Feature Article

Destiny 2: Beyond Light - Release Date, Exotics, Content Vault, And Everything Else We Know

The Beyond Light expansion coming to Destiny 2 changes the game in some significant ways, adding new abilities and removing some older content.

Bungie has confirmed it: You don't need to gear up for a new Destiny game. Instead, the developer is going to continue to support Destiny 2 into the foreseeable future, meaning that most of the things you've acquired, from premium cosmetics to hard-to-earn weaponry, will stay with you in Destiny for years to come. But although we won't be seeing Destiny reset with a new game the way it did with Destiny 2, it is about to get a substantial shakeup. The next big expansion for Destiny 2 is Beyond Light, and it's going to create some major changes when it arrives.

Beyond Light will majorly alter Destiny 2 as we know it. It marks the return of some big pieces of Destiny 1 content, including the Vault of Glass raid--but several locations and pieces of content that have been part of Destiny 2 since its release are being removed. Beyond Light will also change the onboarding experience for new players and is bringing the game to the next generation of game consoles.

We've run down all the details that are available about Beyond Light so far so you can see exactly what's ahead for the next chapter of Destiny 2.

Release Date, Platforms, And Preorder Details

Beyond Light is coming to Destiny 2 on November 10 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam, and Google Stadia. Destiny 2 is also now on Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One, with Beyond Light coming to Microsoft's subscription service on day one--so if you're a Game Pass subscriber, you can skip buying the expansion altogether, so long as you want to play on an Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S (more on next-generation versions below).

There are several different versions of Beyond Light you can get by preordering the expansion. The standard edition will run you $40 and just includes the game (the Destiny 2 base game, which is now known as New Light, is free-to-play, it's worth noting).


The new Destiny 2 expansion with access to Season 12 is $50
The new Destiny 2 expansion with access to Season 12 is $50

You can get the expansion and a season pass, which gets you access to more content and allows you to earn rewards more quickly, for $50. That preorder also comes with a few extra in-game goodies, including a Ghost shell and the Stranger's Weapon Pack, which comes with the No Time to Explain Exotic Pulse Rifle and its Exotic catalyst.


Destiny 2: Beyond Light Digital Deluxe edition is available for $70
Destiny 2: Beyond Light Digital Deluxe edition is available for $70

There are also some more involved versions of the expansion that offer more rewards. The Digital Deluxe edition will run you $70 and includes the expansion, the season pass, Beyond Light's soundtrack, an emote, a Ghost shell, an emblem, and a sparrow.


Destiny 2: Beyond Light Stranger edition comes with a figurine depicting the Stranger
Destiny 2: Beyond Light Stranger edition comes with a figurine depicting the Stranger

The Stranger edition gets you everything in the Digital Deluxe edition, plus a 10-inch physical statue of the Exo Stranger character for $130.


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The final, most involved version is the Collector's edition, which comes with the Digital Deluxe edition, a die-cast Splinter of Darkness replica that lights up, a Europa-themed messenger bag and canteen, something called a "mysterious logbook" (which likely contains extra story content, and "other discoveries from Europa"). That version costs $200, but is currently sold out.

Will It Have Next-Generation Versions?

Yup. Destiny 2 is playable on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/Series S. The upgraded next-gen versions of Destiny 2 will launch on December 8, so even if you get your new console(s) on their November release dates, you'll still have to wait a bit to play the next-gen version Destiny 2 on them. You'll still be able to play the current-gen version of Destiny 2 on the consoles through backward compatibility and enjoy faster load times, though.

The good news is that, if you buy Beyond Light for PS4 or Xbox One, you'll automatically be upgraded to the next-gen version of the expansion when it's released (within that console family--buying Beyond Light on PS4 gets you the PS5 version for free, but not the Xbox Series X version, for instance). So you can comfortably buy or preorder Beyond Light for whatever platform you're currently playing on, knowing that when your new console comes, you'll be able to jump right to it. Destiny 2 now has cross-save support, so the characters you're already playing will come with you to the new platform with no issues.

Expect the next-gen console versions of Destiny 2 to sport 4K resolutions and run at 60 FPS. That's in contrast to the current console versions, which are capped at 30 FPS--if you want it to go higher, you have to play on PC. The next-gen versions also will all include a field-of-view slider, which also was previously only in the PC version.

Does Beyond Light Have Cross-Play?

