Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Media Kit Image #3 - Bungie.net

On November 10, 2020 Beyond Light launched for Destiny 2 and that was the 4th DLC for the game joining:

  • Curse of Osiris (December 2017)
  • Warmind (May 2018)
  • Forsaken (September 2018)
  • Shadowkeep (October 2019)
  • Beyond Light (November 2020)

If you want to backdate those expansions in comparison with Destiny 1 since this is the same world. It becomes

  • The Dark Below (December 2014)
  • House of Wolves (May 2015)
  • The Taken King (September 2015)
  • Rise of Iron (September 2016)

So we've had a solid amount of DLC's to compare against and while only a few are large scale releases - this is the first DLC that actually removed a large chunk of content in the history of Destiny.

Bungie first alerted to this in June of 2020 that Destiny 2 was getting a tad bit difficult to balance and update.

For example: Warmind’s campaign represents only 0.3% of all time played in Season of the Worthy and yet the Warmind Expansion accounts for 5% of our total install size.
Instead of building a Destiny 3 and leaving D2 behind, each year, we are going to cycle older, less actively played content out of the live game and into what we’re calling the Destiny Content Vault (DCV).

So what exactly did we lose? Well without sounding too harsh - a lot of content.

We lost the following planets/destinations:

  • Mercury
  • Mars
  • Titan
  • Io
  • The Farm
  • The Leviathan

We lost the following activities:

  • Gambit Prime (merged into Gambit)
  • The Reckoning
  • Escalation Protocol
  • Black Armory Forges
  • Zero Hour
  • The Whisper
  • Regular Nightfall
  • Niobe Labs
  • The Menagerie
  • Supremacy
  • Countdown
  • Lockdown
  • Breakthrough
  • Doubles
  • Momentum Control
  • Scorched
  • The Tribute Hall

We lost the following campaign story lines:

  • The Red War (D2 launch campaign)
  • Curse of Osiris (D2 DLC #1)
  • Warming (D2 DLC #2)

We lost the following season "lore" / "content":

  • Season of the Forge
  • Season of the Drifter
  • Season of the Opulence

We lost the following raids:

  • The Leviathan
  • Eater of Worlds
  • Spire of Stars
  • Scourge of the Past
  • Crown of Sorrow

We the following exotic quests:

  • Relics of the Golden Age (Sturm)
  • Sight, Shoot, Repeat. (MIDA)
  • Rat King's Crew (Rat King)
  • Legend of Acrius (Acruis)
  • Nodes and Protocols (Sleeper)
  • Nascent Dawn (Polaris Lance)
  • Cayde's Will (Ace of Spades)
  • The Cleansing (The Last Word)
  • A Butterfly's Grace (Le Monarque)
  • A Giant's Might (Jotunn)
  • A Mysterious Box (Izanagi's)
  • The Essence (Thorn)
  • Bearer of Evil's Past (Lumina)
  • A Scrap of Paper (Truth)
  • The Other Side (Bad Juju)

We lost the following crucible maps:

  • Meltdown
  • Firebase Echo
  • Eternity
  • Solitude
  • Legion's Gulch
  • Retribution
  • Equinox
  • Gambler's Ruin
  • Vostok
  • Emperor's Respite
  • The Citadel
  • Cathedral of Scars
  • Kell's Grave

We lost the following strikes:

  • A Garden World
  • Tree of Probabilities
  • Savathun's Song
  • Pyramidion
  • Festering Core
  • Strange Terrain
  • Will of the Thousands

We lost the following vendors:

  • Ada-1
  • Benedict-66
  • Werner 99-40
  • Ana Bray
  • Sloane
  • Asher Mir
  • Brother Vance
  • Visage of Calus

Wow. That is a lot of content.


So what did we gain with Beyond Light?

  • A new campaign
  • New Planet: Europa
  • Restored Planet: Cosmodrone (From Destiny 1)
  • New Subclass: Stasis
  • New Raid: Deep Stone Crypt
  • Tons of new activities / quests
  • New Characters / NPCs

PVP

Let's talk about PVP first which was quite a slap in the face. We are talking about Bungie here. The company that literally slapped down Halo in front of the faces of millions and revolutionized the FPS scene can't add a single new map or game-mode on a huge DLC release.

It feels weird - I know Destiny has no competitive scene for a myriad of reasons, but a major DLC to effectively not touch PVP just hurts. So lets briefly talk about the new subclass (Stasis) which I don't think was ever play-tested ever in PVP.

