When I left Destiny 2 late last year I didn’t feel like it was in a great spot for me. The grind was killer, struggling to provide even the bare minimum of rewards (both in loot and story) to keep me even the slightest bit interested. So I slept on the next couple seasons, not really wanting to repeat the 3 week+ grind yet again before I could do the things I really wanted to do. Then I got a message from a mate of mine, someone looking to plug the gap in their MMORPG grind schedule and figured a revisit to Destiny 2 with a friend would fit the bill. It just so happened that I too had an itch to scratch and I felt like a good looty shooty would probably fit the bill. So it was I came to the previous season of Destiny pretty late in the piece, some 4 weeks before its end. It seems that that might have been the best time for me to get back into it as Destiny 2 has shifted its seasonal architecture significantly and is now much more friendly to players like myself.
The Last City has fallen under a perpetual darkness that as been called the Endless Night. This plague is not of natural origin as it is a simulation being run by the Vex for unknown reasons. Unable to lift it directly Ikora directs you to seek out Mithrax, a Kell of the House of Light, who has been helping Variks extract fellow Eliksni from Europa. As you aid him he reveals that he’s a Sacred Splicer, an Eliksni with an in-depth knowledge of Vex machinery that is unmatched even by the Vanguard or the Future War Cult. In return for aiding his people he offers to provide you with technology and guidance that will help remove the Vex simulation from the Last City and save all who dwell within it.
Since this is the first time coming back to Destiny after upgrading my PC I have to say that the visuals are stating to date slightly. To be sure, they still look great, but the visual upgrade I was expecting certainly didn’t match reality. Given Destiny 2 released only a couple years after my previous upgrade that shouldn’t be terribly surprising but it was still a slight disappointment. All this being said though Destiny’s trademark attention to detail is still present everywhere, making the environments a joy to look at an explore.
The core of the game hasn’t really changed at all, as you’d expect from seasonal content, what has changed though is the quality of life whilst playing the game. If you’re like me, coming back after a long hiatus, you will have a somewhat long grind ahead of you. However the difference now is that there’s a ton of story content banked up for you to explore. To be sure it’s not as physically rewarding now that the season itself has passed, but it was certainly enough at the time to keep me entertained as I powered through from 1260 all the way up to 1310 over the span of a few weeks. Compare that to the past where such a grind would’ve killed my motivation outright for the game and you can see the beginnings of what makes coming back to Destiny 2 now so attractive.
Right alongside this is a whole host of small changes that make just the business of playing Destiny 2 more enjoyable. Missed out on a specific exotic that’s no longer in the game? You can use in-game currencies to get it. Shaders? No longer a one time use consumable, back to their old system of allowing you to applying it as much as you want once you’ve unlocked. Want to farm gear for specific kinds of builds? Umbral engrams and seasonal currency allow you to roll gear with preferences for particular stats, reducing the grind to get a new build working considerably.
Of course it’s not all good news. If you’re a long time player like me who takes lengthy breaks from the game you’ll likely have a vault filled with gear that’s been sunset, no longer viable to be used in any real sense. It’s disappointing given that I had a trove of gear which could considerably work across a wide variety of builds that’s now completely worthless, but at the same time it did make the decision to dismantle a few of those Better Devils I was holding onto because they had some sweet rolls. Plus there’s a ton of mods now that were once very easy to get access to and are now on a daily rotation from a couple vendors, something that makes it hard to get everything you need for that perfect build. Are these things Bungie is aware of? Absolutely. Will they be changing them anytime soon? Possibly, although some things are off the tables completely it seems (sunsetted gear) but others might get a rework (mod vendors).
Has this meant I’ve gotten back into my old raiding ways? As of writing…not yet. It’s actually something of a sore point for me, my anxiety around my performance in a raid as well as the shutdown of my previous tools to find groups making it somewhat hard to get back into the groove with it. I definitely want to, especially after going through the rigmarole to get into the Destiny LFG discord server and the fact Vault of Glass is back, but it’s still in white whale territory for now. I have hopes that with the newly arrived season I’ll be able to find a group or two, especially now that Vex Mythoclast seems to be the bees knees.
However the one thing that kept me coming back all those moons ago is the same thing that’s keeping me coming back today: Destiny 2’s incredibly deep and broad world and the stories that are told within it. It was really a big joy to be able to power through all 10 weeks of story missions right at the end, being able to get hit after hit of narrative goodness that I had felt was sorely lacking in the previous seasonal content I had played. This then pulled me back into the deep dark depths of the various Destiny wikis, where all sorts of secrets that I had once thought locked away in Bungie’s lore vault were now to read about. This seems to be poised for even grander plans with the next expansion coming out in 2022, something which I’m excited even more for now that I’m part of the build up to it.
Just when I thought I was out of Destiny for good it pulls me back in, showing me why I got hooked on it in the first place. The quality of life changes, the seasonal storytelling and the reduction in the grind necessary to enjoy all the game has to offer makes it a much more tenable position for someone like myself who doesn’t have the time to run 3 characters. To be sure it’s still got some room for improvement it’s in a far better place than I left it almost a year ago. It might just be more Destiny for those who like Destiny, but this time around it’s without the spectre of the ghosts of its past that made it not worth the price of admission
Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer is available on all current platforms for 1000 in game silver (approx AUD$15). Total playtime in this season was approximately 40 hours with a total of 234 hours playtime (additional 23 hours spent in the current season).