It’s been a while a while since I talked about Destiny. It’s probably because, lately, I haven’t been playing it all that much. My shooter attention being busied by time spent with Apex Legends and my re-rediscovery of Call of Duty. But I have been playing Destiny in bits and drabs, and from what I’ve seen, Destiny 2’s latest season of content isn’t really managing to live up to its name.
Bungie and Destiny are in a constant state of reaction, response and reinvention. As Destiny 2 entered its third year with the release of Shadowkeep, we saw them alter their approach to seasonal content, taking a leaf out of Epic’s book and doubling down on the “season pass” approach to rolling content. And since they’ve liberated themselves from Activision and had much more freedom to do what they want, it’s been a very positive approach for them.
I felt like, in retrospect, the Season of Dawn and the Season of the Undying were successful additions to the game. As we rode into the third season of the year; the Season of the Worthy, I immediately had some apprehension on it. But these are rolling seasons of content and I wanted to let some time pass before I gave my thoughts on the whole thing.
I don’t think I’m making a controversial statement when I say that Season of the Worthy is probably the weakest of the three from this new style of content.
As we stand right now though, I feel like Worthy’s shortcomings are twofold;
Firstly, it’s an issue of diminishing returns:
When Bungie pitched this new style of content I was excited, the plan seemed to be to add a new ongoing storyline which would unfold during the season. With this, there would be a new combat arena and an artefact associated with it. Leveling this artefact over time, players would have access to a whole tree of new perks and entirely new build potential for players to make use of the new armour system in conjunction with.
All built around three new weapon mods; Anti-Barrier Rounds, Overload Rounds and Unstoppable rounds. Each season, the artefact allows the mods to be used on different select weapon types, giving players the opportunity to create builds based around the weapons and new mods that become available to them.
Which was great to begin with, but now we’re at the third season and content continues to make use of these same three weapon mods, they’re starting to feel more like a crutch than an additional layer of strategy, like it’s forcing you into using the season’s weapon types rather than what you want to use.
When the first season of this new format started, I thought the mods would change with each season. In practice though, the following seasons have just ended up feeling like the same content being re-purposed rather than introducing anything new. I’m not developer and I’m not going to make statements about how easy or how difficult something is to programme into a game.
But more iteration on these gameplay defining mechanics within the seasonal and high level content feels like a huge missed opportunity when we’re into the third season of pretty much the same content. It’s a matter of diminishing returns, there’s less new to see with each new season as the norm feels pretty established and there seems to be new new content with each passing season.
Which leads me into the other issue:
Secondly, A sparsely populated season:
It occurs to me that this season of content may have been impacted somewhat by the pandemic sweeping around the world, so maybe take my complaints in this section with a grain of salt.
Season of the Worthy, by comparison feels much more lacking in terms of things to do when it comes to long term goals. Given the whole thrust of the story hinges on the Cabal’s sun destroying super-weapon being pointed forwards the last city, it feels like a long time since that dire problem was even mentioned.
After an initial cut scene in which Zavala and Ana Bray realise the Almighty is on a collision course with Earth, we have found ourselves slowly chipping away at upgrading bunkers throughout the solar system, the urgency of the reasoning seemingly forgotten.
There is some potential for interesting story beats here in the ongoing tale of the Vanguard and Rasputin’s uneasy relationship, one that’s been around since the game’s initial release, and yet has always stopped short of establishing any resolution. But instead of either side of the alliance probing the other, we’re given a series of (literally) faceless bunkers full of bounties to farm and missions to do over and over.
All with the goal of slowly unlocking the perks of the bunker which only service to make further grind marginally less painful. I know it might seem kind of oxymoronic to complain about the grind in Destiny, but I simply have no drive to keep playing this content day after day, especially not helped by the fact that there are less long terms goals to aim for.
There are no Ritual Weapons associated with the Vanguard, Gambit or the Crucible this season, only one for Iron Banner, which is itself a limited time event. Coupled with the return of Trials of Osiris, which I have no interest in touching as a very casual crucible player. Coupled with a lot of the seasonal missions lacking a matchmaking component. (Legendary Lost Sector and a public event based arena)
You argue that the increased PVP focus, coupled with an event that could be potentially back heavy make my criticisms somewhat unfair. But to tell the truth, I do think Season of the Worthy is lacking in most respects. Sure, COVID-19 could be preventing the team from realising the season to the fullest of what it could be, but the iteration and grind of the game is getting to me somewhat.
I’m at the point where I feel like I’m happy to take this season off. Destiny has always been a game I come and go from, and the best thing about seasonal based content is that there is always next season. Given, all I’ve talked about based on diminishing returns and a hampered development team needing to work from home, like with the rest of the world, it might be some time before Destiny manages to regain some semblance of normalcy again.