I've always managed to be patient and understanding with Destiny 2. As an ongoing experience, it has made some stumbles as well as genuine strides when it comes to being a sci-fi action MMO everyone can enjoy. I've loved how it's gone from a game that was packed with lore but no plot to a genuinely compelling story, but I've also raked Bungie over the coals when it came to more recent systems.
Which is why when I saw that they would be continuing to vault new content in preparation of their upcoming premium expansion, The Witch Queen, I was quite understanding... up to a point.
For those not in the know, vaulting is where large chunks of Destiny 2's content no longer becomes available to players. They're removed from the game with the promise that it will help the developers make new, more engaging content, as well as refine and release the older content further down the line. In an ongoing live platform game like Destiny 2, it is a bitter pill to swallow and a necessary evil. You are effectively being told content you paid for is no longer yours, but it is being done so that more fun activities can be added.
What is Being Vaulted in Destiny 2 Now?
Now, it appears that more of Destiny 2's early content will be added to the content vault. In an official post on Bungie's website, they stated that content from Destiny 2's Forsaken expansion would be going away. This includes the Forsaken campaign, as well as the explorable location of The Tangled Shore, and several Strike missions. For many fans, this is a bittersweet decision since this was the story where beloved robot wisecracker Cayde-6 was killed off by Prince Uldren, an event that has had long-reaching consequences to this day. It was also the introduction of the new enemy faction: The Scorn.
But the good news is that Bungie has listened to the community when it comes to making such bold decisions with content players paid good money for. Because of this, they have made several smart moves.
First, not everything introduced in Forsaken is going away. The Dreaming City location, as well as the Shattered Throne dungeon and the Last Wish Raid, will still be available. Furthermore, the Warden of Nothing Strike will be sticking around. As for The Tangled Shore's currency exchanging vendor, Spider, his services will be handled by Rahool in the Tower. The latter is especially convenient for those who are low on upgrade materials and don't want to take a detour.
Second, Forsaken will be available to all players for free on December 7. This will let everyone experience Cayde's Last Stand for themselves and catch up on getting any items or weapons they may have missed out on. Furthermore, players who have purchased the expansion in the past will immediately gain three Forsaken Ciphers, which they can spend to unlock exotic weapons and armor they may have missed. Sadly these cannot be redeemed for any Raid or Dungeon exotics - so no easy access to One-Thousand Voices for anyone. However, if all exotic items have already been earned, these Ciphers can be converted into Ascendent Shards which can be used for advanced weapon and armor upgrades.
These are wise decisions, especially given just how much this campaign rocked the community. Cayde-6 was around since the launch of the original Destiny in 2014, and despite it being heavily marketed, the death itself pulled no punches. However, that kind of sentimentality must be met with the understanding that that part of Destiny's story has been told. Furthermore, Cayde's murderer has been getting his own redemption arc of sorts peppered throughout this current season. As great as it is that Bungie will give the community a chance to say good bye one last time, it's something that was bound to happen.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the other things being vaulted. In addition to everything mentioned above, two major exotic weapon quests introduced this year will be getting vaulted. They are Harbinger, which helped flesh out the character of Crow, and the masterfully atmospheric descent into darkness that was Presage.
I genuinely have no idea why such recent content is going away. Both of these missions are stellar and are packed full of interesting gameplay and secrets. Presage even marked a high point in Bungie's level design with the way it balanced challenge, intrigue, and creeping dread. Worse still, both exotic weapons earned in these missions have randomized perks, allowing you replay the mission over and over again to get different combinations.
If I had to venture a guess as to why this is happening, I have two ideas. First, the idea of exotic items with random perks might be too difficult to balance properly so Bungie is re-evaluating how it can be done in the future. The second is that both missions heavily involve both Crow and Osiris, two characters that will be important in The Witch Queen expansion. The former because of his connections to the big bad which goes back to his actions in Forsaken, and the latter because the Osiris we thought we knew has actually been the titular big bad in disguise all along. It's still aggravating but I sort of understand.
What is Coming Back?
Bungie's post was quick to point out that several changes and additions would be coming as well. First, a lot of this year's co-op activities like Battlegrounds would be getting integrated into a new playlist called Vanguard Operations. It was so popular, it's now a staple. Second, they have confirmed that some content would be coming out of the Vault, including several PvP maps and the return of an old Raid. One can only speculate as to which ones exactly will be returning, but it will help keep Destiny 2's current pool of content fresh and diverse.
In fact, that is what has kept my frustration and confusion at bay most of all. Back when Beyond Light launched, Destiny 2 felt dry, desperate for new content. Now almost a year later, it feels full to bursting again with everything that's been added. But cutting everything back out again will only cause more churn, hence this curated approach.
I do not envy anyone at Bungie who has to make these decisions when it comes to Destiny 2. Despite all of its major accomplishments throughout the years, there's only so much that can be done with hardware and technology limitations. I only hope they get better at making those moments of transition more painless going forward, and give their more recent material more of a shelf life.