Destiny 2 State of the Game: Key Takeaways for 2023 and Beyond

The latest State of the Game for Destiny 2 has a lot of juicy details about the game's future.

Image via Bungie

Destiny 2 is in dire need of a reset — any reset, and that’s made all the more clear by Bungie’s latest State of the Game article, a 6,400+ word behemoth that attempts to address many of the community’s concerns. Some of it we already knew or have already experienced in some limited capacity, but other coming updates are more than welcome, though how much they’ll matter in the short term is unclear. What is clear is that Destiny 2 is still very much an evolving experience that can be great but often isn’t.

Strikes and Crucible Are Getting More Love (Gambit in Shambles)

Screenshot y GameSkinny

The core ritual playlists — Vanguard Ops, Crucible, and Gambit — have long been at the heart of the Destiny 2 gameplay loop. Seasonal content depends on them; they’re almost always one of, if not the best, way to farm for materials, and are one of the most consistent ways to engage with the game across all skill levels. And in due course, they’re getting some updates. Well, two of them are.

Vanguard Ops is seeing the (almost) full implementation of Medals like we saw in Guardian Games. While the feature was initially introduced in the first Destiny, in Season 22, they’re coming to D2 in a much larger capacity. Additionally, seasonal Battlegrounds continue to move into the Vanguard playlists.

The PvP-focused Crucible is receiving some much-needed map variety in the form of a new one called Multiplex, which takes place in the Vex network within the Infinite Forest on Mercury. New modes and modifiers are also coming to PvP, including Checkmate, which seems to focus on a more competitive, gun-on-gun style of play.

There’s also the new Relic mode, which Bungie calls a “6v6 party mode” using the various Relic weapons players can find in Raids and other activities: think the Aegis from Vault of Glass, Synaptic Spear from PsiOps Battlegrounds, and others. Both of these updates will make their way to Crucible Labs for live fire testing during Season 22.

Crucible matchmaking improvements will continue that season as well, as Bungie tweaks the skill-based matchmaking settings on their end. There will also be more updates coming in Season 23, as well as a port of The Citadel map and a new Häkke Aggressive Frame Strand Pulse Rifle for the Competitive Division reward.

And last and for once least, for Gambit enjoyers, I’m sorry. Bungie has tried and tried again to make your favorite mode work, but engagement just isn’t ‘there. In a conflicting set of updates, they’re updating the Cathedral of Scars map to work with their updated engine and are adding both Shadow Legion Cabal and Lucent Hive to the mode while at the same time removing the need to play Gambit for weekly ritual rewards. So unless you’re one of the seven people in the galaxy that enjoys Gambit and really want to see it improve, there’s almost no reason left to play it.

Quality of Life is Back on the Menu

Image via Bungie

Bungie is pulling out a lot of stops when it comes to quality of life. The list is on the longer side, so here’s the punch list. In Season 22, we will be able to:

  • Favorite 100 different Shaders, Ornaments, and Emotes to the top of the selection, making fashion a much simpler ask.
  • Buy Stasis Aspects and Fragments directly from Elsie Bray on Europa after completing the Beyond Light campaign.
  • Unlock Transmat effects for infinite use.
  • Not worry about Wish Ender materials cluttering your quest inventory. The quest will now be just a single quest chain.
  • Find resources (Exotic Ciphers, Nightfall Ciphers (shiny), Treasure Keys, and other rare materials in Collections that tell how to get them.
  • Farm reputation or Pinnacles in Iron Banner using two separate challenge types.
  • Ritual vendor rank-ups happen immediately rather than when you go to orbit.

Cheaters and Crashes Begone (Hopefully)!

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Bungie gave a larger update on their efforts to both combat the cheating epidemic that continues to plague the Crucible and especially Trials of Osiris and Competitive, saying in short that they’re becoming more and more adept with the banhammer and are more and more aggressively pursuing cheat makers in the legal system.

Details were intentionally vague to ensure hack developers don’t know exactly what they’re looking for, but suffice it to say the work is ongoing and a constant arms race between cheaters and anti-cheat software. Also, they would ask nicely that you not lend your account to people for the purposes of progressing — account recovery services — as if it’s banned for cheating when you weren’t in control, you’re still on the hook, and Bungie is unlikely to undo the ban.

Game stability is another hot-button issue, and details were scarce here, as well. The Season 22 7.2.0 patch, as well as the recent 7.1.5 and patches to a lesser extent, will hopefully both go some way to addressing crashes, disconnects, and other stability problems. Season 23’s 7.3.0 patch hopes to be more proactive, preventing issues from propping up in the first place rather than needing to react to them so often.

Bungie’s Thoughts on Their Progress

Image via Bungie

In a lengthy follow-up to their February State of the Game, the team at Bungie spoke about the four pillars they’ve tried to build upon.

Expanding Players’ Imaginations

Bungie believes that the gameplay updates they’ve made in Lightfall and the Seasons of Defiance and the Deep are moving in the right direction, freshening stale gameplay loops and adding interesting player and developer experimentation to the game.

They’re also aware of the community’s overwhelmingly negative response to the Lightfall year’s storytelling and have committed that the “Final Shape and its raid will provide a climactic conclusion to the Light and Darkness Saga before we look ahead to what comes next in Destiny 2

Bring Challenge Back to Destiny

The team believes they’ve found their feet regarding how difficult they want activities to be, whether that’s on Neomuna or in Strikes. And for the second season in a row, there will be no Power level cap increase in Season 22, giving players time to focus on the activities and other grinds rather than on chasing a number. GM Nightfalls, Master Raids, and Dungeons will still push the boundaries, but the core is about where Bungie wants it.

Enrich Our Content

The core of this section was the addition of the Exotic Mission Rotator, one of the most-anticipated upcoming features, and the list currently includes the Avalon Vexcalibur mission, as well as Presage (the starting mission in the rotator), plus Vox Obscura and Operation: Seraph’s Shield.

No mention of The Whisper or Zero Hour, sadly, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be there. They also previewed a new way to engage with the core ritual activities outside of Bounties called Pathfinder, though it’s unclear how it would work.

Connect our Guardians

Short of detailing how they work, Bungie mentioned that there will be new ways to learn more about the Destiny 2 story for those players who haven’t been there since the beginning, as well as reaffirming that in-game LFG will be coming in Season 23.

Other Bits and Bobs

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Quickly, here’s a shortlist of other important updates coming in the future:

  • Season 22 brings three new Strand Aspects to shake up the meta again: “Whirling Maelstrom for Hunter, Banner of War for Titans, and Weavewalk for Warlocks.”
  • More Exotic Armor is getting reworked.
  • New weapon subfamilies are entering the Sandbox, which we’ll see more of in the August 22 showcase and The Final Shape itself.
  • The Seasonal activity model will continue to evolve.
  • Ritual playlist armor sets are taking a backseat (though Eververse is not), but Trials is getting new threads.
  • More weapon tuning is on the way, primarily focused on normalizing weapon range stats, plus some Exotic updates, including Touch of Malice.

And that’s about 1,300 words summarizing almost 6,500. Destiny 2 is still a constantly evolving experience and gets bigger and more grandiose with each expansion and update. Who knows, maybe the community and I won’t have to pillory The Final Shape like we did Lightfall. One can only hope. For more on Destiny 2, head over to our guides hub.

About the author

John Schutt

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.