Destiny 2: The newest season of Destiny 2 only went live earlier this week, and people are already highly miffed about it. Burnout is more prevalent than ever, and in many ways, it feels like simply another iteration of the same hamster wheel we’ve been spinning on for years.
The good news is that Bungie claims to be listening to the criticism. The bad news is that turning Destiny 2’s space MMO oil tanker in a new direction will take close to a year.
“I just wanted to step in and say: Heard loud and clear on the feedback with our current seasonal backbones,” the game director, Joe Blackburn, tweeted yesterday. “The team is excited to put some more creative risk in seasonal progressions, but there will be some time before the feedback catches up with the dev cycle.”
He continued by outlining the planned upgrades gamers may anticipate to help modernize the five-year-old loot shooter. Some, like Guardian Ranks and the cyberpunk metropolis Neomuna, will be available in Lightfall, the significant new addition that launches in February.
Others, including “unique activity setup[s]” and new procedures for seasonal growth, will be available starting in Season 21 and later in June. In terms of seasonal activities, Blackburn stated that “our main focus is on lowering complexity and increasing the synergy between your seasonal pursuits and the rest of the game.”
Despite being cryptic and jargon-filled, the remarks speak to genuine discontent and tiredness within the Destiny community. The game has benefited from a consistent trickle of new content since Bungie switched from separate DLC releases to a regular seasonal churn supported by battle passes and microtransactions. Still, it has also failed to pioneer new territory.
A story mission kicks off each new season. Then, after acquiring a seasonal artifact, players can improve it by engaging in the latest seasonal activity and gradually gaining access to fresh seasonal mods, power increases, and battle pass ranks. Weekly gates are put in place for story content and upgrade progress. The tale wraps around week eight and doesn’t end until a few episodes before the season’s end. The following day is Groundhog Day all over again.
It was nice for the first couple of additions. Still, as each new season has arrived with flashy new character introductions but few modifications to the fundamental structure, the whole thing has started to grate. The plot and weapons are excellent. Everything that links them is difficult. During the summer, I reached my limit. More recently, a chorus of other players has begun to grow impatient. Despite Season of Seraph’s new content and Destiny 2’s lowest player counts, player morale is still at an all-time low.
Blackburn alludes to Lightfall, which will undoubtedly alter people’s emotions. The Witch Queen expansion from 2022 was excellent in many respects, and the development for the following year already seems extremely promising. It includes updated social features and a new magic grappling hook.
The seasonal concept, however, aims to make the game feel new all year long, not only for a short period following the release of a new DLC. Although Bungie’s repetitious and formulaic approach up to this point is understandable from a production perspective, it’s evident that the following seasons will need to take more risks if they want to succeed.
Though it sounds like it might be a while until that happens. “There’s still a novelty, thematic variety, and new ways to progress your character coming to Destiny over the next several months,” Blackburn tweeted. “But while we work to use this feedback in our future releases, I wanted to make sure everyone knows that your words are not falling on deaf ears.”