7 Tower Thoughts: Season 18 Plundered

We look back on Season of Plunder, the community event, and the state of PVP before turning our attention toward preparing for Destiny 2 Season 19.


Hello Guardians, and thank you for checking out this week’s 7 Tower Thoughts. I’m very excited to have been asked to bring you the penultimate 7TTs as a guest this week while we have Season 19 on the mind. 

Fresh off completing a Community Event, the past week has been interesting in terms of looking back at Season of Plunder while also having an eye looking forward to Lightfall with the positives and negatives around seasons and the core game coming to the table.

Community Event:  A Rising Tide

An aerial view of the Eliksni Quarter in Destiny 2

Source: Bungie

Expectations were high for this event leading up to the penultimate week of Season of Plunder. For many, the season had petered out a few weeks back with the last weekly chapter of the seasonal story so this was what players looked toward as the hook for Season 19.

The recent talk in the community of secret missions rightly or wrongly appeared to fuel expectations of an engaging event with potential for a new activity. Sadly, none of these expectations were met. The event circled back around to something that has now long been the point of burnout for Guardians: the loop of playing old content to progress new features.

Soon after the event launched, an exploit was discovered which meant the event was over in around 24 hours. A two week event blasted through quicker than anyone expected and I think no matter what we got in content, it really took the wind out of the sails.

A positive side, though, is that it’s always good to see actions affect the visual side of the game and the Eliksni quarter’s repairs show that development in the narrative. Additionally, there was a live tracker on donations and players could donate all materials at once, which are much friendlier tools for the community as a whole. Hopefully we see these systems again in the future.

Season 19

A Cabal crouches, ready for combat

Source: Bungie

I am excited for Season 19. The season leading into Lightfall has that special feeling to it just like Season of the Lost leading into The Witch Queen. This year's seasons set up some great story threads branching off Witch Queen which I think for the most part have all tied up nicely leading into Season 19 to give us the entrance to the next Destiny 2 DLC.

The big thing I’ll be looking at in Season 19 is the content loop. With no subclass rework to really dig into, there will be an even greater emphasis on the seasonal content itself including the loot chase. We know weapon crafting is being implemented for the Deep Stone Crypt raid weapons and I am unsure how excited I can get for retreading old content. I am hoping the requirement is dropped from five to three on the craft chase to make it less about grinding and more about just having fun in an old raid. I look forward to venturing back to Europa with my clan for a raid next week.

I feel that in many ways this season needs to be engaging as well as have that perfect pairing of investment and fun. I think Plunder got the fun side spot on but the investment and grind went too hard which made it quite jarring when jumping around the activities. Ketchcrash for me was great, so here’s hoping the Season 19 activity carries the mantle and the seasonal loot challenges our current favorites.

New dungeon time

An aerial shot of the Prophecy dungeon

Source: Bungie

This is where my focus will be come Season 19 and the dungeon launch on December 9. Although not technically a part of Season 19, it can’t be ignored as the crowning content of the next few months leading into Lightfall. Endgame content being my main focus, this is what will keep me engaged the most. We know practically nothing of the new dungeon at the time of writing but there are already rumblings that it will be a Vex-themed dungeon, something of which we’ve yet to see in Destiny 2.

I am hoping for weapons that challenge the current best-in-slot to make the loot chase exciting as well as some really cool armor worth going after. Duality nailed this balance so it already has a high bar to meet. As Heartshadow still eludes my grasp, it will be interesting to see if a new dungeon Exotic appears and how to obtain it. The Triumphs increasing the likelihood of the drop was a big win and I will be diving into those day one this time around.

The State of PVP

Three guardians pose in Widow's Court in PVP

Source: Bungie

Probably the biggest pain point in Destiny right now is PVP. My entire take on PVP in Destiny is this: When PVP wins, Destiny wins.

I come from Halo: Combat Evolved, I bought Destiny because of Bungie and how good Halo was as a PVP game. I had very little interest in PVE when initially coming to the game but Destiny to its credit changed that for me and I enjoy both sides of the game just as much. However, it feels like PVP is now an afterthought and has been for some time which has seen me visit it less and less and my enjoyment of it begins to evaporate.

For example, I loved Trials from day one in House of Wolves and still firmly believe a thriving Trials is huge for Destiny. But, don’t get me wrong, sustaining it is a huge task for Bungie as well as ensuring as many Guardians as possible can enjoy it, win or lose.

The changes coming in Season 19 with a ranking system are interesting but the current meta and how PVP feels in my opinion will hold this back for many. This includes not enough being there at launch in the way of rewards for those who attempt to climb the mountain and hit max rank as well as selection of cosmetics and gear worth chasing when hitting each rank. This is coming later as confirmed by Bungie themselves but PVP is so volatile in Destiny 2 right now that if it lacks at launch, I fear players will give up on it before it can really get its legs. 

