Destiny 2's Presage quest is a master class in quest design

Fighting through a ghostly Cabal ship overrun with Darkness is a haunting experience.

SerfaSam

Destiny has always had really great missions and quests. Back in Destiny 1, Lost to Light stood tall as one of the best missions in the game, pushing players to their limits and demanding excellent teamwork and fighting skills. But not everyone wants non-stop action, some players want some exploring and puzzle solving in between the shooting, and the new Presage quest nails this balance.

While the base game of Destiny 1 had some pretty average quests – thanks in part to the troubled development and the restitching of the story – the subsequent expansions really showcased how good Bungie is at designing missions. Things like the Paradox mission where players ventured into the Vault of Glass to help Praedyth, Last Rites that took players on a stealth mission into Crota’s End to stop a Hive ritual, the initial fight against Oryx in Regicide, and of course A Guardian Rises.

There are also a whole lot of fantastic missions in Destiny 2. Missions like the Whisper, Zero Hour, the quest to save Saint-14 from his own death, the numerous missions that highlight the relationship between Drifter and the Emissary of the Nine, the Stealing Stasis mission where Ghost pretends to sound like Drifter, and many more are all rich with lore and world-building as well as tough combat and some puzzle solving.

Cut to Season of the Chosen, and players are once more treated to a fantastic mission in the form of Presage. This one takes players onto a seemingly abandoned Cabal ship called the Glykon as they search for a Guardian who triggered a distress signal.

The whole mission is narrated by Osiris, a character who is being built up more and more since his weak introduction in the Curse of Osiris DLC. He’s been interacting with Crow, Saladin, Saint-14 and now he’s giving players an insight into the theatrical Emperor Calus. Part of the mission dialogue reveals that this ship was used to create a crown – the Crown of Sorrow – which players will remember from the raid by the same name.

It would seem that a Guardian was actually helping Emperor Calus fuse this crown with Darkness in an attempt to commune. At least, that’s what I gathered from the mission. It was so exciting to hear about an event and object that I’ve already fought and defeated. It feels like it’s also hinting at something greater, some reveal that is yet to occur. I think what Bungie said, about setting up dominos ahead of the next big DLC, is actually coming to fruition.

Outside of the lore revealed during the mission, it also features a great balance between exploration, some puzzle solving, and challenging combat. The puzzles themselves are more about exploration and discovery, where you need to throw a lever to open a door, which reveals a fuse that grants you access to another side area. These are nice exploration moments that help break up the combat.

In terms of the combat, the lack of a timer really helps alleviate any stress that may have otherwise been present. Things like the Whisper and Zero Hour were great, but players couldn’t exactly spend much time exploring the environments. Hopefully Bungie brings back the time-limit in future tough missions, but this was a good change of pace.

If this is the kind of quality I can expect from future Exotic quests in Destiny 2, I’m going to be a happy Guardian.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 22, 2021 8:49 PM

    wants more quality Destiny 2 missions like this

    Read more: Destiny 2's Presage quest is a master class in quest design

    • reply
      February 22, 2021 10:01 PM

      This was a really cool write up, thank you. I've long enjoyed Bungie's campaign stories and world building but I haven't been playing Destiny 2 for a couple years and your perspective was a welcome window back into that world.

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        February 23, 2021 9:17 AM

        Thanks mate, I've always thought Bungie's mission designs were excellent. I still get shivers playing through Halo: Combat Evolved.

        Reckon you'll get back in on the action one day?

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          February 23, 2021 9:26 AM

          I might. I have beef with the way the power level is an endless grind but the fps mechanics are still fantastic and I miss the lore. If there wasn't as much time needed to see raid level content then I'd be more inclined to jump back in. I still read an old school Bungie and Destiny fan site (destiny.bungie.org) and unfortunately most of them feel similarly to me.

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      February 22, 2021 11:46 PM

      do you need to buy the expansion to get this?

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        February 23, 2021 5:27 AM

        anyone?

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        February 23, 2021 5:38 AM

        Yeah, that and I think the current season pass.

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        February 23, 2021 9:17 AM

        Exotic quests tend to be exclusive to the Season Pass.

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      February 23, 2021 5:39 AM

      It was a pretty fantastic little mission. I went in blind and alone. Worth it, even though it took me quite a while to finish it up.

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        February 23, 2021 9:18 AM

        Same. That hangar section and boss fight took me an embarrassing amount of time - granted I went in at 1258 Power, so I was rather underleveled. I'm also puzzled by the fact that the final boss has a rally banner spot ABOVE the fight arena, but you respawn below it, so you're never able to use it. I ended up sitting around waiting for my Super to recharge or doing Heavy ammo runs.

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          February 23, 2021 9:54 AM

          That hangar was a tough one the first time around! Totally cheesed the boss by just jumping up and running to the opposite side and sniping him in the head, and then doing it again...and again...and again.

          I would have had a solo flawless on my first attempt but I got killed in the very beginning doing the last jump before you actually get into the ship!

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      February 23, 2021 6:55 AM

      I hope that Bungie takes the success of this mission and does more horror. Some of those audio jump scares were amazing and really gave me a moment on hesitation in a game where there's no real penalty for running in blind.

      The lore implications are huge and painted a much darker picture of Calus than before. I'm thinking the reveal of his real form is going to be dragged out for a little while longer.
      He's described as being in a "containment vessel" and a "tomb-carriage" - the parallels with the Emperor in 40k, trapped on the throne, keeping him barely alive were just ringing out like crazy. (40k lore is pretty much a baseline inspiration for tons of the Destiny universe, so it's of little surprise)

      Either way, great mission and it sounds like we're still going to have new areas to explore while doing the catalyst quest with a bunch of new lore as well.

      • reply
        February 23, 2021 9:19 AM

        I'm very excited about the prospect of Calus coming back into the picture. I reckon he's one of the most interesting characters in the game.

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