Destiny 2 is headed into its fifth year and the future has never looked brighter. That’s not just due to the freaking Hive suddenly harnessing the Light in The Witch Queen expansion. No, that was only one of the tremendous bombshells unveiled during Bungie’s latest showcase.
Seriously, we haven’t been this excited for Destiny content since The Taken King, and this honestly feels like the long-awaited follow-up to that beloved expansion. If you have the time, it’s worth watching the whole thing just to ride the wave of excitement The Witch Queen reveal brought. If you just want the juicy details, here’s everything you can expect from possibly the biggest content drop in Destiny 2, The Witch Queen.
When Does The Witch Queen Expansion Release?
We all knew that The Witch Queen expansion would be delayed into early 2022 due to development struggles brought on by remote work. Now, we have an official release date, with The Witch Queen slated to release on February 22, 2022. Like any new piece of Destiny 2 content, this will become available during the weekly reset that occurs every Tuesday.
It’s hard to say exactly what time the expansion will go live, but we can likely expect a firm rollout schedule to go live sometime in January. For now, you can preorder The Witch Queen through your favorite platform store or directly from the Bungie Store. Now, let’s dive into exactly what to expect from this expansion.
Savathun’s Arrival Kicks Off a New Chapter
The alluring and devious sister of the Taken King, Savathun, has been hinted at for years now. Over the course of the 2021 seasons, starting with Season of the Hunt, her presence has become all the more tangible. Of course, in the latest seasonal expansion, Season of the Lost, she has been revealed in all of her horrifying crystalized glory.
The teaser trailer only makes our new enemy all the more frightening. Standing at a whopping 21 feet tall, with horrifying moth-like wings, Savathun is truly one of the most ghoulish enemies we’ve ever faced. Oh, and we’re helping her out in the current season which feels like a very bad idea based on what’s been shown so far.
The recent Vidoc rolled out by the Destiny 2 team, gives us a bit more to chew on when it comes to this expansion’s story. For starters, every character that has been involved in the main storyline since Beyond Light is making a comeback. Zavala, Ikora, Saladin, Shaxx, Eris, Crow, Saint-14, and Ana Bray are all front and center alongside our new frenemy Caiatl. The main focus of the story is uncovering the mystery of Savathun and her Throne World, which really leans into the True Detective aesthetic that had been mentioned in earlier interviews.
There seems to be something odd happening with Savathun thanks to her harnessing the Light. Things are constantly shifting and changing, and while she may be one step ahead it appears that she isn’t fully in control. That’s really all we have to go on, and we’ll likely learn more as Season of the Lost comes to a close.
Accompanying the main campaign is the newly named Season of the Risen. This will be a Cabal-focused season that works somewhat like a follow-up to Season of the Chosen. However, unlike Season of the Hunt which launched alongside Beyond Light, Risen will act more like an extension or bookend to the initial Witch Queen storyline.
In it, you’ll be working closely with Caiatl to use her light-trapping technology against Savathun. The only hiccup is that Savathun is actively attacking Guardians and any associates outside of her realm, meaning that we are on the defensive while also trying to uncover the secrets inside her keep. This will seemingly put the Vanguard and Caiatl at odds regarding the best course of action, continuing the political intrigue and testing our unsteady alliance with the Empress.
Crow is also involved somehow but like the main Campaign, we only have bits and pieces right now to go off of.
Updated Power Level
Expansions always bring about a large Power increase. For The Witch Queen, we’ll see a jump up to 1500 for the Soft Power Cap, 1550 for the Powerful Cap, and 1560 for Pinnacle. Luckily, for lapsed and new players everyone is being brought up to the 1350 Power floor. That means no additional grinding and an even playing field to start diving right into new content.
Additionally, while the need for Powerful and Pinnacle drops remains to level up when at a higher Power Level, some of the methods will be adjusted. There haven’t been any specifics listed out to exactly what this will mean, but expect to hear more right before or after launch.
As with every new expansion in Destiny 2, The Witch Queen brings with it a new location. In Beyond Light, we were introduced to Europa, and now we venture into Savathun’s Home World. For those familiar with the story in Destiny 2, this is most likely connected to the planet where the Hive originated from. Basically, it’s a pocket dimension created by Hive gods that make them unkillable in our normal universe (similar to the Awoken). If you kill them within their Throne World, they lose that ability forever.
