Destiny 2 PC player count nears records despite Lightfall criticism

The Destiny 2 monthly PC player count reaches its highest on Steam since Shadowkeep went free-to-play despite criticism over the FPS game's Lightfall expansion.

Destiny 2 PC player count nears records despite Lightfall criticism: Three Guardians showcase armour from Bungie's 30th Anniversary pack.

The Destiny 2 monthly PC player count is at its highest since the game’s Shadowkeep content launch that included a swath of new content for free-to-play players, according to data from Steam Charts. This high count may be surprising given the mixed reception to the FPS game‘s recent Lightfall expansion, which debuted just over a month ago.

The last time the average player count was higher than in March 2023 was in October 2019, when Destiny 2 launched Shadowkeep, the New Light campaign, and introduced thousands of new and returning players to all-new content in the game universe.

A huge fortress on a moon-like world

Steam Charts shows that the average monthly player count in March 2023 was 135,102.3, which doesn’t include the number of players who have also started playing since the game launched on the Epic Games Store in August 2022. In October 2019, 165,307.8 Guardians donned their gear and began exploring the game’s Shadowkeep expansion and its wealth of additional content. While Steam Charts monthly counts are not an entirely accurate method of comparison due to the nature of the game’s weekly resets causing more updates in some months than others, it still gives audiences an excellent snapshot of overall player activity within the game.

The Lightfall expansion suffers from mixed reviews, most ranging between six and seven out of ten across PC and console. People criticized the campaign, disappointing players in failing to grant any additional insight into some of the blistering questions they faced as they sought to explore Neomuna in Destiny 2 season 20. However, some have suggested the high player counts are due to a massive marking push around the expansion and the game’s seasonal and ongoing content, such as the secret Destiny 2 Vexcalibur Exotic quest that emerged in the weeks after Lightfall’s launch.

Lightfall also suffered from numerous player complaints involving the game’s difficulty, leading the developers to ease the game‘s Legendary difficulty by as much as 33% in some cases.

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Still, with regular updates and changes, Bungie has quickly addressed most player concerns. As a result, it seems that players are ignoring the perceived lacklustre campaign experience and instead returning to the game to enjoy several new Destiny 2 Lightfall Exotic quests, grinding for limited rewards such as The Immortal (Adept), which has rapidly become a top weapon in PvP, and engaging in activities such as the Destiny 2 Iron Banner, which has returned to three times per season and begins again this week. Some may also credit the game’s Root of Nightmares raid, as players found its Contest Mode format relatively easy compared to raids of the past, which led numerous players to try their hand at an experience they may not have chosen to explore otherwise.

Regardless of the reasons, it’s clear that not even a lacklustre campaign could keep players from returning to enjoy the continuously updated content that attracts players to the multiplayer game in the first place. Perhaps the fact that its weak storyline and $70 expansion price point haven’t pushed players away is a testament to the strength of the core gameplay loop and its overall merit as a healthy live service game.