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Destiny 2: All Expansions, Ranked Worst to Best

There are currently four expansions that Destiny 2 players can purchase and play in the current Sandbox. Those being: Shadowkeep, Beyond Light, The Witch Queen, and Light Fall.

With the hype cycle for the upcoming Final Shape expansion in full swing, we here at High Ground Gaming figured it’s a great time to look back on all the DLCs that have led us to this climactic showdown with the Witness. Sadly, not all of the expansions were created equally. There have been some highs and some lows, so it only seems appropriate to rank all the expansions in Destiny 2 from worst to best. 

4. Shadowkeep

Shadowkeep - Destiny 2 Expansions Ranked
Image: Bungie via HGG / Adam W.

Shadowkeep’s placement in last should not be misunderstood. It isn’t that Shadowkeep does anything awful in comparison to the other Destiny 2 expansions, but it just doesn’t match up in either content or story.

We like to look at these expansions holistically, and players who pick up Shadowkeep will find that it just isn’t quite as fulfilling as the other expansions on this list, even with all the things it does well.

Story: 8/10

The story in Shadowkeep is a great setup for a lot of the events that happen in the other expansions, but other than that, the writing and mission structure aren’t anything too crazy. The visuals in the different locations can be absolutely breathtaking, but that’s kind of a standard for all of Destiny 2’s expansions.

When it comes to this expansion’s story, opinions on it are heavily dependent on when the player first experienced it. Players experiencing this content when it was the most recent expansion will remember it as the expansion that set the foundation for how Destiny 2’s seasonal content would work to this day.

Specifically – release an expansion that introduces a conflict and then expand upon that conflict with the different seasons that come out after that expansion. This method of storytelling is fun and keeps you coming back each season, but it also makes individual stories feel a bit short and unsatisfying.

If you’re experiencing Shadowkeep now with all the content fully released, it feels much better since you can experience everything this expansion has to offer all in one sitting. It’s the equivalent of waiting to watch the new episode of a show each week, versus waiting till it’s over and binge-watching the entire thing over the course of a weekend.

Content: 8/10

This expansion gives players access to the returning Moon location from Destiny 1. The area has been updated and changed a lot, but you also return to some areas of the Moon that were present in the first game. The opinion on this will vary from person to person.

If you’ve played Destiny 1 a lot, this might feel like recycled content, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong coming to that conclusion. Some Destiny 1 players might not mind revisiting an old location since it makes them feel a bit nostalgic. And of course, players entirely new to Destiny will find the location just as interesting and haunting as Destiny 1 players found it their first time through. 

This expansion’s Raid: Garden of Salvation is very fondly remembered for its challenging but fun puzzles, interesting gimmicks, and beautiful visuals. Definitely a highlight of the expansion.

The activities added in this expansion are fun, but they aren’t anything game-changing or mind-blowing when comparing them to the activities found in the newer expansions’, with maybe one exception. 

One other thing to remember and praise about this expansion is its implementation of the 2.0 armor system, which is the foundation on which the current armor system is built. This system introduced a rough version of the current mod system that would be further refined into the insanely fun and in-depth mod system we have today.

3. Lightfall

Lightfall - Destiny 2 Expansions Ranked
Image: Bungie via HGG / Adam W.

Lightfall’s placement may or may not come as a shock to many players. The reason for its low ranking on our list is simply the fact that many of the elements of this expansion feel rushed or underdeveloped in comparison to other expansions in Destiny 2.

It does almost everything worse than Shadowkeep, but it introduces a new subclass, which is always pretty crazy in terms of content and value. As such, we’re placing Lightfall in 3rd place. That being said, if we were basing this ranking solely on Story and Content, Shadowkeep would absolutely be in this spot.

Story: 2/10

While this may be the expansion that brought our Guardians one step closer to darkness with Strand, it’s also the weakest expansion in terms of story. A lot of the narrative “wow factor” of wielding darkness to bust baddies was used up on the Beyond Light expansion. Don’t get us wrong, Strand is super cool and very fun to use, but the impact it has on players narratively is definitely lacking. 

