Bungie is getting ready for the release of Destiny 2‘s next expansion, Shadowkeep. Launching on October 1, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is accompanied by some big changes for Destiny 2, a bunch of new content and a brand new philosophy for the team at Bungie. Having split with Activision in January, Shadowkeep is Bungie’s first major release for Destiny 2 since becoming independent.
Alongside the launch of Shadowkeep, Bungie is making Destiny 2 free-to-play. This new, base version, is called Destiny 2: New Light and includes all of Destiny 2’s Year One content. That’s not all though, free-to-play players will also be able to access content from Season of the Undying without purchasing the content.
For those who do want to gain access to all of a Season’s content, they will need to pay around $10. In his blog post, Luke Smith said;
Year 3 will have four fully supported Seasons of content (last year’s Annual Pass had only three!), but this year, you can opt in to each Season for 10 bucks—you won’t have to pay up front for an entire year of content, like with the Forsaken Annual Pass.
FYI, the first season in this new vision, Season of the Undying, is included with Shadowkeep, but if you just want to experience Season of the Undying, you can grab that à la carte without needing Shadowkeep.
In this way, Destiny 2’s Seasons are going to operate more like a Battle Pass but instead of simply unlocking challenges and cosmetic rewards, you’ll be driving the narrative forward and experience special seasonal content.
And at the end of the Season, your collective actions will have caused the world state to change and the Seasonal Activity connected to those events will also go away.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Importantly, while the game world and narrative will shift and change and some activities may disappear, “weapons critical to the meta will not be locked in each Season.” Like a Battle Pass though, Seasons in Destiny 2 will include Season Ranks.
There are 100 ranks per season with a free and premium track available. However, unlike a standard Battle Pass, in Destiny 2, you level up you Season Rank by earning XP and playing Destiny 2 activities, killing enemies and completing bounties.
Season Passes don’t just offer these Season Rank Rewards though. And, as you may expect, the best stuff is only available for those who purchase the Season Pass, however, Season of the Undying is included with Shadokeep. If you purchase Season of the Undying this is what you’ll get;
- Season Pass owners get access to a new seasonal activity, the Vex Offensive, which includes:
- Four Legendary Weapon drops
- Additional weekly and daily bounties
- Additional weekly challenges with powerful rewards
- A new weapon quest for an Exotic Bow, Leviathan’s Breath
- Exclusive to Season Pass owners
- A new Exotic Hand Cannon, Eriana’s Vow
- Awarded on Rank 35 of the free track
- Awarded on Rank 1 of the premium track
- Three seasonal Legendary armor sets (one for each class)
- Collect a complete set during the first 25 ranks of the free track
- NOTE: This is a change from the Annual Pass, where you were required to purchase gear from the Season.
- On the premium track you get all three sets on Rank 1
- These also drop within the Vex Offensive seasonal activity
- If you want versions with higher stat tiers, you’ll need to play Vex Offensive to earn them
- Some additional premium track rewards:
- Three universal ornament armor sets (one for each class)
- An Exotic weapon ornament for Eriana’s Vow
- Two Legendary weapon ornaments
- A new finisher
- An Exotic emote
- An Exotic ship
Smith made it clear in his blog post that Bungie won’t be allowing players to simply purchase every Season Rank. Instead, Bungie is going to “wait to see how players engage with Season Ranks and make sure it’s tuned well before determining” how and when players will be able to purchase ranks.
In his blog, Smith makes it clear that Bungie wants players to play Destiny 2 to rank up, but understands that clearing all 100 levels may be difficult for some of the more time-poor guardians out there. So, as a late-season catch-up mechanic, players will be able to purchase ranks. The timing and function of this are still unknown.
With Season of the Undying running for 10 weeks, Smith says that Bungie may activate the mechanic for the last 2-4 weeks. He also assures players that Bungie is not increasing the XP needed to complete the ranks, thus forcing players to buy. He said;
In our internal team tests, playing strikes in a fairly relaxed manner (18 minutes per strike play time) with full stacks of bounties can get a Seasonal Rank in less than one hour. Every week, Guardians also get rest XP bonuses (per account), where their first three ranks are at triple XP.
Playing strikes with full stacks of bounties and rest XP should get 10 ranks in around 8 hours. And knowing you, we’ll all see even better ways you’ll min-max your time to clear your ranks.
While all of the above applies to those Guardians who purchase the Season Pass or Shadowkeep, players who spend nothing on Destiny 2 will still get a bunch of content.
All Destiny 2 players, free-to-play or fully paid will get access to this content on October 1;
- Patrolling the Moon destination
- The opening mission of Shadowkeep
- Two new strikes
- Crucible Updates
- Two returning PvP maps from the D1 era—Widow’s Court and Twilight Gap
- Elimination in Crucible Labs
- Armor 2.0 build customization
- Eye of the Gate Lord Seasonal Artifact
- New finishers
- Two new pinnacle weapons: one for Gambit and one for Crucible
- Free Seasonal Rank rewards, which include:
- New Exotic weapon—Eriana’s Vow
- Three Legendary armor sets (1 per class)
- Two Legendary weapons
- Best of Year 2 Bright Engrams
- Glimmer and upgrade modules
As for the narrative and gameplay players can expect from Season of the Undying, Smith says that the portal to the Black Garden that was opened during the Crown of Sorrow Raid has woken the Vex. Now, they are swarming the Moon and players will need to work with Ikora to put a stop to it.
At the end of Season of the Undying, the portals will be closed and the matchmade activity within the Black Garden will become unavailable. Playing in the Season will also reward players with a Seasonal Artifact. The Artifact will enable players to customise their build and by earning XP can level the Artifact up.
Additionally, the Power level of the Artifact increases until the end of the Season and is uncapped. Its Power contributes to your overall Power level and is account-wide, not locked to one character.
Each season, the Artifact and any associated mods will disappear but a new Artifact and new mods will be introduced and Guardians will be able to chase higher Power levels all over again.
There are huge changes coming to Destiny 2 with Shadowkeep and Season of the Undying. For full details, head to the blog.
Shadowkeep launches on October 2.