Feature Article

Destiny: The Story So Far, From The Black Garden To Beyond Light

Beyond Light continues to the story of Destiny 2, but if you're new to the game, there's a whole lot you've missed.

Destiny is known for having a somewhat confusing plot, so if you're a returning player coming back to Destiny 2's Beyond Light expansion, you might be fuzzy on the details--and if you're new, it might be really intimidating to jump into. Either way, don't worry; from vanilla Destiny and Destiny 2 through each expansion, we've covered everything you need to know about the story so far.

Here we've outlined the main beats of your Guardian's story, streamlining it as much as we can so you can get the basics down before starting Destiny 2: Beyond Light. Be warned, it's still going to be dense--especially in the last two years, Destiny 2 has worked more to loop its deep, expansive, sometimes hard-to-find lore into the main story.

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Now Playing: Destiny Lore You Should Know Before Playing Destiny 2

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Long before the events of the game was the Golden Age, when mankind discovered the Traveler. The gigantic, spherical entity terraformed planets throughout the solar system, though its true nature--sentient being, vessel, deity, or something else entirely--is unknown. Its discovery launched humanity into an era of prosperity, as it allowed them to colonize other planets. Top scientists founded the Ishtar Academy on Venus, while a genius industrialist named Clovis Bray founded a corporation by the same name on Mars, eventually developing Exos, machines with human consciousness. The many technological advancements during this time came from Clovis Bray, including that of powerful AI called Warminds charged with maintaining humanity's interplanetary defenses, one of which remained through Destiny's present day: Rasputin.

One day, a dangerous but relatively unknown enemy of the Traveler known as the Darkness approached Earth, destroying nearly everything in its path and wreaking havoc upon what humanity had created. This is referred to throughout Destiny as the Collapse. The Traveler sacrificed itself to save humanity, using its Light to drive the Darkness away. After the Collapse, the Traveler remained hovering dormant over Earth, but even in its dormant state, it created Ghosts--small, floating AI robots imbued with its power. Ghosts scattered through the solar system, resurrecting a few chosen dead and gifting them the Light. These superpowered people had no recollection of their past lives, in the Dark Age following the collapse, many became warlords, fighting each other and the groups of angry, hostile aliens who had appeared during that time in search of the Traveler.

But some of the Risen, as those with the Light became known, fought to help those less powerful than them. A group calling themselves the Iron Lords fought back the other warlords, sometimes even destroying them outright. They banded together with some other Risen heroes to found a huge walled stronghold called the Last City, beneath the Traveler, where survivors could congregate and live peacefully, protected. Over time, the Risen who protected the City took on a new name: Guardians.

Over the centuries, the city thrived, but faced threats and attacks. It was besieged on more than one occasion by the Fallen, a scavenger race that had once been visited by the Traveler, much as humanity was, and seemingly abandoned by it to suffer through its own version of the Collapse, the Whirlwind. The Fallen scrounge across what's left of Earth, posing a major threat to any people who survive in the wilderness.

Year One

Much of vanilla--also known as Year One--Destiny's story consists of setup for things to come.

At the beginning, you're a Guardian who has been dead for some time and is then revived by a Ghost. You wake in the Cosmodrome, an ancient spaceport in Old Russia, Earth. Like other Guardians, you can wield the power of the Traveler's Light. Your mission is to fight past the Fallen here and activate an old jump ship, which you can use to escape to the Last City.

Once at the Tower, you learn about the Vanguard, the Guardian military hierarchy that protects the City. It consists of Commander Zavala, Cayde-6, and Ikora Rey, who represent each of the three playable classes (Titan, Hunter, and Warlock, respectively). You also learn of the Traveler through someone called The Speaker, a representative of the Traveler who helps to guide Guardians. Your job as a Guardian is to help protect the Last City from any threats, and while you're free to do as you wish, you're more or less under the Vanguard's command.

You return to Old Russia to recover a drive for your ship that will allow you to travel to other planets in the solar system. While there, you encounter the Hive, an old species that worships death. The Hive presence on Earth is somewhat frightening, you discover. Some years past, the Hive attacked the Moon, creating structures and catacombs deep beneath its surface. Guardians mounted a major offensive to drive the Hive back and retake the Moon, but failed miserably and suffered enormous casualties. Since then, the Vanguard has declared the Moon off-limits--so the Hive showing up on Earth suggests they might be preparing an invasion.

You fight past the Fallen and the Hive and open an Array that gives you access to more technology and information. Through this you discover the Warmind Rasputin, thought to be long-dead.

The Stranger
The Stranger

You protect Rasputin from the Fallen and head to the Moon in search of the last Guardian that had gone there, in order to figure out what the Hive have been up to. In the process, you wake up the Hive (again). In the process, you meet an Exo known as the Stranger who tells you to meet her on Venus if you survive the Moon. Your adventure on the Moon helps you to slow the Hive's plans, but without fully uncovering them.