Bungie has talked about working to add cross-play to Destiny 2 so players on various consoles and PC can team up or play against each other, so we know it's on the developer's agenda. There's no information yet about when that might actually happen, though, but Destiny 2 is getting a less-complete version of cross-play with Beyond Light.

When the next generation of game consoles launches in November, Destiny 2 will include cross-generation cross-play, which seems to be part-and-parcel with the free upgrade from current-gen to next-gen consoles. Essentially, that means if you're playing the Xbox Series X/S version of Destiny 2, you'll be able to play with your Xbox One friends; if you're playing on PS5, you can play with your PS4 friends. So there's not cross-play between Xbox One and PS5, or between the two consoles and PC or Stadia. Within the same console family, though, you won't lose friends if you choose to upgrade (or choose not to).

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What Does Beyond Light Add?

We know Beyond Light is going to be a relatively big expansion to Destiny 2--probably in line with the Forsaken expansion two years ago, as opposed to the smaller Shadowkeep expansion last year. (It'll also likely be comparable to Destiny 1's big, awesome expansion, The Taken King.) That should mean a large influx of story missions, a huge new area to explore, and some other additional content as well, like a Strike or two. If Forsaken is anything to go by, there's probably a lot more to Beyond Light than what we've seen so far, including additional areas and secrets to uncover.

What we do know so far is that Beyond Light's story takes place on Europa, a frozen moon of Jupiter. That adds a new planetary destination and a large new area to the game. The icy wastes of Europa also have dynamic weather, a new addition to Destiny 2. While you're there, you'll have to contend with enemies as well as blinding snowstorms that should alter your encounters, at least somewhat.

We don't know everything that comes with Europa and the missions we'll find there, but we do know the expansion has an all-new Europa raid: Deep Stone Crypt. This is a location that's been discussed in Destiny lore for a while now, and players will venture inside when it becomes available on November 21, the second weekend after Beyond Light's release.

Also coming to Destiny 2 in Beyond Light is the Cosmodrome, an Earth destination that was part of Destiny 1. We've spent only brief stints in the area for story missions since the release of Destiny 2--the area was replaced by the European Dead Zone in the sequel--but Guardians will visit a spiffed-up version of the Cosmodrome area in Beyond Light. The Cosmodrome will get some heavy use in a new slate of missions meant to introduce new players to Destiny 2.

At some point, Beyond Light will also add the Vault of Glass raid, which is being revived from Destiny 1. Vault of Glass will be tweaked to refresh it for Destiny 2, but we're not exactly sure what will be changed yet.

Beyond Light is also adding a new power for players to utilize, called Stasis. More on that below.

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New Onboarding Experience

With the Shadowkeep expansion, Bungie added New Light, the free-to-play version of Destiny 2. It came with a new onboarding experience for players joining the game for the first time, putting players through a Cosmodrome mission that was very similar to the one in Destiny 1. The trouble was, the New Light experience did little to teach players the ins and outs of how Destiny 2 actually works and, after completing that one mission, would send them to the Tower, where they were confused by vendors, finding the starting point for old story campaigns, and other issues.

With Beyond Light, the onboarding experience is expanded pretty significantly. Players will spend a lot more time in the Cosmodrome, where they'll meet a new Guardian NPC named Shaw Han. Hanging out with Shaw will teach players the ropes--everything from combat to how activities work, how to deal with bounties, what vendors offer, and more. Once they finish that experience, they can then head to the Tower, where they will hopefully have a better understanding of how the entire game works and will have a solid idea of what to do next.

Veterans can experience the new starting story in Beyond Light, too. You won't have to delete a character to access the new starter missions--Bungie says you'll be able to access them even if you've been playing for years.

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What Is Stasis?

The thing that'll change Destiny 2 the most in Beyond Light is the addition of Stasis powers, which constitute a new subclass for each of the three main character classes. Currently, subclasses are based on the game's three elemental powers: Arc, Solar, and Void. Beyond Light adds a fourth, Darkness-centric power called Stasis. Essentially, it looks like an ice- or freezing-based power.

With Stasis powers come three new subclasses. Hunters get the Revenant subclass; Titans can access the Behemoth subclass; and Warlocks gain the Shadebinder subclass. The Stasis subclasses can also be augmented with a new system that sounds a bit like armor and weapon mods, but for special abilities and Supers, utilizing new items called Aspects and Fragments.