It’s a place truly like no other we’ve seen in Destiny 2 so far. It’s been described by the development team as an “uncharted wonderland of secrets and lies.” The environment itself is swampy, gaseous, and overgrown with fauna. There’s even a crashed Darkness Pyramid sitting just outside her main castle (new Raid location, anyone?). The castle itself is cavernous and large, featuring looming entryways, platforming sections, and plenty of secrets to uncover.
Speaking of what’s new, there’s also a new Legendary difficulty for campaign missions. This harder difficulty will be available to players from the start or as an option when replaying missions from your map. While no true specific modifiers have been revealed, Bungie mentioned that the Legendary difficulty will feature tougher more powerful enemies, more restrictive respawn points, and scaling difficulty depending on your party size. And like anything difficult in Destiny 2, the leveling boost and exclusive rewards will be worth the challenge.
New Enemies — Hive Guardians
To top off all of the new story elements, we also have a new enemy class. No, it’s not a new race, it’s a serious upgrade to the Hive instead. Introducing, the Light-infused Hive Guardians.
You heard that right, somehow Savathun has been able to harness the Light and create Hive Ghosts to resurrect her minions. These upgraded Hive enemies even stole our look, with archetypes of the Titan, Warlock, and Hunter classes being present. That’s right, now we have to worry about Hive slamming Void shields, summoning Arc lightning storms, and even throwing flaming knives.
Not much else has been revealed about these new twisted versions of Guardians. The good news is, we can successfully kill them by crushing their Ghosts in a truly satisfying fashion.
New Weapon Type
To take down this new threat we’ll need some killer weapons. There are expected to be 50 new weapons between The Witch Queen and the first new season. This includes eight Exotics, including a Stasis weapon, as well as three class-specific weapons belonging to a new weapon archetype known as Glaives.
This spear-like weapon features a giant blade on the end, making it the second bladed melee weapon in the game. However, unlike Swords, the Glaive is actually an Energy weapon. That’s right, this won’t take up your Power slot. It also won’t put you in third person when wielding it, opting for the standard first-person view when attacking. And on top of being a great melee option, it also fires energy projectiles to help expand its range and usefulness.
The last thing to know about this new weapon is that you won’t unlock it as a full product. You’ll earn, uncover and ultimately unlock specific parts that you can use to put it together. In fact, this weapon represents the first example of a new system in Destiny 2.
That’s right, weapon crafting is coming to Destiny 2. This new but familiar system will take the place of Umbral Engrams and make pursuing and landing specific roles more strategic. So, rather than playing and hoping for specific items in randomized Engrams, you can now choose the options yourself.
The new Glaive, any Throne World weapons, and even Season 16 exclusives will all follow this system. You’ll even be able to add specific Mods and Shaders to upgrade your weapons, which you can also level up moving forward. Basically, the more you use the weapon, the better it will be. As of now, we don’t know exactly how this crafting system will work but it’s expected to expand to any new weapons and even old favorites as the seasons progress in 2022.
One thing everyone was expecting with this expansion is a new Darkness Subclass. That’s unfortunately not happening in favor of upgrading the Light Subclasses to fall more in line with Stasis’s Shards and Aspects system. This is honestly a necessary tradeoff that will breathe new life into how you play and customize your Light-based Subclasses.
These updates will be taking place throughout 2022 and will be starting with Void. Just like Stasis, this update will introduce three specific effects that are exclusive to Void — suppression, weaken, and volatile. On top of that, it will introduce a slew of changes, options, and overall updates that will allow you to customize how you decide to play Void.
You can even craft a subclass that falls closely in line with one of the three from the original skill tree. Or, if you’re a Warlock, you can harness a sentient black hole that devours enemy energy. It’s really up to you and how much you want to experiment.
You can expect this first change to launch with The Witch Queen expansion. Arc 3.0 and Solar 3.0 subclass changes have been confirmed to arrive later in the year. Solar will lean into a balance of burning and healing, while Arc will focus on chaining and speed attacks.
Raids and Dungeons
The Witch Queen expansion brings with it a new Raid experience that has you traverse the inside of a Darkness Pyramid. Not much else is known about what we’ll be facing, aside from an ancient evil housed within the ship. It will become available on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at 10:00 AM PST. What we do know, is that along with the initial Raid, we’ll also be getting a new Raid or Dungeon with each season.
For 2022, that means that we’ll be getting two new Dungeons and a reprised classic Destiny Raid alongside The Witch Queen Raid. On top of that, Bungie is adding in weekly Raid and Dungeon rotations that will feature exclusive challenges and rewards in old and new PvE content.
