Despite being hilariously mislabeled as a dead game, Destiny 2 has grown by leaps in bounds in the last few seasons. More complex storylines have played out. The lore has deepened. The fanbase has only continued to grow, especially if the Steam pre-order numbers for The Witch Queen expansion are to be believed. Season of the Lost is meant to set the stage for the next year of Bungie's action MMO, and while it holds plenty of potential, I'm concerned that it might be doomed to disappoint.
A Tale of Two Queens
Season of the Lost centers around The Dreaming City, and the return of the Awoken Queen, Mara Sov. Her city is slowly being overwhelmed by increasing attacks by the Hive God Xivu Arath, whose forces haven't been heard from since Season of the Hunt earlier this year.
However, what gets your character to assist in the Season's opening mission is thanks to Saint-14. After the mysterious disappearance of Osiris during the Vex invasion of The Tower from the end of Season of the Splicer, Saint managed to track down Osiris to The Dreaming City and to Mara Sov herself.
What follows next was the biggest punch in the gut this year in Destiny. A cutscene triggers where your Guardian, Crow, and Saint-14 confront Osiris as he's speaking to Mara Sov... only to watch him transform into the Hive God of Deception, upcoming big bad of the newest premium expansion and master manipulator herself, Savathūn. The fan theories were true. Shortly after this reveal, Mara Sov reveals she had developed a trap for the Witch Queen and springs it, trapping her within a crystal.
This imprisonment forms the central conflict of Season of the Lost. Savathūn tells you that Osiris is still alive, and in exchange for separating the Hive God from her Worm — the horrific entity that fuels the Hive's abilities and feeds on conceptual energy like rage, deception, or even a Guardian's Light — she will return the mentor unharmed. Since Mara Sov's entire backstory is built on being clever and playing the long game over billions of years, she knows this is a trap but plays along. In order to help exorcise the Worm from Savathūn, Mara Sov seeks out the player's help to explore the deepest reaches of the Ascendant Plane, a sort of parallel dimension adjacent to our world, and asks you to seek out her lost Techeuns or Tech Witches.
Journeys By The Wayfinder
This is what forms the backbone for the seasonal activity and central storyline. Astral Alignment is a new six-player activity where Guardians use technology provided by the Awoken Queen to figure out where the next Techeun is in the Ascendant Plane, usually by playing objectives and fighting tough enemies. Following that is the Shattered Realms missions where you enter the Ascendant Plane and explore that part of the other world for the lost Techeun.
Sadly, after some pretty solid seasonal activities like Season of the Chosen's Battlegrounds and Season of the Splicer's Override, Astral Alignment didn't leave the best first impression. Like prior major events, there are some elements that have been recycled from older Destiny Raid encounters, which is quite clever. The highlight is an objective where players have to get astral batteries to a generator, but carrying the batteries slows you down and makes you unable to fight back, turning it partially into an escort mission. Better yet, the Dreaming City arenas are much bigger and have a healthy mix of enemy configurations, which is a must in a six-player activity. On paper, the activity itself is Destiny 2 at its best: straightforward action with plenty of space for players to work together.
However, the activity itself has some baffling glitches. Objectives didn't update. Key items didn't spawn. There were multiple instances where players just ran around killing endlessly spawning waves, wondering why nothing changed. In fact, I left one of these glitched runs, went back into matchmaking... and got sent into another glitched activity.
If I had to guess, this might be an unintended side effect of a new feature: Crossplay. When you first log in to Destiny 2, a brand new Bungie Name is generated based on the profile name of your platform of choice, followed by a number. This is the name that will be displayed when you're being matchmade with other platforms. Honestly, how it is implemented is completely painless. Weird Astral Alignment glitches aside, I've been able to play seamlessly with Xbox, PC, and even Stadia players with no real issue. Also, for those who prefer to play just by themselves, this can be turned off in the options menu.
This brings us to the Shattered Realms missions. Since we are only one week into the season, only one new area is currently available: a distorted battleground that looks disturbingly like Earth's European Dead Zone. The mission is straightforward, and the game encourages you to replay the mission multiple times, either through seasonal challenges or by uncovering secret areas. The format has potential, but it is too early to tell how well Bungie will build on it.
That bring me to the biggest concern with Season of the Lost. Originally, this season was meant to end in November, leading into the release of The Witch Queen premium expansion for Destiny 2. However, Bungie decided to push back the release date to February 2022. Because of this, Season of the Lost's content has now been extended to six months instead of the standard three months. This is concerning because I'm worried there might not be enough content to keep Season of the Lost going. There's plenty of threads to tug on with the ongoing search for the Techeuns, Savathūn's Dark Knight-esque “I planned to be captured all along and have been playing you all for saps” narrative asides, as well as the interactions of Mara Sov and her people with Crow aka Mara's dead brother Uldren. But much like how the delays of Shadowkeep stretched Season of Arrivals' material to stretches of nothing, I'm afraid momentum will be lost.
Destiny 2 Season of the Lost Going Forward
Destiny 2's Season of the Lost starts off strong but might not have enough stamina to cross the finish line. The newfound lore is intriguing regarding how alternate dimensions work. The potential for continuing character arcs is at an all-time high. Seeing beloved characters back in the spotlight is a great sight to see. Finally, just having the series' next major threat around, taunting and teasing is the slyest way to generate hype I've seen in this game for a long time. As for whether or not my concerns are warranted, only time will tell.
How are you like Destiny 2 Season of the Lost so far? Let us know in the comments below.