Destiny 2's 'seasons' have been explained, sort of

We're gearing up for Destiny 2's PC release on next week. In addition to the full review once we're happy with how the servers are functioning after the 24 October launch, we also have a bunch of guides in hand to help you level up and get raid ready. Among those you'll find multiple benefits to being in a clan. Today, at Twitchcon, Bungie went into more detail about how 'seasons' will affect clans, and how the game's live team will seek to keep the game fresh with content updates and special events.

Seasons enable clans to unlock shared perks for completing weekly objectives, such as completing the raid or going flawless in Trials of the Nine, alongside their clanmates. Perks involve stuff like receiving additional loot drops or resources from other activities. According to live team game director at Bungie Ryan Paradis, four seasons are planned for the first year of Destiny 2, and each shift will be marked by a major patch that tunes the gameplay sandbox (ie rebalances weapons and abilities). 

Each new season will also change the "themes for the player experience". Or in other words: we'll be getting new loot to chase and improved quality of features, which given that console players are already complaining of a lack of content in the endgame, has to be a good thing. Paradis also revealed that the first major event in season two will be the Dawning, an in-game holiday which celebrates the arrival of the light of the Traveler. (I'm sorry it sounds so culty, blame the barmy lore.) The Dawning will last for three weeks, and involve snowball fights and ice hockey in the tower, plus some other wintry shenanigans in The Farm social space.

Lest you worry it's entirely cosmetic, there will also be snowballs out in the game world, which will apparently do actual damage. More promisingly there will be a bespoke set of The Dawning gear to collect (if it's anything like previous events in Destiny 1, these will be earned from the Bright Engrams which can only be acquired by leveling up or paid for with Silver at the Eververse microtransaction store.)

Paradis also talked about the reception to the recent Iron Banner PvP event which console players experienced a couple of weeks ago. Following a ton of negative feedback related to the token system used to get loot drops, the season two's Iron Banner will enable players to buy specific weapons and armour with their tokens and legendary shards (both earned through gameplay) without relying on RNG. Bungie also showed off some armor 'ornaments', essentially fancy new looks, which players will be able to earn in season two. Note that there will still be one more old Iron Banner as part of season one, which means PC players still get to join the chorus of complaint in the meantime.

On the subject of even harder core PvP, Paradis said that the Trials of the Nine weapons will get a new look in season two (essentially a reskin judging by the image shown), and more interestingly will have refreshed perks. Trials is the game's most competitive mode, with teams of four required to win a succession of matches without loss in order to be rewarded with the best gear.

Senior designer Steve Dolan also pointed to the coming influx of PC players as a reason the next faction rally (which is essentially when all players in the game declare for a particular faction and earn rep on its behalf in exchange for bespoke gear) should be more exciting. We'll be the judge of that, Steve.

Dolan went on to detail another forthcoming event called Clarion Calls, which will see players in clans earn double XP provided they're playing with their team mates. Which is handy when it comes to earning those Bright Engrams, but also somewhat irrelevant given that Bungie has already admitted players are hitting the level cap much faster than it had anticipated. Dolan said that subsequent Clarion Calls will not necessarily be clan-based. 

More memes are en route, so. Cool.

Speaking of Bright Engrams, Season Two will see a refresh of their contents (which include rare gear shaders, emotes, ships, sparrows and weapon ornaments). Paradis showed new ghosts, shaders and an exotic-tier ship that will only be available during The Dawning event. And though that looked very nice—kinda like a snow angel, as community manager David 'Deej' Dague noted—it was about this point in the panel that I started to really feel the absence of more substantive announcements about how the endgame will be shored up beyond chasing for new cosmetics.

Paradis did confirm that season two will bring at least a single new PvP map. He didn't confirm what it might be, but it sounded like it might be an update of a popular one from the original game, as recently happened with the addition of 'Distant Shores', which was based on 'Shores of Time'. As for weapon balance, Deej assured the crowd that weapons which are currently seeing excessive amounts of play (*cough* Mida Multi-Tool) are currently being looked at.

Perhaps the most crucial piece of information—when season two actually starts—was oddly absent from the presentation, though it will clearly be after November as Bungie is planning further streams in that month to explain the changes in greater depth. 

Having watched the panel I was left slightly unclear as to whether the base guns available in the game will also be having their perks refreshed, which I think would provide a big reason to come back. I'm also not clear how many weapons will be added to the pool once the season switches over. I've reached out to Bungie for clarification on these points.