The year of Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is almost over. In around a month's time, Bungie will be launching the fifth major expansion, Lightfall, where the Destiny 2 client will undergo a whole slew of changes all on top of a bunch of new content additions - such as a new location, subclass type, story, and so forth - all becoming available. With this in mind and now that the Season of the Seraph story has mostly concluded, I figured it's a good time to look back on Year 5 and the good (the bad, and the ugly) features it brought to Destiny 2.
There was a worry that being able to literally create the weapon rolls of your dreams would take away some of the heart of Destiny 2's looter-shooter nature, but quite frankly, all this did was reveal that looting and shooting is a thing of the past. The extra control and value this gave to weapons made the grinding nature of the sci-fi title all the more engaging, all while still preserving the hunt for the 'god roll' by only allowing certain weapon types and sets to be actually craftable. It's hard to think we made do without weapon crafting for such a long time.
We know why Bungie had to introduce sunsetting (the concept of removing or phasing out certain locations and items); it was to make room for future improvements and new additions. But that didn't change the fact that it really, and I mean really hurt to see so many items become simply unusable. Be it a 75,000-kill The Recluse, or a challengingly-earned Not Forgotten, seeing those items in my Vault still makes me shed a tear to this day. That is why it gave me great pleasure to hear that sunsetting will no longer happen in the future, meaning no main locations (i.e. not tied to seasonal activities) will be removed going forward, and neither will weapons and armour meet the same grim fate as those that came before it.
Vox Obscura, Operation: Seraph Shield, and The Witch Queen Exotic Missions
Exotic missions are a blast. Year 5 gave us few new ones to delve into, each rewarding players with a fancy, often powerful Exotic weapon to take the fight to Humanity's enemies with. Most years of Destiny 2 have had these missions, but The Witch Queen/Year 5 brought more of these missions than we could've hoped for, with the best of the bunch arriving to mark the final season - Operation: Seraph Shield. While these usually have quite a niche focus, hopefully Lightfall will continue the trend of making us work for the most powerful items Bungie can cook up.
Bungie does a lot of incredible things when it comes to world building and narrative, but Destiny 2 seems to show that the iconic developer just can't quite figure out how to balance and create compelling player-versus-player multiplayer. The Crucible has always had its critics, but Year 5 has been without a doubt the worst year to be a Crucible player, as a slew of grim balance changes and simply put horrible game modes have made it near unbearable at times. Need an example? Just look at the latest Iron Banner and the disaster of a mode it offered called Fortress. I say disaster, but if you were a Bubble Titan player, you no doubt had a blast.
Lack of Roadmaps
It may seem like a small and weird thing to bring up, but I like knowing what activities and new content will be coming throughout a season. I like knowing which week Iron Banner will be active, and when each kind of Trials of Osiris will be live. I like knowing when Dungeons will be released, and when Grandmaster Nightfalls open, and I like having this information when a season starts, not just by piecing it together by pulling intel from the in-game client and what Bungie loosely mentions in blog posts on a weekly basis. Please bring back roadmaps.
A short mission that is fairly simple to complete alone that rewards a Pinnacle gear drop, and exists all season long sounds awesome, right? Well, it was... for a few months. The Preservation is basically the opening section of the Vow of the Disciple Raid, and this means it serves two purposes: Teaching players how to complete this part of the endgame challenge, and also as a way to get some hard-earned powerful loot. It's all great when you look at it like this, but after you've beaten the mission for the 50th time, just to get one piece of gear, the brilliance has well and truly worn off. Hopefully, Lightfall doesn't put us through this again.
Competitive PvP Changes
Now while I whole-heartedly believe that the Crucible has been a disaster this year, the moves that Bungie has made to tackle the Competitive part of the Crucible is a bit more of a mixed bag. The ranking system is a clear improvement, and the rewards that it provides make heading into this side of Destiny 2 beneficial - especially for dedicated PvP players. But at the same time, the unclear progression, the game mode choices (Rift, ugh...), and the matchmaking, which either puts you against a team who are far better than you or one significantly worse and very rarely one that suits your skill, all combine to make this update a bit of an ugly one. Hopefully, the team will take a look at this for Lightfall's launch.
In a similar vein to my previous point; weapon crafting rocks, but hunting for Deepsight rolls (necessary to unlock a weapon to be crafted in the first place) does not. At least not right now. It is a necessary evil to stop making craftable weapons too easy to acquire, but sometimes this takes seasons and huge sums of your resources to hunt down, which to me is a real problem. Perhaps making Deepsights you actually require more frequent drops, or reducing the total number of Deepsight rolls needed to unlock a weapon schematic would alleviate this. Either way, it's not my favourite thing to do in Destiny 2 right now.
Honourable mention: Ketchkiller Armour
I don't think I need to say much. Just look at this set. Ew.