more detailing just what content players could play for Free.
All the Destiny 2 year 1 campaigns, Red War, Curse of Osiris, and Warmind, as well as their respective raids.
All PvP maps and modes, all Strikes, and full access to Gambit.
This was Bungie’s first expansion since the split from Activision, and this was their chance to show us the new Bungie Controlled vision for Destiny 2.
The reveal stream concluded with Datto doing a QnA sessions with some of the Developers.
Originally supposed to launch on September 17th 2019, Shadowkeep would receive a delay due to quality concerns and would instead arrive on October 1st.
Some speculated that the delay might have been related to Borderlands 3 releasing just 4 days before the 17th but there’s no way to know for sure.
On October 1st, Shadowkeep would bring a new campaign with 6 story missions.
The intro padded out a bit of the time it’d take to do the campaign with some drawn out grinding bounty style quests in between the story missions.
The story missions themselves weren’t too bad, it had a really great intro mission that had us fighting alongside NPC’s to reclaim the moon from the Hive.
The Destiny 1 combined arms crucible map made a cameo as well which was a nice little touch.
And towards the end of the mission we’d get the Big reveal.
a pyramid ship is deep inside the Moon.
This was the first time we’d ever seen the Pyramid ships in game outside of the one cutscene from D2 Vanilla.
A few of the other story missions had us hunting down Nightmares, meaning old enemies from Destiny 1 like Phogoth, Taniks, and Omnigul.
These missions would be later used as “nightmare hunts” for the post-campaign content.
Another mission would be a Story version of the Scarlet Keep strike where we defeat hashladun.
The final mission we’d approach the Pyramid and be sucked inside where our ghost would be possessed by the Darkness and we’d fight through some of the more Major Nightmares.
Crota, Ghaul, and The Fanatic.
This was our first time in the Pyramid ever in Destiny 2 and for the only thing inside to be Nightmares… was a bit disappointing.
No new enemies, or even a new Hive boss or something? After defeating the nightmares however we’d get a pretty interesting cutscene where we’d be teleported to or hallucinate the Black Garden.
And who would be speaking to us? When the cutscene ends we’re teleported back to the moon next to Eris with no explanation as to how we escaped or what happened after our conversation with the Darkness.
Eris just tells us that they are NOT our salvation and gives us a quest to do a few quests on the moon to defeat some more Nightmares.
The campaign had a really great first mission and setup, a few pretty lackluster missions in between, and then a finale that had us speaking to the Darkness in the Pyramid which was really cool, but then fell flat due to the gameplay of the final mission and what happened after, which was basically nothing, as far as story goes.
After the Campaign we had some new things to explore on the moon however.
For 1, the Destiny 1 location was now updated with Lost Sectors throughout which were actually pretty sweet.
They did a great job expanding on the existing areas of the Moon and it was fun to explore.
A whole new section of the Moon was added as well.
Sorrow’s Harbor which had a new Public Event style activity called Altars of Sorrow.
It was fairly challenging, especially at release and was a decent distraction that came with a few unique weapons that could be earned from the activity.
Eris Morn had her fair share of quests and such that could earn you some more weapons and armor sets with from the lectern of enchantment, which was a little bit like crafting but more like a precursor to umbral engrams.
Nightmare Hunts had us chasing down tons of Old enemies.
There were 8 of them and they were fine gameplay-wise, but comparing their boss fights to their original fights it’s clear the originals were much better.
Phogoth for instance was insane in Destiny 1, not just because he was hard, but because he would shake your screen and give you real anxiety when fighting him.
Destiny 2 he didn’t shake the screen or cause much fear, even though he was considered a Nightmare here.
He was hard in D2 if you played it on Master Difficulty or something, but he really wasn’t much of a spectacle compared to what we saw with him in D1.
D1 Phogoth was a REAL nightmare.
The loot from Nightmare hunts wasn’t too bad though, especially if you played them on Master difficulty.
They were similar to Nightfall rewards and were tied to Lectern quests.
Shadowkeep brought us 2 new strikes.
The Scarlet keep where we defeat Crota’s Daughter, Hashladun.
Its actually a pretty good strike.
You cover a lot of ground and traversing through the keep is awesome, but as for replayabililty, its not everyone’s favorite as it runs a bit long.
The second Strike took place on IO.
The Festering Core which was one of the first places we would learn a bit more about Savathun and her plan to gather strength by using the vex technology.
Eris provides some interesting lore in the strike that was pretty telling.
Gameplay-wise, Festering Core was one of the better strikes and it’s unfortunate it would later get vaulted.
Shadowkeep brought us the second Dungeon in Destiny 2.
The Pit of Heresy.
Opinions on this one were a bit more mixed than Shattered Throne.
The aesthetic was really nice, and the final boss was a lot of fun, but a few of the encounters were pretty boring.
Still, it was nice to have another dungeon in the game and Pit of Heresy did bring something pretty unique with it.
A secret bossfight that was part of a questline for one of the New Exotic weapons.
This secret boss was really cool, and I hope to see more things like it for dungeons in the future because Pit of Heresy is the only dungeon that has a whole separate hidden boss.
Garden of Salvation was the new raid taking place on the Black Garden, an area we’ve always wanted to explore and Aesthetically, the Garden of Salvation did not disappoint in that regard.
It’s one of the most beautiful places in the game.
Like last wish in forsaken, it was tied into the narrative of both Shadowkeep and the Season of Undying, where we use the Orb from the end of the campaign to pick up a signal that leads us to the black garden and the consecrated mind, who once killed, turns to stone and we discover a scale from a pyramid which was the source of the signal we’d been tracking from the mysterious orb.
From the gameplay side of things, Garden of Salvation was a bit weaker than previous raids.
Not in all encounters, but it was a bit slower and deliberate full of some kind of weird and janky mechanics.
It had a few good moments, but overall it was a bit underwhelming and would go on to age a bit poorly at least to most players.
The loot wasn’t all that exciting either, except for the exotic weapon Divinity.
To get divinity required an Outbreak Prime style questline from Wrath of the Machine, but not as complex.
Shadowkeep would bring 1 new crucible map, Fragment, and 2 old maps from Destiny 1.
And crucible labs would get 3v3 elimination and momentum control.
But that was about it for PvP.
So much for the supposed “renewed focus on PvP” with the launch of Shadowkeep.
Iron banner remained basically the same, but brought a new armor set, yet not any new weapons.
And Trials of Osiris would still be on Haitus.
We did see some new pinnacle weapons added.
Excuse me, Ritual weapons.
After the year of Forsaken and the Pinnacle weapons being absolute powerhouses, Bungie decided to instead make Ritual weapons which could be earned in the same way as pinnacle weapons, only much less powerful as the didn’t have unique overpowered perks anymore.
This season would bring Edgewise for the Vanguard, Exit Strategy for Gambit, and Randy’s Throwing Knife for Crucible.
Randy’s was a personal favorite of mine.
Shadowkeep brought a few new exotics.
6 exotic weapons, 1 of which was a Destiny 1 weapon, and only 3 new armor pieces.
A bit light on the exotics this time, but the weapons that came with Shadowkeep were sick.
Deathbringer, Eriana’s Vow, Xenophage, Divinity.
These were some great weapons that felt more unique than anything else that came before them.
Although xenophage wasn’t great at launch and would receive a buff a bit later that would make it much better.
The sandbox would receive quite a few changes.
Buffs and nerfs across the board, but one of the most impactful ones would be a nerf to rally barricade and well of radiance.
These would auto reload your weapons during the year of Forsaken which trivialized most PvE content.
This was a much needed nerf and despite some complaints early on, I think most people realized it was good for the game.
Now it’s time to talk about Armor 2.
0 which was the biggest change and addition to the core system of the game.
For 1 thing, all armor now has 6 separate stats rather than the 3 before.
In destiny 1 we had intellect, discipline, and strength.
Destiny 2 prior to Shadowkeep had mobility, armor, and recovery.
With Shadowkeep, this would all now be combined.
This would be one of the best changes made to armor.
All armor could be farmed until you found those perfect armor pieces that would accommodate your preferred type of build on your character now.
What wasn’t quite perfect at this time was the mod system which locked some pretty important ammo reserve mods behind specific elements for your armor piece.
And at the time, you couldn’t spend any currency to switch the element of your armor.
Meaning that if you got an absolute god rolled piece of armor, but it was the wrong element you wanted for the mods, then you were just shit outta luck.
This would be the major failure of the original Armor 2.
0 system that had way too many layers of RNG.
Complaints were through the roof about the Elemental Affinity portion of the RNG, as the rest of it was mostly fine.
Now we get to the Season of Undying which launched 4 days after Shadowkeep.
The Vex Offensive was the primary activity.
And initially impressions were good.
It was fairly rewarding and wasn’t too long to run.
However, after the first week it became pretty apparent that it was going to get stale very quickly.
The event played the exact same every single time.
Only 1 boss for the entire activity, no more bosses would come each week.
The parts leading up to the final boss were the same encounters in the same rooms, unlike menagerie which mixed things up a bit.
An initially cool idea that just didn’t pan out.
The vanguard in the tower were building a vex portal near Ikora and progress was being made on it each week leading up to the finale of the season.
And what did the finale bring? The undying mind destiny 1 strike boss would now be the final boss of the vex offensive for the season.
A pretty lackluster ending to an already lackluster activity.
There was nothing unique about the boss either in terms of gameplay or rewards.
How cool would it have been to bring back Imago Loop or something that you could grind for.
It would’ve made it worth farming, but instead, it sucked.
After the completion of the Garden of Salvation raid, the Moon would be opened up to invasions by the vex.
Apparently the Vex are spilling out onto the moon drawn by the Pyramid’s influence after we defeated the Sanctified Mind.
These little invasions were cool, ya know a bit similar to the “curse cycle” being enacted in forsaken, but definitely nowhere near as interesting or exciting.
One of the more important additions during Season of Undying was the Seasonal artifact.
The artifact acted as a way to unlock mods that would be exclusive to this 3 month timeframe, as well as increase your power level beyond whatever the maximum gear score was.
The mods were kinda cool and interesting, they were fun to try out with Armor 2.
But the artifact power was just a way to give the game an endless feeling of progression.
So in the past when you would reach maximum power level and felt like you completed that part of the game and could focus on farming weapons or armor, now with the seasonal artifact, your power level just never stopped going up as you continued to level up XP.
Personally, I dislike this, not everyone will feel that way, but I think its such a dumb way to pad out the grind and give the illusion of a grind.
Even after reaching maximum pinnacle gear level you still just didn’t feel like you completed anything, and this was likely by design.
To give players a never ending number that goes up and resets every season.
I wish this aspect of the artifact were never introduced to the game.
Another controversy relating to the artifact were the Champion Mods.
Champions were a new enemy type in Shadowkeep which included, barrier, overload, and unstoppable.
The only way to deal with these enemy types and their mechanics were to use champion mods which would allow you to stun them.
The problem was, these mods could only be applied to specific weapons meaning it forced you to use specific weapons for activities with champions.
Even the new Raid had champions.
And rightfully, champions were not received too well amongst players.
Not necessarily because of the mechanics of the champions, which were fine on their own, but just the fact that the game forced specific loadouts in order to deal with them.
This was pretty annoying, and it would take quite a while before players would come around to Champions in the game.
Champions aren’t all bad, but forced loadouts sucked and continues to suck in the game today.
Bungie wants each season to feel like they have weapons that are more prominent for those 3 months in order to keep the game fresh, but that should be done with sandbox tuning, not restricting loadout choices.
A Battle pass was added to Destiny 2 for the first time ever with Shadowkeep and included a new armor set and some new cosmetics, as well as upgrade materials and such.
The battlepass itself wasn’t all that exciting, but was nice to get a few extra rewards.
Eververse continued to thrive during this Season as well, receiving probably the most amount of cosmetics we’ve seen added before.
Tons of great looking loot was exclusive to eververse, including items that were very shadowkeep themed that probably should have been rewards for things like the dungeon or strike specific loot for the Scarlet Keep or something.
And this is when eververse really began to become a major problem for Destiny 2 and loot aspiration.
This 3 month time period was really held up by Shadowkeep and it’s content because Season of Undying would go down as probably the weakest seasonal offering we’d received so far.
Was it totally fair to compare to seasons we’d seen during Forsaken’s Year which had help from other studios in the case of season of opulence at least? Bringing raids and such to beef up their value? Maybe, maybe not, but still that doesn’t matter to the paying customer who paid the same for season of opulence as they did for season of undying… To wrap up Shadowkeep’s launch month, we’d get Festival of The Lost.
The Haunted Forest made a return from last year, and we’d get some new masks, armor, and a weapon that had random rolls so it could be farmed for.
Not much complaints with the event this time as Festival of The Lost remains a fan favorite.
Shadowkeep and Season of Undying as a whole was a pretty underwhelming experience.
Maybe to those who didn’t play destiny 1 and experience the moon before it was a bit more exciting, but for veteran players, the novelty of the moon wore off a bit quicker.
Both the raid and dungeon weren’t nearly as good as Forsaken’s, there was just a lot less content than forsaken overall.
Much less strikes, crucible maps, no additions to gambit really, it just felt like a large season, rather than an expansion.
One of the more vocal complaints revolved around Shadowkeep being a “reskin expansion” filled with reskinned weapons and armor from previous seasons, the moon from destiny 1, and much of the campaign and post campaign content revolving around killing enemies we’ve already killed before.
Shadowkeep wasn’t all bad, there were some cool ideas, but it just didn’t feel worthy of comparison to previous fall expansions.