On Venus, you learn about a complex, highly intelligent, time-traveling machine race called the Vex. The Exo Stranger shows up after you push back the Vex in the Ishtar Academy (but her story is largely nonsensical, so don't worry about it too much). What's important is that the Stranger warns you about the Vex, who are the biggest threat you're facing right now.

From here you travel to the Reef, a sovereign collection of space trash and asteroids, which are home to the Awoken. These are the third race in Destiny after humans and Exos, who were created during the Collapse when the Traveler's Light converged with the energy of the Darkness. That energy hit a ship of humans leaving the solar system in a huge colony ship, fundamentally altering them. On the Reef, you meet the Awoken Queen, Mara Sov, and her brother Prince Uldren. You also learn that the Fallen who make their home there--the only Fallen in the game who aren't your enemies, since they serve the Queen--belong to a sect called House of Wolves. The Wolves tried to take over the Reef at some point in the past, but Mara and the Awoken put down the attack, imprisoning the leaders of the Wolves in their asteroid jail, the Prison of Elders. Some of the Fallen, including an adviser to the queen called Variks, were allowed to stay out of the prison if they pledged their fealty to the Awoken.

With the queen's help, you learn what the Exo Stranger was warning you about: the Vex's origin point, a place that exists out of time and space called the Black Garden. The Heart of the Black Garden is a chunk of the Darkness, and left unchecked, it could destroy the Traveler. The queen offers to help you get into the Black Garden, but you'll need to head to Mars to retrieve a specific piece of a powerful Vex robot.

So it's on to Mars, home of the warmongering rhino-like race known as the Cabal, who have turned the planet into a beachhead for their invasion of the solar system. You fight your way across the planet to find a Vex Gatelord to claim its eye. With that, the Awoken show you how to open the way to the Black Garden so you can destroy the Garden's Heart and save the Traveler.

At the end of vanilla Destiny, The Stranger gifts you with her weapon, The Stranger's Rifle, and says she'll be in touch. It'll be years before you hear from her again, though.

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Destiny's original Raid, the Vault of Glass, involves an area where Vex have control over time and space. In the Vault of Glass, all timelines converge--there you find corpses of people who are long dead, but because reality is bent here, parts of them and their memories still exist. The Raid involves the battle and then defeat of Atheon, who is said to be the point where all of space-time converges.

Expansion 1: The Dark Below

After you've destroyed the Black Garden's heart, a former Guardian named Eris Morn arrives in the Tower.

Lurking below the surface of the Moon is Crota, a Hive prince and the son of Oryx, the Hive's god-king. Crota is the reason the Guardian counterattack on the Moon failed all those years ago--he wields the power to destroy the Guardians' Light, and used it to murder thousands. After that battle, Eris Morn and five other Guardians delved beneath the Moon as part of a plan to destroy Crota, but one by one, they were all killed. Eris lost her Ghost, and thus her immunity, but survived for years in the darkness of the Hive caves, only to be changed and twisted by their power.

Eris asks you for help to deal with Crota once and for all--his followers are working to bring about his return. (Like other Hive gods, Crota is effectively immortal thanks to his connection to the Ascendant Plane, which allows him to protect and hide his soul even when his body is destroyed.) You defeat his disciple Omnigul, a Hive Wizard, before destroying Crota's essence and stopping the attempted resurrection.

In the Crota's End Raid, you summon, fight, and defeat Crota himself, finally avenging Eris's fireteam.

Expansion 2: House of Wolves

Remember the Reef and its queen? The Fallen House of Wolves had served Queen Mara Sov for years after she defeated them, but that changes in Destiny's second expansion. Skolas, a Fallen captain, is attempting to unite the fragmented Fallen sects under one House to become the legendary Kell of Kells, or king of kings. Under his command, the House of Wolves betrays Mara Sov. Only Variks of House Judgment remains loyal to the queen.

Petra Venj, the queen's emissary, enlists your help as repayment for the favor the Awoken did you in helping you get into the Black Garden. Your job is to hunt down Skolas and prevent the formation of a united Fallen front against the Reef. You head to Venus, where he is studying Vex technology, to find him. You capture him alive and send him to the Prison of Elders, and later can head there and defeat him again for some reason.

Expansion 3: The Taken King

The Taken King expansion is widely regarded as the high point of Destiny's storytelling. The writing feels more cohesive, it strikes the right tone, and the characters have more presence than in previous iterations.

The expansion sees the arrival of a new Hive adversary: Oryx, the Taken King, father of Crota, and God-King of the Hive. He arrives in the solar system looking to take revenge on the Guardians for the death of his son, Crota. He rolls into the rings of Saturn on his enormous ship, the Dreadnaught, which comes equipped with weapons of mass destruction. Mara Sov, Prince Uldren, and the Awoken fleet engage the Hive near Saturn, but they're wiped out by the Dreadnaught's weapon.

