End-game content in Destiny 2 is the best of the best when it comes to your in-game experience. It typically requires a highly coordinated team, curated Guardian builds, and a willingness to retry encounters over and over again. PVP content includes Trials of Osiris, and PVE includes some excellent Raids with high-level boss encounters and puzzle-solving mechanics.
Then there are Dungeons, the slightly shorter but equally challenging cousins to Destiny 2 Raids. With Dungeons taking a central focus in the upcoming Witch Queen expansion, now seems like the best time to take a look back at them. In this article, we’ll cover Dungeons in depth and explore which of these end-game encounters are the best.
What Are Dungeons in Destiny 2?
Dungeons are three-person end-game level PVE content that feature unique and challenging puzzles, platforming, and boss mechanics. They’re typically shorter than Raids and longer than Raid Encounters (single-stage activities used in the Leviathan before it disappeared). Dungeons typically take anywhere from 1–3 hours to complete depending on your build and Fireteam coordination.
The first Dungeon was released as part of the Forsaken expansion, the second during Shadowkeep, the third during Season of Arrivals, and the most recent with the 30th Anniversary DLC. If you haven’t tried them yet, now’s the time to check them out. Bungie announced that there will be a new Dungeon or Raid released every season starting in 2022, so there’s more to come!
How Do Destiny 2 Dungeons Work?
Dungeons function similarly to Raids in that they have a main objective blocked by several combat encounters, platforming sections, and puzzles. Unlike Raids, which often include multiple mechanics that you have to juggle, Dungeons typically stick with just one. This single mechanic helps you open doors and defeat bosses, with each encounter growing more complex leading up to the final boss.
Every Destiny 2 Dungeon, Ranked Worst to Best
So, now you know what Dungeons are and how they work in Destiny 2. Let’s take a look at the four Dungeons that have been released so far and rank them. Spoilers — the future of Dungeons in Destiny 2 is looking pretty bright.
Pit of Heresy
Expansion: Shadowkeep | Location: Moon | Objectives: Destroy the Hive champion Zulmak, Instrument of Torment
The second Dungeon didn’t quite live up to the standard set by the first (a common trend with Bungie content). It was fine enough, just not quite what players were hoping for, especially considering how interesting the Red Keep and Black Pyramids were. The purpose of the Dungeon is to venture deep underground to eliminate another Hive threat, which walks the line between exploration and repetition of a familiar activity.
Predictably, that’s where the Dungeon falls apart somewhat. The Hive Knight sword mechanic provides an interesting and varied mechanic, but the rest just feels basic and confusing. The Ogre encounter feels outdated and is more frustrating and time-consuming than clever and challenging. Then there’s the Trap Maze, which was heavily teased before release, but just proves to be exhausting every time you run it.
This Dungeon also landed when Bungie was still figuring out end-game loot, so the exclusive weapon pool was severely limited. The only real benefit was earning Masterworked gear, but it’s so easy to accomplish these days that the Dungeon is no longer worth the trouble. In short, it was an interesting experience that quickly became somewhat underwhelming and boring.
The Shattered Throne
Expansion: Forsaken | Location: Ascendant Realm | Objectives: Locate the source of the Taken invasion in Eleusinia
Since Raids were so limiting (mostly due to needing four players for a successful run), the first Dungeon was a welcome new experience. It capped off the Forsaken expansion and introduced some of the most memorable end-game encounters in the game’s history. Some of the mysteries involved in the wishing mechanic are still unsolved to this day!
Aside from the beginning (which is a bit frustrating), this Dungeon is straightforward and focused. You enter the Ascendant realm and face Taken enemies in some incredibly fun encounters. It hasn’t really been updated for the game’s modern difficulty, meaning you can burn through it to get at all that sweet lore.
The only problem is that loot and other unlockables were still limited at its release. There was (and still is) very little reason to run this Dungeon multiple times despite its cool gimmick. It’s still worth revisiting while it’s still available, though, if only for how much of a turning point it was for the game.
Expansion: Season of Arrivals | Location: Unknown Space | Objectives: Defeat the Kell Echo
There’s just something special about exploring anything related to Xur and The Nine. Considering how little we know about them, the Dungeon’s slick and unsettling aesthetic just deepens the mystery. I mean, Xur just partnered with an interdimensional space horse to host the Dares of Eternity gameshow! The Prophecy Dungeon was only the first taste of this weirdness.
This Dungeon focuses on the balance between light and dark. You have to manage and leverage Darkness and Light simultaneously to complete puzzles and encounters. In many ways, Prophecy was a natural precursor to Stasis, and it makes sense that Eris Morn and the Drifter are the ones who get you involved in this activity.
Aesthetics and story aside, the encounters and mechanics are truly what set this Dungeon apart. The use of orbs and light/dark escalates naturally and subtly, giving you a challenge without confusing you. This all leads to a surprisingly intelligent boss fight that proves how the best enemies in Destiny 2 don’t just sit there and let you wail away on them.
On top of all that, this Dungeon has continuously served as an excellent source of loot. It originally featured two exclusive armor sets and several top-tier weapons that made it worth playing over and over again. Even now, it serves as a great spot to earn weekly Pinnacle gear and features a rotating loot pool that can provide some solid gear. It stands as one of the best end-game encounters and a template for what to do moving forward.
Grasp of Avarice
Expansion: Bungie 30th Anniversary | Location: Cosmodrome | Objectives: Investigate the recent activity in the Cosmodrome and venture into its depths to reveal a tale of riches and regret
Having this one listed in the top spot may be a bit contentious, but I honestly just love this Dungeon. It embraces what makes these shorter Raid encounters so good and builds on the best parts of the Prophecy Dungeon. It also brings back a weird glitch from the original Destiny and turns it into official lore, complete with a healthy amount of mystery and a whole lot of loot.
Like Prophecy, the Grasp of Avarice Dungeon embraces a theme and sticks to it. In this case, it blends swashbuckling pirate action, Indiana Jones-esque tomb raiding, and Destiny‘s classic intergalactic action. The music alone is utterly enthralling and bombastic, and brings back memories of Severis Perfected’s excellent electric guitar version of the main theme. It kicks in at just the right times, making even the most frustrating encounters inspiring and worth pushing through.
Thankfully, nothing in this Dungeon feels unnecessary or truly frustrating. The use of the Scorch Cannon throughout is straightforward but clever. The traps feel right at home and even fit into the lore, which you can uncover by collecting audio logs. Oh, and there’s the ridiculous Sparrow section, which is simultaneously stupid and utterly epic all at the same time.
The only drawback of this Dungeon is the final boss. While the Scorch Cannon mechanic is put to good use and the location fully encapsulates the theme, there are two bullet spongey enemies that are more time-consuming than challenging. Thankfully, the rest of the Dungeon makes up for it. The loot pool also features some exclusive gear that makes it worth running more than once. Plus, you can challenge yourself with a more difficult version that features gear with distinct mod slots not found anywhere else!
Join the High Ground
Dungeons have and continue to be great pieces of bite-sized end-game content that prove to be far more accessible while just as challenging as Raids in all the right ways. We hope you understand why there’s so much to look forward to with the launch of The Witch Queen. Be sure to let your Fireteam know why they should run the current Dungeons with you by sharing this article on your favorite social channels—and sign up for our newsletter for the latest on Destiny 2.