I’m Still Concerned About Destiny 2, But ‘Into The Light’ Is Winning Me Over

I’m Still Concerned About Destiny 2, But ‘Into The Light’ Is Winning Me Over

Destiny 2 is a game I’ve gotten used to quitting on.

For as long as I’ve played it, I’ve always found reasons to put it down. As much as it wants to be a game people keep coming back to, everything about the way it’s been built makes it bristling, thorny, and off-putting. The longest stretch I’ve spent comfortably playing the game was the months after the release of The Witch Queen, when my infatuation with it just so happened to dovetail with some of its most compelling narrative beats, as well as a smattering of events and activities that constantly reminded me of how fun Destiny 2 could be. It’s been a while since those days now.

Following the release of last year’s middling Lightfall expansion, Destiny 2 fell back into its old ways. Its story (which was intended to set up The Final Shape expansion as this thrilling conclusion) became as tonally confused as it’s ever been, and fell flat where it should’ve been exciting. Neomuna, an eleventh-hour addition to Destiny 2’s rotation of worlds, sits mostly empty to this day. A focus on Destiny 2’s PvE content has created a drought in the land of PvP, which has long felt the sting of its developers’ waning interest in it. Seasons have come and gone with some exciting developments, but each one has also continued to make it a more technically complex game riddled with an incoherent smorgasbord of economies, stories, and routes to follow.

No matter how you slice it, Destiny 2’s been chasing the visage of something it simply can’t be, culminating in a breaking point across the studio and its fan base over the last year, not to mention devastating layoffs. Something has needed to change.

Then, Bungie announced that some things would in fact change, and slowly but surely their promises began coming to fruition. A “strike team” of heavy-hitter designers were placed in charge of tackling PvP’s growing list of issues. Just recently, a sweeping series of changes to Destiny 2’s competitive sandbox has breathed new life into the Crucible for the first time in a really long while. A completely free map pack is arriving in about a month that will add three new arenas to the Crucible, which is about how many competitive maps the game has received between The Witch Queen’s launch in February of 2022 and now. Destiny 2’s competitive scene is being refreshed so much that even I’m contemplating jumping in, and I haven’t set foot in Destiny 2’s PvP in years.

Systems and mechanics that had been promised for years, like Fireteam Finder, finally launched, making it easier for solo players like myself to actually play the game’s group content. The in-game economy is actually being streamlined with the release of The Final Shape, too, so I won’t have to talk my friends through the inner workings of systems I hardly understand when they inevitably jump into the game and get stumped immediately.

Then there’s Into The Light, a two-month stopgap update that’s appealing to the lapsed Destiny player in me who just wants to be able to casually appreciate the game. A new horde mode is being introduced, finally providing Destiny 2 with an activity rooted in replayability that isn’t likely to get ripped out of the game at season’s end or be made redundant like the 30th anniversary activity, Dares of Eternity. Bungie has barely touched on Pantheon either, a new activity that lets players run through a gauntlet of raid boss encounters and offers “a weekly challenge with escalating difficulties and rewards.” Legendary weapons that I missed out on are being renewed and reintroduced as part of this BRAVE arsenal, and just yesterday, the developers showed off how they’ve found ways to bring back some of Destiny 2’s most beloved missions and loot.

Even the basic quality-of-life stuff coming in Into The Light is a step in the right direction. Players can finally change their Guardian’s appearance, everyone will receive another chance to change their names, and we can even skip the misguided “New Light” tutorial experience now!

It isn’t just that the game is making additions, or in some cases bringing back content that should’ve remained in the game. It is that, for once, it seems like Destiny 2 is building things to last. Bungie is mending bridges that Destiny 2’s fragmented development warped. After the release of The Final Shape, the game is even moving away from the seasonal model that has, perhaps, tainted the game more than anything else. It hasn’t just taken ten years for Bungie to build to this narrative conclusion, it’s taken that team ten years to build this game. It’s still not in the best shape, but there’s hope it could resemble the game I’ve long hoped for very soon.

Though I’m certainly in no place to comment on what that future looks like, a break from Destiny’s obviously broken model and the end of this ten-year narrative with The Final Shape seems as good a time as any to move on from this dark period in Destiny 2’s lifetime and into the light. Of course, we’ve been here before, so only time will tell whether this is the continuation or the end of this series’ vicious cycle.

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