Everything You Need To Know About Destiny 2 In 2021
Destiny 2 had a pretty good 2020. Besides the successful launch of Beyond Light and a next-gen upgrade for both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, Destiny became one of Steam’s best-selling games after arriving on the platform.
And 2021 is off to a good start. There are new strikes to conquer, new gear to chase, and a long-awaited feature waiting to be implemented in the second half of the year. The game isn’t without its problems, but Destiny 2 developer Bungie has a watchful eye on the community and always takes action for the health of the game. Although sometimes those actions could come a little faster for some parts of the community.
Here’s what you can expect if you jump into Destiny 2 in 2021.
Updated April 20th, 2021 by Charles Burgar: Three months have passed since this article was originally written. As with most live-service games, Destiny 2 has changed a great deal in a single season. Many PvP balance changes, new content additions, and shifted philosophies have reinvigorated the community’s trust in Bungie. If you stepped away from Destiny due to sunsetting or Stasis, you might be surprised at the current state of the game. Let’s see how Season of the Chosen has impacted Destiny 2’s fourth year thus far.
The State Of The Game
Currently, Destiny 2 is in the final weeks of Season of the Chosen, the second season for Year 4. Season of the Chosen has introduced a new Exotic mission named Presage, an enemy-dense gamemode named Battlegrounds, and an intriguing conflict between Xivu Arath and Empress Caiatl—the new leader of the Cabal. There’s been a noticeable shift towards an evolving narrative this year than in the past, giving each season a sense of cohesion that Shadowkeep’s subsequent seasons desperately needed.
In an attempt to combat FOMO (fear of missing out), Bungie has made all seasonal content last for a full year instead of three months. This means that Season of the Hunt, the previous season, is still available for those who own it. Those who didn’t purchase Season of the Hunt will need to purchase the Beyond Light Digital Deluxe edition to access this content. This applies to any Year 4 season that is not currently active.
Diving Back In
If you do plan to dive into Destiny 2, you’ll be treated to perhaps the best new player onboarding that the game has ever seen. The Cosmodrome has become a new, dedicated new player area that actually has a tutorial quest to get new Guardians comfortable with all of Destiny 2’s various systems, including bounties, inventory management, and quests.
Veteran players will notice that the directory is a lot smaller these days. Mars, Mercury, Titan, and Io were all removed and placed in the Destiny Content Vault (DCV for short) along with The Leviathan and its attendant raids. These destinations will hopefully return someday, but the bonus is that Destiny 2 is 30GB smaller even though it’s received its largest expansion since Forsaken. If you’re curious about what Bungie has removed from the game, you can check out the contents of the DCV here.
For those that missed any Year 4 seasons and what to know what they’re missing, here’s a quick breakdown of what each season introduced to Destiny 2.
Season of the Chosen (Season 13)
- Battlegrounds: Matchmake in a fireteam of three to take down hundreds of Cabal for seasonal loot.
- Presage: Explore a derelict Cabal ship in this Exotic mission to uncover Dead Man’s Tale, an Exotic lever-action Scout Rifle.
- H.E.L.M: This instanced social space allows you to decrypt Umbral Engrams and experience story beats throughout the season.
- Umbral Engrams: They’re back from Season of Arrivals, although they’re much more cumbersome to focus.
- Three Strikes: Proving Grounds (new), Fallen S.A.B.E.R. (Destiny 1), and The Devils’ Lair (Destiny 1) were added.
- Seasonal Challenges: Weekly bounties are gone, replaced with a class-agnostic series of Triumphs that last the entire season. Complete these Triumphs for XP, Bright Dust, and seasonal gear.
Season of the Hunt (Season 12)
- Wrathborn Hunts: Hunt VIP targets in brief instanced mission to earn seasonal gear.
- Harbinger: Discover an abandoned shard of the Traveler in this Exotic mission to reforge Hawkmoon, a fan-favorite Hand Cannon from the original Destiny.
Exotic missions are similar to The Whisper and Zero Hour, only without timers (excluding Master Presage). Complete these missions once a week to earn a randomly rolled variant of a certain Exotic weapon.
Beyond Light is a great new expansion for both veterans and newcomers, although new players might want to spend a bit more time in the Cosmodrome before venturing to the frozen moon of Europa. The Jovian moon is full of new secrets to discover, new loot to grind for, and a brand new story that reveals the origins of Destiny 2’s Exos.
