Bungie has been a busy little bee this week, releasing copious amounts of information for players to pore over, analyze, and apply to their current understanding of the game. We’ve done exactly the same. The recent ViDoc, the TWABs, the State of the Game, and breakdowns of upcoming changes have got us excited and we’re ready for change. But before Lightfall arrives, we want to think about where we’re at in Season of the Seraph, how we’re preparing, and what the future holds. Grab a bowl of spicy ramen and let’s talk.
Season of the Seraph finale
Season of the Seraph received its final mission and its final cutscene. This cutscene wrapped up The Witch Queen narrative that we’ve been experiencing since it was released way back in February 2022. During this year, we’ve had four seasons with Risen, Haunted, Plunder, and now Seraph all covering different themes. We’ve learned about our allies, created new and powerful bonds, and now we’ve bawled our eyes out.
I’m sure you all experienced a similar bevy of emotions as that cutscene played out. The death of Rasputin was particularly rough. It’s a character that players have been longing to hang out with since 2014 when he was first introduced. He’s come a long way from a “simple” Warmind, actually becoming something akin to a real artificial intelligence or perhaps something closer to an Exo. To have him killed off is brutal.
But the real banger from the cutscene is that the Traveler was legitimately willing to just leave. It was one hundred percent going to zoom away and abandon us. When the going gets tough, the Traveler gets going. It’s shown its true self. It will drop us like we're hot if it means a shot at saving its own skin. While I won’t be joining alongside the Witness, I certainly won’t be friendly to the Traveler. It’s burned me. The only reason it didn’t straight up leave is because, as the Witness said, it has nowhere else to run.
The only caveat here, and the only way I’m willing to forgive its actions, is if it is setting itself up in a defensive spot. Moving away from the Last City so as to avoid any collateral damage. If that’s the case, then I’m back on Team Traveler.
The Lightfall preparation grind
As the release of the next expansion fast approaches, there are many of you who have been preparing for Lightfall. Completing bounties, hoarding resources, and unlocking weapon patterns, armor, and catalysts – it’s all important work. For anyone that is looking to be ready for the upcoming raid, it’s basically essential that you do this. It helps you fast track through leveling, unlocking new Artifact mods, and positioning yourself to tackle the harder content once the story ends.
However, it would be nice if this pre-release preparation wasn’t so potent. Anyone who doesn’t do this but wants to participate in a Day One raid is at a disadvantage. Sure, individual skill and post-launch grinding can cover the gap, but there’s a lot going on when a new expansion or season starts it’s easy to be slightly behind. Plus, it turns the last season before a new expansion into a massive grind.
In saying that, I’m in two minds about it. I’d rather do what I do now, space out the bounty hoarding across the last two seasons, than be forced to grind for XP when the new expansion drops. If you engage in this level of preparation for a new expansion, what do you think about it?
Mods are-a changin’
A refresh to the entire mod and buildcrafting system is going to be a welcome change and addition with Lightfall. I cannot wait to say goodbye to my old builds, many of which have stagnated, and say hello to a wealth of new options.
With Warmind Cells going away and Charged with Light and Elemental Wells receiving an overhaul, it’s going to be interesting seeing where these mods land. Throw on to this any new mods Bungie adds and we’re looking at basically an entirely new system.
There is a slight concern here, though, as it’s not clear whether we’ll be able to hit similar highs. The Solar Warlock basically relies on Starfire Protocol builds, so if that’s gutted I’m not sure how Warlocks will be able to dish out damage when using Well of Radiance. Perhaps we’re in for a season of Titan’s using Ward of Dawn like in the good ol’ days of Destiny 1 and Warlocks using the one-and-done Supers like Strand or Voidwalker.
Then, of course, there’s the fact players are finally getting Loadouts. Reports are coming in that players can change these mid-activities, which means no longer will we need to go to Orbit in the middle of a raid to change over an entire build. It’s such a major quality-of-life improvement that should make it easier to experiment with builds while in end-game content.
Looking forward to a new meta
Lightfall is also an opportunity for Bungie to shift the meta. Too long have Linear Fusion Rifles dominated DPS phases. With Season 20, LFRs are hopefully taking a backseat to another weapon class after they get hit with a 15 percent damage nerf and Veist Stinger gets its reload perk reined in.
