Bungie: Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Expansion Expands MMO Features
Eris Morn and her rock are coming back, as are Artifacts.
E3 2019 is nearly upon us, and it's riding on a huge wave of game news as it arrives. Destiny 2 players got Leviathan-sized load of new info on a Bungie livestream today, which explained what players can expect from Shadowkeep, the game's next expansion, and the changes coming to the game along with it.
Things kicked off with a trailer for Shadowkeep, which is coming on September 17, during Google's Stadia Connect livestream. As leaks suggested, it'll take players back to the moon, a Destiny 1 location we haven't seen in Destiny 2. It also centers on Eris Morn, a Destiny 1 character who disappeared at the start of Destiny 2, but who has featured heavily in the lore for the last two years.
The story of Shadowkeep is all about "nightmares," which are apparently versions of villains players have defeated throughout their Destiny careers, resurrected and out for vengeance. They include major characters such as Ghaul, the final boss of Destiny 2's first story campaign, and Crota, a raid boss from Destiny 1. Figuring out how to deal with those enemies is a major part of the Shadowkeep story, because the usual "shoot everything" approach won't be enough. Developers also said that Shadowkeep will amp up the "psychological horror" aspect of the lunar setting.
The new expansion features new missions and quests to complete, as well as a new dungeon, which is a larger type of level that was first introduced to Destiny 2 in Forsaken. There's also a new raid that will return players to the Black Garden, a location that was a big part of the Destiny 1 story campaign but which hasn't featured very heavily in Destiny since.
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Apart from the story details, Bungie said Shadowkeep is the start of a new initiative for the game going forward. A big part of that is the push to remove barriers between players, starting with cross-save capabilities that'll allow you to transfer your Destiny 2 character between platforms. That means you'll be able to move freely between PlayStation 4, Xbox, PC via Steam, and Google Stadia. There's also a new entry point for Destiny 2 players called Destiny 2: New Light, which is a free-to-play version of all the game's Year One content. Shadowkeep will also be a standalone piece of content that doesn't require owning any past Destiny 2 expansions to play, and going forward, all additional content will be standalone and available a la carte.
Shadowkeep will also see new changes to the way Destiny 2 plays, with a greater push on the RPG side of the game. For the first time, Bungie is referring to Destiny 2 as an MMO and embracing the connotations that term brings--although developers insisted players shouldn't expect things like a subscription model for the game.
What they can expect is a greater emphasis on customization options that allow them to create the kinds of characters they want. In its Vidoc about the expansion, Bungie mentioned Armor 2.0, a system that will let you change the perks and mods of a piece of armor. The effect is armor that's more customizable so you can wear things that look cool, not just the things that are most functional.
Player-vs.-player multiplayer is getting a rework, with some classic modes from Destiny 1 returning to Destiny 2, and Bungie revamping other playlists, developers said in the Vidoc. There weren't many details as to what that'll entail, but Bungie did show off a new gameplay aspect that's sure to be a big hit in the Crucible. That aspect is a set of finishing moves that players can execute against enemies; in the video, they sent huge monsters flying as Guardians executed them with a flourish.
Finally, of course, Shadowkeep is going to include a whole lot of new loot. The Vidoc included a few work-in-progress Exotic weapons, including a hand cannon with a scope, a trace rifle that creates critical hit spots on enemies for other players to shoot at, and a heavy combat bow that blasts groups of enemies.
Bungie's announcement included a huge amount of information, offsetting some of what was leaked in the days leading up to its livestream. According to a report from TrueAchievements, Microsoft posted Shadowkeep for pre-order ahead of the announcement, which included its release date and a description of its story:
"New nightmares have emerged from the shadows of our Moon. Called forth by haunting visions, Eris Morn has returned. Join her to slay these nightmares before they reach out beyond the Moon to cast humanity back into an age of darkness."
That was more detailed than, but in keeping with, the description that appeared on Reddit from information allegedly datamined from Destiny 2's new expansion, Penumbra, which released this week. The Microsoft Store posting for Shadowkeep also provides an idea of what players can expect for Destiny 2 Year Three: basically, a similar system to Year Two. This year of Destiny 2 content saw a big expansion in Forsaken, and then three smaller "seasons" of content following it, comprising an annual pass players could purchase. From the sound of things, you'll be able to buy Shadowkeep on Xbox One as a Digital Deluxe version, which includes four "season passes." That sounds like there will be four content seasons following Shadowkeep.
The Digital Deluxe version will also come with exclusive cosmetic items, according to the leak. Here's the store description:
"Digital Deluxe items include:
- Four Season Passes, each offering a unique set of exclusive Seasonal activities, artifacts, and rewards
- Exclusive Eris Morn themed items:
- Exotic Emote
- Exotic Ghost Shell
Bungie also opened pre-orders for a Shadowkeep collectors edition on its store. The $150 package includes the game and a host of bonuses, both physical and digital, including the Shadowkeep soundtrack, a physical journal that expands on the game's lore, and "artifacts from the Golden Age."
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