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Is Destiny 2 worth playing in 2020?

Destiny 2 has had its ups and downs over the last few years, the pinnacle probably being the tumultuous relationship between Bungie and Activision. Since the early days of Destiny 2, the community has called for a split between the two gaming giants. With Destiny 2 New Light, this split has finally happened and we are now six months down the line. With the game in its current state, is it worth playing Destiny 2 in 2020? This is the question on the lips of many new and returning players, of which I am the latter.

Blizzard and Activision Split
Bungie and Activision had a split in middle 2019. [Image: Bungie]

To answer this question, I will discuss some of the key reasons I stopped playing Destiny 2 and shed some light on whether Bungie have addressed these areas in the current state of the game.

Guns as I remember them

With the initial release of Destiny 2, I had a blast playing through the campaign and getting my teeth stuck into the endgame activities. Between the Strikes, Crucible and Leviathan Raid there was more than enough content to keep Guardians busy. The base game’s content actually had a fantastic lifetime, and by the time Curse of Osiris released, I was still busy with certain activities. My content issues began just after the release of the Curse of Osiris expansion.

By this time I had amassed most of the available exotics on the Hunter, Warlock and Titan and gathered a decent arsenal of ships, ghosts and emotes. This meant that I had very effective layouts for both PvE and PvP and little reason to change these setups as they were optimal. While the Curse of Osiris guns and armour looked epic, I felt no need to grind for them as they would change very little in the way I was playing.

Destiny 2 2020 Hardlight auto rifle
My trusty Hardlight auto rifle waited for more than two years to be fired again. [Image: Bungie]

This meant that I had hit a ceiling of sorts, and this showcased one of the inherent flaws to the looter-shooter genre. If all guns and armour have a similar level of power, there is no reason to look forward to new loot if you already have a decent setup. This was a huge issue as I was used to games such as World of Warcraft where there is always a drive to get better loot. On top of this, every new World of Warcraft expansion and major patch introduced this loop anew.

Guns in 2020

How do guns and armour progression look in Destiny 2 2020? Currently, the same issue is still prevalent and one of the best guns to use in the Crucible, for example, is the Hardlight auto rifle. If I remember correctly, this was one of the first exotics I ever looted. While it is one of the sweetest weapons in the game, using it for over three years is just no fun.

Luckily all is not doom and gloom and in a recent post from the Destiny 2 team they revealed that in the future legendary guns will have a power level cap. This is fantastic news as this will give meaning to the grind and getting new and stronger weapons will be rewarding again. The exact date that they will implement this is still unknown, but there is at least hope for the future.

Destiny New Exotic guns
One of the new guns which burn you if you shoot for long periods of time. [Image: Bungie]

Based on this information, I would say that my issues with the guns in Destiny 2 are in a phase of transition with the potential for a bright future in 2020 and onward. As a returning player, I am not thrilled that my inventory that I stopped playing with three years ago is still relevant. I am however optimistic about the proposed roadmap.

Content as I remember it

While Destiny 2’s content was never my greatest concern, it became quite stale after three months or so of playing. There was always a decent variety of content for Guardians to explore, including bounties, adventures, lost sectors, and many others. They did however become a chore as I slogged through them time and again for a bunch of generic rewards.

With any new entry into the MMO market, a lack of content is to be expected in the base version of the game and Destiny 2 was no different. It helped a lot that the available activities were fun, and as a result I spent many hours with both the PvE and PvP activities. Trials of the Nine, the Iron Banner and weekly Raiding were substantial additions to the endgame and remained one of the reasons I kept going back week after week.

Destiny 2 2020 vault
This vault screen contains all the gear I used across three characters, pretty bleak. [Image: Bungie]

Apart from these activities, the game felt quite empty and therefore less rewarding. Once we beat Calus for the umpteenth time and made it through the Trials, there was little left to achieve.

Content in 2020

Three years have passed in the meantime, so there is a lot of content for new and returning players to experience and explore. There are two expansions worth of campaign, which is quite good by the way. There are loads of new Strikes to master, new zones to explore, and new exotics to hoard. Just a word of warning, I was quite overwhelmed when I jumped back in, and deciding what content to tackle first was tough. I settled on catching up with the lore first since the current season, Season of the Worthy, doesn’t have a new raid that I had to gear for.

