Destiny 2’s Evolution And The Shadowkeep Expansion

The future of Destiny looks bright!

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Last week, Bungie revealed their plans for Destiny 2 which will be coming in September. This was a massive reveal and the significance of the short time between the launch of the Season of Opulence and the reveal is not to be ignored. I believe that Bungie really wanted to address the fact that they are now self-publishing the game. It is a great opportunity to address this while they have the community’s attention with the new release. Luke Smith did not pull his punches when it came to Activision and setting the record straight. Destiny will now be created for the fan base and not solely following a AAA game commercial model.

Bungie announced these plans live via Mixer where Datto interviewed Bungie leaders like Luke Smith and Marc Noseworthy. This format was new and I enjoyed that a community leader like Datto was involved in such a significant way. This reveal is a turning point for Bungie and Destiny franchise and by involving Datto the community is given a voice of reason. That is not to mention the visibility the Mixer platform received from carrying the stream.  

A New Beginning, A New Light (Free-To-Play Version)

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When the Forsaken expansion dropped, I was discussing Destiny with my brother who had played the vanilla version of Destiny. I was hoping that he would be playing again. Even back then he made very valid points that I believe many casual players of the game shared. He said that he liked the game but was too perplexed at what he would need to purchase in order to be current in the game directory. He did not have the amount of time needed to level a character to play the new content. Because he is a casual player he constantly felt like he was behind his clan mates. Therefore the amount of money was off-putting because he would be paying for content that he would more than likely not play. All of the reasons that he stated is why I am so excited for New Light, the Free-To-Play Version of Destiny.

Hello, Little Light

New Light will enable players to join the Destiny community and function as an on-ramp into the action without having to play all of the Year One content. All Year One content will be available such as Crucible, Strikes, the Leviathan Raid, Gambit and Adventures free of charge. This will enable returning players and new players the opportunity to game with their friends and learn the game. The Destiny community has always been a welcoming place for KinderGuardians. New Light will bring in many new players who may be looking for a helping hand.

When a new player chooses to create a character and play New Light they will play a remastered version of the Destiny introduction mission.  Of course, we all were excited when this was shown in the live stream hoping for a rerelease of the original Destiny content for Destiny 2.  At present, Bungie is not planning to remaster the previous game. However, this does show that they have the capability to do this should they choose to do so.

Once the New Light adventure is completed the newly minted Guardian will be dropped off in the Tower, a virtual community hub, ready to explore the solar system and rid it of enemies. The Guardian will be at the current light level and may choose to purchase Year Two content after playing the Free-To-Play version. Bungie has opted to create content that can now be purchased a’ La Carte. For example, the Crucible has not been updated for some time. Bungie plans to place emphasis here in the near future but did not go into detail as to what that means but promised that changes will come. In short, there will be an overhaul.

For the gamer that does not enjoy PVP, they may choose not to purchase this season. If the player decided then that they want to purchase the season that falls afterward; they will not be required to purchase the previous season to play. In short, there will no longer be a requirement to purchase prior content when only the current content is desired. You can literally build your own Destiny content library.

“Hey! What’s That You’ve Got?” – Shaxx

Is that my Xbox clanmate playing on PC?  It could very well be the case in September.  Many console gamers have been reluctant to move to a new version of Destiny because that essentially means starting over; losing all gear and leveling.  Hours upon hours of content would need to be replayed. Luke Smith unabashedly stated that going into Destiny 2, Bungie had in development cross-save capabilities but was not able to complete this project because of “capital R reasons”. This was a clear indication that Activision (or possibly Sony due to their exclusivity contract) did not place the importance on this feature that Bungie thought it should. Marc Noseworthy informed us that Destiny 2 will now be able to be played anywhere including Stadia. As a matter of fact, the full version of Destiny 2 will be included in the Stadia Pro subscription library. While cross-save is a great first step in the right direction; we are all hoping that cross-play will happen in the near future.

Mules of War ASSEMBLE!

What does cross save mean to your clan members?  This could be a great time for some of your clan mates to move to PC, Xbox or PlayStation. I would encourage clan leaders to begin considering who might carry the torch for them on various platforms. Although it has not been announced; I would suspect that clans will span across systems now. It is always good to have good leaders representing your brand in new areas. Also, in allowing some members to share in the ownership of their clan, those members could be retained. On that note, you can expect our Destiny 2 clan, Mules of War, to span across platforms coming this fall. We are excited about the opportunity to play with new people and continue to grow this already amazing community of people and gamers.