But what will replace the mighty LFRs is another question altogether. Perhaps we’re in store for a Season of Opulence-style Grenade Launcher meta? Or will Rocket Launchers shine like they did back in the first year of Destiny 2? Regardless, players will no doubt be in a rush to find what dishes out the most consistent damage as they eye off a Day One raid.
Season of Defiance
Lightfall and Season of Defiance are two separate entities releasing on February 28, 2023. Lightfall will follow the story of the Witness and Calus’ assault on Earth and Neomuna while Season of Defiance sounds like it has a much more intimate narrative.
As revealed in the Destiny 2 ViDoc: As Light Falls, Defiance focuses entirely on our home. Players will be fighting to rescue prisoners on Earth, prisoners whom Calus’ forces have captured during the invasion. It sounds like we’ll be working alongside some of the classic cast as we defend the Last City.
Considering the Last City is such a focal point of the game, it’s incredible that we’ve spent so little time there. We crawled through it during the Red War campaign and bounced around it during an end of season event, but we’re so separated from the people we’re supposed to be defending. It would be great to be given the chance to see the people of Earth that we’ve fought for over these last 10 years. To see the home they’ve created below the Traveler. Hopefully Season of Defiance gives us a thorough insight into all that we’ve worked so hard to defend.
Skipping the grind
Some grind is good. Some grind is not so good. As I said, I’m on the fence about pre-expansion preparations, but there is one type of grind I cannot stand: spending time replaying content I’ve already played just to unlock abilities on alt characters.
I’ve only just replayed through Beyond Light on my alt characters and have yet to work through the Born in Darkness quests on both. It’s just so time consuming. I’ve already put in the work on my Warlock – why can’t I skip the grind on my alts? Well, the good news is that you will be able to do that with Lightfall and the Strand subclass.
As mentioned in the February 16, 2023 TWAB, once you finish the campaign on your main character, you can utilize a Character Boost to skip over some content:
- Lightfall Character Boost
- Appears when you hit soft cap with one character but have not completed Lightfall
- This boost provides the selected character with a set of high Power level gear
- This boost does not skip the campaign
- Lightfall Campaign Skip Boost
- Appears when you complete Lightfall
- Skips the Lightfall campaign for your selected character and unlocks Strand
- This only includes a set of high Power level gear if your main character has hit the Soft Cap
This sounds perfect for those running three characters who want to skip over the grind and get to enjoying the new subclass. It is worth noting that you won’t get any of the rewards you would have received had you ran through the campaign. It’s not clear if using the skip and then choosing to replay the campaign will still award the goodies, so be careful.
Destiny has always had trouble deciding what icon to put next to a player’s name. For a long time it was the player level - a now-defunct system introduced in the first game. Then it shifted to what class someone was playing. Unless you’ve just been revived by a Ghost, you know exactly what class someone is by looking at them. Bungie has done a tremendous job of making each class visually distinct. So, again, another meaningless piece of information.
The introduction of the Season Pass saw Bungie start showing that rank beside a player’s name. Once a player hits 100, anything beyond that is, again, meaningless. It simply shows how long the person has been engaging with the current season.
In Lightfall, the number beside a player’s name will be a reflection of their Guardian Rank. This new system is a sort of guiding light for players, both new and old, to follow throughout their journey. It will help newer players know what to do next and give veterans more things to chase. This information will help you identify exactly where someone is on their Destiny journey. Have they just crawled out of the Cosmodrome and need some guidance or have they mastered all areas of the game?
This change is a great step, but I’d love to see the player have more control over what number they see. I, for one, would love to see a player’s Power level. This is the most important piece of information as it is vital in assessing whether everyone is ready for a piece of tough, end-game content. It’s so important that it’s the only thing you can see about your Fireteam when sitting in Orbit, other than their emblem.
That’s where we’re at with Destiny 2 right now. Bounty hoarding is completed but there’s still more prep work to do before Lightfall drops. At which point, you’ll find us spending a whole lot of time reworking our builds, experimenting with mods, trying to find the new best boss melting options, and pushing up that number beside our name. Are you ready for Lightfall and the arrival of the Witness? Join the chat in the Chatty thread below.