I want to see PVP do well in Destiny. I would love nothing more than to have that itch again and strive to hit max rank in competitive play. For now, I just want to see positive changes toward it as a game mode and hopefully it will hit its peak once again. This includes regular communication from Bungie, more maps to come into rotation, and a good balance of game modes. Eruption was a hit and I'd like to see more of it.

To get a real grasp on it, prominent Youtuber and PVPer Aztecross made a pretty damning video on the current state of PVP this week. Check it out above.

Plunder as a seasonal entry

The Fallen ship from Ketchcrash

Source: Bungie

Season of Plunder, for what it’s worth, wasn’t a bad season at all. It offered what I felt was a more focused adventure in Destiny rather than a lot of doom and gloom we have seen in past seasons.

The main thing I think Bungie didn’t get right with Plunder was the ratio of fun and grind. Take the Scallywag Seal for example. It had a heavy grind behind it when seasonal Seals should just be about enjoying the season itself and hitting all the major beatst. Defeating 50 Ruffians immediately comes to mind and even though Bungie gets props for changing this later on, sometimes it comes too late for players. The team needs to be getting these balances correct at a season’s launch, especially now that we’re 19 seasons deep.

These pieces of aspirational content are what many Guardians strive towards in-game and seeing positive progress and solid goals to chase help that enjoyment through a season.

For me, I enjoyed Plunder more on the whole compared to, as say, Haunted. I think Plunder is more on point for what a season should be, it just needed to be more substantial in its content. I’ll be leaving this season just over level 300 on the pass so I definitely got a good amount of Destiny in.

Current disparity between fun and grind

A Warlock floats in the air as it attacks a Strike boss in The Inverted Spire

Source: Bungie

I touched on this earlier in my Plunder post-mortem, and this is more observational of what I’ve seen across Destiny socials as of late including Twitter, Reddit, and even with my Clan Discord. There’s a lot of noise being made about the current gameplay loops and I’d rather not call it burnout on behalf of certain players who are feeling it the most.

It seems to me that when new seasons or events come up, there can be a lot of focus on playing old content to make progress, leading many to feel fed up with the same loops we’ve already run plenty of times. Experiences vary from player to player, of course. This grind includes the seasonal +10 power grind which I do relate to because levelling up to play content previously mastered doesn’t always feel fun. Ultimately, this has led to calls for changes to seasons as well as requests to amp up the core game focus.

My point here is mainly that Bungie might want to consider an approach where if there are requirements to visit old content, it could be updated with seasonal modifiers or added incentives to ensure there’s more of a feeling of progress as well as enjoyment.

I think a good example here is double reputation or double loot weeks, it only goes so far because the loot doesn’t change regularly enough or there’s no new gear at all. I’m not suggesting we should get 10 new items per season but a carrot to chase would do well. For instance, new modifiers (such as Small Arms from Destiny 1) for a season in Strikes makes us feel powerful and makes lesser used gear a consideration. Another idea, though potentially tough to implement, would be switching enemy types in Strikes. It would be fun to see Fallen in Insight Terminus.

Furthermore, every Triumph or new quest doesn’t need to be a number chase, sometimes a more streamlined and progressive approach just feels better. This may attract more people to commit to it which is important when drip-fed content comes week-to-week and players look for the next goal.

Next season prep

Zavala looks intensely at a computer monitor while Ana Bray looks at him

Source: Bungie

The bounty grind is on! No, it’s not needed but I am definitely a player who sees bounties as a chore rather than enjoyable at this point. Once my season pass hits 100, I stop picking up bounties almost completely except when I want to unlock a specific artifact mod.

Vault cleaning is next on my list. I loved getting more vault space but it just meant I now have 599 rather than 499 sitting in there! I get too attached and wonder if the next weapon pass will buff my never used before Auto Rifle to god tier because you never know when an underused archetype will shoot to the top. In all seriousness, with crafting now, here it’s an ideal time to really let loose on the vault cleanse. New seasons mean I save everything I come across no matter the roll, so the space is needed.

I quite enjoy the down time in a season to tick off quests, goals, or even just have that break to feel fresh when coming back in. I think there’s a lot to look forward to in the season leading up to a new expansion, so here’s hoping it delivers.

I appreciate you joining me this week for my guest appearance on 7 Tower Thoughts. Admittedly, it does feel like there is a dark cloud following Bungie's seasonal model right now but this can quickly blow over with a successful seasonal launch and hopefully a top tier dungeon experience. See you out there, Guardian.

Contributing Editor

RiseOfBacon is a Redditor, vinyl collector, craft beer enthusiast, and lover of all things sports and gaming. Most frequently seen on r/DestinyTheGame either posting guides or in the comment section offering tips, advice, and sharing stories of Destiny triumphs and god roll chasing. Catch up with him on Reddit or Twitter using @RiseOfBacon to talk all things Destiny2.

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