Back in December 2018 two of my good friends had acquired Destiny 2 following a free offering for PC players in November.
Those two friends would go on to purchase every expansion for the game (Curse of Osiris, Warmind and Forsaken) as well as the Annual Pass. With the prospect of missing out on fun times with friends on my mind, I caved and purchased the Annual Pass as well and today I want to take a look back at the content that has been released since December.
For our thoughts on the Forsaken expansion head here.
Season of the Forge
Following an encounter with the Taken, an Ahamkara and the creation of Savathûn’s sister, Dûl Incaru, we met Ada-1.
We soon learn that Ada-1 is the custodian of the Black Armory, a long forgotten arms maker that equipped humanity against its enemies at The Collapse.
While cutscenes were few and far between, the story told by way of Destiny 2’s newly introduced Triumph system told a dark story of Guardians slaughtering humans and a mother that lost her daughter.
Aside from the lore there was a fair amount to do.
Forges were, and continue to be, a chore to unlock on a per character basis but once unlocked they actually proved quite a challenge at the season’s power cap of 650. This was a bit of a stumbling block and Bungie had to adjust the power curve so that folks could actually access the activity when they fulfilled the various requirements.
Bungie would go on to fix this problem for other expansions but more on that later.
The Season of the Forge also introduced the Scourge of the Past raid. As a shorter raid we were rather impressed with what was on offer and while it might take a co-ordinated team a few minutes it does have one of the best encounters in the Botza Underground Sparrow chase.
The season drew to a close with the opening of Niobe Labs or rather the rush to open Niobe Labs.
Throughout the season there was an elusive fourth Forge that players had not yet uncovered. In January Bungie announced Niobe Labs, a puzzle that the community would have to solve together in order to open the path to Bergusia, the fourth Forge.
That event captured my attention in a massive way. The community watched multiple streamers and theory-crafted answers together. It wasn’t a case of “has Datto or Gladd solved it yet” but rather “has the Destiny community solved it yet”.
Bungie would go on to unlock the Forge 24 hours after Niobe Labs’ release owing to the fact that it had left out a crucial clue. Nevertheless the event and unity displayed by the community was spectacular and it closed Season of the Forge off with a bang.
Season of the Drifter / Joker’s Wild / MOAR GAMBIT
Following the introduction of some new content of course it was time for a slump and Gambit.
Perhaps that’s unfair but if you didn’t enjoy Gambit, Season of the Drifter was likely not all that interesting for you aside from the reintroduction of The Last Word and Thorn Exotic Hand Cannons. Even that move was confusing considering both quests asked you to play Crucible for the majority of the steps rather than Gambit.
For those who have no idea what we’re on about, Gambit is Destiny 2’s hybrid mode. Players form two teams of four players and have to destroy enemies which drop motes. Motes can be deposited into a bank and once a threshold has been reached a boss spawns. The first team to complete this process and kill the boss, known as a Primeval, wins the game.
The best new thing Season of the Drifter introduced was Gambit Prime. In this mode players have one round to slay a Primeval rather than the usual three and it requires a decent amount of co-ordination to win.
The mode is slightly more condensed than regular Gambit and given that matches are shorter we prefer it over vanilla Gambit.
The flagpole event this season was The Reckoning with Invitations of the Nine helping to fill out the lore side of things.
The Reckoning was okay and it was fun the first few times but unlike the Forges which you could complete rather quickly, Reckoning did feel like a chore with no guaranteed reward.
The Reckoning saw players enter the huge chunk of junk behind the Drifter’s ship in order to prove themselves to The Nine. Each tier of Reckoning adds a layer of difficulty and nets more rewards.
There are of course rewards but the rate at which they dropped was so low it felt pointless trying to grind for a weapon. What’s more is that within days of it releasing the community had a Reckoining strategy locked down which included:
- Well of Radiance Warlock running Phoenix Protocol
- Tether Hunter
- Whichever Titan was around that didn’t run Ward of Dawn.
It was boring.
Invitations of the Nine introduced a few interesting theories about where the future of Destiny is headed lore-wise and it did tell us more about the
What Bungie did do well with this season was give players a power boost in the form of bounties.
Completing these bounties granted you high-level gear that would get players started on the new grind to 700 power. It was a great idea and it worked rather well as I found myself entering my first Reckoning at 670 power just days after the season went live.
These bounties would be reworked and given to players once again in the next season. It was a good idea after all and players responded well.
The final move from Season of the Drifter was Zero Hour, a secret mission similar to The Whisper in which players had limited time to complete a mission and earn the Exotic Pulse Rifle – Outbreak Perfected.