And thus far would probably be the weakest one across both Destiny 1 and Destiny 2.
After season of undying, expectations for the next few seasons weren’t really high either, but players hoped they’d be better than undying.
Shadowkeep was a bit of a letdown expansion, but hopefully the seasons this year could make up for what lacked during Shadowkeep’s Launch and The Season of Undying.
First up would be Season of Dawn.
A season focused on the Legendary Character Saint-14 from the lore.
Osiris has resurrected him with the use of his Sundial Time Machine and our job was to help both Osiris and Saint-14 stop the Red Legion from changing history by using Osiris’ Sundial.
The activity for the event was called, you guessed it, the Sundial.
It continued to be another run of the mill horde mode.
Throwing balls, clearing adds in various rooms, and fighting a boss.
Something that still had yet to be nearly as fun as menagerie.
Although this Season did include multiple bosses that would rotate weekly, as well as a Legendary Difficulty so it was absolutely a step up from Vex Offensive in Season of Undying.
And the final boss of the Season was SOO much better than The Undying Mind, if only for the unique arena you fought him in.
Obelisks were how you ranked up most of the seasonal content and were the first real introduction of one of these, overly confusing and complex mechanisms in the game.
Seriously, I know most of us are used to how these things work nowadays as they’re all pretty similar, but in Season of Dawn everyone was just annoyed with how confusing and grindy it felt.
But once players got the hang of it, it caught on a bit and players grew to enjoy it, and like I mentioned, similar iterations of this mechanism would become the norm for every season going forward.
One of the Frustrations with the Obelisk came from the Dawn Mods only being able to be applied to Season of Dawn armor, meaning you’d have to grind for new armor with better rolls in order to use them.
This means that a soft form of “Sunsetting” would be introduced which was frustrating.
After 3 months of grinding all our new Armor 2.
0 stuff and none of it is useful for the season.
Yes you could still use it, but of course players want to try out the new Seasonal Charged With Light Mods.
Definitely not a popular decision to introduce this Soft Sunsetting so soon, however partway through the season, this would be changed to allow Dawn Mods on the last 3 seasons of Armor.
Seasonal Story Missions with Saint-14 were a real highlight.
Saint-14 became an instantly lovable character for fans, and his dialogue with Osiris and Shaxx were a real pleasure to listen to.
The gameplay of the missions was definitely some of the best in any Season.
3 Exotic weapons were added during Season of Dawn and 3 Exotic Armor pieces.
The First was Symmetry, the Season Pass weapon which was a unique and fun exotic.
The Second weapon was the Devil’s Ruin Sidearm which had players travel back to Twighlight Gap where we had some great lore and dialogue between Saint-14, Shaxx, and Osiris.
But that was it for the Exotic Quest unfortunately.
The weapon itself was situational but unique.
Not great, but not terrible.
The Third Weapon was Bastion which is a slug fusion rifle that takes some inspiration from Pocket Infinity I imagine in its design.
But the most important thing about this weapon was it’s exotic quest.
The Corridors of Time puzzle which was very similar to the Niobe Labs quest back in Black Armory.
It was a community driven event in that players were contributing to their possible theories or information on how to unlock the puzzle.
It took 6 days to finally unravel this mystery, and after completing the Puzzle, that wouldn’t be all for the quest.
Unfortunately players learned that they would need to then grind out some very tedious Quests from Spider.
Do public events, lost sectors, bounties, and then wrapping up with a unique version of the Hallow Lair strike to finally bag yourself the Bastion.
It was a really unique and difficult puzzle, but the busy work after the fact, kind of led to it ending on a sour note.
The Armor pieces added were Promethium Spur for the warlocks, Bombardiers for the Hunter, and Severence Enclosure for the Titans.
The ritual weapons for Season of Dawn were the Komodo Linear Fusion from Crucible, The Python Shotgun from Gambit, and the Buzzard Sidearm from the Vanguard.
All of these weapons were pretty decent, above average in most cases, but still couldn’t touch the power of the Pinnacle weapons during Forsaken.
The send off to Season of Dawn Content was the Empyrean Foundation Community Event which required players to donate Polarized Fractaline.
Billions of it across all players.
And doing so would unlock the Trials of Osiris Game mode that would be coming next season.
But let’s be honest, Trials would be coming back regardless of whether we completed the event or not.
One of the best ways to farm weapons would be a side effect of this event.
Turning in fractaline completed bounties that rewarded you with seasonal weapons that you could purchase multiples of in order to just cash them in over and over again, thus farming for god rolls in the least exciting way.
But, that’s what happened during this event.
The Dawning would return this year during Season of Dawn bringing essentially the same content as it did during Forsaken’s Year.
Baking Cookies and all that.
This time however you could earn a new SMG.
The Coldfront which was a 750rpm.
It could be nice with a decent roll, but not amazing by any means.
Thankfully you could still earn the Avalanche Machine Gun from last year which was one of the better machine guns in the game at the time.
A couple months later we saw Crimson Days make its final return as the Event would be discontinued after this year in 2020.
The event lasted a week as usual and brought a couple new exotic sparrows, but that was about it.
Season of Dawn wasn’t a bad season, but mainly because the story was so interesting and full of some great characters that helped add to the existing lore, and the weapons during this season were actually pretty good.
The gameplay still was lacking a bit, but definitely not the worst Seasonal Activity content.
But coming in March was the next Season of Destiny 2.
Season of The Worthy.
The Hype Levels were pretty high for this one, mainly because of one thing.
Trials of Osiris would finally be returning after being left behind in Destiny 1, and Trials of The Nine replaced it during Vanilla Destiny 2.
Which had been on Hiatus for about a year and a half up to this point.
3v3 Competitive Trials would be returning to the game and was the real draw for the Season.
The Seasonal Story and Seasonal Activity content definitely wasn’t turning any heads however.
Another Cabal Red Legion themed story which was getting tired at this point.
The thing about these 2 seasons released during Shadowkeeps year were that they felt like a continuation of the original DLC’s from Year 1.
Season of Dawn was a continuation of Curse of Osiris’ storyline, and a much improved one at that.
And Season of The Worthy was shaping up to be a continuation of the Warmind DLC with Ana Bray at the helm of this storyline, along with Rasputin.
Now this was pretty cool to some degree, to see Bungie actually continuing narrative threads that had come before.
It worked in Dawn, but would it work in Worthy? Well when it launched Season of The Worthy definitely felt disappointing in regards to the story.
Likely due to the fact that Warmind from a Narrative Perspective was awful, and the Red War storyline seemed pretty wrapped up to this point.
Not the Cabal narrative as a whole, but the Ghaul-led Red Legion stuff.
As such, Season of The Worthy did not bring much interest to the story.
As for the gameplay loop and Seasonal Content.
It involved upgrading Rasputin Bunkers around the different planets in pretty much the same way you upgraded Season of Dawn Obelisks, and clearing out those Bunkers is how you could upgrade said Bunkers.
Along with a bunch of Rasputin Bounties which were pretty bog standard.
Seraph Towers were the Public Event style horde mode that had us just clearing mobs and you guessed it.
Throwing Balls at something.
A mechanic that has grown very tiresome.
The Loot for doing said activities was also pretty unexciting.
Except for maybe the Seventh Seraph Shotgun, there wasn’t much that stood out, although a few Old Faction weapons were re-added to the game with Random Rolls.
The Armor was completely subjective to your taste however.
The most notable thing in regards to loot were the mods.
Warmind Cell Mods which paired with the Seasonal weapons to create these little explosive Warmind Cells that were very strong for numerous reasons.
Legendary Lost Sectors were added to the game and also contributed to ranking up Rasputin Bunkers, and were much more difficult than regular Lost Sectors and added Champions to them.
GrandMaster Nightfalls were introduced to the game and released to little fanfare initially.
Mainly because they did not incentivize replayability.
They were treated as a one and done kind of activity where you weren’t rewarded extra based on your score, or how many champions you killed.
Loot was the same as Master difficulty just with higher drop chance.
Gameplay-wise it wasn’t too bad.
It was much harder having to navigate things like revive tokens and dealing with the “contest modifier” which was there at the time.
But besides the conqueror Title.
There was almost no reason to run them in comparison to just running a Master Nightfall.
Luke Smith made a comment regarding Core Activities prior to Season of The Worthy, saying that they will be a focus moving forward.
However comment fell a bit flat when Season of The Worthy would be the first season to remove one of the main reasons to play core activity content.
Prior to Season of the Worthy, 3 separate legendary weapons could be obtained in each activity and for now, those were gone, except for a Ritual weapon of sorts for Iron Banner.
This was done because as DMG would claim in a Reddit post, that ritual weapons couldn’t be added because their resources were stretched too thin and didn’t have the man power to create 3 weapons for the core activities.
Instead those resources were spent on making the old trials weapons.
The only thing that leads me to believe this “not enough resources” comment is a bit weak, is Eververse saw one of the biggest refreshes to it’s loot than we’d ever seen before.
Season of The Worthy had more cosmetics and vanity items than previous seasons filled with tons of weapon and armor ornaments, so it’s clear they had resources, but instead of allocating them to in game rewards and activities, they instead opted to focus on Eververse items.
Worthy added 2 Exotic Weapons and 3 exotic armor pieces.
Tommy’s matchbook, the Season Pass Exotic.
And the Fourth Horseman, which the quest boiled down to “run public events” for a few hours basically.
Very riveting quest.
The Exotic Armor pieces were Citans ramparts for the Titan.
Raiju’s Harness for the Hunter, and Felwinter’s Helm for the Warlock.
Now on to the Biggest Reason this season was so hyped up.
The Return of Trials of Osiris.
*half baked clip Would it live up to expectations? Would it live up to Destiny 1 trials? Would it even be an activity worth spending your time in? The answer to those questions is No, No, and No.
Trials of Osiris return was something long awaited for the community and PvP fans and despite saying they didn’t want it to release half baked, they released it without it ever even touching the oven.
*aztecross saying it sucks No adept weapons for Flawless, a staple of the original Trials in D1 and the reason to work hard enough for flawless.
All loot was reskinned from Destiny 1.
All the Armor and Weapons from Year 1 of Destiny 1.
And not even all of the weapons made a return, leaving out things like Jewel of Osiris.
Messing up the card system so that it incentivized things like resetting your card after 3 wins in order to farm the weapon that week.
Card win count based matchmaking on top of the skill based matchmaking made the experience sweatier than ever before.
Many glitches and bugs like one that caused a win to count as a loss.
The anti-cheat system doing almost nothing to counteract the numerous amounts of cheaters that plagued the experience for many players.
Since this return of Trials of Osiris was mostly just reskinning old Destiny 1 Trials.
They should’ve gone ahead and reskinned it fully.
*aztecross and datto saying bring back d1 system.
Things like adept weapons should have returned to incentivize flawless.
The passage coin and D1 style card system should have been in place rather than this unneeded revamp that brought out loot breaking issues like resetting your cards.
Trials of Osiris Bounties that rewarded you for your time spent in the activity, and have a functioning Anti-Cheat.
And on top of that, even smaller things like bringing back some of the staple Trials shaders at the very least instead of making Shaders for Eververse.
But alas, Bungie fumbled at the one yard line with Trials return and even now hasn’t fully recovered from the flop of it’s less than half baked return.
By the end of Season of the Worthy, the story had picked up a bit more, no longer being about the Red Legion and The Almighty, and more about using Rasputin to help us fight against the imminent threat of the Darkness.
Fight off Pyramid Ships if possible.
The Season Ended with a live event that had guardians gather at the tower to watch Rasputin shoot down the Almighty ship which was really cool, but was soured a bit by the fact that the event had us standing around for over an hour and a half watching the event unfold VERY slowly.
It dragged on just a little too long.
What else was disappointing was after the finale, there was nothing after the Almighty crashlanded into earth.
No teaser about what this meant for the future of the game, we couldn’t travel to the Almighty and inspect or look around.
A bit of a deflating end to the event.
However it was pretty fun to hang out in the tower and watch the event unfold with a bunch of Guardians like we were all gathered around for a firework show or something.
Really cool idea, but not executed ideally.
While that’s all the main content contained in Season of The Worthy, the season was not over and we’d see 2 more events take place.
First up was guardian games.
A new event to the game which was similar to Faction Rallies but instead of factions it was between the Guardian Classes.
The event really didn’t add anything new in terms of gameplay content.
You needed to earn medals and laurels to turn into your classes’ podium at the tower.
How could you earn medals? Do bounties.
An already bounty heavy season, with an event that focused on doing bounties.
I’m unsure why Guardian Games were added in lou of the Revelry from Forsaken’s Year, but my guess it that it’s due to the revelry being a pretty unbalanced and ability spam event.
Guardian Games was a very weak event during an already very weak Season.
Heir Apparent, the Exotic Machine gun being the only draw to the event and admittedly it’s a really cool weapon.
The Final Event that took place in Season of the Worthy was the Community Event called The Lie.
The quest took players to Vostok to investigate some things, get a bit of lore and dialogue, and then began the real event that progressed across all Guardians.
Players would need to complete 9 million.
Yes, 9 million Seraph Tower Events on the planets.
3 million per Destination.
Each person completing it would count as 1 out of the 9 million so a fireteam of 4 players completing the event would be 4 out of 9 million.
After the first day of the event, the EDZ was at 2%, the Moon at 1% and Io was at 0%.
Based on calculations done by the community on reddit and twitter, that meant that with progress rates at that level, the community wouldn’t finish this event until AFTER Season of The Worthy ended.
