THE CHANGING OF THE SEASONS
Luke Smith dropped a new blog update today filled with information about the upcoming Season of the Undying, and where Seasons fit into Destiny 2's future. The bottom line is that, moving forward, Seasons are going to play a much bigger role in shaping Destiny 2. Players are really not going to want to miss them. Seriously. There's gear you may never be able to get again.
A BATTLE PASS BY ANY OTHER NAME
Let's not bury the lead. The Annual Pass is excommunicado. There are now officially two tiers of Seasonal Access: The Premium Season Pass ($10 a pop) and a Free Season Pass. The Premium Pass is included in the price of the Shadowkeep expansion, but presumably, for feature Seasons that do not come bundled with an expansion, the $10 rule will apply.
Starting with Season of the Undying, every player (Premium Pass holders or New Light players) will earn XP towards their Seasonal Rank just by going about their daily Guardian business - shooting monsters, completing strikes, turning in bounties, etc. Each Rank brings guaranteed rewards, as shown in the new Seasonal Rank UI above.
However, Premium Pass holders will earn Seasonal XP faster (and thus level up faster), receive an Exotic Weapon at Season Rank #1, gain access to the Seasonal Activity 'The Vex Offensive', and well, just look at the list below. If this 'pay to accelerate progress' system sounds familiar to you, that's because it's Fornite's Battle Pass, which I actually think will work out well for Destiny 2. Not everyone who pays for Shadowkeep is going to care about future Seasons, and I'd rather have accelerated progress for Season of the Undying than a pre-order for a future Season that I know nothing about.
As for New Light players, well, compare the two lists. They're getting what they paid for. But don't feel too bad for them, they've got almost two years of content to catch up on, for free, and they get to experience it all, for the first time, at level 750.
Premium Season Pass Includes:
- 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
- A new Exotic Hand Cannon, Eriana’s Vow
- Awarded at Rank 1
- Three seasonal Legendary armor sets (one for each class)
- All sets unlock at Rank 1
- Three universal ornament armor sets (one for each class)
- Exotic weapon ornament for Eriana’s Vow
- Two Legendary weapon ornaments
- New finisher
- Exotic emote
- Exotic ship
- Everything on the free tier, but quicker
Free Season Pass Includes:
- 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
- Free Seasonal Rank rewards, which include:
- 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
Bungie are going to allow Players to buy Ranks near the end of every Season, which is something I'm never a fan of, but if it keeps Bungie in business and means better content for the rest of us, why not? I mean it's not like someone who's buying ranks is going to be dominating you in the Crucible, right?
SEASONAL ARTIFACTS ARE TEST LABS NOW?
We've already talked about the Seasonal Artifact and Artifact mods before so I'm not going to recap how they work. But Smith's post adds a new wrinkle.
However, Fun Fact: Did you know that Season 8's Artifact, The Gate Lord's Eye, allows you to reach a potentially Unlimited Power Level? I'll let Smith explain:
"While leveling up and unlocking mods, you will also increase the Power of the Artifact, which will continue increasing until the end of the Season (yes, it is uncapped). Artifact Power adds directly to your overall Power and is account-wide. We are both excited, and a little terrified, to see how high players will manage to raise their Artifact Power during the Season."
This is just part of what Bungie are trying to accomplish with Seasonal Artifacts and Seasonal Mods. Smith puts it this way:
"We wanted to figure out how we could have a system that allowed players to create build-altering powers yet not need to commit indefinitely to whatever they made and have it live on forever. We want to date new builds, not get them hitched into the forever combat ecosystem. It doesn’t have to be forever anymore. The Artifact can spotlight some different ways to play each Season and introduce new types of perks, while we (and you!) can experiment more boldly with new combinations and expressions of Power. We want to use the Artifact as a mechanic to allow the game to shift some each Season. In an action game like Destiny, part of the fun can be discovering new ways to play."
My Bungie translation skills are a little dusty these days, but I think I know what he's saying. The goal of the Artifact system is:
- To promote player build-type and playstyle experimentation via Artifact mod incentives. I.e. These Artifact mods are so awesome you're basically an idiot for sticking to your tried and true build again and not trying them out. Idiot.
- To allow Bungie to try out mods and mod combinations down-range that might be a little unbalanced but hey, they're temporary and they're clearly labeled 'product not final' so zip it. If they work out, they may find their way into the games actual combat ecosystem somewhere down the line. Disguised and gussied up a little.
- Any player that really wants to commit to powering up their Artifact will get a visit from the Ghost of Guardians' Future and see what it's like to go waaaaay beyond the Shadowkeep Power Level cap. Don't know why Bungie want to see where this leads, besides making PvE content meaningless, but I'm sure they have their reasons.
Un-Fun Fact: So we already know your Seasonal Artifact, Artifact Mods, Artifact-boosted Power Level, Seasonal-Attached Activities and Seasonal Events all end when the Season Ends. I'm assuming you get to keep everything you earned by using those mods and that crazy Power Level, just nothing that came from the Artifact itself. The toys go back in the box.
What about Seasonal Rewards? For player's that didn't obtain what they wanted during the Season? What about Seasonal mods (if there are such a thing)? Seasonal Armor? Seasonal Weapons? Says Smith, "Weapons critical to the meta will not be locked in each Season for new players or for players who missed that Season. Legendaries and Exotics you need to stay competitive will be re-earnable in the future, although not always immediately after the Season ends." So, that's good news. I guess.
One last point. When Smith is talking about the changing of the Seasons he says, "The Season runs for 10 weeks and by the end of it, the portals will close, the world state will change, and the Seasonal acitivity connected to it [REDACTED] will go way. Yet something remains. This will be just in time for [REDACTED] to kick off the start of Season Nine—Season of Dawn."
I'm pretty sure the [REDACTED] Seasonal Activity is the Vex Offensive, but that's not what piqued my curiosity. Doesn't Smith make it sound like there's not going to be a lot of down time between Season 8 and 9? Does this mean Bungie are changing up the Season schedule? Are we going to get more Seasons more frequently? I'm not sure, but I sure hope so.
Anyway, thanks, as always, for stopping by.