‘Destiny 2’ Can’t Wait Two Years To Refocus On The New Player Experience

‘Destiny 2’ Can’t Wait Two Years To Refocus On The New Player Experience

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a pretty big fan of Destiny 2.

It’s also a game that’s deeply difficult for me to recommend to…anyone.

We have reached a point in Destiny 2 where the combination of two things have made it exceptionally difficult to try and jump on board as a new player. While Destiny 2 went free-to-play a while back, offering its first few years of content for free, all that content is now…gone, shoved in the content vault, only to emerge if it ends up infected with egregore, perhaps.

And then on top of that, Destiny has the challenge of being a live game, so jumping in raises the question of which available seasons to start with, which expansions to catch up on, and so on.

We have really not seen all that much interest in onboarding new players in a while now. Bungie essentially did kind of the bare minimum by crafting the Shaw Han New Light quest to replace the Red War campaign, but it’s about 5% the length of everything that got removed that used to be free for new players (Red War, Curse of Osiris, Warmind and Season of the Forge, Drifter and Opulence) and replaced it with…a lot of random stuff.

Non-paying players can access all destinations, but only do story missions there if they own X or Y expansion or seasonal content. Players can do the MC Escher-like Prophecy Dungeon or story-less reprised Destiny 1 Vault of Glass raid, but all others are tied to separate purchases. They have access to 30th anniversary content where a cosmic horse will neigh things at them. They can play playlist activities, which include things like Gambit, a deeply confusing mode for new players or strikes, most of which contain story dialogue from now-deleted campaigns. It’s all pretty weird.

The problem is that it’s not clear what Bungie is doing to work on this anytime soon. They’ve acknowledged this challenge, but they seem to indicate that it won’t be until this entire light and dark saga concludes that there will be a refocus on new players who can jump in for the start of a new saga, even if we’re not getting a hard, Destiny 3-style reset.

That’s a long ways off, however. The Witch Queen just launches a few months back, Lightfall is not until spring 2023 most likely, and The Final Shape in spring 2024, assuming we get back to a perfect yearly schedule.

I don’t know what the answer is here, precisely. Previous suggestions I’ve made seem untenable now. I’ve said the Red War should come back, but that’s clearly not going to happen, we’ve lost half the planets it focused on to content vaulting already. I also said it would make sense if Bungie made at least the Forsaken campaign free, given that it’s quite a good story and would at least be a series of linear story missions for new players to engage with. Instead, Bungie recently deleted the Forsaken campaign and the entirety of the Tangled Shore.

You see the problem. The onboarding point here is the Shaw Han quest, then a bunch of context-free playlists, one dungeon and one raid and 30th anniversary content. If you have a player who does want to pay, chronologically that makes Shadowkeep the oldest bit of content you can actually buy, which I would argue is the worst possible place to start out of every expansion the game has had. The “right” move is probably to just jump into whatever current season is happening, and just…watch a bunch of lore videos on YouTube? I don’t even know, but I do know this entire process needs streamlining and a lot more attention than it’s gotten in the wake of content vaulting. We’ll see if that happens, or if nothing really changes for two more years.

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