All in all, we could have given Season of the Drifter a skip. At least the memes were good.
Season of Opulence / Penumbra
The final season in the Annual Pass was the Season of Opulence. For this season Bungie introduced a new six-player matchmade activity in the Menagerie, the Triumph Hall, a new Raid and a “secret mission”.
First, let’s talk about the raid – Crown of Sorrow.
The first encounter of this raid is rather boring and tedious once you have the mechanic down and while the final boss Ghalran was rather beefy with the contest modifier on, after launch it took just two days for two people to complete the raid alone.
The rewards are okay (though Tarrabah is currently outclassed by The Recluse) and for a short raid Crown of Sorrow is fine.
From a lore perspective Opulence gave us a number of questions and not many answers. We live in hope that we some of these will be answered come Shadowkeep. That having been said, the introduction of Lumina as the inverse to Thorn was fantastic as we’re parts of the Chronicon, which while it cannot be trusted, makes for a humourous read.
We’re big fans of the Menagerie. The activity includes several encounters which remind us of a raid although they are much easier and failure is very difficult to achieve. This is great however as we’re seeing more people raiding and having the confidence to at least try the pinnacle PVE activities.
The Menagerie was well-loved at launch but we will chalk that up to a bug that made it to release. Essentially players could leave an area to reset the instance the reward chest was in to load the chest and give them another shot at loot. Bungie did eventually patch the bug so that players could only grab one reward at a time.
The Triumph Hall was a smart move on Bungie’s part. Here players could pay to have monuments erected in their honour and if they unlocked enough they were given a chance to unlock the Exotic Pulse Rifle Bad Juju from the first game.
Players could also unlock the catalyst by buying more Triumphs. This process bankrupted some players with the cost of triumphs demanding ever more planetary materials, legendary shards, Bright Dust and Glimmer. Let me tell you, we thought the Opulence would involve us but those Frames working for Calus are the real benefactors of this season.
What stands out most about Season of Opulence is how Bungie took the best bits from Season of the Forge and Season of the Drifter and combined them into something better. The Menagerie gives players a clear path to items with players looking for specific roles on weapons and gear rather praying for RNG to simply bless them with a drop. This takes place in a lengthy activity akin to Reckoning, but much more fun.
More than the game however, Bungie has been actively working with its community to improve the game, engaging with conversations and taking feedback into consideration. Whether it was because Activision was hamstringing the developer or whether its Bungie realising it’s alone now and it needs to build confidence in the brand, things are good in Destiny.
At the end of it all
The big question is, was this Annual Pass worth the money? As a player who tries to do something in Destiny 2 everyday during the initial stages of a season, yes. While things do tend to taper off toward the end of a season, like they are right now, there was never a shortage of things to do. Even now I find myself debating whether I should run two Forges or spend a bit of time in the Menagerie to get a God Roll Beloved (Note: I managed to do exactly that with a Snapshot Sights and Quickdraw roll late last night, it’s okay to hate me).
If you love Destiny 2 and you can see yourself playing the game everyday then the Annual Pass is worth the money. However, given that Bungie will be selling seasons ala carte moving forward we recommend purchasing these in that way.
Comparing the Annual Pass to expansions, we much prefer the Annual Pass mainly because we don’t expect much.
With an expansion there is a silent expectation of new content, new maps to explore and new systems. The Annual Pass was clear in that each season would introduce smaller activities that used the existing world of Destiny 2. There were new things to see of course but the bulk of content was already available.
Moving into Year 3 of Destiny 2 we’re expecting things to slow down a bit in terms of seasons. Game director Luke Smith made it clear that the demands of the Annual Pass took a toll on the team and that Bungie would address this moving forward.
Whether this will hurt the game remains to be seen but given that Bungie used this Annual Pass as a learning tool, we suspect players will be given a fun, long lasting game play loop to grind out every few months.
With the game going free to play next month it will be a great way to introduce yourself to the world of Destiny 2 and test out some of the seasons for yourself.
As a final note, Forsaken players will be getting this Annual Pass for free on 17th September.
As Shadowkeep nears we’re making it easier than ever to play all that Destiny 2 has to offer. https://t.co/ruGyUk4Uq7
💠 Reduced price of Forsaken Complete Collection on PlayStation and Xbox. (Steam coming 10/1)
💠 Free year two Annual Pass for all Forsaken owners on Sept 17. pic.twitter.com/xPfh3vmu6d
— Destiny 2 (@DestinyTheGame) September 4, 2019