Season of The Worthy was not a popular season and the community had already declared this Season one of the Worst the game had ever seen, so instead of participating in this extremely long and tedious quest, players just opted to protest the event, refusing to even participate in it.
After hearing this negative feedback to the Event, Bungie would address complaints by providing a 5x bonus to completions, dropping the total number of required completions from 9 million down to roughly 1.
8 million, and increasing percentage points per wave completion.
They even increased the bonus to 10x during the weekends to incentivize players to participate.
As a result, the event would be completed after 3 days of grinding, rather than the original 3 weeks it was projected to take.
You know you messed up a community event when after 1 day players just refuse to interact with it based on how tedious and boring it is.
It’s not like the event had us doing anything new.
It had us grinding the same exact public event we’d all been grinding for a few months at this point.
Most players were over it, and they definitely let Bungie know how they felt about the event.
But after completing the community portion of the event, you still weren’t done.
Now to grind a thousand shotgun kills.
After that snoozefest it was on to the next step.
The Tyrant Mission on the moon.
Could this be another Whisper of The Worm or Outbreak Perfected style mission? Unfortunately, upon loading up the mission, players were just teleported back to Eris Morn on the moon.
This was a bug that wouldn’t be patched for a few days.
And when we finally got to play the mission, it wasn’t something like a whisper or outbreak mission.
It was just another dialogue mission that had us going through an old bunker listening to Ana Bray and looking at holograms.
And at the end we’d collect Felwinter’s Lie.
A Destiny 1 shotgun.
The Lie Community Event would go down as one of the all time worst events in Destiny history and one of the bigger flounders on Bungie’s end.
A disappointing, bug filled, and boring mess.
The lore and story was neat but was completely soured by the state of the game at this point, and how the event played out.
As a whole, Season of The Worthy was awful.
The Seasonal Content was boring and Lacked Incentives, Trials of Osiris was butchered and delivered in an incomplete buggy state, loot was very lacking, with only 1 interesting thing in that regard being Warmind Cells, and The Story still felt like it was going nowhere.
It rightfully earned it’s name given by the community.
Season of The Worthless.
But in June we’d be getting the Final Season that would be releasing before the next expansion.
Season of Arrivals.
The Pyramid Ships are here, Savathun has began her plan, and there would be mysteries to uncover with the help of Eris Morn.
The Story finally was picking up the thread that began with Shadowkeep.
The Pyramids arrival to our solar system.
Rasputin has gone dark since the first pyramid ship has arrived on Io, and we’re tasked to explore Io by Zavala, in order to find Eris Morn who has gone missing.
This leads us to the Cradle which has a Tree of Silver Wings.
A mysterious paracausal spongelike entity that absorbs power from the Darkness and allows us to communicate with it, which we later see during the story missions that take place in a throne world like place called the Court of Savathun which allows us to communicate with some of our enemies like Nokris.
The Story in Season of Arrivals is one of the best seasonal storylines we’ve ever received.
It had REAL consequences to the overarching plot in a major way.
Sure the last 2 seasons likely did as well, but to figure that out, you had to read a lot of the lore.
This season, we’d see it first hand in the gameplay and mission design.
The Seasonal Activity wasn’t all that exciting however.
It was essentially Gambit meets Escalation Protocol.
It was a lot better than Seraph Towers, but still nowhere near as good as Escalation Protocol itself.
But what made it definitely worth running, was the brand new Umbral Engram system which allowed players to focus certain types of loot when turning them in at the new Umbral Decoder.
Focusing engrams for loot that was actually really good too.
The weapons for this season were top tier.
Especially the swords which were modified legendary versions of the Destiny 1 exotic swords, Bolt Caster and Dark Drinker, which quickly became staple weapons for the season.
But the biggest highlight of the season was a brand new Dungeon that would be released completely free whether you purchased the Season or not.
It was likely made free in response to the apathy players felt toward the state of the game and how poorly Season of The Worthy turned out.
Bungie would even make the decision to remove this seasons Eververse armor from the store and instead use it as reward loot from the new dungeon.
A very great decision that added tons of replayability to the dungeon as there was now two separate armor sets and weapons to chase within it.
The Prophecy dungeon would be one of the more unique areas in the game and dealt with lore relating to the Nine.
It was by far the best dungeon we’d seen up to this point.
Multiple challenging boss fights, an epic sparrow section, and again, some really great loot.
Arrivals brought 3 new exotic weapons, but not any exotic armor, which would be a first as far as seasons go.
The first weapon, Witherhoard was the Season Pass exotic and instantly became a favorite amongst players, and completely broke the game with certain raid bosses.
Travelers Chosen had another busy work questline that also rewarded you with various Nightfall weapons like DFA and Silicon Neuroma.
The weapon was fine for niche builds but nothing special.
And Lastly, Ruinous Effigy which had a much better quest that required some fragment hunting, killing new secret named enemies in patrol, however it did end with some busy work just getting void kills.
The weapon itself was very unique with some great utility.
It wasn’t making any S-tier ranking lists, but it was one of the best trace rifles in the game at the time.
Ritual Weapons still did not make a return, disappointing but not unexpected.
Skill based Matchmaking would be removed from Casual Crucible playlists finally and breathed a bit of life back into PvP.
No there wasn’t any new content for PvP this season, but as many players can tell you, the removal of SBMM felt amazing and made players want to interact with crucible again.
However, Trials of Osiris would be broken during this season at launch where players who would earn flawless would be locked out of the Lighthouse for some reason.
It was hilariously bad optics for a game mode that was already pretty much dead after its return.
About a month after Arrivals launched, moments of Triumph began which was one of the games best.
At this point in Destiny 2, there was so much content to play.
Raids, Dungeons, Strikes, Destinations.
And Moments of Triumph highlighted them in the best way.
In the case of Raids we’d see uncapped raid rewards for the duration of the Event, meaning that all 5 raids in the game could be farmed endlessly for unlimited rewards, including chances at exotics.
And on top of that, there were quite a few neat cosmetics added to the loot pools of those raids, like ghost shells, shaders, and emotes.
Moments of Triumph felt a little bit like the Age of Triumph during Destiny 1’s 3rd year that was the final sendoff to the game, and while This Moments of Triumph didn’t bring nearly as much as Age of Triumph in D1, it did have a very similar attitude and way it went about celebrating the old content as AOT.
Another month later we’d get solstice of heroes which brought back the European Aerial Zone from last year with some new armor sets and vanity items which could all be purchased for bright dust.
Despite much of the core issues still being present in the game, and a lack of things like rituals, exotic armor, and no real vendor refresh, bugs here and there, Season of Arrivals as a whole still managed to be going really well so far thanks to the New Umbral Engram system, The Story Missions, the Loot, SBMM removed, and the Dungeon.
With 2 following events that really highlighted the positive aspects of the game.
I think Arrivals really shows how a good season with worthwhile content and loot to chase can make the whole game feel good.
It encouraged players to engage with its content because of how well done the systems were and the worthwhile loot to chase in the activities.
Now originally the season was supposed to end in September as we were supposed to be getting the new Fall Expansion on the 22nd.
But shortly after it’s reveal, it would end up being delayed into November meaning we’d get 1 final event before it’s release.
Festival of The Lost.
This meant that this would be the second Festival of The Lost during the Shadowkeep year and would bring back the Haunted Forest for the final time.
It made some odd changes to loot and progression that ended up being a bit broken and like the Trials Card, resetting after only a few branches was the new method of farming loot rather than trying to achieve as many branches as possible.
It was an unfortunate change to the event that soured the final year with the Haunted Forest.
The game was in a pretty great state with Arrivals, needing only a few tweaks and changes to the core game.
But we were only 1 Month away from the next expansion Beyond Light, and massive changes were coming to Destiny 2.
Would it be everything we hoped for? Bungie’s first year since breaking off from Activision was a bit rough for Destiny 2.
Shadowkeep was by far the weakest fall expansion the franchise had ever seen up to this point.
And the 4 Seasons that took place during the year were pretty hit or miss.
But by the end of Season of Arrivals the game was in a pretty decent spot thanks to numerous quality of life changes that fixed a lot of the issues that came with Shadowkeep at launch.
The amount of content in the game was finally substantial, even though most of the seasonal content was inaccessible.
But very impactful changes would be coming very soon in November with Beyond Light, but lets back up a bit to when Beyond Light was announced.
June 9th which was the same day Season of Arrivals would launch.
The Beyond Light Reveal stream began with a cinematic trailer showcasing the Drifter, The Stranger, and Eris gathering on Europa to investigate the massive Pyramid.
It’s one of the best Cinematic Trailers for Destiny 2 with a very Star Wars kind of vibe to it and really gave off the impression that the Pyramid and Darkness storyline that began during Shadowkeep would be picking up a bit more.
However in the next scene of the reveal, Luke Smith and Mark Noseworthy would reveal that the story would be focused around Eramis, a Fallen Leader who wants revenge on the Traveler for turning it’s back on the Fallen Race, and would be wielding a Dark power from the Pyramid.
Now the Pyramid and Darkness storyline was obviously involved in Beyond Light’s story, but as we’ll discuss in a moment, it didn’t quite feel like a continuation of Shadowkeep in the way players expected.
But before they could explain too much, we got our first look at Europa and some in-game action of Beyond Light.
It would show off the new destination, Europa.
Filled with varying locations not just a frozen wasteland like we saw in the Cinematic.
New enemy types like Wyverns and Brigs.
Stasis, a new power that we’d be able to wield, and a look at the Villain, Eramis.
Some of the major Bullet Points that Mark and Luke would make throughout the duration of the Stream were 1.
Stasis won’t just be a subclass, but also a new element for weapons and enemies to use against us, making it the first new element since 2014.
Beyond Light is the beginning of a new Era.
(How many times have we heard that before.
) With 3 expansions being announced for this era.
Beyond Light, Witch Queen, and Lightfall.
Bungie is ALL IN on Destiny 2 reiterating that Destiny is going to be a continually building on the MMO aspect of the game.
(we’ll see what they mean by that because in a lot of ways, the decisions made in beyond light actually help the case for why Destiny 2 is NOT an MMO.
Changes to the Seasonal Model to get some of the FOMO out the game (Luke Smith Clip) 5.
Transmog is coming to the game at some point during this year.
60fps and 4k for PS5 and Xbox Series consoles, along with free upgrades to those consoles from the previous gen, and crossplay between previous and current gen consoles.
Not crossplay across everything quite yet.
And now probably the biggest change coming in Beyond Light that would also end up being the most divisive.
And I’m just going to let some of it play out here.
The Destiny Content Vault as Bungie named it.
Removing heaps of old Destiny 2 content to allow for better updating and patching of the game.
This Massively Multiplayer Online game, just lost the massive part of MMO.
4 Destinations and the Leviathan were being removed.
2 Gambit Maps.
11 Crucible Maps.
7 Crucible Game Modes.
And 5 Raids.
A massive amount of content that helped the game feel big and full of things to do, was now going away.
And on top of that, 18 Exotic Quests were being removed including 2 of the best ones.
The Whisper and Outbreak missions.
With all this content being Vaulted, it would also include the removal of a lot of the Campaigns including The Red War, Curse of Osiris, and Warmind.
And Fan Favorite Seasonal Content from Forsaken’s Year would be leaving as well like the Forges, and Menagerie.
Beyond Light was set to remove half the game.
Now nobody expected Beyond Light to replace that much content 1 to 1, but could it make up for the loss of this much content in that we wouldn’t notice that so much was removed? We’d just have to wait and see.
In October we’d get a Vidoc going a bit more in depth on what to expect from the Expansion.
Europa would have a dynamic weather system 2.
We got a look at some of the new exotic weapons and armor that looked to be centered around buildcrafting for your guardian a bit better.
New Light was getting a bigger update and additions made to it.
More Quests, a new NPC, and more of the D1 Cosmodrome would be added to the game.
We saw a bit about the Season that would be launching alongside Beyond Light.
Season of The Hunt.
Osiris was back (; and so was Uldren, now resurrected as a guardian named Crow, finally catching up to that cliffhanger 2 years ago after Forsaken.
Xivu Arath was going to be the villain of the Season, in a sense, corrupting various enemies in order to build an army, granting us a bit more of a tease about Savathun.
*clips of launch First up let’s talk about the campaign.
5 Story missions with a couple busy work filler missions in between.
The length of the campaign was padded out a bit by increasing the Power Level of the missions pretty drastically so that either the mission would be really difficult, or you would need to stop your playthrough of the campaign for a minute to go grind some power level.
This isn’t really a problem for players who can handle a tougher challenge, and some would even say the challenge was just right.
But for others, it interrupted the flow of the story and campaign by needing to grind power level at separate times throughout.
The story missions weren’t too bad from a gameplay perspective.
Some fun boss fights and things to explore on Europa, some great dialogue and story from the Stranger and Variks.
Although Drifter and Eris were oddly quiet during the campaign which felt a bit odd considering how much both Eris and the Drifter, but especially Eris had been involved in the Pyramid, Darkness storyline up to this point.
Eramis was an interesting Villain, but like most Destiny expansions we rarely get enough time with the Villain.
And Eramis’s storyline wrapped up pretty quick at least for now.
The Cutscenes were nice to look at and having Variks back was pretty cool, but the campaign was kind of just there.
Much more of the interesting stuff relating to the lore and backstory of Europa and The Stranger would lie in much of the post campaign content.