Streamer Gladd Testing

A good chunk of multiplayer is building up your "Super" which takes a few minutes and then unleashes a mega powerful ability on the enemy. Now shown above shows a class ability that can restores itself near instantly (based on perks) can freeze someone out of a super. Any competent player will kill a frozen enemy.

Forbes even reported on this with - Destiny 2 Has Hilariously Broken PvP With Stasis In Beyond Light. It just honestly blows my mind - did anyone ever at Bungie ever test this? How is this fun? What is the point of the 9 other sub-classes if 3 of them can reign down complete ultimate domination?

Is this a time issue with COVID-19? I know the DLC was delayed once already, but this just blows my mind. Destiny is not a true ability game like Overwatch, but instead relies on guns. However with the launch of Beyond Light and ice formations flying around the map freezing people - this game feels like a pure ability based game now.

Bungie Tweet

To stab the wound even further - the pinnacle PVP mode was disabled until November 27, 2020 for discovered issues. I was hoping the issue was the obviously busted Stasis class, but no it was an infinite super glitch on Warlocks.

On November 19 - a little under 10 days since the release of the DLC marked a new patch (v3.0.0.3) that ended up nerfing Stasis in PVP. What was interesting to read was the following:

  • Cold Snap freeze duration lowered (was 4.75s now 1.35s).
  • Ice Flare Bolts freeze duration lowered (was 4.75s now 1.35s).
  • Penumbral Blast (Stasis Warlock melee) freeze duration lowered (was 4.75s now 1.35s).

Which generally just begged the question if anyone tested this as being froze for almost 5 seconds in a video game is basically a death wish.


Guns

I knew something was up with guns when I finished a portion of the campaign of the brand new DLC and I got a Long Shadow sniper.

Destiny Tracker - Long Shadow

Let's talk about this gun. It was added during a manifest update on August 27, 2018 into Season 4 which was the release of Forsaken. It kept receiving perk changes through season 5 through 12 (Beyond Light).

Once again it blows my mind that completing the primary quest line in the brand new DLC results in a gun that is 2+ years old and been around for almost 10 seasons. Like what happened to complaining about just re-skinned models? It has literally gotten to the point that a new DLC just gives you weapons from previous seasons.

So I was curious why this was and went researching on light.gg. The previous large DLC added 98 new legendary/exotic weapons. Beyond Light added 31 - if you ignore the Trials weapons that number is 25. If you ignore the re-issued Iron Banner weapons (just higher light) that number is 23.

Forsaken at release day was the same price as Beyond Light but the comparisons are far between. I haven't even started to talk about the pinnacle weapon of this season/DLC which is just a re-skinned Beloved.

Beyond Light - Season Pinnacle - Adored

How come every other season launched these weapons with unique models and perks? The Adored (re-skinned Beloved) is a great weapon no doubt, but it had to be added because of the forced retirement and sun-setting of the previously loved Beloved.

So lets think about this. The Beloved was added during Season 7 and was a drop from The Menagerie. If your memory is right - the Menagerie was removed so you can't get this weapon anymore and the light is capped at 1060. However the game current power cap is 1200+. So you now have a useless gun that you once paid for that you have to re-earn under a different title.

This bothers me for many reasons. Guns may become outdated and useless, but I can still boot up Destiny 1 to this day 6+ years later and play an old activity with an old gun. This mantra is now different because that old content is gone and the weapon cannot rise with the difficulty.


Forced Delay

Map of Europa - The new Planet

Let's talk about the new map with my wonderful drawing above. The red drawings notate an area you can spawn in. The first annoyance you'll notice is that most activities require effort in either Eventide Ruins, Asterion Abyss or Cadmus Ridge. So you'll have to spawn in Charon's Crossing and drive through invisible loading screens to the other main areas.

This is obvious game design for an artificial delay. Campaign will take longer if you have to drive a few minutes on every single trip to this planet. Though this is a pattern that isn't new to Bungie. They tried it for the first time for the new planet - Dreaming City back during Forsaken.

Sure enough - I hated it then and I hate it now. When activities are so far from the spawn destination it just becomes a turn off to visit it. I'm past my prime of gaming - I don't want to waste all this time driving around. I want to do what I want with my small amount of time before work.

Now this entire planet is a mess of ice which was cool for the first hour, but now just feels like a bland landscape with very beautiful dynamic weather. I have so many bounties that are asking me to do things on this planet, but I'll have to drive 3-5 minutes to even start completing them so not sure I'll be completing those anytime soon. Seems crazy to say, but the slow creep of delay is just turning me off completely.


Conclusion

Though what most DLCs are judged from is the continued season support & raid (which launched yesterday). The raid may be fun, but will it stand up to the test of replay-ability or become another Scourge?