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Destiny 2 launches Shadowkeep expansion, goes free-to-play, and hits Steam

It’s a busy day for Destiny 2, today launching a new paid expansion, Shadowkeep, as well as making the base game free-to-play. Oh, and the MMOFPS has switched from Battle.net to Steam too. Bungie now invite all aspiring wizard to play a surprisingly generous amount of the game for free, while folks who buy the expansion are called to invade a spooky fortress on the moon. Having fallen deep into Destiny over the past year, I am hugely stoked. It sounds like the game is entering a pretty great period.

First, Shadowkeep! Moon’s haunted, as I’m sure you’ve heard, so we’re off to help auld pal Eris Morn kick in some ghosts. Along with the new story campaign set on the moon (an area returning from the first, console-exclusive Destiny), Shadowkeep adds new quests, a new raid, a new dungeon, new Exotic items, and cool new lunar looks.

Shadowkeep also includes the latest Season Pass. Each Season will bring a fleeting new activity (as opposed to permanent additions like in the first Annual Pass), new items, new storybits, a progression track to unlock goodies, and other bits. With Season Of The Undying the new activity is Vex Offensive, sending six players to thwart the mischievous robots. They’ll be invading all over this Season, and we’re headed back to their Black Garden to give ’em a stern thrashing.

You’ll need to pay for that, but a whole lot is available for nowt. The base game is now the free-to-play Destiny 2: New Light edition, which includes the original game plus its first two small expansions, Curse Of Osiris and Warmind (collectively known as Year 1). That’s three story campaigns, all sorts side-quests and open-world activities, cooperative Strike missions, three raids, and the standard arena PvP mode, Crucible. Certain parts of later expansions are thrown in too, including Gambit and The Menagerie. See this tweet for details because it gets messy.

All players also get each season’s Artifact (a powerful doodad unlocking new mods and abilities) as well as select items from the season progress track.

You can play a whole lot of spacewizards without paying a penny. If you want the campaigns, raids, and certain quests and activities from later expansions and add-ons, you’ll need to buy those. Bungie are also selling cosmetic items for microtransaction cash, as they have for ages.

A big update has hit alongside Shadowkeep and New Light, bringing a new armour system, a big rebalancing, and some handy quality-of-life changes.

Armour 2.0 does away with the old system of armour pieces dropping with fixed perks. Now armour has slots to jam in perk mods we’ve unlocked, including powerful mods from the seasonal Artifact. There are limitations, mind. Perks like improved reload speed and targeting for different weapon types are now limited by armour’s elemental class, so certain combinations are no longer possible. It’ll cost a lot of materials to fully upgrade armour to maximum perk potential too. And the old stats of Discipline, Intellect, and Strength are back to govern ability recharge rates.

While old armour isn’t converted to the new system (I’ll definitely keep some of my most powerful parts), all new Legendary and Exotic armour drops will be Armour 2.0.

I’m excited about the fashion potential. The game’s oldest sets (which used yet another system) become notgarbage under Armour 2.0, and some of those look great. Eververse armour sets have become ornaments we can use on any 2.0 armour too. And Eververse shaders, spaceships, and spacebikes now cost plain ol’ cash and shards to pull out from Collections rather than the rare Bright Dust currency. I have so, so many looks planned.

Balance-wise, raiders and grinders will already know about the big changes ruining prevailings trategies (they’ve nerfed instant-reload abilities and damage buff stacks). As for changes everyone can see: you’ll get your Super ability less because orbs give less charge; sniper and scout rifles are a bit better in PvE now; Titans get a new bubble which buffs weapon damage; loads of damage values got increased and decreased and I’m not yet sure how it’ll all shake out; and several fun but kinda-rubbo Exotic guns are better, including Sunshot and Graviton Lance.

A few other nice bits in the update:

  • Weapon mods are now unlocks, not consumables.
  • New players get a new introductory mission in the Cosmodrome (based on Destiny 1’s start), and veterans can play it too.
  • You start Black Armory Forge activities from the Director screen rather than going to them.
  • Black Armory weapons no longer require a specific Forge either, so the Director will rotate through Forges for variety.
  • God, you don’t even need to grind out hateful quests to unlock the Izanami and Gofannon forges.
  • Multiplayer emotes show you where to stand so they’re now fun not frustrating.
  • Oh, and we now have “Finisher” moves to fully murder monsters. Idk. Because reasons.

This is too much. I need to stop. See the update 2.6.0.1 patch notes for the lot.

Oh, and the game’s now on Steam. Bungie started self-publishing Destiny earlier this year, splitting from Activision, and so they’re leaving Activision’s service. Players who started on Battle.net can transfer their whole account over. Bungie also recently added “Cross Save” support so those who started on console can bring characters and items to PC too, though expansions don’t transfer with them.

I started playing Destiny 2 after the launch of Forsaken and have been horrified by tales of how sloppy the game had been at times. It’s come a long way since then and seems to be entering a promising place. Come join. It’s fun.

Destiny 2 is now free-to-play on Steam. Shadowkeep is £30/€35/$35, while it’s £50/€60/$60 for the Deluxe Edition which includes the next three Season Passes too.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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