Is Destiny 2 worth playing in 2022? The short answer is yes. The original game-as-a-service still retains the solid and addictive gunplay that Bungie is known for while making some tremendous strides forward in quality of life updates and storytelling.
Of course, no game is without its faults. There are still some areas of Destiny 2 that unfortunately drag the otherwise excellent shooter down a few notches. Let’s explore the state of Destiny 2 in 2022—what Bungie has nailed down, what still needs a refresh, and what to expect for the remainder of the year.
Destiny 2 Story: A Bold New Direction
There once was a time when even the developers of Destiny didn’t know where the story was going. The conclusion of the original game was a muddled mess of events that left dangling plot threads that wouldn’t be concluded until years later.
Expansions like The Taken King and Forsaken showcased the potential that the Destiny narrative could possess. And while not as strong, Beyond Light and the 2021 seasonal content displayed a willingness by Bungie to take risks and embed long-term storytelling within inventive activities. Thankfully, this all came to a satisfying climax, and a new beginning, with The Witch Queen.
The Witch Queen is simply Destiny 2 storytelling at its best. It simultaneously explores and retroactively adapts lore, while telling a deeper and far more compelling story around our continued fight against The Darkness. You really get to know Savathun and experience multiple twists that make you truly question the purpose of the Traveler, the Light, and your own role as a Guardian.
Story Strengthened By Gameplay
What makes this story all the more interesting is how effectively it’s embedded within gameplay and level design. The Throne World is possibly one of the more intriguing and unsettlingly beautiful locations we’ve ever explored. The mixture of claustrophobic, maze-like interiors with more grandiose large-scale arenas and courtyards beckons at you to uncover its secrets.
This is the first time since The Taken King where the story, enemies, location, and level design truly feel connected. The cherry on top is that the seasonal content just extends this even further and teases a true continuation that we’ve never experienced before. If this is just the start, the remaining story in 2022 should be something special.
Free to Play and New Light Experience
The switch to a free-to-play model in 2019 represented a dynamic shift for Destiny 2. It coincided with the introduction of regularly vaulted content and adjusted the introductory missions for new players.
Since then, we’ve seen the removal and reintroduction of activities, weapons, and locations. That introductory mission chain has also seen a handful of overhauls. It’s now more approachable, less time-consuming, and more focused on pushing New Lights into the thick of it.
This revamped experience provides well-rounded insight into how Destiny 2 works without keeping you away from playing with more seasoned Guardians. It’s not an especially interesting series of missions, and you, unfortunately, lose all context around the original Red War campaign. However, at this stage in the game’s lifecycle, getting up to speed and jumping into the actual campaigns is far more important.
Free to Pay
Speaking of campaigns, the free-to-play label is a bit misleading at this point. Yes, you can do the entire New Light quest, along with access to playlist activities and a few planetary locations. While this may be sizable for someone just starting, it will quickly become repetitive and limiting in what you’ll be able to do.
Sure, it only makes sense that the meat of Destiny 2 is locked behind paid expansions and seasonal content. The free-to-play element gives you a taste, but it simply isn’t enough to truly make Destiny 2 free-to-play. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but worth keeping in mind when you try to recruit new players.
The State of PvE
PvE is the crown jewel of Destiny 2. There is so much to do, for every skill level, and they just keep adding more. They have introduced extensive quality of life updates that not only make these more uniquely challenging but give you a clearer glimpse into what you’ll be facing.
Possibly the best example of this is the Legendary Campaign for The Witch Queen. This more advanced version of the standard campaign adds a handful of modifiers but with a more nuanced approach to upping the difficulty. Instead of just throwing more enemies at you, entire encounters change, bosses are added or removed, and your ability to respawn is limited.
It’s a challenge that feels complex and frustrating. It also comes off as rewarding and achievable. This methodology has extended to recent Dungeon and Raid additions, as well as advanced Lost Sectors. The Vow of the Disciple Raid specifically is one of the most innovative end-game experiences ever released in the game.
It doesn’t strictly connect itself to the main antagonist of the expansion, has found an excellent balance between incredibly difficult encounters and puzzles, and deepens the lore of Destiny 2 all at the same time. The recent announcement of rotational Raid Challenges will also make Raids new and old all the more valuable to replay and revisit on a regular basis.
On top of end-game content, the continued rotation of seasonal activities adds further replayability and variety to take on. The seasonals provide a unique and timed experience that acts as a regular feedback loop for the devs. Meaning when something resonates, like Battlegrounds, there’s a good chance it will stick around in soem capacity.
Lastly, the addition of Raid-lite activities, and intriguing missions such as Presage and Preservation, opens up more approachable end-game content to every player. These are some of the best experiences within Destiny 2, due to the one-off nature, unique settings, and exclusive rewards tied to them.
In short, there’s something for everyone when it comes to PvP. It is the most experimental aspect of Destiny 2 and is becoming far more varied, challenging, and forgiving all at the same time.