All over the solar system, Oryx's army begins to appear. They're the Taken--members of other enemy races that Oryx controls and distorts by sending them into and back out of another dimension. The Taken resemble shadowy versions of existing enemies, but they move as if they're glitching in and out of reality.

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Oryx's arrival is what Eris Morn has been preparing for, and she and Cayde-6 work together to dispatch you to the Dreadnaught. When you arrive, you find the Cabal are already there, responding to Oryx "taking" their soldiers, but they're in a losing battle--they try to retreat from the Dreadnaught and even send a distress call that reaches outside the solar system. After your initial foray onto the Dreadnaught, you're sent to recover special cloaking tech from Cayde-6 that will help you reboard the ship, where you disable its weapon and, after several more missions, take down Oryx.

But Oryx only retreats--you defeat him fully in the Raid, King's Fall. Defeating a Hive God isn't without consequences, though.

Expansion 4: Rise of Iron

The final expansion of Destiny fills in some of the story of the Iron Lords, the group of precursor Guardians from back during the Dark Age after the Collapse. In the present, we find out that the Fallen House of Devils started looking in Old Russia for something that could give them an edge against Guardians. There they found SIVA, a Golden Age nanotechnology created by Clovis Bray with the ability to make the Fallen more powerful. Those who use it are called Splicers.

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Lord Saladin, the last of the Iron Lords (and the guy who runs the Iron Banner tournament in the Tower), calls on you to investigate and secure the Iron Temple, which is under attack by a rebuilt Sepiks Prime (an enemy you fought for the first time in a Year One Strike). There you learn of the Fallen Splicers and enter the vault where they are replicating SIVA in order to stop the spread.

Saladin sends you to the Plaguelands, a formerly closed-off section of Old Russia, where SIVA is on the loose. You fight to defeat the SIVA Splicers, but you also discover that the Iron Lords were killed by Rasputin. The Warmind seemingly misinterpreted the Iron Lords as enemies and unleashed SIVA on them, and they sacrificed themselves to keep it contained.

In the Wrath of the Machine Raid, you finally defeat the Splicers and their leaders. The Plaguelands are quarantined by the Vanguard to keep SIVA from spreading, and it remains there to this day, as far as we know.

Destiny 2

That brings us to Destiny 2. The sequel begins two years after the events of the original vanilla game. Remember those Cabal who sent a distress call during their battles with the Hive on the Dreadnaught? Someone responded: Ghaul, the leader of the Cabal empire, and his army, the Red Legion. Ghaul manages to sneak-attack the Vanguard and ravages the Tower, deploying a special net that allows him to capture the Traveler's Light. Suddenly, all Guardians lose their Light, and with it, their immortality and powers. The attack is devastating, scattering the City's people and the Vanguard. Ghaul takes the Speaker hostage in the fighting. Luckily, you survive--just barely--and escape the City and the Cabal onslaught.

In the aftermath, you head into the wilderness of Earth's European Dead Zone, or EDZ, following a vision from the Traveler. There, you discover something Ghaul missed: a piece of the Traveler, broken off the huge robotic god during the Collapse. Ghaul might have captured the Traveler's Light, but the shard still holds some of its power--and so you are able to regain your Guardian abilities, making you the only hope of humanity to repel Ghaul's attacks. While you're there, you meet up with some humans who have been holding it down outside of the city, led by Suraya Hawthorne, a woman who's untrusting of Guardians. With your aid, though, Suraya and her sniper pal, Devrim Kay, secure a place for human refugees to hide out, called The Farm.

The rest of the story takes you on an adventure around the solar system as you work to regroup with the scattered Vanguard leaders to retake the Last City. On Titan, you find Zavala, who has joined the fight against the Hive with one of his lieutenants, a Guardian named Sloane. Ikora Rey is found on the Jovian moon of Io, the first place touched by the Traveler, as she seeks answers about her lost Light and lost faith. There, she and a Guardian researcher named Asher Mir are studying the Light in hopes of returning it to Guardians. And on the rogue centaur Nessus, you discover Cayde-6, who has encountered a Golden Age colony ship's AI, called Failsafe, and is attempting to steal Vex technology so he can teleport onto Ghaul's ship and take him out.

Once you've found and helped all the Vanguard leaders, they return to the Farm, where you put together plans for a counterattack. There's a major problem, though: The Cabal don't like to lose. If they can't conquer a star system, they destroy it, using a massive ship called the Almighty that has the power to overload a star and send it to supernova. No assault against the Red Legion can survive with the Almighty still in commission.

