Now in its fourteenth season, Destiny 2 has come a long way from its rocky beginnings. The mystical space loot shooter has gone free-to-play, brought back old content from the original Destiny, and shelved much of its own world since it launched back in 2017. As we come up on Destiny 2‘s five year, let’s take a look back at the game’s ups and downs and determine once and for all what the best season of Destiny 2 is.
14. Curse of Osiris
The Infinite Forest isn’t just a cute name — the first add-on to Destiny 2 saw players running through what felt like the same map over and over to help out chronic fuckup Osiris and his Ghost pal Sagira. Lots of busywork to acquire subpar gear, a dull quest vendor in Brother Vance, and so-so Raid lair Eater of Worlds made Curse of Osiris a disappointing first step for Destiny 2‘s post-release content and plunged the game into a state of disrepute it wouldn’t fully recover from until the expansion Forsaken.
13. Red War
Technically not even really a season, Red War is the state in which Destiny 2 launched. By all accounts a feature-deprived release that was further hurt by the loss of weapons and content from Destiny, Red War was kind of a mess. It’s ranked above Osiris simply because Osiris was just that bad.
Introducing beloved character Ana Bray and bringing her buddy Rasputin the titular Warmind into focus, this season/expansion brought Guardians back to Mars to deal with the threat of the Hive God Xol. Escalation Protocol, the introduction of PVP ranking systems, a bunch of neat gear, and a decent plot all made a lasting impact on Destiny 2, even if Spire of Stars was the weakest piece of Raid content in the game.
The lowest point in Destiny 2 since the game’s first year, Season of the Worthy featured repetitive activities with confusing goals (throwing orbs into other orbs?) and a narrative about the remnants of the Red Legion trying to crash the Almighty into the Tower that not only didn’t make much sense, but ended with a truly uninspiring live event. It wasn’t all bad, as we got the introduction of Warmind Cells, some fun Exotic armor pieces in Citan’s Ramparts and Felwinter’s Helm, and the PVP all-star Felwinter’s Lie along with the return of Trials if you’re into that kind of thing, but Worthy was overall a big letdown after Season of the Dawn. Let’s not even talk about the bounty-a-thon that was the first Guardian Games.
Launching alongside the so-so expansion Shadowkeep, Undying’s Vex-focused content was mostly underwhelming. A bunch of guns whose names I can’t even remember paired with a boring seasonal event and the uneven introduction of Champsions made Undying a bit of a slog. Still, we got a few nice exotics — Eriana’s Vow and Monte Carlo — and a new raid, even if Garden of Salvation isn’t many people’s favorite.
Technically, Season of the Outlaw is just the name for the period of time after the release of Forsaken, so it’s not really possible to talk about it separately from that major expansion. Forsaken was pretty cool though, huh?
Ok, yes, adding Gambit Prime alongside Gambit was a bad idea, and nobody really ever enjoyed Reckoning, a poorly-designed matchmade activity that almost required certain builds to complete it. But Season of the Drifter gave us insight into the background of one of the most interesting characters in Destiny, not to mention the incredible Outbreak Perfected quest, a closer look at the mysterious Nine, and the return of the deadly Thorn.
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The Season of the Hunt’s narrative was far more compelling than that of its sister release Beyond Light, finally picking up the thread of what happened to Uldren Sov that had been dangling since the end of Forsaken. On the negative side, Hunt had a distinct lack of interesting gear and clumsily left some important story beats (e.g. Sagira’s death) to be told in web stories rather than in-game.
Hey, remember when Ada-1 was a cool weaponsmith who didn’t trust Guardians and wasn’t limited to weaving cosmetics using Clovis Bray’s technology? Season of the Forge remembers. Not only did we get the Forge activities and incredible Black Armory gear, Season of the Forge brought an inventive new Raid in Scourge of the Past, along with Exotic quests for Izanagi’s Burden and the Last Word. After a long absence, Ada is finally back in the game — and hopefully she’ll get back to doing what she does best soon.
Bringing Calus’s daughter Caiatl into the picture, Chosen faced us with the prospect of allying with the remnants of the Cabal after their homeworld was destroyed by the Hive. Of course, things got complicated, and Guardians quickly found themselves engaged in ritual combat with Caiatl’s lieutenants, all while warmonger Lord Saladin clashed with Best Boy Crow over the possibility of working with the space rhinos we’d been fighting for so long. Chosen nailed a feeling of tension that few seasons of Destiny have managed, and also introduced one of the best pieces of content the game has ever seen in the Presage mission. It still remains to be seen what will come of the alliance between Caiatl’s Cabal and the Tower, but regardless, Chosen was a major high point for the game.
Coming on the heels of the disappointing Undying, Dawn kicked things into high gear with a unique seasonal activity, a ton of great-looking gear, and the return of the king himself, Saint-14. Rescuing Saint from the Infinite Forest felt genuinely impactful, as Guardians returned one of the most talked-about characters in Destiny history to his home in the Tower. Dawn also presented the sprawling puzzle of the Corridors of Time, an activity which required community-wide teamwork to solve and rewarded players with not just the fusion rifle Bastion, but also the unique opportunity of seeing their own future grave.
For years, Destiny players have been wondering why we’re still fighting the Fallen when there are far bigger threats in the world. And with Season of the Splicer, we’re finally working with the Eliksni to combat the Vex. Thematically and mechanically rich thus far, Splicer has taken us inside Vex architecture, let us hang out alongside Fallen in the Tower, and forced us to grapple with the ugly realities of fear and bigotry. And hey, Vault of Glass is back too, which is nice. Splicer continues the recent trend of story-heavy seasons with compelling characters, as Ikora, Mithrax, Saint, and (spits) Lakshmi step into the spotlight, and I’m excited to see how it all shakes out.
It stretched on longer than anybody wanted due to COVID-19, but Arrivals carved out such a distinctive mood that it just made the anticipation for Beyond Light even more deliciously agonizing. We had a Gambit-inspired seasonal activity that featured the Drifter and Eris Morn trading barbs, an ongoing narrative about communing with the Darkness, the Prophecy dungeon, some of the most inventive and useful Exotics in the game (Witherhoard and Ruinous Effigy), the spin-to-win powerhouse that was Falling Guillotine, and the introduction of Umbral Engrams (even if they did get to be a bit much by the end). Arrivals was a thematically and mechanically rich season, and its content is still a highlight of the game.
Daddy Calus just wants you to have a good time in his Menagerie and also if you have a minute could you deal with that nasty Hive problem he’s got? Yeah, Crown of Sorrow never worked quite right, but Opulence brought us a Raid, a matchmade six-person activity with the ability to choose your loot, a wealth of gorgeous-looking gear and shaders, some incredible lore in which Calus essentially wrote fanfiction about the Guardian, the return of Bad Juju, the culmination of the Thorn questline with Lumina, Truth, the Solstice of Heroes with the neat floating EDZ zone, Revoker and Wendigo, and more. Opulence is the undisputed high point of Destiny 2, and it’s heartening to see recent seasons bring back some of what made it so engaging.