Bungie spent a lot of time explaining its future plans in a livestream today. It was full of positive, empowered voices, voices that are clearly more excited than they have been in a long time. Not only did Bungie talk about the newest expansion coming to Destiny 2 in November 2019, but it also explained plans moving forward and how it sees the Destiny franchise evolving. There is a lot to break down here, so let's get to it.
The Shadowkeep expansion
The Shadowkeep is the latest expansion for Destiny 2 and features some familiar places and faces, with a lot of new twists. It starts on the Moon where Eris Morn has been getting into trouble yet again. That's right, Eris has been alive and well since the fall of the Tower and has been scouring the solar system looking for the Darkness. She found it on the moon.
The Moon has been altered since we were last there back in Destiny 1. There are still familiar places, the Hellmouth for example, and a lot of the map you'll see in Shadowkeep is based on the original game. It's around three times the size though, and now there is an enormous crevasse running through the entire planet. In fact, in the artwork that has been shown, you can see the glowing chasm from the Earth, although no one seems to have noticed.
There is also a huge red keep that seems to have emerged from the crack and in it are things that Eris calls Nightmares, things from your past, sent to torment you. In the trailer we catch glimpses of some of these monsters — Crota features quite prominently, as does Oryx — and they seemed to have been beefed up, and far more terrifying.
You can expect the Shadowkeep to be a scarier, more serious expansion than the last few. Eris Morn always brings some gravitas to the game whenever she arrives, and this seems to be no exception. You can expect to see creepy caves with things that leap out of the darkness.
What about Raids?
Something new has come to the Black Garden and you have to fight it Guardian.
And that's all we know about the Raid for Shadowkeep so far. Bungie are being pretty tight lipped about it right now, but that makes a lot of sense, after all, they still have a lot of "ViDocs" to make before the expansion releases later in the year. As soon as we know more, we will fill in the blanks here.
Seasons in the shadow
Now that Bungie is no longer in the shadow of a certain publisher, it has the chance to change its financial model to something different. Taking cues from a lot of the modern games, Destiny is moving to a seasonal pay structure. So instead of dropping $80 on an annual pass, Bungie will ask for small amounts of money every now and then as new seasons arrive. Think how Fortnite and Dauntless do it, $10 every 40 days or so.
This way, people can pick and choose the content they want to have and the content will be constantly evolving. This change is happening alongside Shadowkeep but independent from it, so you will be able to buy Season eight of Destiny 2 without buying Shadowkeep, but whenever you decide to buy it you will get a season free with that purchase.
This new seasonal model is especially exciting with the announcement of some interoperability between the systems, called Cross Save.
What is Cross Save?
Cross Save is exciting for someone like me who plays on multiple systems. Essentially you will have your progression saved across all formats of the game. Whether you play on Xbox, PC, PlayStation 4, or the new Google Stadia, all your progress — think power level, loadout, and level progress — will sync across all platforms you play Destiny 2 on.
An important note, however; this is cross save, not cross-play. You won't be able to play with your friends over on the PlayStation 4 while you play on the Xbox One, you have to be on the same console for it to work. While this isn't as perfect as we would have liked — I have an entire clan I can't play with because I'm on a different console — it does open the chance to be on an even playing field if you do decide to shift consoles.
New home on PC
And while they were at it Bungie had some more big news. Now they aren't part of the Activision Blizzard beast any more, Destiny 2 on PC needed a new home. The guys on the live stream made a funny joke about its new home being an "Epic Store" but in fact, Destiny 2 will be coming exclusively to Steam.
This makes a lot of sense for Bungie. Steam is still the biggest place for games on PC and Bungie has said that the transition will be quick and painless for all the PC players already entrenched in the game.
What's an Artifact?
I wish I knew! This only got the briefest of mentions in the stream but it looks interesting. They appear to be seasonal artifacts you can acquire that can be adjusted and added to over the season. The image here shows a multitude of mod slots that can be used to augment other things like gauntlets.
Bungie said in the ViDoc it revealed this in by the time you have maxed it out, the power level reaches near to the Exotic level, so we can assume that each little increment raises the effectiveness slowly but surely. This is a brand new item for Destiny 2 and I'm really excited to find out more.
The Life Exotic
Speaking of Exotics, we are getting some new ones, and the two we have seen so far are incredible. Let's start with a hand cannon with a scope! Bungie says that it's like a sniper rifle that you can fire in one hand, which sounds amazing, but it does have a drawback, the gun sets you on fire if you use it too much!
As someone who loves that kind of weapon — Touch of Malice, I miss you — I'm ready for weapons that are ridiculously powerful but that exact a toll on you for using that power. Bungie did say that the negative aspect may not stay, but I say bring it Bungie!
The other Exotic we saw is even cooler, it's a Trace rifle that creates a huge crit zone on the target it strikes. So imagine the Hunters Shadowshot, but just on one creature, and only while you are firing the Trace rifle at it. I can see so many ways that Fireteams can use that to their advantage, especially on medium bosses to bring out the big finish.
Another new move coming to Shadowkeep is the finishing move. A finishing move is an awesome, stylistic final blow to an enemy you have hit with a melee strike. They showed a Titan jump into the air, pull his fist back, look at the fist, then smash the enemy to the ground. It was amazing.
No word yet if this is something that can be equipped, or even if you need a button combination to activate it, but it looks so good. I'm interested to find out if the finishers pull you out of the first-person view, as all the footage we have seen has been in third-person. I assume it will as the hunter does a spinning knife slash that would make you sick in first-person.
Becoming the MMO it truly is
In an effort to make Destiny into the MMO we all know it is — Bungie called it an MMO for the first time ever today — the team at Bungie are going to be completely reworking how your armor and, really, your whole appearance, works in Shadowkeep. Eric Osbourne, Head of Community at Bungie talked about how, right now, players have to choose between an armor set they like the look of and an armor set they like to use because it's helpful.
Bungie is set to change that with an expanded mod system that will let you customize your armor in ways you've never seen before. This is something I have been wanting to do for years, and it signifies a big leap forward in the Destiny 2 journey for me. Finally, I can be the Guardian I want to be.
The Future of Destiny
With all this new content, and new mechanical changes it looks like Bungie is investing heavily in its plans for the future of Destiny 2. There was a lot of talk of Destiny as a living universe, one that is constantly evolving. It makes me think that maybe Destiny 3 is further off than we thought, and that Bungie has a different idea for how we play its games in the future.
Where and when to buy Shadowkeep
You won't have to wait long for all these changes to come into effect. Shadowkeep is going to be available on September 17, 2019, and will be available in 3 flavors. You will be able to get the standard edition, deluxe edition, or a special collectors edition with some nice looking props to make you salivate. Prices start at just $35 for the base expansion and that includes the first new season, Season 8 for free.
Season 8 will also start on that date, though we have no prices for that just yet. Let's be honest though, who is going to miss out on a chance to chat with Eris again? Not me.
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