Ghaul, the Cabal emperor and leader of the Red Legion.
Ghaul, the Cabal emperor and leader of the Red Legion.

The Vanguard hatches a plan to send you, the only Guardian with the Light, to deal with the Almighty. You can't destroy it, because even blowing up the ship would devastate the sun. But you can disable it. Meanwhile, with the help of refugee Guardians and Hawthorne's people, the Vanguard prepares to launch an assault on the Last City to drive back the Cabal and distract them from your attack on the Almighty. After the ship is disabled, your job is to join the fight and use your power to help defeat the Cabal and take out Ghaul.

It almost works, but there are casualties, including the Speaker. You manage to get to Ghaul, but he enacts his final plan, siphoning the Traveler's Light into himself and gaining Guardian-like power. You nearly defeat him, but his power is too much, with Ghaul changing, Jaffar-like into some kind of Light being. Just then, however, something remarkable happens--after centuries, the Traveler awakens. It blasts Ghaul with a massive wave of Light, dispursing him into the universe.

With the Traveler awoken, the Light returns to Guardians everywhere and the Red Legion is routed and scattered. But in a post-credits scene, a new threat looms. The wave of Light the Traveler released didn't just spread across Earth; it continued to travel through the solar system and beyond. And outside the reaches of human space, we got a brief glimpse of black, pyramid-shaped ships lying in wait, coming to life in response to the power of the Traveler--and turning toward Earth.

In the aftermath of Destiny 2's story campaign, another shadowy figure gets in touch with the Red Legion, and later, with Guardians. That figure is Calus, the Cabal emperor who was deposed and exiled by Ghaul. Calus hangs out near Nessus in a giant, lavish, city-sized ship called the Leviathan. Destiny 2's first raid sends players to challenge Calus, but upon defeating him, they discover they haven't fought the emperor at all, but rather a powerful robot double. In the two additional Leviathan raid lairs, Eater of Worlds and Spire of Stars, players help Calus first to eliminate a Vex intruder, and later to stop another Red Legion coup. Though Calus is a villainous character, it's still not clear whose side he's on or what his agenda is.

Expansion 1: Curse of Osiris

The Infinite Forest on Mercury
The Infinite Forest on Mercury

The first add-on for Destiny 2 adds a new destination in Mercury, a planet that has wholly succumbed to the Vex after centuries of work to turn the entire planet into a giant Vex machine. You're drawn to the planet by Osiris, Ikora's mentor and the former Warlock Vanguard leader. Osiris was exiled years earlier because of his obsession with the Vex. Osiris continued his study of the Vex on Mercury and drew a group of cult-like followers (the folks who were responsible for Destiny's Trials of Osiris multiplayer tournament).

When you get to Mercury, you discover that Osiris has been exploring the Infinite Forest, a giant Vex computer that can simulate reality to allow the Vex to foresee outcomes and attempt to manipulate time. Osiris is trapped in the Forest, and with the help of his ghost, Sagira, and Osiris fanboy Brother Vance, you go looking for him.

Eventually, you save Osiris from the Forest, mess up the Vex's plans for timeline domination, and wreck the Forest, giving it to Osiris to control. Occasionally, you have to return to the Forest in strikes to clean up Osiris's messes--he has a habit of accidentally recreating powerful Vex robots in his studies, which he then needs you to track down and scrap.

Expansion 2: Warmind

Mars is the destination in the second Destiny 2 expansion, but you visit the Hellas Basin. Guided by Ana Bray, a Guardian who has managed to piece together her past as the granddaughter of Golden Age industrialist Clovis Bray, you uncover what happened to Rasputin. It turns out, the Rasputin you've been interacting with around the solar system throughout Destiny and Destiny 2 were all pieces of the original, separated from the main computer.

Back during the Dark Age, Rasputin was attacked by the second of Oryx's sons, Nokris, and a Hive army. Nokris had been exiled by Oryx and the rest of the Hive leadership for engaging in necromancy. That's a big no-no for the Hive--they worship death, but their guiding principle is the Sword Logic, the idea that anything isn't strong enough to survive must die, in order for them to reach perfection. By resurrecting dead Hive, Nokris rejected the Sword Logic, and so was exiled. But Nokris wasn't alone in attacking Rasputin: in tow was Xol, one of the Hive's huge worm-gods.

Though we've interacted with Rasputin around the solar system in the past, it turns out the Warmind is actually housed on Mars.
Though we've interacted with Rasputin around the solar system in the past, it turns out the Warmind is actually housed on Mars.

