Destiny is a strange game in many aspects. You don’t truly know how good a release the corresponding season/DLC truly is until it draws to an end. It’s been an interesting past two months and as we’re on the verge of Destiny’s next content drop, Season of Dawn, I wanted to review the season that’s just passed us by.
I’ll be breaking this down by what the release has brought us: Story, Modes, Artefact, Gear, Title, PvP and Raid.
The majority of the story this season was done with in the annual larger release Shadowkeep, where we finally met the darkness and fought off the Nightmares unleashed on the moon with Erin Morn. Season of the Undying built upon that as the Vex invaded on the moon. We fought to battle back the Vex with Ikora’s help and eventually go through a Vanguard built Vex portal in the Tower to defeat the Undying Mind (a former Destiny 1 strike boss). We also went through the Garden of Salvation raid to chase down the signal coming from the artefact we discovered at the end of the Shadowkeep campaign. This ultimately didn’t lead us very far but it is in better hands than ours for now with Eris. The fact we’ve now interacted with the darkness is a huge deal if you’ve been playing D2 for a while now. We’ve always seen hints of their existence but now we’ve had a physical meeting with their architecture and even one of their people (even if they did look like us!). Shadowkeep/SOTU did a lot for the story for Destiny 2 and with all of the talk of a single evolving universe from Bungie, I expect this to be pushed on further in future releases starting with Season of Dawn.
With the end of Shadowkeep’s campaign setting up the start of any Undying season beats, we were given a new raid and a new horde style mode, Vex Offensive. Bungie have given us quite a few of these types of game modes stretching from Escalation Protocol, Black Armoury Forges, Reckoning Menagerie. Some were better than others and unfortunately Vex Offensive was not on the better scale. While it wasn’t the worst activity we’ve ever had, it was a repetitive bore by the end of the season. The mode has with very little mechanics to make you think aside from mindless shooting at vex and the occasional use of a cannon dropped by certain enemies to destroy a crystal or drop the bosses shield. It even gave us the most underwhelming moment of the season. After weeks and weeks of seeing an entire vex gate being built in the tower to allow us to take on the Undying Mind and put an end to the Vex invasion for the “Final Assault”, we were instead put straight back into the exact same Vex offensive mission we’ve been playing all season with the only change being that the end boss was the Undying Mind. An opportunity once again missed by Bungie to create a special moment. Vex Offensive won’t be missed, but I hope that Bungie uses the feedback from it constructively to improve upon further releases.
It should be noted that the majority of the other modes out in October were from Shadowkeep’s release not Undying’s.
Something new to Undying was the use of an Artefact to unlock season specific weapon and armour mods and to gain extra power levels. The Artefact essentially dictated the meta in PvE and to a much lesser extent helped create builds for PvP.
The season was heavily focused on shorter ranged weapons like SMG’s and Auto Rifle’s with some focus on Bows and Hand Cannons. The mods allowed you take down Barrier Champions shields, stun Unstoppable Champions and defeat Overload Champions. However we’ve already been told the weapons being pushed for Season of Dawn are long range weapons such as Scout Rifles, Pulse Rifles etc.
Having short range dominate definitely was fun though and allowed you to play a much more aggressive play style. I imagine the long range weapons will force us to play a bit further back next season.
A lot of the above is describing the artefact rather than giving my thoughts on it. That’s because I believe it to be a pretty divisive change for D2. Some like it and love the builds that come with it, while others don’t like that it’s going to be reset and the builds they have created will cease to exist. I think we need to see how things change come Season of Dawn and how much we feel that impact.
This is a tricky subject this time around. On one hand we had some pretty poor attempts at re-skins with the Vex Offensive weapons being the same weapons we got in Curse of Osiris but with leafs on them. The raid armour were also re-skins of previous Eververse armour sets, but at least looked like it had been massively upgraded. However the raid weapons look and feel unique while some of them are actually very good and gives a good reason to grind the raid for god rolls. The look of the season pass armour was decent but the real star of the show were the ornaments for that armour found towards the end of the season pass. The Vex themed armour had many drooling when it was showed off at the start of the season and it truly is one of my favourite looks in the game.
Instead of Pinnacle weapons this season, we had Ritual weapons. These are slightly downgraded due to not having unique perks but rather a curated selection of perks from the current pool. We had one from the Crucible, Vanguard and Gambit of which none really stood out massively. Randy’s Throwing Knife is a scout rifle obtained via Crucible and until a certain new PvP mode was announced was looked at as far more effort to get than it was worth. However it does appear to be a half decent weapon which in the meta being created in Season of Dawn could be great. Edgewise was the Vanguard weapon of choice, another Machine Gun to add to the collections which hasn’t really measured up to 21% Delirium or Hammerhead. Finally we had Exit Strategy, a kinetic SMG which again, wasn’t up to par with the best SMG in the game Recluse. All acceptable weapons, but nothing that truly stood out in the Season of the Undying.
Aside from the above, there isn’t too much more to touch on as Shadowkeep had it’s own armour and weapon sets which included the moon sets and Pit of Heresy/Altars of Sorrow weapons. It will be interesting to see if future seasons, that aren’t accompanied by a “main” release, have more or less gear to earn.
Undying was the name of the seasonal title (obviously) and while it didn’t prove to be the hardest title to get, nor should it be as a time gated achievement, it wasn’t exactly the most enjoyable either! It was filled with a lot of grindy Vex Offensive triumphs to get weapon kills and either precision or multi kills depending on the weapon. It did have some other simpler triumphs but this felt like one of the grindiest titles to date and an approach I hope Bungie don’t use too often. It wasn’t as painful as grinding out Reckoner but it still felt rough at the time!
Obviously if you’ve not got it yet, you’re reading this too late, but it is a good reminder that the seasonal titles going forward are just that, seasonal. You have until the end of the season to get them done and then they are gone forever! Wether you like that idea or not is completely down to how much free time you have in that season I imagine, but it looks like this will be the method going forward for the next 9/10 months.
As a season, PvP was given little to no attention and it remain the biggest disappointment in Destiny 2 as an entire game. We were given a ritual weapon in Randy’s Throwing Knife and a new mode in Momentum Control.
Shadowkeep saw a new PvP map, Fragment, plus some returning maps from D2, Widows Court Twilight Gap. The new map is good fun and the reprised Maps had the nostalgic feel we all secretly want. They are actually perfect considering PvP has reverted back to the D1 style over the past year, so more maps that accommodate 6v6 and 3v3 rather than the awkward 4v4 the better. Iron Banner also returned, but feels to have lost its appeal to most in the community recently as it’s the same thing over and over again.
However, that is all we’ve gotten. Elimination was put into Crucible labs for testing and we’ll see it become a permanent fixture in Season of Dawn but that’s just not enough to keep people interesting in continuously re-visiting PvP.
Trials has been spoken about a lot by the community but not enough by Bungie. Some news on it soon will go a long way.
The Garden of Salvation raid is one of the most challenging and mechanically heavy raids I’ve ever done. My teams Day 1 attempt and subsequent week 1 finish was some of the best fun I’ve had in Destiny. It truly is a fantastic raid. The loot is a mixed bag as we spoke about earlier as the weapons are great but the armour has disappointed. However if you’ve not experienced Garden of Salvation, I strongly encourage you to find a way in. With no Raid coming in Season of Dawn, there is even more time to play and enjoy it.
Each encounter builds onto the next really well with the final encounter taking everything you’ve learnt throughout to defeat the boss. I don’t want to go into too many details as I truly believe it’s a great raid to experience blind if you’ve not touched it yet.