No More Exclusive Content

Bungie has placed so much emphasis on fostering the ability to play anywhere that there will no longer be exclusive content.  In the past, PlayStation has usually received an extra strike mission and an extra exotic that was timed-exclusive that were not available on Xbox or PC. That will no longer be the case. This will help create a 1:1 comparison of the Destiny experience assisting players in deciding where they want to play.

Don’t say it! Don’t say it! / MMO / *Gasp*

Perhaps that is a satirical example of an MMO conversation might have been like at Bungie of old.  However, that is no longer the case. It was stated in the live stream that there will no longer be this sort of awkward tight rope walk between are there too many MMO elements or not enough? The game will be evolving into an MMO Action Shooter that does not require subscriptions. We will continue to see paid content drops, paid seasonal updates, and cosmetic purchases. All of which will not be more optional than ever. There will be no subscriptions in Destiny 2. What does MMO mean for Destiny?

Armor 2.0.

Bungie is leaning into the RPG elements of the action shooter. This fall we will see the return of some familiar RPG character customization from Destiny 1 and some new ones as well. Notice that the Discipline, Armor, and Strength attributes are making a come-back. It appears that we will be able to spec our “monster killing machines” with more detailed customization than ever before.

Armor 2.0 brings into the game a much-needed way to add depth to the game in a way that we have never seen before. In Shadowkeep we will be able to finally “transmog” armor to build it the way that we want to look and the powers that we want to use as we slay the nightmares of the moon. With this addition, expect to see armor returning from year one that was considered to be fan favorites but with the new system attached to it. It’s unclear how this will all work at this time but when the Mules know we will keep you posted with up to date information.  

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We will also be able to use artifacts to change the attributes of our guardian. It was explained that as we level the artifact (the Gate Lord’s Eye in the ViDoc) we unlock attributes of increasing strength up to the level of essentially an exotic attribute. This adds even more depth to the game that was much needed from its first iteration back in Destiny 1: Rise of Iron. Allowing the guardian to pick from multiple perks on a seasonal artifact is something that we have never had before in Destiny and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

New Exotics

The ViDoc also served as a shout out to players who are starved for new guns to shoot monsters with.  We have seen quite a few reimaginings of Destiny guns such as the Black Spindle/Whisper Of The Worm. We have even seen the return of exotics such as the rocket launcher Truth, and the hand cannons Thorn and The Last Word, as well as other weapons. While I have enjoyed having these return and the quests that come with them; the sentiment is that new weapons would be greatly appreciated in comparison to the returning arsenal. After all, we paid for these Destiny weapons once before. Where are the new weapons?

We were allowed brief glimpses at what is in the works for new weapons. In showing this Bungie basically states that they hear the request and are working on creating these new exotics. One of the guns was an exotic hand cannon that had a scope. It looks to be a short-range hand-held precision weapon that fires solar special ammo. However, if fired too rapidly it sets the user on fire. I have to say I really hope this weapon makes it into the game. Another weapon was an exotic heavy bow that possessed some knockback capability. It was shown to be quite strong and that there was some tuning that needed to be done.

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That wizard came from the Shadowkeep

The expansion pack, Shadowkeep is a stand-alone package. In short, a new player needs only have New Light (Free-To-Play) and optionally purchase Shadowkeep to be playing current content in September. In this expansion, you will revisit the moon after the events of the Dark Below. The locale has been changed by the evil machinations of the Darkness. It is not exactly how we left it after the defeat of Crota. Something terrifying lurks beneath the surface as well as in the Shadowkeep, a red tower that holds unknown dangers.

Eris Morn has returned to the Moon and somehow released these nightmares that were lurking in the Darkness. She seems to be seeking redemption or closure for her fallen fireteam who succumbed to Crota, the hive lord.  It was stated in the ViDoc that the Darkness is much closer than we realized. Is this expansion going to serve as and continuation or a connection to the Heart of Darkness storyline from Destiny? We do not know for sure now. We do know that the new raid will go back into the Black Garden which served as the final locale for the assault against the Heart of Darkness. As we fight the Darkness there; will we encounter the Exo Stranger? Will Anna Bray or Rasputin assist our fight against these Nightmares? Will we receive answers on how this evil remained unknown to our Guardians of Light and the Vanguard on our Moon while we were able to detect and fight other forces in the solar system that were so distant? I sure hope so. Eyes up Guardian.

Josh is a husband and a father to a family that loves to game together. He first experienced video games on the SNES. He is a strong believer that video games are best enjoyed with good company and a strong brew of coffee.

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