The worm-gods are an interesting part of the Hive's lore. Long ago, the Hive were a weak, short-lived race, until Oryx and his sisters discovered the worms deep within the atmosphere of their gas giant planet. The worms were disciples of the Darkness and offered its power to the proto-Hive, taking the worms into them in a symbiotic relationship that turned the Hive into the monstrous conquerors they became. The Hive and the worms have a symbiotic relationship, in that the Hive have to constantly feed the worms through conquest or be destroyed by them. But eventually, Oryx became such a powerful creature on his own that he even killed one of the worm-gods, Akkis, and used its body to create his ship, the Dreadnaught.

Nokris and Xol were a threat Rasputin couldn't put down on his own, so instead, the Warmind managed to freeze the whole Hellas Basin region under ice. That trapped the Hive, but it also encased Rasputin's complex for years. When you arrive to help Ana, you find that Rasputin is using his warsat network to thaw the ice, thus releasing the Hive. You eventually fight your way through the Hive army, defeating Nokris and apparently slaying Xol (although without much difficulty, which is weird). Ana makes contact with Rasputin and insists he's interested in helping humanity survive--Zavala, however, isn't as trusting of the giant unknowable computer intelligence.

Later, in a secret mission called The Whisper, you can claim a powerful sniper rifle called Whisper of the Worm. Lore suggests this gun is actually Xol, or a piece of it. So it seems you didn't kill the Hive's worm-god, and by taking up the gun, you might be kicking off your own symbiotic relationship with it, just like the Hive. There might be more to Xol's story that we haven't seen yet--but there's definitely more to the story of Nokris.

Expansion 3: Forsaken

At the start of the second year of Destiny 2, things start to go bad, beginning with a jailbreak in the Prison of Elders. The Awoken's regent in the absence of a queen, Petra Venj, sends out a distress call to her Guardian pals--you and Cayde-6--for help in quelling it. Arriving at the prison, you and Cayde fight through waves of enemies in an attempt to get to the lower, high-security areas, and prevent the worst offenders from escaping. But things don't go well; Cayde winds up separated from you and Petra and alone with some of the prison's worst.

These are the Scorn Barons, a group of powerful Fallen criminals from the Reef who have a bone to pick with Cayde. The most powerful among them is the Fanatic, a Fallen who has discovered a way to resurrect the dead. And, as it turns out, they serve Uldren Sov. The Awoken Prince survived the attack on the Dreadnaught, but the loss of his sister has messed him up pretty badly. He and the Barons execute Cayde and escape the prison.

When Uldren executes Cayde, tracking him down to deliver justice--or revenge--becomes your primary concern.
When Uldren executes Cayde, tracking him down to deliver justice--or revenge--becomes your primary concern.

After Cayde is murdered, you form a plan to hunt down his killers. They're known to be on the Tangled Shore, a section of the Reef where asteroids have been chained together to make a tortured landscape. When you arrive, you're met by Petra, who introduces you to the Spider, a local Fallen crimelord. The Spider agrees to help you with the Barons if you'll help him with his own issues. Over the course of the story campaign, you hunt down and take out each of the Barons one by one, until you finally get to Uldren.

What you discover when you reach Uldren is that he's been manipulated all this time. Uldren has been seeing visions of his sister, and thought he was carrying out her wishes. You find him trying to unlock the Watchtower, a pathway to the Awoken's secret sanctuary, the Dreaming City. In actuality, Uldren was infected by the Taken and was being secretly driven by Riven, one of the legendary Ahamkara. These creatures were hunted to extinction by Guardians, or so it was thought--the Ahamkara has the ability to grant wishes, but preyed on those who relied on them. The Ahamkara Riven served Mara Sov, but at some point after Oryx's attack, Riven was taken by Savathun, one of Oryx's Hive-god sisters.

You stop Uldren, but the damage is already done, and the way to the Dreaming City is open. Uldren is killed--although whether by your character or Petra Venj, it's not exactly clear.

Though Uldren and the Barrons were stopped, the damage was done: Uldren managed to open the way to the Dreaming City, allowing the Hive, the Scorn, and the Taken to enter. The City is the Awoken's true home and has access to the Distributary, a pocket universe created by the interaction of the Light and Darkness where the Awoken were born. The Distributary is a place where time flows differently--the Awoken had been there for centuries, and now Savathun is trying to gain access to it in order to execute her plan to become more powerful than Oryx.

The Dreaming City is like Groundhog Day, but a lot less funny and with a lot more horrible death.
The Dreaming City is like Groundhog Day, but a lot less funny and with a lot more horrible death.

The endgame of Forsaken has you working to help the Awoken free the Dreaming City from the Taken and Savathun's influence, but there's a catch. When the first Guardian team worked its way through Dreaming City raid, The Last Wish, Riven was destroyed--but that triggered a curse that affected the entire city, trapping it in a time loop that repeats every three weeks. The rest of the endgame for the Forsaken expansion concerns trying to break the curse, with players disrupting Hive and Taken rituals and venturing into the Ascendant Realm, the strange dimension the Hive leadership use to maintain their immortality, in an attempt to stop their plans.

