Destiny 2: Lightfall, Season Of Defiance, And Beyond
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Lightfall is shaping up to be a huge game-changer to the worlds of Destiny 2, as Bungie is aiming for the next chapter in the ongoing war between the Light and the Darkness to evolve sandbox in meaningful ways. While previous Destiny 2 expansions had a predictable cadence of content with each release, Lightfall marks a new chapter in the Destiny 2 experience--one that intends to fine-tune what works, remove elements that feel dated, and adopt a more experimental approach, with each new slice of content delivered through the seasonal model.
This penultimate chapter in the long-running saga that began in 2014 has plenty of traditional content to offer, but beneath the new subclass powers, worlds to explore, and new activities to take part in, the core experience is getting an overhaul that's redefining Destiny 2 for the road ahead. Leading up to The Final Shape, Bungie's goals are to make Destiny 2 more challenging, rewarding, and imaginative, and Lightfall is the first step in a long journey towards those goals.
After sitting down with Bungie for a Lightfall preview and an early look at the studio's latest vidoc charting the year ahead, we’ve got a closer look at some of the big changes coming to Destiny 2 once the new expansion launches.
Season of Defiance, Season of the Deep, and Season 22 will shake up the seasonal grind
Like previous expansions, Lightfall's story will continue through multiple seasons until the launch of The Final Shape. However, Season of Defiance will also see "substantial iterations" to the game's seasonal model, according to game director Joe Blackburn.
Progression systems are being designed to be less complex, meaning fewer currencies to earn, the retirement of Umbral energies, and better base rewards for seasonal activities. On top of these changes, players can expect fewer vendor upgrades and a simplified approach to progression systems and currencies.
Once Season of Defiance ends, players can look forward to Season of the Deep and Season 22, which will not feature a vendor upgrade paradigm according to Blackburn. However, this doesn't mean that vendors are being done away with entirely, Blackburn stated. Instead Bungie is looking to create more varied and experimental frameworks that slowly build an array of systems for players to show their investment into seasonal content.
Lightfall is a war story that you've stepped into
In Season of Defiance, the theme is war. As Calus readies an invasion for humanity's last remaining stronghold, players will find themselves pulled into the high-stakes struggle against his Shadow Legion of Cabal troops. "Lightfall should feel like you have stepped into the middle of an active war," Bungie said, as the studio is aiming to make players feel like the tip of a spear pointed in the direction of the Witness and their armies. Don't expect to be on the defensive, as players will fight back alongside their allies from across the cosmos. The odds might be stacked against humanity, but our species plans to go down swinging as the universe runs out of time.
The Witness is here to finish what the Collapse started
Bungie has been teasing the arrival of The Witness for years now, offering glimpses of a central villain in the Light and Darkness saga who is on a collision course with The Traveler. The Witch Queen's campaign was the first time that we got to see this enigmatic antagonist, and come Lightfall, The Witness will finally catch up with The Traveler and finish what the Collapse started. Bungie describes The Witness as a "drastically different" villain when compared to Destiny's other big bads--a reserved but powerful force of nature who is the greatest test that humanity will ever face.
Strand is unlike any other subclass we've experienced so far
Strand is a Darkness power that is built to subvert expectations. Bungie knew that it wanted to bring another Darkness subclass to Destiny 2, and with everyone anticipating some form of poison powerset, the studio decided to instead surprise its community with abilities that tap into the cosmic web of life.
What makes Strand unique is that it didn't come from The Traveler or the Pyramid ships, but is instead a power that Guardians unlock within themselves. Its core theme is focused on pulling on the threads of life and manipulating them, allowing for exciting power fantasies that'll tie into the new buildcrafting features being introduced in Lightfall.
The Tormentors are a new enemy type that'll wreck you
Destiny 2 has no shortage of dangerous enemies to tangle with, from cunning Fallen to lethal Hive lightbearers, but Tormentors are a new breed of terror that you'll have to watch out for in Lightfall. These hulking brutes move fast and hit hard with Void energy powers, but they're also able to close gaps by pulling you into their range, suspending you in midair, and draining the life from your body.
"We want the Tormentors to be the most scary unit that you've ever fought in the Destiny universe," Bungie said, adding that the studio created unique animations and sounds for Tormentors that drive home just how powerful they really are. You'll want to stay alert whenever you spot a Tormentor in a Shadow Legion platoon, as this new enemy can easily disrupt your momentum.
Destiny 2 will continue beyond The Final Shape
At its current trajectory, The Final Shape expansion will kickstart Destiny 2's tenth year of sci-fi action and activity. The final chapter in the Light and Darkness saga, The Final Shape will conclude a storyline that began on a deserted stretch of road outside of an abandoned Earth space facility, but it won't be the end of Destiny. "This universe is about more than the conflict between The Traveler [and The Witness]," Bungie says. "We want to show you new things to discover in the universe."
Lightfall is seen as the "catalyst" for the future of Destiny, as it'll push the game to places that it has never been before. Bungie is of course keeping quiet on what other dangers lurk outside of the Solar system, but the studio is gearing up to keep the Destiny universe alive well after the current saga has concluded.
Loadouts will offer deeper and more flexible customization options
For years, Destiny 2 players have had to rely on third-party apps such as the Destiny Inventory Manager if they wanted to quickly switch up their loadouts. Once Lightfall begins, Destiny 2 will have an internal loadout manager that Bungie has designed to be quick, intuitive, and built around the idea of having activity-specific builds for players to swap between. If you have enough space in your character inventory, you'll be able to pull items directly from your vault to use in your loadouts, and this system will also allow for armor mods to be factored into specific loadouts.
Visually, loadouts are inspired by Destiny 2's transmog system, so if you've ever spent time working on your Guardian fashion game, then you'll feel right at home when you start working on your Nightfall, raid, and PvP builds.
Guardian Ranks will push you to explore all of Destiny
Lightfall represents a concerted effort by Bungie to simplify its various systems to a point where the game can be inviting to newcomers, but it's also focusing on new ideas that will push rookie guardians and veterans alike to explore everything that Destiny 2 has to offer. Guardian Ranks is essentially that middle-ground between content that motivates players to experiment with what Destiny 2 has to offer and the path that shows just how far seasoned players have come since they started their journey in Destiny.
There'll be 11 of these Guardian Ranks to earn, and climbing the ranks will involve completing challenges and tasks across Destiny's multiple activities. This system also ties into the new loadout slots that'll be available to players, as the seasonal artifact will function much differently from Lightfall onwards. The higher your Guardian Rank, the better your perks, and reaching the highest ranks will require experienced players to give their Kinderguardian brethren a helping hand in various activities.
Once Lightfall launches, experienced players will be given a Guardian Rank corresponding to their progress, reflecting their status and experience within the game.
The next chapter in Destiny 2’s story begins on February 28, and will continue throughout the year until 2024’s release of The Final Shape.