Empire Hunts were similar to Shadowkeeps Nightmare Hunts, however Empire Hunts were more of just altered story missions, whereas Nightmare Hunts had us visiting areas outside the Campaign.
Other Quests that would have us explore more of Europa were some of Varik’s missions that had us defeat Eramis’s successor, and other threats around the area.
The Stranger had some pretty tedious quests that were needed to be completed in order to unlock stasis aspects and fragments.
But there really wasn’t a whole lot for the post campaign stuff.
There wasn’t a Altars of Sorrow or world event equivalent for Europa so the area seemed a little bit dead while in patrol.
It was a beautiful location with not much to do.
Beyond Light brought 1 new Strike.
The Glassway which took place on Europa.
I think I can speak for everyone when I say that this strike just kinda sucked.
Although, they did bring back the Destiny 1 Omnigul Strike along with most of the cosmodrome.
And seeing additions like Lost Sectors on the Original Cosmodrome was pretty cool, just like it was during Shadowkeep with the moon.
But There wasn’t much else to the cosmodrome, with it’s only use so far being a place to serve the New Light experience.
Only 1 new strike hurt quite a bit after losing 7 of them, and even Shadowkeep gave us 2.
Beyond Light did not bring any new Crucible Content.
No Maps, No Modes.
Which again, hurts after losing 11 maps, and Shadowkeep brought 3.
I think it goes without saying that Gambit didn’t get anything new, and became even more stale after losing 2 maps.
And to top it all off, there wouldn’t be a dungeon like we’d had in both Forsaken and Shadowkeep at launch.
So far, in terms of core activity content, it was quite shocking to see that Shadowkeep outpaced Beyond Light so far.
And it definitely felt pretty bad when most of the core gameplay loops stayed the same with beyond light.
Farming Bounties and Running core activities for Pinnacle drops.
And while we did have a new toy, Stasis, farming the same old strikes and crucible maps…it wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have to interact with them, but leveling was and still is tied to Core Activities almost exclusively.
So almost no new content for them and removing so much of it just felt bad.
And Speaking of Stasis.
Stasis was strong at launch for Beyond Light.
Overly strong, which was fun for PvE.
It’s obvious some classes were stronger than others, but it did bring some different kinds of playstyles to the game.
And the subclasses were customizable similar to how Subclasses were back in Destiny 1 but even more so with Stasis.
Unfortunately, Stasis weapons weren’t really a thing.
There was only 1 stasis exotic weapon and no legendaries.
It was a bit sad to see a new element added to the game but only for subclasses really and not our weapons or armor affinity.
This would be addressed in later seasons but still felt like an incomplete version of this “new element”.
But in PvP? Stasis was a nightmare.
Getting frozen constantly got old after the first day.
And I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Crucible was nearly unplayable because of it.
*stasis rage clips? Probably the biggest highlight of the expansion was the new raid.
Deep Stone Crypt.
Taking place in an area that’s been teased about in the lore for so long and had some really interesting implications for certain parts of the narrative.
And from the gameplay side of things, The raid did not disappoint.
It had some really unique encounters that stretched beyond the more formulaic ones in some of the Previous Raids.
The boss fights were mostly well done, though Atraks could be a little bit boring, the Final Boss Taniks was a really fun fight.
However I do want to make the point that Taniks being the raid boss is one of the most disappointing and hilariously awful thing about this raid.
Inside the Crypt could have been anything.
A Giant Exo of Clovis or something, but nope.
It’s just Taniks, a dude we’ve killed 3 times already.
I will never get over how stupid that is.
But again his fight is very fun from the gameplay side of things.
Deep Stone Crypt had a great atmosphere as well.
Having one of the best jumping puzzles in Franchise History, not really because of its difficulty or anything, but because of the Soundtrack.
*** Deep Stone Lullaby is one of the best soundtracks in Destiny history.
Now lets kinda shift back to some of the core game stuff again.
Not only was Content Vaulting introduced into Destiny 2, Gear Sunsetting was introduced too.
Making all of the gear earned prior to Season 9 no longer infusible.
This means Shadowkeep stuff was completely sunset, which was the previous expansion.
Only Season of Dawn through Arrivals stuff was still usable.
This was a pretty divisive issue that players debated over the course of many months prior to Beyond Light’s launch, and while to some extent, sunsetting made sense and did have a good enough reason to exist, Bungie absolutely overdid it.
Which they would later admit and try to solve with a band-aid fix the next season by Reissuing Dreaming City and Moon weapons to much backlash considering they didn’t just Unsunset our current ones, meaning we’d have to regrind for them.
But for now, there was no solution, and loot in the game did not feel good, especially since there was not nearly enough new weapons to counteract the pain of losing so much.
Again, like with Vaulting, Players didn’t expect a 1 to 1 trade off in content.
And too nobody expected 1 to 1 weapons and armor.
But players definitely expected a bit more than what we got.
Especially when even Beyond Light Campaign rewards included things like forsaken’s Long Shadow Sniper just reissued.
It was pretty bad.
Loot for the core game was just incredibly lacking.
Ritual weapons had been removed over the last few seasons, to much backlash, so with Beyond Light Bungie would try and solve this a little bit, giving us just 1 ritual weapon.
This could be earned by any of the 3 core activity vendors, just with a different skin applied.
Pretty disappointing for a number of reasons.
For 1 thing, Adored was just Beloved.
Sure it had some decent perks that made it kind of an all purpose sniper rifle, but it looked and felt just like our Beloved which had just been sunset, so kind of frustrating.
The Armor for the Core Vendors was also the exact same across all 3 of them.
Beyond Light didn’t bring any new weapons or armor for Iron Banner either which was just another disappointing thing to add to the list of the depressing state of loot.
And Even Trials of Osiris wouldn’t receive new Weapons or Armor, but did finally see Adept weapons added.
However, adept Mods wouldn’t be received too well due to them also giving you drawbacks on your weapons.
Like -10 to one stat to increase another by 10.
Adept loot in this current form, still just didn’t feel worth the work to go flawless for a lot of players.
Beyond Light and its season did bring some new exotics though.
7 Exotic Weapons 2 of which were Destiny 1 weapons, and 6 exotic armor pieces.
The exotics were mostly a mixed bag.
Some of themcs were a bit forgettable, but some of them became very popular, and were badass like Lament and Cloudstrike.
One of the more positive side effects of Sunsetting, was reduced load times and general performance boosts, in most cases.
The Lighting and Graphical changes were nice as well, and things seemed to be running a bit smoother.
Now we get to Season of The Hunt which launched 7 days after Beyond Light.
Xivu Arath was building an army of corrupted enemies around the various Destinations and we need to put a stop to it.
Wrathborne Hunts are the new activity where you fight some of Xivu’s champions and it wasn’t all that challenging or exciting.
Pretty much just stomping the bosses in 10 seconds or so.
The thing is, in order to do these wrathborne hunts, you need a charged Cryptolith Lure.
How can you charge it? Running core activities.
Really not a good look when the core activities didn’t get anything new for Beyond Light, so half of the seasonal activity gameplay loop was centered around grinding old content.
Run a few core playlist activities, then go kill a few wrathborne bosses in under a minute, core activities, wrathborne bosses, it was pretty bad.
At least you could use the Lure to grant you specific loot drops, similar to the Chalice back during Season of Opulence but it had some layers of RNG added to it that were frustrating to deal with if you were chasing specific loot.
Now it wasn’t all bad.
There were a few bright spots within Season of The Hunt.
The Hawkmoon Exotic quest wasn’t half bad, containing some cool story and lore, and a pretty fun mission.
And the Harbinger Secret Mission that would give you the Catalyst for Hawkmoon and served as a place to farm for random rolls on the Hawkmoon.
Harbinger wasn’t as good as Outbreak or the Whisper mission, but it was pretty decent all things considered.
Season of The Hunt’s story wasn’t completely terrible by any means.
It gave us some good moments with Crow and we learned a bit more about Xivu Arath and Savathun, but even with these few brighter moments in the Season, Hunt was still one of the weakest we’d seen overall.
A very lacking gameplay loop, pretty bad loot, and was hurt by the lack of core activity content in the game.
The last real thing to happen in Season of The Hunt was the Dawning.
And this year was pretty much no different than any other year.
It brought along a new fusion rifle which wasn’t too bad, and a unique exotic ship with some customizable elements to it, but this years’ Dawning also gave us another community event.
This one tied to baking cookies and generating Dawning Spirit.
And similar to Season of The Worthy’s Community event, Bungie overestimated how many players would be grinding out the event again where players were set to fail the event before the Dawning was supposed to end.
Now there’s a few ways to look at this.
I think community events should be failable, like if players don’t get to the maximum spirit for the event, then so be it, we’re locked out of the reward.
But I think if Bungie wants to encourage players to reach the goal, then they should tell us what the reward will be.
Players did not know what awaited them if they reached the goal so it felt like we might be grinding towards something kind of underwhelming, like 2 dawning weapons or something.
But actually awaited us was an Ascendant Shard and a random exotic drop, which would’ve been nice to know.
Let players gauge if its worth their time as a community.
And if the reward seems worth it, then the community can kind of come together and rally behind achieving this goal.
And again, it should be failable.
If we can’t generate enough hype amongst ourselves, then don’t give it to us.
But Bungie did what they did during Season of The Worthy.
They increased our Spirit gains by 3x in order to help us achieve the goal.
Either Bungie should have recalculated how much they think players will engage with events like these, or they need to let us fail them, not just coddle us and give it to us in the eleventh hour.
Community Events like these can be fun, and can be cool, but 1st of all, they need to be rewarding, like very rewarding, and secondly, we need to know what that reward is, so we can generate enough buzz amongst ourselves to rally behind it.
But community events like this are truly terrible.
Where failure is impossible, and the reward isn’t worth it.
Besides this community event The Dawning was fine otherwise.
Okay so wrapping up as a whole, Beyond Light and Season of the Hunt was a bit rough.
There were some really cool things added in Beyond Light.
The Raid, Stasis (at least in PvE), and Some of the Story related content was above average.
Season of The Hunt had The Harbinger mission which was neat, but that’s its only real highlight.
But when we take a look at what Beyond Light and Season of The Hunt brought and compare it to Shadowkeep and Season of Undying.
Shadowkeep did outdo it in a lot of areas, especially when it comes to core activity content.
Shadowkeep had a Dungeon, where Beyond Light did not.
Shadowkeep had 2 new strikes where Beyond Light had one.
Shadowkeep had 3 PvP maps where Beyond Light had none.
The moon destination had a wave based horde mode event and Europa didn’t have anything similar.
Shadowkeep brought new armor sets for Iron Banner, 3 Ritual Weapons, and a much larger loot pool overall which is surprising but true, and Beyond Light had none of these.
And Season of Undying’s activity was far better than Season of The Hunt in terms of Gameplay and Loot.
Beyond Light did bring Stasis, a new subclass and element type.
And Europa was brand new, rather than Shadowkeep’s moon being a reprisal from D1.
Were the trade offs worth it here? It depends on who you ask.
Considering Beyond Light and Season of The Hunt was $50 and Shadowkeep with Season of Undying cost $35.
I think its fair to make comparisons where Beyond Light really falls short in terms of the amount of content that came with it.
Pair that with Vaulting and Sunsetting and Beyond Light during these 3 months really felt kind of bad.
And again that’s not to say that what did come with Beyond Light was all bad, because it wasn’t.
But it was much smaller than many of us expected, and in some ways even smaller than Shadowkeep which felt pretty bad.
Especially when you consider Beyond Light was the most expensive fall expansion purchase we’d ever seen.
The Beyond Light launch months were an interesting time in Destiny 2’s history.
It was a bit of a reset, like how D2 was a reset for D1.
But of course with nowhere near as much content as a sequel.
Not that Beyond Light was supposed to be sequel sized or anything, but I guess what I’m saying is.
It felt much more like a Season as a whole.
Just a large Season rather than an expansion.
And with Sunsetting and Vaulting impacting the game in a pretty harsh way, it was tough to remain optimistic about the future of the game.
Many players shared their frustrations once again.
Would the Beyond Light Seasons be able to redeem this supposed MMO that has drastically shrunk over the last few months?? So Beyond Light wasn’t a terrible expansion, but it certainly underdelivered in terms of the amount of content, and it really didn’t shake things up enough like we might’ve hoped for with it being a “new era” of Destiny and all.
But like the previous year, we had 3 more seasons to look forward to and hopefully they could bring a bit more to the table than Season of The Hunt.
First up was Season of The Chosen.
Another season focused on the Cabal, however actually a lot more interesting than previous Cabal themed releases.
Empress Caiatl, daughter of Emperor Calus, propsosed an alliance with the Vanguard to defeat the Hive.
Caiatl wants us to kneel to her and treat her as our new leader though, and we just weren’t having any of that.
So we would need to fight various Cabal champions in a trial by combat kind of scenario.
A really great story setup that was much more involved than a lot of seasons previous, and would kick off the era of Seasons having much more compelling stories.
This would also be the beginning of Seasonal Content being available in a new social space.
Separate from the Tower, first person view, but was a really great addition to the game.
Instead of just jamming more NPC’s in the tower, we finally get to go somewhere else to interact with new content.
Similar to what Destiny 1 did with the Iron Temple and the Reef social spaces.
There new gameplay loop for Chosen was much better than Hunt, and in actually better than most seasons that had come before.
Things like Umbral Engrams were back, mixed with improved versions of things like the Lure from Hunt.
And the new Activity Battlegrounds were a fantastic addition.
There were 2 of these strike-esque missions at launch, and 2 more added within the next few weeks.
