Earlier this week, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare announced the first season of content, signaling that DLC map packs and loot boxes have finally been removed from the series in exchange for seasons of content. Seasons have become a new standard for any big multiplayer game including the likes of Fortnite, Apex: Legends, Rocket League, and even Destiny 2 with Bungie confirming its plans to reveal its ninth season of content in a live-stream next week.
After an underwhelming ending to Season of the Undying with the Vex Offensive Final Assault event, there's a lot of pressure for Bungie to demonstrate what it's capable of with Season of Dawn. Right now, many players are worried that there won't be enough content without a Shadowkeep size expansion to keep players invested for the next three months. With less than two weeks until the new season kicks off, here's what we want to see from Season of Dawn.
How Destiny 2 Season's Work
Bungie first implemented the concept of seasons with the now free Annual Pass for Destiny 2: Forsaken, which at the time of its announcement was made up of three smaller DLC packs: Black Armory, Joker’s Wild, and Penumbra. Destiny 2’s first year technically didn’t have “Seasons,” instead it was defined by content releases from Vanilla to Curse of Osiris and Warmind. When Forsaken released back in September 2018, it launched as its own season without an accompanying release like Shadowkeep had with Season of the Undying, which came down to the amount of content included in the expansion.
Black Armory was the first content release in the Annual Pass and was treated as Destiny 2: Season 5. While each season offers a range of free content throughout including seasonal events, the paid DLC portion included the new Lost Forges activity, a new vendor, new Black Armory weapons and gear, the Scourge of the Past Raid, Exotic weapon quests, and new Triumphs. Joker’s Wild and Penumbra both dropped their pre-release labels, introducing the “Season” titles and offering the same type of content: a new PvE or PvP activity, a new gear set, Exotic weapon quests, triumphs, and events like Iron Banner and Solstice of Heroes.
Shadowkeep and Season of the Undying
At the beginning of the year, Bungie announced that it had split from Activision and would be self-publish the franchise beginning with the release of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep and the four seasons that would make out the rest of Destiny 2: Year 3. Season of the Undying launched alongside Shadowkeep and it's widely believed that the amount of content was lighter for that reason. When it comes to paid seasonal content, Season of the Undying made up of the new Vex Offensive limited-time activity, the Battle Pass, two new Armor sets, and two Exotic weapons: Eriana’s Vow and Leviathan’s Breath.
Season of the Undying did include a larger slate of content throughout the course of the season, but none of it was paid content. Monthly events like Iron Banner returned with a new gear set and two reprised Crucible maps, the three-week Festival of the Lost event returned with the Haunted Forest and themed Eververse items, and Bungie released Momentum Control, a new Crucible game mode that’s reminiscent of Halo’s SWAT mode. The rest of the season was made up of content that came as part of Shadowkeep such as new Nightmare Hunt difficulties and Garden of Salvation Raid challenges.
What We Want From Season of Dawn
Without the backing of a full-scale expansion like Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Bungie is going to need to keep players invested for the launch of Season of Dawn. First off, Bungie has changed its approach to seasonal Activities like Vex Offensive with the decision to make them limited-time events that disappear once the season ends. In order to do that, there needs to be more than just four weapons as loot for the sake of replayability and there needs to be real payoff when it’s over. Most of the community expected for The Undying Mind Strike to be reprised from Destiny 1 as part of Vex Offensive: Final Assault or at least for the Imago Loop Hand Cannon to be a rare reward. Instead, the Final Assault was the same encounter with a different looking boss.
One of the biggest problems with seasonal activities in the past is that they become irrelevant when a new season starts with modes like Escalation Protocol, the Forges, the Blind Well, The Reckoning, and The Menagerie all sitting dormant. Bungie has already teased its intentions to update Escalation Protocol and Mercury in Season of Dawn to breathe new life into old content on top of the new stuff. There are many considerations here such as the future of Gambit and what Gambit Prime could look like with updates, as Destiny 2’s PvEvP mode is also in need of an update to avoid becoming stale. Very little has changed about the core gameplay since release and the number of maps is very low. So, that’s the next big request - updating older content to make it feel relevant and useful again.
Lastly, Destiny 2’s seasonal events like Crimson Days or the Revelry have continued to get better since their debut, offering fun little experiences for a couple of weeks at a time. Considering Bungie announced a community event in London for the Dawning, it’s very likely that the Holiday event will make a return this year. With that said, one thing that prevented Season of the Undying from having new things to do every week was stacking multiple events on top of each other. In one week, Destiny 2 played home to Iron Banner, Festival of the Lost, and released a new Raid challenge. Keep the seasonal events and bring back activities like Sparrow Racing League, but spread them out, week by week, to make sure players always have something to do.
The Destiny community has experienced every type of content release available from smaller expansions like Warmind to annual releases like Forsaken, direct purchases and Loot Boxes with Silver, and seasons of content both with and without the backing of a major publisher. If any of these features are implemented into Destiny 2: Season of Dawn then fans will be very happy; however, it's a good idea to temper expectations until Bungie defines how much content the new schedule will allow for.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is available now for PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One.