Forsaken also revealed a new twist: Mara Sov lives. Like Oryx, Crota, and the rest of the leaders of the Hive, Mara was able to access the Ascendant Realm and create her own "throne world"--so even when she's killed in the real world, her soul survives in the Ascendant Realm and she can potentially be revived. We don't know all the ins and outs, but Mara's death at the hands of Oryx all seemed like part of a greater plan to fight the threat of Savathun. That story continues, and as of right now, the Dreaming City is still cursed.

In Forsaken, we also saw the arrival of the Drifter, a "rogue Guardian" who appeared in the Tower with a new event for Guardians to take part in called Gambit. The Drifter's past is shrouded in mystery, but lore suggests he came into contact with the Darkness while he was out beyond the solar system. Gambit seems to be more than just a fun multiplayer mode--it's a way for the Drifter to enlist Guardians to help him gather "motes of Darkness," which he stores in banks for some unknown purpose. It seems like the Drifter is preparing, in his own way, for the arrival of the Darkness pyramid ships seen at the end of Destiny 2's story campaign.

The Black Armory (Season of the Forge)


After the Forsaken expansion, Bungie shifted Destiny 2's storytelling to a seasonal model, dropping smaller pieces of content over time, rather than waiting months to release mid-year expansions. The first of those new seasons was The Black Armory. In it, the Spider sends Guardians to interact with someone he's done business with, an Exo woman called Ada-1. Ada is the last surviving member of a Golden Age group that manufactured powerful weapons for the defense of humanity, but a group of Fallen called the Kell's Scourge, (as well as other enemies around the solar system) are attempting to use them to create Golden Age technology they can use to attack humanity and the Last City.

Ada doesn't trust Guardians, but she accepts your help anyway. Throughout the course of the season, Guardians found and reactivated the Black Armory's forges to create new weapons. The season culminated in defeating Siviks, the leader of the Kell's Scourge, and stopping his plans for the Black Armory. Later, in the Scourge of the Past raid, Guardians headed into a defunct section of the Last City to gain access to one of the Armory's old bunkers and stop the Fallen from resurrecting a huge, Metal Gear-like mech called Insurrection Prime. Destroying the mech kept it out of Fallen hands, but we might not seen the last of some of these Black Armory weapons in enemy hands....

Joker's Wild (Season of the Drifter)

The next Destiny 2 season focused on the Drifter and some of Destiny 2's best lore. Gambit introduced a new mode, Gambit Prime, and Reckoning, in which players flew to the Drifter's ship and ventured through a strange portal into the "cargo" he'd brought back from outside the solar system. That place was closely tied to the Nine, otherworldly beings that are apparently living embodiments of the nine planets of the solar system, where players fought Taken enemies captured by the Drifter to gather more Darkness.

Dredgen Yor
Dredgen Yor

While the Drifter's Gambit gained in popularity, he drew the attention of a Guardian called Shin Malphur. Years earlier, Shin was a gunslinger who took down one of the most dreaded Guardians ever: Dredgen Yor. When he was alive, Yor was a powerful fighter who was the scourge of the Crucible, but eventually he fell to the Darkness and started terrorizing Guardians and regular people alike with his powerful Hive weapon, Thorn.

Shin defeated Yor, but not before the fallen Guardian inspired followers--other Guardians who thought the power of the Light was not enough to defeat the Darkness, and wanted to wield both powers. Shin wouldn't risk another fallen Guardian, however, and he set out to kill those followers, called the Shadows of Yor. Among their number, however, was the Drifter, and through Gambit, he enlisted other Guardians to get his back.

At the same time, some elements of the Vanguard were starting to get suspicious of the Drifter's activities. During the course of the season, you can investigate what the Drifter is up to, and where his loyalties lie, on behalf of the Vanguard. Eventually, you're asked to choose a side: Drifter, or Vanguard. Who you pick doesn't seem to have had much effect, and eventually, the Vanguard seems to come to the decision that the Drifter's activities, while suspect, are still helpful to the Vanguard and humanity. They might not trust him, but they don't think he's an enemy, either.

Meanwhile, you can follow Shin's path as he investigates the Shadows. Eventually, you reclaim both a replica of Thorn and The Last Word, Shin's gun. He entrusts the latter to you after you stop the Hive from recreating its own version of Thorn, which is actually one of the Hive's deadly, legendary Weapons of Sorrow.

Penumbra (Season of Opulence)

Emperor Calus is back in the last season of Destiny 2's second year. He invites you aboard the Leviathan once again, where he showers you with gifts of new weapons and armor for taking part in his Menagerie, an entertaining gauntlet of challenges.

