Shadowkeep Lore Hints at Possible Darkness Subclasses in Destiny 2

Destiny 2 tells stories in a lot of ways — in-game, via lore entries, and even through flavor text attached to each piece of gear. And being the industrious folks they are, none of this gets by Destiny 2 players. The latest bits of narrative to capture their attention are spread across the new Raid gear in Shadowkeep. These quotes, collected by Reddit user Wolfboy702, tell the story of the Kentarch 3 — three Guardians who encountered something old, big, and powerful. And even if you aren’t particularly invested in their narrative, it’s interesting in that it might point to future changes to Destiny 2’s gameplay.

The Kentarch 3

The Kentarch 3 were a group of Guardians — Lisbon-13, Yardarm-4, and Rekkana — who ventured into the Vex network. In doing so, they seem to have encountered knowledge of the future. This is revealed in the flavor text of a group of fittingly-named Raid weapons — the Prophet of Doom, the Omniscient Eye, and the Reckless Oracle. What did they see? Perhaps something similar to Calus’s vision of the end of the universe, because afterwards they seem to begin doubting the Light.

Again, fittingly-named class items like Temptation’s Mark and Cloak of Temptation play out these themes, followed by a number of pieces whose names include “Transcendence” and “Ascendancy.” The implication is that they move past the Light, taking command of new powers granted by the Darkness.

At some point, Lisbon-13 seems to turn against his former friends. The text for the bow Accrued Redemption reads “I should never have let it come to this. Now each arrow is a penance.” What happens after that isn’t certain.

But what is relatively clear is that this lore points to Guardians using new abilities granted by something big, old, and powerful. That sounds like the Darkness to me! Does this definitively point to the existence of future Darkness subclasses for our Guardians? No. But when you consider this lore as just the latest point in the direction Destiny 2 has been trending over the past year, it starts to look more and more likely.

Evidence for Possible Darkness Subclasses in Destiny 2

First, consider one very simple gameplay mechanic — your Power Level. If you didn’t play the original Destiny, you might not know that it was called Light Level back then. Yes, Power is a more immediately-recognizable term than Light. And yes, the change gave Bungie some breathing room while they figured out what exactly the Darkness even was. But it also sets up Power as a statistic that could theoretically measure sources of strength other than Light.

And keep in mind, Guardians aren’t exactly virgins when it comes to using the Darkness either. We’ve crafted weapons like Thorn, which explicitly channel powers that can snuff out Light. And in Shadowkeep, we can construct Deathbringer, a weapon the game warns us is imbued with real bad news magics. In the Last Wish Raid, we can temporarily channel Taken powers. Oh, and any time you play Gambit, you’re playing around with Motes of Darkness.

You could argue that all of this is simply narrative and has no bearing on the game itself. Deathbringer is just a Void rocket launcher, albeit a neat one. Using Thorn doesn’t actually bring the ire of the Vanguard down on you. So maybe any future playing around with the Darkness will be similar — simply a new theming for familiar elements. But incorporating Darkness subclasses would fit neatly into the mechanical as well as the narrative arcs of Destiny 2. Remember how Bungie is moving towards treating the game as an MMO and focusing on customization with systems like Armor 2.0? New subclasses would certainly open up player options.

And really, the last few seasons have been pointing us in this direction. We know from the Drifter’s backstory as well as other lore entries that Lightbearers aren’t necessarily saints. Guardians don’t seem to function like Paladins, where if they stray from a moral code they’re disempowered. During the Dark Ages, Lightbearers (then called Risen) used the Light to do some seriously bad shit. We do have evidence from one particular Ghost Story that a Ghost can choose to abandon their Guardian if their morals don’t align, but this seems to be extremely rare.

Oh, and lastly, remember the Lumina quest? The one in which — spoilers — Shin Malphur revealed himself to us as the architect of a vast plot to draw out Guardians tempted by the Darkness and find those who might be fit to “walk the line between Light and Dark?” Yeah.

At this point, everything seems to me to be pointing squarely at a point in the near future in which Guardians are going to be given the chance to wield the powers of the Darkness. What’s that going to look like in-game? I have no idea. How is that going to square with the concept of the Light as Gardener and the Darkness as Winnower that’s being brought up again in Shadowkeep? Again, I’m not sure. All I know is that I’ll be very surprised if we aren’t given the same choice the Kentarch 3 were faced with sometime soon.

While you’re here, check out the rest of our Destiny 2 Shadowkeep coverage, including guides, features, tips, and more. Want to find Exotics? We’ve got your Exotics! Want to know what’s up with the world of Destiny 2 before you jump in? Take a look at our Lore PrimerDon’t know where to start? Check out our guide on Getting Started in Destiny 2 Shadowkeep. Good hunting, Guardian..