Follow the trail of glowing green vapors, kill the monster at the end, and collect some new loot — that’s the basic structure of Destiny 2‘s new Wraithborn hunts. So far it’s a nice change of pace from the game’s past seasons. How deep and rewarding it will be after a few weeks, let alone months, remains to be seen.
(Note: there are some minor story spoilers ahead, so I suggest you go play this week’s new Trail of the Hunted mission on the Moon before reading if you want to be able to go in completely fresh.)
Season of the Hunt got started for real today with a story mission that sees you trying to rescue Osiris from a giant Hive knight controlled by the Hive god of war, Xivu Arath. Bungie published two great (and rather long) lore posts setting up the season last week and today that are worth reading before you get started, but suffice it to say Osiris’ Ghost Sagira has been killed, and he’s now in danger of being turned into dead Guardian meat himself unless someone bails him out. And who better to do so than Uldren Sov, former prince of the Reef (who killed Cayde-6 in Forsaken), who’s been reborn by the Traveller’s light with his memory wiped as The Crow.
Osiris wants to take out Xivu Arath, who’s been mucking up Tangled Shore and Dreaming City with corrupted creatures called Wraithborn. The Crow, who’s now working for The Spider has a plan: use some mangled Hive artifacts as a lure to bait out Xivu Arath’s lieutenants and begin thinning their ranks. Enter: the Wraithborn Hunts.
Unlike in previous seasons, Wraithborn Hunts are a solo activity, meaning you can play them as part of a fireteam but they don’t take place in a public area (like Escalation Protocol) and don’t have matchmaking (like Menagerie). Instead, you simply load up your Cryptolith Lure (more on that in a second), take it to one of the sources of corruption on the Tangled Shore or Dreaming City, and proceed to fight some mini-bosses.
The ones I’ve done so far have started by immediately spawning one corrupted mini-boss like a Servitor, which flees once you’ve taken away enough of its health. You then chase after it, following the bread crumb trail of corruption it leaves behind, until you get to a mission marker which loads you into a separate instance in which you kill the first boss, draw out a second boss, and then kill that one too. So far they’ve been pretty straightforward, like dressed-up High Value Target chases you might encounter out on patrol that involve a few extra steps.
Where Wraithborn Hunts get more complex is in the options you have to customise your Cryptolith Lure. The device requires charges to begin a hunt, which you get from playing strikes, Crucible matches, or Gambit matches.
It can also be equipped with different mods depending on the types of Wraithborn you want to draw out, the modifiers you want to face in the battle, and thus which loot you’ll earn as a result. In addition to having control over what gear you’re farming, the lure loadout also lets you determine the masterwork trait and perk pool the loot will pull from.
This sort of freedom has been the saving grace of seasonal activities in the past, and I just hope the later Wraithborn hunts as Season of the Hunt progresses are similarly varied and nuanced. The corruption trials suggest a vague sense of tracking a hurt and bloodied foe, and I’d love to see these become a little more complex, like the way stalking a monster in The Witcher involves gathering multiple clues and visiting multiple sites.
It does make me wish that Beyond Light had a big public activity of its own to make up for Wraithborn Hunts being more solo affairs. As much as I hated Seraph Towers and Contact events, each grew on me towards the end of their respective seasons. Once most players were powerful enough to take them on with ease, they were fun places to hang and chill between the more challenging and stressful grinds.
While I’m still cautiously optimistic overall about Season of the Hunt’s new Wraithborn grind, what I’m really looking forward to are the rest of the story missions that’ll be coming in the weeks ahead. The Crow’s identity remains a secret to everyone but us, The Spider, and Osiris for now, and that’s a ticking lore bomb just waiting to go off.