Lastly, we’ll also be getting a new six-player activity with the expansion called Conflict Eternal. This will likely be something akin to the Override mode from Season of the Splicer or the Battlegrounds activity in Season of the Chosen.
Quality of Life Updates and Vaulting
As the expansion inches, ever-closer Bungie has unveiled information explaining what updates are going to happen to current content. While there are still a few weeks to go and likely plenty of other changes that we won’t know about until its release, here are the key highlights so far.
Blue Engrams Are Gone! Sort Of…
There were teases leading up to a TWAB post a few weeks back that had Guardians on the edge of their seats. Not for new weapon releases. Not for more details about The Witch Queen. No, it was something far more important—Rare Engrams may no longer be a thing in Destiny 2!
Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that. With the updated Power Levels, Rare Engrams will now stop dropping in Playlist activities after you hit the Soft Power Cap. Before that, you’ll still earn them as you do now. And there’s still the potential that you can get them randomly from the World Loot Pool.
It’s a small fix, and thankfully Bungie has already stated that they’re looking for ways to expand this fix even further. For now, at least know that you won’t have to deal with as many Blue Engrams in your inventory in the late game.
Gunsmith Reputation Overhaul
Banshee-44 is finally getting a reputation overhaul that will bring him in line with the Playlist activity vendors. You’ll now earn Gunsmith Reputation by completing Gunsmith Bounties and dismantling weapons and armor. This means that Weapon Telemetries and Gunsmith Materials will no longer be currencies. So, be sure you turn all of yours in before the expansion launches.
The way that Mod purchases function is also changing. You’ll no longer need Mod Components to purchase them, meaning that this currency will no longer be obtainable through The Gunsmith. Banshee and Ada-1 are also getting expanded Mod options in their shops, with four different options being available at a given time moving forward.
Earn All the Seasonal Artifact Mods
Seasonal Artifacts have always been a bit contentious. The Champion Mod options are always somewhat limited, and you have to make specific choices and relinquish some Mods in order to unlock others. This will no longer be an issue since you’ll now be able to unlock all 25 available Artifact Mods over the course of a given season.
This will make continued play far more rewarding and provide greater flexibility and freedom to take advantage of the entire slate of Seasonal Mods. Expect to see a slew of Glaive Mods as well as Anti-Barrier Scout Rifle and Bow Mods, as well as Overload Auto Rifle and SMG Mods, among other unique offerings.
Elemental Energy and Masterworks
Masterworking gear is one of the core aspects of build optimization in Destiny 2. This system has always been fairly simple, if not a bit expensive, and it’s getting a slight adjustment moving forward. For starters, Masterworking weapons or equipping an Exotic Catalyst will no longer grant an Orbs of Power buff with multi-kills. Instead, this is now being attached to specific Helmet Mods that are meant to expand and simplify Orb generation.
The other piece that’s changing is your ability to change the energy type of your armor. Now, once you’ve Masterworked a Legendary or Exotic piece, you can simply spend 10,000 Glimmer (20,000 for Exotics) and a single Upgrade Module to switch it. This will make matching your Mods and Subclass Energy to your Armor much easier and far less costly. Basically, it will encourage you to synergize and focus on continuing to leverage your favorite gear without having the tradeoff of it not being fully optimized.
Forsaken and 2021 Seasonal Content
The biggest and possibly most frustrating aspect of a new expansion is the reality of vaulted content. This is a necessary practice that assists the dev team in keeping the file size low, cycling out outdated content, and eliminating the need to consider every location and activity throughout development. This time around, we’ll see the disappearance of content from the Forsaken expansion and Seasonal content from last year. Here is everything that will disappear:
- Forsaken campaign
- Tangled Shore and all associated Strikes, events, and Vendors
- Harbinger, Presage, Wish-Ender, Holliday Family History, and Tracing the Stars Quests
- Season of the Splicer and Lost wings in the HELM
- Seasonal activities and narrative from Season of the Hunt, Chosen, Splicer, and Lost (Battlegrounds will remain as part of the Vanguard playlist)
Keep in mind that weapons and gear from Forsaken are not being vaulted. That means those who owned Forsaken will retain everything they’ve unlocked and be able to use them moving forward. You’ll also still be able to play the Shattered Thron Dungeon and Last Wish Raid. For those that haven’t purchased it, you can instead grab the Destiny 2 Forsaken Pack for access to every Exotic and the end-game content listed above.