Another issue with this story is the lack of fan-favorite characters. Ikora, Zavala, and even the Drifter and Exo Stanger are all pretty much absent from this expansion’s story. The focus of this expansion’s story is instead on Osiris, who we feel gets a lukewarm reception from fans, and the Cloud Striders, who are admittedly very interesting but don’t feel like they’ve had enough screen time to feel truly developed. Many fans agree that the Neomuna story probably would have been better received if it were saved for a post-Final Shape storyline rather than being where it is currently. 

Still, it isn’t all bad. Putting an end to Callus and seeing Osiris’s character development are all pretty big highlights of this expansion, and Neomuna itself is absolutely breathtaking from a visual standpoint. We just wish there was a bit more to do on the planet. Unfortunately, none of the recent seasons leading up to the Final Shape have had seasonal activities set on Neomuna, but perhaps that will change in the future.

Content: 5/10

Lightfall is notably lacking when it comes to post-expansion content. There are different public event-style activities players can do in the city of Neomuna, but these get really old really fast as they’re all fairly repetitive. It doesn’t help that the expansion requires you to grind these events in order to progress the story and gain access to all of what the Strand subclass has to offer. 

You don't spend nearly as much time Neomuna as you should for this expansion.
Image: Bungie via HGG / Adam W.

Sadly, Neomuna just doesn’t feel as good to explore as some of the other expansions. The City feels pretty lifeless and rather small, but perhaps this is a side effect of the city housing massive buildings that we can’t really go into or interact with. Still, it isn’t all bad.

The Exotic quest is pretty fun, as are the missions to disarm bombs planted by the Vex. However, these take place in a digital space, not in Neomuna, and we think this contributes to the expansion feeling lifeless.

The big highlight of the story missions is definitely the new mini-bosses, the Tormentors. These things are a completely new enemy type that’s believed to belong to a new Darkness faction which we’ll see more of in the Final Shape expansion. Think of it like a teaser for things to come. These Tormentors are a serious threat and take some getting used to, especially on the legendary difficulty, so watch out!

Strand: 9/10

We mentioned before that Strand was a definite highlight of this expansion, and that can’t be overstated. Using those crazy green strings to Suspend, Sever, and Tangle enemies feels really satisfying, and the learning curve behind the movement granted from the grapple ability is sure to keep those hardcore movement masters happy for some time. The Subclass definitely leaves a better impression than the previous darkness subclass, Stasis.

Even with that said, the grind one has to sit through to unlock the subclass can definitely leave a sour taste in one’s mouth. You aren’t given full access to Strand until the end of the campaign, and this feels like a really outdated design choice at this point.

Having full access to the subclass early on and being able to unlock more of what it has to offer would feel much better from a gameplay standpoint than the current system. The expansion’s lackluster story and mission design don’t help this issue either.

2. Witch Queen

Witch Queen - Destiny 2 Expansions Ranked
Image: Bungie via HGG / Adam W.

Some might see Witch Queen in the number two spot as absolute blasphemy, and we completely understand where they would be coming from. For many, Witch Queen is the best expansion Destiny 2 has ever had.

Both its story and content are absolutely stellar, but we just don’t feel comfortable placing it at the very top of our ranking when it’s lacking the biggest draw of any expansion, that being a new Subclass.

Story: 10/10

Let’s be honest, Strand should have launched with the Witch Queen expansion. If it had, this expansion would hands down be our pick for number one. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, so the Witch Queen will just have to settle for second best. Don’t let that diminish the quality of this expansion, its story it the best Destiny 2 has ever had.

This expansion’s story has your Guardian taking on the Hive Queen Savathun on her Throne World. The twist? Her forces are making use of the Light, the same Light you’ve been using to defeat her siblings and followers. 

This plot point feels so cool because it’s something that we definitely could have seen coming given the story of Beyond Light being about the Guardian using the power of Darkness to defeat the Fallen’s leader. This story is in many ways a direct narrative inverse of that, having our enemies use the Light to try and defeat us.

This hits especially hard given how far from the Traveler’s Light our Guardian feels narratively, since they’ve just begun using Darkness in the last expansion. We could go on, but the expansion’s story really is best experienced with one’s own eyes.

Content: 9/10

The highlight of this expansion is the addition of a new Major enemy type, the Hive Guardians. These enemies wield the Traveler’s Light just like our Guardians, only not quite as good.