The State of PvP
PvP activities in Destiny 2 have been seemingly ignored for years at this point. There haven’t been any new gamemodes or new maps added to Crucible or Gambit. The number of havoc expansions and balancing updates wreak on the meta, also means that some weapons, abilities, and playstyles simply aren’t viable for weeks at a time.
For the most part, you can expect games to be very one-sided, everyone running the same weapons and a great amount of frustration with some of the lengthier questlines attached to PvP.
That’s the bad part. Thankfully, there are signs of life and a showcased willingness to experiment with solutions to upgrade PvP activities.
Trials Provide Hope
The first is the overhaul of Trials of Osiris. This made the highly competitive portion of PvP far more approachable, more rewarding, and easier to find competitors and teammates when matchmaking.
Gambit recently experienced a similar overhaul. While it wasn’t as dramatic of a change, it does appear to make the game mode a bit more balanced with far more chances to make a comeback. The truly interesting thing about both of these updates is the introduction of “Labs.”
These rotational versions make adjustments to the game structure. Such as adding a central flag to Trials or flipping the Invasion parameters in Gambit. This is by far the most exciting and data-heavy aspect of PvP that, at least to me, highlights Bungie’s systematic approach to overhauling PvP.
It’s slow going. But the tease of something similar happening to Iron Banner and the promised introduction of new and revamped maps every season moving forward is promising. There’s still a long way to go, and in many ways, it feels like separating PvP at some point would benefit the game. For now, it’s still a mess with some shining beacons of hope that will hopefully come to fruition this year.
The State of Game Mechanics
Like any MMO-type game, Destiny 2 has struggled with currency management. New activities, planets, and mechanics always bring in at least one new thing to collect alongside a vendor with an entirely separate reputation system.
Thankfully, this has been streamlined a bit over the last year or so. Needless currencies have been sunsetted, reputation systems are far more rewarding, and switching Mods is far less expensive. Even still, it really feels like these systems need to go a step further.
For starters, the number of separate reputation systems you have to manage is simply overwhelming. Virtually every single one requires you to play different activities, complete unique bounties, and invest hours and hours of your time. You truly have to devote your time to one or two things to make progress. This forces you to potentially ignore entire activities to max out your reputation.
Mod But Not Forgotten
Armor Mods received an incredibly beneficial payment decrease. But the fact that it still costs Glimmer to change feels incredibly unnecessary. The switch to Orbs of Light being associated with a Helmet Mod also exacerbates the already limited Mod slots that are currently hampered by Champion Mods.
In short, Mods are great. But the limited slots and requirements are severely limiting. The lack of in-game loadouts also makes switching between PvE, PvP, and end-game builds incredibly time-consuming. Yeah, there’s a lot to love but the true potential is locked behind limitations that feel entirely unnecessary.
Craft Me Something Good
Weapon crafting was recently introduced alongside The Witch Queen campaign and dramatically shifted the pursuit of weapons. The fact that this mechanic exists is honestly incredible. Unfortunately, like most things that Bungie introduces, it’s a work in progress.
As it currently stands, the Pattern and Red Bar weapon system is simply a grind that leads to another grind. It makes random rolls feel obsolete. It also forces you to play with rolls you don’t care for until you can fully upgrade a weapon. The currency system and cost to adjust Perks are also strangely expensive and actively discourage changing up a crafted weapon.
I have faith that this system will see improvements. The dev team has already mentioned that they’d be streamlining the build currency in the near future. If they can find a balance between random rolls and actually upgrading a weapon, then this mechanic has a lot of potential. The only concern is that it could take a while. As it stands weapon crafting is grindy and overall not all it’s cracked up to be.
The State of the Destiny 2 Community
The Destiny 2 community is experiencing a renaissance. The number of concurrent players continues to grow each Season. Plus, the Vow of the Disciple Raid brought in a number of players that matched the peak several years ago.
On top of that, the response and willingness to engage with players is the most open it’s ever been. The team at Bungie is truly listening. They’re actively making adjustments based on feedback, and bringing in core players for regular summits to discuss the future.
The purest example of this was the recent Adept weapon bug for Trials of Osiris. Rather than removing the specific passage card, or rolling out an update, the team decided to let the event run as is through the weekend. This potentially revealed a well-received path forward for updates to the Trials reward system that will hopefully come to fruition.
So, Is Destiny 2 Worth Playing in 2022?
All in all, Destiny 2 is possibly the healthiest it’s ever been. The community is growing and there is so much excellent content to play. Sure, PvP is still somewhat neglected and some of the mechanics need more fine-tuning to become as good as they can be. However, as a total experience, Destiny 2 is simply the best it’s ever been and worth jumping into as a new, lapsed, or current player.
Join the High Ground
Destiny 2 has done the impossible and stood the test of time. It’s somehow improved and found a groove for storytelling and gameplay that once seemed impossible. It’s a worthwhile shooter that is simultaneously approachable for new players and challenging for seasoned Guardians.
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