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Bungie’s overhauling Destiny 2 seasons, adding optional $10 battle pass

A new way to level up in Destiny 2

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep - a Guardian running through the Black Garden Bungie via Relentless-Hunter on Reddit
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.

In a new blog post from Destiny franchise director Luke Smith, Bungie revealed how seasons will work in Destiny 2’s third year; including Shadowkeep and New Light this fall.

Each season has a free or paid version (“10 bucks” each, according to Smith), similar to battle passes in games like Fortnite or Dauntless. The first season of Year 3, Season of the Undying, comes bundled with Shadowkeep (players can purchase it separately as well).

Let’s dive into the post and breakdown everything Smith revealed.

Rotating activities

The new seasons will focus on changing Destiny 2’s world every three months. In Season of the Undying, players will open a Vex gate, creating a new activity and rewards. Three months later, players will close the gate, end the activities, and set Season of the Dawn in motion. Including Season of the Undying and Season of Dawn, Year 3 will contain four seasons.

Bungie believes that removing activities each season is the only way to make the game feel like it’s evolving. “We believe that Destiny will grow even better when the world state can change, and that the best Destiny stories are the ones where ‘you had to be there when…,’” Smith said.

But weapons and rewards for the seasons won’t be gone forever. While Smith didn’t elaborate on how, players should expect weapons they’ve missed to return within about six months. However, Smith was clear that there will be periods where players have no current means of acquiring some past items.


Destiny 2: Shadowkeep The Gate Lord’s Eye Bungie

On top of seasons rotating activities, the new seasonal Artifact will create individual player growth each season. Artifacts are free for all players, and Guardians can level them up during the season. Each level comes with uncapped bonus power that extends across a player’s account.

Players will also unlock new and powerful mods through the Artifact. After they unlock a mod, Guardians can slot them into weapons and armor for the remainder of the season. The goal is for the mods to change the way players interact with the world, and create unique effects against everyday enemies and bosses.

At the end of each season, the seasonal mods and bonus power will reset. Players will earn a new Artifact for the next season, and start the process over again.

Season Pass

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep Season of the Undying Season Pass Bungie

The Season Pass is a new idea to Destiny, but similar to battle passes in other games where players can earn rewards on a free and premium track depending on whether they own the season or not. Each season comes with 100 ranks, and the experience players earn at max level counts toward their pass.

Free players can earn some powerful items and rewards through the season pass, but the real goodies come with the $10 price tag. Bungie laid out the rewards players can expect in Season of the Undying’s season pass as an example.

Season Pass owners get access to a new seasonal activity, the Vex Offensive, which includes:

• Four Legendary Weapon drops

• Additional weekly and daily bounties

• Additional weekly challenges with powerful rewards

A new weapon quest for an Exotic Bow, Leviathan’s Breath

• Exclusive to Season Pass owners

A new Exotic Hand Cannon, Eriana’s Vow

• Awarded on Rank 35 of the free track

• Awarded on Rank 1 of the premium track

Three seasonal Legendary armor sets (one for each class)

• Collect a complete set during the first 25 ranks of the free track

• On the premium track you get all three sets on Rank 1

• These also drop within the Vex Offensive seasonal activity

• If you want versions with higher stat tiers, you’ll need to play Vex Offensive to earn them

Some additional premium track rewards:

• Three universal ornament armor sets (one for each class)

• An Exotic weapon ornament for Eriana’s Vow

• Two Legendary weapon ornaments

• A new finisher

• An Exotic emote

• An Exotic ship

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep image of Guardians protecting a plate Image: Bungie

It’s unclear if the Leviathan’s Breath Exotic bow or the Eriana’s Vow Exotic hand cannon are the heavy bow and special ammo hand cannon the studio previously mentioned (the Hunter is holding the special ammo hand cannon, with the Titan wielding the heavy bow, in the image above). It’s possible these could be completely different weapons of the same archetype.

Players who play Destiny 2 as their main game should be able to complete all 100 ranks during the season. But Bungie is experimenting with how players can purchase additional ranks. Instead of being able to buy ranks at the beginning of the season, Bungie will allow players to purchase ranks in the last two to four weeks of the season.

Smith explained that the studio didn’t want to see players buy their way into all the cool stuff immediately — something that, in theory, devalues the reward of playing the game. Instead, the purchasing of ranks is a last-minute catch-up system for players who want to hit max rank but couldn’t make the time.

New Light

On top of all the seasonal breakdowns above, Smith clarified what exactly New Light players will get for free come Oct. 1.

The following is a direct quote from Smith:

• Patrolling the Moon destination

• The opening mission of Shadowkeep

• Two new strikes

• Crucible Updates

• Two returning PvP maps from the D1 era—Widow’s Court and Twilight Gap

• Elimination in Crucible Labs

• Armor 2.0 build customization

• Eye of the Gate Lord Seasonal Artifact

• New finishers

• Two new pinnacle weapons: one for Gambit and one for Crucible

• New Exotic weapon—Eriana’s Vow

• Three Legendary armor sets (1 per class)

• Two Legendary weapons

• Best of Year 2 Bright Engrams

• Glimmer and upgrade modules

Smith stated that he still has more to reveal and talk about prior to the start of Season of the Undying. We’ll learn more before Bungie launches Destiny 2: Shadowkeep and New Light for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on Oct. 1. The Google Stadia version of Destiny 2 won’t arrive until later this year.