From Story Missions to Strikes, Crucible, Gambit, Raids, and Public Events, Destiny 2 has a never-ending amount of content and modes for players to jump into. And with each new expansion or season, Bungie has continued to build on the foundation, adding new experiences to the director including seasonal activities like Warmind's Escalation Protocol, Black Armory’s Lost Forges, and Season of the Undying’s Vex Offensive; all of which have eventually been lost to time.
Bungie tried something new in Season of the Undying by adding a limited-time activity rather than a permanent staple, that will disappear entirely once Season of Dawn begins. With the Destiny 2: Season of Dawn reveal less than a week away, something new is on the horizon that will follow the Vex Offensive: Final Assault mode and fans are left wondering as to whether this new activity is going to help or hurt the game. Which begs the question: Do seasonal activities work in Destiny 2?
History of Expansion Activities
Vanilla Destiny 2 launched with all of the usual modes that players expected from the series and the first DLC Curse of Osiris built on that foundation. It wasn’t until the second DLC, Warmind, that Bungie added a Horde mode in the form of Escalation Protocol on Mars which was treated as endgame content at the time of release and offered new weapons, gear, and powerful rewards. With Forsaken, Escalation Protocol remained a difficult activity but not an endgame one and has only remained relevant to this day due to powerful weapons like the IKELOS_SG_v1.0.1 Shotgun.
Throughout Forsaken and the Year 2: Annual Pass, a high number of these types of activities were introduced to Destiny 2, most of which are currently dormant for any player not trying to catch up on older content they missed. Unless someone is still hunting down Exotics or playing an older season that was missed, there’s no reason to return to Forsaken Blind Well, Season of the Forge’s Lost Forges, or Season of the Drifters' The Reckoning. Every new season continued to add more and more activities that were only relevant for that season before players would move onto the next big thing.
Season of the Undying & Season of the Dawn
Since splitting with Activision in favor of self-publishing the Destiny franchise, Bungie has been open about how taxing the Annual Pass was on its team and without the backing of support teams, it's clear that Bungie won’t be capable of the same output. With that said, it tried something new in Season of the Undying by introducing another new but smaller seasonal activity that would progress the story and offer new rewards, before disappearing forever at the end of the season. Bungie is focussed on telling a more cohesive narrative that ties together with smaller, less demanding new modes, meaning that when Fireteams entered the Black Garden in Shadowkeep and beat the Garden of Salvation Raid, it allowed for Vex to poor onto the Moon creating the Vex Offensive, with the defeat of the Undying Mind being a catalyst for whatever comes next.
Do Seasonal Activities Work?
So, do seasonal activities help support Destiny 2’s future and offer players new experiences that are worth their time? In the case of the annual pass, yes, but it's not sustainable. It’s one thing to add limited-time events for a season but it’s another to just leave it sitting there collecting dust. In the case of Shadowkeep and future season, it does work and it works very well granted there are rewards and payoff. Bungie’s idea to create new modes that take advantage of a new location like the Moon while pushing the narrative forward is fantastic but Vex Offensive: Final Assault was underwhelming, to say the least, and really put a damper on the season as a whole.
If Vex Offensive: Final Assault resulted in The Undying Mind Strike being reprised from Destiny 1 or the return of the Imago Loop as an extremely rare Legendary drop, then it would've felt rewarding for players. Bungie needs to take player feedback into account for Season of Dawn’s seasonal activity and take advantage of older content by updating and refreshing the modes and the rewards for padding. There’s already talk of updates coming to Escalation Protocol armor, a great reason for players to jump back into the mode next season, as well as the most-disliked location in Destiny 2, Mercury.
Outside of full-scale expansions like Forsaken or Shadowkeep, Bungie doesn’t have the capacity to release new Raids, Strikes, Gambit and Crucible maps, and locations in every season. Therefore, it makes sense from a business and player perspective to have some sort of seasonal activity and as long as there are enough rewards for players to chase and a big enough payoff to support the money and time invested by the community. With Season of Dawn releasing in less than two weeks, we’ve compiled a list of everything we want to see from Destiny 2: Season 9.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is available now for PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One.