It's all part of gearing up for the Crown of Sorrow raid, in which Calus enlists your help yet again to destroy a threat that's at least partially his fault. Calus routinely enlists powerful members of different alien races to serve as warriors and spies--his "Shadows." He attempted to enlist a Shadow from the Hive, but found them impossible to tame. Instead, he attempted to use a relic from the Ascendant Realm, the Crown of Sorrow, to control the Hive, forcing a specially bred Cabal named Gahlran to wear it.

The Crown proved to be too much for Gahlran, corrupting him in a similar way to how Thorn corrupted Dredgen Yor. And yet again, Savathun attempted to use the opening to gain power, this time trying to use Gahlran as a wedge against the Cabal. In the raid, your team of Guardians heads to the Leviathan at Calus's request, eventually disrupting a number of Hive rituals and putting an end to Gahlran, and thus, Savathun's plans.

Shadowkeep (And the Season of the Undying)

At the end of Destiny 2's second year, Bungie launched another major expansion in Shadowkeep, which saw players return to the Moon. Yet again, it hinged on Eris Morn. On the Moon, the Vanguard detected a new, huge Hive structure called the Scarlet Keep, and Eris found that the structure hid something the Hive had discovered buried there: one of the massive Darkness pyramids.

The pyramid ship hidden under the Scarlet Keep conjures the dead as Nightmares. Some are Guardians, like Eris's old fireteam--others are enemies you've defeated in the past.
The pyramid ship hidden under the Scarlet Keep conjures the dead as Nightmares. Some are Guardians, like Eris's old fireteam--others are enemies you've defeated in the past.

Through a mixture of the pyramid's power and Hive magic, Shadowkeep sees the rise of Nightmares--memories of the dead, both Guardians killed on the Moon during the age of Crota, and enemies you've bested over the years. These Nightmares flood the solar system, attacking you in public events, Lost Sectors, story missions, and Nightmare Hunts. Eris Morn is tormented by the ghosts of her lost fireteam from her doomed mission against Crota. To deal with the Nightmares, and to figure out what's up with the pyramid, you work to find a way inside it. When you finally get through Shadowkeep's story to dispel the Hive's plans, defeat Crota's daughter Hashladun, and find a way inside, you receive messages from the Darkness. It tries to persuade you to abandon the Light, which it sees as weak, and join the other side. You also find a strange artifact, which you give to Eris Morn to study.

At the same time you're trying to uncover the secrets of the pyramid, a Vex group called the Sol Divisive launch an offense against the Hive on the Moon, hoping to take the pyramid for themselves. These are the same Vex who previously held the Black Garden before you stormed it at the end of the Destiny 1 vanilla campaign. They previously tried to retake the Black Garden with the help of a powerful Vex called the Undying Mind, but it was destroyed in a Destiny 1 strike. The Vex have resurrected it, so it becomes your job to destroy it again, using a Vex gate Ikora Rey builds in the Tower.

Once the Undying Mind is dealt with, there's one last loose end to tie off. The artifact you found in the pyramid leads you to a signal in the Black Garden. To discover what's broadcasting it, you take on the Garden of Salvation raid, where you fight some powerful Vex bosses: the Consecrated Mind and the Sanctified Mind. Defeating them leads you to discover a statue at the heart of the Garden that's identical to one you found in the pyramid, suggesting the Vex worship the Darkness and might even be receiving orders from it.

Season of Dawn


With the pyramid under study and the Vex invasion thwarted, Osiris again pops up. He's been busy on Mercury, creating the Sundial, effectively a time machine, with the hopes of accessing the Vex's temporal network, the Corridors of Time. Osiris is hoping to find and rescue Saint-14, a legendary Guardian hero and his former friend who was lost in the Infinite Forest and killed by the Vex. Osiris scoured the Corridors but could never locate the moment of Saint's death in order to save him, and eventually gave up.

In Osiris's absence, three Psion Flayers, survivors of the Red Legion, manage to take control of the Sundial, using it to attempt to find an alternate timeline in which the Red Legion was victorious in Destiny 2. Osiris calls on you to help stop them, dispatching you through the Sundial to defeat the Flayers in a variety of timelines. Along the way, you slowly start to uncover the story of Saint-14. As you fight through the past, you encounter Saint several times, before eventually finding the moment when he was killed by the Vex. You save him, returning a Guardian hero to the present.

As you keep working on the Sundial, you eventually face down the Flayers, putting an end to the Red Legion's plans of rewriting history. At the end of the season, Saint-14 constructs a beacon to help guide any human survivors to the Last City in a gesture of hope for the future.

Season of the Worthy

After the failure of their attempt to use time travel to undo the Red War (that's the official name for the Destiny 2 vanilla campaign), the Red Legion makes one last, desperate move. Remember the Almighty, the giant sun-killing ship Ghaul left near Mercury? It's still there, and in the opening moments of the Season of the Worthy, the Red Legion board it. Though they're fought back by Zavala, Ana Bray, and you, the Red Legion still manages to knock the ship out of its orbit around the sun and fling it toward Earth. The huge ship winds up hurtling toward the Last City and will eventually wipe it out.

