Destiny 2 Getting Seasonal Battle Passes in Year 3

Game Director Luke Smith recently put out a three part retrospective on Destiny 2. In all of them, linked below, there was a significant amount of reflection and a number of promises made. Today, Smith is back with a look at how Seasons will be changing in the third year of Destiny 2. Among the changes is the return of the Seasonal Artifact and the addition of a seasonal Battle Pass.

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Destiny 2 Year 3 Season Overview

Honestly, today’s post by Luke Smith encompasses a whole hell of a lot. But at a high level there are a good number of changes and Smith really wants players to understand how things will work.

Year 3 of Destiny 2 will have four Seasons rather than three. Instead of buying an Annual Pass for all of them, however, you can purchase each for $10. Keep in mind that the Shadowkeep purchase itself comes with one Season included. That Season depends on when you purchase the game. If you wait to buy Shadowkeep until early 2020, you’ll get whatever Season is currently going on. You can also purchase any Season without having to buy Shadowkeep.

Smith again reminds folks that Bungie is changing how it handles seasonal content. While content will now rotate in and out of the title with each season, the developer now promises weapons and armor will return at a later date. In the current game, weapons like Wendigo GL3 aren’t obtainable if you don’t complete the triumph before the season ends. Going forward, Bungie says it will make Legendaries and Exotics available after they’re gone and “it won’t take longer than six months either.”

Seasonal Rewards

Okay that sounds good and all, but what you’re really here for is to understand what you’re chasing each Season, right?

Bungie already confirmed the return of Seasonal Artifacts which debuted in the original Destiny. Free for all players, this time around they’ll offer seasonal mods for your Armor 2.0 gear.

Leveling up the Artifact is as easy as earning XP. You can unlock more mods along the way though this XP also contributes to the Power of the Artifact. This Power directly feeds into your character’s overall Power and is uncapped. There’s a pretty steep curve for this, but it is in fact, uncapped. Thankfully, this Power is shared across all of your characters.

We want the Artifact to let us experiment more freely with our sandbox. During the last five years of Destiny, we’ve really wrestled with (and continue to wrestle with) obsolescence and permanence in player Power. So, when we were coming up with something new in the Seasonal Artifact, we wanted to figure out how we could have a system that allowed players to create build-altering powers yet not need to commit indefinitely to whatever they made and have it live on forever.

We want to date new builds, not get them hitched into the forever combat ecosystem. It doesn’t have to be forever anymore.

The Artifact can spotlight some different ways to play each Season and introduce new types of perks, while we (and you!) can experiment more boldly with new combinations and expressions of Power. We want to use the Artifact as a mechanic to allow the game to shift some each Season. In an action game like Destiny, part of the fun can be discovering new ways to play.

Smith says this will allow the team to make “bolder balance choices” with the mods going away at the end of each Season. It won’t have to worry about a current mod limiting design space or making some overpowered combination in the future.

Destiny 2 Season Pass

You may ask why Bungie is a adding a Season Pass to Destiny 2. The short answer, according to Luke Smith, is that the team wants a “direct track of rewards” so that you always feel like you’re progressing even if the game isn’t dropping the gear you’re looking for.

The Destiny 2 Season Pass will have 100 ranks each ten week season with both a Free and Premium track. Progress is earned from plain old XP so you don’t have to switch up your playstyle to earn the rewards.

For example, in our internal team tests, playing strikes in a fairly relaxed manner (18 minutes per strike play time) with full stacks of bounties can get a Seasonal Rank in less than one hour. Every week, Guardians also get rest XP bonuses (per account), where their first three ranks are at triple XP. Playing strikes with full stacks of bounties and rest XP should get 10 ranks in around 8 hours.

Should players not be progressing as fast as planned, Smith says the team has the “freedom and ability to adjust.”