Exotics and resources from this vaulted content will also be shifted into the inventory of other NPCs. Rahool, for example, is adopting all of Spider’s material exchange abilities, as well as the selling of Enhancement Prisms and Ascendant Shards. Additionally, Xur will begin selling rolls of Hawkmoon and Dead Man’s Tale, while Exotic Catalysts for various weapons will be integrated into Playlist drops.
Bungie’s 30th Anniversary Celebration
With The Witch Queen expansion being so far away, Bungie also announced a 30th Anniversary event in December to hold us over. This will be a mix of free and paid content that celebrates their history along with the legacy of games such as Halo, Marathon, Myth, and Destiny. The festivities will kick off with a new and free six-player matchmade activity that will have players unraveling secrets and collecting exclusive gear.
Now, the real exciting part about this is the paid expansion. It includes a new pirate-themed Dungeon designed around the infamous loot cave in the Cosmodrome. This Dungeon will feature new challenging puzzles and the chance to unlock a Thorn-themed set of armor alongside other unknown secrets.
Of course, the biggest reveal was the return of the Gjallarhorn, which can be unlocked by completing an exclusive Quest within the Dungeon. You’ll also be able to earn and arm the new Catalyst for the iconic Rocket Launcher by playing more of the Dungeon’s challenges.
Additionally, you’ll unlock Marathon and Bungie 30th Anniversary streetwear-inspired ornament sets and a collection of Destiny 1 weapons. There will also be additional Exotic ornaments, ships, Sparrows, Shaders, Emotes, and other weapons inspired by previous Bungie titles. While it hasn’t been officially announced, there are rumors of a Halo-inspired level and armor sets as well. We’ll just have to see if that turns out to be true once the expansion releases.
How Much Does the Witch Queen Expansion Cost?
So how much is all of this exciting new Destiny 2 content going to cost you? Well, just like with any new video game release, there are a lot of options to choose from. Pre-ordering any of the following versions will immediately give you the Throne World Exotic Ghost Shell, the Enigma Exotic Emote, and a Legendary Emblem. Here are all of the different versions available and what you get in each.
The standard edition of The Witch Queen expansion is going to cost $39.99 and gives you the following in-game content:
- New Campaign
- Weapon Crafting
- New Glaive Weapon Archetype
- New Raid
- Exotic Gear
- New 6-player Activity
Bungie has also mentioned that upgrades will be available at some point in the future if you decide you want additional content.
The Deluxe Edition of The Witch Queen costs $79.99 and gives you everything in the Standard Edition along with:
- Exotic SMG, Catalyst, and Ornament
- Seasons 16, 17, 18, and 19
- 2 Dungeons
- Throne World Exotic Sparrow
You’re able to purchase the 30th anniversary content on its own for $24.99 and it includes:
- New Dungeon
- Gjallarhorn Exotic Rocket Launcher, Catalyst, and Ornament
- New Weapons Inspired by Past Bungie IP
- Thorn Armor Set
- Bungie Streetwear Ornament Set
- Marathon Themed Ornament Set
- Unique Helmet Ornament
- Exotic Sparrows
- Exotic Ship
- Emblems, Shaders, Emotes, and More
You can purchase the Deluxe Edition of The Witch Queen along with the Bungie 30th Anniversary pack as a bundle for $99.99. That gives you everything in both pieces of content for $5 less than if you bought them separately.
For the hardcore fans out there, you can always go for the $250 Collector’s Edition. This includes everything in the Deluxe Edition + 30th Anniversary Bundle along with:
- Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Digital Soundtrack
- The Psychometer Replica with lights and sounds
- Lucent Hive Ghost Replica with stand
- The Hidden ID Badge
- Lenticular Reveal Card
- The Hidden Dossier
- Plus Exclusive Collector’s Edition Emblems
If you purchase the expansion and decide you want these extra collectibles, you can buy them without the game for just $150 if it’s in stock.
Become a High Grounder
There you have it, that’s everything we know so far about Destiny 2 The Witch Queen. Even without knowing specifics, this seems like a giant step forward for Bungie and Destiny 2, and we couldn’t be any more excited. Be sure to let us know how stoked about the new expansion you are by commenting below and sharing this article on your favorite social platforms. And for up-to-date coverage on everything in Destiny 2, sign up for our newsletter.