The Vanguard doesn't have enough firepower to take out the Almighty on its own, so Ana Bray suggests enlisting the help of the Warmind Rasputin, much to Zavala's chagrin--he doesn't trust the Warmind and isn't sure about its agenda or motivations. You don't have much choice, though, so you commit to helping Rasputin rebuild his power by launching tons of his satellites, called warsats, and working to bring his systems online.

While you do that, you uncover a dark tidbit about Rasputin's past. At some point during the Golden Age, Rasputin built an Exo. It wasn't human, but purely robotic, and Rasputin sent it out into the world to learn about humanity. After the Collapse, Rasputin lost connection with the Exo, and it was later found by a Ghost and resurrected as a Guardian. Though it wasn't a human, the Exo worked to help survivors during the Dark Age and challenged warlords. It came to be known as Felwinter.

The Iron Lords, corrupted by SIVA.
The Iron Lords, corrupted by SIVA.

As Felwinter worked to try to find ways to help humanity, it was constantly attacked by Rasputin. Soldier robots known as frames dogged it, warsats fell on it, and everywhere that Felwinter went, he was attacked and killed by Rasputin's wrath--an attempt by the Warmind to get its lost component to return, or to eliminate it.

Felwinter eventually met the Iron Lords and joined them; their stronghold, Felwinter Peak, is named for him. In his constant search for Golden Age information and technology that could aid humanity, Felwinter discovered information about SIVA. As it turned out, that information was a trap set by Rasputin. When the Iron Lords went looking for SIVA, Rasputin didn't malfunction and attack them--it purposely destroyed them so it could get to Felwinter. It seems that Rasputin regrets the decision, at least, and shares the information with Ana and you as a way to try to atone for what it did.

When it's finally powered up enough, Rasputin uses its new power to shoot down the Almighty. The season culminated in Destiny 2's first-ever in-game live event, in which Guardians gathered in the Tower to watch missiles strike the Almighty and the debris streak pass the city to land in the countryside beyond.

Season of Arrivals

Guardians who were paying attention noted that during the Season of the Worthy, readouts in Rasputin's bunkers showed the progress of the Darkness as it approached the solar system. In the next season, the pyramid ships finally arrive. Despite all your efforts to prepare Rasputin to take on this new threat during the Season of the Worthy, the Darkness completely shuts him down with ease. Ana manages to save part of his program before he's completely shut down, but it's a massive demonstration of the Darkness's power. Pyramid ships start stationing themselves above four destinations: Io, Mars, Mercury, and Titan. They immediately begin to have strange effects on the locations.

The Darkness appears over Io, the first place in the solar system touched by the Traveler.
The Darkness appears over Io, the first place in the solar system touched by the Traveler.

Upon its arrival, however, the Darkness doesn't make war--instead, it offers powerful weapons and armor as gifts. It also starts trying to communicate with Guardians, sending signals that Eris Morn worked to decrypt. At the same time, the Hive and Taken intervene, attacking Guardians wherever the pyramids came near. It seems that Savathun hopes to stop the Darkness's communications from getting through to Eris and the other Guardians. Savathun allies herself with Nokris, the exiled son of Oryx who'd thrown in with the worm-god Xol during the Warmind expansion, apparently to resist the Darkness's dominion. They fight constantly to stop you from receiving the Darkness's transmissions, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, you prepare for the worst on the four planets under occupation by the Darkness. Work is done to evacuate the locations, but in the end, Asher Mir, Brother Vance, and Commander Sloane all choose to stay behind and stand against and learn from the Darkness.

The season wraps up as Ghosts across the system feel a powerful signal that draws them back to the Last City. As Guardians gather on rooftops, they watch the Traveler reform itself. At the same time, Darkness sweeps through the solar system--and Titan, Io, Mars, and Mercury disappear.

Beyond Light

That brings us to the present. The Darkness has summoned us to Europa, where a new Fallen Kell called Eramis has found a way to wield the power of the Darkness. We know from the Collector's Edition of Beyond Light that Clovis Bray created a research colony on the planet in hopes of perfecting Exoscience, in order to transfer the minds of humans into robotic bodies--and he used the Darkness and Vex technology to do so. We'll have to use the Darkness to combat Eramis's plans, while working with the Drifter, Eris Morn, and the Exo Stranger to understand the Darkness and fight the corruption inherent in embracing it.

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Kallie Plagge

Kallie Plagge was GameSpot's reviews editor from August 2018 to March 2021. She loves Pokemon, inventory management, and Grunt Birthday Party.

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