It’s that time of year when the good folks at Bungie drop a ton of new Destiny 2 details. And if you thought The Witch Queen reveal from last year was a banger, you’ll be blown away by this Lightfall showcase.
Didn’t get the chance to watch the event live? No worries. Let’s unpack everything shown at the 2022 Destiny showcase, including Lightfall Expansion details, some incredible quality of life improvements, the reveal of Season 18, and some exciting partnerships.
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Destiny 2’s next expansion has been revealed, and we’ll be exploring a brand new world while attempting to stop an invasion by Calus and the Witness. There’s a lot to unpack (aside from how similar the logo looks to Pixar’s Lightyear), so let’s dive in.
Lightfall Release Date
Lightfall is set to launch alongside Season 20, on February 28, 2023. The Witch Queen, which was originally slated for December, was pushed back primarily due to production issues caused by COVID-19. Now, with a steady slate of seasonal releases and a far more gracious release window, there’s really no reason to doubt that this expansion will hit its projected release date.
New Setting, Enemies, and Allies
Possibly the most exciting part of Lightfall’s reveal is how different it looks. Move over derelict cities and desolate planets, we’re headed to a cyberpunk city (known as Neomuna) located on Neptune. Aesthetically, the new environments look gorgeous and very un-Destiny-like, which further escalates how we’re truly nearing the end of the Light vs. Darkness Saga.
To go along with this pristine and vibrant environment, we’ll also be making new friends and facing revamped enemies. The citizens of this hidden metropolis don’t harness the Light as we do — instead, they leverage advanced augmentation to turn a select few into superhumans known as Cloud Striders.
Alongside them, we’ll be facing Calus’s shadow legion of pyramid-tech wielding Cabal, and darkness-infused heralds of The Witness known as Tormentors. These unstoppable behemoths are very reminiscent of Rhulk from the Vow of the Disciple Raid, and serve as the next challenging enemy iteration first explored with Hive Guardians. For a deep dive into all of these new characters, I recommend checking out this excellent video from My name is Byf.
A Second Darkness Subclass
With a new expansion comes a new Subclass. And while we took a break from Darkness abilities this last year, we’ll be uncovering something never seen before — Strand. Just like Stasis, this will be an ability that we uncover throughout the course of the campaign, as we learn to control it properly.
While many speculated that the next Subclass would leverage poison, Strand actually leans into psychic abilities. This will somewhat follow the playbook set by Stasis, providing Guardians with enhanced movement and area-of-effect abilities.
The one featured most heavily in the showcase was the new grappling hook. Originally designed for Hunters, it eventually became a staple for this Subclass and will be available to everyone. Now you can be a futuristic Spider-Man swinging in space, no matter what you run with.
While we still don’t know much, we did get a glimpse of how each Class Super will operate. The Hunter summons a rope dart that can be spun and launched into enemies. Titans unsheath a set of claws for spin attacks. And Warlocks will telekinetically unleash a barrage of missiles that cause interesting effects upon impact.
The new expansion honestly looks incredible. But what’s possibly even more exciting is the slew of quality-of-life updates that come with it.
If there’s one thing that the Destiny community has screamed about constantly, it’s the lack of loadouts in the game. Sure, there are great third party apps, but nothing in-game to help you manage PVP, PVE, and endgame builds natively.
Thankfully, that will no longer be an issue in Lightfall with the release of the Mods and Loadout Manager. You’ll now be able to customize and save your builds in a single place and easily switch between them from the character screen. No more spending 30–45 minutes adding and removing Mods!
Guardian Rank System
While Bungie has streamlined the onboarding process for new players, jumping into the game can still be overwhelming. And even for seasoned players, it can be difficult to know the best way to fully build up your character. The introduction of Guardian Ranks is designed to simplify that progression path moving forward.
This reputation system is designed to showcase what is available to you at a given time and help you find a path forward. It also encourages long-standing players to provide assistance and bolster the overall community. All-in-all, it seems like an interesting system that will hopefully take the guesswork out of progression.