Aspects are class-specific physical items that can be slotted into your inventory, unlocking new abilities that can be mixed and matched. Fragments, which aren't locked to specific classes, can be added to these Aspects and offer passive perks at the cost of a stat penalty. In general, the system will give you the opportunity to customize your Stasis classes a little more than the current set of subclasses, and might suggest the direction Bungie intends to take Guardian character customization in the future.

Check out the trailer showing off the subclasses below. You can also read more specifics about each on Bungie's website.

What's Leaving With Beyond Light?

One of the biggest changes with Beyond Light is the introduction of the Destiny Content Vault, which is the removal and shuttering of some content that's been in the game since Destiny 2's release. According to Bungie, the idea here is that the size of Destiny 2 is getting unmanageable, and the game can't continue to grow with expansion after expansion. For one thing, the more stuff in the game, the more chances for weird bugs that mar the experience and require Bungie to quickly address them. For another thing, large sections of content just sit on players' hard drives, going mostly unused. The Vault idea is meant to help streamline Destiny 2's file size, giving Bungie room to add or subtract things as needed. Some of those additions can include Destiny 1 content, like the Cosmodrome and the Vault of Glass. The developer has also maintained that the content that goes into the Vault could one day be reintroduced in some form or another--it's not gone, it's just not being used right now.

How that works out in practice is yet to be seen, but a number of things are going into the DCV starting with Beyond Light. These include three planetary destinations--Io, Titan, and Mercury--and the Leviathan area, plus all their related content. We're also seeing some streamlining of Strikes, Crucible maps, and the two current Gambit modes. Gambit is getting reworked to incorporate some ideas of Gambit Prime, like the longer single round rather than a best-of-three system, but going forward, there will only be one Gambit mode. The Gambit Prime armor mechanics, where you use a certain armor set to get bonuses in the mode, are getting retired. The Reckoning activity that goes with Gambit Prime is also going into the DCV.

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Here's the full list of everything leaving Destiny 2 with Beyond Light:

Locations And Their Related Activities

  • Io
  • Mars
  • Mercury
  • Titan
  • Leviathan

Raids

  • Leviathan
  • Eater of Worlds
  • Spire of Stars
  • Scourge of the Past
  • Crown of Sorrows

Strikes

  • The Pyramidion (Io)
  • The Festering Core (Io)
  • Savathun's Song (Titan)
  • Strange Terrain (Mars)
  • Will of the Thousands (Mars)
  • Tree of Probabilities (Mercury)
  • A Garden World (Mercury)

Gambit Maps

  • Cathedral of Scars (Dreaming City)
  • Kell's Grave (Tangled Shore)

Crucible Maps

  • Meltdown
  • Solitude
  • Retribution
  • The Citadel
  • Emperor's Respite
  • Equinox
  • Eternity
  • Firebase Echo
  • Gambler's Ruin
  • Legion's Gulch
  • Vostok

Crucible Modes

  • Supremacy
  • Countdown
  • Lockdown
  • Breakthrough
  • Doubles
  • Momentum Control
  • Scorched

Exotics Whose Quests Will Be Vaulted

(You'll still be able to earn these by other means.)

  • Sturm
  • MIDA Multi-tool
  • Rat King
  • Legend of Acrius
  • Sleeper Simulant
  • Polaris Lance
  • Worldline Zero
  • Ace of Spades
  • The Last Word
  • Le Monarque
  • Jotunn
  • Izanagi's Burden
  • Thorn
  • Lumina
  • Truth
  • Bad Juju

Exotic Catalysts

(Nothing changes if you have these Catalysts already, but you won't be able to earn them if you don't already have them.)

  • Bad Juju
  • The Huckleberry
  • Izanagi's Burden
  • Legend of Acrius
  • Polaris Lance
  • Skyburner's Oath
  • Sleeper Simulant
  • Telesto
  • Outbreak Perfected
  • Whisper of the Worm
  • Worldline Zero
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What Else Is Going Away?

Bungie is also making a big change to the Destiny 2 weapons system with Beyond Light, one that has already been implemented in the game. As with the DCV, Bungie is also dealing with constantly creating and adding new weapons to the Destiny 2 world. For example, the last year has seen about 10 new weapons added to Destiny 2 with each new season, adding something like 40 new guns to various loot pools. Players latch on to some of these guns, but not all of them get used by the community at large--they often just sit in player vaults or get deleted because they're not currently in vogue as part of the overall Destiny 2 metagame.