Battlegrounds were highly replayable for the loot, and it helped that they were actually pretty fun.
3 Strikes were added for the season on top of Battlegrounds.
1 Brand new one called Proving Grounds, and 2 Strikes from Destiny 1.
The Devil’s Lair and Fallen S.
strikes which were fan favorites from D1.
While they weren’t new strikes for some of us, it really didn’t hurt to see them return.
Anything to help the strike playlist out is a positive, and 3 Strikes added during the season felt so good.
Trials of Osiris and Iron Banner even got some new items.
Iron Banner saw a few year 1 weapons return but with updated perksets and a new perk called Iron Reach.
And we saw the return of the Iron Truage set.
Trials of Osiris saw brand new Armor Sets, and a few new weapons.
And finally some Vanity items to chase inside the playlist.
A ghost shell, sparrow, and Ship.
2 Exotic weapons were added in Chosen.
Ticuu’s Divination, the battle pass weapon, and Dead Man’s Tale which had an incredible exotic quest mission.
A very puzzle focused secret mission style questline that was even better than Harbinger from Season of The Hunt.
It was unique the whole way through, with a great final boss, and reveal at the end.
3 exotic armor pieces were added.
Mantle of Battle Harmony for the Warlock, Omnioculus for the Hunter, and Cuirass of the Falling Star for the Titan.
Salvager’s Salvo was this seasons Ritual weapon and it was great.
Basically the loaded question of grenade launchers.
Chain reaction paired with Ambitious assassin just makes it tons of fun to use and viable in almost any activity.
Guardian Games made a return towards the End of Season of the Chosen with some changes made to encourage more comradery between players within your same class.
Heir Apparent got a catalyst, there was a celebration ceremony at the end, but for the most part it was mostly the same as last year.
Chosen was a pretty good content rich season.
The story was interesting, Battlegrounds were fun and rewarding, Presage was fantastic, and the additions to existing content whether that be trials or the strike playlist, helped the game feel like it received a REAL update, and like the game was growing again.
It wasn’t a perfect season, but it felt pretty good, especially coming off of Beyond Light and Season of The Hunt.
And one of the most important quality of life improvements would be made.
Sunsetting was now going away.
The long debated and divisive issue finally saw its removal just 3 months after it was implemented.
I think Bungie probably figured it was for the best at this point, because they’d already gotten what they wanted out of it.
Sunsetting things like mountaintop, recluse, and various other ritual weapons was likely the main goal, and they were gone now so there wasn’t much of a reason to keep it around after ridding the game of the more “problematic” weapons that Bungie couldn’t or didn’t want to balance.
In short, removing sunsetting made most players pretty happy.
But shortly after Guardian Games ended, we’d be gearing up for the next Season.
Season of the Splicer.
Before we get to the actual content of the season, we first need to talk about a pretty unfortunate bug that prevented players from even playing the new season.
Upon launch, there were tons of honeydew errors for the first few hours Splicer was live.
Those were then fixed, but some players were constantly crashing when trying to load up the game.
The reason for this was surprisingly.
Too many friends on your friends list.
If you had over 40 people playing Destiny on your friends list at the same time, then your game would crash.
And this wouldn’t be fixed for a few days preventing quite a lot of players from playing the new season.
The story setup this time around was again pretty strong.
Mithrax and the Vanguard make an Alliance and work together to stop a Vex Simulation from taking over the Last City.
So far, the simulation has enacted an Endless Night where the sun vanished from the Sky over the Last City.
Pretty awesome premise with lots of important characters interacting together.
As for the gameplay loop and Seasonal Content.
It plays a lot like Season of Arrivals in both the activity itself, and how you upgrade the new mechanism.
Override was a bit more fleshed out and frankly better than Season of Arrivals activity.
It had you doing a bit more.
With things like entering vex portals, and a real final boss fight to shake it up a bit more.
And the Prophecy Dungeon style theme and art style of the season was a nice touch.
The Expunge Seasonal Missions were pretty cool, even if just for the exploration aspect rather than the gameplay.
These missions looked great.
There were some fun jumping puzzles and unique mechanics to work through and the occasional fun boss to fight and made the Tuesday resets exciting.
And with a pretty great finale in terms of bosses and story, the Seasonal mission content was once again pretty high up there.
There were 2 exotic weapons added in Splicer.
The first being Cryosthesia which was a Stasis sidearm that just didn’t hit the mark.
It had an interesting exotic perk, but the weapon itself just kinda sucked.
The Second was the Vex Mythoclast which was obtained in Vault of Glass which made a return which we’ll talk about in a minute.
Again, another 3 exotic armor pieces were added all boots this time.
Star Eater Scales for Hunters, Path of the Burning Steps for Titans, and Boots of the Assembler for Warlocks.
This seasons ritual weapon was Null Composure.
Basically a Void Version of the Loaded Question from Season 5, but a high rate of fire archetype and it was good, but fusions weren’t in a great place in the sandbox during Season of The Splicer so it wasn’t hyped up too much.
There was a lot more loot to chase in the world with Bungie bringing back some more Year 1 weapons from Factions and some more stuff for Iron Banner.
As well as a few new ones.
Season of The Splicer weapons were alright, not the best but were still fun to chase good rolls for.
Dreaming City and Moon weapons were reissued as well.
And this was all likely done in response to the lack of weapons to chase after Sunsetting was introduced with Beyond Light.
Loot chase, was getting there, but there was still a long way to go.
Vault of Glass returned from Destiny 1 with some updated mechanics and changes made that fit the nature of D2 a bit more.
It was nice to have it back.
And even though it was a returning raid, having another raid to run after 6 months from Deep Stone Crypt definitely helped satiate the playerbase’s thirst for Raid Content, because 1 raid per year is pretty rough like we had during Shadowkeep.
Especially when Forsaken’s year gave us 3 raids.
One change that was made when Vault of Glass returned wasn’t received too well, and that was Deep Stone Crypt losing it’s pinnacle status for loot drops.
It’s a bit confusing why this was done, there really isn’t much harm in having at least 2 raids provide pinnacle drops, especially when all other pinnacle drops come from core activities which still lacked new content.
This change just shouldn’t have been made.
Just allow both raids to provide pinnacles, it wouldn’t hurt the game.
And for as much good as Season of The Splicer had, there were quite a few more controversial things that came along with it.
Transmog was added to the game, finally.
The long awaited feature found in so many other MMO games.
Allowing players to change their appearance to match whichever armor piece they wanted.
The problem was how unbelievably grindy it was.
The currency you had to grind out just to be able to purchase a bounty from ada took far too many hours.
Then you had to grind that bounty out, and once completed would give you the currency to use on armor pieces to unlock it for transmog.
Not only that, but you were capped on how many you could earn per season.
Bungie finally brought us Transmog but they did it in the most tedious, grindy, and convoluted system just to encourage players to skip the grind and purchase the materials directly from Eververse.
It was pretty bad.
And it was unfortunate.
Things like this really further the narrative that Bungie only brings highly requested features if they can monetize it to death and milk the playerbase.
But due to the backlash received around Transmog, Bungie announced that with an update in the next season, the grind would be significantly reduced by no longer requiring this extra currency to purchase the bounties from Ada which was at least nice to hear.
But yeah at release it was gross.
The Core Activities being neglected continued to sour the experience for the season.
The content Splicer brought was good, but it really only made Tuesday resets the exciting days for the Season.
Because the core game still suffered.
Chosen helped the strike playlist a bit by bringing a fair amount of Strike Content, but Crucible and Gambit were still in shambles.
And it didn’t help when leveling still required you to interact with the core activities so often.
However some of the Power Level grind was reduced thankfully this season by only increasing 10 levels instead of 50, and as great as that change was, all it really did was highlight the fact that Tuesdays were all that mattered, and the rest of the game just wasn’t worth playing much.
The Final event to take place during Splicer was Solstice of Heroes which besides a new shotgun and some minor changes to progression, was the same as it always has been.
Shortly after Solstice would come the final Season of the year.
Season of The Lost.
Now there were essentially 2 seasonal content drops that took place during Lost, but first we’re going to speak strictly about Lost, then discuss the other content.
The story of Lost would be what ushers in the story of the Witch Queen expansion.
But it still was connected to what has been happening over the last few seasons which was nice.
We were tasked with saving the lost Techeuns of the Ascendant Realm as Mara Sov prepares for an Exorcism of a Worm from Savathun.
It was a very fitting story setup to Usher in the Witch Queen expansion the next season.
Astral Alignment was the 6 player matchmade activity and it was fine.
Nothing terribly unique, but as for Seasonal content it was serviceable.
But the formula was getting to be pretty tiresome at this point.
These Seasonal activities were fun little distractions momentarily, but they aren’t designed to last.
They go away at the end of the year and when content isn’t made to last, they usually aren’t going to be top tier or have much depth to them.
And players hoped that Witch Queen’s seasons would shake up this seasonal formula a bit more.
Shattered Realm missions were the weekly story drops that gave us some interesting exploration moments and various collectibles.
The area grew each week in size the more we unlocked perks that allowed us to venture deeper into the areas.
It was definitely pretty cool, but not too exciting gameplay-wise.
What was nice to see was a more streamlined way of obtaining weapons and armor for the season.
We still had the upgrade grid system mechanic to work with, but not for the weapons.
We no longer needed different items or materials to get loot drops.
You just got them after activity completion.
Which was pretty cool.
Unfortunately the loot itself for the season was pretty forgettable.
Especially the weapons.
Not too many of them stood out much.
2 Exotic weapons were added this season.
The now infamous Lorentz Driver was the Battle Pass weapon and initially was a breath of fresh air to a class of weaponry that didn’t see a whole lot of use for most of the year.
Paired with some artifact mods, it made this weapon pretty popular.
The Second Exotic weapon was Ager’s Scepter which had its own quest to obtain.
The quest was fine.
A lot of collect things, and kill things, but the final mission was alright, if just a little bit easy.
And the weapon was pretty decent and brought the total number of stasis exotics up to 3 for the year.
The 3 exotic armor pieces were all from Destiny 1.
Radiant Dance Machines for the Hunter, No Backup Plans for the Titan, and Nothing Manacles for the Warlock.
The Ritual Weapon Ascendancy was pretty good after the buff to explosive light.
Both The Hothead Nightfall weapon and Ascendancy reigned supreme for most of the Season as far as legendary heavy’s go.
But Season of The Lost mostly benefitted from the numerous Quality of Life improvements made to the game.
For one thing, Crossplay was finally here.
A fantastic addition that allowed more friends to group up and play, LFG-ing felt better because everyone was a potential option to invite regardless of the system they played on.
PvP may have gotten a bit tougher, thanks to PC players having a bit of an edge, however Aim Assist is so strong on Controller that it wasn’t as noticable as some games that have crossplay.
Primary Ammo was now infinite.
Just a great change all around.
Running out of primary always felt dumb in the first place, so this was a welcome change.
Changes to cooldowns and both Ability and Super energy depending on the option you pick.
It helped the balance out just enough, while not feeling too impactful.
Trials of Osiris got quite the Revamp that rewarded players for their time spent in the mode a bit more.
Making it still worth playing even if you didn’t get the flawless.
Changes made to special ammo so it didn’t transfer round to round.
Matchmaking was added, alongside Solo Freelance.
Changes were made to prevent emoting and sword peaking.
Trials was no longer free-to-play and would require players to own the most current annual expansion in order to access, and this helped prevent cheaters from just creating new accounts endlessly.
Bungie would also come down pretty hard on cheaters, account recoveries, and win traders.
And all of these changes, made Trials a better place overall.
But the Witch Queen expansion received a delay.
Meaning Season of The Lost would go on for 6 months rather than the originally planned 3.
And likely, this delay was planned to accommodate the next release that would happen inside of Season of The Lost.
The 30th Anniversary Pack.
This content drop brought along some free content, as well as some paid content so let’s first talk about the Free stuff.
Dares of Eternity.
Possibly the best 6 player matchmade activity in Destiny that changed every time you played through it.
Whether it was the enemy type that you needed to fight, the next area you would fight, and which boss you would be facing.
It was pretty rewarding too.
Filled with great weapons themed around some of Bungie’s old games like Halo and Marathon.
Xur’s Treasure Horde also had some pretty cool additions in way of armor and ornaments.
The Dawning Also took place shortly after the release of this expansion, but it was pretty much business as usual there.
The Paid Content included a new dungeon set in the loot cave that is definitely one of the best dungeons in the game.
Great boss fights.
The loot was also good.
Being mostly old Destiny 1 weapons and the new Thorn inspired Armor set.
Eyasluna, Thousand Yard Stare, and most notably.
Gjallarhorn which was something we never thought would return from D1.
Other paid content mostly consisted of Emotes, Ships, Sparrows, just vanity items really.
Now the content that came with the 30th anniversary pack was some of the best we’d seen in awhile.
Dares of Eternity was much better than any of the Seasonal Content horde mode activities, and Grasp of Avarice was a great dungeon.
And with Dares being Free, was it worth $25 dollars to get access to the dungeon, gjallarhorn, and a few more legendaries.
That is completely subjective to who you are and what you value as a player, but I think it’s safe to say that it was a little bit overpriced considering an expansion costs $40 dollars and this anniversary pack had far less content than half of an expansion.
I honestly think it could’ve just been another $10 dollars like a season or maybe even $15, but $25? A bit steep to be honest, especially when players had already spent $70 dollars or more for Beyond Light’s Year of content.
But I digress.
