Back in June, with the announcement of Beyond Light, Bungie revealed the Destiny Content Vault—a scheme to remove the bloat and the chaff from Destiny 2 in favour of a more lightweight and streamlined game that, you'd hope, would be less prone to Telesto bugs. But while we knew which destinations were being scrapped—sorry, "Vaulted"—there were plenty of questions around how it would happen, and what specifically would go.
This week, Bungie went into more detail about what is being removed from Destiny 2 at the end of this season, with the launch of Beyond Light. And, oh boy, it's a lot of stuff. You can see a full rundown of what's remaining in the This Week at Bungie blog post. Here, I'm going to run through what's leaving, and more specifically what it will mean for the game that remains.
- The Farm
- The Leviathan
We already knew these were the locations being targeted, and it's no coincidence that most of them are in the process of being invaded by ominous pyramid ships in-game.
Actually, I'm not sure we knew The Farm was being sent to the farm. Be honest, though, when was the last time you went to The Farm? Except to launch Zero Hour. And, well...
- Gambit Prime
- The Reckoning
- Escalation Protocol
- Black Armory Forges
- Zero Hour
- The Whisper
- Crucible Modes: Supremacy, Countdown, Lockdown, Breakthrough, Doubles, Momentum Control, Scorched
- Niobe Labs
- The Menagerie
- Prophecy Dungeon
- The Tribute Hall
OK, there's a lot here, although not all of it is a straight cull. Gambit Prime, for instance, is being merged with regular Gambit. The new activity sounds more Prime than not, albeit with some major tweaks. I'll level with you: I think Gambit is great, but I'm aware this puts me at odds with a large percentage of the Destiny community. Personally then, I'm happy to see that Bungie is taking the time to figure out what Gambit should be. Having two variants didn't make a lot of sense.
Nightfalls, too, are remaining in the form of Nightfall: The Ordeal, which is already positioned as the main Nightfall mode. We're losing the weekly playlist choice of regular Nightfalls, which already felt mostly ignored.
Some other activities are just leaving temporarily, with plans to reintroduce them later in Year 4. Specifically the Prophecy Dungeon will "become temporarily unavailable" for "a brief period" for a technical update. The Momentum Control and Scorched Crucible modes are also expected to return in Year 4.
Still, a lot is on the way out. All of Year 2's activities are leaving, which makes sense in so far as their rewards are being sunset—meaning they won't be infusable to Year 4 power levels. Still, I'm disappointed. Black Armory Forges and Menagerie in particular—I like Reckoning, but I'm man enough to admit that I'm an outlier in this—are great, and fully deserve to be promoted to core activities with regularly updated loot pools and new maps and challenges. Menagerie in particular was distinct as a more casual six-player PvE activity, giving raid teams something to do when they'd just finished Spire of Stars and needed a goddamn break from the intricate dance of orbs.
Arguably the thing I'm most upset about losing are the two timed Exotic missions, The Whisper and Zero Hour. Both are incredible: featuring unique locations, challenging combat and the jumping puzzles I crave so much. I've run both of them many, many times, ostensibly to help friends get the very good guns that they reward, but mostly just because I like doing them. And while most Exotic guns are moving to the mysterious new Memorial kiosk, the ones from these missions—Whisper of the Worm and Outbreak Perfected—are being removed until Bungie finds "a new way to reintroduce them". Missions like these, and the secrets and revelations that surround them, account for some of the series' most fondly remembered moments. The game is for sure poorer for losing them.
As for the Crucible modes leaving: I will dance on Countdown's grave.
Campaigns and Seasonal Narratives
- The Red War
- Curse of Osiris
- Season of the Forge
- Season of the Drifter
- Season of Opulence
That's a significant chunk of singleplayer content being removed. And while Curse of Osiris and Warmind weren't what I'd call good, and the Red War was basically a sideshow that had next to nothing to do with the broader story of the war between Light and Dark, it still represents a lot of missions—some of them pretty cool. Instead of the Red War campaign, new players will be given a "new, expanded Guardian origin story on the Cosmodrome", where Destiny 1 players first awoke.
Hopefully it's better than the current New Light introduction, which is a) bad, and b) very confusing for new players. Hopefully it'll also at least introduce who Cayde is, otherwise new players are going to be pretty indifferent to him being killed off in the Forsaken campaign, and pretty confused when he appears as a handler in some of the remaining Nessus strikes that are set in a past era that will no longer be represented in campaign form. I won't lie: this might be a mess.
I will say that it makes sense to remove the Year 2 seasonal narratives, especially given that their associated activities are going. For the most part, these are just a series of brief quests that lead to each activity unlocking, and right now they're actually detrimental to new players, in that they hide major activities behind an obscure quest title that is easy to miss in a large quest list.
It also, once and for all, proves that the consequences teased from the Season of the Drifter choice of whether to ally with the Drifter or the Vanguard were massively overstated. Maybe now the Drifter will stop calling me a snitch?
- The Leviathan
- Eater of Worlds
- Spire of Stars
- Scourge of the Past
- Crown of Sorrow
Yup, that's a lot of raids going. The ones remaining—Last Wish and Gardens of Salvation—are both larger and more involved than those listed above, but damn. While most regular raiders are probably burned out on running Crown of Sorrow in pursuit of Tarrabah, these all remain fun encounters that give more casual players something to aspire to. Raids are Destiny's most distinct, mechanically fascinating activities, and I'm of the mind that the more there are, the better. While a new raid will be added with Beyond Light, and Destiny 1's Vault of Glass will return at some point in Year 4, this is still a straight downgrade in terms of the game's best stuff.
