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Stoking the Fire: The Long Road to Destiny 2: Forsaken

As we draw closer to the launch of Destiny 2: Forsaken and the second year of the game, let us not forget the road that led us here.

On September 4th, Destiny 2 will officially enter its second year of life. With that comes the introduction of the massive new expansion: Forsaken. Heralded by Bungie as a “western revenge” epic, our Guardians are tasked with seeking out Uldren and making him pay for killing everyone’s favourite Gunslinger, Cayde-6. Bungie has put out several videos leading up to this launch, detailing lots of information (but not everything) about this new piece of content. We’ve heard time and again from this studio that what’s ahead is what Destiny needs, or that it will make the game what it’s supposed to be. The Taken King came close, Rise of Iron almost got it there, and Destiny 2 itself made a mix of right and wrong decisions.

As we step foot onto the Tangled Shore and began our hunt for the Awoken Prince, I certainly hope to find exactly what Bungie said I would. I hope we all find what Destiny was always meant to be.

Guardian Down

It was hard to not appreciate Destiny 2 as a whole, post launch. It righted so many wrongs from the original game. Its combat remained fast and fluid. The skyboxes were still incredible. The feeling of raw power still lingered. But, almost at a more rapid pace then its predecessor, the game began to show its scars. A more narrative-driven campaign seemed to soak up resources so much that the end-game was bleak. What seemed like miniscule gameplay and UI changes became nuisances that were hard to ignore. An imbalance of power between classes and weapons reared its ugly head. Bungie listened, admittedly, and it did its best to right the ship. XP gains were fixed. Classes were balanced, and weapons brought to par… well, mostly. But still, the community felt slighted. The game didn’t feel new enough. It felt more like a big add-on than a new entity.

However, we kept pining. Continued to pour our time into Destiny 2. Hopped back on the grind, and did it all over again. There was something Destiny 2 had to deal with, though, that Destiny never had to: expectations. Because of the immensely polarising nature of the original game, the sequel was sure to be meticulously studied under the finest of microscopes. And it was. Players began to leave in groups. The community was splintered heavily on whether or not to continue supporting this game in its current state. Even on the eve of the first expansion, Curse of Osiris, players were hesitant to believe we would be saved.

But Destiny has always had such a tight grip on its community. We want this game to succeed, and to grow. We want it to be great. Not because we need it to be, but because we know it should be. The teams at Bungie know what they’re doing. The skeleton of an amazing game has always been there; the guts have just slowly come in over the years, one-by-one.

Belief in the System

Since we first ventured into the Hellmouth way back during Crota’s End, I’ve always held onto the thin hope that DLC will save me. Fix my broken spirit and remind me why I ever played this game to begin with. Destiny 2 had the added pressure of living up to massive demands. The majority of players, myself included, would argue that most of the post launch content we got in Destiny was too thin, and far too spaced out. The Taken King brought about the biggest changes, and Rise of Iron did provide a nice boost towards the end, but overall each individual DLC lacked a sense of totality. With Curse of Osiris and Warmind, I feel like we felt that pain again, but perhaps a bit less so.

Let’s just start out by saying this: yes, it does suck that we still haven’t gotten a true second raid yet in Destiny 2. Through the first expansion, we did get one new planet and a host of new weapons and armour. But, really, the best part about that expansion was The Infinite Forest. It was an amazing environment. Aesthetically it was fantastic, and the first few times through it, it was a joy to experience. But apart from that, Osiris didn’t live up to this grimoire. The story didn’t create the sense of awe and mystery that should accompany a Guardian such as him. Mercury as a location is underwhelming, small, and dry. A week or two in, and I was ready for Warmind.

Warmind, in my opinion, was the first, and biggest step, towards the future that Destiny 2 needs. It told a great story, introduced one of the few likeable and relatable NPCs in the game, and came bearing a slew of fantastic updates along with it. From the wonderful Escalation Protocol, to the much needed ‘Go Faster’ update, Warmind truly set the game on the right path. Sandbox changes, improved Faction Rallys, 6v6 quickplay, Solstice of Heroes. All these great things that fell under the umbrella of Warmind’s time felt great and improved the health of Destiny 2 as a whole. Now, as Bungie rolls out the big boy, Patch 2.0.0, the game takes a striking turn in a new direction. A turn to the past. A chance to build a bridge between the highs of Destiny, and the rightful future of Destiny 2.