This is obviously fantastic news, but the largest boon is the seasonal structure that Destiny 2 now boasts. A seasonal content structure has become popular in many games. The likes of Diablo 3, Path of Exile and League of Legends have perfected the art and incites players to come back to the game season after season. The seasons in Destiny 2 lasts for around three months and each new season introduces interesting new activities for Guardians to complete.

Unfortunately, the previous seasons’ content are removed when a new one launches so for new and returning Guardians only the Season of the Worthy and its content is available. While this is a shame, Game Director Luke Smith announced in a recent blog post that they are looking to remedy this situation. They will change the current structure to have old seasonal content remain available to Guardians, giving us a much larger palette of in-game activities to do. Only time will tell if this is a good solution to the problem. Path of Exile has succeeded in successfully integrating previous seasonal content into the core gameplay, resulting in a much richer experience for players.

As a returning player, I couldn’t be happier with the content currently on offer in the Destiny 2 universe. I have a lot to still get through, but I am honestly enjoying every step of the way. By the time I am done with the current content, a new raid may be just around the corner which would be fantastic.

Some general comments

Gameplay experience

One of Destiny 2’s strongest points is its smooth and tactile combat. This hasn’t changed one bit and playing the game feels superb. Slaying the different enemies is satisfying, and no enemy feels particularly like a bullet sponge.

Destiny 2 performance
Destiny 2 runs so smooth you could probably play it on this beauty. [Image: Bungie]

The same is true for the PvP elements in the game. Combat against other players is arguably at the best place it’s been since Destiny 2’s inception. I’ve played quite a few Crucible and Trials of the Nine matches, and they felt fair and rewarded my skill. The time-to-kill is also not too short, meaning that you have to land a few good shots to take down your enemies.

Cosmetics

The armour sets in Destiny have always looked good, and they still do. There are many armour sets to collect and for those with completionist tendencies the new collections tab helps you track all the pieces you have collected. The same is true of the ships and Sparrows, and the fresh additions are superb.

Destiny 2 2020 cosmetics
I have already found some neat new ships to add to my collection. [Image: Bungie]

We all know how important your emotes and spawning animation is, especially in PvP. There are a ton of awesome emotes and spawn animations to collect in the 2020 version of Destiny 2. Shaders have always been plentiful and now there are even more to choose from. Unfortunately, you are still limited in the number of different shaders you can store, which is a shame.

Community

Whether you are a new or returning player, MMO populations are always at the back of your mind. Do you want to commit hundreds of hours to a game that dies a few months down the line? For most of us, the answer to this question is a resounding “No”.

I am quite pleased to report that Destiny 2 is a regular in the top 10 most played games on Steam, and for parts of the day even in the top 5. This means that the Destiny 2’s player count is healthy and competes with the likes of Rainbow Six Siege, Monster Hunter World, GTA V and ARK.

Therefore, you can be sure that you won’t have to queue long to join PvE and PvP encounters, social hubs don’t feel like ghost towns and public events almost always have a few players completing them. There are also many clans which you can join to get stuck into some of the endgame content.

Future of the game

Nobody wants to play a game, only for the game to be replaced with a new version shortly after. Based on the limited information available, Destiny 2 still has a good amount of life left in it and with the seasonal content things always feel fresh. I would not rule out the possibility that we will see Destiny 3 at some point, but I highly doubt that will be playable before the end of 2021.

So you can be sure that the time you spend as Guardian in the world of Destiny 2 will not be wasted and a year or more from now you will still play the same game, with (hopefully) the same people and have a blast.

So is Destiny 2 worth playing in 2020?

Based on my experience as a returning player, I would say yes, absolutely. The game is fun, it rewards skill, it looks good, its future is looking good and you will have people to play with you. If these aspects are not enough to make it clear that Destiny 2 is worth playing in 2020, then I suspect you will probably play no games this year.

Grab your ghost, your favourite exotic gun and your trusty ship, and head into one of the many zones in the world of Destiny 2 to wreck some faces in 2020.