Exotic Quests And Drops
- MIDA Multi-tool
- Rat King
- Legend of Acrius
- Sleeper Simulant
- Polaris Lance
- Ace of Spades
- The Last Word
- Le Monarque
- Izanagi's Burden
- Bad Juju
- Worldline Zero
In some respects, a reduction in the number of Exotic quests is probably good from a new player perspective. You get a lot of quests when you first start playing Destiny, and it's rarely obvious what they're for, and, in some cases, what you even need to do to get them. Do new players know about The Campsite of Many Handcannon Quests? Probably not.
Still, there's some good, unique stuff here that's going. I always liked the end of the Ace of Spades quest, which felt like a poignant send-off for Cayde. The Last Word has a really distinctive final mission; one that, unlike on console, isn't absolute hell on PC thanks to mouse and keyboard. Bad Juju's quest is neat, too. Still, there's a lot of chaff, and streamlining it all isn't the worst idea in the world. The Exotics themselves will still be available via a yet-to-be-explained Exotic Archive, so yeah: fine?
The TWaB also lists a selection of Exotic catalysts that will no longer be available to earn. Catalysts are upgrades for Exotic weapons that introduce new perks, and while many of them are purely optional additions, a handful represent major buffs to their respective gun. On Reddit, community manager Cozmo23 states that the aim is for these catalysts to return in Season 13 or 14.
- Firebase Echo
- Legion's Gulch
- Gambler's Ruin
- Emperor's Respite
- The Citadel
We could get deep into the weeds debating the merits of the maps that are staying versus those that are leaving. All I will say is: really, Bungie? This was your chance to get rid of Fragment, which from what I can tell is pretty widely hated. And instead you're going to delete the glorious mess that is Retribution's long, circular corridor. That map is dumb as hell, and I love it.
It's worth noting that Crucible and Gambit maps work slightly differently to everything else when it comes to the Content Vault. These maps aren't being Vaulted based on the destinations being removed, but instead represent what Bungie calls a "'best of' list". Pacifica, for instance, which is set on Titan, is staying. None of which explains why Fragment isn't getting the boot.
Another thing worth mentioning is more of an implication. On the TWaB, Beyond Light additions are listed alongside the content that is staying, usually as [Redacted]. But the Crucible map list of "Available PvP Maps on November 10" contains no new additions. This could suggest, for the expansion launch at least, that we're not getting any new Crucible maps. Which, I dunno, feels a bit disappointing for what is ostensibly a core mode. PvP fans will be familiar with the feeling that they're largely ignored by Bungie, and if Year 4 does launch with no new maps, it's hardly a sign that they're going to be treated any better going forward.
- Cathedral of Scars
- Kell's Grave
As established, Gambit and Gambit Prime are being merged into one mode that is essentially a reworked version of Prime. And so the fact that the two maps being removed are the two maps that don't appear in the Gambit Prime playlist should not come as a surprise.
As with the Crucible maps, then, some of those that are staying take place on destinations that will be Vaulted. Deep Six on Titan, for instance, isn't going anywhere, which is good news for fans of conveyor belts. (Me. It's good news for me.)
Also as with Crucible maps, Bungie's list of "Available Gambit Maps on November 10" doesn't include anything new. If that's the case, it's not a great sign for what is ostensibly another core mode of the game.
- A Garden World
- Tree of Probabilities
- Savathûn's Song
- Festering Core
- Strange Terrain
- Will of the Thousands
Seven strikes are leaving, and while I'll not mourn the loss of Savathûn's Song, it's perhaps notable that only one new strike mission is planned for Beyond Light. In addition, Will of Crota—hi, Omnigul—will be 'coming out of the Vault', which is Bungie's new way of saying it will be ported into Destiny 2 from Destiny 1.
Further into Year 4, two additional Cosmodrome strikes—Devil's Lair and Fallen SABER—will be added. But! This is another clear case where we're losing more than we're getting in return. Strikes are in a weird position already, where anyone who's been playing Destiny 2 since launch will have completed them all ad nauseam by now. I groan, loudly and to noone in particular, every time I load into The Corrupted, knowing that I'll need to perform the awkward dance of figuring out if my matchmade teammates realise that we're meant to pass the orb to each other before throwing it at the enemies.
Special shout out to The Festering Core, which was added with Shadowkeep, is actually pretty fun, and is now already leaving because it's set on Io. Weird Taken strike: we hardly knew you.
But what about...
Despite this detailed list and accompanying FAQs, I still have questions about how some things are going to work. For instance: Seals. I've been slowly working on the Chronicler title—don't judge me. All that I need to do to finish it is shoot five lore eggs from the Last Wish raid. The Last Wish raid is staying, but many of the lore bits needed elsewhere for the title are going. Will the Seal itself remain? Bungie, I need to know: by when must I shoot the lore eggs?
Less specifically, though, we've got a pretty good idea of what will stay and what will go, and—even though the initial announcement suggested it would be a significant chunk of the game—I'm surprised by how much is getting cut. Between the Content Vault and the plans to sunset old weapons and armour sets by capping their power level, Destiny 2 is not only going to feel quite different after Beyond Light's release, but also significantly smaller in scope. The worry remains that Bungie will struggle to keep up for the demands for new content to replace the old, and while we don't know exactly what the new seasonal model will entail, Year 3 hasn't exactly inspired confidence.
And sure, it'll be nice to run Vault of Glass when it eventually returns, but the danger is that returning Destiny 1 content becomes a crutch—trading the nostalgia hit for a meaningful new stuff. I can't say for sure if that's the case, but it's certainly been a problem for the Crucible throughout the last couple of years, and PvP is less vibrant for it. Maybe these changes will prove good for the game, especially now we know it'll be around for at least three more years of stuff. But it's a risk—one that players are being asked to gamble on by buying in to the next expansion.