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Destiny: Rise of Iron - six Guardians entering the raid
A full fireteam heads into Destiny: Rise of Iron’s raid, Wrath of the Machine.
Image: Bungie

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Nobody is talking about this week’s biggest Destiny 2 announcement

Pinnacle endgame content is Destiny’s lifeblood, and it’s about to get an infusion

Bungie’s Destiny Showcase on Tuesday revealed a ton of exciting news for Guardians. Destiny 2 has a lot coming to it over the next few years, with crafting, three expansions, a new weapon type, reworks for existing subclasses, the return of Gjallarhorn, and a continuation into a whole new story after 2024’s The Final Shape expansion. But the showcase’s most important announcement came and went in a flash: Starting this December, Destiny 2 players will get a new raid or dungeon every three months.

Destiny’s raids take six players to new locations and pit them against puzzle-filled arenas or giant bosses. Dungeons offer a similar experience for a Fireteam of three. They’re consistently the best and most challenging experiences Bungie puts out, and they’ve rewarded players with some of the most iconic weapons in the series’ history. But more importantly, they give Guardians a tangible reason to log on and keep up with their friends every Tuesday.

For me, past seasons of Destiny have lived and died not by their seasonal activities, but by the raids and dungeons attached to them. Season of Arrivals last summer offered good content on its own, but it was the same-day Prophecy dungeon that kept my attention for weeks. That inevitably led to me playing more of the game’s other modes as well.

Season of the Splicer, the most recent one in Destiny 2, didn’t have seasonal content that I loved, but it launched alongside the revised Vault of Glass raid. Because of the raid, I found myself logging into Destiny 2 weeks after the seasonal story was complete. In seasons where nothing like the Vault of Glass or a new dungeon appears — such as Season of the Worthy last year — I barely engage with the game beyond my weekly quests and the newest season pass. And that means I miss out on “friend time” with my Fireteam.

Destiny’s raids have always made it special. It was the Vault of Glass that saved the original Destiny’s mediocre launch by setting the game apart from titles like Borderlands. The Vault of Glass gave players something to aspire to by offering meaningful, cooperative endgame missions that rewarded the most dedicated Guardians. It’s this kind of content that most games in Destiny’s orbit fail to keep up with.

The original Tom Clancy’s The Division didn’t have the level of endgame missions that players were looking for, and while The Division 2’s raids are quite good, it took the series years to catch up. Marvel’s Avengers developer Crystal Dynamics has launched three new heroes in the past year, but very few people are talking about the game’s noncampaign missions, which are meant to keep players busy in the interim. Even World of Warcraft, with its sprawling raids, has left players in a content drought for more than a year on previous occasions.

Destiny players are no strangers to content droughts, but Bungie’s new initiative could change everything. Destiny is at its best when players have something to reach for and run through every week, and raids and dungeons act as the strongest adhesive for my friend group and for dedicated Destiny players as a whole. Social games of this ilk lose a crucial element without friends to play with. Long periods of game time without pinnacle content to challenge the most invested players are detrimental to a game on a systemic level as well as a social one: Friends slip away, and then find that it’s been months since they had a reason to group up.

If Bungie can continue this new philosophy and hit its quarterly goals through The Witch Queen, Year 5, and beyond, it’ll be an unprecedented boon not only for endgame players, but for the communities that Destiny fosters. My days of taking eight-week breaks from Destiny (and from my raiding friends) will disappear. And to me, that’s more exciting than any individual expansion.