To alleviate that issue, Bungie has introduced a Power limit on guns, which has the effect of putting a lifespan on all the weapons in the game. Right now, all weapons and armor have a Power level, and the average Power of all your equipment determines your character's overall strength. Guns and armor have a certain Power level when you obtain them, but you can increase it by cannibalizing other items you don't want with a higher Power level through a process called Infusion. So up to now, even if you earned a gun back in Destiny 2's first year, you could still be using it today by continually infusing it to make it stronger--even though the Power level caps have been raised significantly since then.

Beyond Light changes that. Now, most guns will have a maximum Power level, which will usually be whatever Bungie intends for the Power cap to be one year from the season you earn the gun. Old weapons, like the pinnacle guns The Recluse and The Mountaintop, are hitting their maximum Power levels right now, in the Season of Arrivals. That means in Beyond Light, you're going to be finding guns that will be up to the new Power level cap of 1230, but your Recluse will be stuck forever at 1060. And that means the gun will be underpowered for new content.

It's worth noting that even though a gun will be underpowered for new content, it'll still be viable in some situations, like in the Crucible, where Power levels don't matter. In activities such as the Trials of Osiris and the Iron Banner, however, those underpowered guns are going to be pretty worthless. A lot of old favorites are being sunsetted--basically anything from before the last few seasons will be pretty much useless in the new expansion's PvE content. "Gunsetting" is a contentious issue for the Destiny 2 community, and a lot of players are not happy about it, particularly if they spent hours and hours trying to earn top-tier weapons like Recluse, Mountaintop, Luna's Howl, and others.

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What's The Beyond Light Story?

There's a lot we don't know about the narrative of Beyond Light, but we have a few interesting tidbits so far that give some hints about what to expect from the ongoing story of Destiny 2.

First, we have to talk about what's been happening this year in the world of Destiny. In the Shadowkeep expansion, players discovered a Pyramid ship hidden on the Moon. These are the ships controlled by the entities we know only as the Darkness, who were responsible for the Collapse. That's the apocalypse that happened in the distant past of Destiny, transforming humanity's solar system-spanning Golden Age into a new dark age of death and suffering. The Darkness hates the Traveler, the big robot god that hovers over the Last City and gives Destiny players, the Guardians, their cool powers. Much more than that, we don't really know.

At the end of the Destiny 2 vanilla campaign, players saved and awoke the Traveler after it had been dormant for centuries. That let out a wave of Light energy, the Traveler's power, that seems to have also reawakened the Darkness. A scene during the ending of the Destiny 2 story campaign showed the Pyramid ships outside the solar system, heading back toward Earth. In Destiny 2's most recent season, the Season of Arrivals, the Darkness finally showed up.

This whole season has been a strange conflict between the Darkness and Savathun, the trickster queen of the death-worshipping aliens known as the Hive. When the Darkness arrived, it sent a message to Guardians, and we spent the season trying to decrypt it--while also accepting "gifts" from the Darkness in the form of powerful new weapons. The Hive seem actively opposed to the Darkness despite a long history serving its power, and Savathun has been trying to prevent us from learning what the Darkness has to say.

When we finally got the message from the Darkness at the end of the Season of Arrivals, it told us to investigate Europa for some hidden power there. To find that message, we've been working with Eris Morn, an expert in the Hive, and The Drifter, a former Guardian who seems to have gotten closer to the Darkness than anyone else. The announcement trailer for Beyond Light sees both of them heading to Europa to find out what the Darkness wants us to see there. They're also joined by the Exo Stranger, a character from the Destiny 1 vanilla campaign, about whom we know almost nothing (but who directed us to fight the Vex in the Black Garden and destroy its Heart, which was seemingly a big floating mass of Darkness).

It's also worth noting that the Darkness seems like it's trying to seduce Guardians to its side, and we don't know its full agenda. Instead of coming back to Earth and waging war on the Traveler, the Pyramid ships have been relatively nice and welcoming, even offering weapons--but it all feels like a trick to pull players to the evil side. Eris and the Drifter have been cautiously trying to figure out what the Darkness's endgame is, and that answer seems to lie on Europa. The inclusion of new Stasis powers, however, suggests that maybe the Darkness could be successful in coaxing some Guardians to its side.

Beyond Light Trailers

The first trailers for Beyond Light gives some setup details about what we can expect from the story, finding Eris Morn, The Drifter, and the Exo Stranger converging on Europa in search of the Darkness.