They can cast one of the three Light subclass supers, those being Void Titan, Arc Warlock, and Solar Hunter. These three new Majors at their core are just updated versions of the standard Hive Knight, Wizard, and Fallen enemy types, but that’s ok because they have new designs and moves.

Words cannot describe the emotions we felt the first time we saw one of these Hive Guardians throw a Sentinal Shield at our Guardian. Or how we felt when our Guardian crushed its first Hive Ghost with their bare hands. This expansion is full of moments like that which interweave the narrative and gameplay together perfectly.

Savathun’s Throne World in Destiny 2
Image: Bungie via HGG / Adam W.

Savathun’s Throne World is an absolute visual feast for the eyes. The art team of Destiny 2 is known for their incredible designs, but they really outdid themselves with this world’s many locations and set pieces. This isn’t limited to just the explorable planet and campaign missions, as both the raid and dungeon have some stellar art direction as well. 10/10 all around for the art design on this one.

Finally, this expansion introduced weapon crafting, which has massively reduced the need for grinding raids, dungeons, and other activities just for a chance a God Roll weapon. Don’t get too excited, you’re still going to need to grind if you want those perfect weapons, it’s just much more reasonable and admittedly fun than it used to be. This expansion also added Glaives to the game, but those are just a minor addition in comparison.

1. Beyond Light

Beyond Light - Destiny 2 Expansions Ranked
Image: Bungie via HGG / Adam W.

Our number one pick for the best expansion in Destiny 2 is Beyond Light. This absolutely wasn’t an easy decision to make, but we had to make the call based on a few things.

Firstly, Beyond Light has a new subclass, Stasis, and it was a meta-defining subclass when it was first released. Even now, Stasis is pretty strong, so it isn’t a waste picking it up. Basically, Beyond Light has many of the best features of Witch Queen, but it also includes a subclass that grants the player three new playstyles between their Titan, Hunter, and Warlock.

Story: 9/10

Beyond Light’s story is very good, but it isn’t quite as good as Witch Queen’s story. Although, this can vary from person to person. Beyond Light sees the return of the Exo Stranger, who is now a fan favorite for many members of the community. It also features the Drifter, who is great to see outside of his Gambit game mode. Eris and Variks also show up in this expansion, with the latter being your main bounty and quest giver.

Variks is your primary bounty/quest giver in Beyond Light.
Image: Bungie via HGG / Adam W.

This expansion’s story hits similar cords to that of the Witch Queen, with our enemies gaining access to power we never thought they could obtain. This expansion’s story plays with the theme of our Guardian using the power of Darkness to overcome the forces of Darkness.

It’s an empowering story for the most part that makes you feel like your Guardian is kind of a rebel, willing to bend the rules for a good cause. Witch Queen’s story vibes are a bit more introspective, making you question if your Guardian is even worthy of wielding the Light. Great stuff, both of them.

Content: 7/10

Beyond Light didn’t bring in a revamped crafting system or anything too game-changing. The expansion is mostly just more of what we have come to expect from a new planet. Public events, patrols, and the occasional special activity.

The planet itself is very impressive. The visual charm of Europa is subjective, but we find its icy landscapes beautiful, while others may find them boring and lifeless. What isn’t boring is the planet’s dynamic weather system, which will have blizzards and snowstorms roll in from time to time. This is a technical milestone for Destiny 2, and it definitely helps you immerse yourself in the game’s world.

Stasis: 8/10

Stasis was a major highlight of the Beyond Light expansion in Destiny 2.
Image: Bungie via HGG / Adam W.

The Raid and Dungeon added in this expansion are fun and all, but the real star of the show is definitely the new Stasis subclass. Using the power of Darkness to Freeze, Slow, and Shatter foes is seriously cool. The subclass definitely feels unique even after the release of Strand, which also has a stun-in-place style debuff for enemies.

The subclass itself was actually pretty broken when it was first released, making the lives of all Crucible players miserable until its inevitable nerfs. It can take quite a bit to get access to some of the more interesting builds this subclass has to offer, but that’s mostly a flaw in the way DLC subclasses are issued to players rather than the subclass itself. Some additional Aspects, Fragments, Melees, and Supers would be nice for this Subclass, but it’s still really fun to mess around with even to this day.

Join the High Ground

That about does it for our ranking of all the expansions in Destiny 2. Which expansion do you think is the best? We’d love to here your opinions!

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