We are a few days into Festival of the Lost, and even though the event is far from over, I’m already seeing a lot of potential from Destiny 2 Year Two if this is the kind of effort Bungie is now putting into free events, much less paid ones still to come.
Where Destiny goes from here was always a question mark for fans after how Destiny 1 handled Year Two, which was essentially throwing random microtransaction-heavy holiday events for an entire year as players waited for a new expansion or sequel. That was essentially years two and three of D1, but it appears the past is the past.
Festival of the Lost gives me confidence that Bungie finally understands how to craft free, attractive events that players actually want to play. And with three smaller paid content drops, The Black Armory, Joker’s Wild and Penumbra this year, I think we’re going to see something, way, way better than anything we got in the “down time” of years two and three of Destiny 1.
To recap, Festival of the Lost has:
- Cosmetics that feel relatively easy to earn without being forced to throw a bunch of cash at Eververse
- A new PvE activity in Festival of the Lost, the Haunted Forest, that’s arguably even better than some activities in paid expansions (Blind Well comes to mind)
- Things to grind for that are actually attractive (Horror Story) or just for fun and completion’s sake (masks, emblems, shaders)
- A free exotic and catalyst (Fighting Lion) given out to work on over the course of the event, with event bounties working toward upgrading it
- A new questline launching on the 30th that will have at least story voicework to go with it as players solve a murder mystery, and all indications seem to be that it may arrive with the exotic Thunderlord making a triumphant return as part of the chase.
This is just Festival, and I’m also encouraged by what we saw with “surprise” updates and events like what we saw with the Whisper quest, the month-long Solstice and most recently, the kinds of crazy things that keep getting added to the Dreaming City weeks after launch.
Bungie and its partner studios are on their game now. They are really, really firing on all cylinders, responding to player feedback in ways that finally make it feel like they’ve learned their lessons, even if it took them four years and two sequels to do it. There are so many mysteries players are literally drowning in them. There’s so much to grind for that you cannot do every activity the game has in a week at this point. Events feel special. The game keeps churning out new, surprise content that’s actually worth doing.
Are there problems? Sure. It’s not Destiny if I don’t have a top ten list to complain about at any given time (don’t give us Masterwork Core bounties just take them out of infusion), but I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the best state Destiny has ever been in, and I am looking forward to a Year Two of Destiny 2 that is looking like it will almost certainly be better than Year Two of D1. It already is, pretty much.
I don’t know what the “health” of the Destiny community is at these days in terms of player population. This could be one of those “The Walking Dead is the best it’s been in years but ratings have been cut in half” situations that’s a bit of cruel irony. But all I can do is say that the game is doing so, so much right at the moment, and looks poised to give out a year’s worth of interesting content, even if it can’t keep producing Year One levels indefinitely. Festival is a good first step, and I’m looking forward to the second.