Destiny 2 has a problem. Released back in September, Bungie’s sequel briefly dominated the PC gaming charts. After its much-hyped launch, it appeared to deliver what we hoped for: a solid online sci-fi shooter that improved on the original. But it wasn’t long until cracks in Destiny 2’s armour began to show.
Catch up on the Destiny 2: Warmind reveal stream with our round-up.
A lack of meaningful endgame content along with missing game modes and poorly implemented microtransactions crippled the game’s staying power. While many hoped the first DLC - Curse of Osiris - would fix these issues, it failed to live up to expectations. Now those hopes rest on its follow-up, Warmind, to finally pump some energy into Destiny 2 when it arrives on May 8th.
The biggest problem plaguing Destiny 2 is that, once players have experienced a raid once or twice, they’ve little reason to repeat it. We are absolutely spoiled with quality multiplayer games these days, and that means worthwhile endgame content is critical to retain players. With Warframe going from strength to strength, and Anthem and The Division 2 on the horizon, Destiny 2 is in especially dire need of it.
It’s clear that Bungie are aware of this issue, as Warmind will add a second major endgame activity for us all to take part in. As well as a second raid lair, the expansion brings a complex horde mode called Escalation Protocol. Featuring loot specifically tied to this event, Bungie are hoping it will drive us wild in pursuit of the hottest space looks of summer 2018.
Details are scarce, but we do know that Escalation Protocol will feature more than the weary routine of mindlessly slaying waves of Hive. There’s an added layer of challenge in the form of unique puzzles for you to solve.
Depending on what those puzzles turn out to be, this is a potentially fantastic idea that stays true to a lot of what makes Destiny’s hardest content so much fun - let’s hope it lives up to the calibre of some of the raid encounters. Again, though, Escalation Protocol will need good weapons to incentivise repeat plays (but not too good - we don’t need another Prometheus Lens slip up).
And on that note, what will really save Destiny 2, if anything, are the updates accompanying Warmind - those made to Exotic weapons and the Crucible. Where the base game truly failed was in not giving us meaningful loot to pursue.
Bungie are partially addressing this with a major overhaul to many of the game’s Exotic weapons - by bumping up their power and versatility, they’re hoping to create an environment in which more than just a few specific firearms are worth the grind to obtain them. After all, there’d be no point if everyone already owns all the guns that will be getting adjusted. Bungie should also offer a strong showing of new loot in Warmind to build on this.
The Crucible changes will also be a tremendous help for Destiny 2’s longevity. Adding two ranking systems akin to other popular shooters like Overwatch is clear step in the right direction - with Destiny 2’s loot having struggled to engage players in the long-term, giving them a rank to chase as well can only help to keep them coming back. Destiny has long had the potential for a thriving competitive scene, so it’s great to finally see Bungie cater to those dedicated players. However, their commitment to serving the more casual players out there with additional PvP loot and quests will be vital in the long run.
Make no mistake; Bungie still have a lot of work to do. But it’s not naive to say that Warmind is looking more promising than Curse of Osiris. Thank to recent updates, the game is already faster and more lethal than it was at launch, and the DLC itself is aiming to deliver on multiple fronts: its patch will make existing endgame rewards more meaningful with Exotics 2.0, while giving PvP players something new chase with rankings. Escalation Protocol and another raid lair will then further flesh out the endgame.
It’s ambitious, and we can only hope Bungie aren’t spreading themselves too thinly. If they can make good on these promises, there will be ample reason to pay attention to Destiny 2 again, and to its enticingly substantial summer updates roadmap. It’s widely accepted that the original Destiny only came good with The Taken King, its first major expansion. If Bungie can deliver on their current plan, they may - whisper it - put its sequel ahead of that schedule.