The year of Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is almost over. In about a month from now, Bungie will launch the fifth major expansion, Lightfall, where the Destiny 2 client will undergo a whole host of changes, all on top of a host of new content additions – such as a new location, subclass type, story, and so on – all becoming available. With this in mind, and now that the Season of the Seraph story is mostly over, I thought it would be a good time to look back at Year 5 and the good (the bad and the ugly) features it brought to Destiny 2.
There was a concern that being able to literally craft the weapon rolls of your dreams would take away some of the heart of Destiny 2’s looter-shooter nature, but honestly, all of this revealed that looting and shooting is a thing of the past. The added control and value this gave to weapons made the grinding nature of the sci-fi title all the more engaging, while still maintaining the hunt for the “god roll” by making only certain weapon types and sets actually manufacturable. It’s hard to think we’ve gone this long without weapon crafting.
We know why Bungie had to introduce sunsetting (the concept of removing or phasing out certain locations and items); it was to make room for future improvements and new additions. But that didn’t change the fact that it really, and I mean really hurt to see so many items just become unusable. Whether it was a 75,000-kill The Recluse, or a defiantly earned Not Forgotten, seeing those items in my Vault still makes me tear up to this day. That’s why I was delighted to learn that Sunset will not happen in the future, which means no main locations (i.e., not tied to seasonal activities) will be removed in the future, nor will weapons and armor suffer the same grim fate that came before.
Vox Obscura, Operation: Seraph Shield, and The Witch Queen Exotic Missions
Exotic missions are a blast. Year 5 gave us few new ones to delve into, each rewarding players with a fancy, often powerful Exotic weapon to do battle with humanity’s enemies. Most years of Destiny 2 have had these missions, but The Witch Queen / Year 5 brought more of them than we could have hoped for, with the best of the bunch arriving to mark the final season – Operation: Seraph Shield. While these usually have a decent niche focus, Lightfall will hopefully continue the trend of making us work for the most powerful items Bungie can cook up.
Bungie does a lot of incredible things when it comes to world-building and story, but Destiny 2 seems to show that the iconic developer just can’t quite figure out how to balance and create compelling multiplayer between players and players. The Crucible has always had its critics, but Year 5 has undoubtedly been the worst year to be a Crucible player, as a host of stark balance changes and simply awful game modes have made it almost unbearable at times. Need an example? Just look at the latest Iron Banner and the disaster of a mode it offered called Fortress. I say disaster, but if you were a Bubble Titan player, you undoubtedly had a great time.
Lack of roadmaps
It may seem like a small and weird thing to bring up, but I like knowing what activities and new content will be coming during a season. I like knowing what week Iron Banner will be active and when each kind of Trials of Osiris will be live. I like knowing when Dungeons will be released and when Grandmaster Nightfalls will open, and I like having this information when a season starts, not just piecing it together by pulling information from the in-game client and what Bungie mentions weekly in blog posts. Please bring back route maps.
A short mission that is fairly easy to complete on your own that rewards a Pinnacle gear drop and exists all season, sounds great, right? Well, it was… for a few months. The Preservation is basically the opening part of the Vow of the Disciple Raid, and this means it serves two purposes: teaching players how to complete this part of the endgame challenge, and also as a way to get some hard-earned powerful loot. It’s all great when you look at it that way, but after you beat the mission for the 50th time just to get a piece of equipment, the brilliance has well and truly worn off. Hopefully Lightfall won’t put us through this again.
Competitive PvP Changes
While I wholeheartedly believe the Crucible has been a disaster this year, the moves Bungie has made to address the competitive part of the Crucible are a bit more of a mishmash. The ranking system is a definite improvement, and the rewards it offers make it advantageous to move to this side of Destiny 2 – especially for dedicated PvP players. But at the same time, the unclear progression, the game mode choices (Rift, ugh …) and the matchmaking, which places you either against a team that is much better than you or a team that is significantly worse and very rarely one that matches your skill, all combine to make this update a bit ugly. Hopefully the team will look at this before Lightfall launches.
In the same vein as my previous point; weapon crafting rocks, but hunting for Deepsight rolls (necessary to unlock a weapon to be crafted in the first place) does not. At least not now. It is a necessary evil to stop making craftable weapons too easy to acquire, but sometimes this takes seasons and huge sums of your resources to hunt, which is a real problem for me. Perhaps making Deepsights that you actually need more often, or reducing the total number of Deepsight rolls needed to unlock a weapon scheme, would alleviate this. Either way, it’s currently not my favorite thing to do in Destiny 2.
Honorable mention: Ketchkiller Armour
I don’t think I need to say much. Just look at this set. Ew.