Patch 2.0: Forging a New Legend

Before Forsaken arrives, Patch 2.0 has been launched. This, to put it simply, is the biggest change to Destiny 2 so far. With it comes loads of changes. Exotic armour and weapons have been amped up and rebalanced. Weapon slots have been completely overhauled to allow for that coveted secondary shotgun and a future where you can have three identical weapon types in all three slots. Perks have been changed and balanced. The game, in its current state, feels much better. Guardians, as a whole, feel more powerful and the game feels smoother. Grenades are stronger, and two-hit melees are back. It finally feels like we’re back where we’re supposed to be.

Daily and weekly milestones have been reformatted to only show certain quests. The Vanguard and Crucible directories have been changed and now have a new look to them to allow for the Forsaken changes on the way. Lost Sector difficulty has been increased. Destiny 2 as a whole seems to be getting more lively and difficult, as Guardians have the power increased, to create a better sense of balance. With the planned changes ahead in Forsaken, it’s nice to see the game changing for our sake. To better prepare us for what’s to come.

Forsaken: Our Last Hope

Come September 4th, the Season of the Outlaw begins. Before that, September 1st will allow players to try the exciting new Gambit mode for free. Not to mention, PS Plus owners can download Destiny 2 for free now! The roadmap for Forsaken looks promising. On September 14th, the Last Wish raid launches, September 18th brings Iron Banner, and September 25th is the arrival of the new Breakthrough Crucible mode. Festival of Lost will return in October, and the Dreaming City will evolve and change over time (which sounds awesome). All the finer details of the post Forsaken content can be found on Bungie’s site.

I’m excited for the direction of Forsaken. I love the western revenge idea. I love the new worlds that Bungie has showed off. The idea that we get to hunt down Uldren and his Barons sounds exciting and different. The new supers look exciting and unique, and should shake things up across both PvP and PvE. The promise that Destiny 2 will become a game that moves and shifts over time, with weekly, monthly, and yearly content sounds great. I only hope it is delivered as promised. Destiny 2: Forsaken is shaping up to be the largest, and most ambitious, content update in the history of the Destiny universe. A total overhaul of gameplay, weapons, armour, Guardian abilities, daily/weekly activities, raids, etc. Bungie is injecting the Destiny 2 world with a large dose of improvements, and they are all shaping up to be exactly what we need.

What we need in Destiny 2 now isn’t change, we need a complete facelift. The game must evolve. Players need to feel rewarded for their time and their achievements. I want my exotics to feel special. I want my supers to destroy what’s around me. Crucible needs to feel lively, exciting, and hectic again. Strikes, Nightfalls, and Raids should provide ample challenge. Give us reason to continue to play, not just an excuse. Fill these next months, and the next year, with opportunities for stories to unfold and legends to rise. Let us recapture that feeling we had so long ago, when we first set foot in the European Dead Zone. I want to play Destiny 2 because it calls me. I think it’s time, as a community, that we get what we’ve been asking for.

Destiny 2 needs, absolutely needs, Forsaken to be successful. We, as a community, cannot take another false promise. We have grown beside this franchise for years now, and we want to see it become what we’ve always wanted it to be. Bungie has listened, they’ve shown improvements, they’ve slowly implemented much needed changes, they are promising the ultimate experience. But, again, we’ve had promises from Bungie in the past. I simply hope, and I do believe, that we will see Destiny 2: Forsaken steer us towards victory. I’ve waited a year for this game to show its worth to me; fought through the good and the bad, trying to dig out every silver lining in every update. I don’t think I can do that anymore. Give me a silver blanket. Rise from the ashes, Destiny 2, and stir our hearts once more.

Matt has been an avid gamer since he first ventured to Zebes in Super Metroid. If he's not there, he's probably racking his mind over a puzzler, running through a JRPG, or grinding Dark Souls again. You can find him at your local bookstore, disc golf course, or friendly Smash Bros. tournament otherwise. With a background in Linguistics and Creative Writing, he loves writing about anything from gaming to semiotics.