But the biggest addition in Beyond Light is the new Darkness-based subclasses wielding the power of Stasis. Unlocking the full potential of Stasis can take some time, but the effort is well worth it—especially if you plan to spend time in the Crucible. Actually, these days, it might even be a requirement.
Beyond Light’s Stasis subclasses—Titan Behemoth, Hunter Revenant, and Warlock Shadebinder—are fine additions to the PvE side of Destiny 2, but they’ve come to dominate Destiny’s PvP game modes completely. All of the Stasis-based abilities are so powerful that most dedicated Crucible players have built their characters solely around spamming those abilities, reducing Destiny’s gunplay and rendering the Light-based subclasses virtually irrelevant.
The Problems With Stasis
There are a lot of problems with Stasis. Chief among them is how Stasis can counter virtually every strategy, going as far as hard-countering Supers. Is a Thundercrash Titan rushing towards you? Freeze them. Are you surrounded by enemies? Throw a Glacier Grenade at your feet and detonate the crystals, killing everyone near you. Getting mercilessly outgunned in a 1v1 Primary duel? Slow your target to make their weapons inaccurate (you read that right, being slowed reduces your accuracy).
Bungie originally designed Destiny 2 around slow, 4v4 gunfights that highly encouraged team-shotting. That design is all but gone now, but we’re still dealing with the ramifications of that design ethos with how weak most Light-based abilities are. Stasis has shed this ethos entirely by introducing one-shot abilities, hard crowd control effects, and a Slow debuff that’s so debilitating that it’s arguably worse than being frozen.
Light-based abilities are in dire need of a buff to combat the post-Stasis sandbox that we experience today. Fortunately, this is something both the community and Bungie agree on.
Bungie is aware that Stasis has come to dominate the Crucible and has taken some action. Since Beyond Light, Bungie has:
- Nerfed Glacier Grenades twice
- Nerfed the Whisper of Fissures Fragment
- Given Shatterdive a four-second cooldown
- Reduced the damage of most Stasis melee abilities
- Nerfed Behemoth’s Glacial Quake Super
- Reduced the effectiveness and suction radius of Duskfield Grenades
- Given players 50% damage resistance against Primary weapons while frozen
These are some excellent changes, yet many agree that Stasis is still an issue. Bungie has made it clear that PvP is still an important aspect of the Destiny experience, going as far as to state the following in the “Road to the Witch Queen” roadmap:
Direct player versus player competition is essential in Destiny as an option to express mastery of your Guardian and showcase the strength of your arsenal against other players.
If you haven’t read that roadmap yet, we have a synopsis of the changes you can read here. For PvP, Bungie is looking to remove “three-peeking” in competitive environments (Trials of Osiris and Competitive Crucible) next season. They have also stated the following in the same roadmap:
Across Season 13 and 14 we will be adjusting Stasis in the Crucible in order to bring its overall effectiveness in line with our Light subclasses.
It’s clear that Bungie is looking at PvP long-term, giving players a reason to return to the chaos that is Destiny’s Crucible. While it will take a few seasons to get Crucible in the state it deserves, it will be more than worth the wait.
A Quick Note About The Weapon Sandbox
Before we get into sunsetting, it’s important to note that PvP’s weapon sandbox has never been in a better place. 110 RPM Hand Cannons received a massive buff in Beyond Light, increasing their fire rate to 120 while gaining a massive boost to their range. This range buff is being reduced next season due to how overperforming this archetype is, but many Crucible veterans agree that this was needed. SMGs, Bows, Pulse Rifles, and most Primary weapons still feel incredible to use despite the 120 Hand Cannon meta currently.
Special weapons are starting to get adjusted as well. Starting next season, Quickdraw will be removed from Astral Horizon and Felwinter’s Lie entirely, including previously earned rolls. Quickdraw is also receiving a nerf, removing the +100 handling buff two seconds after you draw your weapon. These changes should help reign in Shotguns, although many are still skeptical how this will dethrone Felwinter’s Lie as Destiny 2’s best PvP Shotgun.