Here are the rewards Smith revealed:

  • Season Pass owners get access to a new seasonal activity, the Vex Offensive, which includes:
    • Four Legendary Weapon drops
    • Additional weekly and daily bounties
    • Additional weekly challenges with powerful rewards
  • A new weapon quest for an Exotic Bow, Leviathan’s Breath
    • Exclusive to Season Pass owners
  • A new Exotic Hand Cannon, Eriana’s Vow
    • Awarded on Rank 35 of the free track
    • Awarded on Rank 1 of the premium track
  • Three seasonal Legendary armor sets (one for each class)
    • Collect a complete set during the first 25 ranks of the free track
      • NOTE: This is a change from the Annual Pass, where you were required to purchase gear from the Season.
    • On the premium track you get all three sets on Rank 1
    • These also drop within the Vex Offensive seasonal activity
      • If you want versions with higher stat tiers, you’ll need to play Vex Offensive to earn them
  • Some additional premium track rewards:
    • Three universal ornament armor sets (one for each class)
    • An Exotic weapon ornament for Eriana’s Vow
    • Two Legendary weapon ornaments
    • A new finisher
    • An Exotic emote
    • An Exotic ship

It’s worth noting that while you can get the Season’s armor set from the Season Pass, the best rolls will need to be obtained via the Seasonal activity. Think of it like static rolls. You can get a good piece of armor from your Collection, but you want a god roll, you’re going to have to grind for it.

Much like other season passes, you’ll be able to buy levels in Destiny 2. Smith doesn’t want this to be something players just max out right off the bat, however, so Bungie won’t be enabling it until two to four weeks before the season ends. It’s supposed to be a way to catch up, not a quick cash grab.

An Evolving World

More than anything, the fact that Destiny 2 will be changing over time is something Smith has repeatedly emphasized. Activities will come and go. The world will physically evolve. I thought it best to just leave the explaining to Smith himself.

In Season of the Undying, the portal to the Black Garden that was opened as a part of JacketQuest has awoken the Vex, and they are now pouring out across the surface of the Moon. Working with Ikora, players will [Do Some Stuff, Go Somewhere, Fight Some Things, and Solve a Problem aka REDACTED]. By the end of the Season, the portals will close, the world state will change, and the Seasonal activity connected to it will go away.
Yet something remains. This will be just in time for [REDACTED] to kick off the start of Season Nine—Season of Dawn.
For better context, Smith also explained how this would have worked during the Season of the Forge.
A week before the Season begins, all players receive a note in their mailbox. It simply reads: “I have returned from the stars. Meet me on Dec. 4 at 10:15 AM PST. —Ada” Once this note has been given out, a small countdown timer appears on the Traveler. When the timer reaches 0, players in the Tower see a ship unlike any they’ve ever seen land between Zavala and Lord Shaxx. A figure transmats out and walks through the Tower, opening a door that had long been shut. Players follow the character through the Tower and the figure lowers her hood and greets players, “I am Ada, and we have work to do.”
The Season Pass in the Director is updated, the rewards are revealed, and now Ada and players begin a Season-long experience of refining forges in the world, completing bounties, finding materials, working on Black Armory armor sets, and taking on the new raid, Scourge of the Past. In a twist, Datto and his group are the first to finish.
As players work together to forge weapons early in the track, smithing and building new ones, the room around Ada begins to change. The schematic data from players’ work is resulting in new weapons and mods for players to create. These weapons and mods don’t all require playing the Seasonal activity—some of them are found in new encounters within strikes, some of them are forged in Last Wish (like the Alchemy Lab in Blackwing Lair).
As the player community plays, meta objectives are revealed. Once a certain number of players have unlocked ranks on the Pass, cinematics unlock for everyone to watch. We see the Drifter and Ada arguing over something pitting the two against each other, the scene ends with Drifter raising an eyebrow at a set of gun schematics behind Ada.
As the Season winds to a close, the Drifter begins to summon players to him. He’s having a new space built in the Tower, and the first people he asks for help are those who’ve earned the title of Dredgen. Now players begin to gather materials and donate them to fund the Drifter’s new scam. The Drifter won’t stop talking about the gun schematics he saw behind Ada.
Very late in the Season, players notice Ada’s room looks like it’s being packed up. She’s leaving. The schematics that sat behind her are missing. Over the course of a few weeks, she packs her equipment and, in an event similar to her arrival, she vanishes. Ada, her wares, and her forges are gone.
Banshee-44 reminds players that even though Ada is gone, she left him the schematics for her weapons and armor, and he’ll be rotating them through over time.
And the Drifter asks you to visit him, saying he’s got a surprise…
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep comes out on October 1, 2019. We’ll see you then!