Beyond Light’s Seasons after the initial launch were pretty good.
The storytelling was more of a focus and was done well.
The Seasonal Content, while not amazing, felt much more consistently good than previous years, and was much more rewarding.
The Exotics that came this year were pretty great, the quality of life improvements were much needed and welcome changes.
And overall, the these 3 seasons and the 30th anniversary pack made up for the lackluster Beyond Light and Season of The Hunt launch.
But, while these seasons were improvements over last year, there still was a gaping hole inside the core game.
It was getting harder to ignore the lack of focus on Core Activities after multiple years of asking for new content for them.
But players turned their focus to the upcoming Witch Queen expansion that would hopefully deliver in all the right ways at launch, and be followed up with Seasons that were even better than Beyond Light’s.
So Beyond Light’s year started off pretty rough, but by the end of it’s following 3 seasons, Destiny 2 was heading in at least an interesting direction in both the narrative and quality of life changes.
The Witch Queen was arriving soon and it was one of the most highly anticipated DLC’s with hopes of it’s quality reaching Taken King and Forsaken Levels.
Could it live up to the expectations players had? Well let’s rewind back to the reveal.
Like most expansion reveals, they coincide alongside the release of a new season.
This one happened the day Season of the Lost launched.
And the dev team had a lot to say before we even got a look at the Witch Queen.
The Witch Queen reveal Cinematic was very intriguing.
The Hive wielding supers like our own, a new swampy Throne World, and of course Savathun, the Witch Queen herself looking badass as hell.
The cinematic gave us a lot of questions right away, in a good way.
7 years ago we first learned of Savathun during the Taken King expansion, and finally we’d get to see her story front and center of a new Expansion.
And it appeared to be as mysterious and lore filled as some of Destiny’s best content like Taken King and Forsaken.
The first look at gameplay focused on the Hive using the light against us and the potential challenges that faced us.
A new weapon type, the Glaive was shown off, and ending with us crushing a Hive Ghost.
Again, more interesting questions would arise surrounding the Hive obtaining the Light.
But the reveal wasn’t expanding on those questions, instead, we learned more about the Glaive and how it would be obtained.
It would be built.
Weapon Crafting would be coming to Destiny 2, a highly requested, but somewhat divisive feature that had seen iterations in the past with Destiny 1 in House of Wolves.
But it looked like crafting in Witch Queen would have a bit more depth to it, or at least a bit more grindy.
It was still up in the air at this point whether Weapon Crafting would be good for the loot game, or be to its detriment.
Bungie Quickly shifted to what would likely be the biggest highlight of the Expansion.
There would be a larger focus on the campaign for the Witch Queen which was nice to see.
There hasn’t been too many campaignd in the Destiny franchise that really stood out as GREAT.
Most of them were either mediocre or serviceable at best.
But Campaigns like Taken King and Forsaken delivered in all the right ways, and Witch Queen was looking to be even more epic than those.
A new Legendary difficulty option would be added to provide players with a much more challenging experience, that scaled up in difficulty the more players you have in your fireteam.
Every mission and boss fight in the campaign would actually be a challenge this time.
There weren’t a whole lot of major bullet points to cover with the Witch Queen reveal like there were with some of the expansions from previous years.
Instead, Bungie just focused on showing us all the reasons they believe players would be excited.
A great new large scale campaign, a villain we’ve heard so much about, and a new Throne World with Secrets and Light Wielding Hive to explore.
Even in the Vidoc that was released just a few weeks before Witch Queen, the Campaign was still what Bungie wanted to focus on, giving us a bit more details about both the Narrative and the Missions themselves which would have more dungeon-like mechanics involved.
We learned a little bit about the Season that would launch alongside the expansion.
Season of the Risen.
Caitl was going to help us push back Savathun’s army.
But that’s all we knew so far.
Bungie made a point of how many new items would be arriving in Witch Queen, including 8 exotic weapons, and 6 exotic armor pieces, along with around 50 new legendary weapons to chase.
And lastly, the Vidoc Ended with a look at the first of 3 Subclasses getting an overhaul and update to them.
With Witch Queen’s launch Season, that would be Void.
Aspects and Fragments would now be a part of the Subclasses just like Stasis subclasses had with Beyond Light, and with each successive season, Solar and Arc subclasses would receive a similar revamp.
So after 3 month Delay, the Witch Queen would launch in late February, and we could finally play it for ourselves and be the judge.
Would it be all Bungie hyped it up to be? So first up, lets talk about the campaign.
Did it live up to the expectations Bungie set for it? Was it as grand and as epic as they described? The short answer? Yes.
There were 8 story missions that were lengthier, more challenging, and more complex than any previous campaign that had come before it.
Even the in between busy work missions were better here.
There were a lot of memorable moments throughout in both the gameplay, and the narrative.
Big story reveals, fun boss fights, and the amount of places we ventured throughout the campaign made it feel even bigger.
The Legendary Difficulty made it all the better.
It is the definitive way to experience these moments.
The challenge and difficulty helped make the whole campaign stick a bit more than previous ones.
Playing your best to defeat difficult bosses, optimizing your playstyle, utilizing all tools in your arsenal, all of it just feels better when there’s the threat of failure.
And the Witch Queen campaign truly felt epic because of it.
The New Lightbearing Hive enemies really helped ramp up the challenge and could be difficult to deal with, and offered real difficulty, rather than artificial difficulty like we see with Champions.
And it’s unfortunate we don’t really see these enemies outside of the campaign, patrol, and 1 of the Strikes.
The storytelling inside each mission and the various cutscenes were leagues better than what we saw with Beyond Light and Shadowkeep.
Bungie definitely didn’t oversell the campaign.
It was even better than most of us thought it’d be.
Now it wasn’t perfect, we still ended up defeating Savathun in the final mission, rather than fight her in a raid or something like we did with her brother Oryx.
Although this time it was more forgivable because of the Legendary Difficulty, and Savathun’s boss fight was quite the spectacle.
After the Campaign we of course had a fair amount of quests and things to explore on the new Throne World.
The New Vendor Fynch had a few quests that were more of the basic go kill some enemies over here there and elsewhere style quests, but other Post Campaign quests were a bit better like the Evidence Board ones that had us gathering more intel and lore relating to Savathun and required a bit more effort to complete.
A few more weapon crafting quests would also open up including the Osteo Striga quest which had us building a new weapon of sorrow.
Now it’s on to the Throne world itself.
And as a new destination, it was alright.
Like any new destination it brought the typical “secrets to find” and things to uncover, a new public event… the usual stuff, and this time new areas could be accessed when leveling up your rank with Fynch by gaining more Deepsight which was pretty cool.
But mostly the Throne World was filled with a bunch of minor stuff for the sake of the new Title to earn, Gumshoe.
Savathun’s Throne world was certainly more fleshed out than Europa or the reprised Moon from Shadowkeep, but for some reason it still felt kind of empty and lifeless when compared to the Dreaming City or Dreadnaught.
Other activities were also available on the Throne World including, the Wellspring.
A 6 player matchmade activity that changed a bit each week.
Sometimes you’d be defending the zone from an onslaught of enemies and fight a certain boss, other times you’d be assaulting the zone and end up fighting a different final boss.
It was fun the first few times, but the loot really wasn’t all that exciting and only served as a place to farm power level until you reached the soft cap.
Altars of Reflection were mini puzzle-like missions that could be completed weekly for powerful drops and acted the same way they did during the campaign.
One mission would open a bit later after the world’s first raid was completed called Preservation which was essentially just the opening of the raid itself but could grant pinnacle gear drops on completion.
2 strikes would be added in the Witch Queen, both taking Place on the Throne World.
The Birthplace of the Vile where we would need to fight off the Scorn from accessing the Throne World which they were doing with help from the Witness, and The Lightblade which had us delving deep into the Throne World to fight off an old Enemy from The Taken King expansion, now revived thanks to the Light.
Both of these strikes are great both from a gameplay and narrative perspective.
They were grand in scale, richly lore filled, and make for some great challenges on higher difficulties.
More Strikes like these, are what the game needs more often.
Continuing the Trend from Beyond Light, The Witch Queen also did not bring a new dungeon, which was unfortunate.
The 2nd expansion to launch without a Dungeon, which would now be locked behind a separate paywall called the Dungeon key for 20 dollars that would release 2 dungeons later in the year.
And it needs to be pointed out how gross it is that Bungie really just keeps splitting up its expansion content more and more into bits and pieces and then sells those pieces separately.
Vow of The Disciple was the new Raid that would take place deep inside the pyramid on the Throne World.
Finally we’d get to properly explore and navigate through one of these things and Vow did not disappoint there.
Filled with lots of hidden areas and chests, lore with puzzles to solve, completely massive in scale, showing off areas you’d eventually end up in your journey along the way.
Vow looked badass, and felt like another great expedition into the enemy’s base.
The pacing of the raid is almost perfect in Vow, only being marred by the far too lengthy intro.
The real first encounter was a well done introduction to the new Symbols that would be used throughout the entire Raid and there were a lot of them.
Vow had almost double the symbols over Last Wish which was maybe a bit much, but like any raid, when you’re likely repeating encounters over and over trying to get things right, it wouldn’t take too long to memorize all the symbols.
The Caretake Bossfight is one of the best paced fights in the raid.
3 teams of 2 all splitting up to tackle the challenges of the 3 story room.
Requiring fluid execution and DPS to ensure victory.
The Artifacts encounter is by far the most satisfying encounter in the raid that rewards you for being efficient and organized.
Setting pathways for your team, managing which players take which artifacts per room, and there’s a bit of randomness that plays in each time that meant you always needed to be ready to adapt.
Another well paced encounter that runs like a well oiled machine once you get it down.
And finally, Rhulk which is one of the more unique boss fights in Destiny’s History.
A final boss that actually attacks you hand to hand rather than just shooting at you from afar.
Rhulk can kick you off, blind you, or land just the perfect blow to end your run.
There’s a lot of movement when fighting him that’s just fun.
Getting up to a DPS phase is a bit of a slog though, drawn out maybe just a minute too long, but otherwise a great fight against a badass looking villain.
And thanks to some incredible lore surrounding the Witness, it made Rhulk a great character even narratively which also helped alleviate some of the disappointment that Savathun wasn’t the raid boss.
In fact, Rhulk as the Raid boss felt like an even better choice for What Vow was going for.
Again, like Beyond Light, the Witch Queen also did not bring any new PvP maps or modes to the game.
Still a puzzling decision that would continue to hurt the replayability of the Crucible.
There were a fair amount of Exotics added in Witch Queen and its launch season, Season of The Risen.
8 exotic weapons and 6 exotic armor pieces.
3 of the 8 weapons were exotic glaives that were specific to each class that had some unique perks but they really didn’t make a big splash.
Pretty underperforming weapons.
Parasite, a heavy grenade launcher had a pretty standard Exotic Quest to obtain, mostly the busywork stuff we’re all used to by now, and the weapon itself could be a lot of fun for explosive enthusiasts.
Collective Obligation is the Raid Pulse rifle that kind of landed with a thud and wasn’t too strong save for a few void focused builds, but even then wasn’t all that great.
Osteo Striga was probably the biggest highlight of the Witch Queen weapons though and quickly became a fan favorite thanks to it’s viability in endgame content.
As for the Season of The Risen Weapons, Dead Messenger, a secondary grenade launcher could be obtained in an exotic quest that took place on a D1 Mars location and the mission, was fine enough.
The weapon was also fine.
And finally Grand Overture, the Battle Pass weapon was incredibly fun to play around with, being a bit similar to Xenophage, but also having the ability to fire off tons of missiles.
It was a fun exotic to use, and thankfully a pretty decent one rather than being just a gimmick.
The Exotic Armor had a few stand outs amongst them including the Blight Ranger for hunters, and the Lorely helm for the titans.
Overall the exotics during Witch Queen’s launch were above average.
One of the biggest changes sandbox style changes that came at launch was the introduction of the first 3.
0 subclass of the original 3 light subclasses.
0 revamped the subclasses to act like the stasis one that granted aspects and fragments and provided a lot of buildcrafting potential which despite a few issues, was mostly great.
Considering customizable subclasses has been something highly requested ever since Destiny 2 launched and we lost the ability to customize like we had in D1, seeing this change finally come, even if only to the void classes, was nice to see.
But we’d have to wait a few more Seasons before we’d see Arc and Solar receive a similar treatment.
Before we move on to Season of The Risen, I do want to address the Why Witch Queen is a Distraction Not Expansion idea.
And most of this criticism will also apply to both Beyond Light and Shadowkeep.
Now on Paper, it’s pretty easy to see them as Expansions to Destiny, but really they’re more like Large Seasons and there is a difference.
Destiny expansions in the past have always expanded every area of the game whether that’s crucible, strikes, the inclusion of a brand new core playlist with Gambit, and in expansions like Taken King that introduced new enemies or events from the expansion to spread across and infect old Destinations like the Taken World Bosses.
Bungie loves to tout that the game is a living breathing world that is everchanging and events take place across the system.
But the last time that was ever true was in Forsaken when every part of the game received a touch up and evolved even just a little bit.
But with the last 3 expansion releases, they only pile onto the game instead of evolving it.
The game doesn’t need a complete overhaul or rework every year, that’s not what I’m saying, but how can they say the game is evolving when every single destination or piece of content from the past has stayed the exact same.
For example, in Rise of Iron we only got 1 new strike, however 5 more were updated and changed to fit the new expansion theme.