Sunsetting Takes The Loot Out Of This Looter Shooter
If you haven’t played Destiny 2 since 2020, you’ll notice all the old standbys are gone. Recluse, Mountaintop, Wendigo, Not Forgotten, 21% Delirium, Beloved, Austringer, Hammerhead, Spare Rations, Mindbender’s—all have been relegated to what Bungie is calling “sunsetting.” In essence, every weapon from Season of Dawn and before has a forced infusion cap of 1,060 Power, making that gear obsolete in every Power-enabled activity. Veterans that played in Forsaken but skipped the seasons following Shadowkeep are basically starting over and will have to build their arsenals back up.
And that’s a tough thing to do. A common complaint in Beyond Light is how barren it feels compared to previous seasons, at least on the loot front. Bungie has tried to remedy this by reintroducing older weapons with new rolls—most notably, certain Dreaming City and Moon weapons—but entire archetypes are still not accounted for.
There’s a strange distribution of Legendary weapons currently available. For example, there are two Arc Submachine Guns, but not a single Void one. There are five Arc Rocket Launchers, but only one Solar and Void Rocket Launcher. It’ll take multiple seasons until the sandbox can match where it was pre-sunsetting.
The Sunsetting Of Sunsetting
Those that stopped playing due to sunsetting will be happy to know that Bungie will no longer sunset items for the foreseeable future. Items from Season of the Worthy and beyond are usable indefinitely until further notice. In the “Road to the Witch Queen” roadmap, Assistant Game Director Joe Blackburn agreed that sunsetting wasn’t the right answer:
While we still strongly believe that Destiny needs a method to shift our meta in the game’s most challenging activities, we don’t believe that infusion caps are the right answer. We’re taking time this year to research and validate a plan that creates a fresh and balanceable ecosystem for our most aspirational content, one that doesn’t make our rewards feel like they have an expiration date. We’ve learned a lot this year and don’t want to rush finding the best plan, so don’t expect to hear anything more about this until after The Witch Queen.
For the time being, sunsetting has been sunset.
Season 14 is shaping up to be quite an eventful season. Detailed in various TWABs and blog posts, we know that Season 14 will include:
- “Armor Synthesis,” a proper transmog system
- The Vault of Glass raid
- PvP balance changes
- New, original Iron Banner weapons are being added
Transmog And Fashion
Transmog, short for transmogrification, is the ability to morph the appearance of any non-Exotic item to whatever you please. Think of it as the universal ornament system Eververse uses, except this system expands to every armor piece in your collections tab.
The spearhead for Destiny’s new fashion endgame will be Ada-1, a returning vendor fans of Black Armory might remember. She will grant Synthesis tokens for completing certain bounties, allowing you to unlock any piece of armor in your collection as a permanent universal ornament. These tokens can also be purchased for Silver. All players, both new and returning, will get a starting supply of this resource in Season 14 to kickstart their fashion journey.
In addition, Shaders are being reworked so they’re no longer one-time use. It’s unclear how Shaders will work next season, but players will no longer have to craft dozens of the same Shader to create a cohesive color scheme.
Vault Of Glass And Master Content
Vault of Glass, the first raid in Destiny’s history, will be added to Destiny 2 next season. Little is known about its return besides a slightly altered world’s first race, tasking players with completing a unique set of Triumphs in addition to clearing the raid.
Surprisingly, Vault of Glass will also be receiving a Master variant at some point later this year, unlikely to be in Season 14. This variant will grant Adept gear from the raid, giving players a reason to complete raids on a higher difficulty. If it does well, Bungie has shown interest in adding this system to other Destiny 2 raids and even dungeons. Don’t expect these additions in Season 14, however.
The Witch Queen expansion has been delayed, now scheduled for release in early 2022. Surprisingly, Bungie has also announced that a fourth, unnamed expansion will launch sometime after Lightfall releases. Bungie states that this fourth chapter will “complete the first saga of Destiny,” alluding to much longer post-launch support than most expected. Destiny fans certainly have much to look forward to over the coming months and years. Now is a great time to return to Destiny to prepare for the Witch Queen expansion, Season 14, and future content drops.
Next: Destiny 2: Beyond Light Complete Guide And Walkthrough
- Destiny 2
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light
Actually a collective of 6 hamsters piloting a human-shaped robot, Sean hails from Toronto, Canada. Passionate about gaming from a young age, those hamsters would probably have taken over the world by now if they didn’t vastly prefer playing and writing about video games instead.
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