This was to be the week Bungie launched Destiny 2: Beyond Light but, like everything else this year, the expansion ended up delayed. This week has at least brought news about installing Beyond Light come November, both good and bad. Good news: thanks to some revamped technoguts, the game should take up less drive space and Bungie should be able to patch any urgent problems faster. Bad news: you'll need to download the whole game again when Beyond Light arrives. We'll get a few hours' head-start to preload, at least.
"We revamped our content building and patching pipeline for speed and install size," Bungie explained in the latest This Week At Bungie post, which gets into some of the under-the-hood changes coming with Beyond Light.
For installs, yep, sadly they say Beyond Light "will be a full re-download on all platforms". On the bright side, it should be a lot smaller - going down by 30-40%. My Destiny 2 install is currently 92GB, and Bungie say a Beyond Light install will be between 59 and 71GB, depending on platform (god, I hope that 59GB is PC). And no, they say, it's not just because they're removing a lot of the game, putting it in the 'Destiny Content Vault'. They're also flushing out a lot of 'dead' content, assets which were upgraded or replaced but still left hanging around the install due to limitations of their old patcher.
They do at least say they'll open Beyond Light preloads "sometime in the evening of November 9, Pacific Time, which should give everyone at least 10 hours to download before the gates open." That'll be plenty for me, but does still suck for people on slow and metred connections.
For Bungie, the technical improvements mean they won't have to spend so much time sitting around waiting for files to be packaged - they note that "complete shippable content builds were frequently taking north of 24 hours", and they're aiming for below 12. Not only did that mean urgent patches would come later, it slowed down development too. They add that these tech improvements should let them react more quickly to lessons across seasons too, buying "1-2 more weeks of flexibility on a Seasonal scale". Waiting 24 hours for a build really does suck.
Bungie also note that they've refreshed lighting on Nessus and in the EDZ to bring it up to modern standards, which should be nice. They've also rebuilt their face customisation system to let them expand options in the future, with plans to add new face shapes "to increase Guardian diversity in Destiny", but that's not something coming with Beyond Light.
Due November 10th, the expansion will send us to the Jovian moon of Europa to poke at an old Clovis-Bray facility, fight the Fallen's House Of Darkness, and play with new Darkness powers ourselves. We should also be learning more about the Exos, Destiny's robopeople, and a wee glimpse of an Exo hooked up to a Vex in a new trailer seems a bad omen.
It's unfortunate that the Beyond Light delay is really dragging out Season Of Arrivals, which has otherwise been the best season since Opulence (not that the previous three put up much competition). If it had ended today, I'd be dead pleased with it. After another seven weeks, I'll be more than ready for it to go - despite fun bonuses like double Nightfall rewards week. More bonuses for Vanguard, Crucible, and Gambit activities are due in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, Bungie, I'm begging you: please explain how transmogrification will work or give me more vault space for fashion. Destiny community manager "dmg04" said on Twitter this week that Bungie "probably won't be talking too much about this until after Beyond Light." He said that the team are "in planning stages" an "invested in creating a good experience here" but shared no firm info, adding "We'll get you details when we can." Until I know whether or not we'll be able to transmog gear from Collections, I guess I'll keep deleting guns to make space for spacejackets.