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Story Trailer And New Details

Bungie's latest trailer for Beyond Light gives more context about the story. It starts with a distress call sent by Variks the Loyal, a Destiny 1 character who has been missing for some time. Variks was a background player in the Forsaken expansion. He formerly served the Awoken queen Mara Sov, but after her apparent death in Destiny 1's The Taken King expansion, Variks vanished. He joined back up with the Fallen in an effort to save his people and betrayed the Awoken in doing so. Variks is the guy who released Uldren Sov and the Scourge Barons from the Prison of Elders in Forsaken, so in an indirect way, Variks is responsible for the death of Cayde-6.

Now, a Fallen Kell called Eramis has discovered the power of Stasis on Europa and means to use it to fight Guardians and get to the Traveler. That's got Variks worried, since the dark power is apparently doing more harm than good for the Fallen. Check out the trailer below.

We also got a new story breakdown from Bungie that details the characters in play on Europa. It gives some background on the villains you're facing: Eramis, the Kell of House Salvation, who has discovered the power of Stasis.

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"The deadly Kell of Darkness seeks to restore the glory of her people," Bungie's description of Eramis reads. "To exact revenge on the Traveler for abandoning them. To forge Eliksni culture anew, free from the weight of its past. Now imbued with the power of Stasis, she has found the ultimate tool to achieve her aims."

We also learned a bit about the other enemies we'll be facing under Eramis:

"Eramis's lieutenants -- Atraks, Kridis, Phylaks, Praksis. The highest-ranking and most trusted subjects of the Fallen Kell of Darkness. Skilled Stasis wielders, they are as lethal as they are loyal; potent foes who will stop at nothing to advance Eramis's cause."

New Exotics

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As usual, a big part of Destiny 2 is the loot. Beyond Light adds a lot of new gear, with the coolest additions being new Exotics Bungie has detailed ahead of the expansion's release. There are a few new guns with interesting capabilities, augmented by armor pieces that can give you new abilities. Here's everything Bungie has detailed:

No Time To Explain - Pulse Rifle

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A throwback to Destiny 1, No Time To Explain is a pulse rifle used by the Exo Stranger. It's not the same gun that players might be familiar with, though. It now refunds ammo when you land precision hits on regular enemies and when you shoot enemies affected by Stasis. Land precision hits on enemies with Stasis and a portal opens to send bullets at your foes from another timeline, increasing your damage.

Cloudstrike - Sniper Rifle

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Cloudstrike is an Exotic similar to the Trinity Ghoul bow or Thunderlord machine gun. Landing precision hits causes your enemy to get hit with a lightning strike, while rapid precision hits will trigger a lightning storm on the enemy.

The Lament - Sword

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A technologically advanced sword, The Lament charges up power when you activate your sword block ability. When it's revved up, the sword can decimate enemy energy shields. At its full charge, doing damage with the sword also heals the user.

Salvation's Grip - Grenade Launcher

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Salvation's Grip is a grenade launcher that fires Stasis crystals, freezing opponents in its blast radius. You can charge the gun up to fire more crystals and increase the radius.

Icefall Mantle - Titan Gauntlets

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Titans replace their Barrier abilities with an Overshield when wearing Icefall Mantle, allowing them to absorb more incoming damage.

Precious Scars - Titan Helmet

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You get a boost when teammates revive you thanks to Precious Scars, which gives you an Overshield aura when you come back to life that protects both you and your nearby allies.

Mask of Bakris - Hunter Helmet

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Your Dodge ability changes while wearing the Mask of Bakris, becoming a Shift ability that covers more ground and temporarily cloaks you when you use it.

Athrys's Embrace - Hunter Gauntlets

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With Athrys's Embrace, you get a powered-up Weighted Throwing Knife. The knife can ricochet off surfaces twice, and landing rapid precision hits with it increases its damage and can stagger enemies.

Dawn Chorus - Warlock Helmet

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Dawn Chorus increases the power of your Daybreak Super projectiles, while also setting enemies on fire for even more pain. You also gain back melee energy whenever the burn deals damage to an enemy.

Necrotic Grip - Warlock Gauntlets

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Your melee ability also corrupts enemies when you hit them wearing Necrotic Grip, causing them to take damage over time. Kill a corrupted enemy, and the corruption will spread to nearby enemies while granting you melee energy.


philhornshaw

Phil Hornshaw

GameSpot editor in Los Angeles, and the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory. Hoped the latter would help me get Han Solo hair, but so far, unsuccessful.

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