One of the more exciting things about Destiny 2’s Shadowkeep expansion is how its release will be accompanied by a free-to-play version of the base Destiny 2 experience. Dubbed Destiny 2: New Light, the new version aims to bring in new players and offer them a generous helping of the Destiny 2 experience, but even faster than before. It’s been a little unclear how that will actually work, but new preview footage from New Light released today shows how it works.
Here’s IGN’s video preview, which shows off the first 25 minutes of the game.
Like we’ve known for some time, New Light will start all players with the opening mission from the first Destiny, waking them up at the Russian Cosmodrome after they choose a character class and customise their look. That mission leads to them finding a ship, fighting alien forces known as the Fallen and flying to the game’s main hub, the Tower.
This is not at all how Destiny 2 used to begin. Anyone who played the game since it launched in 2017 first experienced an attack on the Tower by the forces of the warlord Ghaul. The attack knocked the Guardian down to the Earth surface below, stripping them of most of their power and flowed into a campaign that only brought them back to the Tower at the very end.
In the revised New Light version, you’re safe in the Tower once you get there. That location functions as a social hub where Destiny players collect most of their missions and interact with fellow players. From there, you’re free to do anything available to you.
What we learn from preview videos like this one is that when new players arrive at the Tower, they’re given a “New Light” quest chain that asks them to do a few basic things: Go on a multiplayer Strike, visit Earth, the first available destination for player-vs-environment missions, complete a few bounties, and ultimately raise your character’s power level from the new base 750 up to 770.
However, that’s just recommended. You could, if you chose to, jump into the PvP Crucible once you get to the tower, and go a few rounds. Or you could try the PvE/PvP hybrid Gambit, which is excellent.
Or you could kick off the story campaign to Destiny 2, the Red War — it’s not clear how you do this from the video, but a Bungie rep confirmed to Kotaku that New Light players can begin the Red War campaign as soon as they get to the tower by talking to Amanda Holliday, the shipwright who resides in the hanger.
There are a lot of things to do in the tower thanks to the fact that Destiny has had its initial release and first two expansions, leading to numerous questlines which have gone free-to-play with the switch to New Light.
In the coming days, a lot of buzz around Destiny 2 will naturally gravitate to all the new things in Shadowkeep, but it’s also worth noting how smart a rework of the base game New Light looks like it’s shaping up to be.
New players won’t be able to do absolutely everything — while Forsaken destinations like the Tangled Shore and the Dreaming City are available to New Light players, story missions and Forsaken loot won’t be, and each destination will unlock after reaching certain experience thresholds — it looks like a great way to ease new players in without overwhelming them or feeling too restrictive.
Hopefully New Light works as well as advertised, because I could use a few extra folks to squad up with, even if they aren’t quite ready to spend the money necessary to delve into Shadowkeep.