Taniks had his spliced version, Sepiks became Perfected, The Nexus Mind became Taken and gained new abilities, the strikes actually evolved, whether they were replaced with new enemies, or revived thanks to some sort of new Tech.
And the Strikes had different versions even during Taken King with which boss you would fight at the end or which enemies and mechanics you faced along the way.
Not to mention all the new Strike Specific loot that was themed around each of the enemies that was not only added to new strikes released in an expansion, but also would be added to strikes even from Vanilla Destiny.
Now for D2, how cool would it have been to see something like the scarlet keep get some of these new Hive Guardians added throughout, or maybe even replace Hashladun as a boss with a Gigachad Lightbearing Wizard, or see the inverted Spire see the addition of things like Wyverns and some new mechanics thrown in for the final boss, or see literally any change made to them to fit the new theme of a new expansion.
Quests were even added during the Taken King post campaign that had us traveling all over the system with the Taken War and Wolves of Mars quests that were in their own ways actually mini campaigns that spanned all the destinations.
Further evolving those areas and giving a reason to return to them.
Currently in Destiny 2 the reason I believe there’s so much burnout is because each expansion only tacks on a new place to go to with a campaign and a raid, and then its back to business as usual, and leaves everything else in the dust.
There’s only so much you can do on 1 new destination before it gets boring, especially when the things to do on the new Destinations are basically the same that you’ve done on all of them already.
Run bounties, find collectibles, or run the same public events you’ve been playing for years.
Legendary Lost Sectors helped alleviate some of that problem and did give us a reason to visit old locations, and that was great.
And we need more things like that for the “evolving world” description to actually ring true.
And of course, it doesn’t help when not only does old content rarely see any updates, but there is an unhealthy lack of new content for the actual core game.
I know I’ve made this point like a thousand times over the last few years, but I’ll keep hammering it until something is actually done about it.
The lack of core activity content, meaning Strikes, crucible, Gambit, in a 40 dollar expansion has been causing this game to grow stagnate.
There are only so many times your player base can run the Arms Dealer Strike or play another Crucible match on Midtown before it becomes completely laughable.
1 or 2 strikes in an expansion, 0 crucible maps and gambit hasn’t been touched in almost 4 years.
And all previous Destinations have absolutely no reason to exist.
Expansions used to address these areas of the game and its why a lot of older Destiny expansions reign above the newer ones, despite the campaign’s quality being improved.
Because the Witch Queen does have an amazing Campaign and good Raid.
But that’s really all it has going for it.
But something like Taken King and Forsaken not only overhauled core systems, but expanded every single area of the game no matter what type of player you were.
The Witch Queen does not do that, it was a Campaign with a few bonuses tacked on.
It’s just a minor distraction, not an expansion, and the same could be said for Shadowkeep and Beyond Light.
And just to reiterate the point I made at the start of the video, as far as the Campaign, Raid, and Strikes I love all of them.
They’re great, but the rest of the game just feels wildly neglected still.
So now we move on to Season of The Risen.
Storywise, again like the Witch Queen, pretty good.
The story has not really been an issue in the last few Seasons and Risen wasn’t an exception.
It told a good story, tied directly into the Witch Queen and the Lucent Hive, with some good character development between some of the characters, not really much to dislike narratively this season at all.
The Seasonal Activity this time was Psiops battlegrounds, a 3 player matchmade activity that actually had a bit of challenge to it this time thanks to the large number of enemies it had especially at the final boss fights.
And for the most part these were actually pretty cool.
After I just spent all that time saying Witch Queen didn’t give a reason to explore old areas, Psiops did.
It was still instanced and were exclusive to this Seasonal Playlist option, but it was cool to see old areas being utilized for some new content and actually changed the existing areas with some additional architecture.
I just wish these Psiops took place in the actual Patrol spaces to make the game feel more like an MMO and not just kept to separate instances.
The grind was also kept to a minimum for loot from Psiops.
Reducing the upgrade path difficulty and kept that same kind of streamlined Umbral Engram acquisition for Seasonal Gear.
It was fine all things considered.
And the weapons themselves weren’t too bad either with some good roll potential.
The armor however didn’t look great.
The seasonal Ritual Weapon was Reckless Endangerment, a pretty substandard Shotgun that had a lot of perk variety and options, but was truly just a jack of all trades master of none and there are infinitely just better options you can swap between that do what you want a bit better.
Strike Scoring and Medals did make a return to strikes from Destiny 1, but there still wasn’t a whole lot to them.
In Destiny 1 these medals and scoring generally granted you bonus rewards or worked towards specific bounties from Zavala that would reward exotic drops or something but with them being readded in Destiny 2, they were just kind of there.
Guardian Games would also make a return this year with a New SMG to earn and at least some unique changes made.
3 separate Strike Playlists were available, the Recreational, Training, and Competitive playlists that had different modifiers and scoring systems, and rewarding you a bit differently per playlist.
It was an interesting idea and certainly was one of the better Guardian Games we’ve seen, but not much of an improvement really.
Season of The Risen wasn’t a bad season.
It was certainly better than the other 2 seasons that launched alongside an expansion, meaning Season of Undying and Hunt.
There was better loot here, a better activity, much better story.
It was still a bit on the lighter side in terms of content, but that’s about par for the course for the Expansion launch Season.
As a whole, The Witch Queen would be a major improvement over Shadowkeep and Beyond Light in almost every regard.
The Campaign was incredibly fun and replayable thanks to the Legendary option, the Raid is also one of the games best with some killer loot to chase, and some of the few quality of life improvements made the game feel better.
But for all the good content that the Witch Queen brought to the game, its shortcomings are defined by the glaring holes left to the core game.
Another expansion has come without anything substantial for the 3 pillars of the core activities leaving the game to feel extremely stale after the honeymoon phase wears off.
3 expansions in a row this has been a problem, and Bungie seems reluctant to address those issues.
Instead the only thing to look forward to is again, another 3 seasons that could hopefully surpass the formulaic and predictable gameplay loops the community had been growing a distaste for.
But only time would tell how these seasons would hold up.
So the Witch Queen was a good expansion.
Certainly not the best the Destiny franchise has seen, but it’s Campaign and Raid are among the best pieces of content in the game.
Season of The Risen didn’t necessarily land with a big splash, but was serviceable as far as Seasons that launch alongside expansions go.
But with the Witch Queen being Destiny 2’s best expansion since Forsaken, anticipation for the seasons that would follow was definitely High.
Especially after the consistently popular seasons during the Beyond Light year.
Well up first would be Season of The Haunted.
Now I feel it’s worth mentioning that with Season of The Haunted, Bungie opted not to share any information about the Season prior to its release meaning no promotional material or trailers to hype it up ahead of time and instead would do a bit of a blind launch.
This caused some bit of controversy, but also some level of hype, with it being sort of a mysterious Season drop.
But we’ll touch more on this topic later in the video.
As for Season of The Haunted itself, it was another Cabal Themed release, however this time intertwined with the overall Darkness storyline that would ultimately begin setting up the Story for Lightfall.
Calus was trying to link himself with the Pyramid Ship on the moon, which prompted his Leviathan ship to make a return above the moon Destination.
The first hints of the Witness and Calus teaming up would be the main story theme.
However, in terms of the Story related to the Gameplay, we’d be fighting Nightmares like we did in the Shadowkeep expansion.
Only this time, they aren’t OUR nightmares, they are the Nightmares of characters involved in the story.
Crow, Zavala, and Caitl.
Each week we’d help these characters try and defeat the things that haunt them.
Although the final mission of the Season was pretty strong.
In between helping our allies, we would board the Leviathan Ship once again, this time with a much different look to it.
Now covered in Egregore and filled with Scorn.
With it’s return, much of the area was explorable and relevant to completing Season Questlines and challenges which was actually really cool.
Basically turning it into a Patrol Zone.
Nightmare Containments were the primary activity taking place on the Leviathan and was the typical 6 man horde mode style event.
However, this time was actually pretty fun at least for the first few weeks.
Enemy density was high, lots of Bosses and Mini bosses to slay, a new Scythe weapon could be picked up similar to the Iron Axe from the Rise of Iron expansion.
It was chaotic fun.
The fun started to slow down though due to the incredible amount of grinding that this season required between the quests and grid upgrade, and if you’re crazy like me and went for the Seasonal Title, then you know just how tiresome it became to spend so much time on the Destination.
Season of The Haunted featured the return of several popular weapons from the past including Beloved, Drang, Calus Mini-Tool and Austringer which overshadowed the other new weapons added in the season.
And thanks to the addition of a new perk called Incandescent that could drop on the Mini Tool and Drang, it made these weapons even more desirable.
0 would also drop this Season as the second subclass to receive an overhaul.
Initially the reception was fairly middling and the community quickly declared it to be much worse than last Seasons revamp for Void Subclasses.
However this sentiment would quickly change once players realized just how powerful certain builds could be.
As a Hunter main, nothing felt better than having the addition of Dynamite to add on top of my Shards of Galanor Blade Barrage build to achieve ultimate destruction.
But all classes could achieve equal power.
And with the Classy Restoration mod of the Season that healed you when you used a class ability, it would be the cherry on top that trivialized most PvE content.
Actually, the Resilience Buff would be that cherry on top as it received a MASSIVE buff that allowed for up to 40% damage reduction at tier 10.
Between some really strong builds, classy restoration, and The Resilience buff, this might have been the strongest our characters have ever been and maybe even ever will be.
2 Exotic Weapons were added in Haunted.
The first being Tresspasser, the Battle Pass weapon.
A returning exotic from Destiny 1 that is significantly stronger than it was back in D1.
And Heartshadow, a new exotic Sword obtained as a random drop from the Duality Dungeon.
Drop Rates could be increased by completing various challenges inside the Dungeon which is a great way to handle random chance exotic drops and should be the standard for all Raids and Dungeons in the future.
3 Exotic Armor Pieces were added as well.
The Rain of Fire boots for the Warlocks which reloaded your weapons while dodging airborne.
Second Chance gauntlets for the Titan which grant a second charge of the Shield Throw and made it stun Barrier Champions.
And lastly, Caliban’s Hand for the Hunter which made Proximity Knives scorch enemy targets as well as buff melee regen until the knife explodes.
So 2 of the 3 exotic armors added directly linked to the changes made with Solar 3.
The Ritual Weapon for the Season was Chain of Command.
A High Impact Machine Gun that certainly was a machine gun.
It didn’t stand out as great, but wasn’t a bad option.
Just a middle of the road ritual weapon.
The New Dungeon Duality would release a few days after the Season went live, but would NOT be included with the purchase of the Season.
Instead, only Witch Queen Deluxe edition owners would have access to it, or players would need to purchase a separate Dungeon key for 20 dollars.
Obviously a very scummy business practice, especially with the Dungeons story and theme directly tied to Season of The Haunted itself, but I digress.
Duality itself was received to mixed reviews.
Nearly 50/50 for those that loved it or hated it.
Duality is one of the more expansive Dungeons in the game with really beefy and difficult encounters, and thankfully had some of the strongest loot found inside, which made it worth running weekly.
I’m in the camp that loves this dungeon, mainly from a gameplay perspective.
I’m not the biggest fan of the aesthetic and art design really.
But purely from the gameplay side of things, its my favorite Dungeon.
High enemy density, great boss fight mechanics, and a real challenge.
Unfortunately this dungeon is also marred by one MAJOR bug that still has not been fixed 8 months later which is infuriating.
It’s a complete dice roll whether ringing the bell will kill you.
I spent many hours going for a Solo Flawless run only to have it ruined by this glitch a few times, however I was able to finally get it after pushing through the pain.
The Rift game mode from Destiny 1, essentially capture the flag, made its return for Iron Banner, along with a new map Disjunction which is quickly became the most hated map amongst the community.
And opinions on Rift, weren’t that far behind.
Changes were made to the mode from Destiny 1, like making it round based where after a team would score, players were reset, instead of just flowing as one continuous match.
And maybe its due to PvP just generally not being in a strong place, but Rift was generally disliked amongst players.
Trials of Osiris received some new loot to chase including a Fusion Rifle and Sidearm.
As well as a new armor set, though the mode itself remained divisive amongst the playerbase as something to avoid.
Solstice of Heroes would return towards the end of the Season now titled just Solstice.
Despite some changes to the Event, it was pretty much business as usual, however this year would be one of the best ways to obtain high stat roll armor where players could select specific Stats to focus which certainly increased players interaction with the event.
This would also be the first introduction of Event Passes which is a separate 10 dollar Battle Pass filled with Solstice themed items.
Continuing to push monetization even further in the game.
Overall, Season of The Haunted started out pretty strong and on paper should be revered as one of the better Destiny seasons.
However, by the end of it, many players felt a bit let down.
With the Quality in Witch Queen going above and Beyond in multiple areas, players hoped to see the Witch Queen seasons evolve a bit more as well and unfortunately, Season of The Haunted felt very much like just another Season of Destiny.
This is likely due to the growing fatigue of the Seasonal Model and the Lack of content for the Core Activities like Strikes, Gambit, and Crucible.
Season of The Haunted didn’t give the strongest impression that the Witch Queen seasons would be a step up from last years.
But players hoped that the next season would impress.
On August 23rd Bungie would stream their Lightfall Showcase announcing the new Expansion.
And towards the End of The Stream would highlight Season of the Plunder which was dropping after the Stream ended.
The Story setup for Plunder surrounded Eramis, the Villain from Beyond Light who had escaped her Frozen Stasis prison and would attempt to steal 8 Relics of Nezarec for the Witness who promised to help Eramis regain power and strengthen her group of followers.