Speaking of being a helpful player, you can now show your appreciation for others in-game. Commendations will now let you congratulate teammates after playing with notes around being a good leader, a worthy adversary, and a number of other things. The point of this system is for you to rack up commendations naturally and for other players to easily see what type of player you are — for better or worse.
In-Game LFG Tools
Often one of the most frustrating things about playing Destiny 2 is getting enough people to play. Whether it’s tackling a Raid, trying to go Flawless, or pushing through the weekly Nightfall — you need to bring your own people, which isn’t always possible. People found ways to connect out of the game, but like the lack of loadouts, seeking out players is a lot of work.
Now, that functionality is shifting into the game with the Fireteam Finder tool. We only caught a glimpse of some screenshots for now, but were told that we’d get more info closer to release.
No More Sunsetting
The last set of big news is that there will be no more expansion sunsetting. That means that story components, and hopefully, locations will no longer be dropped into the Destiny Content Vault. Seasonal content will now remain throughout the current expansion year and then be vaulted with the release of the next expansion. However, I bet that some gamemodes could stick around (such as Battlegrounds) if there’s enough community love to warrant it.
Become a Space Pirate in Season 18: Season of Plunder
After a very sorrowful season filled with overcoming mental and emotional struggles — Season 18 takes a far less serious approach. One where we can live out our dreams of becoming a swashbuckling space pirate and take out the far less chilly Eramis. Now a few weeks in, here is what we’re playing as part of Season of Plunder.
Pirate Ship Battles in Space
The new rotation of seasonal events involves collecting Map Fragments, creating maps, and hunting down buried treasure. For the story, this is rooted in us needing to beat Eramis and her crew to ancient, potentially Darkness-infused artifacts. Gameplay involves three new activities — Ketchcrash, Expedition, and Pirate Hideouts.
Ketschcrash is a six-person activity that has you raid an enemy Ketsch, take out baddies, and solve a few puzzles. You can upgrade your Star Chart over time to bring in crewmates to help you out, but overall, it’s a pretty standard Strike-esque activity.
Expedition is the three-person follow-up to Ketschcrash. It’s a mix of tower defense, payload protection, and a small-scale final boss battle to wrap things up. To get the most from it, you’ll need to create a finished map in order to dig up additional rewards at the end.
Lastly, you have Pirate Hideouts. This weekly mission has you dig deep into Destiny lore in order to uncover powerful relics of old. It’s reminiscent of last season’s Sever missions, but unfortunately, doesn’t quite pack as much of a punch narratively.
The Return of King’s Fall
Let’s be honest, the remastered Raid was always going to be King’s Fall. It fits the narrative from The Witch Queen and is a beloved experience. King’s Fall represented a turning point for the series and for Raid design as a whole, and it’s now free for all Destiny 2 players.
The competition mode went live on August 26th with players from Clan Elysium claiming the title of World’s First in a little over five hours. The crazy thing is this is their third World’s First completion in a row! Interested in seeing how they did it? Check out their full playthrough here.
Arc 3.0 and a Gift
We all knew it was coming, but Arc 3.0 is live and wraps up the original Light Subclass revamps. The update reflects Void and Solar, but with a more user-friendly introduction to all of the new buffs.
In short, Arc is built around speed. This is most prevalent in the new “amplified” buff, which actually makes you move faster (along with the typical speed buff for weapon handling). The other new buffs are “jolt,” which adds additional spark and chain effects, and “blind,” which needs no explanation. We won’t be diving deep into this update here, but be on the lookout for a full rundown soon.
One thing we will call out is the gifted armor and weapon set you get as part of Arc 3.0. If you haven’t already, be sure to open a chest in the H.E.L.M. to pick it up. It will net you a full armor set a few levels higher, valuable Arc-themed Armor Mods, and a few worthwhile Exotics.
