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Destiny 2 data mining suggests the return of Destiny’s Thunderlord

It looks like players will be heading back home to pick up this old exotic machine gun

Destiny - a Guardian in the Cosmodrome on Earth Bungie/Activision
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

For weeks, there has been a rumor in the Destiny community that the Thunderlord exotic machine gun will be returning as part of Destiny 2’s Festival of the Lost event, the series’ Halloween stand-in. After the recent Destiny 2 patch, players have been able to search through the game’s new data to find evidence of the exotic’s return.

As of patch 2.0.4, there is a new classified heavy exotic in the Collections tab — one that nobody has or knows how to get. One of Thunderlord’s original perks, Feeding Frenzy, has also appeared in the game’s database and is currently unattached to any weapon. This is similar to what happened when players first discovered Black Spindle’s signature perks — the weapon is called Whisper of the Worm in Destiny 2 — in the game’s database.

As if there weren’t enough hints to the gun’s return spread throughout the game, recent audio files were mined that suggest players will be returning to the Cosmodrome in a few weeks. The dialogue is from Amanda Holliday, the Tower’s shipwright and the Festival of the Lost vendor.

The dialogue, which can be heard in the video above, has Holliday asking about when you first met your ghost. This is a callback to the original Destiny, when players first gained control of their Guardian in front of the massive wall in the Cosmodrome. More dialogue by Holliday mentions Old Russia and the Cosmodrome.

But this location actually has a very special connection to the Thunderlord machine gun. In the very first gameplay demo for Destiny — released way back in 2013 — players were shown waking up outside of the Cosmodrome and grouping up with some friends. As they made their way through the opening mission, they encountered a Fallen boss.

When the players kill the boss in the demo, it drops an exotic engram that turns into Thunderlord. This was the very first exotic ever revealed to Destiny players, two years before the game actually came out. Of course, Thunderlord didn’t drop for Destiny players in the first mission once the game came out, but the weapon was lurking elsewhere in game and became a fan favorite .

Based on the leaks and the data mining, is seems like players will be asked to go back to the Cosmodrome and explore it. Then, presumably, players could reenact the E3 demo from years ago, and receive the Thunderlord for their trouble.

Assuming it returns, Thunderlord will be a unique exotic in Destiny 2. While the machine gun class of heavy weapon will be returning in the upcoming Black Armory expansion, Thunderlord will likely be the only machine gun in the game for at least a month.

As for when Thunderlord will return, it seems likely that this quest will be part of the Master Ives murder mystery — as Bungie has been fairly vague regarding the mission’s rewards. This quest won’t officially go live until the final week of Festival of the Lost, starting on Oct. 30.

Update (Oct. 18): User Ginsor on the Destiny subreddit recently posted a new data mine. This new upload includes actual UI images of the Thunderlord and two new ornaments that will likely be released alongside it. It seems that the weapon’s lore has also been uploaded.


They return from fields afar. The eye has passed, the end nears. Do not fade quietly. Let thunder reign again. Two they were, artist and scientist. Music flowed in their souls and rained from their lips. Not weapons of war they made, but instruments of peace.

The thunder fell, and they were cast apart. Their love was sundered as the world collapsed. They sang in pain and sought to reunite, but crimson eyes glowed in the dark. Their union was not to be.

He held death in his hands. Stars burned in his footsteps. In her, the conflagration was reborn, the funeral pyre lit.

And so forever after, their love fuels death. Their last words, a curse and a cry. Their names are now lost, but their love will not die.

Ginsor and several other data miners also posted some of the audio mentioned earlier in this story. They also regularly data-mine patches and post UI images, like they did for the Last Wish raid a month ago. All of their raid UI mining turned out to be accurate. Assuming these new leaks are correct as well, the return of Thunderlord is about as confirmed as it can be.

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