Mithrax would be a returning character for this season and we learned more about his troubled past and are introduced to his daughter Eido.
Each week we’d need to track down these relics and defeat some fallen Pirates in what could described as, basically lost sectors.
In fact the missions themselves were made up of Lost Sector areas from previous vaulted content which caused a bit of a controversy, understandably.
By the end of the story, Mithrax and Eramis have a sword fight, Mithrax wins, spares Eramis, and she escapes on her ship.
Plunder’s story really felt like filler from the get-go and felt a bit disconnected from the overarching plot of Destiny 2 despite some of the story and lore tying in with some important events from the past.
While there were some interesting tidbits of story related to the Fallen race as a whole, there wasn’t much that went beyond some surface level character development of a few characters.
As for the gameplay loop and Seasonal Content.
2 different activities would be available that played off one another.
First, a 6 player matchmade activity.
Set aboard some fallen ships, known as Ketch’s.
This played into the Pirate theme pretty hard with the idea of it being like we are boarding their pirate ships and plundering the loot.
Not a bad premise at all, but pretty standard as far as gameplay is concerned.
Moving between areas, clearing out minibosses, then confronting a final boss.
So basically Menagerie number 12.
It wasn’t the worst activity, but certainly wore out its welcome much faster than many of the previous 6 man seasonal content drops.
And that idea could be applied even more-so to the second activity called Expedition.
What basically could be described as a 3 man public event that where you cleared out some enemies and pushed a payload.
What probably would have been a somewhat tolerable activity, quickly became one of the most hated due to the overly drawn out challenges and grinding required for the seasonal Title.
The grind was exponentially increased between these two activities.
The grind would be extended even further thanks to Bungie bringing back more currencies and upgrade paths with Treasure Maps that would be required to obtain Seasonal loot.
After many complaints surrounding the tedious grinds of the Season, Bungie would address the situation, except, with only a few weeks left in the season.
Bungie would significantly reduce grind for challenges to both praise and disdain from the community.
Those who were behind were glad they could catch up easier, but those who put in the work already, felt cheated.
And players hoped that this level of Grind would simply not return in future seasons.
Now the question is, was any of this grinding worth it? Well the weapons released in this Season did actually have some hype behind them.
With a new perk called Voltshot being available, as well as a few other new perks.
Unfortunately, the weapons themselves were a bit underwhelming and really needed those perks to even be considered viable.
0 released in Plunder, being the final subclass type to receive a 3.
The result would be mixed.
Warlocks in particular feeling a bit neglected.
However Hunters and Titans would receive some VERY powerful build options.
Hunters would even receive a new Super called Gathering Storm which quickly became one of the strongest DPS supers in the game.
And Titans would reign supreme with probably the Strongest build in the games history.
The Touch of Thunder Heart of Inmost Light build.
The standard 2 exotic weapons 3 exotic armor pieces released this season as well.
Delicate Tomb, the Season Pass fusion rifle was an interesting twist on a fusion Rifle to act like a blunderbuss of sorts and had perks that played into Arc Builds pretty well.
The Touch of Malice would make a return from Destiny 1 and would be a random drop from the King’s Fall raid, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
The weapon was as strong as it was in D1 and even received some interesting changes so it became highly sought after for obvious reasons.
Cry Mutiny was the Ritual weapon.
A grenade launcher that looked like a cannon and shot cannon balls instead of grenades.
It had some unique perks that made it stand out, but really didn’t see much use due to this Season being DOMINATED by Linear Fusion Rifles in the heavy slot.
The King’s Fall raid made a return from Destiny 1, making it the second raid from D1 that has been reprised.
The raid stayed mostly the same as it was in D1, although made a few mechanic changes.
Most notably to the Golgoroth fight which now requires teams to fight the boss 100% as intended.
Oryx also received some great changes that made his fight more focused on damaging Oryx himself, rather than damaging him by completing various steps of mechanics.
From the gameplay side of things, D2 King’s Fall was a major improvement over D1 King’s Fall, the same way that VoG was with it’s reprisal.
The raid weapons also saw improvements, with more valuable roll potential.
The only downside in terms of loot, was the choice to not bring back the Age of Triumph armor sets for the raid, but they didn’t do that with Vault of Glass the previous year so it wasn’t expected.
Still, a missed opportunity.
Iron Banner this season brought along a new game mode, Eruption.
Eruption is essentially Cranked from Call of Duty if you remember that mode from Ghosts where after you get a kill, you’re on a timer where you will explode unless you keep getting kills.
In Destiny, getting kills saves you from dying, but also grants increased super and ability energy with successive kills.
What this does is make a more fast paced crucible experience which ended up being fairly popular.
It’s a high risk, high reward style game mode that made Iron Banner more tolerable during Season of The Plunder.
Festival of The Lost came as expected in October and did not change at all from Beyond Light’s Year bringing back Haunted Sectors.
It brought a new Armor Set, that despite being voted on by the community, many people ended up disliking, but the new Sniper became a favorite.
Like Solstice, it brought along an Event Pass for some extra cash which is a bit hilarious considering this event already exists for the sole purpose of selling microtransactions, and a new Title could be earned.
One that required an immense amount of grinding of course.
A month later, one of the more controversial things of the season would take place.
A “Telesto Event” if you can call it that.
On November 8th upon reset, the exotic Fusion Rifle Telesto would begin acting weird.
Essentially like it was broken.
Of course playing in to the meme surrounding the history of the weapon where this gun genuinely has broken the game several times.
Now the controversy comes up when discussing what this all meant.
Players had been starving for a new secret quest or puzzle since Bungie had slowly moved away from those events over the last couple years, so with how Telesto was acting, and Bungie posting cryptic tweets and emblems about the weapon, players started losing their minds trying to uncover this new potential puzzle or secret.
Bungie would post on Twitter saying there was no secret of any kind and that this was just a fun little easter egg, but players weren’t buying it and continued to search for secrets for a few days before finally giving up.
Now this was a letdown to a large number of players who have always loved the secret quests and missions of the past.
And the event would turn out to be what players felt was like a slap in the face.
And did not find it amusing.
And to fuel the flames even further, a Bungie Engineer would post on reddit that Destiny 2 is not built in a way that supports building secret missions, even the ones in the past.
Which okay fair enough, but even with that being the case, Bungie DID make secret missions in the past for Destiny 2 so this just made fans even more confused and frustrated.
Long story short, This Telesto Event did more harm than it did good in the eyes of many players and I’m sure it’ll be the last time we see Bungie do something like this.
And the final send off to Plunder would be a community event where we as a community would upgrade the Eliksni Quarters.
And how would we do that? By collecting Captains Coins which are obtained from Ketchcrash, Expedition, Public Events, and pretty much everything else in the game.
So essentially, the event was, go play the game.
This event would last about 2 weeks and the reward for collecting 400 million coins was simply underwhelming.
Not just the cosmetic rewards, but the Eliksni Quarters themselves barely saw any renovations worthy of 400 million coins so the event was mostly memed on by the community and would be deemed a letdown.
Season of The Plunder had some good ideas, and a few bright spots with things like King’s Falls return, Arc 3.
0 and the build potential it brought, but again, it felt like a filler season in pretty much every way.
Story, Gameplay, Loot, most of it wasn’t too memorable, and by the end of the Season, Destiny 2 would have it’s lowest ever playercount recorded on Steam.
And burnout on the Seasonal Model would reach an all time high amongst players.
Could the next Season bring them back? Bungie would continue the trend of not announcing the next season prior to its launch day.
The playerbase wants to get hyped, wants to get exciting, so this trend continued to frustrate players, and ask that it not continue in Lightfall.
But Season of the Plunder came to an End on December 6th, and so began Season of The Seraph.
First up the story.
Season of The Seraph would make a return to the Bray family, Rasputin storyline after over a year it’s been absent.
Ana Bray wants to remove Rasputin from the Engram he’s been trapped in, but can’t figure out how to do it.
So she reluctantly needs to ask for help from her father Clovis.
Hive and Fallen have been attacking old Rasputin Bunkers, and mainly the Hive who are going after the Bunkers under order of Xivu Arath who is looking for some heavy firepower in the form of Rasputin’s Satellites.
Certainly a lot more in line with the overarching plot than Season of The Plunder, but not by much as it does still feel like sort of a random deviation, like a random temporary threat.
But, most seasons follow that idea so this isn’t entirely a unique problem with Seraph.
As for the story missions from a gameplay perspective, they are much more substantive than the ones in Plunder or even Haunted.
Seasonal Content this time is a 3 player battleground style activity.
And these involve ridding the Hive and Scorn from Rasputin Bunkers.
Fairly straightforward activity that play almost like a strike, it added some cool unique mechanics like the Seraph Tower line of sight, but unfortunately we likely won’t see this mechanic expanded to any other area of the game.
The Heists can be fun and a bit more challenging than previous Seasonal Activities but can quickly become a bit repetitive due to the missions themselves not deviating much from one another.
Even though the location changes, the bunkers are essentially the same, especially when it comes to the final boss encounter.
Now in these Heist missions, Bungie added a modifier to the playlist that keeps enemies 5 power levels above you at any given time which is what lends to the increase in challenge.
Which makes the difficulty feel just about right for seasonal content.
It shouldn’t be super challenging like endgame content, but shouldn’t be as easy as they have been in the past, so this modifier is a near perfect middle ground.
No exotic armor was added in Seraph, however 3 Exotic Weapons instead of the usual 2 would be added, the first being the Manticore, the season pass exotic.
A bit of a unique weapon that’s more gimmicky than anything else.
Allowing you to build up energy that makes you hover in place while shooting.
Hierarchy of Needs, an Exotic Bow that is a rare drop from the new Spire of The Watcher Dungeon.
A pretty decent addition to the list of Exotic Bows.
And lastly Revision Zero which has it’s own Exotic Quest mission.
Now this mission is much more puzzle oriented rather than combat focused which makes it a bit unique as far as these Exotic missions are concerned.
And essentially this mission is a mini deep stone crypt raid run where you utilize almost all the mechanics found in that raid throughout.
Even the final boss is essentially just Taniks Phase 1.
The feedback surrounding this mission is pretty split between those that loved it and those that found it to be one of the weaker ones.
But one thing is for certain, it’s worth running the mission to get the Revision Zero Pulse Rifle.
A very unique and powerful exotic.
Veles-X is the seasonal ritual weapon which like previous seasons, wound up being fairly mid, however under the right circumstances has some utility.
The new Dungeon Spire of The Watcher released a few days after the season released, and like Duality was exclusive to Deluxe Edition owners or owners of the 20 dollar Dungeon key.
Also like Duality, Spire of the Watcher was received to mixed reviews, again about 50/50 love or hate it.
Spire is much shorter than Duality, and other Dungeons of the past, and has much simpler mechanics.
The first half of the Dungeon is essentially just a game of shoot some power cores to reroute power, paired with some platforming, and then the first boss is essentially just a reskin of the Consecrated Mind from the Garden of Salvation raid.
Very underwhelming mechanically and fairly easy.
And after a bit more platforming, you’re at the final boss.
Which thankfully is the Dungeons highlight, and utilizes the mechanics learned from the previous encounters to the fullest, although is still a very simple fight.
And if you’re looking for a quick and easy dungeon run, this is good for that, but most of the community felt it was just alright.
As for the loot, some decent options for weapons like Scout Rifle which is basically a Legendary version of Dead Man’s Tale, and of course the Armor which is very cowboy outlaw themed which is completely subjective to your own tastes, but something I actually quite like.
And of course, the Exotic Bow Hierarchy of Needs which is highly sought after.
The Dawning made it’s annual return with a few changes and a some new loot to chase, but like Festival of The Lost, the event still mainly comes around for the sake of cosmetic sales in eververse and to sell you the new Event Card.
Beyond that, the Dawning exists as just a Bright Dust farm.
Iron Banner returned this season with yet again, a new game mode called Fortress.
Which works a bit like control, with occasional Cabal turrets dropping in during a match which can be used as a catch up mechanic for the other team.
This mode really highlighted the strength of Bubble Titans and was an interesting attempt at marrying PvP and PvE outside of Gambit.
And like most of the content this season, the communities opinions are split between those that really enjoy the mode and those that don’t like it.
Probably the biggest highlight was the return of the fan favorite Taken King armor sets from Destiny 1 which prompted many players to engage with Iron Banner for the sake of obtaining these armor sets.
Competitive PvP received a bit of an overhaul at the beginning of Seraph, finally getting a more proper ranked ladder system akin to many other PvP games.
Now how Bungie implemented this system is still hotly debated about whether it was positive or negative or a mix of both.
Though I don’t think it’s received the amount of praise Bungie was hoping for.
Now Season of The Seraph is coming to a close very soon, just a couple weeks out from ending and besides one more finale community event coming, we’ve pretty much seen all the content it had on offer.
Initially the season was greeted with players noting the burnout of the Seasonal Content model, however as time has progressed throughout the season, opinions have shifted to be a bit more positive overall.
And with recent sandbox tuning and gameplay changes being received positively like the fix to in air accuracy, the community is feeling a bit more positive about heading into Lightfall.
However there are still concerns, especially in relation to the core game content and how Seasons will be handled in Lightfall.
The Witch Queen seasons were certainly a mixed bag, and while the content wasn’t terrible itself, the burnout on the seasonal model reached it’s peak this year.
Will Lightfall live up to the hype, will it address some of the major painpoints the playerbase felt over the course of this year? Only time will tell.