Destiny 2 and Epic Collaboration
This reveal was unfortunately leaked beforehand (like so much of Epic’s content), but is still something to be excited about. Here’s what Bungie’s new collaboration with Epic brought to the table.
Destiny 2 Launches on the Epic Games Store
The biggest news to come out of this is that Destiny 2 is now available on the Epic Games Store. As part of the release, anyone who downloaded the game could also receive the 30th Anniversary Pack for free until August 30th. Additionally, if you link your EGS account to your Bungie.net account, you’ll snag some exclusive emblems to celebrate.
Ikora, Zavala, and the Exo Stranger Come to Fortnite
On the heels of Fortnite’s Dragon Ball Z crossover, Epic unveiled skins of Ikora, Zavala, and the Exo Stranger (RIP Cayde-6). These come with their own back bling, pick-axe, and a glider that’s designed to look like a Sparrow. You can also snag the investigate emote, which brings out your handy Ghost.
Along with these cosmetics, you can also check out the Guardian Zone Control: Javelin-4. This limited-time mode has you hold control points in an environment that Destiny 2 fans should find familiar.
Fortnite Skins in Destiny 2
Possibly the more important piece of this news for Destiny 2 players are the new Fortnite-inspired skins in the marketplace. Like most armor sets, the designs are Class-exclusive and in this case, are reimaginings of some fairly iconic Fortnite skins. Warlocks get the Drifter, Titans the Knightly Noire, and Hunters have Eternal Vengeance.
You can purchase them now for 1,500 Silver each, but be on the lookout later this season for individual pieces to become available for Bright Dust.
Destiny 2 Skins in Fall Guys
As part of this collaboration, Fall Guys is also getting a few Destiny 2 skins. Releasing on September 17th, you can snag the default looks for the Titan, Warlock, and Hunter. For now, there’s no word on if these can be earned through in-game events or will end up costing Show Bucks.
Whew, that’s a whole lot of announcements! But what’s missing? Let’s do a bit of speculating to uncover if there are some lingering surprises that Bungie is keeping secret.
Other Bungie IP
One glaring omission from the showcase is the mystery Bungie IPs. We’ve yet to get any real information outside of job listings and a handful of trademark filings. Most believe they will be Destiny related, but if they’re not, then that could be why they were kept out of this event.
If the team does have something to show, I’d expect to see an initial tease as part of this year’s Game Awards. If not, then the reality is that we may not see anything about them until after The Final Shape announcement in 2023.
Mod and stat management have been a problem for a while now. Loadouts fix a lot of that. However, it doesn’t remove the RNG associated with earning armor and Bungie has been making minor steps to fix that.
The first is being able to equip Ghost Mods that guarantee a +10 stat type. The second came with The 2022 Dawning Event, which allowed you to upgrade your armor around a given stat. Both of these feel like minor experimentation for something bigger — armor crafting.
With the release and fine-tuning of weapon crafting and actual loadouts coming to the game next year, I think it’s entirely possible that this could be next. The unfortunate thing is that an overhaul of this kind will likely coincide with The Final Shape expansion. So, don’t be surprised if we see some additional armor upgrade experimentation throughout next year in preparation for it.
Last year, we got the seemingly one-off DLC release to celebrate Bungie’s 30th Anniversary. Season 18 will end around the same time that it was released last year. While there’s still one more season left, I think that it’s very likely that we get some minor expansion along with it.
I doubt that it will be as substantial as the 30th Anniversary, and will likely just be new content added to the Dares of Eternity activity along with additional cosmetics. This is truly just a guess, but Bungie has stated that they intend to add more to Dares, and December would be a great time to do it.
It’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Destiny 2 Fan
This last year of Destiny 2 was the best that the game has ever been, but Lightfall proves that there’s still so much more to come. The loadouts and new player onboarding improvements alone should have most players jumping for joy. And that’s on top of an intriguing new campaign, a surprising Darkness subclass, and plenty of other secrets we haven’t seen yet.
There’s truly never been a better time to be a Destiny 2 player.
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