I have written a variation of this intro more times than I care to count, but much like I continue to login every Tuesday I don’t mind it much because I still love the franchise.
Back in September 2014, I had just moved back to St. Louis after a year stint in Wisconsin that did not end up going the way I hoped. Most of my friends had scattered to the winds, and I was working a new job and needed something to occupy the time. After constantly being bombarded with ads, I decided to pick up Destiny which ended up being one of the most incidentally influential decisions I’ve made this decade. I am not an alpha or Day 1 guardian, but I have been playing since vanilla and we are now at the end of an epic several years in the making. The Light/Dark saga that started its crescendo with Shadowkeep is now entering the final verse with the Final Shape.
We have endured content droughts, vaulted content, sunsetting, power creep, and a litany of so called Destiny Killers that have fallen to the wayside. Jokes about dead game and make/break moments for the franchise have rung hollow. Say what you will, Bungie has managed to hold the collective attention of millions with their unique blend of science fiction and fantasy and the best feeling shooting mechanics throughout what has essentially been the same game across two titles and twenty some seasons.
And now, August 22, 2023 will mark the preview into the last major DLC for this particular iteration of the franchise before the next saga starts up. So let’s review the showcase together.
The Final Frontier
The main selling point of the Final Shape is that it serves as the epic conclusion, and the pivotal selling point s that we are going into the Heart of the Traveler. It’s described as a the first ever truly linear destination where we start in a familiar recreation of the Destiny 1 Tower that has been Tears of the Kingdom’ed as we progress forward towards the Witness’s Spire (it’s not a Destiny expansion without a Spire or several) in a world that is constantly responding to our memories and experiences throughout the last decade.
This also includes Cayde-6 (with a proper Nathan Fillion reprisal) rejoining us in the weird space, standing shoulder to shoulder with Ikora Ray (Mara Junot) and Commander Zavala (now played by Keith David, who is likely working on recording many lines of dialog for us), and the end of an era has never felt for monumental with the cast stacked and the stakes high.
While there was no mention of a third Darkness based subclass, Bungie did finally show that the Aspect/Fragment/Super framework they implemented in Witch Queen was put in for a reason as we got glimpses of new supers and aspects. This includes a Solar Buddy for Warlocks, pocket shield for Titans, and some Naruto $#!% for hunters.
New weapons include an energy Fusion with a permanent osmosis-esque effect that allows us to match our arsenal to our subclass completely. We’re looking at Golden Gun snipers, a Traveler Motion Wave Beam, and the return of fan favorites like Dragon’s Breath, Khovstov, and Red Death. As well as rocket pistols and support ARs, these will give us exotic level utility to legendary weapons that will enable new play styles.
And I’m very much ready to enter the Pale Heart on 2/27/2024, but there’s a spooky season we have to address first.
Season of the Witch
To figure out our way through the mysterious portal in the Traveler, we have to work with Savathun which means we’re enlisting the help of our favorite Hive expert, Eris. At this point, Eris has gone full Hive and asks us to provide tithing. The trailer features glimpses of what appears to be a hive-esque boomer weapon that makes moths, an involved Deck System that looks to add a significantly dimension to how we’ll approach buildcraft this season, and overall looks to be a good time.
Furthermore, since it is a very Hive-centric season we’re getting a reprised version of Crota’s End, which… is fine. It’s not my personal favorite, but that’s neither here nor there.
Wait, Is That Actual Onboarding and Future Support?
The last third of the showcase cover some general quality of life changes. While we knew about the return of Exotic Rotator mission (which have historically been some of the finest content to experience), Bungie surprised us with the Timeline Reflection which allows a player to go through historic moments of the Destiny 2 canon: one particular mission of note being Cayde’s Last Call. And rather than being faithful recreation, they have been edited to provide some additional lore clarity.
We got a peak of the LFG system that features a comprehensive tagging system (including inclusion tags to denote if you’re colorblind or have some other attribute that might need consideration). There was also the announcement that many of the end games activities would be at fixed power level and that higher level guardians could boost their lower-level compatriots so they aren’t left behind.
But perhaps the biggest paradigm shift is the fact that post Final Shape, Destiny 2 is moving from 4 seasons annuals to 3 episodes.
With each episode having 3 acts, and each act spanning six weeks, there is the promise of a steady cadence of content going forward.
I’m biased to hell and back. It’s a franchise that I very much love and given the spectacle, I think it’s apparent the devs love the game to and I’m more than ready to not be a real person come February/March and reflect upon the Pale Heart.