Destiny has always been a mixed bag with content drops between major expansions. Last year was probably the most consistently good through the Forge to Opulence seasons, despite being smaller in scale to previous mid-year DLC like Curse of Osiris or Destiny 1’s Dark Below, which often lacked quality outside of raids. Though anything’s better than the empty period between The Taken King and Rise of Iron in Destiny 1.
But, due to the split between publisher Activision and developer Bungie, Destiny’s latest seasonal model is even smaller and cheaper, with new content cycling in and out every few months. In fact, most of the new seasonal content is free to play, with premium players accessing some exclusive missions, battle pass rewards and more. So how good are the new seasons, and are they worthy of your time?
Season of the Undying
Season of the Undying was the first season, releasing alongside the Shadowkeep expansion. It wasn’t bad, but relied on content already in the expansion in order to feel fresh. Its seasonal activity, ‘Vex Offensive’, felt like a slightly more complicated strike. Exciting at first, but multiple playthroughs felt repetitive. The ‘Vex Invasion’ public events on the Moon were probably the most missed aspect of this season, as they gave the Moon a lot of vibrancy and awe. Overall, it’s the most mediocre season of the past year.
Season of Dawn
Thankfully, Season of Dawn was fantastic. In terms of lore, it’s one of the greatest, as we saw the return of the legendary guardian Saint-14, teased since the very beginning of Destiny 1, and his gorgeous Russian accent. The story missions to rescue him from the Vex saw players go through time and save him from a dark reality in some of the most action-packed and surprising missions we’ve ever had. The seasonal activity, ‘Sundial’, was also great, functioning as Menagerie-lite, in which players will fight through varying encounters and timelines, and get to pick specific loot as their reward. The encounters were unique and action-packed, the loot was great, and it seemed like this seasonal model was really working. Until…
Season of the Worthy
Easily the weakest season we’ve been delivered. The main activity was only a public event that was repetitive and difficult for most players; the bunkers and Legendary Lost Sectors were something mostly ignored after being cleared once; new loot was more difficult to farm; and progression was heavily tied to repeating bounties, resulting in the nickname ‘Season of the Bounty’.
‘Trials of Osiris’ also made its return after its last iteration in 2018, but quickly disappointed, suffering from loot issues and widespread cheating on PC. Thankfully, Bungie has addressed the changes that will be coming to the gamemode later in the year. Though it’s a shame we’ve already waited so long.
The single highlight of this season were Warmind Cells. These cells were big orange bombs created by killing PVE enemies with Warmind weapons, and would annihilate hordes of enemies upon exploding. The seasonal mods could even allow the cells to suppress enemies or shield players, and even now are a great and powerful addition to the PVE experience.
Season of Arrivals
Now we’re onto the current season, and it’s actually good. Really good. We’re now seeing the arrival of the Pyramid ships that have been teased for years. It really feels like Destiny is an evolving world right now, with the motherships dominating the landscapes they land on, even blocking out the Sun on Mercury (and the Sun looked massive on Mercury), and smaller ships flying around for probably nefarious reasons. It’s all building to September’s expansion, Beyond Light.
There are three new story missions that rotate week to week, with new dialogue and lore in each. They’re not as good as Season of Dawn’s, but offer far more variety than the bunkers from Season of the Worthy, and by completing these quests, players earn the exotic trace rifle Ruinous Effigy,, which lasers enemies into void orbs that you can pick up and bash, weaken or explode your foes with. It’s surprisingly powerful and one of the most unique weapons in the franchise. Plus, the new Umbral Engrams are a great system that allow specific choice in loot; a big relief as most of the new weapons are amazing. And don’t forget the new dungeon, ‘Prophecy’, which features the most mind-bending environments in the game.
Is it worth the money?
The thing is, a lot of the stuff I’ve talked about is actually free to play. Most of the exotics, activities or mods can be acquired for free, but owning the pass each season will give you instant access to a new exotic (Arrivals has the excellent grenade launcher Witherhoard), along with faster experience gains, and cosmetics. Although some exotics or missions will be exclusive to the paid pass, such as Ruinous Effigy.
If you’re an avid Destiny player, you’ve probably already got the pass and know it’s worth the money. You get more content, more weapons, and level up faster, what’s not to love?
If you’re someone that picks up Destiny occasionally, then it’s a maybe. There’s definitely already enough free content (heaps that I haven’t had space to mention, like the events every season) for occasional players, or those who can’t afford the pass. Even the exclusive exotics will eventually be available to players that missed them the first time around. If you’re a bit money tight next year, then definitely wait a week or two each season to see the community consensus and how much you enjoy the free content to see if we’re getting a (un)Worthy season or Arrivals season.
Hopefully, they’ll all be good though, as next year’s seasons will see even more changes, with the announcement of the Destiny Content Vault in which locations and associated activities will be cycled in and out of the game, such as the removal of Titan, Io and more in September but with the reintroduction of the Cosmodrome from Destiny 1. Each season will likely feel even more unique and fresher compared. Here’s hoping with Destiny’s next expansion, its future lasts Beyond Light.